I Have A Dough Box

I've continued to bake the no-knead whole wheat bread several times per week. It's so easy and delicious, I can't help myself.

It was recommended by the bakers that one have a dedicated container in which to store your dough. I didn't bother with that when I was just testing the recipe and technique to see if I liked it, but now that I've been making this bread for over a month, I've decided to go ahead with dedicating a container.

I didn't have anything exactly the right size with the right sort of cover. The lid should cover the container, but not be air-tight. I had been storing the dough in a bowl, loosely covered with plastic, but I did get hard bits along the edges I would have to avoid when I pulled dough out for a new loaf.

I went to the author's website to see if they had an example of the type of container they meant; I didn't see any photos, but there was a lot of confusion about this judging from the comments on their blog. The authors clarified that it's ok to use a container with an airtight lid, and you should probably fasten tight to the top of the container, just not seal it all the way around. Just leave an inch or so unsealed. Aha. Many people, like myself, thought "not airtight" meant that air was supposed to be able to circulate freely. But air in general should NOT be circulating freely, the container just needs a little tiny opening so gas can escape as the dough ferments. And you can probably store it airtight after the first three days.

Based on the online discussion, I decided to get a cubic container. Some people dedicated a dorm fridge to store their bread dough, but since that's not an option for me, I chose a container that's space-efficient for the refrigerator. Sam's Club had a pair of 6-qt containers, so I got them. I also looked for a copy of the bread cookbook while I was there today, but alas, it's only sold by Sam's online. But including shipping, the total cost will be less if I order it from Amazon. I am getting a little bored of just using the master recipe again and again, I'm ready to buy the cookbook to get a whole mess of healthy breads I can make this way.

Their website even has instructions of how to make your own english muffins! I'm totally going to try that. I guess my goal is to bake all the bread we need. I really don't care for all the sugars and preservatives that go into most packaged bread, and bakery bread is relatively expensive-- $4 for a loaf that lasts about two days in our house. That would be $730/year. I haven't worked out how much the ingredients cost per loaf, but it's probably closer to 50 cents, if even that much. Not sure what the electricity costs for the oven. Regardless, the homemade bread tastes better since it's fresh every day, we never fuss with day-old bread. We use it for sandwiches, too. Haven't tried it with french toast, but I presume we will.

Today I mixed the dough by hand (I usually use the stand mixer) since I made it right in my new dough box. It was pretty easy to mix by hand, and I can see that not having to wash the mixing bowl in the future will save even more effort in this process. I also used some bagged yeast my neighbor gave me, and told me to store in the freezer. I've never used anything except packaged yeast before, so it was interesting. It wasn't proofing as quickly as I was used to, so I added a pinch of sugar to be sure it was still alive (it was). I decided to up the quantity of yeast from 1.5T to 2T, just in case the bagged stuff isn't quite as active as the packaged yeast.

My dough box is clear, and measurements are marked on the side. It's been fun watching the dough rise on the counter. I can see exactly when it's risen 25%, 50%, etc. I need to check it again at 8pm. If the dough rises all the way to the top of the container, next time I'll know to split it in half and use BOTH my dough boxes at once (although it might crowd the refrigerator too much, we'll see).