Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: land of the fruits and nuts
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meowee, it's a very wet dough, not kneaded at all (time and moisture develop the gluten), put into an already-hot pan and baked covered (which basically simulates a steam-injected oven since the dough is so wet), then uncovered towards the end to crisp the crust. All these things put together (along with very little yeast) are what seems to set it apart. I don't think this guy featured in the NYT invented it, per se, he put the pieces together. It really comes out very different from any other home-baked bread I've ever had or made, slow-rise or not - it's much more like a professionally-made artisan loaf in texture and flavor. I haven't seen the hillbilly housewife recipe, but others I've seen that people compare it to haven't been very similar, missing several of the features. Each part is important to how different this is from other widely-known home baking methods I'm aware of.
Peace, unless you make it drier than the recipe calls for, two loaves in one pan will ooze together and fuse while baking, I'd guess.
There is no secret ingredient.