I made Mark Bittman's No Knead bread and found it to be heavy/dense in comparison to the size. What could I vary to make it a more airy dough (more holes in final crumb) without changing much of the simple technique?
I usually get a loaf that is perfect, well full of elastic air pockets and a crisp crust. Maybe you are used to lighter weight breads, but my first guess is that you need to try again. Does yours look like this? I also use an 'old dough' method when I save some dough from previous loaves to use in the next one.
The old dough addition sounds like a good idea. My loaf does look very similar to yours! Thanks for the response...
How long did you let it rise? Bittman preferred it with an 18-hour first rise and a 2-hour second rise. If you want a shorter rise (12-hour) he suggests you add an extra 1/8th tsp of yeast. I suggest you read the article that accompanies the recipe in case it gives you any clues to help improve your loaf. http://www.nytimes.com...
oops, that wasn't mine (I just found a good example on Flicker.) The old dough develops tang over time and I just store it in the fridge if I'm not making another loaf the next day. Good luck with your no knead adventure.
I did the Bittman No Knead method for a while, then I got tired of making a new batch of dough every time I wanted to bake some bread. I found the method from "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" is a good way to take the no knead recipe and extend it for a week or two without having to make a new batch each time. And, like the others have said, over time the dough takes on a good sour flavor over the course of a week or so.
Try another brand of flour and consider adding some gluten.
Also, weigh the flour using a digital scale.
Here's bit that's more in-depth on the why's and how's of the no-kneed recipe. With quantities in weights.
You might want to consult the original recipe by Jim Lahey in "My Bread" to which Bittman gives full attribution.