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No-knead Gatorade bread
finally, a bread you can call refreshing
How are all of you?
Davida and I went to a small Super Bowl get-together at a friend’s house last weekend, and then the next day, we did a Valentine’s Day dinner at a Korean barbecue spot here in Chicago. Nothing spells romance like charring your own beef, does it? We’re still digesting the glorious feast.
Today’s newsletter has nothing to do with the Super Bowl or Valentine’s Day, however.
For the past month or so, I’ve been learning how to bake bread. For some reason, the idea of baking bread has never really interested me much, even when the entire internet seemed to be fucking around with sourdough. (Though I did try baking bread for the newsletter one time.) Around Christmas last year, I bought myself an enameled Dutch oven, and I later realized that I could bake bread in it.
“Dannis,” I said to myself, “It’s about time you learn how to bake bread. It is your Achilles heel, your one true weakness in the kitchen. If the world understood your bread illiteracy, your enemies would slay you with a sharpened baguette.”
This entire time, I’d thought I needed a stand mixer or something to make bread, even though I understood no-knead, no-fuss recipes for bread existed. But what I didn’t realize, is exactly how easy it actually is. The New York Times no-knead bread recipe by Jim Lahey is so stupidly easy, in fact, that I actually got pissed at myself for not making some sooner.
There’s only four ingredients, flour, water, salt, and yeast. You mix that in a bowl, let it sit overnight, and just fuckin’ bake it. There. Bread. Seriously, what the fuck.
Now, on the internet, telling everyone you know how to bake bread is a sort of social currency. If you would like to feel good about yourself, all you have to do is bake a loaf of bread and show pictures of it on social media. Make sure you show everyone its interior as well, so they can say things to you like, “Nice crumb!” Then you can open your own bakery and watch it immediately fail in front of your very eyes.
For this week’s newsletter, I decided to make my own version of no-knead bread by replacing a key ingredient, water, with a classic electrolyte-replenishing, thirst-quenching beverage: Gatorade.
Because it’s finally time for someone to be able to call bread refreshing.
First of all, you have to measure the weights of your three dry ingredients, then stir them to distribute the salt and yeast throughout the flour.
Though you don’t need too much equipment past a bowl and a baking vessel, it is important to have a scale. I have a kitchen scale that’s wildly unpredictable. I poured a bunch of flour into the bowl for a loaf once, hit the right number, then turned around to put the flour away. When I looked back at the scale, it had somehow decided to add an extra 100 grams to the weight for no apparent reason.
One thing you need to know is that the best flavor of Gatorade is Riptide Rush.
I do not know what “Riptide Rush” actually means. I’d describe its flavor as “pale purple,” which happens to be its color, because every flavor of Gatorade is just its color.
Unfortunately, Riptide Rush is so pale it didn’t seem like it’d affect the dough much, so I picked the darkest drink I could find on the shelf, which happened to be grape.
Grape Gatorade isn’t purple at all, like its namesake fruit.
It’s blue and resembles the delicious nectar in a Porta-Potty.
Once everything was mixed, the dough it had an interesting pale blue hue to it.
I let it sit out on the counter overnight to rise, and I went to sleep hoping the dough wasn’t going to be fucked up for some reason.
The next morning, I was greeted by a big bowl of risen dough.
Honestly, I’m just glad the Gatorade didn’t somehow kill the yeast. I had some internal suspicions that the blue drink contained some sort of preservative that doubled as a pesticide, but I guess things turned out okay.
Part of the reason why I picked Gatorade in the first place was because, for a soft drink, it’s not very sweet. It still has plenty of sugar in it, just not as much as a can of Coke or something. I was mildly worried the sugar would turn the dough into some sort of overgrown monster, but turns out my fears were unnecessary.
I took a big sniff of the dough and realized that it smelled hilarious. There aren’t many scents in the world that I classify as “hilarious,” exactly, other than unexpectedly rancid farts. But the distinct artificial grape odor I got from this thing, combined with its yeastiness, may have broken my brain a little. I mean, it smelled like I’d squeezed a grape-scented marker into the flour.
I folded the soft dough in on itself to give it a little structure.
I say that like I know what that means, but it’s just something you’re supposed to do along the way. Something something, gluten formation.
I inverted the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and put it back in the bowl and let it rise for another few hours.
It puffed back up, big time, and I snipped the top with some scissors to release steam as it baked. I’ve seen people put really cool patterns in their bread, but my scissor work isn’t advanced enough to do a really detailed drawing of genitals on bread dough yet.
I plopped that thing right into my pre-heated Dutch oven and prayed it would bake properly.
After placing the cast-iron pot into the oven, the distinct smell of grape-flavored Gatorade wafted through the apartment. I do not know how if there are words in the human language to describe the emotions I was feeling. We were essentially enveloped in sublimated grape Gatorade, breathing it in, along with the gentle scent of baking bread. You guys should really try doing this.
Eventually it was time to bring the bread out.
Honestly, it was pretty awesome-looking. The surface was nice and caramelized, with small blisters on top. But in small places where the inner dough was exposed, you could see the blue color peeking out of the interior. And again, that grape smell just did not quit. Let’s vape Gatorade next, shall we?
This is where you tell me the crumb looks nice and give me a hearty clap on the back. Just enjoy that blue-green color for a second. Davida and I tucked into a slice, and at first, it just tasted like a typical piece of homemade white bread, which is to say, it was pretty nice. Then slowly, the aftertaste crept in. Yup, that was artificial grape flavor all right, but it wasn’t sweet whatsoever. Basically, just take a grape-scented marker, scribble all over a piece of bread, shove it in your mouth, and there you have it.
The heavily buttered version was pretty good, though.
I ended up taking half of the loaf over to my friend Travis’ apartment, for the Super Bowl party we attended. He laughed when I explained what it was, and laughed after he tried it. Guests began trickling in, and as the game went on, people went to the kitchen and grazed on snacks.
Eventually, I heard someone say, “Gatorade bread? What?” This was followed by some excited shouting, and I heard a small commotion every time someone new helped themselves to a hunk.
One of my former coworkers who was at the party sat down in front of me later. He said, “Oh, my God. That Gatorade bread.” Then he threw his head back and started laughing his ass off. Another party attendee told me that the bread would make a great base for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Pretty much everyone had a positive opinion about it. My favorite thing, though, is that nobody asked me why I did it.
Guess I should open a bakery now. What could go wrong?
I wish you were all there at the party with me so you could have had a piece of no-knead Gatorade bread. Please do me a big (huge) favor and share this post on social media, would you? It does wonders for the newsletter and makes it grow like crazy.
Second of all, please consider signing up for a paid subscription. If every single one of you signed up for a paid subscription right now, I’d be able to write this newsletter full time. Then I can go around telling people I make my living from baking stupid bread and threatening to shove it up my ass.
You’ll get extra editions of the newsletter (which are awesome, by the way) and access to the full archives at foodisstupid.substack.com, which in my humble opinion, is awesome.
Speaking of extra editions of the newsletter, later this week, I’m going to take another classic drink, Sunny-D, and turn it into a spreadable dessert that would be right at home on a fresh-baked slice of bread. Or on my buttcheeks.
As always, I love you all. Don’t forget to say hi, and I’ll pop into some of your inboxes later this week with a paid-subscriber edition.