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Nov 8, 2006 01:15 PM

New bread-making technique in New York Times

Hey Hounds,

For those of use who have tried and failed to make bakery-quality bread, there's a fascinating article by Mark Bittman in today's New York Times. I already have a loaf started. It is supposed to 'rise' for at least 12 hours, so I won't be baking it until tomorrow morning. We'll see..

- Sean

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  1. Wow. That's awesome. I'm stopping by the store on my way home to grab some yeast! It's got such a hand's off approach, why not try it?!

    1. There's already another thread on this. Find it over here:

      3 Replies
      1. re: PDXpat

        Just joined and my name is Grace. I already have a question. LOL
        Does anyone have the link, that was put out by "THE NEW YORK TIMES" with a Video on making this fabulous bread.

        Thanking You In Advance

        1. re: ggambuti

          In at least one of the NYT Bittman bread threads there's the recipe, etc. I don't know if you can get the video anymore w/out buying the NYT Select deal which costs about 10 bucks a month.

          Check out this bread through the search on Chowhound - Bittman Bread or Bittman should yield tons.

          1. re: oakjoan

            As some of us well know, there are some 10,038 posts about this bread on eighty-several threads. Grace also posted this question on another of the ninety-several threads and I gave her a link to a thread that has some locations for the recipe. An easy way to find a lot of the threads would be to click on the name Father Kitchen, since he has posted on most of the threads about this bread. Except this one. teehee

      2. This sounds too good to be true, though this morning (Nov. 8) I'm delighted to believe good news.
        How is it that nobody discovered this 'til now?
        Will there be a glut of bread machines on eBay? No, there are plenty of times you'll want a loaf done sooner than *tomorrow*. I wonder if the temperature must be kept close to constant for 24 hours? I also wonder if breadmakers will miss the kneading..

        8 Replies
        1. re: blue room

          Blue Room,

          I'm also wondering about the room temperature having to be consistently 70 degrees. I live in the northeast and my house is cool-around 65 degrees during the day and 55 at night. I'd be interested in hearing if anyone tries this at lower temperatures and what the results turn out to be.

          1. re: gozz37

            Put the whole thing, dough and covered bowl, in a "cold" oven. Being insulated, it'll help stabilize the temperature and it will keep the bowl out of the way during everyday activities. If you need a warmer temperature, turn on the light bulb for 15 minutes every so often and it should do the trick.

            If not, I think a lower temperature will only translate into a longer rise time. I'd recommend giving it a solid 24 hours, but that's just a guess.

            1. re: HaagenDazs

              Yes, my oven is well insulated, but then I can't use it for any other cooking for 24 hours, and in order to get the light bulb to come on I must open the oven door. I've heard of people wrapping bowls of dough in comforters, blankets etc. No matter--this is such an interesting idea I'm sure many many people will try it, and report.

              1. re: HaagenDazs

                Thank you. Since my oven is electric, I didn't think of putting in there. I can turn my light on without opening the door so maybe that will be the way for me to go.

              2. re: gozz37

                Dough will ferment in a refrigerator. It will just do it slower and develop more flavor as it does. Definitely use the insulated container (oven) if you want to but feel free to leave it out and continue based on the dough's readiness rather than the timetable in the recipe as well.

              3. re: blue room

                "Will there be a glut of bread machines on eBay?"

                No reason there should be. I made the Lahey (why are people calling it "Bittman" when all he did was report on it?) bread a couple days ago. I got a great loaf of bread but it's not what I'll want every time I'm ready to bake bread. Mine had *huge* irregular holes which are the mark of a deeply fermented wet dough. I've never achieved such huge holes so I'm delighted. OTOH, that's not always the texture you want. Plus I've got a ton of recipes for sweet breads, braided loaves, marbled loaves, breads studded with raisins, caramelized onions, olives, etc, that I'm not giving up and I'm not looking for those flavors to compete with the acid-based flavor of Lahey's bread. Finally, sometimes you *want* to knead and shape bread.

                The Lahey bread will be another wonderful option in the thousands of options that have been developed through history and around the world. I use my bread machine to make as many of them as I can learn about.

                1. re: rainey

                  I just put my bowl of dough into the (cold) oven not 10 minutes ago! (For initial 18 hour rise.) Using unbleached bread flour, following the recipe exactly. The raucous enthusiasm for this bread had me fooled into thinking that the recipe is infinitely adaptable--but though very very nice, it is a one trick pony, sorta. And the steam-assisted stove is still a good idea! I had to laugh at your delight with the "huge" holes--I'll have mayonnaise plops on my counters and honey in my lap with this stuff. If this works for me, olives will be my 1st experiment. I've never heard the word "poolish" that Kelli2006 uses--thought it was a typo--but I looked it up. I wonder why this method is being hailed as so new? (Thanks, Rainey, glad to be able to communicate!)

                  1. re: blue room

                    Well, what's new about this is the baking in the preheated covered pot. The no knead is unusual but breads made with wet dough, like ciabatta, have been around a long time and, necessarily have been folded rather than kneaded.

                    There are many words and recipes for pre-ferments. Poolish is one and this bread seems most like a preferment baked before it's added to a stiffer dough.

                    So hooray for Lahey bread and hooray for all the other kinds too.

              4. I am very surprised that this story is newsworthy. I have always baked in a very similar fashion, but I use a bit more flour and do a minimal amount of kneading.

                When you are making bread time of rise and the lessened use of yeast to start = more flavor.

                I start with a minimal amount of cake yeast or a tablespoon of my levain (starter), and build a poolish. This is let to ferment all evening and overnight in a cool crock covered with a piece of sackcloth. More flour is added in the morning and the dough is shaped, let to rise for 8 more hours and baked in late evening or the morning of the second day.

                I was taught this method by my grandmother, who was a first generation immigrant and daughter of Alsacation bakers.

                1. I am also intrigued by this technique.

                  The article mentions that a pre-heated cast iron, pyrex, or ceramic container is suitable for depositing the wet dough. I am nervous about dumping two pounds of cool wet dough on to a hot glass pyrex dish. Won't the sudden temperature crack the glass, even if it's pyrex?

                  Is enamelled cast iron like Le Creuset completly immune to cracking due to this kind of temperature change?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: vicki_vale

                    You know, that's a good point about the pyrex. I was debating using a soup pot or a pyrex bowl. After your comments, I'm thinkin' the pyrex bowl is a recipe for disaster...