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Nov 9, 2006 11:57 PM

Bittman's No Knead bread is out of the oven - anyone else?

I threw together the dough last night in a free minute and put it above the fridge. I used 1 cup whole wheat and 2 cups white flour - no bread flour, though I can't imagine where it went to!

This morning, I prepped it for the second rise, let it sit out for 1 hour, then threw it in the fridge when I left. Honestly, I think it might have been fine out all day. I cooked it in the Le Creuset when I got home, going close to 45 mins.

I must agree with Bittman - the crust is absolutely extraordinary. I'll definitely make again.

Anyone else? I see it's still on the top of the most e-mailed list - I sent it to my family just now!

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  1. I started it this evening. The dough is currently sitting on top of my bookshelf. I'll let you know how it comes out tomorrow. The bread will be cooked in my cast iron dutch oven. I'm curious to hear how others fare.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hilltowner

      I made it a couple of days ago, per the recipe with bread flour, and used cornmeal on the towels. I cooked it in a 7 quart creuset pot at 450. It was so easy and fabulous that I can see making it weekly! I do think the bread could be a little saltier.

    2. Boy, these chowhounders can't leave anything alone, can they? I used 3 C high gluten flour and 1/2 C bulgur wheat and 1 2/3 C water. Made it up at 1300 yesterday and it sat out until 1030 this morning. That's around 21 hours. When I formed the loaf, I covered it with more bulgur wheat. The 2 hour second raise impressed me. I baked it in a small cast iron pot at 500. The pot has pour lips on each side, so I sealed it with aluminum foil before putting the lid on. Baked for 30 min with lid on and 15 min with lid off. The internal temp got to 200, but no higher. I got a thick crust but not crispy. Was I supposed too? The inside is a little soft; it needed to bake longer. But it made a good ham sandwich and I'm sure the toast will be fine. I don't know if I did not get a crispy crust because I didn't have enough water or if it is a little soft because I had too much. On the other hand if I can eat it, it wasn't a loss. I just got back from Bed, Bath and Beyond where I bought a new instant read thermometer and I will make this bread again.

      2 Replies
      1. re: yayadave

        Compared to the Bittman recipe, your interpretation is a little dryer. If you add a little more water you'll probably get a thinner crisper crust.

        1. re: F Schubert

          It probably would have been better all around if I had just used a total of 3 C of whatever.

      2. Mine's going in the oven right now! I'll post back soon.

        I was watching the video one last time and had to post because I have the answer to a previous question.

        Lahey takes off the knob to his Le Creuset to bake at 500 degrees. If you look at his green pot, there's a little stick of aluminum foil plugging up the hole. The other pot has no plastic handle, so it's fine. Mystery solved! Take off that knob!

        One question: how much flour do I need to put on my cotton towel? I used a usual dish drying towel (not terry, but 100% cotton). Should I have used a flour sack?

        My bread, after the final rise, stuck impossibly to the towel. I sacrificed some of the dough so as not to deflate the whole loaf, but what am I doing wrong? I dusted with a TON of flour but I think the wet dough made the dusting flour so wet it just became part of the dough. Maybe cornmeal or wheat bran would be less sticky?

        Edit: you can HEAR the crust forming when you take it out of the oven! It crackles like crazy for a good five minutes.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Pei

          I don't have any experience with this recipe but it sounds like your towel. Flour sack towels are brilliant for exactly these purposes...

          1. re: Pei

            Mine was also a dish towel but with an absolutely flat weave, so I guess more like flour sack, though it isn't that; most of my other towels are kind of "fluffy" so I didn't use those. Mine didn't stick at all.

            Also, my recipe (from the hard copy NYtimes) said 450 degrees; I wrapped foil around my handle and it seemed fine that way. I was worried at how very wet it was after 20 hours of sitting, but after the 2 hour period it wasn't nearly as sticky (though still pretty "loose and floppy"). But the bread was perfect out of the oven; it turned into a perfect tall round loaf; not kind of flat as my usual recipe (sometimes) is. The timing on this recipe works very well for me; I often get home from work at 2:30, so we can have bread on those days if I start at 6 the night before.

            1. re: Pei

              I've made this bread four times this week. I only used a cotton towel the first time because it was such a comic disaster. The wet dough soaked the well-floured towel and when I tried to flip the dough into the pan, it merely hung there from the towel. I had to peel it off and still a good amount of dough stayed with the towel. Since then, I've used wax paper for the second rise - with the cotton towel on top. This works just fine. The dough still wants to stick a bit, but it drops into the pan easily.

              1. re: paulcooks

                Wax paper--check! I used a flour sack towel and rubbed the flour in, followed by a dusting of loose flour, and I still lost a chunk of dough that stuck like nobody's business. Next time, wax paper . . .

                1. re: Pistou

                  Wax Paper, that's brilliant. I actually found this page doing a web search for tips on how to clean flour off a towel becuase I think I've ruined two of them! I didn't even include the word bread. This page is hillarious, the recipe is a true revolution. There are pictures of my second loaf on my brand new food blog: Please feel free to participate in my virtual culinary adventures.

                2. re: paulcooks

                  Paul - What a hoot. I had the same experience with the linen towel and the dough was an utter mess when it was wrenched off the towel and placed/poured in pieces in the creuset. Still that first loaf was one of the best I had ever made.

                  Now I do the second rise on parchment with plenty of flour and cornmeal and put a large stainless steel bowl over the dough. No more towels or linen here.


                  1. re: chilibeanpaste

                    By the way here are two shots of my first disastrous loaf, the one where the dough stuck to the linen. Not bad but a tad dense due to the trauma and resulting loss of bubbles.


                    1. re: chilibeanpaste

                      Hi chilibeanpaste. I just made the bread for the first time tonight and the same exact thing happened to me. The dough stuck to the floured sack and it deflated the entire second rise. I baked it at 500 but it burned the bottom so bad I had to throw it out. Thanks for sharing your tip about the parchment paper and large bowl to cover. Your genious! wish me luck, I'll try it again this weekend. :0

                  2. re: Pei

                    Just FYI folks, for a few bucks (I think $10 or $15---I haven't looked in awhile) you can order a nice metal knob for your Le Creuset. Prettier, and safe at higher temperatures.

                    1. re: Pei

                      hi Pei, i do not do the second rise. i have made this bread many times, both with and without the second rise, so now i just skip it. the end results are the same, and it eliminates the step and the mess with the flour, the towel...
                      good luck!

                      1. re: jackie57

                        Hi, Do you consider the first rise the 12-18 hours overnight?

                        If so, then do you just pour it from the bowl that has risen overnight into the hot 500F pot?

                    2. I made a loaf today, started yesterday at 1:30pm. I decided to do the exact recipe the first time and then alter from there. First rise 18 hours, second 2 hours. It turned out beautifully. It was very nicely browned and crusty. The inside was well baked. I might add a little more salt next time as I used kosher salt - it might need a bit more.
                      I used a Le Creuset at 450 - I did not remove the knob, I just covered it in foil. Worked well.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: tartetatin

                        How big a le Creuset do you need for this?

                        1. re: tartetatin

                          Did you notice the internal temperature of the finished loaf?

                          1. re: yayadave

                            My loaf was 210 when I took it out. I was going to wait until 220, something recommended to me in a bread-baking class for breads without eggs, sugar, etc. like this. But, it looked perfect - and tasted it, too!

                        2. I just measured mine and it is 9 1/2 inches ! (probably an even number in centimetres heehee), but I don't think it really matters. When I put my dough into the pot, it did not spread out at all. The finished product was smaller than the pot, probably about 7 inches around. I think this is due to the intense heat of the pot when you drop the dough into it.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: tartetatin

                            My Le Creuset is 9.5 inches across, too--a 4.5 quart pot. The recipe calls for 6 or 8 quart pot. I'm glad to hear your smaller pot worked great!