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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: http://dinner-bell.blogspot.com 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.

                  chilibeanpaste

                  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.

                    chilibeanpaste

                     
                     
                    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!

                          2. yayadave - I did not. I could do that for my next loaf though. I checked it by knocking it with my hand, it sounded hollow so I took it knew it was ready. When I removed it from the oven and moved it to the rack, it made that lovely crackling sound for several minutes.
                            Oh and Pei, I did not have a problem with the dough sticking to the towel. I did use a very fine cotton dishtowel. I put quite a bit of flour on the towel, perhaps about 3 tablespoons (not much of it sticks to the loaf) and dusted less on the top.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: tartetatin

                              Thanks. The fact that you used 3 tablespoons and I used a handful tells me I need a new towel.

                              Don't you just love that cracking sound?

                              Note: give the bread sufficient time to cool, so the moisture in the center can slowly travel out and evaporate. I was impatient, and when I got to the piping hot center it was ever so slightly gummy.

                              Will all of you negatively judge me if I say that the bread's been out of the oven less than 45 minutes and I've already eaten half a loaf?

                              I took my bread out at 210 degrees (not because I wanted to, but because I forgot to check and missed the 200 mark).

                              The crust IS crisp, thin, and crackly. I lost a little height in the loaf due to my snafu with the bad bread towel, but it's an extremely promising recipe.

                              I used 2 cups bread flour to 1 cup stone ground whole wheat, and it was incredible with a thin shmear of olive tapenade.

                              And I'll tell you guys because you won't gasp in horror like some of my friends would: I've already eaten almost half the loaf, and it's been under 45 minutes since I took it out of the oven. I'd rather eat this than dinner, though dinner looked pretty good before the bread was done.

                              1. re: Pei

                                I can only judge you positively...I'd've probably eaten more! Thanks for your in-depth posts on this. I need to get home at lunch hour and start one myself!

                                1. re: Pei

                                  NOOOO! You cant eat bread right out of the even. YOu have to force yourself to wait (I learned about the gumminess if you dont from childhood experience) Its hard.

                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                    but thats the best way to eat it, straight from the oven, probably less than half an hour, slathered with butter and honey... mmmm
                                    thats how we always ate it growing up

                              2. I started yesterday about 2 pm using all whole wheat organic flour, ground it myself from wheatberries in the Kitchenaid grinder.

                                Mixed it up & let it go at least 20 hours (I thought: it's whole wheat, give it plenty of time), otherwise followed the directions, tossed it in a hot Le Creuset (large) pot & covered for the first half hour.

                                I was skeptical about using all whole wheat, but I am pleased with the results. Chewey crust, nice interior with smallish bubble holes like French bread--only whole wheat!!! I want to use a smaller pot to get a higher loaf, but I am hooked--& my husband loved it. Who knew??

                                I love this board.

                                1. Your bread with olive tapenade sounds lovely. I was very impatient also - ate some and then waited until this evening. It is much better after cooling and sitting for awhile ( I knew that of course, but I was also very excited to try it). I must confess, I have TWO doughs started for tomorrow - not sure how I will bake them, probably one after about 15 hour initial rise and the other after 18 hours. I am never going to leave my house again. I will have to start giving them away!

                                  1. I did mine tonight. It was perfect. As beautiful a boule as I could buy for $3.50 in the best bakery in Beverly Hills.

                                    After 20 minutes of baking after removal of the lid, it registered 211 degrees. Perhaps I cut it too soon, but I think the center could have benefited from a bit more oven time. OTH, perhaps I didn't let it cool sufficiently.

                                    In any case, this is a brilliant technique that I will be using forever!

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Bob Brooks

                                      Oh, if your bread was anything like mine and if you've been eating in the same Beverly Hills bakeries I have, this bread is BETTER than anything you could buy here for $3.50. Kudos to all! We should e-mail this thread to Bittman.

                                        1. re: yayadave

                                          Yeah, duh. In my post-bread stupor I wasn't thinking straight. The three of us finished a loaf in one night. I'm almost sad. I wanted to see how it re-heats for breakfast!

                                    2. I started mine last night: two cups wholemeal flour, one cup strong bread flour. This morning it had risen nicely, will finish it this afternoon. Glad to read all these posts to see how well it's turned out, and for all the tips!

                                      1. I think I'll still buy a bread machine.

                                        Just kidding! I recently resigned from work to stay home with my kids. I can not WAIT to be home so I can make this bread several times a week. It's great to know that the whole wheat version works well, too. Thank you, everyone, for such wonderful descriptions so quickly.

                                        Guess I'll start buying flour in bigger bulk quantities...

                                        1. I'm excited to try this this weekend. I'll probably mix it up tonight, bake tomorrow. My question: What temperatures did everyone end up using? 450f as stated in the recipe, 500 from the video, or even higher? My oven goes up to 550.

                                          1. Does anyone know what kind of cooking vessel is reccommended if you do not own a Le Creuset? The closest thing I have is a cast iron frying pan, but I really want to make this bread!

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: foodrocks

                                              You need a heavy*, deeper pot/pan with an oven proof cover.

                                              * Regular gauge stainless would not count. Stainless is a poor conductor and retainer of heat. A heavy gauge Magnalite-type aluminum pot might work.

                                              1. re: foodrocks

                                                In the New York Tomes recipe for this bread it suggests these 4 for the dough vessel: cast iron, enamel, Pyrex, ceramic.

                                                1. re: foodrocks

                                                  I haven't made mine yet (I'm going to the King Arthur store in Norwich CT next weekend, so there's not much flour in the house right now), but my plan is to use the smaller of my two Lodge cast iron dutch ovens.

                                                  1. re: foodrocks

                                                    I used a stainless steel IKEA 365 pasta pot and it worked fine. We were too impatient to try it though and the texture was slightly gummy, though it was airy and crusty as promised.

                                                    1. re: foodrocks

                                                      hey foodrocks, just go to a thrift store and spend $10 for a used one or something similar maybe an off brand, I know this is way late now, sorry

                                                    2. Thanks all for the feedback, I'm going out to buy a flour sack before starting batch 2 tonight. I had a friends admonishing me for eating the whole loaf last night before they could get a bite.

                                                      A few initial photos, bearing in mind I lost a lot of height due to the dough sticking to my woven cotton towel.

                                                      http://www.chezpei.com/2006/11/vegan-...

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Pei

                                                        Right now in their Christmas tents Ikea is selling 100% twill weave kitchen towels for 49¢. I got a stack of them for my bread. I impregnate them with flour and never wash or use them for anything else. The more you use them the better they work.

                                                        1. re: rainey

                                                          Where do you keep them between uses? In a box? If you don't wash out all the flour how do you keep them from attracting bugs and dirt?

                                                          1. re: Pei

                                                            A ziplock bag. I get really big 2 gallon ziplocks at a wholesale grocery. They're great.

                                                            Just keep mashing more flour in and softening up any parts that stiffen. They get better the more you use them.

                                                      2. hey Pei, I have been thinking about your sticking problem. I made another bread this morning and I made my self wait until lunch to have a slice, very good. I purposefully used a heavier towel and did not have any problem with the dough sticking. I am wondering, though your finished bread looks fantastic and similar to mine, if your dough was more wet that mine when you started. Did you add 1 5/8 cups of water to 3 cups of flour? What kind of flour did you use again? Sorry, you may have mentioned this already.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: tartetatin

                                                          I added 1 5/8 cups of warm water. I used a glass Pyrex style measuring cup that, as far as I know, is accurate. I measured to eye level, and the water was around 110 degrees.

                                                          I used 2 cups King Arthur bread flour and 1 cup Arrowhead Mills stone ground wheat flour. I didn't sift, I just shook up the flour a little and leveled off a cup. So the weight could definitely have been different.

                                                          I started another loaf today and it already looks a lot more dry than the last loaf, so maybe it will be less sticky. I'm using a different towel from now on, though, so we'll never know. I figure as I make the bread a few times I'll get a better sense of how wet the dough should be.

                                                        2. Who knows? Well, it sounds like you're all set with a new towel - and you're right, once we make the bread a few times, we will get more used to how to work with it. good luck with your next loaf.

                                                          1. I also tried the recipe as quickly as I could. I did a 14 hour first rise, 2 hour seconds rise, and used cornmeal on the towel and loaf top. I followed the recipe exactly, using King Arthur's AP flour. I baked it in a pre-heated Le Creuset (oven at 475, splitting the difference). The crispy crust and interior texture and the look of the bread could not be better, but the taste was a bit too plain. I know I did not put enough salt, I used the salt amount in the recipe, but I used Kosher salt, so should have added more. I love the texture but am looking for ways to improve the taste.

                                                            Having lived in Berkeley (home to some of the greatest breads in the US), I really like the taste of the rustic style, slightly sour loaves which were really easy to find. The texture of the great bay area breads is very similar to what I got with the Bittman recipe. I need to try other flours, definitely a 50-50 whole wheat and white combination, and I probably should get some bread flour. What do people think about other modification to make the loaf a bit sour, like a mock sour dough loaf? longer rise time, maybe a bit of buttermilk instead of some of the water? Also, I used plain old (but fresh) Fleischmann's active dry yeast, maybe a better yeast will yield better flavor? So, what about other flavor enhancements? I think a bit of honey with a wheat loaf would be nice. I would love to make an olive loaf (mmm....I still crave Acme bakery's green olive loaf) out of this recipe, but the dough is so unweildy, so maybe the way to do it is to let the dough rise in a Kitchen Aid mixer bowl, then let the dough hook on the KA incorporate the olives, rest it a bit, and then form the ball and second rise.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: gastronomike

                                                              I used regular salt and I also thought it needed more. My typical recipe is 2 tsp for 3.5 cups and this is 1 tsp for 3 cups, so I think more salt would be better.

                                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                                I agree. I followed the recipe precisely and thought it need more salt, too.

                                                                1. re: Bob Brooks

                                                                  Wouldn't more salt retard the raise, especially with so little yeast?

                                                                  1. re: yayadave

                                                                    Bittman updated the recommended salt to" just under 1 Tablespoon".

                                                              2. re: gastronomike

                                                                This recipe seems adaptable to all sorts of additions and substitutions. I hope you'll report on all your experiments. I think chopped rosemary would be a nice enhancement. I'm wondering whether this is too rustic to try to adapt to chocolate cherry bread.

                                                                Mine, using 100% whole wheat, rose in the KA mixer bowl, & the dough was so sticky I just used the paddle attachment to "fold" it. The results were good but my Le Creuset is so big I didn't get the height I would like. I'm trying it again with double the measurements; how long should I bake it covered and uncovered?

                                                                1. re: gastronomike

                                                                  I tried this bread today, and I would alsolike to make it sour. Did you find any suggestions?

                                                                2. I tried it yesterday and it worked great. I made one change though. I wasn't as exact with the measurements because I threw in a cup of sourdough starter and substituted some rye flour. It gave the loaf a wonderfully sour tang and a perfect crust!

                                                                  1. Ok, mine is in the oven, not out yet. I think I followed the recipe closely, but my dough was quite sticky and unformed -- the notion of "folding it over on itself" or "forming into a ball" was out the question -- a bit like folding over a jellyfish. What did I do wrong? (Perhaps it will look and taste just fine when it comes out.) I used regular old baking flour this time.

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: mdc

                                                                      I like your descriptions. mine was definately like that at the beginning of the 2 hours. Was a bit better formed at the end, but still very "limp". Worked out ok.

                                                                      1. re: mdc

                                                                        Don't worry, my first one was like that too. My second one was a bit dryer. Who knows why. Maybe it was a dryer day out, maybe I packed my flour more tightly, maybe I measured a tablespoon less water. I used a little more wheat compared to white the second time; maybe that was it. Since the measurements are by volume and not weight it's hard to say.

                                                                        I will say this: the second dough was still very limp and watery, but I very carefully (and extremely quickly) started forming it into a boule after the 15 minute rest. As I "bouled" it, it became firmer and more willing to stay in a ball. My second loaf was therefore a little taller than my first.

                                                                        I am wondering whether proofing in a small round bowl instead of on a flat surface, and then baking in a smaller pot, would result in a smaller taller bread. Anyone?

                                                                        1. re: Pei

                                                                          Funny, I was thinking about just putting it on the counter and covering it with a tea towel. With a little bench flour to keep it from sticking. My pot was 8" in Dia. and 4" high and that's what size loaf I got.

                                                                        2. re: mdc

                                                                          Yes, ours was the same way, very wet and floppy and impossible to fold or form a ball. So it was more of a ciabatta in height. But no matter. The crust and internal texture were better than anything we've ever made at home. We used bread flour which may make it chewier than AP flour.

                                                                          And for the record, we cooked it in our Calphalon anodized aluminum dutch oven. The crust was amazing.

                                                                          1. re: kiwijen

                                                                            i baked mine in my Calphalon anodized 4 qt chef's pan and it stuck determinedly to the bottom. The dough was very wet (unable to form this into a boule), and not much oven spring. We ate the bread out of the pan, and were eventually able to pry it out of the pan. It tasted very good--nice crust, but I'll need to try it again, adding less water.

                                                                            Now, can anyone share tips on how to clean the charred bits of bread remains from the bottom of my pan? and would placing a round of buttered parchment be advisable next time, or should i just bite the bullet and buy the coveted le Creuset dutch oven?

                                                                            1. re: rcsimm

                                                                              I too used a Calphalon anodized pot...the round-bottom, dome-lidded 6-quart pot and had no problems with sticking. I generously floured the top of the round & then inverted it into the preheated pot. Maybe you didn't flour it enough?

                                                                              Put soapy water into the pot & simmer on the stovetop for a while, the burned-on stuff will cook right off.

                                                                              1. re: rcsimm

                                                                                I think that parchment paper on the bottom would do the trick.

                                                                          2. Mine's out - smells and looks beautiful. I baked in a calphalon 6qt. placed on a pizza stone so I did not quite need the full baking time - more like 36-40 minutes total. I cannot wait until this cools - yes, I'm going to wait since I had three large pancakes for breakfast and am still stuffed.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: chitta chef

                                                                              I too used a pizza stone, but I simplified the process. I pre-heated the pizza stone and my 5 quart T-Fal Dutch Oven for 30 minutes. Using a peel I slid the dough onto the hot stone and covered it with the inverted Dutch oven - no lid is required. It took a little bit of effort to get the whole boule in the pot but it was no big deal. After 30 minutes I removed the pot and cooked for another 15 minutes at 425 convect. The crust is awesome! Like other posters I think it needs more salt.

                                                                            2. Mine came out fine -- needed more salt, and next time will use some whole wheat flower.

                                                                              I used a large, 12" oval Le Creuset, and the bread is pretty flat (probably just 3 or so inches at its tallest.) I'm wondering whether I can use my 4.5 quart round Le Creuset and will it come out as a rounder loaf -- it's 9.5" round and 4" tall. Anyone use anything that small and how did it come out? (I know it's smaller than suggested in the article."

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: mdc

                                                                                I used a Lodge cast iron pot about 8" in Dia and 4" high and that's the size loaf I got. I didn't get the crackling crust I expected, but I don't know if that's from the smaller pot or because my dough was too dry.

                                                                              2. i just started a loaf. I have a loaf of english muffin bread going in my bread maker, which used up all my bread flour, and my whole wheat was old enough to be hosting a colony of weevils (yuk!) so my first try is with all AP flour. Went a little heavier on the salt, and added a bit of extra water, as the dough seemed a litle drier than on the video when I mixed it. The dough is hiding in my microwave to protect it from this cool San Diego weather. I can't wair for tomorrow!

                                                                                I was inspired to make a batch of tomato sauce as well, so Sunday dinner will be a carb bomb of homemade bread a lasagne!

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Divamac

                                                                                  I just took mine out of the oven. It is ugly as sin. I was nervous about the wetness and others' problems with the dough sticking to the towel, so I was very generous with the board flour. However, it is crackling away like crazy (i can hear it in the next room) and smells like heaven. Can't wait to dig in!

                                                                                2. This bread was as good as most any I've eaten since the breadolution started It's easy, it's beautiful and it's crustily delicious. I'm starting another loaf in about half an hour. Last time I used all organic ap This time I'm going to add some whole wheat flour from Full Belly Farms.

                                                                                  I also noticed I have some buckwheat flour. Would that add or subtract anything?

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                    According to "Whole Grain Baking," (great new cookbook by King Arthur Flour) buckwheat has no gluten, so don't use more than 1/3 buckwheat to 2/3 white flour. They say it has stronger flavor, also, but that if you make bread with a sponge (as in this recipe) it mellows the flavor out considerably. Good luck!

                                                                                  2. Mine came out of the oven a few hours ago. I had the same issue as Pei and lost a chunk of my dough to the towel... argh! I was pretty worried with the loss of dough, PLUS I also had the jellyfish issue, PLUS I only have a 8 qt. heavy stainless steel pot. 45 minutes later, I hade a rather flat looking boule (probably only about 2.5 inches tall). Waited about an hour and half to cool, then cut off a slice. Well, hallelujah! Crisp crust, great crumb and excellent flavour. Yeehaw!

                                                                                    I used 1.5 cups organic whole wheat flour and 1.5 cups AP flour. I'm looking forward to trying this a few more times and fixing my issues. This could be a very, very bad habit.

                                                                                    1. Has anyone tried weighing the flour? My first loaf was too wet; I had not watched the video and ended up spooning the flour into the measuring cup. The dough I just made seemed a bit dry; I unceremoniously scooped up the flour with the 1 cup measure, and didn't bother to level.

                                                                                      It would be much easier to use a kitchen scale, I think.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Joseph

                                                                                        Video? There's a video? Can you pass along the link? Thanks!

                                                                                        1. re: Joseph

                                                                                          Yes, I used 15 ounces of King Arthur bread flour. I normally weigh flour (5 ounces per cup) rather than measure it by volume.

                                                                                          Mine came out wonderfully. I did 16 hour first rise, and a 2 hour second rise.

                                                                                          I used my 5.5 qt round Le Creuset pot. I did notice that the bottom of the cover's knob was loosened by the experience in the hot oven, so in the future I will remove it and plug with foil, and lift the cover with mitts via the rim.

                                                                                          I am a salt maven but cannot say I found the taste flat to warrant more salt. It had the promised lovely open crumb, and a great crust. Lived up to its billing.

                                                                                        2. Ours was also wetter than the video version. We forged on.

                                                                                          Then we tasted it.

                                                                                          I grew up in the Bronx and still go back often to shop for authentic Italian goods, including the bread, which is extraordinary.

                                                                                          This loaf stands up to the Campobossano-style breads I've been eating all my life.

                                                                                          Amazing.

                                                                                          1. I had the same "too wet" issue with my first loaf. I measured everything carefully, particularly the 1 5/8 cups of water, but I could barely work with the dough and lost much of it to my towel. I watched the video before making the second loaf and noticed that he measured the water in the dry measuring cup and didn't seem to be very precise about it. That's how I made the second loaf, and it was much easier to work with...not at all the unmanageable blob that was my first attempt.

                                                                                            This recipe is such a departure from the loaves I've been experimenting with in Rose Levy Beranbaum's Bread Bible, where you're encouraged to measure everything by weight. I feel so liberated!

                                                                                            By the way, I'm using a Le Creuset 4.5 qt pot, also covering my lid with foil, and it works beautifully.

                                                                                            1. I'm new to this forum, and have made this bread twice in the last couple of days. Both loaves were excellent, with a superb crust and a good crumb, although I could wish they were a bit taller. I have been baking them in a 24 cm Le Creuset round oven (4.5 qt, 9.5" diameter). My Le Creuset is an older one — I probably bought it in the 1970s — and I noticed that it has a cast handle, unlike my newer units which have the phenolic handle. I'm baking in the oven of a Wolf range, and following Peter Reinhart's advice, I let the oven temperature get up to 525 with the Le Creuset and lid sitting side by side. By the time the oven has been opened, the dough put in, the lid on, and the oven door closed, the temperature has dropped to the 510-515 degree range. As for salt, I'm using Penzey's French gray sea salt, and my wife and I both thought it needed more, so I plan to work my way up to the 2 tsp range from the 1.25 listed in the recipe. Finally, I also noted the discrepancy between the water quantities in the recipe vs. the video. For the first loaf I used the 1.625 cups, but it did seem awfully wet, so I used Lahey's 1.5 cups for the second. However, I can't say that I really noticed any substantial difference. My second loaf did seem a little flatter even than the first, which made me wonder about slashing the top with a lame on the next loaf. Maybe that would allow the oven spring a little more latitude? All in all, this bread is a revelation, and I'm looking forward to trying variations with whole wheat or rye bread instead of just bread flour.

                                                                                              1. I have very little baking experience, but I tried it, using a heavy 8-quart stock pot. I used all purpose flour. The pot is cast aluminum coated with stainless steel, and has a heavy copper disk in the bottom. The dough came out so wet that it was impossible to follow the instructions to fold it over on itself, and it stuck pretty badly to the towel despite a heavy coating of flour. With the large pot and a significant amount of dough lost to the towel, it didn't even cover the whole bottom of the pot. It came out only about 2 inches high in the middle, thinner around the edges. However, the texture and taste are great. I guess I'll have to try it again and cut down on the water.

                                                                                                1. Mine just came out of the oven, and it is BEAUTIFUL. I used about two cups of bread flour and a cup of AP (and more salt, as per what others have said). I left it in my oven with the light on for about 17 or so hours overnight, got up this morning and it was perfectly bubbling on top, did the folding (it was a wet dough, but manageable), and left it on a flour sack with plenty of flour to do the second rise. Used my round 5.5 quart Le Creuset, and had the oven on about 500. Took the lid off after about 25 minutes, and the top was nicely browning; after about ten more minutes, it looked perfect, and is crackling away as it cools.

                                                                                                  Okay, just cut into it. The crust is perfectly crackly, the crumb is excellent and the taste is just wonderful. The bottom crust is a little too brown, but that's forgivable. This is by far the best bread I've ever made. I'm going to make this all the time.

                                                                                                  1. Mine came out nicely. I used 2 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour, 1 cup AP. Baked for 30 covered, then for 20 uncovered. I used corn meal for the towel raise, which was for only about 45 min, not 2 hrs. I used a deep corningware casserole dish w/cover. The bread was very tasty.

                                                                                                    Pic: http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r6...

                                                                                                    Another pic: http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r6...

                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Ora

                                                                                                      The recipe says pyrex, cast iron, etc., and I was wondering about using my beautiful big deep corning ware casserole dish that has a glass cover for this...glad to know I can use it. I also have a cast iron dutch oven that is a bear to lift but was thinking about using that also. I guess I was wondering about pre-heating the corning ware and then putting in the dough, worrying the corning ware would shatter...I'm also thinking of lightly oiling whichever vessel I use, seems crazy to throw dough into a dry heated vessel...any thoughts???

                                                                                                      1. re: Val

                                                                                                        i've made this bread twice now and i use my cast iron dutch oven. you definitely don't need to oil it, it won't stick.

                                                                                                        by the way, i highly recommend using oat bran or wheat bran instead of flour for the towel. it won't stick and i think it makes the finished product better.

                                                                                                        1. re: missmasala

                                                                                                          Thank you, Missmasala...I will keep what you said in mind...I'm having problems finding wheat bran so will have to go to health food store tomorrow.

                                                                                                        2. re: Val

                                                                                                          I think oiling the pot might make the crust softer, at least on the areas that are in contact with the oiled part of the pan. If you want a soft crust, you're supposed to oil it, at any rate (or brush with butter). I think the crispness of this crust is one of its best features, so I don't think I'd do it -- but to each his/her own! I found that the bread sticks to my Le Creuset if I try to take it out before cooling. If I wait until it cools, it seems to come out without sticking (based on just a sample of 2 tries, though...)

                                                                                                          1. re: chairmanpao

                                                                                                            Thanks, chairman....I'll use my cast iron dutch oven and NOT oil it...I too love a crispier crust.

                                                                                                      2. My basic white corningware worked just fine @ 450 degrees, I placed the dish on the rack in the middle of the oven. Room-temp item should not shatter the dish. Didn't even sizzle when I put it in. I only pre-heated for about 15 minutes. No sticking with cornmeal...the proof is in the pics above. My corninqware pan is in the dishwasher now--safe and sound for the next bake-off...

                                                                                                        1. Thanks. A friend had already sent me a link to the NYT but I didn't see any link to the video.

                                                                                                          I've just finished my first loaf. It's beautiful except that I had to bake mine on the gas BBQ because I don't have a working oven at the moment. The bottom incinerated in the 15 minutes between when I took the top off the casserole and took the bread out of the BBQ.

                                                                                                          The crust and texture are fantastic. I think the flavor could use some more salt though.

                                                                                                          Anway, I enjoyed seeing the video and knowing that I should be able to get better results with my enameled cast iron when I have an oven with regulatable heat.

                                                                                                          1. I'm pretty happy with how this bread came out. The crust is excellent, and the flesh tastes just right. The salt in the recipe looked a little low to me so I added an extra half teaspoon.

                                                                                                            I have to say, however, that I don't think it's any easier than the traditional way (e.g., kneading). There are a few more steps in this approach, and you have to deal with that sloppy, goopy mess. Also, it's hard to get a good shape to the loaf since it spreads so quickly ... my loaves are too low.

                                                                                                            I think the quality of the crust has a lot do with the cooking method and less with the water content / no kneading. I'm planning to try making a traditional batch and cook it in the pot, since the crust is this bread's best quality.

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: cteats

                                                                                                              I agree with you about the need for additional salt to brighten the flavor but they fact that you added more salt (I haven't made a second loaf with more salt yet) could explain why your loaves are flatter. Salt retards the rise so you could probably let the rise go on for significant additional time.

                                                                                                              As for handling the soft dough, I let mine do the first rest on a silpat mat. It was easy enough to dust it with flour and fold it over simply by lifting the mat for the folds. By the time I'd made a couple folds gathering it into a ball wasn't too tough. Just move fast and perhaps flour your hands a little.

                                                                                                              You may be right that much of the effect is due to baking inside a closed container but the wetness of the dough is *definitely* what creates the openness of the texture.

                                                                                                              1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                The loaf I made had 2 teaspoons of salt, and I had a beautifully high loaf. My rise was about 17 hours, which may have helped, though.

                                                                                                                1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                  A silpat looks like the way to go ... wish I had thought of using it.

                                                                                                                  I didn't know that about salt. I had a 22-hour initial rise, and a 2-hour secondary. The taste was of a well-fermented dough, so I think I had a good rise. I used King Arthur bread flour, and had increased the salt to match the amount I use with my normal pain ordinaire recipe.

                                                                                                                  BTW, making this bread reminded me of something called "cowboy bread." A long time ago I worked backcountry in the Rockies. After breakfast, the cook would mix up a dough in a cast iron pot, cover it with a towel and leave it all day. She'd then cook it over the fire (or in a wood oven) and it came out ... just like this bread.

                                                                                                                  1. re: cteats

                                                                                                                    Wow, this brings back memories of camping trips with my family. My father used to make cornbread in the cast iron dutch oven.

                                                                                                              2. Mine came out perfect. No LeCrueset, so used a 5 quart Calphalon dutch oven.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: georgeb

                                                                                                                  Mine came out great too! I used a corningware mixing bowl, with a glass lid that just fit inside - I may look for a tighter fitting lid, but this works. It was such a thrill to hear the crust crack.
                                                                                                                  I also made mine even a little wetter - 72% hydration is about 18 oz of flour. A lot of us use 4.5 or 5 oz/cup - which would be 13.5-15oz of flour. I think the key to great crust is an extremely wet dough, so I'll keep the water the same, but measure 15 oz of flour (hate recipes that don't give weights!)

                                                                                                                2. About the towel: I've made the recipe twice so far & avoided the towel entirely. I just put it into a new bowl (which I slightly--ever so--greased with the perfect no stick combo of lethicin and canola oil [1/2 lec. & 1 cup canola blended together and kept in the fridge for coating all pans]]. One great joy of the recipe is the minimal clean up, so using the towel and the excess flour seemed to be contrary to its simplicity. It worked perfectly fine both times allowing the two hour rise to happen in a bowl, plus, it helps maintain the shape. Simply transfer from bowl to dutch oven for baking.

                                                                                                                  About the salt: add more. It doesn't retard the rising, since you are giving it so much to rise.

                                                                                                                  About the rising time: 18-20 hours works best.

                                                                                                                  About adding goodies: I've added 1 cup sourdough starter, rye flour and caraway to one batch & it was amazing. I added flax seeds, made half of the flour whole wheat, and orange peel to the second and it was likewise just perfect. Rosemary & olives will go into batch three later this week.

                                                                                                                  This is really a very versatile recipe that can be played with and experimented with!!! Thank you NYTimes....

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: bctrachte

                                                                                                                    Thanks for the tip about the lecithin. I'll try that when I make this.

                                                                                                                    1. re: bctrachte

                                                                                                                      Bctrachte, thanks very much for these tips. A couple questions: how much lethicin? (1/2 of what?) And probably a bread neophyte question, but when you add a cup of sourdough starter is that in addition to or instead of some of the flour? And did you use all rye flour, or just part? (My father makes great sourdough bread so always had starter on hand. I will get him to do your sourdough/rye variant of this recipe which sounds GREAT.) Thanks.

                                                                                                                    2. Next time I'm going to try it without the towel as you've suggested. Using the towel seems like an unnecessary step. I haven't tasted mine yet - I'm still waiting for it to cool!

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: The Librarian

                                                                                                                        I'll try that too, as I had terrible sticking on my towel (everything else went well). I wonder why Bittman uses the towel...

                                                                                                                        1. re: christy319

                                                                                                                          Perhaps you didn't flour the towel enough. Both times I've made it there was no problem with sticking.

                                                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                            I used cotton napkins dusted with AP flour. No sticking.

                                                                                                                      2. I wish I'd seen the video before I started last night ... as the processor was whirling I was thinking, this is way too much water for three cups of flour, but as dw says, "make it their way the first time". The result this afternoon -- 18 hours -- had the consistency of the starter I make, and another half a cup of flour was still not enough to make it workable. Went off to see "The Queen" (quite fine) and returned for baking. Needed only a 3qt Le Creuset, given the amount of dough sticking to the towel, and the resulting loaf was not very tall. 200 degrees coming out of the oven, but the crumb was still damp, given the starting wetness. Good flavor, decent crust, and I will definitely use this method again. But I can see from the video that the initial dough needs to be much firmer. Basically it's a quick levain, plus the enclosed baking. I wonder how it would behave just baked on an open stone...

                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: grover78

                                                                                                                          Just baked my first loaf...of bread...ever. Anyhow my dough was a goopy mess also, so I'm going to try again with a little less water. The crust was rock solid, my bread came out rather dense and heavy. Any suggestions to making a lighter loaf of bread? I used whole wheat flour and dry yeast, not instant.

                                                                                                                          Also if I plan on augmenting the bread with olives, rosemary, etc, when should I add these ingredients? During the initial mix or later, during the 2nd rise?

                                                                                                                          1. re: tdonline

                                                                                                                            I hope you didn't use whole wheat flour exclusively. If this is you first bread baking experience probably best to use 2 cups bread flour and 1 cup whole wheat. If you want a light texture with whole wheat you'd better put in a tablespoon or 2 of gluten as well.

                                                                                                                            1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                              Ummm...yes, I did use all whole wheat. Oops. I'm trying to avoid eating "white" bread, if I use more whole wheat, can I increase the gluten to compensate? And is gluten something chain markets carry? How does gluten lighten bread?

                                                                                                                              1. re: tdonline

                                                                                                                                Gluten flour has more gluten (the stuff that makes the bread rise).

                                                                                                                                I used 100% whole wheat in both tries (without added gluten) and while it is not perfected yet, the first time the crust was chewy & the interior was a nice texture and the taste was good, though the rise was not much (but I used an 11" Le Creuset so the dough just spread out--also I didn't use instant yeast & found out from this board that regular packaged yeast needed 3x as much).

                                                                                                                                For my second try I doubled the ingredients for more rise in the large Le Creuset & tripled the yeast (still not instant). That worked, but I have yet to try it correctly with the instant yeast, perhaps try white whole wheat & vital wheat gluten. Both tries I used wheat ground from organic wheatberries in the Kitchenaid grinder. The second try I used commercial ww pastry flour for the dusting layer, & it is too prominent. The first time I used bran--better.

                                                                                                                                I will try to post photos:
                                                                                                                                http://s21.photobucket.com/albums/b26...

                                                                                                                                Just checked it, sorry my first try with photobucket, do not know how to make the images hold still...

                                                                                                                                1. re: Babette

                                                                                                                                  Try this, for the first 100% whole wheat loaf:
                                                                                                                                  http://s21.photobucket.com/albums/b26...

                                                                                                                                  and the second 100% whole wheat loaf:
                                                                                                                                  http://s21.photobucket.com/albums/b26...

                                                                                                                                  Any Photobucket experts out there want to share the best way to do this? I sent it to myself & copied the URL...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Babette

                                                                                                                                    I just cut and pasted the url from photobucket site rather than going through the extra step of emailing.

                                                                                                                                2. re: tdonline

                                                                                                                                  The short answer is that bread rises because the gas byproducts of fermentation get trapped in the dough as bubbles that expand the mass of the dough and make bread light. For the dough to be able to entrap the gas it needs to have a strong, organized structure (all these little liquid fibers are going to line up in a tight mesh). This happens when there's enough gluten in the dough to give it the strength + the elasticity to contain the gas - this strength + elasticity is the crutial combination. No strength; the bubbles can't grow. No elasticity; the bubbles burst and release the gas.

                                                                                                                                  White flour, barley and rye have such gluten (tho milled rye also has a very sharp nature that also slices though the gluten bonds so it must be supplemented but not as much as whole wheat). Whole wheat flour has only traces of gluten. So with 100% whole wheat you get low, dense, chewy loaves unless you are *very* experienced, have a great sponge AND recognize the precise moment when you've gotten all the rise you can OR add gluten.

                                                                                                                                  Now those low, dense, chewy breads can also be delicious but they must be sliced thinly and you must *want* that kind of loaf. If that's not what you're looking for 1 part whole wheat to 2 parts (minimum, 3 parts is better insurance) white flour and/or the addition of gluten will be necessary. Even then, the bubbles will be smaller and the crumb tighter and more uniform.

                                                                                                                                  Go for it! Just know what's possible and how to maximize your results. ;->

                                                                                                                                  1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                    Thanks everyone for the tips. I'm looking forward to trying a second loaf. I'll go with 1 cup WW and 2 cups white flour plus gluten. Hopefully, I'll learn to get a mixture with WW.

                                                                                                                          2. Two Quick Questions:

                                                                                                                            Is there a difference between instant yeast and highly active yeast?

                                                                                                                            Anyone make this in a 4.5Qt Le Creuset and, if so, how'd it look?

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: mdc

                                                                                                                              What's "highly active yeast"?

                                                                                                                              Instant and rapid rise yeasts are the same. Active dry yeast is not.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                I used active dry & it worked just fine. What a good-looking loaf of bread it is, too.

                                                                                                                              2. re: mdc

                                                                                                                                I made my bread in the 4.5 (actually, I'm not sure if that's the exact size, but I tried to fit 6 qts into it and it wouldn't go....so I gambled and it came out fine. Since I never heard of a 5 qt. pot....I figure mine is 4.5.

                                                                                                                              3. I have made several loaves now, (obsessive), and have found that a few factors can really have an affect on the finished product. It is VERY important to preheat the vessel that you are using, very impt (i also preheat my oven for a very long time to ensure it is to the proper heat (50 min)), I have an oven thermometre). It is also crucial that you do the 15 minute rise before forming the dough. I find that really helps with the consistency of the dough and with the height of the finished product.

                                                                                                                                1. I wonder if you could do the long rise for the dough, and then experiment with different treatments for the second rise and baking. I wonder how much air you'd lose making rolls, or focaccia, or anything else that requires some handling. If you gave it a good enough second rise, I'd imagine you'd get maybe finer bubbles, but the same depth of flavour. Hmm.

                                                                                                                                  This requires a lot of playing around.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: lissar

                                                                                                                                    Yeah, and the best part is that it has room for a lot of playing around.

                                                                                                                                  2. I made this yesterday, and like everyone else's it came out great! I made in the large Le Creuset, about 12 in across, so mine came out rather large and not that tall; next time I'll make it in the smaller one for a taller boule. I'll definetly add more salt next time; what do people think about adding a little more sugar as well? Also, I'd really like to adapt this to a baguette. Decent boules are easy to get in my area, but a not atrocious baguette is a rare sight. Any ideas?

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: laurajacob

                                                                                                                                      I used an 8qt oval casserole and, though the dough spread out in the casserole when it deposited it, it had risen to a round, tall boule when I took the lid off at 30 min.

                                                                                                                                      I think the key is a long ferment and good gluten formation (though if I *have* to admit it, I let my bread machine mix the dough forgetting it didn't understand that the objective was a no-knead dough =o) (PS don't rat me out, OK?)

                                                                                                                                    2. My loaf came was picture-perfect in terms of rise and crumb--it looked professional. I did feel it could use a bit more flavor, though. I added more salt, since I'd read on the board that others had, but that didn't do the trick. I'm wondering whether better flour would make a difference. I used all-purpose (Hecker's). Does bread flour make a difference in terms of taste? What about adding small quantities of other flour? But I'd prefer a classic white loaf.
                                                                                                                                      thanks!

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: natasha

                                                                                                                                        It's the flour. I used King Arthur bread flour, and it's fresh here in New England (and if you order it online). You might try the Elizabeth David (bow the head) trick of toasting the flour as noted in an earlier comment.

                                                                                                                                      2. I used organic all-purpose flour from a bin at a great market. My bread had a really nice taste. I also plan to experiment with addition of other flours.

                                                                                                                                        1. My results:

                                                                                                                                          18 hour proof
                                                                                                                                          Increased kosher salt to 1 1/2 tsp
                                                                                                                                          Used active yeast
                                                                                                                                          Delicious
                                                                                                                                          Love the crackling noise

                                                                                                                                          One question:
                                                                                                                                          Why did I have to bake fold side up. It would have looked prettier the other way.

                                                                                                                                          Still have time to edit. Thanks Dave, Rainey and Pei. Those answers make sense. Yes, it still was beautiful but more importantly delicious.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mila

                                                                                                                                            I think he said something about letting the steam escape from the dough in the video.

                                                                                                                                          2. It may be that the edge of the fold gives the same relief to the oven spring that a relief cut would have. Actually, the appearance of mine didn't suffer in the least from having it topside. I'd be hardpressed to see where it was since my loaf rose up a nice tight round.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                              That's what Lahey said in the video: the slit is supposed to develop into a nice crack the way slashes on artisan bread open up into decorative openings.

                                                                                                                                              My dough was so wet the seam wasn't even visible after the final rise, but the bread was still fantastic.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pei

                                                                                                                                                Ah! So we have confirmation. But a word of correction too — the slit, while perhaps "decorative" actually has a function.

                                                                                                                                                When the dough hits the oven it begins to dry out instantaneously and that's the crust. If the crust contains the dough, the oven spring is frustrated. It can stop and you get a dense texture or it can continue, ripping through the crust. When it rips through, it usually doesn't do it evenly. It's usually on one side at the bottom so you get misshapen and possibly one side overdone and another still wettish and clumpy.

                                                                                                                                                The relief cut gives the dough a predesigned weak spot(s) for the oven spring to continue in a controlled, uniform, attractive manner.

                                                                                                                                            2. I'm on the bandwagon -- just put together my dough with 2 cups AP white flour and 1 cup WW bread flour. We'll see what happens.

                                                                                                                                              My question is about the room temp during rising: I turn my heat down to 58 at night. Is there something I can/should do to keep this little darling warm (I have an electric oven, so no pilot light to coddle it by), or is the rising time long enough that I don't need to worry about the cooler room temperature overnight? I'm a novice bread-baker, so any advice would be welcome. And I'll report in after the baking. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcgeary

                                                                                                                                                Not necessary to worry about how warm the dough is. Yeast dough will rise in a refrigerator given enough time. Look at the dough instead of the clock. Risen dough will be twice or more the size of the original mass and will not spring back when you stick a finger into the surface — gently; a little 1/2" poke will tell you what you need to know.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                  I also have a somewhat cool house and my bread has turned out wonderfully twice. I just left it to rise for about 18-20 hours.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: mcgeary

                                                                                                                                                  I took my loaf out of the oven a few hours ago and it turned out beautifully. We keep our house cool at nite as well, so I put it on top of my frig for the nite---then took it down when the house warmed up in the morning----worked great. The first rise took about 18 hours, second one 2, and I baked it a total of 55 min. Hope this helps you.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                                                                                                      Well yes, at least in my house it is. Warmth from the frig going on and then heat rises-----

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: jackie de

                                                                                                                                                      I took your "top of the fridge" advice and the bread turned out great! First rise 18 hours, second rise 2. The crust is nice and crackly, and the interior has a really nice crumb. This is the first loaf of bread I've made that I really love.

                                                                                                                                                    3. re: mcgeary

                                                                                                                                                      Oh, this is bad. This is very bad. Bread this delicious should not be so easy to make.

                                                                                                                                                      The expiration date on my (not instant) yeast was 8/2005 and I only had generic AP flour in the house yet I was still able to produce a loaf like this. Just think what might happen with quality ingredients...

                                                                                                                                                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/86366503...

                                                                                                                                                    4. .

                                                                                                                                                      I to am interested in bread, but primarily for making sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                                      I am not fascinated with thick bread. I like to make sandwiches, especially with crusty French baguette bread. Has anyone tried to convert this no-knead recipe to make a slim baguette loaf?

                                                                                                                                                      For those who are interested = here are some links to help get US started.

                                                                                                                                                      Google Search:
                                                                                                                                                      http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&am...

                                                                                                                                                      No-knead baquette recipe

                                                                                                                                                      http://www.goodbyecitylife.com/free/f...

                                                                                                                                                      Good Luck

                                                                                                                                                      Cajun in New Orleans

                                                                                                                                                      .

                                                                                                                                                      1. Yep, it works! Mine was King Arthur *bread* flour, added 1/2 tsp extra salt. 1st, a 19 hour rise, then, a 2 1/2 hour 2nd rise.
                                                                                                                                                        Very happy with results, will add olives next time. Baked it in a Lodge cast iron chicken fryer--10" wide, 4" inches deep. When I bent down to smell it fresh from the pan--I heard that crackling begin! Such fun, I'll probably never have such a bread thrill again...
                                                                                                                                                        The texture seems so perfect--I'd hate to weigh it down with whole wheat flour.

                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                          Please post when you try the olives! When will you add them--right at the start of the process?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaMc

                                                                                                                                                            Oh LindaMc--I am very new to the baking/making of bread! I was gonna ask here, or google and study a bit. I just know that I love olives and bread together. I think, though, that they would have to be added at first because after that this bread just isn't handled. I also wonder if the olive brine could be used as part of the water and salt?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaMc

                                                                                                                                                              I made my second loaf with a handful of walnut halves and 3 green onions chopped up. I also increased the salt to 2 teaspoons. I threw the nuts and onions on top of the mixed dough and waited until the dough started to rise around it, then I folded the dough around it and proceeded as the recipe dictates.

                                                                                                                                                              The finished bread has wonderful flavor and made particularly good toast. But the nusts were all at the bottom of the bread and the loaf was flatter than my first but still has a good open crumb. There are a few things that could account for the differences. One is the additional salt. One is that I wasn't careful putting the dough in the hot pot and put the seam side down. The biggest is probably that I'm baking out on my BBQ (oven's out of commission) and the temps hard to regulate — it was only 350 degrees when the dough was ready to go.

                                                                                                                                                              I'll continue experimenting but thought I'd say that inclusions improve the flavor. Olives could be chopped in smaller bits and probably aren't as dense as the nuts.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaMc

                                                                                                                                                                I added sliced kalamata olives and rosemary to the flour/salt/yeast mixture, stirred them in, then stirred in the water. worked great.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Has anyone tried to make multi-loaf batches of this? Since my oven only holds one big pot, it seems as though it would require holding over parts of the dough for later bakings.

                                                                                                                                                              My mother (who makes her bread nine loaves at a time) sneered at this - 18 hours for one loaf! was her comment. I feel a bit the same way.

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                                                                Does she make nine loaves of Italian/French bread? If so I'm coming to your house!

                                                                                                                                                              2. It's not as if it's 18 hours of work. Sheesh.

                                                                                                                                                                Make the dough (takes about 5 minutes)when you get home fromwork, at, say 6pm. Wake up next morning at, say, 9, and you only have 3 hours to wait. It's not like you have to watch the dough.

                                                                                                                                                                At 12 p.m., fold it over and rest for 15 mins.

                                                                                                                                                                Put on floured towel, sprinkle with flour. Leave alone for 2 hours. Whoah! That takes a lot of work!

                                                                                                                                                                About a half hour before baking, heat the pot and oven.

                                                                                                                                                                It's now about 2:15. Put bread in oven and bake for 30 mins. Take off cover and bake for 15-30 more.

                                                                                                                                                                Let cool a bit and eat. No kneading, no punching down, and harly any mixing for a loaf that is as good as any I've tasted. 18 hours indeed!

                                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                  you miss my point (everyone dumped on MOM about the 18 hrs comment, by the way) Im really looking for whether people have doubled/tripled/quadrupled the recipe and how they have proceeded.

                                                                                                                                                                  From the standpoint of someone who makes bread as a staple food, frozen for daily use, and not an occasional project, her comment is reasonable.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                                                                    I doubled the recipe for the second try because my Le Creuset pot was too big to get much rise. The 2nd try was much taller in the big pot, & it was huge so I cut it in half and froze half.
                                                                                                                                                                    I'm sure you could use smaller pots for 2 finished loaves, or other variations--I want to try burger buns, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Babette

                                                                                                                                                                      How big is your LC, and did you have to change the baking time?

                                                                                                                                                                      I have an enormous 9 quart, so I'd love to make one huge loaf and freeze half.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pei

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know how many quarts it is, it has the number 28 on the bottom and is 11 1/4" across the top & about 5" high (is that 9 quarts?) I did increase the baking time, just eyeballing it occasionally as it baked--I think total time was around 1hr. 10-15 minutes? Probably 35-40 min. for the covered part. It seems to be okay to open it and look.

                                                                                                                                                                        Caveat: I was using 100% whole wheat, organic, ground from wheatberries in the kitchenaid grinder. While it is good, I have white bread envy from all the luscious photos, so am trying again using King Arthur's white whole wheat, a little whole oat flour, and some gluten flour to see whether I can come closer to the white bread results. I know it is impossible, but I am a dedicated whole grainer and am going to keep trying. It's rising now & I'll post the results tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                        Another caveat: I am using a 1920's gas stove with no idea what the temp. is (I used to have an oven thermometer, should get another), I just intuit having used it so long. Do I get extra points having all these handicaps? (I actually love the stove, mostly).

                                                                                                                                                                        http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b26...

                                                                                                                                                                        Please post your results. I'm sure it'll be fine.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Babette

                                                                                                                                                                          The number 28 LC is the 7.25 quart. I did mine in that size and was disappointed that it wasn't more of a traditional boule shape. I was thinking of trying it the next time in a 4-quart (my next smallest), but I like the idea of just doubling the recipe. I may try that instead.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                                                                      i think you can double, triple, or quadruple the recipe (or more, if you like) you probably don't need to quadruple the yeast, though.

                                                                                                                                                                      The way i see it, there are two main aspects to this bread: 1) the long slow rise develops flavor, and 2) the baking method creates the crust. So you can adapt the recipe for either one or the other if you want. today i put half my double batch in a loaf pan and baked it that way and got sandwich bread that was still better than any other sandwich bread i've ever made, because of the long slow rise.

                                                                                                                                                                      i also kept out part of my dough and am letting it ferment on the counter, because i like a slightly more sourdough flavor and am trying to achieve that by using some of the old batch as a starter.

                                                                                                                                                                      to me, the bittman/lahey recipe is just a guide and everyone should play around with it and adapt it to their needs. It's more a method than a recipe, and the method is great!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: missmasala

                                                                                                                                                                        Do you think you could do a half-recipe in a small Le Creuset? We're a 2-person household and while I want to try recipe in its pristine state the first time (this weekend), I was wondering what to do about the amout of yeast in a half-recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                                                                        I still say, why couldn't one do both? Since BitLaybread only requires less than 15 minutes actual work..or even less.

                                                                                                                                                                    3. 2 cupsThe first time I made it, I used 2 cups whole wheat and 1 cup rye--let it rise around 22 hours (because I wasn't going to get out of bed at 3am to tend it at the 18 hr mark) and it was just OK--rather flat, thinnish chewy/not crunchy crust, and definitely needed more salt. Second round: weighed my flour--10 oz, white, 5 oz. whole wheat, scant 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp dry yeast dissolved in 1 1/2 cups water. Mixed it up at 1pm; by 11 pm it was doubled and very bubbly, so I stirred it down for a second rise. Stirred down again at 8:30am, folded over, let sit 15 min, then shaped. At 10:30, dumped into my small Le Creuset pot (splashing excess flour and cornmeal everywhere) and baked for 30 min with lid, 20 min w/o. Wow! Great rise this time (because pot was so small, probably), very moist/holey interior, almost crackly-enough crust. Unfortunately, the bottom was burned by the time the top crust was done, but this may have been from a too hot (500) oven and a low oven rack.

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dixieday2

                                                                                                                                                                        I made my fourth loaf today using 1/12 cups each of King Arthur AP and Whole Wheat flour, 2 tsp of salt and used my 4 qt Le Creuset. I decided to try 500 vs. the 450 degrees I used on my previous loaves, but had the same problem with the bottom of my crust burning a little. My rack was set to middle-low and I also keep my baking stone on the bottom rack, so that almost definitely influenced the heat thrown underneath. I'm going back to a 450 oven from now on, because my bottom crust was perfectly done at that temp (and I'm much too lazy to remove my baking stone).

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I made my second loaf last night, and it was way better than my failed first attempt! Gorgeous crust and wonderful taste, but it didn't rise as high as I'd hoped it would. Reading the other posts, I wonder if I should try a smaller cooking vessel next time (I think my Le Creuset is 5 quarts).

                                                                                                                                                                        I used 2 cups strong white bread flour and one cup wholemeal, and more salt than the recipe called for. I also used 1.5 cups of water--I think I heard someone say that in the video--rather than the 1 5/8 cups. Not that there's a massive difference, but my first batch was so watery!

                                                                                                                                                                        Rise was about 16 hours. I had the fear after my dough collapsed last time after 18 hours. I did the second two-hour rise in a warmed, lightly-greased bowl covered with plastic wrap. That worked really well and the dough fell out of the bowl into the pot easily.

                                                                                                                                                                        Baked 30 min with top on, then about 20 more at around 450 degrees. Top crust got very dark and crackly. Inside was a bit too moist for my liking, but still very good.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Question: Should I remove the bread from the pot as soon as it's done in the oven, or should I allow the whole thing (bread in pot) to cool before attempting to remove it? This is one thing the recipe doesn't mention and I think I found one mention of it in this thread at some point, but I can't find it anymore...

                                                                                                                                                                          Please help! I'm hoping someone can give me an answer soon; my dough is in the middle of its first rise right now.

                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Poorwater

                                                                                                                                                                            I lifted my loaf out of the pot (a 5.5 qt. Le Creuset dutch oven) and put it on a rack as soon as it came out of the oven. It didn't stick and was very easy to grab -- I used an offset spatula to tilt the loaf up so that I could get a good grip on it. Careful around that super-hot pot, though.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Poorwater

                                                                                                                                                                              Remove it from the pot right away, and let it cool on a rack. Be sure to stand nearby and listen to the bread sing!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bakergal

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks, mcgeary and bakergal. I will do that. Now I just have to hope that slightly more than 18 hours' rise time won't deflate my dough like it apparently did to others'... I can't get home until then.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Has anyone tried doing 2nd rise and baking in same pan instead of preheating pot and transfering dough?

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: zlast

                                                                                                                                                                                I did what a few other posters suggested and did the 2nd rising in a lightly oiled bowl. Seemed to make the round shape better and there was no way I was going to be able to shape it into a round ball anyway. I think it does need to go into a screaming hot pot, so I don't think you should raise it in that pot.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I think part of the point is hitting the dough with a very hot pan.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I have tried this recipe three times with success. The first time the
                                                                                                                                                                                  dough was too wet. The second time I made it with about 20% whole wheat,
                                                                                                                                                                                  and used a little more than a 1 1/2 of water. That worked out well.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Today's loaf was with 1/4 cup rye flour and 1/4 c flax meal. It looks
                                                                                                                                                                                  good although not raised as high as the second loaf. I found 450 deg
                                                                                                                                                                                  is about the right temperature for my baking equipment and oven. I am
                                                                                                                                                                                  using a cast iron pot with cast iron cover, something like a Dutch oven
                                                                                                                                                                                  only smaller. Here is a picture of the Rye loaf. I haven't tried it
                                                                                                                                                                                  yet.
                                                                                                                                                                                  http://i15.tinypic.com/46zeot5.jpg

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. My first boule is done. I followed the recipe to a T, except the germ. I'm gonna do some tinkering now. First up is sourdough starter, some vital gluten (I have AP on hand), and a smaller batch so I can put it in my "single guy" 2 quart enameled cast iron. (16 bucks at an antique store!) I personally liked the ultra slackness with the 1 5/8 cup of water, and will certainly keep the same amount since I'm adding gluten. Oh, and the crackling finished loaf... exceptional. I listened carefully and It said I was having soup and bruschetta for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I made this the other night. It was my first time making bread and I was pleased with the results.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3 cups bread flour
                                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 t active dry yeast
                                                                                                                                                                                      2 t salt
                                                                                                                                                                                      @1 5/8 cup of water (I started with the 1 1/2 cups but the dough was too dry. So, I eyeballed a little more water and threw it in).

                                                                                                                                                                                      I forgot to mix the dry ingredients up first. Also, is it me, or is yeast a little creepy?

                                                                                                                                                                                      The first rise was in between 19-20 hours. The second rise was about 2 hours. I put too much flour on the top of the bread, not enough on the towel. There was slight sticking to the towel itself, but not too bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Oven at 475 degrees. 4.5 quart Le Creuset pot (blue).

                                                                                                                                                                                      Bake at 30 minutes. Lid off for about 15. The top was nice and golden.

                                                                                                                                                                                      http://shim1.shutterfly.com/procgserv...

                                                                                                                                                                                      I didn't hear the crackling, but I was distracted with a lot of other thing going on in the kitchen. The flesh of the bread was a little chewy and there was this weird flour line in the middle of the bread. The bread was not underdone, although I didn't take its temperature, but the flour line was odd. It tasted good. And, I was happy because it was my first time and it looked, smelled and tasted like bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Next time, I think it needs more yeast and maybe a shade less salt. I want to try it with olives or rosemary in the bread itself.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                        You probably just had a bit too much flour on the dough when you made the fold. No biggie, just be sure and dust it off next time. I'm throwing mine in the oven when I get home, can't wait!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeast creepy? Yeast is a *miracle*! There would be no bread, beer or wine without it.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The flour line is from your ingredients not being fully mixed. Just stir more. Don't decrease the yeast or you're going to need a lot more rising time.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Hooray on your first loaf of bread!

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Mine just came out of the oven and looks delicious. This is my first stab at bread making - how long do i have to wait to cut into it?!?!

                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: akp

                                                                                                                                                                                            Let it cool all the way, despite how much you want to eat it! I would say at LEAST an hour, more if you can stand it. If you have a thermometer, let the inside get down to 100 degrees or lower. I waited until 132 and it was okay, but slightly gummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pei

                                                                                                                                                                                              I couldn't wait and cut a couple of slices off about 10 minutes after it came out of the oven. It worked fine. There was a little squishing of the interior of the bread, but I used a serrated blade and sawed through the crust gently. Didn't ruin the bread at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                                                Sure, the gelatinized starch needs to set, yada yada yada, but for my money (or time) there's not much better than the not-quite-yet-set hot bread. This love has turned me into a very talented slicer of soft breads. I think this falls into the , "if it makes you happy..." category, along with fast food, candybars and cambell's soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: akp

                                                                                                                                                                                              So I resisted the urge to cut into it until right before dinner...

                                                                                                                                                                                              As I said, this was my 1st time making bread and it was straight from the bakery good. Definitely will make again and play around.

                                                                                                                                                                                              This is what I used: 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat, Hodgon Mill Active Yeast, 1 3/4 t. Kosher Salt, 1 5/8 cups warm water. Let rise for 18 hours, sit for 15 minutes, and then rise again for 2 hours. Used Le Creuset. I went overboard with flouring the floursack, but it still stuck. Next time I'll just used wax paper as someone suggested.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Results. Nice browned crust, moist crumb with lots of air pockets. Was a disk shape that was about 2 1/2 - 3 inches high in the center. Served with softened butter that I mixed some kosher salt into.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Has anyone played around with additions to the bread yet? (ie olives, nuts, cranberries?) Also, what about some cheese on top of the crust? (Like Asiago) When would you put that on?

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for all of the posts - never would have made this without them.

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Hello all!

                                                                                                                                                                                              I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone's who's posted about this bread: I started making it myself last night as a Birthday Bread (my husband's birthday was today) (you know, like instead of a cake?) and had issues all the way through: I only had active yeast, not instant; I woke up to NO bubbles in the dough at all (I moved it to a sunny spot and it immediately got better), and I used a too-small souffle dish (about 7" across) with an AllClad stainless lid. Through all of this I kept running back to this board for information and moral support. And in the end? Though the top of the loaf was flattened a bit by the lid, the bread was amazing. It's my first attempt at bread EVER and I can't wait to try some variations. So thanks, Chowhounds: your knowledge and generousity gave me COURAGE and helped make for a very nice birthday.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Have people tried doubling the recipe for a larger pot? I saw that referenced above, but there wasn't much discussion, except a suggestion of NOT doubling the yeast on the doubled recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Has anyone actually done that?
                                                                                                                                                                                                THX

                                                                                                                                                                                                this thread is incredible . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I doubled the quantities of all the ingredients and it worked fine in the large Le Creuset. This was using 100% organic whole wheat ground in the kitchenaid mill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Then I tried using mostly commercial white whole wheat, about 1/4 c. of gluten flour, & a bit of whole oat flour in an attempt to make it more like the lovely loaves of white bread posted here. (Again doubling the quantities to 6 c. flour, etc. I should add that I have yet to get instant yeast. All these tries were with active dry).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It didn't work. It rose about as much as before but had a finer grain, not the nice holey crumb (but not crumbly texture) I had the first 2 times. Not as tasty, either. It's fine for sandwiches, but I'm going back to grinding my own & forgetting about trying to make whole wheat behave like white.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Except for one thing I may try. I've had good luck getting a very light loaf of whole wheat bread adapted from the whole wheat cottage cheese rolls posted on this board. Can anyone advise me as to the wisdom of letting it rise for so long with cottage cheese in the dough?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Babette

                                                                                                                                                                                                    THANK YOU for posting what didn't work for you.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was just about to go for a similar experiment with King Arthur white whole wheat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I cut the recipe into thirds and baked it in a 1.5 qt. enameled cast iron saucepan. I put in 1 tsp. of gluten as well and used my sourdough starter instead of yeast. I also rose it in greased and floured bowl. It stuck to the bowl a little, but turned out very well in the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Right now I have a full loaf rising in a bowl lined with a floured towel, kind of like using a couche. The first rise for this one was only 12 hours because i probably used too much starter. I'll report on how it comes out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I made this the other day and baked it in my farbarware pot it turned out great-round and high. I did think the taste was a little flat. I plan to add more salt and possibly a few teaspoons of sugar. I have and english muffin bread recipe that has a very rich taste recipe that has the same amount of flour but also has more salt and some sugar it also calls for some powered milk. I plan to try it with one cup of white whole wheat flour. Can I use a 1/4 teaspoon of rapid rise yeast? Do you think the powered milk would spoil in 18 hours? Has any one divided it to make two loaves?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. i plan to try this tomorrow, as i don't have any yeast and can't buy any tonight... i will have to wait.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      i don't have a LC or a dutch oven. would it work in a ceramic casserole dish with a lid?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RiJaAr

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've made it in French White Corningware with the glass lid and had good success.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bakergal

                                                                                                                                                                                                          great!, thats exactly what i have! i will try it

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: RiJaAr

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bittman also lists ceramic as a possibility in the original article.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I realize that i am coming late to this topic, but here are my 2 cents. I was so excited when I saw the recipe in the Times that I made it the next day. I have a 6 qt dutch oven from my calphalon copper cookware. It turned out wonderfully, but the dough stuck to the towel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I tried again, and floured the towel more. Having made bread for years helped as this recipe is very forgiving. I made the bread a couple more times before I finally left the dough to rise in the mixing bowl. I stirred in just enough flour to make the dough pull away from the sides of the dough, and covered the bowl again. BTW, Each time I let the dough raise at least twelve hours, then two on the second raising.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I could then just quickly scrape the dough in the pre-heated dutch oven. Since I don't own a Le Creuset oven, I have been even more obsessed with them since November.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Something interesting to note though. I have a pampered chef bowl and pie(?) dish that my sister gave me years ago. I was ready to take it to a thrift store when I realized this bread might be the one use I have for the set. Sure enough, I made the bread and the crust was even better since the stoneware can heat up so high.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I still have my eye on the new turquoise le creuset ovens at Sur la table. I wish I could afford one, but it is more a want then a need. I wish I knew of this thread/site before so I could share in the excitement. I, too, forwarded the recipe, but my family and friends are just too busy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Re: the towel-sticking problem...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The first time I made the bread, it stuck to the towel horribly, despite flouring fairly generously. Just now, I used parchment paper instead, since I didn't have the wax paper some people suggested (actually, I laid a piece of parchment paper on top of a towel, though the towel probably wasn't necessary). I floured the parchment paper a bit more generously than I floured the towel last time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I just dumped the bread into the pot and it worked great--no sticking at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Poorwater

                                                                                                                                                                                                            If parchment works for you, great! But, seriously, folks, floured towels work too. And they provide flexibility that molds to the growing and changing dough mass and a bit of insulation as well. That's what has been the standard in baking for *generations* —baskets lined with floured towels that get stacked (unwashed) for their next use.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here's what you do: you *rub* the flour into the weave. The first time it may stick a little. But each subsequent time it will work better and better with a minimum of flour added to the dough. The reason people like Lahey and Bittman take no notice of the tendency of dough to stick to towels that haven't been thoroughly impregnated with flour is they're undoubtedly using the same towels they've been using for years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wish in my small house with serious storage issues my wife would allow me to store floured towels - I appreciate the tip about parchment - I had started with a floured towel - read the thread - and then reformed the boule after having to scrape it off the towel with a dough scraper and it is not rising on parchment layered on top of a towel - will keep you posted

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Would the use of towels improve the taste or texture of the bread?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No. Not really. The only possible advantage (other than infinite reusability) would be if they draped more effectively over the dough and kept the surface from drying out — even as the shape and size of the mass changes. Plus when you go to dump the bread in the pot they're so soft they don't fight or interfere with the process. Or if you prefer proofing in a basket, they mold around the basket.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm just saying when you get your towels thoroughly impregnated with flour they are most effective and the more you use them the more useful they become.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I just used cloth napkins, smooth untextured 100% cotton ones from Pier 1. I don't think a towel that had any texture would work at all. The dough stuck to my wooden cutting board a little, but not to the napkins at all. I also took a suggestion from this board and used wheat bran (bought in bulk at health food store) instead of flour to coat the outside, and it does give a serious crunch to the crust, nice especially with whole-wheat bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Success finally...after 2 failures...it was the FLOUR...I originally used a King Arthur flour with ultra high protein formulated for bread machines (but said on the package it could be used other ways as well.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                They don't make this line of flour anymore...so mine must have been YEARS old!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                When I switched to their "regular" bread flour..I got excellent results......
                                                                                                                                                                                                                flour...old...who knew???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Another success story here. I have baked bread for years but slacked off when Whole Foods opened here. Their bread is pretty good (ducks rotten vegetables) but my heart really dropped when I saw them taking frozen loaves out of a box to bake on site. Oh well. Anyway, they do make passable and cheap bread. That said, this thread (and its kin) got me thinking about baking bread again (that and the temperature is lower outside so running the oven does not make the house unbearable). I used all unbleached all-purpose flour (Gold Medal) and Red Star Yeast (plus about 1/4 tsp.) and an extra Tsp. of salt. The crust is the real winner, but the texture is also great. The flavor is a little pedestrian but it tasted just fine dipped in my piping hot mug of acorn squash bisque.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: frankiii

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have been baking mine outside on the gas BBQ. If you want to try that when it's hot and baking inside doesn't sound like a great idea I can tell you what's working for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes please, I would love to hear about doing it on the BBQ. That would solve a lot of my summer problems

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: frankiii

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm using a Weber gas grill. I put a saltillo tile (about 1/2" thick; about $2 at Home Depot) on the grill. The front burner on full + the rear burner on full + middle off = about 450 degrees on mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When I preheat the pot (I'm using the 8qt LC that Costco is currently selling), I balance it about 3/4"-1" above the saltillo on tile fragments placed under either long end of the oval pot. I burned the bottom of my first loaf but creating airspace under the pot prevented that on the second and third loaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I turned the heat off and let residual heat finish the last 15 minutes on #3 but I think I'll go back to leaving it on all the way through and use all (1 5/8 cup) the water for my next loaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The plastic handle on the LC was undamaged by the intense heat. I put some cornmeal in the bottom for the third loaf but both #2 & #3 came out of the pot very easily. I get a high boule from the oval pan. #1 had a singing crust; #2 & #3 did not (which is why I will leave the heat on until I'm finished baking for #4. The crust and crumb off all 3 were very nice (when I sliced the burned off #1).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I love this bread. I talk to it, I pat its crust lovingly as I walk by in the kitchen...as soon as it cooled, I ate it. Sliced warm, buttered. Torn, dredged in extra virgin olive oil. Toasted, for crunch, spread with cottage cheese, salt and pepper.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It was effortless; stirred, not shaken...coddled in a floured flour sack dishcloth...baked in a lidded cast iron enameled casserole. Voila!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My second success came out of the oven this evening...I used the highest temp. but after 30 minutes covered... it took only 15 minutes to get dark brown...the crust was thinner, but still crisp...also for me 2 tsp of salt was a tad too much...and I was craving sesame...so the next one will have 1 3/4 tsp salt and will cook longer at 450 degrees...I hope this will give me a thicker crust...do you think that covering the top with sesame seeds might be a problem...will they burn before the top is browned and crisp???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I used sesame seeds in my first loaf. Just stired them in with the flour and water mixture. I didn't use enough, but they did give the bread a slightly nutty flavor. The flavor of the seeds really came out when the bread was toasted. I don't think I'd put seeds on the top-afraid they would burn, but if you do, please report back. If the top seeds work, that would be great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I've got my second loaf rising in a bowl. The first loaf was wonderful. Any suggestions about what to sprinkle on top (or knead into the bread prior to baking)? I'd love to have it a little different this time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: novafoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I tried fresh thyme leaves in the second loaf and it's very yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. About towels. Napkins work fine. Large, sturdy 100% cotton handkerchiefs work okay, too. I can't store floured towels either as they get in the way of our Brother Cook--a 78-year-old-wonder who is a legend in our order. So I wash my towels. For that reason, I find it easier to use a generous amount of corn meal or even polenta instead of flour on the towel. It washes off easily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        By the way, the next time I go to the nursery, I will pick up an unglazed 8 1/2" terra cotta bulb pot (the shallow kind). I already bake boules on terra cotta plates--they are chaper than oven stones. To prepare the terra cotta for baking, you coat the business surfaces with Crisco, put it in a cold oven and heat to 250 for 20 minutes, then raise the temperature to 250 for 20 minutes, then 450. Then turn the oven off and let the pot cool completely. I want to try baking the no knead bread in the pot and use the plate as a lid. I'll cover the hole in the pot with foil or parchment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          After the initial preparation, is the terra cotta ready to go whenever you need it? Or do you have to remember to do something special to it (coat it, raise the temperature slowly) every time you want to use it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I made this bread twice over the weekend. The results were incredible. Until now, I believed that there were two things that you can not make at home as well as the pros make them: bread and wine. Now the list is down to one item. This is wonderful bread, and the process is amazing and so much fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I followed Bittman's directions almost verbatim, except I let the first loaf rise for about 20 hours (intially), and the second for nearly 24. I used cotton napkins for the second proofing. My sense is that this is indeed a forgiving recipe; you can vary the exact technique a lot (up to a point, at least), I suspect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I baked the first loaf for a total of 38 minutes, at which time the instant-read thermometer registered 110. That bread seemed just a tad underbaked, so I let the second go 45 minutes. That seems about right in my oven at 450.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Has anyone held any of the dough back and used it as a starter later on? I am hoping this could add to the flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: frankiii

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yes, i've been doing this. it does add to the flavor. i recommend it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              also, to ensure a good crisp crust and dry interior, bake for as long as you can without burning it. my second and third loaves i took out of the oven when they thumped hollow and were brown, but the crust softened on cooling and the inside was a tad too moist. A friend/baking authority suggested i leave it in the oven a little longer. on my next loaf i did that and voila! a crisp crust that stayed crisp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I find the bread burns too fast if baked above 450. but now i do 30 minutes covered at 450 and 30 uncovered at 450. I also find that you get a better crust with a wetter dough and with my cast iron dutch oven preheated for about 45 minutes rather than 30.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: missmasala

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                How do you hold dough back. I've never tried it. Do you just keep a little aside and add it to a new batch?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jahocswim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Precisely. Keep it in a covered container (to keep it moist) at room temp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: frankiii

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                How does one store the dough held back to the next batch - I have heard of this techniques - just never done it - thanks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: swarttav

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  it depends. if i'm making another loaf within 24-36 hours, i'll leave it out on the counter, covered. otherwise, i'll put it in the fridge. it works either way. you should still add yeast to the dough mix when you make it, the held back dough is more for flavor, at least in my house. there are bakers who use their poolish/chef/biga as their sole source of yeast, but that's a whole tricky kettle of fish that i'm not ready to tackle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. About the terra cotta. I got the method from a bread book by Charel Scheele (though I am not sure I am spelling the name correctly). The only precaution seems to be to avoid washing with soap. You simply rinse it off with water if you need to after use. I always start with the plate (under-pot saucer) in a cold oven and I set the temperature immediately to 475. Once the terra cotta is preheated, I slip the boule onto the plate from a peel. I suspect putting a cold pot into a hot oven would thermal shock it, but I don't know for sure. Lots of cooks throughout the world put terra cotta pots directly on fires. Chama cookware from Colombia is wonderful, and in Africa they use clay pots all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How do you think a romertopf would work? or I suppose I should say do you think a romertopf would work?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SLO

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Someone recently posted about their smoke alarm mishap because the romertopf had an oil coating that burned in the high heat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/343553

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Has anyone else been getting a slightly gummy texture to the crumb? Mine looks great and tastes pretty good, but it's not a dry texture. Is this how it's supposed to be?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm pretty sure it's not cooking time because this texture is throughout the loaf, not concentrated in the centre. Does it maybe need less time with the lid on?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've never had this kind of result with other bread recipes/cooking methods, so I'm not sure what's causing it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: eoj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I started another thread on this but haven't got much of a response yet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have tried cutting back on the amount of water to 1 1/2 cups and I think
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I will try scoring the dough on top with a razor to let excess steam out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Lilbug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought the folds were supposed to do that when you throw the dough in up-side down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I never have any folds that hold. It just plops in as a big blob.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Lilbug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I tried it with 1.5 c the second time and it didn't make a difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Lilbug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i've been scoring my top and getting good results. I agree that i don't get a seam, it's just one big blob.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: missmasala

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What do you bake your bread in? I found out my Dutch oven is only
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            a 3 qt unit. I thought it was probably too small a Dutch oven for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            this application and then I read a posting in another thread that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            someone had better luck with a 3 qt unit than they had with a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            larger 7 qt oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lilbug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i bake my bread in a cast iron dutch oven. i've never measured, but i think it's about 5 or 6 quarts. it works great. i get a small boule and it never sticks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              for greater height i've been doing my second rise in a towel place in a bowl for the shape.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. This was my first attempt at baking bread and I could not believe the AWESOME results. I plan to make 2 more loaves for turkey day. I followed the recipe to the letter, using a lodge cast iron dutch oven. I am wondering if adding garlic would harm the process? Any ideas?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am new to Chowhounds, but am thrilled to have found it as it seems like my kind of place!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bingopjs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am planning on starting my dough this afternoon and i am thinking about adding garlic cloves. i was wondering the same thing, if there would be any sort of issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: drakeusx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I wouldn't add whole cloves and even chunks could be a bit strong depending on your garlic. I'd suggest using garlic greens or maybe roast the garlic first then mix the resulting paste into the dough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I baked mine off last night. Turned out very well. I followed the recipe as it was printed (using King Arthur bread flour), and baked it in a large Calphalon anodized Dutch oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I absolutely love the crust, but I'd really like to quit buying bread altogether, and the hard crust doesn't really work for, say, a PB & J. Anybody got a brilliant idea on how to keep the crust from getting so hard?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'll certainly keep making variations of the original recipe for regular eating, but would love to be able to adjust the recipe to make a suitable sandwich loaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mill City Modern

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you store it in a plastic bag, by the next day the crust will have lost its' crispiness...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'll say it again......this bread makes TERRIFIC toast!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Mill City Modern

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Brushing the surface of the loaf with butter when you take it from the oven will help soften the crust, too. I would suggest, though, that you make a different bread for sandwich bread. One that I like is the "Steel Cut Oats Bread" recipe on the back of the box of Arrowhead Mills Steel Cut Oats. Takes less time, has a softer crust, and tastes really good (though totally different from the NYT no-knead bread).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Reporting on my experience with the bread:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Began it at 7pm on Thursday night. I used King Arthur flour from Trader Joe's [roughly measured], Trader Joe's hand ground Sea Salt, 1/4 tsp of Red Star Quick Rise yeast [RS identifies it as "instant yeast on their website[.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I casually mixed the dry ingredients as Leahy did in the video then added 1 1/2 cups water and again mixed with my hand as Leahy did in the video. The dough was indeed shaggy and not all all over-hydrated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Left it overnight and all the next morning in the kitchen. At noon the next day [18 hour first rise] I floured a flour sack towel liberally. I sprinkled the mass in the bowl somewhat and tipped it onto the waiting towel. I had to coax it a bit with my finger tips. The folds, as hown in the video were simple and easy. I laid it seam side down, covered it and left it for 1 1/2 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Then lit the over to 450 degrees. I readied my Le Creuset 4.5 oval dutch oven by covering the knob with foil and placed it in the oven to heat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One half hour later I removed the pot and flipped the loaf into the pot seam side up as instructed. There was some, although minimal, sticking to the flour sack towel. Popped the lid on and into the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              30 minutes with the cover and 20 minutes uncovered. Picture perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I couldn't wait and cut it after about 25 minutes! Great crust [especailly], great crumb, enough salt and it was terrific. Would make this again just because it's homemade bread. It does lack some flavor as others have pointed out. I'll be making this again later this week to play a little with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But a great exercise in making spectaqcular bread!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Colleeen Duffy, Jim Lahey's assistant, has written: "The method works well for whole wheat flour--just increase the water. You can go as high as 100% hydration by weight, just be careful not to go over."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Those not familiar with baker's percentages will find a good friend in this concept. All ingredients are expressed as a percentage by weight of the weight of the flour. A cup of all-purpose flour measured by the scoop-and-scrape weighs about 5 ounces (or a little more if the humidity is high). That would mean the original recipe, as printed in the NY TImes, ( 1 5/8 cup of water)had a hydration of 87% by weight. The video version (1 1/2 cup of water) had a hydration of 80%. 100% hydration would mean equal weights flour and water or 1 7/8 cups of water to 3 cups of flour. Whole-wheat flour absorbs more water than does white flour, and high-protein flour absorbs more water than all-purpose flour. This explains why a loaf made from a high-protein whole-wheat flour would need to be wetter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Salt is a bit more problematic. Its density varies with the way it is processed. Whenever possible, I weigh the salt and aim for 2.2% of the weight of the flour, though baker's often calculate 1.8% and some take it closer to 3%. But as a general rule of thumb, 1/2 teaspoon of table salt or fine sea salt per cup of flour will give satisfactory results. This is slightly more than Lahey calls for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you use baker's percentages and weigh the ingredients, you can expand or reduce a recipe easily. Suppose your casserole is small and you want to make a smaller loaf. Measure 2 cups of flour = 10 ounces. At 80% hydration, you will use 8 ounces or one cup of water. Salt would be 1 teaspoon. You would also cut back slightly on the yeast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. For those interested in a no-knead loaf for PB & J, try the Grant Loaf. Though some recipes add brown sugar or honey, the basic recipe is 3 cups whole-what flour, 1 1/2 level teaspoons salt, 1 level teaspoon of instant or rapid rise yeast, and 13 1/2 oz of warm water (body temperature). Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and put the dough in a greased baking pan and let it rise for about 30 minutes.If you let it rise too long and it collapses, mix it together and let it rise a second time. Bake in a very hot oven for 20-30 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I haven't tried it, but I took it off a British site and converted from metric to U.S. liquid measures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Addendum to the Grant Loaf:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I checked some further references, chiefly Elizabeth David. 1 teaspoon of honey or unrefined or brown sugar are part of the original formula. Baking temperature should be 400 degrees and a baking time of 30 to 40 minutes is more realistic. The original hydration rate works out to a little more than 80%.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Doris Grant used less salt and suggested a rising time of 20 minutes! David increased the amount of salt and commented that the 20 minutes is the minimum time for rising.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Grant Loaf, continued.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I decided to bake the Grant Loaf, which is similar to the Lahey recipe except that it uses much more yeast and has a short rising time. Because of the short rising time, the gluten does not develop so much. The texture was dense but not chewy. It was rather cake-like. I would surmise that, as with rye breads, the Grant Loaf depends more on starch gels for its structural integrity than it does on gluten. Nevertheless, the flavor was good, though it entirely lacked the complexity of classic rustic loaves. I used 100% extraction flour ground from Wheat Montana Prairie Gold white hard wheat. It would be very good PB & J "sammich" bread. And it took 1 1/2 hours to prepare from start to finish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. One last thing to add to this post that already takes a full minute to load on my browser.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Zuni Chicken with Bread Salad made with Bittman's bread.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It was a match made in heaven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Of course the first loaf got eaten before it had a chance to stale a bit. Hid the second loaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Just made my very first bread (ever) last weekend and I must say I was very happy! So was my husband, who loves crusty bread. I will definitely make it again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I uncovered my enamel cast iron pot too soon though (miscalculation of time) and even though I only did 20 minutes covered and 40 minutes uncovered, it still turned out yummy. It had a nice brown crust and a nice chewy crumb.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Okay, I finally made two loaves of this over the last 48 hours. My first go-round, I ran into the problem that some folks have reported, that the resulting dough was more the texture of a sourdough sponge. I baked it anyway, and got a lovely loaf that was basically the thickness and texture of a ciabbata: very nice, but not really what I was going for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Upon reflection, I decided that the problem that time was that although I was weighing my flour, I was going by the King Arthur metric of a cup of bread flour weighing 4.25 ounces. I made the second batch with the Cooks Illustrated metric of 1 cup = 5 oz. I also took the advice of some here and decreased the water to 1.5 cups, not least because it's rainy here in Boston today. Those two changes made all the difference: this was a wet, sticky dough, but it was demonstrably DOUGH, not sponge. I was able to fold and shape it as directed, and it rose considerably higher on the bench rise. (This may also be because I was slightly more generous with the instant yeast, ending up with something closer to 1/3 of a teaspoon than 1/4.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Two other points: today for the bench rise, I used wax paper dusted with flour sifted directly onto the paper from a fine-mesh strainer, and had little trouble with sticking, or with getting too much unincorporated flour onto the finished dough in the pan. Also, I've been using a Lodge cast iron dutch oven for my vessel, and I think I only need about 10 minutes after I unlid the bread: both of these loaves have been just a shade too brown on the bottom, and I assume it's because cast iron just gets hotter without the porcelain on it. Both times, the pan was literally smoking when I pulled it out to dump the dough in!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We have some smaller Polishware bowls that I can invert a quarter-sheet pan on to lid, but I worry a bit about heating them empty for half an hour. I may just pick up a small terracotta pot this weekend at the hardware store in the North End.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My Polish stoneware comes with an advisory that 350 degrees is its upper limitation. I wouldn't expose it to all that heat. I've had ceramics split in half when I've exceeded their limitations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The conversion chart that came with my scale also says 5 oz. of bread flour = 1 cup. But I use all the water (1 1/2 cups + 2 tbs. for a very wet dough. I find it handleable when I move quickly and I'm still able to use floured towels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. To even further simplify this recipe, do you think this would work?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Prepare the sponge/dough in a cast iron dutch oven and leave to rise.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Next day, punch down and rise again to double the volume.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bake in preheated oven with lid on, then off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: garlicscapes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You wouldn't get the crust. Heating the vessel in the oven before you put the dough in is key to the whole thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Two loaves out of the oven, one half whole wheat, the other white and semolina, both baked in corningware. I increased the salt to two teaspoons. I haven't cut the white/semolina one yet. The flavour of the whole wheat is good, but I didn't get much oven spring, and the texture is kind of crumpety and moist. Very good, but I found the process of getting the dough into the red-hot corningware intimidating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I wonder if you can adapt this for a lower water percentage, and bake on a preheated cookie sheet or something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I did a little experiment today. After the overnight rise in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, I transferred the dough to an oiled corningware container and covered it with the lid. Let it rise again, and popped it into a preheated 350°F oven. I didn't want to go higher because of the vessel. Took the lid off after 30 minutes and baked for another 10 minutes or so. The crust came out crunchy, top and bottom. Really delicious, and must less fuss. Next time I will put a round of parchment in the bottom of the container for ease of release. The only negative was that the top was not rounded but flat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Next steps - eliminate the first bowl altogether. Perhaps try baking in a silicone pot for easy of release. (excuse to buy more kitchen stuff :).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Has anyone tried to somehow make a baggett shaped loaf?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Other then having a professional elongated pot to make it with, can you come up with a simple alternative instead?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I love baggett shaped bread to make sandwiches with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe we can come up with some good ideas???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank You

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cajun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bighunk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I tried that with my last batch. I used regular baguette pans, not preheated. It took some pushing and pulling with a dough scraper to shape the loaves and nudge them into the pans -- I wish I'd taken some pictures of the process and the results. The loaves turned out flavorful, but didn't get the rise they would have from the sudden burst of heat in a preheated pan. We have a narrow Le Creuset terrine that I might try preheating, though it won't hold much dough. Otherwise I'll stick with the round loaves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I've been doing some experimenting with this recipe. The first couple of times I baked the bread, I found it to be a bit flavorless, even with increased salt. Here's what I've established through trial and error:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Flour makes a difference. The first couple of times I baked the bread I used my regular store brand AP flour. The next time I used King Arthur Bread Flour and it was much better. I also subbed 1/2 cup of the bread flour with some spelt flour, and that was very nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Retarding the dough in the fridge for a few hours REALLY helps to develop the flavor. My new method: ferment at room temperature for about 18 hours; fold it and let sit for 15 minutes; shape the dough, put it in an oiled or floured bowl, cover with plastic wrap and then refrigerate it for another 4-6 hours (or longer), depending on what is convenient. The longer the dough hangs out in the fridge, the more time it has to develop its flavor. Then you just need to bring it to room temperature and wait for it to rise before baking (2-3 hours depending on your room temps). The extra time is worth it, imho, for the more interesting and complex flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Other assorted wisdom:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 5/8 cups of water is probably too much. I start with 1 1/4 cups and keep adding until I get the "shaggy" texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I cook my loaves in my 3 1/2qt calphalon pot with an 8" bottom. I think it's the perfect diameter, because it forces the dough up instead of out. I wind up with beautiful, high boules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The whole towel thing is a messy waste of time. The first time I baked the bread, I did the final proofing on my wooden peel with plastic wrap. It was fine but it spread a bit too much. Since then I've been using an oiled or floured bowl covered with plastic wrap and the dough winds up being the right shape and there is plenty of 'oven spring'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Finally, I too would like to adapt the recipe to bake baguettes. King Arthur sells clay baguette pans with lids
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/d...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    that would probably work, but I don't have that kind of money. I am thinking about trying it on my baking stone with a tin foil tent to get the crust. I'm not sure that it will really work though--has anyone tried this??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Happy baking everyone!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: baffled111

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Your timing tip is very useful since it provides some extra flexibility in trying to pull this off during the work week. Thanks for sharing the results of your experiments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: baffled111

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, the towel thing drives me crazy. I do the entire procedure in the initial metal mixing bowl (and I use a silicon spatula instead of my hands). After 18 hours of initial rest I use the spatula to fold the thing over itself a few times, then dust the top with flour, then cover the thing loosely with plastic wrap again for 3-4 hours. From there I let the dough fall into the 500-degree LC (I never actually touch the dough) and usually end up cooking it 30 on, 30 off for a killer crust and moist interior. Sometimes it winds up a little too moist inside, maybe I'll take your lead and reduce water by 1/4 cup or so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: orezscu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's really weird about the towel thing. I've never had one second's problem with it. Dusted with flour, the dough comes right up. Could it be the earth's atmosphere - humidity in some locations? Since so many have complained about the dough sticking to the towel, I figure it must be more than just that they're not flouring the towel enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I live about 12' above sea level, maybe a quarter-mile from the San Francisco bay.... Anyhow, I dusted the hell out of the dough-top and the towel stuck like glue. Next time I do it I'm reducing the 1 5/8 cup water by a quarter cup or so, that will probably make the dough get along better. But I still can't see what benefit the towel adds over just folding the thing over a few times (after the initial 18+ hours) and leaving it in the same mixing bowl for another 2 or so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: baffled111

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Way late on the reply, but I have an old speckled roaster that is oblong in shape - picked it up at the Goodwill years ago, but I see them places now and then for a few dollars, and they're cheap new, too. I'm guessing that you could throw your bread on a baking stone and over with a lid from one of these roasters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. OK, I read the article, watched the video when it was posted and have read a lot of the posts here..........and tried the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I consider my results a failure...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The loaf was flat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It was nice and chewy inside, but never rose much after I put it in the pot in the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Any thoughts?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          wabi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wabi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What type and size of pot did you use. As pointed out in many posts, this dough doesn't hold its shape well (being so wet and all) and so needs confinement in order to rise upward rather than spread outward.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wabi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wabi,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's easy to over-proof this dough on the first rise. I have cut back my fist rise time quite a bit and am doing part of the rise in the fridge. It helps a lot. Also, I have done a few other things that other people have suggested, and each has helped a little: I am using bottled spring water instead of tap water - it made a real difference! I've changed flour. King Arthur bf had a good flavor but didn't seem "strong" enough. I may try adding some gluten. Harvest King seems a bit better. Using caked yeast has also helped some. Each of these things added a bit to improving the loaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A fellow who had worked at the Sullivan St. Bakery (where this recipe was developed) also suggested folding the dough over on itself a couple times during the first rise (I assume to help distribute the yeast or maybe stretch the gluten.) I haven't tried that yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. First time baking any sort of bread and it was a success. Only covered vessel I had was a big but flimsy roaster... so I put the bread in a heavy gratin dish inside the covered roaster - worked beautifully.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Used good unbleached bread flour. Wasn't wild about the bran coating - too much of a contrast with the white bread, but would be lovely with whole wheat or multigrain - which is the plan for next time. I'm also planning to try adapting the recipe to make a walnut bread. I think I would incorporate the nuts after the 18 hour rise. Has anyone tried this?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sam Ottawa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was thinking of doing the same with walnuts or pecans...do you think they should be "toasted" first, or just added "as is" to the batter?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was also thinking I should use a little more yeast to counteract the additional weight of the nuts..what is your opinion?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would probably toast first, but lightly, since the nuts in the middle of the dough would be in a moist environment and therefore not really toast. I wouldn't mess with the amount of yeast though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A tip I've seen for suspending nuts or fruit in other breads was to coat them lightly in flour before incorporating. Haven't tried that yet. Check out the other thread on this board from someone who added olives! Mmmm. Can hardly wait to bake again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Ottawa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks...this will definitely be my next loaf!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Ottawa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Great tip about flouring the nuts! Never heard that. I will be adding nuts to next loaf!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. so Mine didn't rise so well. Is Instant yeast different from RapidRise? If so, where is it sold in the grocery store and how is it packaged?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I made it with 1 cup wheat, 2 cups white and about 1/4 cup mixed grains from King Arthur...amazing looking and tasting bread. I then doubled the recipe for Thanksgiving and increased the mixed grains to almost a cup. The dutch oven was too small for the boule shape and instead looked like the pan :) but it was SO SO good... moist even 3 days later and the grains all worked fine. next time i'll just make 2 loaves ...or get a bigger dutch oven - the shape was distracting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <edit> I also stronly recommend King Arthur's yeast (see http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/d...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. King Arthur's carries Fleishmann's, Red Star and SAF yeast...have you tried all of these, and do you have a preference???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Your bread experiments are impressive...I'm still perfecting the basic...so thanks for being in the vanguard...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. For anyone interested, there is an update from Bittman in the NYT today, with answers to some of the questions on this thread. There is a link to it on another thread called Bittman Update.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Sorry, it's called Bittman responds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tartetatin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It wasn't hard to find, and "thank you" for posting the info.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Need some help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm getting a very solid crust (too solid) and a moist crumb. My sense is that the crust is forming early or too agressively and trapping moisture inside the bread. What corrections would you advise?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. RossB: If the crust is too crusty for you, take the lid off the pot sooner. I prefer 20 minutes to 30, personally because I don't like bread so crusty that it rips up my gums.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are two possibilities for the moisture issue. The ideal internal temp for bread is 210, and you really shouldn't pull it out before 208. Getting up to temp, in my experience, can take a long time-- you need patience and you might need to throw some foil loosely over the top towards the end if the crust starts getting too dark. The other thing I've been doing is folding in quite a bit more flour during the folding/shaping phase, after fermentation and before proofing. Because the dough is so wet after fermenting, it can absorb quite a bit of flour while it's proofing, without you having to knead it in and ruin the delicate structure. (Caveat: I usually retard the dough in the fridge for several hours in between fermenting and proofing, because it develops a more complex flavor--if you don't retard in the fridge, your mileage may vary with absorbing the extra flour. You'll need to experiment.) So my suggestion would be to make sure that you are cooking it to 210, and if it is still too moist, use flour a bit more liberally at the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, and don't cut into the bread for at least an hour after it comes out of the oven. It needs to cool down properly before you cut into it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Good luck!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: baffled111

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dear Baffled,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the advice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My dough is still proofing too quickly - looks done afer 8 hours. So yesterday's batch went in the fridge at that point for overnight. I allowed it to warm in the morning and then finished it. I got a terrific loaf!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I changed two things. I took a spatula and turned the fermenting dough over on itself a few times in the middle of the first rise. Then, I dropped the oven temp from 450 to 425 after 10 minutes. Either or both changes made an enormous difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'll try pulling the lid earlier on my next loaf just to see what happens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Lahey made the bread for a gushing fan, Martha Stewart this morning. She has the video up on her site if this link doesn't work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jht...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I found it interesting in the Martha Stewart videos that Lahey said you can do the first rise for anywhere from 10 to 20 hours. Somehow in the original recipe I hadn't noticed the 15-minute rest before the second rise (proofing stage) -- I'll definitely do that for my next attempt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My first loaves turned out somewhat bland, so for my third loaf, I used 2 cups all-purpose flour (I buy my flours and nuts at Vitamin Cottage, a Colorado health-food chain, because they're the only people around who keep them refrigerated), 1/2 cup rye flour, and 1/2 cup whole wheat, and used 1-1/2 tsp. salt. It was very good. I'll probably bump up the proportion of whole-meal flours in my next batch to 3/4 cup each WW and rye flours, and maybe add some ground, toasted oats. I also like the idea of doing the proof (second rise) for a longer time in the fridge for more flavor, as baffled111 suggested above.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I am new to this website. I've been baking Lahey's recipe for months, but today for the first time I used a Le Creuset dutch oven and didn't think of the possible damage to the phelonic lid handle. It did deteriorate during the pre-heating: the handle now has a concave top. I replaced the lid with a cast iron skillet and baked the bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My concern is the toxicity of the fumes. There was no strong smell but my eyes did burn when I removed the bread. Should I toss it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Any chemists out there?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I probably posted on this thread somewhere but am way too lazy to read through to see for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So tonight, this is what my bread was made out of.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's not true No Knead bread as per Mr. Bittman but it's my version after testing and tasting many many times trying to get another perfect loaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 1/2-4 c ap flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 t yeast
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 T sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 T salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 T Roasted Garlic/Cheddar Cheese Betty Crocker dry mashed potatoe buds
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1-1 1/2 c warm water
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Stirred until I got a dough that was not wet but all flour incorporated, put in a big bowl, plastic on, didn't touch until 36 hours later. If it's too long, so what it was only a few ingredients. Took out of bowl, put flour on work surface, kneaded it 20 times turning over and over. Made a baby's bum out of it, put it in a diaper laced with Oat Bran and folded over, let it sit for 30 minutes while the crock heated, then dumped into the LC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So sour, so many holes, so perfectly crusted.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I baked it in a preheated 500* oven with the LeCreuset pot and lid sprayed with Pam, then baked it off in oven of 425 for 20 minutes took lid off, let it go another 10 minutes, took out and cooled 5 minutes then sliced.....OML

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Interesting. It was noticeably sour even without a starter?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm actually not crazy about the crust that everyone raves about. I tried not preheating the dutch oven, but the crust seemed to be the same. I think next I'll try kneading in some extra flour before the second rise, so I can make a baguette shape, and I think I'll try 450 degrees with 1/4 cup of water thrown in the bottom, like for French bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          not sure what you mean by not being thrilled with the crust as we all seem to be.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          last night I was over the moon about the crust, just couldn't get over it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          JC's idea for making her English Muffin bread and the inclusion of dried potato flakes made all the sense to me and the sourness it imparted was just what I was wishing for.....and got, but also got that incredible chewy crusty crust.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          do you mean you'd toss in water in the bottom rack of the oven? not in the pan with the dough of course..........................[right?]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I mean I don't like the Lahey crust much. It's not hard enough for me. Do you think the potato flakes had something to do with the sourness? I toss the water on the bottom of the oven. I don't think it's good for the oven, but it makes great bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hi jvanderh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yep sure dud. Since it's the same recipe I've used over and over again sans this new idea. This is first time for NYT bread with the potato bud inclusion. So wonderfully sour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've done ice cubes in a hot pie tin on bottom shelf before to create steam.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also one of my ancient cookbooks "All About Bread Baking 101" tells the reader to get a new spray bottle and spray formed loaf before putting in oven and then twice during the baking. I honestly saw no major big deal in doing that though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Took a photo cause this is what I'm talking about [in case anyone doesn't understand the product].

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That is very interesting-- I will have to try adding some potato flakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And, btw, ABin5 explained that I can put a metal pan on the bottom rack and preheat it with the oven, then splash the water on that. Works very well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    jvanderh, I use a pie plate in the bottom that I fill up with ice cubes, something about steam

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Just made my first one. This is the first time i've baked bread since i was a kid. Haven't tasted it yet, but it was really easy (tho it didn't really seem to double after the 2 hour resting) and it looks yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            beautiful... so easy yes?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm reading the flavor was one note.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mine today that is still in the rising stage has flax seeds a bit of cumin and more than a bit of garlic.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            think I've only made it the original way a few times, I'm always soupin it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. ok, having tried it....i don't absolutely ADORE the taste of it! It's the perfect texture, great crunchy crust, wonderful crumb.... but the flavor itself is a little one-dimensional... i don't know how to describe it. it doesn't taste.... bready enough, or yeasty enough or something..... not "sweet" enough? it's not salty but it does taste like salt. there was almost a sour tang to it. and i do like sourdough, tho this isn't it. i think it's not yeasty enough. my sister made the same bread a few weeks ago and i have to say i felt the same way, so i wanted to try it to see if it was just the recipe. and it is. have others here tried this? i'm going to repost this exact same query on the Mark Bittman no-knead bread thread, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'll make it again, but i think if i get any pointers to improve the flavor, i'll be happier. it sat overnight, 18 hours, as suggested, and then a folding, then rested for 15 mins, then made into a ball, then sat another 2+ hours. baked for 30 mins. covered at 450, then 15 mins. uncovered. anyone have any ideas about the flavor? i guess it would be hard to tell if you haven't tasted it... or don't feel the same about the taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I believe that the flour one uses to make this bread makes a difference. Did you and your sister use the same flour? Did you and your sister use the same yeast?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Did you and your sister use the same water? I won't ask the same question about the salt :-))

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Some people like the taste of yeastiness in their bread. I feel that the beauty of this bread is that is doesn't taste yeasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Then, of course, you can always change a fourth or a third of the flour by using any other flour to give it more flavor, such as spelt, kamut, rye or whole wheat - there are others. My husband prefers rye; I'm partial to spelt or kamut.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Good luck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                thanks! i will try mixing the flour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                one question, tho, if i added a tiny bit more yeast would it ruin the bread? i am not a baker, i know nothing about baking, but i know in baking things have to be very precise....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                thanks again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't see how adding 1/8 teaspoon to the overnight 12-16 hour rise would do anything more than lift off the lid of the container you have it rising in. But keep that in mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You might try the Abin5 approach, where you leave the dough in the fridge for a few days. It should be more yeasty and sour. Basic recipe is here: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=.... (By weight, 925 g flour, 725 g water, 25 g salt, 14 g yeast). If you put it straight into the fridge without the two-hour rise, you can get away with dividing it into two gallon-sized ziplocs. Although for maximum sourness, do the two-hour rise at room temp and find a big container.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have tried the artisanbreadinfive book. In spite of the long retard, the bread taste was not satisfactory. I cannot explain this. Although one of the intents is to make breadmaking simple, I found the clean-up unsatisfactory. It seemed more bothersome than making bread the old-fashioned way - whatever that may be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry to hear that it didn't work well for you. I'm fond of the taste-- it's pretty close to sourdough after four or five days. Cleanup hasn't been too bad for me-- I bake by weight, and store it in Ziplocs, so it's pretty much washing one bowl.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          thanks for the tips, both of you, will keep both of these in mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Well! I don't know what took me so long, but I finally made the no-knead bread today (well, yesterday, but baked it today)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just had my first slice. I think I can stop buying baguette's so often! I have only eating a crusty outside slice so far, but it was wonderfully crisp, and the texture of the baked loaf has wonderful little holes just like, well, what it is supposed to be - a country loaf or Boule. Pretty darn happy right now:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Finally did this after reading through a thread on here last weekend, then seeing Laura Calder make it on French Food at Home (love her, and her show). Mixed it up last night from her recipe. # C flour, 11/2 water, 1/8 tsp. yeast, 1 1/2 salt. Mixed it all in a big pyrex bowl, then just covered it and left in warmer drawer on 'proof' until late morning. Stirred it down, did a couple folds, made a ball and put on a VERY floured flour-sack towel to rise again. Dumped in my pre-heated cast iron skillet, topped with a domed lid that fits on, and baked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No problems. Just rinsed the towel under hot water to get out a couple dough spots that stuck, and the excess flour. Easy clean up too:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am excited to experiment further! Now on to the yogurt...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Thanks to Gingershelly for reviving this thread. I too just made this recipe over the weekend for the first time, after clipping it 5+ years ago. Extraordinarily easy and I will definitely make it again. I had no trouble at all with the dough sticking to the towel, but I made a point of using a cotton towel that has absolutely no nap. i also used a very large quantity of cornmeal -- indeed far too much. Will definitely make it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For those who've made this recipe multiple times, have you observed any differences in the bread, depending upon the material of the vessel in which it is baked? I don't have a heavy cast iron or enameled Dutch oven, so I used a cast iron-enameled 6 qut stock pot, with thinner gauge metal than a LC or Lodge Dutch oven. My son, whose GF has made the recipe a number of times and uses a heavy Dutch oven, said that my crust was not as crispy; I'm wondering if it is the material of the pot, or just a question of oven temperature.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am thinking of dividing the recipe in half and making 2 smaller loaves in 2 qut casseroles next time. If I do, do I keep the same cooking time, or reduce it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Masha, congrats on joining the 'no-knead bread team' with me :).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am happy to report I made a second loaf yesterday (started the evening before), only this time used King Arthur bread flour. I got a higher rise and a slightly tighter round out of it. Flavor just a bit better. Nice crust and easy to make, just like #1 loaf on Saturday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Will be making this weekly, at least, and continue to experiment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Masha, hope you get some answers on sizes of pan and material, as I too would like to experiment with sizes.... going to make some toast now with my awesome bread!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Made my second loaf of the no-knead bread this past weekend. This time I used 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 2 cups of AP flour (rather than 3 cups of AP, as used in my 1st time). Also, I used a 2.8 liter oval corningware (French white) casserole as my baking vessel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was a bit concerned that the dough had not risen sufficiently during the 1st rise, as there were no bubbles formed on the top -- which I assume is because of the lower gluten content of whole wheat flour -- so I let it rise for about 20 hours in the 1st rise. There still were no visible bubbles after 20 hours, but I decided to move onto the 2d rise anyway. The dough was definitely floppier to work with at this point, compared to when I made it with all AP flour. But, the good news is that, if anything, this loaf tasted better than the last -- crispier crust, tastier interior. DH, who typically prefers white bread, declared this loaf to be superior in taste to the first attempt.