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Nov 12, 2006 07:11 PM

St. Jim Lahey (Sullivan Street Bakery) and St. Mark Bittman should be canonized for their No-Knead Bread

Kudos to those working towards the betterment of humankind. Breadmaking is far more useful than many other occupations and these two guys are my new heros.

For more years than I care to count, I tried my hand at replicating good, honest bread. Tried all the recommended trucs - saving a knob of dough for the next batch, nuturing a sourdough starter that's older than my son, spritzing the loaf, pan of water in the oven, the long slow cool rise, esoteric flours -- you name it, I've tried it. Made some decent bread along the way, but the Lahey-Bittman loaf beats 'em all.

........ and could anything be simpler? Three ingredients + water and some free time = great bread. Must admit that I violated the first rule of recipe-followers everywhere. I deviated from the published word first time through. On a whim, I proofed my instant yeast prior to adding it to the flour. Glad I did. It was dead. Substituted regular active dry yeast and still made a fabulous product. Mea Culpa. I'll buy new instant yeast and try it tomorrow. Meantime, what a coup for all of us who love great bread. Thank you St. Jim and St. Mark, we honor your contribution to our happiness.

P.S. I know the Le Creuset Doufeu took a drubbing a while back, but I think this bread will be another great use for this pot. There is no plastic knob on top, nothing to unscrew or wrap in foil. Just those two lovely metal handles to heat along with the rest of the doufeu.

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  1. I was not the one to recieve baking skills among my siblings(my brother got them all) and so it was with total amazement that I removed my first no-knead loaf from the oven. I ate the whole thing in about twenty minutes.
    Today I had my mom's first whack at it, with a 1-to-2 ww to white mix, which was fantastic.
    Anyone experiment with rye flour yet?

    4 Replies
    1. re: ghbrooklyn

      Trying a 2:1 bread:rye ratio in (countdown) 2 hours. Will report back...

      1. re: Pei

        thank you. this was a conversation topic today, so I'm looking forward to your results.

      2. re: ghbrooklyn

        I used 2.5 cups AP flour to .5 cups rye - gave the boule a subtle (not over-powering) and delicious nuttiness - it's awesome...

        1. re: ghbrooklyn

          I've used various combos of white, ww, and rye. I like the white with a touch of rye the best. the rye gives it a nice, faintly sour tang.

        2. Made this over the weekend. Very impressed, just used AP flour for the first try, came out fantastic. Wish I had a few more LC dutch ovens. I also just used regular yeast, no proofing, but used a heaping 1/4 tsp. came out great.

          Jim Lahey....we speak your name


          3 Replies
          1. re: stevuchan

            Is there a place to get high-quality, inexpensive dutch ovens?
            They could come in handy now...

            1. re: jessechef

              Camping stores carry cast iron Dutch ovens for about $20.

              1. re: jessechef

                Just bought an enameled cast iron one at Target for $40, 4 qt. I'll tell y'all how it works out.

            2. And just a short while back, we weren't allowed to eat bread anymore (Atkins, South Beach) and bakeries were going out of business. We ate the loaf I made with cultured organic butter and home made blueberry jam. Welcome back bread!!!! I've missed you . I'll bet the folks at tomorrow's pot luck won't believe I made this bread. Can't wait.I'm gonna slash Lahey and Bittmans initials into every loaf I make forever.

              1 Reply
              1. re: missclaudy

                Maybe that's why everyone is going so crazy about it. It's an Atkins backlash! lol It's good to see bread back in fashion, isn't it?

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. i don't have a big enough dish? my biggest is 2.5 quarts. i never make big dishes as its just the 2 of us.. will it work in that?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: RiJaAr

                    If you have two of the pots, you might try dividing the dough.

                    I recently wrote a post ("Smoke Alarm Announces No-Knead Bread")about using a clay romertopf. That was distinctly not a "Do Again" since the meat fats in the clay, from many years of use, produced volumes of smoke at 500 degrees!

                    Do you ever make soup? Perhaps you could use that pot for the bread.

                    1. re: Sherri

                      You're lucky you didn't lose the pot entirely. I once made the mistake of using mine on the BBQ. That clay isn't up to serious temps. Mine split in two. You can't count on most ceramics holding up past 350 degrees. I've had the newer Emil Henry white clay containers snap in two on me too. ...though I've got an old red clay one that can take *anything*!

                      A Romertopf pot can be mended with an epoxy glue but I didn't feel good about cooking with it with food exposed to glue.

                    2. re: RiJaAr

                      My father just made two small ones (divided the dough) with great success.