HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Lahey's No Knead Bread - Pot Help?

I only have one super large LC pot - 8.75 quarts. From reading other posts this sounds like it'll be too large. What sizes have people used and what was the result been? I assume a smaller pot will be ok, it'll just rise higher when baking?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Nope. That's what I'm using too. The first loaf turned into a high, tight little boule with the singing crust in that pot. The second one came out more ciabatta-like but just as delicious.

    There were many differences in the second loaf and I don't know which accounts for the change. I increased the salt in the dough to 2 tsp. I added a big handful of walnut halves to the dough. And the oven temp (I'm doing this on my BBQ) was only 350 when the dough was ready (finding the right stack of tiles and the right setting for 450 degrees has been tough!). I put it in with the relief fold/seam on the bottom. No matter — the texture is very good and the flavor much better.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rainey

      Oh ok - cool. Thanks. My little bread baby should be growing at home right now! Can't wait until I get home!

      1. re: HaagenDazs

        I know! The waiting is really fun. You can do other stuff yet you know that the bread is getting stronger by they minute as it sits in the bowl.

    2. I've baked it in a huge lecruset pan that was WAY too big and then had to do it in a small lecruset. Both adapted fine to the pan. When the NYT article said it's hard to screw up this recipe - they weren't kidding. I've done it with white flour and wheat and with wheat mixed with wheat bran and they have all been amazing. I also couldn't get to the baking on the second batch - so it rose for about 24 hours - still perfect. The next batch I make I want to try and carve an intitial in the top like some of the better Parisian bakeries do....any suggestions for that?

      My only prob with the recipe is that my dough sticks to the dish towel quite a lot even though I flour it. I will figure out how not to set it on the towel on the next batch.

      Good luck.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Annabelicious

        I'd say just a sharp knife for your initial. Some other folks mentioned putting the dough in a oiled bowl for the 2nd rise instead of a towel. I think I heard that, but it's hard to sort through hundreds of posts! Anyone try that yet?

        1. re: Annabelicious

          I let mine rise in a lightly oiled bowl for the short rise and avoided the whole towel problem. Worked just fine.

          1. re: missclaudy

            I did the bowl thing as well and it worked just fine. A real plus as far as I'm concered, no messy towel to deal with and since it was such a blob, it formed into a ball on it's own by using the bowl.

        2. Carve initials in the top--what a nice idea--I suppose a very sharp knife would be best--razor sharp and manouverable, like an Xacto knife. Practice first, baking I'm sure will change shapes and depths of cuts! All sorts of lovely tops could be done with a few slashes.

          7 Replies
          1. re: blue room

            Thanks for the tips. I will try a sharp knife. I'm going to also try a big sharp knife on an angle. I think a wider cut might have more holding power.

            1. re: Annabelicious

              You *do* realize you're going to have to reach into a 450 degree pot to do this, no? If it's something you've just gotta do, then I'd recommend going to a beauty supply and getting a folding razor with a 4" blade and a handle. Then only using a new utterly sharp one, make a single, quick, authorative cut at a 45 degree angle from perpendicular. It would be good to work out what this intial looks like as a single, perhaps script-type, stroke with a minimum of angle.

              You could save this touch for a conventional bread you rise on a peel and slide into the oven.

              1. re: rainey

                Folding razor is a great idea. I'm actually going to try not "flipping" the dough and carving on the smooth top side before I drop it in the pan....we'll see.

                I've read a few blogs on this recipe...it's a hot topic around the world apparently...I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who felt the article was inspiring.....anyway, I've noticed that some feel the dough has a great crust and crumb but lacks flavor. Some are adding more salt....thoughts?

                1. re: Annabelicious

                  I increased the salt to 2 tsp on my second loaf and added a generous handful of walnut halves and green onion. The flavor is much better but the loaf is much flatter. There are *many* reasons why it could be flatter — the one I'm most inclined to believe is I baked it at 350 degrees on my BBQ (hey! the dough was ready even if the BBQ wasn't).

                  Experiment on!

                  1. re: Annabelicious

                    I added more salt (I used 2 tsp), and it was perfect.

              2. re: blue room

                Carve Bittman's and Lahey's initials into the bread.

                1. re: missclaudy

                  Well, of course. One must pay homage. It was great of him to share this with the home cook.

              3. I don't want to insult anyone, but just in case, be sure you are using just **1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons** water. That equals 1 5/8 cups. My dough was not so gloopy that it stuck much to the floured towel, and I'm puzzled that many people are having that problem.
                I often blow it when arithmetic is involved...so I thought I'd remind.

                1 Reply
                1. re: blue room

                  In the video, the amount was cut by 2 tablespoons, and Rose Levy Beranbaum confirmed it's an improvement. See the thread

                2. If anyone is looking for a bargain Dutch oven, check amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Pro-Logic...

                  1. Someone in a baking group I belong to suggested using the liner and lid to a crockpot. I have an oval one, and it was a great size - the knob turned brown, even covered with aluminim foild, but I don't care. I've also used a bowl, an 8 cup pyrex measuring cup (for a small loaf for a friend. I had found a pyrex lid that fits), and my corningware casserole... All worked fine.
                    King Arthur's Artisan bread flour had a very nice taste, too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pastrytroll

                      Yikes! You put a crock pot in a 450+ oven? Did the knob turn brown because it was plastic? You are a brave soul, but glad you made the bread!

                    2. I just made it (having a warm slice w/ butter right now) on a pizza stone and an aluminum pasta pot turned over it. The crust is nice and crispy. I didn't fold it quite right, used year old yeast, too much flour (read everyone's problems with sticking) on the towels, generic all purpose flour, but it's still great. Fail-proof! I can't wait to do it with the right ingredients next time. I'm wondering if I ruined my aluminum pot, though, a little discolored... Next time I think I might try the stainless stell all-clad stew pot.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: chowser

                        And yet I failed. Three times. Sigh.

                        1. re: piccola

                          What's wrong with it? I can't even remember writing that post in 2006 it was so long ego. I've made this is different ways and it turns out. In Lahey's newest book, he reduces the amount of water to 1 1/3 c. That might help?

                          1. re: chowser

                            It was really misshapen and flat, with little lift even though I let it rise nearly 24 hours in total. And the top crust super smooth and shiny, not at all the craggy goodness everyone else is getting.

                            1. re: piccola

                              If it never rose at all, it might be your yeast. If it rose but then fell, after 24 hours, it could be over-risen (over-rose?). The 24 hours at room temp is a long time.

                              Ooh, I wish I could go back and edit my PP--I should have read it before posting. Too many typos after a glass of wine.

                              1. re: chowser

                                It rose on the first rise, not really on the second or in the oven. I left it out longer because my kitchen is pretty cold and the recipe said to leave it in a warm place.

                                1. re: piccola

                                  I wonder if you let it overrise and the yeast ran out of food. Odd. If you had the book, My Bread, Lahey has good pictures of every step which is helpful.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    I'll try it one more time, with less rise time. Fingers crossed!

                                    1. re: piccola

                                      Try a little more flour. I think the recipe is too wet compared to what his dough actually looks like on the video. I think he actually bakes by weight or by feel.

                      2. Can I halve the recipe? My LeCreuset is only 4+ Qt.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: francoise_mem

                          It'll work fine in a 4 qt w/out halving. It doesn't make a large loaf as it is.

                        2. "Lahey's No Knead Bread - Pot Help? "

                          Couldn't hurt.

                          ;-)

                          2 Replies
                            1. I'm still haunted by the David Lebovitz post
                              http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2006/12/...
                              in which he said the bread has no flavor -- I can only imagine the good bread he can get daily!

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: blue room

                                I'm surprised, because what I've made with this recipe is as good or better than 90% of what I've had in Paris. Incidentally I've found you don't really have to go through the whole hoohah with the dutch oven, a 450 deg oven and stainless steel bowls over cake tins works fine.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  I make it all the time, and like it-- I was surprised too! I'm very happy with 99.99% of what Lebovitz makes!

                                  I use this pot http://www.google.com/products/catalo...

                                  1. re: blue room

                                    I had trouble with the high heat and my old le Creuset (38 years old to be exact) setting off the wretched FIVE smoke alarms in our house (causing my husband to have to chase from one to the other getting them to turn off, no small thing since they're hardwired and removing the batteries does nothing) and our cats to hide under chairs and look perplexed and long-suffering so I tried dumbing down the technique. Baking bread covered is in no way new, I first read about it in Elizabeth David in the '70's, and she didn't invent it.

                                2. re: blue room

                                  I find it very flavorful--but I do up the salt.

                                  1. I'll be using a 6-qt. Staub Dutch oven. Do you coat with OO before placing in the oven? Sounds like a good idea to me.

                                    So nice having lots of information available. I used parchment paper instead of towels per what I read here:
                                    http://www.aresrocket.com/bread/

                                    Dough is hanging out in its tent as I type, ready to bake in a couple of hours. Fingers crossed!

                                    18 Replies
                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                      I'm eating nice holey no-knead bread I baked in a 425 deg F oven in cake tins covered with stainless steel bowls. The whole Dutch oven thing is pretty much unnecessary in my humble opinion!

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        Oh, but I received the sexiest Staub for my b'day...so it's gonna be my oven within an oven!

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            Why, thank you. Grenadine--a deep, delicious red. If it were a car, it'd be a sport coupe!

                                            Do you drop the temp to 425 degrees F because you're using alternate equipment, or did you find your bread browned too much at the higher temp? I've read too many different temps--450 from BittmanLahey, 475 from the link I included above and now yours. I do NOT like well-done, anything, so I'm all ears (all EYES?!). Golden, not burned, is my goal. :)

                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              I'm jealous . . . all I have is a Costco enameled cast-iron. It's very nice, but not a Staub!
                                              I don't drop the temp. I pretty much followed Lahey's directions exactly. The bread did not come out burned, but definitely darker than golden. Almost burned but not quite. Very brown.

                                              1. re: vickstersb

                                                Thank you, I'm a lucky lady with a very thoughtful mom. I'm going to stick with the 450 degree instruction, then just watch the time. And if I get really brave, I'm trying the initial thing, too!

                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                  Yummy color! I'd definitely not go any higher than 450. Yes lower because of alternate equipment. The crumb really is the best in the DO but it saves us from the scourge of the smoke alarms (4, count 'em, 4, all on hair trigger) to do it the alternate way.

                                      2. re: kattyeyes

                                        I've made the Lahey method bread countless times. I've used both 41/2 and 5 1/2 qt. LC, round; I've also used an oval DO that I think is 5 qt. I've used a clay baker bottom and a pizza stone. I've never oiled or used parchment. (I did get some little dark "pockmarks" when I've made bread w/raisins, nuts, or olives, but a very light rub w/Barkeeper's Friend got them right out; otherwise I've had no problems.)
                                        I've baked in two different ovens in which the temps are about 20degrees apart at the 425 setting. I've never gone over 450, and 425 seems to work fine--in either.
                                        I've let the first rise go anwhere from 16-23 hours.
                                        Hard as it is to believe, I've never failed w/this method (and I had almost always failed at bread before)--and from others' experiences here, this seems like a very forgiving process. I wish you the same success. For me it has been truly revolutionary.

                                        Staub! You lucky dog, you.

                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                          Mine came out rustic, but that's OK--it's so delicious! I'm noshin' on some with sun-dried tomato tapenade. My first rise was in your timeframe (19 hours). Will definitely play with this and see if I can make it prettier as I get better at handling the dough. I cannot imagine doing this with towels. That's gotta be a BIG FAT MESS. I was psyched to use the parchment, then just throw it away when I was done. :)

                                           
                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                            Looks good! Check the Cook's Illustrated method - rise it on a parchment sling in a 12" skillet and transfer it to the DO still on the sling. Also you may have gotten a higher loaf if you let it rise a bit less (I usually go 8-9 on the initial and 2-3 on the second, have never gone as long as you). GORGEOUS Staub...

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              Good tips, thank you--will note them for next round. Anyone else notice a height/length of rise correlation? I think a round DO would yield a prettier bread, too. Mine is rather amorphous!

                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                My DO (almost 38 yrs old now, incidentally) is oval and because of the CI rising method I did get a round loaf out of it.

                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                  Awesome--a development opportunity for this kat!

                                                2. re: kattyeyes

                                                  That looks pretty good, KE. You might get a less amorphous rise in a smaller vessel.
                                                  As to the rise, I've never done a shorter one b/c Lahey preaches the tiny amount of yeast (1/2 tsp, 1/4 for ciabatta), slow, cool rise gospel. But Buttertart seems to understand baking science much better than I do. I'm a blind follower. [ BT: how much yeast do you use, and at what approx. temp are your loaves rising?]
                                                  I'm attaching a photo of two slices (about to make a sandwich!) from my latest loaf (using 1/3 WW flour) so you can see the height on that. That one I baked in an oval DO.

                                                  And, btw, I always use that towel method, except for ciabatta. I finally understood how to do it by watching Lahey's video.

                                                   
                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                    I'd be a blind follower rather than a scientist, too. ;)
                                                    a) I totally LOVE your tile--gorgeous color!
                                                    b) I even wonder if 'cause my (Yankee) house is on the cooler side, if that impacted the rise. I had moved a stand into my bedroom so the dough would be on the warmest level of the house, but I am sure it's not 70 degrees!
                                                    c) I'll have to watch that video again!
                                                    d) This stuff makes a killer sandwich!

                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                      KE--I have made at all times of year. My house is, shall we say, airy--airy as a loaf of ciabatta--so freezing right now, warmish in summer. When it's been cooler inside, the dough has definitely needed a longer rise. (I have a second small fridge in a closet, so I often let the dough rise sitting on top of it, where it's a bit warm. Sometimes I just put it into a cold oven.) I have noticed that the dough looks different sometimes after the first rise, sometimes wetter than others, but, miraculously, the loaves always come out.
                                                      Also, and I'm not sure what difference this makes, I have always used the regular yeast, not the Rapid Rise.
                                                      Re the tile: it's a PITB to keep clean, but I'm not allowed to say that as I insisted upon it when we were renovating.

                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                        Yes, my place has some regretfully airy qualities, too. :( You actually just gave me a good idea on the fridge, though. Always warmer up there! Thanks!

                                                        Funny re your tile--that's OK, I'm sure its beauty is worth the extra cleaning effort...or so I'd try to tell myself if anyone gave me any noise about it!!! ;P

                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                          Inside a microwave (also known as the world's biggest electronic timer chez nous) is a good place too.

                                        2. I have a 4 quart and 6.5 quart, so opted to use the 6.5 quart. I have made it twice in that pot and it came out fine. It is just a little flatter because it has a chance to stretch out more and become elongated. Came out great!

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: vickstersb

                                            To oil or not to oil? :) I'm thinking oil. But you've done it, so tell me!

                                              1. re: vickstersb

                                                Having had a problem with burning the bottom the one time I made this in my LC I'd definitely advise against oiling, the temp is too high.

                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                  Thanks for reminding me. The only problem I did have was too dark on the bottom. Not burned but almost. Suggestions to avoid this? Higher rack?

                                                  1. re: francoise_mem

                                                    I would think so. Since I have hyopersensitive smoke alarms I gave up on the DO method.

                                                    1. re: francoise_mem

                                                      Monavano here suggested not heating the pot, just putting cold dough into it. I just tried it and was amazed that it worked so well. It makes baking the bread so much easier and I don't have to wait half an hour for the pot to heat (or try to put that dough into a hot pot). I do it on parchment paper so there's no sticking.

                                                2. re: kattyeyes

                                                  I recently used 5.5 QT and the Cook's Illustrated method of lining with parchment. This worked perfectly.

                                              2. I use the Lahey recipe, but I use the Cook's Illustrated technique of putting the 2nd rise in a bowl lined with parchment paper. Then you just transfer the whole thing to the DO by lifting and moving the parchment paper.

                                                1. Sorry to revive this old thread again, but I have been making a lot of no-knead bread lately and I've got some questions for those who might know more about the science than I do. I love this bread no matter how it turns out, but some of my loaves are better than others and I'm wondering if there's a way to get all of the characteristics I prefer in one loaf.

                                                  For instance, I've managed to get it to turn into a nice high little boule a few times. Most of the time, though, it expands to fill my oval dutch oven and comes out rather flat - it still tastes great, but it's not the shape I want. Thoughts? Should I buy a smaller pan? Or should I add more flour in the shaping stage? My dough is generally much looser than what I see on Lahey's video.

                                                  I sometimes find that the center of the bread is slightly gummy even though I always bake it for an hour at 425 (450 burns it in my oven). This doesn't seem to correlate to whether or not the dough rises high or not. On the video I just watched, Lahey says that the bread should be baked in a 70% humidity environment for around 2/3 of the total cooking time to create the correct texture - yet the recipe calls for removing the pot lid (and thus decreasing the humidity) at the halfway point. Should I bake it for 40 mins covered and 20 mins uncovered instead of 30 and 30? Has anyone tried this?

                                                  My last batch was my best yet in terms of flavor, but I thought I had ruined it before I put it in the oven - I got stuck away from the house during the second rise, and let it go about 6 hours rather than 2. It was a gloopy mess when I threw it in the oven, but the flavor was incredible and the crumb was perfect. Would lengthening the first rise help create that excellent flavor but avoid the issues that I had with my over-risen second rise dough?

                                                  Thanks to all you bread mavens in advance!

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                    I've found a longer rise, either first or second, makes a better loaf. For the gumminess inside, are you letting the loaf cool before cutting, and are you taking the internal temperature? I get a taller loaf with a pan that has a smaller diameter. The best loaf I've gotten is with a small pyre casserole dish but stopped using it because I was told it could shatter. And, with the new My Bread cookbook, Lacey cut the water to 1 1/3 cup so it's far less slack.

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      I have taken the internal temperature a few times, but it's always well over 200 degrees so I generally don't bother anymore. I expect some gumminess if I cut before it's completely cool (and I'm not going to lie, that happens sometimes - I see that gorgeous loaf sitting there and I know the butter will melt the instant it touches the warm inner goodness and I just can't help myself!). However, when I let it cool completely I know there shouldn't be any - yet sometimes there is. I would guess it's overhydration - a cut from 1 5/8 cups to 1 1/3 is pretty substantial.

                                                      The better flavor with the longer rise makes sense - how long have you let your second rise go before the structure of the bread just collapsed? 6 hours is too long, LOL! Maybe I'll let it go 16 hours on the first rise next time and see how long I can let the second rise go before it starts to look funky.

                                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                                        I mix the dough at night. In the morning (about 7am), I do the fold, rest, shape and let it sit. I bake in the mid to late afternoon so it cools by dinner time. If I'm busy in the morning, I also let it sit until mid-noon before doing the fold/rest/shape/sit just before baking. Neither have been too long for the dough.

                                                        LOL, I'm the same way that I'm often too tempted to wait until it cools. And, that butter oozing makes it irresistible.

                                                    2. re: biondanonima

                                                      I picked up on that too- the recipe is wetter than the dough on the video. I think he probably bakes either by weight or by feel, and, in my opinion, the recipe is too wet to yield a nice loaf. I like a little more flour. Leaving the lid on longer definitely helps with the gummy/raw in the middle problem. So does the extra flour, actually. You get a lot of ovenspring with old dough, and when the dough is soupy, it goes to waste. When the dough is drier, it starts to firm up as it rises, the gas bubbles get trapped, and you get a nice tall loaf. I think your instincts are right on.

                                                      1. re: jvanderh

                                                        Thanks jvanderh - I will keep those things in mind. I'm thinking I'll cut the liquid a bit and add more flour during the "shaping" phase than I normally do, plus leave the lid on for 40 or 45 mins next time.

                                                    3. I've used all kind of pots, too. But my favorite is a ten-inch, unglazed Italian terra cotta flower pot--the stout kind known as a bulb pan in the trade--together with the corresponding size "saucer."

                                                      5 Replies
                                                        1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                          Interesting. I just had my first disaster ever with this bread - I started it, cold, in a new un-enameled cast iron pot. The bread was burnt black after less than an hour AND cemented onto the bottom of the pan. Is it possible to do this in unenameled cast iron without sticking, or will I need to use parchment? Also, how much do I need to reduce the oven temp to prevent the burn? I baked it at 425; perhaps I should try 400? Thank goodness I had a double batch of dough - I baked the second loaf in my trusty Le Creuset and it came out perfectly!

                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                            If you start it cold in the oven, you do need the parchment or it'll stick. Hot, I start it at 425 but reduce midway, when I remove the lid. I use an unenamaled cast iron pot so I don't know why you're getting burnt bread is less than half an hour.

                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              Ah, it makes sense that it would stick when started cold, just like trying to sear meat at too low a temp. I left it in for 55 mins at 425 and it was burnt, so maybe next time I'll start it at 425 and then turn it down to 400, and check it after 50 mins or so. And I won't forget the preheat!!!

                                                              1. re: biondanonima

                                                                It actually works fine starting from a cold oven (monavano's rec) if you use the parchment but then you have to account for the time it takes for everything to come to temperature. I've always found the crust gets too brown (whether it's starts hot or cold) if I leave it at the higher temperature after removing the lid. And, I don't usually need to leave it w/out the lid for more than 15 minutes to finish cooking. So, it's about 45 mins total bake time (starting from the hot oven).

                                                                The first loaf I tried from cold rose beautifully and I was so excited until I tried to remove it from the pot and couldn't. It peeled out w/out the bottom crust. Lesson learned.

                                                        2. where are you HD's? I'm sure any one of us has an extra 2qt corningware with glass lid we could send you. then you'd have it for life&can make your breads once a week. :-/

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                            This post is 5 years old, so let's hope HD has baked that loaf ;-)

                                                            1. re: jvanderh

                                                              well ya know, just trying to be helpful

                                                          2. I have great luck making this at home in a full size oven, but would like to make it in a countertop oven in the office kitchen.

                                                            Has anyone used a counter top oven? Any adjustments?

                                                            Will you share your oven brand and the pot that you use?

                                                            Thanks!

                                                            1. I usually use a 3.5 qt LC, which works great.

                                                              Last time I was in WS, though, I saw this and thought it looked interesting:
                                                              http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: emily

                                                                Thank you. I will check with Williams Sonoma to see if they know which size countertop over will work with that!

                                                              2. I've been making it in a 3-1/2 qt oval Corningware casserole, which yields a rather flat loaf because of the surface area of the casserole. So Sunday I decided to make it in a covered pottery casserole that is about 3 quarts with a smaller circumference. If I say so myself, it came out very pretty and tasted great. (See picture.)

                                                                 
                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: masha

                                                                  Beautiful. In my main oven, I use the base of an oval crockpot (perhaps 3 Qt) with a cookie sheet to cover, and it works perfectly. My quest is how to make the bread at work in a countertop oven!

                                                                  1. re: O22039

                                                                    No suggestions about whether it will work in a countertop oven. The one at my office is really a glorified toaster oven and too small to accomodate a 3 qt casserole. But even if it were big enough, I'd be worried that I could not get it hot enough, as the actual heat output seems to be less than the temperature settings. But perhaps your office has a better appliance than mine.

                                                                2. In the '80s I made a Pillsbury no-knead/beaten bread from their little pamphlet of the time. Does anyone know if Bittman's recipe is substantially different?

                                                                  I lost the recipe and can't find it but I did do some modifications I kind of remember and want to make again.

                                                                  Thanks.

                                                                  1. For No-Knead Bread, I believe baking at 500-F is responsible for a thick, dark or burned bottom crust. 450-F works fine. Use a parchment paper sling to prevent sticking and to easily add risen dough to dutch oven.
                                                                    .
                                                                    I made a loaf of this bread yesterday in a 5-qt dutch oven that turned out perfectly. Here's how I did it.
                                                                    .
                                                                    I prepared the recipe by weights instead of volume. Those are listed below. I used half AP flour and half bread flour. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of diastatic malt powder.
                                                                    After a 12 hour rise, I emptied the dough onto a 12 x 16 inch sheet of parchment paper, dusted with flour. An oiled plastic dough scraper helps with this.
                                                                    Did 2 stretch and folds, formed the dough into a ball, placed it back on the parchment paper.
                                                                    Placed the parchment and dough ball in a mixing bowl to rise and covered it for 2 hours.
                                                                    Pre-heated the oven to 450-F with a 5-qt Lodge Black Cast Iron Dutch Oven (not enameled) on the shelf, with the lid off, beside it.
                                                                    I pre-heated the dutch oven for 1/2 hour then added the parchment paper sling with the risen dough to the dutch oven and covered it.
                                                                    Baked covered for 1/2 hour. Removed lid and baked 10 more minutes. Center of loaf reached 205-F. Removed from oven. Removed loaf from dutch oven immediately. The loaf was a perfect golden brown top and bottom.
                                                                    .
                                                                    .
                                                                    No-Knead Bread (original recipe).
                                                                    By MARK BITTMAN
                                                                    Published: November 8, 2006
                                                                    .
                                                                    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/din...
                                                                    .
                                                                    .
                                                                    No Kneading, but Some Fine-Tuning (updated info).
                                                                    By MARK BITTMAN
                                                                    Published: December 6, 2006
                                                                    .
                                                                    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/06/din...
                                                                    .
                                                                    .
                                                                    No Knead Bread Ingredient weights
                                                                    .
                                                                    3 cups (430g) all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
                                                                    1 1/2 cups (345g or 12oz) water
                                                                    1/4 teaspoon (1g) yeast
                                                                    1 1/2 teaspoons (8g) salt
                                                                    .
                                                                    .
                                                                    Baker's Percentage (I calculated for above recipe).
                                                                    100% all-purpose or bread flour
                                                                    80% water
                                                                    0.23% instant yeast
                                                                    1.86% salt
                                                                    .
                                                                    .

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Antilope

                                                                      I bake for the same amount of time, covered and uncovered. I don't like the crust too dark. For the final rest, I put the parchment w/ dough into a colander. I'd read in Best Recipe that the air helps the dough rise. I'm not sure how much difference it makes in this case but it works fine.

                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                        I don't like the current trend of dark - almost burned crust in artisan breads. Give me a crusty golden brown also.
                                                                        .
                                                                        Using a colander for the final proof sounds like a good idea.
                                                                        .
                                                                        I am very happy with the crust. I wish someone had a method to preserve a great crust in storage. But once you place it in a plastic bag or airtight holder, the crunch is soon gone. About the only way I've found is good for about 24 hours. Just leave the loaf out, with the cut end down on the kitchen counter.

                                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                                          I do the cut side down on a cutting board. It's small enough of a loaf for my family that we rarely have leftovers. If someone ever created a crust saver, they'd be millionaires. I'd pay for maintaining crusts on quick bread/ muffins!

                                                                    2. I have made the recipe using an old griswold cast iron dutch oven pot. Works great.

                                                                      Any thoughts on the viability of using a similarly-shaped heavy-duty aluminum pot?

                                                                      I have an old Club Aluminum pot that looks like my dutch oven. Even though it's "heavy duty", the aluminum is much lighter than cast iron. I'm wondering how it would work in terms of the kind of heat-conducting environment it would offer compared to the cast iron.

                                                                      I'm also wondering if the black little knobby handle can withstand 450 degrees. I'm not sure what it's made of.

                                                                      I also have old Club Aluminum roaster pan (oval shaped) with a glass lid. I'm wondering if the glass lid can withstand the heat. It seems like pyrex but there will be no food making contact with it. It will be directly exposed to the dry heat.

                                                                      I'm also wondering if the heat will discolor the aluminum or the glass in any way.

                                                                      Thanks for sharing any thoughts on this.

                                                                      Cheers.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Mr. Pooh

                                                                        The idea of baking bread in a heavy, sealed pot is:

                                                                        1. Trap the steam that comes from the dough to encourage a crispy, crunchy crust.

                                                                        2. The mass of the pot is heated and it retains heat and transfers it to the dough, encouraging oven spring, similar to a baking stone.

                                                                        No reason a heavy aluminum pot wouldn't work. If it has a color outside coating, that might discolor at the high temperatures needed by no-knead bread.

                                                                        Amazon sells metal replacement knobs for dutch ovens. Those old plastic or bakelite knobs will at least smell and maybe melt above 400-F.

                                                                        I wouldn't subject pyrex glass in an oven to thermal shocks (sudden changes in temperature) or extreme temperatures.

                                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                                          Thanks so much for your explanation about the idea behind the cooking method, and for your suggestions!

                                                                          I think I'll stick with my cast iron, or consider finding a replacement knob for the aluminum pot and try that.

                                                                          The aluminum pots that I have are without any coating. Just thick aluminum with a smooth interior surface and a "hammered" exterior.

                                                                          Cheers.

                                                                          1. re: Antilope

                                                                            Ant:you never cease to amaze me-you're duh bom :)

                                                                        2. I found a way to get some height from no knead bread. Use an old stainless steel mixing bowl. About a 4-qt or 5-qt size. Oil or grease the inside. Let the no knead dough rise in the bowl and then bake in it without disturbing the dough. The thin walls let the heat through, making a crisp crust without a dutch oven or baking stone. The mixing bowl is acting as a round loaf pan, supporting the slack dough. Since you don't disturb the risen dough and it is supported, it forms a nice, high boule.
                                                                          .
                                                                          You could add an oven proof lid. Usually some old pan lid will fit the bowl perfectly. Then you have a dutch oven. The lid is also useful for covering the dough while rising to prevent drying out.
                                                                          .
                                                                          Don't use a good mixing bowl because it will end up with some brown varnish discoloring or even a little rainbow coloring of the metal from the heat. Walmart sells inexpensive stainless mixing bowls.
                                                                          .
                                                                          Sometimes it sticks a little. I use some kind of cooking spray and usually sticking isn't bad. Running an old butter knife around the edge usually releases the bread. I haven't tried the baking grease formula (the shortening, flour, oil one), it might prevent any sticking.