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Found the perfect pot for the no-knead bread!

After my first attempt at the Bittman-Lahey bread turned out flat (but delish), I decided I needed a better pot. I had used an 8.5 quart heavy-duty stainless steel dutch oven and wanted something smaller (and better at retaining heat). I saw that several folks had used a 4.5 quart Le Creuset, so I was on the hunt for something similar... but cheaper. :)

I had seen in the Ikea catalog that they now carry a line of cast iron pots with enamel on the outside. So with my next batch of dough in its second rise, off I went to Ikea (on a Saturday morning!) and I picked up the round, 3-quart dutch oven.

I was worried that my dough was a bit wider than the pot. When I turned the dough into the hot pot, it was lopsided in the pot. Gave it a quick shake as per recipe and popped it back into the oven. 30 minutes later, I took the lid off and there was a tall, glorious golden brown boule. Another 10 minutes and out it came.

The final boule was 4 inches high, 6 inches on the base, 8 inches across at its widest point and perfectly shaped. So to those who have been wondering, yes a smaller pot makes for a taller boule.

The Ikea pot is now my official bread machine. It sells for $69 Canadian. I imagine it is probably around $55 in the U.S.

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  1. is it just me, or do we need a whole new board devoted to just no knead bread? seems to be a favorite topic.. i haven't made it yet, i'm planning on trying it tomorrow

    1. I used a Lodge 10-1/4" cast iron chicken fryer with lid and it worked out perfectly. I think this pan sells new for around 40 bucks, though mine's been in the family for generations.

      1. Sorry to bother you, but I missed the no knead bread recipe on NYT, do you think you post the recipe?

        1 Reply
        1. re: sweetie

          The article is no longer available for free, but the recipe is:


          I'm not sure if you need to be registered to see the recipe or not (I am, so can't tell).

        2. Can't you get it by searching for Bittman no knead bread? Or on the archives of the NYT?

          1 Reply
          1. re: oakjoan

            It's no longer available on the NYT site unless you have subscribed. But if you google Lahey Bittman Bread you will come up with many blogs that have the recipe. In particular, The Wednesday Chef's version, found at http://wednesdaychef.typepad.com/the_...

            I had better luck using 1-1/2 C water, 2 tsp salt, a little more than three cups of flour, and 1/4 tsp yeast.

          2. thank you everyone I googled and got the Wednesday Chef site

            1. My friend's le crueset black plastic handle on top of her enameled pan cracked and sort of imploded while making this bread at 450.

              Lodge heavy cast iron "dutch oven" worked well $44. from Sur la table.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Annabelicious

                I have a Lodge 6qt enamel , worked great, I also put foil around lid knob to protect it from the heat. Also used 450 degrees instead of 500.

              2. Tried two pots. One a Le Crueset enameled pot, about 12 inches diameter. Great result. The other, a pottery casserole, maybe ten inches in diameter with sloping sides at the bottom. EVEN BETTER!

                I've been making a loaf a day for the last several days, bringing to various holiday events, to rave reviews.

                I hadn't baked bread for over 20 years. What a rennaissance!

                1. About a month after the original Bittman article, he published another article with variations on the recipe and tweaks to it. Here's the link to it: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/06/din...

                  This second article links to the original article, the recipe and a video about it.

                  I got a lot out of all of these. I don't know if you need to subscribe to the New York Times site to access these, but at any rate, that's free and you have access to their entire archives then.

                  As far as pans go, I was using a Le Creuset pan and my bread was burning on the bottom. I switched to a cast aluminum dutch oven and turned the heat down a bit and it turned out great. Probably it was the small reduction in heat that made the difference, but at any rate, I don't think you need a fancy pot. Someone I know has been making good bread with the recipe with a covered pyrex pan. So even though I love an excuse to buy a great new pot, don't feel like you need to.