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No Knead Bread a bit doughy

I have made this bread 4 times so far and love the taste. We
make it in a 4 qt dutch oven. So far we have experienced
a rather doughy interior to the bread, no matter what kind of
flour we use,i.e. bread, whole wheat and bread flour combination.
The problem sometimes clears up as the bread ages.

I have measured the temperature of the bread when done with a
digital thermometer and found the interior to be 200 to 210
degrees. I am wondering if cutting some slits in the top of
the dough when it going in the oven would help with this.
Has anyone else experienced this problem?

lilbug

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  1. did you cut it before it had completely cooled? I made for the first time this weekend and was totally thrilled with the result, I made on Saturday but didn't even cut into the loaf until Sunday morning.
    I honestly did not check the interior temperature (I never do). We also inadvertently had an almost 4 hour "2nd rise" due to getting waylaid running errands - didn't hurt it a bit. With other methods I have had this totally deflate the rise, but this seemed to make more air bubbles and even crispier crust. mine also split at the top, looked just like a fancy artisan loaf when I popped it out of my LC oval oven.

    1. I always let the bread cool down completely before
      cutting into it.

      1. Yes, I have had the same problem. I have only made the bread twice. The first time, I made it exactly as per the directions. I found that perhaps my oven runs a little bit too hot as when I took the top off of the dutch oven, the crust was already beginning to burn. I only kept it in for about 10-15 minutes more. I concluded that my bread needed to cook at a lower temperature. For my second attempt, I thought I would try something different. I wanted to see how the bread would do as a regular, slicing type of loaf. I did the first rising by the book, but did the second rise in a loaf pan. No preheating of the pan or anything. I didn't want a crunchy crust for this one. I pre-heated the oven about 50 degrees cooler than the first attempt and put the loaf in. Again, I got some burning on the crust, but not so bad as the first time. I don't remember how long I ended up baking it, but it was definitely longer than the first time. Also, I reasoned that in a loaf, the bread might cook faster. The loaf also came out a bit doughy.

        I am not complaining though, as I live alone and just don't go through bread very fast. The wetter loaf seems to keep longer than a properly cooked one.

        4 Replies
        1. re: hilltowner

          Your experience sounds similar to mine. I find the crust well-browned by the time I take the lid off the Le Creuset, and the bread is usually flat. Last time, when I took it out of the oven it also had some tiny blisters all over the surface. I saw on Baking911.com (great site btw) that that could be the result of too-high heat.

          My next loaf is due to go into the oven this afternoon. This time I've reduced the water (maybe now I can get an actual seam instead of a blob), and will also cook the bread at slightly lower heat.

          1. re: Kagey

            I have not had this problem at all. My bread is not browned at all when I take the lid off. Admittedly, I am using a stainless steel pot because I don't have a cast iron one like the Le Creuset. But I am ending up with the doughy texture despite a baking time of nearly an hour total.

            1. re: Kagey

              This was also my experience on my first loaf (burning on the top.) I have since reduced the oven temperature to 425 (I think my oven runs a bit hotter than the temperature knob says, but my digital thermometer doesn't go high enough to check this) and I have cut the uncovered bake time to 10 minutes max, and my most recent loaf turned out just about perfect. I'm baking mine in a 6qt enameled dutch oven.

              1. re: Vexorg

                I too have had success by lowering the temperature to 425. When I baked at 450 I was getting crusts that were burned on the bottom, or doughy crumb if I tried reducing the bake time. Using a lower temperature seemed to fix the problem.

          2. Interesting that you say you tried it in loaf pans. I did too. I have
            some Lodge cast iron loaf pans. Split a batch of dough, baked covered
            with aluminum foil. Worked out ok, but still a little doughy even though
            there was less dough to bake. I have been cutting back on the water too.
            One and one half cups.

            1. I think the pot you are using is too small.

              9 Replies
              1. re: Felixnot

                That's what I was going to speculate. I'm using an 8qt. By the time mine is done it has risen well and generated a good deal of space between the crust and the sides of the pot so that it's hot air and not direct contact with hot metal that's doing the cooking. I think that's very important.

                I'm baking my bread on my gas BBQ (no oven). I did my first one in contact with a hot tile. The bottom crust burned but the bread, happily, was fine with the bottom crust cut off. When I elevated the pot to have an airspace beneath it, the bottom crust was much improved and I think that supports the idea that it's the hot air that crucial.

                1. re: rainey

                  I discovered that my Dutch oven has only a capacity of about 3 quarts,
                  so I guess I need to upgrade my cookware. Would a 5 Qt Lodge " Kitchen "
                  Dutch oven be large enough or should I figure on getting a 7 quart
                  version?

                  1. re: Lilbug

                    I've only used the 7 qt creuset pot. I use that pot a lot, of course I also use my 5 qt a lot too, but I think having a bigger pot will let the air circulate around it better.

                    1. re: Lilbug

                      I use the 5 qt Lodge and it works great. Going in the oven in 1 hr.

                      1. re: ibew292

                        Does your Lodge have a glass cover? I just saw one that did. I have been using my 5 qt le creuset (with excellent results,) but want to use a pot I'm less fussy about. Thought the Lodge would fit the bill, but the glass top (with plastic handle) makes me nervous.

                        1. re: mirage

                          I have an entirely cast iron Lodge pot I got from Amazon for 29.99 (and free shipping!). It works great for this bread, and I don't worry about the plastic handles and enamel of my Le creuset

                          1. re: DGresh

                            (slaps forehead) What a dope! Sometimes I wonder how I function! Anyway, I ordered my new Lodge pot! Thank you.

                            1. re: mirage

                              You will be happy with the results.

                      2. re: Lilbug

                        I've actually found no signifcant difference in loaf size or shape between baking in a 3qt and 6qt Dutch Oven (although I stick mostly to the 6qt now, since it's the one I've removed the plastic handles from.)