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Nov 22, 2007 09:54 AM

No-Knead Bread 2.0

The January 2008 issue of Cook's Illustrated has an article about improving the technique for making this already incredible bread even better. Link below:

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  1. Can you summarize it for people who aren't members? Thanks!

    7 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      The site offers you a free trial membership for 14 days.

      1. re: Bob Brooks

        Without regard to free trial anything, the changes sum up like this:

        Beer instead of water (substitute in part or perhaps in whole) to provide a somewhat yeastier taste.

        Add a dash (maybe a teaspoon/tablespoon) of white vinegar, to get a more natural flavor (I don't intend to do this ... although the magazine called the no-knead bread "bland," I find the flavor magnificent)

        Slightly (VERY slightly) less moist.

        Before the last rise, knead maybe 15 times.

        No towel under the bread - instead, a "cradle" of parchment (cut so that it won't exceed the diameter of the cooking vessel on all sides ... 2 sides is probably OK). Transfer the dough to the vessel using this cradle of parchment and set it, parchment and all, in the pot, covering with a lid as usual. This allows less deflation during the transfer.


        1. re: wayne keyser

          Thanks! The beer sounds good (hmmm, is it worth a good bottle of beer?). I agree w/ you on the vinegar and flavor. Adding more salt made a big difference already. I've done the parchment paper part and have found it easy to transfer the bread. I also put the dough on the parchment on the stove when the oven is heating and get a good final part of the rise. The only problem is the bread takes the shape of the parchment in the pot so it's a little crinkle and not a smooth boule shape (I use a pyrex casserole dish). I'll skip the 15 kneads, though--this is "no knead" bread!

          1. re: chowser

            that's funny, I wouldn't have thought about the crinkle effect (btw, did you try the rolls yesterday? how did they turn out?)

            1. re: alex8alot

              If I could smooth the parchment when it goes in, it wouldn't matter but it folds in and makes large creases. It doesn't affect the taste, obviously, but does make it harder to cut.

              The rolls were great--thanks! I rolled them into balls in a buttered pan, realized I didn't have enough so I had to cut them in half and reroll them. It made little rolls which was perfect since there's always way too much food for Thanksgiving. I did mis-time them and they were slightly overcooked. Not a problem since I reheated them today and everyone ate them hot but I wonder if they'll be like rocks tomorrow.

          2. re: wayne keyser

            Thanks for the info! I was just about to make some bread, and there was only a can of Young's Double Chocolate Stout in the, Me and the bread, we split the beer happily. I completely substituted the beer for the water in the mixture.
            I was a bit worried when after 12 hours, the dough still seem quite of dense. There weren't the usual bubbles even after 18 hours.
            Nevertheless, I divided the dough into smaller rolls and after 2nd rising baked them the normal way. They came out in beautiful dark brown color, and of course, the aroma of the rich double chocolate stout.

            I suppose then I might make Guinness rolls next!

            1. re: HLing

              The video on the Cook's Illustrated sight advises an American Pilsner as bringing the appropriate yeasts and related flavors for a bread. It looked like they were using a coor's light :). So I guess the natural question now is what's the bread-est beer in the house.