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Dec 28, 2007 08:40 AM

cooks Illustrated almost no knead bread - anyone else tried?

When Mark Bittman posted Sullivan Street Bakery's recipe for no knead bread the chowhound board lit up with responses. I got on the bandwagon and made the bread several times. It always looked great and the crust was indeed a thing of beauty. However, I found the bread itself too wet and not particularly flavorful. This last weekend I followed the Cooks Illustrated variation on the original recipe which calls for the addition of lager and 15 seconds of kneading. The results were superior, with the beer adding a sourdough flavour that I liked. The bread was also not nearly as wet. Would love to hear of other results with the new or even old method.

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  1. I made the cooks illustrated version, using one tablespoon of white vinegar and half a cup of beer with a cup of water. It does have a certain flavor to it that the original bread doesn't have. I think it's an improvement. I like the steel cut oats version of the MB bread, using half a cup of steel cut oats, half a cup of whole wheat and the rest AP flour. I'm going to try that with the CI ingredients and see what happens!

    2 Replies
    1. re: knitterbetty

      Do you mean cooked steel cut oats, or uncooked? (I'm assuming you mean cooked.)

      1. re: anzu

        The steel cut oats are not cooked. Easy to add, and they do lend a lovely chewiness to the no knead bread.

    2. I'm looking forward to trying it. How long did you let it rise? I think it said from 8-18 hrs., which is a pretty big window.

      3 Replies
      1. re: bear

        I let it rise for the full 18 hours ( I'm obssessional), but I get the feeling it doesn't matter too much in spite of the big window of time recommended. I put it together one evening and let it rise overnight, so the rising time doesn't feel like a big deal. Let us know what you think of the final product.

        1. re: Judith Gorman

          I made it and loved it! I actually blogged about it:

          I need to make another loaf, but I am all wrapped up in Bread Baker's Apprentice right now.


          1. re: Becca Porter

            Those photos are great, I will try it soon.

      2. After finally locating the 6.5 Q Tramontina Dutch Oven - I made the bread - despite the fact that I think I did not measure the liquids properly (a little too much), it turned out really well - nice crust and great flavor. Mine was a little squat in shape but I think this next batch will be better. This is an unbelievably easy recipe - great for new bread bakers and those that are put off by complicated processes. Next, I'm on to the variations!

        1 Reply
        1. re: 1gardenmom

          This is a bread that is very forgiving. If your pot is a little big, your loaf may spread out a bit more than if it is contained in a smaller space. I put a circle of parchment paper the size of the pot bottom, let the bread rise on that and then just plop it in the pot. It peels off easily when the bread is done. Sometimes if you feel it's really wet, you just add some more flour so you can shape it when you are ready for that step.

        2. I made this yesterday and it was easy and impressive! I think I'll try the steel cut oat version next. Is there anything I need to know about it other than the measurements given by knitterbetty?

          1. The Cooks Illustrated Almost No-Knead Bread recipe is up on the free part of the site right now. I don't know how long it will be there, so take a look now. I make it (with variations) nearly every week. On the topic of storage (someone posted a question about it at some point); I keep it in the dutch oven I baked it in. Not that is stays around long. Yum!