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No knead bread? What's the point?

I've heard a lot about no knead bread, but what I haven't heard is why someone would make this over regular bread. Is it out of laziness, or are there significant differences between the two that make no knead bread interesting in and of its own right?

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  1. I have been a bread maker for 40 years (really, really old). I do my own puff pastry and croissants and make my own hamburger buns. Laziness is not a factor.

    You have to think ahead to make this --- I let it sit for over 24 hours. It is the best artisian bread I have found.

    29 Replies
    1. re: dutchdot

      That is a great testimony. I was a baker more than 40 years ago. Can you share your recipe (yes, I know recipies abound)?

      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        No-Knead Bread

        3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting (I used 1 c whole wheat as a part of the total)
        ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
        1¼ teaspoons salt
        Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
        1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
        2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
        3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
        4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack. Yield: One 1 ½ pound loaf.

        1. re: sarah galvin

          Fantastic! Thanks, Sarah. I'll start this on Monday when I get back from camping... I'm greatly looking forward to it!

          1. re: sarah galvin

            sarah, just how big a bowl would you recommend? I have a couple of big bowls (glass and aluminum) but I kind of think I don't have a LARGE bowl.

            I imagine you need something in which the dough can more than double in size.

            1. re: cuccubear

              It doesn't take an overly huge bowl. It can rise above the rim. You could always use a large pot, something like a dutch oven. I find the flavour on this very nice and complex. I think the longer rising time helps to develop the flavour. I used a LARGE bowl and it was way larger than necessary. Remember that the final size is the diameter of a Dutch oven and about 6 inches high.

            2. re: sarah galvin

              America's Test Kitchen had a show where they improved the rise and flavor of the no knead bread, by adding some beer and kneading it just a little. If you go to the website the recipe is there and free. All You have to do is register. It's called "Almost no knead bread" and they have a few variations. They have some other helpful hints about making this bread as well.

              1. re: danhole

                I'm making this for dinner tonight. Will report back with results.

                DT

                1. re: Davwud

                  The bread making process takes about 12-22 hours in total depending on how long you let the dough rise, so unless you've started the dough rising at 4am, it won't be ready for dinner tonight.

                  Also, the 2 hour proofing tends to be incompatible with 9 to 5 work schedules, so if that's your thing it's best to make it on the weekend... let it rise overnight, bake it in the morning, and you have freshly baked bread for lunch (or dinner, depending on your timing)

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    It says to let it proof for 8 - 18 hours. I started it at 10 pm last night.

                    DT

                    1. re: Davwud

                      Just a point of clarification... the proofing is the final 2 hour rise after kneading and before baking, not the initial 8-18 hour rise.

                      As long as your job doesn't prevent you from coming home at 4pm to knead and proof your bread, you'll be good to go!

                      Please report back.... the first time results are a wonderous thing. My wife and I just stared at ours for a good 15 minutes, listening to the crust crackle as it settled. Glorious!

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        It looks good. It's not crackling but it doesn't seem to be cooked at as high a temperature. I keep putting my hands on it to see if it's still too warm to cut into. Of course, thump, thump, thump, every time I look at it.

                        I was expecting it to be bigger. My boning knife is next to it for reference.

                        DT

                         
                        1. re: Davwud

                          That looks pretty beautiful... I can't tell the height from this photo, however. I have had very tall loaves and very slim ones... not sure why the difference, but even the less beautiful ones have tasted wonderful.

                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            Tastes great. Excellent crust and good chew.

                            DT

                            1. re: Davwud

                              Here's a buttered cross section.

                              DT

                               
                              1. re: Davwud

                                That looks exactly right.... about average height in my experience of baking perhaps 20+ loaves.

                                Can anyone with baking expertise chime in on how kneading/temperature, etc. contribute to a higher or lower rise?

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                  I thought about putting it in the oven with the oven light on. My kitchen is about 72*

                                  DT

                                  1. re: Davwud

                                    It might rise too fast there. You want a nice slow rise. That's what develops your flavor best.

                              2. re: Davwud

                                DT,

                                Did you use the ATK method or the original?

                                Dani

                                1. re: danhole

                                  ATK.

                                  Just made another loaf and it was even better.

                                  DT

                2. re: sarah galvin

                  OK I'm in the process of making this bread and just realized that I don't have a ceramic, cast iron or pyrex pot that is 6-8 qts. with lid. I have a 5 qt. stainless steel pot with a lid or I have a 6 qt. ceramic bowl with no lid. Can I use stainless steel?

                  I'm going to the kitchen now to put the dough in the floured cotton towel.

                  1. re: worktime

                    First let me clarify that I make the Cooks Illustrated modification of the recipe which does not mention ceramic as a potential baking vessel.

                    But to answer your question re stainless steel... No no no!!!!!! Do NOT use stainless steel or you will wind up setting your kitchen on fire (unless it is is a clad vessel with a thick aluminum core... that might work). Stainless steel by itself is an *extremely* poor conductor of heat and at 500 degrees it will burn the bread in minutes (if not less).

                    This recipe relies on HEAVY cookware, of a thick gauge, made from material that heats evenly (ideally cast iron), at EXTREMELY high temperatures with a tight fitting lid. If you don't have this equipment, there's no point in making this recipe because you won't get the beautiful, artisinal type crust that is the whole point of this recipe. (Lucky for you, Le Creuset is having a 25-35% off sale at their outlet stores in September! I got a beautiful 7.25 quart round french oven second for about $130 during a recent 40% off sale.)

                    The science behind it is that the high heat and lid initially steams the bread, which is what is responsible for creating the beautiful, golden, mottled crust that professional bakers get from their steam injected ovens.

                    Mr Taster

                    1. re: worktime

                      I would suggest using the ceramic bowl, as long as it's oven-proof at 500F, and covering it with foil.

                      1. re: Full tummy

                        Well @#$%! I didn't know or understand I guess.
                        So now I have a mound of dough rising on my counter. Should I put it in the ceramic and cover with aluminum foil? What happens if the pan isn't big enough? It's 5 qt. not the 6 I originally thought. Could I just cook it with out a lid? I have a cast iron fry pan, it's big probably 14" or so but again no lid and it would be flat, like foccacia. Or should I just give it up??

                        1. re: worktime

                          It's the enclosed environment (ie with lid, super-heated steam, etc) that promotes a great crust.

                          If you have a baking stone, put the dough on that and put your stainless steel pot upside-down on top of it (both preaheated to 500F) If you can create a tight seal with foil, then try that. Or just try it in your stainless steel pot. If not, just bake it off as usual in whatever baking pans you have. It will still taste better than fast risen bread.

                          1. re: fmed

                            Or use the ceramic casserole with a baking stone on top of it, but I think the foil should be o.k., as long as it's tightly wrapped.

                          2. re: worktime

                            I've used smaller containers and it worked fine--I actually got a bigger rise. Do you have anything like a terracotta pot/planter base? You could turn the ceramic pan over it and use that. You need an enclosed container.

                            1. re: worktime

                              This thread might help. It gives a lot of good options, including Father Kitchen's about using steam, as you would regular bread.

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/505121

                              1. re: chowser

                                Ok, I think I will either try putting it in the ceramic bowl, it's amixinf bowl, and cover with aluminum foil or parchment and then a lid or I could put it in my cast iron skillet with no lid and put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven for steam.

                                The terracotta saucer idea is interesting but I'm reluctant to get one from the storage area under my deck where's it's been sitting for years, scrubbing the dirt and bugs out of it and then putting the dough on it. eeeewww!

                  2. I've been baking for years, and I have to agree that the loaf this method produces is simply great. There is no laziness factor at all, since a KitchenAid mixer takes the grunt out of traditionally kneaded bread anyway. It's really all about the texture and the perfect crust.
                    Given that artisan breads now sell for upwards of $4 per loaf, this method not only produces a loaf as good or better than what is being sold, the cost savings is tremendous. It is such a minimal fuss to make that I do at least three small loaves a week so I always have fresh bread.
                    A slice of this bread also makes the most astoundingly crunchy toast you can imagine..

                    1. I use the almost no-knead method because I'm NOT a baker; can't tell you how many failures I've had possibly because of over- or under-kneading or handling. The method I use now is fail-proof and the results are guaranteed delicious. Aside from using the bread machine, it's brought fresh, artisinal bread back in my life.

                      1. The NKB allows a novice to make a loaf that has a wonderful crust and large crumb and has artisian qualities that you just don't find in oour supermarket's bakery. It's easy to do and just takes some planning ahead since the rest time is so long.

                        1. No knead bread puts bread that rivals artisinal bread in the hands of any one that is willing to try to bake with stellar results the first time out.

                          1. What's the best recipe you guys have found (that preferably doesn't involve a CI pot as I heard it might damage)?

                            I've made the foccacia, which was alright, but my favorite was the non-nkb ciabatta I made a while back.

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: Soop

                              I assume your "CI" reference is meant to be "Le Creuset"? If so, the only thing you need do is unscrew the knob and replace it with a piece of aluminum foil (I roll one up like a long, very thin cigarette, thread it through the hole, and bunch it up so it stays and it can provide a handle).

                              1. re: Karl S

                                Go to a Home Depot or something like that. Get a metal drawer knob or something like that and use it instead of the plastic one.

                                DT

                                1. re: Karl S

                                  Or you can order a Le Creuset metal knob from Amazon for about ten bucks. They qualify for free shipping as long as you spend $24 and I never have any trouble finding another book on Amazon to make up the difference.

                                  1. re: Fritter

                                    Or pay $4.95 at Home Depot.

                                    Your choice.

                                    DT

                                    1. re: Davwud

                                      Home depot does not carry LeCreuset knobs. Considering my pot would be over $200 to replace I'll gladly pay the extra five bucks for a SS knob with a screw designed to fit the lid properly.

                                      1. re: Davwud

                                        Since I'm doing NKB for the first time today, I visited my local HD and picked up a nice, decorative drawer pull knob and plan on installing it. It looks nicer than the knob currently and I'll probably keep it. It's made of brass and is powder coated.

                                        Will report any findings.

                                        $2.95 + tax.

                                        DT

                                    2. re: Karl S

                                      I have a generic Le Creuset knock off not really sure who makes it, making the bread in this cracked the enamel lining. Maybe genuine LC can handle this heat, anything else be careful. I use one of those horrible 1970's corningware casserole dishes like you can find at any thrift store. They work perfectly for this and make a great shaped bread.

                                    3. re: Soop

                                      ???? scratching head here---why would the knob be damaged in doing NKB in it? My recollection is that LC is up to 500 --- my NKB isn't that high, heck my oven doesn't go that high. . . .

                                      1. re: jenn

                                        No, the traditional phenolic knobs start to soften over 375F. What suffers first is the fine threading inside into which the screw is inserted. No disaster, but something you can easily avoid with preparation.

                                        1. re: jenn

                                          The Bittman recipe calls for a temp of 500-515. Many home ovens should go to 550.
                                          Either way that's well past the temperature a phenolic LC knob should be exposed to. IIR LC does not approve of temps in excess of 375 but after using my LC for NKB many times I have found no ill side effects save for a slight interior discoloration.

                                            1. re: Soop

                                              I've made hundreds of NKB at 500 degrees with no ill effects other than a slight interior discoloration. Many other CH's have reported the same. The only high temp issue I see with LC based on my experience is the knob that can be replaced or you can just use an aluminum foil plug as others mentioned. If you look closely that is how it's being done in a LC in the Bittman video.

                                          1. re: jenn

                                            I agree jenn. I have NEVER taken the knob off my Le Creuset while baking NKB and have never had any problem. Perhaps these are newer models that have knobs made up of a different, less heat-resistant material.

                                            I've made NKB scores of times.

                                        2. There are a few different versions of this bread. All sit for a while and develop flavor as they do. The 5-minute-a-day version allows you to have dough sitting in your fridge for 1 - 2 weeks. So you can pull out a blob of dough shortly before dinner and have a good flavored crusty loaf on the table. That's why I like it. Good flavored bread on short notice,

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: karykat

                                            I haven't done the Bittman recipe but this is exactly why I love the 5-Minute-A-Day. All my other good bread recipes require making a sponge the night before plus being at home so I can tend to the dough and bake it. Basically it requires advance planning and large block of time.

                                            5 Min A Day requires no planning. You can mix a bucket of dough on Sunday in 15 minutes and then for two weeks (it won't last that long), crank out a fresh and tasty loaf of bread with 90 minutes' notice whenever you want.

                                            1. re: jzerocsk

                                              You have a recipe for this somewhere??

                                              DT

                                          2. I'm GF so we make most of our bread. I make all kinds of yeast-free, no knead bread. We had beet/carrot/ginger bread for breakfast this morning. I also make Zucchini/tahini bread, banana bread, banana split bread, and many others. It's quicker, easier for me and we like it.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: lgss

                                              The OP is referring to no-knead yeast bread, not to quick breads. Saving time is not the issue; these breads have very long, slow rising times that develop flavor.

                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                  Maybe gluten free? I don't know either...just guesing.

                                                  1. re: Boudleaux

                                                    Yes, gluten-free (no wheat, oats, barley, rye, spelt, triticale).

                                                    1. re: lgss

                                                      Any chance that you might share your beet/carrot/ginger and zucchini/tahini bread recipes?
                                                      I have a tough time digesting wheat & yeast, but am not entirely GF - I tend to use spelt or other alternative grains/flours in my breads. Your descriptions sound enticing... I'd love to try them out!
                                                      Thanks!

                                                      1. re: jdubboston

                                                        Wow, sorry it took me so long to see this. The beet/carrot/ginger bread is because the High Fiber Carrot Bread recipe in Bette Hagman's The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread calls for carrot pulp and we had had carrot/beet/ginger juice and I just used the pulp from that. The Zucchini/Tahini Bread is a de-glutenized adaptation from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson.

                                              1. Why don't you try it and then let us know what you think?

                                                Personally, I love the stuff. Laziness is a factor for me, as is I'm baking-challenged. This is a straight forward method to really good bread.

                                                1. Thanks, everyone, for enlightening me. I'm now incredibly intrigued. I'm away for the next while, but when I get back home, I think that I will most certainly give NKB a go. Any recipes in particular that you would suggest?

                                                  20 Replies
                                                  1. re: vorpal

                                                    Zucchini Tahini Bread, Banana Split Bread, and Three Seed Bread are from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. Yam Pecan Cranberry Loaf from ExtraVeganZa by Laura Matthias has been a hit with family members who are neither vegan nor gluten-free. I adjust the recipes to make them gluten-free. Most of the others I make are from Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread by Bette Hagman, those I tweak to make them vegan.

                                                    1. re: vorpal

                                                      I've tried different variations, including a few of the Artisan bread in 5 minutes, but always end up back to the original:

                                                      http://wednesdaychef.typepad.com/the_...

                                                      I don't like the brioche artisan bread in 5 minutes as much as a regular brioche but that's simple enough to make w/ a stand mixer.

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        Funny, I did both Artisan Bread in 5 mins. a day and also Lahey's NKB recipe. I think AB in 5 mins a day has a slight edge. Lahey's had a lovely crumb but the crust was not as hard as I like... whereas AB's was. Also, I found the AB recipe easier to work worth.

                                                        I used Wednesday Chef's tutorial also. Nice piece she wrote.

                                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                                          I kind of felt the opposite. I liked Lahey's a bit better: better crumb inside and crust plenty crunchy for me. But I really like the 5-minutes-a-day because I can make up a big batch and have a small loaf of freshly made bread every night. (We especially do this in the fall and winter when we don't mind heating up the kitchen every night.)

                                                          1. re: karykat

                                                            I thought about this question a bit more. I liked the Lahey bread a little bit more. And I could start a new batch every few days so I always had fresh Lahey bread. But the problem for me was that it made a big loaf. Too big for our small household. And I just loved the stuff as a substrate for really great unsalted butter. So I was eating way too much butter!!! The 5-minute bread is really good and because you store the dough in the fridge (up to a week, optimally and you can freeze the dough after that), we could make a small loaf every night to go with whatever we were having. Very good small loaves of bread, very easy to make.

                                                        2. re: chowser

                                                          "If you all aren't running home to buy instant yeast (not that stuff that comes in little packets, that's not instant) "

                                                          What? What does she mean?

                                                          1. re: Soop

                                                            I didn't read the top part, just the directions below and didn't see that. I wonder if she realizes you can buy instant/rapid rise/bread yeast in little packets. But, the recipe works with regular active yeast, anyway.

                                                            1. re: Soop

                                                              You can buy instant yeast in the little packets and also in a jar. It is sold the same as the regular yeast. I think it is finer grained. Ignore her, I say.

                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                  Oh, I see. I just did a little research and they say instant and regular can be used interchangeably. Instant doesn't require the first rising. Don't know exactly how this equates to this recipe.

                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                    Sam, next time you are in DC, let me know. I'll get a vacuum pack of it for about five bucks from Costco--Walmart may have it--and you will hav yeast for years. In any case, regular yeast works just fine with these long-rise recipes. But it is insane to pay the price they ask for envelopes of even jars. We store ours in the freezer. The purported shelf life is two years, but an anecdotal report says one lady took 13 years to use hers up, and it was good to the last loaf.

                                                                2. re: Soop

                                                                  Instant and rapid rise are both forms of dry yeast. All forms of dry yeast come in packets and jars AFAIK.
                                                                  Dry yeast is available in active dry, Instant and rapid rise.
                                                                  Active Dry yeast needs to be activated and it's a very fine yeast. It is a different strain of yeast than rapid rise or instant.
                                                                  Rapid rise (Names depend on the brand. Rapid rise, Quick rise and Perfect rise are all the same product but different brands) does not need to be activated. These work well for KNB. Rapid rise has more active yeast and/or yeast enhancer so it works faster. Because of this many artisinal bakers do not use or suggest the rapid rise as they want flavor to develop as the yeast rises.
                                                                  Instant does not need to be dissolved. For the most part rapid rise and instant are the same beast with different levels of active yeast. Instant is slower than rapid rise.
                                                                  You can use either rapid or instant yeast in KNB with out any worry.

                                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                                    And if you live where there is neither rapid nor instant?

                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                      Use more active and let it rise longer. I used to dissolve it in warm water first and let it sit to activate, until both Kelli and todao said you don't need to do it, just add it w/ the flour. It works fine. The longer rise makes for better bread anyway.

                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                        Then for KNB I would activate the yeast in part of the water that was going to be added to the flour.

                                                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                            Actually, the main point in "activating" the yeast is to make sure it isn't dead. Mostly, that is unnecessary, especially with long-rise recipes that give the yeast plenty of time to hydrate. But avoid pouring cold liquid onto the yeast. Some yeasts can be frozen dry but don't tolerate a cold bath.

                                                                          2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                            "And if you live where there is neither rapid nor instant?"

                                                                            Then pull up a conversion chart and convert to active or even cake yeast. All yeast is interchangeable in a recipe like KNB as long as you convert the amount you use.

                                                                            1. re: Fritter

                                                                              Or use sourdough! It works quite well in no-knead recipes, though I haven't tried it with any dough, like the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes, that will be retarded in the fridge. Theoretically, at any rate, that is not a good idea.

                                                                    2. I have done the whole artisan bread at home thing, my kitchen counters covered with pans of bread proofing in dry cleaner bags a la Nancy Silverton.
                                                                      But now I have two small kids and I don't have three thousand free hours. But I am unwilling to give them bread with a 5 page list of preservatives.
                                                                      Right now I have three different batches of 5 min a day bread in the fridge. The kids help make it every week, and we have a fresh loaf of healthy, preservative free bread every day. Tomorrow morning the kids are making cinnamon rolls.
                                                                      It's frakking great !!!!

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: mendogurl

                                                                        Gosh, I thought I was the only one with three different doughs in the fridge!

                                                                        1. re: jules1026

                                                                          LOL, nope. Just pulled out the crusty boule from the oven for myself and my daughter, and the soft American bread for my husband and son.
                                                                          I probably would never buy white American sandwich bread, but I have no qualms about home made.
                                                                          Made the pecan cinnamon rolls this weekend and they may have been the best cinnamon rolls I have ever had ! Really excellent.

                                                                          1. re: mendogurl

                                                                            Can you share the cinammon roll recipe?

                                                                        2. re: mendogurl

                                                                          One thing Zoe the author has said is that you can freeze the dough. (It does change a little in week 2 -- more suitable for flatbreads then.) If you are at the end of week 1 and have dough you can't use right away, you can freeze it. Then it stays with those characteristics. You can thaw, let rise and bake.

                                                                          So no reason not to have multiple doughs going even if you can't use them all right away!

                                                                          1. re: karykat

                                                                            but I have three different kinds of breads...

                                                                        3. Anyone found a successful recipe for 100% whole-grain no-knead bread? I have tried a couple variations but none of them turned out that great.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Hmm

                                                                            I don't think you can reasonably expect the same rise from 100% whole wheat flour. Best thing is to mix in some gluten flour.

                                                                            1. re: Hmm

                                                                              I have a friend that uses 100% whole wheat to make 'bread maker' bread and she adds gluten and it turns out fine. You can buy gluten at health food stores.

                                                                              1. re: Hmm

                                                                                I've seen it done with home-milled grain, milled on the finest setting, but it still requires the addition of gluten. The advantage that freshly-milled grain has is the fine, even texture, whereas a lot of storebought WW flour is quite coarsely ground. I reckon you could use whole wheat pastry flour, but I think that has even LESS gluten?

                                                                                1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                  Home-milled whole wheat flour can work quite well if you take the time to sift it through a fine sieve to remove the coarser bran. You want some bran in it and you certainly want the germ--provided it is fresh and has not gone rancid as is often the case with store bought whole wheat flour. Using all the bran, however, is not a good idea. Not only does it cut into gluten strands, it absorbs a lot more water and it lowers the over-all protein percentage of the flour. By sifting out some of it--technically this is called bolting--you still end up with a pale beige flour with the germ, some bran, and sufficient gluten to form a good loaf without the addition of extra gluten flour. This is what they refer to as high extraction flour. The addition of pastry flour would be counterproductive but you can cut 100% whole wheat with white flour to good benefit. If your locally grown wheat is soft, you may need to augment gluten or use mash techniques (often used with rye bread) that convert some of the starch into gels to supplement the weak gluten strength. Also, sourdoughs always benefit from the presence of some bran--the "ash" is alkaline, and it buffers the gluten against the effects of acid, which tend to cause the gluten chains to swell, shorten, and break.

                                                                                2. re: Hmm

                                                                                  Have you tried the whole wheat in Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day? The recipe is here http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-F... and I've used it to enthusiastic reviews.

                                                                                3. So um...how is the taste/texture different from regular bread.

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: AngelSanctuary

                                                                                    That's a tough question.
                                                                                    For me, this IS regular bread.

                                                                                    It is crustier, coarse textured, and a bit chewier...in otherwords, it has some character. It's much beter for sandwiches than soft storebought bread, and to reiterate my previous comment, it makes the best toast imaginable. It's worth making just for that.

                                                                                    1. re: The Professor

                                                                                      I see sounds interesting...just to be clear when I said regular bread I mean regular homemade bread with kneading and stuff not regular bread you buy at the grocery stores XD! You meant that right?

                                                                                      1. re: AngelSanctuary

                                                                                        All I can say is that my mother made home made bread every week when I was growing up, delicious!!! I have made bread on and off for years.
                                                                                        This bread is just as delicious. I really couldn't tell the difference between it and a knead bread.

                                                                                        1. re: AngelSanctuary

                                                                                          The biggest difference for me is the texture of the crumb. The no-knead crumb is glossier, chewier, and more irregular. The flavour is slightly sour (from the lactic acid bacteria at work) and malty.

                                                                                          It is also pretty fool-proof. This one is my first ever attempt at this technique.

                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                          1. re: fmed

                                                                                            Nice looking loaf. Is this the standard KNB recipe from Lahey? My loaves come out round after baking but are pretty amorphous in shape before hitting the dutch oven due to the high hydration level. Yours looks like you could actually pick it up and it would hold it's shape

                                                                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                              It's the standard recipe. It wasn't as sticky and shaggy as I had expected, actually. I was able to stretch a skin without issues. It was very delicate compared to my usual kneaded and less hydrated doughs.

                                                                                    2. I would almost say it is lazier to make bread the traditional (i.e. knead) way.

                                                                                      As one very wise man, and also great coach, once said ... "Don't mistake activity for achievement."

                                                                                      1. Can I ask a question? Is there an optimal time to cook the bread? If you let the yeast develop too long (if there is such a thing) does it spoil somehow?

                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Soop

                                                                                          Are you asking about the Bittman/Lahey bread or the 5-minute-a-day bread?

                                                                                          As for the 5 minute bread, after about a week, it will not rise as much. in the second week, it's good for flatbreads. The author says that if you have dough left after a week (or less), you can freeze it. When you thaw it, you can use it as normal.

                                                                                          1. re: karykat

                                                                                            Not directed "at" you karykat as much as it is a general observation. There is really no such beast as "bittman" bread. Mark Bittman deserves plenty of credit for bringing this method to every ones attention but the recipe is the work of one Mr. Lahey who is the owner of a bakery in Manhatten.
                                                                                            Here is the original article. I just think it would be nice if more of us associated the recipe with the person that even Bittman openly credits for this recipe.

                                                                                            http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/din...

                                                                                            1. re: Fritter

                                                                                              I agree. That's why I referred to it as "Bittman/Lahey bread."

                                                                                          2. re: Soop

                                                                                            Some feel the longer you hold the dough the better the flavor. I haven't found a huge difference with the KNB and I let mine set in the fridge 24 hours. As far as baking times I really think you have to adjust that to your stove, your pot size, how big the loaf is etc.
                                                                                            I use an 8 quart LC oval so I'm doubling many recipes. My average bake time is 50 minutes at 500+.
                                                                                            Cook your bread to an internal temp of 195 and you will be good to go. I often pull mine in the 180's as there is enough residual heat to finish the bread even after you pull it and set it on a cooling rack.

                                                                                            1. re: Fritter

                                                                                              Thanks both

                                                                                              I tend to mix a poolish, leave overnight, then mix in as little extra flour as possible when mixing the dough, so it's really liquid.

                                                                                              Now what I used to do, was leave it to rise for the extra 2 hours on the baking tray I was going to use, then put it into a pre-heated oven.
                                                                                              Now, to try and get that extra spring, I heat the tray with the oven and transfer the dough to it.
                                                                                              Bit of a mission to achieve with delicacy and speed, but it seems to be ok. I had a real problem with the dough just above the base not cooking and iirc the hot baking tray helps

                                                                                              Hey should I add sugar to the poolish to feed the yeast? I don't ATM

                                                                                              1. re: Soop

                                                                                                You don't ATM?! What does that mean? I inferred by context that you couldn't be referring to the banking machines, which is what 99% of people associate ATM with.

                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/555190

                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                1. re: Soop

                                                                                                  I always add a pinch of sugar to feed the yeast.

                                                                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                    You could do that, but it's totally unnecessary.
                                                                                                    Your flour most likely has some malted barley flour blended in....that's plenty good to feed the yeasties.

                                                                                                  2. re: Soop

                                                                                                    Dear Soop and Fritter, all the authorities on yeast that I have read say that one should not add sucrose to feed the yeast--even adding it to the proofing water is not recommended. The reason is that sucrose is hygroscopic and actually impedes yeast growth. That is why sweetened breads usually have about the twice the amount of yeast in them. An exception to this is the new osmotolerant strains of yeast designed to be used with sucrose. Fortunately, you don't need to add sugar. Any long rise will give the amylase enzymes in the flour plenty of time to fraction broken yeast chains into simple sugars. If you really must increase the sugar content, you can use maltose, which the yeasts readily digest, or you can add a very small amount of diastatic malt, which is high in amylase, or a small amount of rye flour, which contains more amylase than does wheat, or you can malt wheat berries (moisten them and let them begin to sprout, dry them at a low temperature so as not to denature the malt and grind and add them to the dough). I haven't got my notes at hand, but my recollection is that you would use about 1/4 teaspoon of diastatic malt to a typical six cup bread recipe or no more than 1 tbs of rye flour to each cup of wheat flour--much above that and you may find the rye flavor intrusive. Scott and Wing, as I recall, give a malting procedure in "The Bread Builders," and I think there may also be one in "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book." I sometimes add rye when I bake with home-milled flour--I don't have malt at present. But commercial flours usually have amylase added, so with them it is completely unnecessary.

                                                                                                    1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                                      I'm not a baker so I wouldn't want to argue with the experts. However I am getting very good results and I can find a plethora of recipes including many KNB recipes that suggest sugar be added.
                                                                                                      In short it may indeed be unnecessary but I disagree with the notion that it will require the addition of more yeast if used in reasonable proportions.
                                                                                                      For KNB I want to keep it as simple as possible.

                                                                                                      1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                        Of course, the key is "reasonable proportions." In any case, do whatever works for you.

                                                                                                        1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                                          I'm going to drop the sugar on my next batch and see how it goes. I'm only using a half teaspoon in five cups of flour. Thanks for all of the information and I'll be looking for some of those books on my next Amazon order.
                                                                                                          I did notice the Professor is correct as well. My flour does indeed have barley blended in.
                                                                                                          Which is the better book to start with?

                                                                                                          1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                            There are so many good books on bread now and much depends on what your approach is going to be. I'd suggest you borrow books from the library--make use of Interlibrary Loan if you need to. Then decide what suits you. But the truth is that you will probably find all the information you require already on the Internet.

                                                                                              2. If I began the no knead bread tonight, but didn't want to use it until Saturday evening, would that be a problem? Where do I put it after it sits at room temp for 18 hours?

                                                                                                40 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Rick

                                                                                                  I've tried refrigerating it after the initial rise and I can't remember the exact results.... but it was definitely irregular. I just don't know if it was too big or too flat.

                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                  1. re: Rick

                                                                                                    I have just let it rise in the fridge many times. No problemo.

                                                                                                    1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                      When you let it rise in the fridge, for how long does the 8-18 hour rest period extend to?

                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                        You don't have to extend it at all if you don't want to and I often do not even do the second rise. I've let it go a good 30 hours. When I get a chance next week I'll post what I have been doing that is even easier (for me) than the Lahey method with photos.

                                                                                                        1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                          I just put the dough in the fridge at 9 am Friday morning and plan on putting it in the oven around 7 pm Saturday. I'll post back with my result.

                                                                                                          1. re: Rick

                                                                                                            Do you plan on bringing the dough to room temp before baking? If you try to bake cold dough, it'll throw the baking time and temperatures off (not to mention the unlikely but potentially damaging thermal shock to your expensive enameled cast iron pot)

                                                                                                            Would any expert bakers know if baking cold dough affects the rise?

                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                              I have been taking mine right out of the fridge, shaping and into a 500 degree LeCreuset. I even spray mine. No second rise.
                                                                                                              No worries about enamel damage and I've done this many times now.
                                                                                                              I'm up to my elbows canning at the moment but this coming week I will post the recipe and photos. I'm doing a loaf larger than the Lahey method and my cook time has been 50 minutes.

                                                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                It is currently in the fridge in a large pot, not the one I plan on using to bake it in. I'm using the recipe Sarah Galvin posted near the top of this thread. My plan was for step 3 to let the bread rise two hours at room temp. I'm just sort of winging it so any tips would be appreciated.

                                                                                                                1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                  I believe that was a cut & paste of the Lahey method. :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                    Fritter, when you say no second rise, are you skipping the 15 min. rest after folding and skipping the two hours after that? I might get home from the office late tomorrow and would love to be able to just take it out of the fridge and bake it. Never baked bread before, so thanks for the help!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                      If you are using the Lahey method then you should let it rise. I do not let mine rest or rise but my recipe is different.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                        Just took dough out of the fridge, only had three bubbles on top of the dough, hope it turns out ok! Letting it rest for two hours now.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                          I find when I use the Lahey method that the second rise is considerably longer than two hours unless it's over 80 degrees in the house.
                                                                                                                          I hope it turned out well for you. I'm making a loaf today so I'll post my recipe and photos tomorrow.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                            So I made the bread and I tasted great and had a nice crunchy crust. i think baked it a few mitnutes too long. That being said, I had a very hard time forming the dough into a ball. It did rise, but it got wider but not much taller. Not sure if that was a result of me not being able to form it properly or what happened.

                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                            1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                              That's very flat. Something is off there. When I follow the Lahey method I find my second rise is often four hours. Take a look at the method I put up in the other thread. Perhaps that will help you out.

                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/648992

                                                                                                                              1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                Did a three hour rise, even let it sit on top of the oven which was slightly warm due to having it on for about an hour pre heating the dutch oven.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                  The stove surface may have been TOO warm, in which case you might have killed the yeast.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                The CI version of NKB has the second rise done in a round skillet or baking pan into which you shove a full sheet of parchment (I use two sheets). This keeps it in a round shape - then using the parchment as a sling you put it (parchment included) into the dutch oven. Since it begins to bake right away, the dough doesn't have a chance to spread much once it hits the hot pot. Still, even if it is perfect, this is not a very high loaf. It looks like yours is about 2/3 the expected height, but you don't seem to have the big, airy pockets pictured in the CI version, and which I got my very first attempt at breadbaking. (Not to toot my own horn - I was scared of yeast so I followed the CI instructions to the letter and though I was thrilled with the result, I was surprised at how well it came out.)

                                                                                                                                Have you seen this thread?: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589286
                                                                                                                                If you have a non-stick 2 or 3 qt ovensafe lidded pot (it also worked almost as well with cooking spray in a pot that was not nonstick), you can make a good round loaf with no kneading and only the one pot, stirred first to mix the ingredients, then again after a couple of hours to deflate. Room temp a few more hours, or put pot infridge overnight, then into a preheated oven. You don't get the airy pockets or peasant-crunchy crust but it's still tasty, and dead simple.

                                                                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                  I think i have the perfect pot for that, I think I'll gave that a try next. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                    Try it without refrigerating the dough. Follow the recipe to the letter the first time. When you refrigerate the dough you are essentially reducing the yeast activity to almost nil (not quite... just a bit is still going on).

                                                                                                                                    The other stuff still happens: "autolyse" - where the gluten develops on its own, lactic/acetic acid bacteria activity - the acetic to lactic acid ratio actually increases in the cold stage contributing to a sharper flavour, sugars breakdown, enzymes convert starches, etc. (Geek out over here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1037...).

                                                                                                                                    What I see in your pictures is a dough that has gone past optimal gluten development (it is now way too slack, overdeveloped) and has little yeast activity to contribute to the rise. Even if you were to let the dough come up to temperature with full yeast activity, the dough itself isn't able support the rise.

                                                                                                                                    Don't fret...I had a number of these "failures" when I started experimenting with refrigerated rises...especially with wild yeast sourdough leavening. It starts to get interesting when you have your first real successful loaf. Keep going.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                  Part of your problem may also be a flour brand or amount of flour. I've had very flat doughs when using bleached flours and those with low protein content. The dough also looks very wet-- even with no-knead bread, you should be able to at least contemplate picking it up and moving it and the form staying pretty much intact. It might deflate if you do that, but the possibility should be there.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jules1026

                                                                                                                                    It was very wet, couldn't form it whatsoever. Transferring it from the bowl to the dutch oven resulted in lots of dough stuck to my hands, even though I wet my hands before touching the dough. I did use 1 cup whole wheat flour if that maybe had an affect? I'll try it again one day using new flour and not putting the dough in the fridge. Thanks for all of the responses.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                      Adding the whole wheat will make a big difference - (WW flour has less gluten and more gritty starchy bits which add to the "wetness").

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                        Your dough should not be wet. I have a lahey bread going right now that I did in the fridge over night Vs on the counter. At this juncture I see little difference from refrigeration. Skip the WW flour and stick with AP or bread flour.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                          That's odd because if you added ww flour, it should make the dough less wet. When I used ww flour, I increase the water slightly. How did you measure your flour? Is the humidity high where you are right now? I don't know which recipe you used but some CHs found it too wet, too, and decreased the water. There was a new recipe that called for less water.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                            I used the recipe in this thread, just a few posts down from the top. Wasn't humid the days i made it. I measured using measuring cups, not a scale.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                              I wonder if it's in the measuring. I'd thought maybe it were humid (or even had been, not that particular day) the flour might have absorbed some water from the air, especially if it was in a bag. It's happened to me for cookies, where I used the same recipe, technique but they spread far more than normal.

                                                                                                                                              I can't find the thread anymore but there was one when this first came out that people had better success when they used 1 1/2 c. of water rather than the 1 5/8 originally called for. That's why I asked about which recipe. I'll try to find the thread. But, when I use half white whole wheat flour, I use between 1 1/2 and 1 5/8 (just shoot for somewhere in between on the measuring cup). With the 1 1/2 c, it ends up dry. Stills tasty but the dough is dry.

                                                                                                                                              Okay, edited to add the link--page down to Father Kitchen's post.

                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/618425

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                                If you get a dough that is too wet I just knead in some more flour before the second rise. After you get a few good results you will know what moisture level you are looking for and this becomes a lot easier.
                                                                                                                                                Don't give up. If it would help I could post a photo of what mine looks like after the second rise with the Lahey method.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                I came in late here. Whole wheat should absorb more water--because the bran picks it up. In fact, Jim Lahey's assistant told me that with whole wheat flour you can increase the water up to as high as equal to the flour in weight or 100% hydration by baker's percentages. So for three cups of flour you'd be talking about nearly two cups of water.
                                                                                                                                                I think the problem in gloppy, wet dough sometimes is simply the result of the fact that flour can absorb a lot of water from a humid atomosphere and still feel dry. Then, too, we can mismeasure the flour. But if you have sixteen ounces of really dry flour and add twelve ounces of water, you will get a manageable dough. If you have sixteen ounces of flour on a humid summer day and add twelve ounces of water, you may find the dough impossible to fold.
                                                                                                                                                Last night, when I made my sourdoughy no-knead, I actually mismeasured the water. When I recognized the fault, I added a couple of more ounces of flour, and thought I had corrected it. But this morning, when I folded the flour, I realized it was still on the gloppy side. So I put plenty of flour on the counter and folded the dough a dozen times or so--not actually kneading it. It picked up a few more ounces of flour. Then, three hours later, I folded it again, and I found it had a manageable consistency.
                                                                                                                                                Normally it is not a good idea to add flour to dough late in the fermentation, since with typical yeast bread there isn't enough time for the enzymes to digest the new flour. But with these slow-rise breads, there is more room for fudging. I knew I had six hours between the time when I added the flour to the time I would bake the bread. That gave the enzymes plenty of time to do their work.
                                                                                                                                                The Lahey recipe has you fold the dough once, just before shaping and proofing the loaf. But in reality you can fold it several times during the bulk fermentation. In fact, normally when I do the sourdough version, I fold it three hours after mixing, late in the evening, and again when I get up. I fold and shape it four to five hours after that. These these extra folding sessions both strengthen the gluten and let me spot and correct hydration issues early and easily. I just have to be sure to handle the dough lightly and keep my hands well-floured.
                                                                                                                                                Bread dough can be remarkably tolerant of mistakes. One colleague forgot to add yeast. So he kneaded yeast into the dough after it failed to rise. It rose normally. Once I forgot to add the salt--it's a good idea to taste the dough before you leave it to ferment, for taste will alert you to that mistake. I kneaded the salt in after kneading the dough. The bread turned out perfectly.
                                                                                                                                                The weirdest bread I ever baked however, was Lahey's white pizza dough crust. This was a kneaded bread, worked in a stand mixer. It had the density of batter since there was more water by weight in the dough than flour but a springy consistency. The first time I made it, the dough stuck to the baking tray. I hadn't oiled the tray enough. But otherwise it worked well. It just goes to show you that there are more ways to bake bread than most of us have imagined.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                                                                                  "One colleague forgot to add yeast. So he kneaded yeast into the dough after it failed to rise. It rose normally"

                                                                                                                                                  I have to confess I have done the very same thing in the past and it worked out just fine. Would you share your sourdough method?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                                    Fritter, basically I follow the Lahey method but use a little less water and a bit more salt. I aim at a hydration rate of 75% by baker's percentages--or three parts water by weight to 4 parts flour. As for salt, I use 1/2 teaspoon for each cup of flour (which weighs about 5 ounces by the scoop and scrape method). So I mix the flour and salt in one bowl. In another, I mix my starter and all the water, and then combine this diluted starter with the flour and salt as per the Lahey method. How much starter? Not very much--less than ten percent of a normal full charge of starter. I use a piece of dough starter about the size of a walnut. If you used a batter starter, you might want to use 1/4 cup. The main thing is that the starter have plenty of oomph (because it was recently refreshed). When you bake sourdough this way, you don't need to store much starter--maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dough starter.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                                                                                    It was definitely extemely humid here a few weeks prior to making the bread, and I didn't have the a/c on for a few days during that humidity. I've since thrown out that flour and will give it a try someday with new flour. Never thought about the fact that flour would absorb moisture from the air . . .

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                                      Here's what I am getting with the Lahey bread. This dough was refrigerated but in the future I probab;y won't use that method as I have far more counter space than refrigerator space.

                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                                        The crust. That is a six pound Berkshire pork shoulder for size comparison.

                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Fritter

                                                                                                                                                          Only on chowhound would one find a 'six pound Berkshire pork shoulder' being used as size comparison (cause, you know, everybody knows just how those look). Love it!

                                                                                                                    2. re: Rick

                                                                                                                      I had a miscommunication with my daughter once that led to baking the NKB (original recipe from Lahey) after 40 hours sitting out at room temperature. The dough in the bowl was still bubbly but was concave instead of being convex looking when I pulled it out onto my work surface. The finished loaf was slightly flatter, slightly denser, had slightly more sheen to the crumb, but otherwise didn't seem to have suffered.

                                                                                                                      1. re: valereee

                                                                                                                        That makes sense... from what little I understand about bread baking, after 40 hours the yeast would have consumed most of the food (flour) and would have therefore stopped excreting the gas which forms the air bubbles (thereby rising the bread). So it makes sense that your loaf came out denser and flatter. Less air bubbles = more dense bread. Of course it tasted fine... but that's the real art of bread baking. It's not like mixing a cake.... getting that perfect texture is the real art of the thing.

                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                          The texture was actually very good...I took it to a dinner party (I'd offered to make bread and then had this miscommunication while I was out of town for a couple of days) and just crossed my fingers and went for it, sort of holding my breath when I cut into it. But it had a great crumb -- really nice. People raved. If I'd made a loaf that good before finding this method, I'd have been thrilled. :) This is the most flexible recipe.

                                                                                                                    3. I've been making this bread since Bittman first published it and have adapted it using the Cooks Illustared/Test kitchen method of using light beer and white vinegar. I usually make it once or twice a week. I also like to add two tablespoons of caraway for a variation or mixing whole wheat and white flour. I mix is a large ceramic bowl and cover with plastic wrap, then do a slight knead with lots of floor and roll into a tea towel coated with either flour, corn mean or cracked wheat. Rolling the tea towel fairly tight is important so the proof doesn't rise too large. Also coating it is important so the dough doesn't stick.

                                                                                                                      The biggest change I've made is the temp. I do 425F for 30 minutes covered followed by 20 minutes uncovered.

                                                                                                                      1. For the last few years, I have been fantasizing about making bread the old-fashioned way, making my own starter, feeding it, nurturing it (as if it's a pet, haha)...

                                                                                                                        Well, it's always just seemed a little arduous, and your post gave me the kick in the butt I needed to try the no-knead approach. It seemed so unromantic compared to the self-started pet version, but it appealed to my husband's inner scientist.

                                                                                                                        He took the project on, expressing skepticism time and again. How was this going to rise with 1/4 teaspoon of yeast, for all that flour? The bread machine requires more than that...

                                                                                                                        We checked on the dough frequently to see if it was growing and bubbling... It was.

                                                                                                                        After 16 hours, he folded the creature, and let it rest for another 2.5 hours. Then into the oven, in my Le Creuset pot, that I specially purchased a stainless steel knob for, that day. 45 minutes later, he was shocked by the beautiful loaf he had created. (It was what I had expected, based on the photos I've seen).

                                                                                                                        After eating this bread, we don't think we need to buy another bakery baguette... ever.

                                                                                                                        Btw, the house temperature is 70F, and we used Lahey's original recipe. Easy. Delicious. Have you tried it yet?

                                                                                                                        1. 139 replies and I don't see any like mine...must be something wrong here...

                                                                                                                          My favorite cookbook has a recipe for something called a "grant loaf" of bread that uses more liquid than the other bread recipes and can have herbs or whatever added to it. IF I bake any bread at all (other than cornbread) that's what I do--there is a short time to let it sit/rise, but it is extremely short. I can pretty much start the bread at the beginning of meal preparations, and it's ready by the time we sit down to eat.

                                                                                                                          I am curious about the qualities of the finished products of the recipes people are discussing here. Is the bread somehow different than kneaded dough bread, or is it simply the convenience of not needing to knead that makes them attractive?

                                                                                                                          Vorpal, after the recent Helena discussion, I want to hear how camping goes.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: saacnmama

                                                                                                                            The Grant Loaf (developed by Doris Grant in Britain) is probably the first of the no-knead loaves to become popular. Elizabeth David has a recipe for it in her classic book, it shows up in quite a few bread books that have been published in editions for both sides of the Atlantic pond. The Grant loaf's eating appeal is probably its whole grain flavor. David also gives her own procedure for a quick white flour yeasted no-knead bread. As I recall, Robert Farrar Capon had a no knead Cuban bread in his "Supper of the Lamb" that used gobs of yeast and a fair amount of sugar. It was a sort of yeasted quick bread, often having a similar crumbly crumb--and Mexican pan dulce may be in the same catergory, though I have not seen a recipe for it. These breads are pretty yeasty tasting and rather bland, unless flavor is added through sugar, eggs, or other enrichments. The slow-rise no-knead breads are very different in texture and taste. Quite possibly the emphasis in discussing them should be on the long rising time and not on whether or not they are kneaded, for rising time is really what determines their quality.
                                                                                                                            A longer rising time gives the amylase and protease enzymes time to to rearrange the starch and protein molecules, turning more of the starch to simple sugars and more of the protein into gluten, even without the assistance of manipulation of the dough.
                                                                                                                            Because no-knead bread dough has not been manipulated (and manipulation would bring more of the bonding sites into contact with one another), the crumb is more open or holey. Of course, you don't have to make a no-knead bread to get the benefits of a long rise--it is sufficient to retard the dough in the refrigerator.
                                                                                                                            Just before the Lahey recipe came out, I experimented with no-knead procedures in order to help out friends who had a tiny apartment kitchen with precious little space available for kneading. For them, a no-knead approach made the difference between being able to bake bread or not. I have taught an invalid friend this bread by e-mail, because he hasn't learned the knack of kneading from reading and quite possibly lacks the body strength to do it adequately. So in both cases we are talking about a convenience that borders on necessity.
                                                                                                                            But why do I made no-knead bread? I can knead by hand and enjoy it. I have access to a food processor, and that makes superior bread because there is little oxidation of the carotenes in the flour. And I have access to a stand mixer, which I generally use only for very large batches. But fifteen minutes ago I mixed up a batch of no-knead sourdough bread for tomorrow. Why? It was convenient--it fits in with my schedule this evening and tomorrow. I can fold the bread when I get up, shape a boule before Mass, and bake after Mass. And I have very little stuff to wash up. But that isn't the reason. The reason is simply that I like the texture and flavor. I get a wonderful crust when I bake it in a closed container, and a chewy, flavorful open crumb. To me it is "real bread." it is not the only "real bread," but it is my favorite. And I like the yeasted version of it too, especially when I don't want the tang of sourdough. Other times, I may knead a batch of sourdough, especially if I want to bake a bunch of panned loaves. I can control the tang by keeping my eye on variables: the freshness of the starter, the amount of it used in relation to new dough, and the temperature and length of fermentation.
                                                                                                                            So where does all this lead? There is more than one way to slice a loaf and more than a hundred ways to bake a loaf. And I say go for whatever works for you in terms of your time, your ingredients, and your taste. No matter what you do, it won't be wrong.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                                                              Here http://seabirdskitchen.blogspot.com/2... I tell the story of the phenolic knob on my trusty Le Creuset - among other trials and tribulations with heat.

                                                                                                                              I have since then been baking a lot - breads of many varieties. I come back to kno-knead at times, but the baguettes and ciabatta are even better!

                                                                                                                              1. re: seabird20

                                                                                                                                Presumably, you're making baguettes and ciabatta in a more conventional way. What recipe are you using to make them better?

                                                                                                                          2. Finally got around to making bread this past weekend. Using the much talked about Jim Lahey method, the results were perfect. The bread was soft but firm with a very crisp crust. My boule didn’t last long and the only disappointing thing was that I hadn’t made more! Oh well, just gives me an opportunity to perfect my technique!

                                                                                                                            1. Used uncovered baking pan instead of a heavy, covered, expensive pot.
                                                                                                                              I baked the no-knead bread in ciabatta shape on a simple baking pan.
                                                                                                                              I also put a pan in the bottom shelf with water to make it crispy. It came out perfect.

                                                                                                                              1. Thanks to Chowhound, I make no-knead sourdough at least once a week. It turns out brilliantly every time and the flavour is amazing. I don't even bother refreshing my starter before baking (unless it's been in the fridge for more than a week), I just let it come to room temperature and it's good to go.

                                                                                                                                1. If you knead dough with whole wheat flour in it for any length of time, the sharp edges of the bran cut the gluten strands affecting both the rise and the oven spring. That's why so many whole grain breads are choke-inducing pseudo hockey pucks. A good reason other than laziness not to knead. My 50/50 unbleached bread flour/white whole wheat bread comes out with as good a rise and air pockets as big as 100% white every time. My 100% white whole wheat is not as consistent, but I think that's because I cut the water content back too much. I was tired of struggling with the very wet dough and tried to cut corners. I mostly use the Jim Lahey recipe Bittman introduced, I have also used the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day recipe. I like the Lahey recipe better but I haven't had much luck refrigerating it and then baking it with only a 20 minute resting period like you can with the "5 minute" bread. Either recipe is better than any "whole wheat" artisan bread I've ever gotten in the US. I'm no expert baker and it amazes me every time that *I* made this bread!

                                                                                                                                  BTW, why automatically assume that if someone does something that's not "the way its always done" that it's because of some bad trait like laziness. Maybe that unconventional person is just SMARTER!!

                                                                                                                                  1. vorpal,
                                                                                                                                    can you spell
                                                                                                                                    a-r-t-h-r-i-t-i-s???
                                                                                                                                    i for one have a bad left hand and it would be painful for me to knead bread.
                                                                                                                                    plus, the bread is goooood.

                                                                                                                                    1. I've started making the no-knead recipe and love it. It's coming out just like good restaurant bread.

                                                                                                                                      Here's the whole process and pics:

                                                                                                                                      http://www.jonvandalen.com/lte/2010/1...