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No-knead bread as general bread replacement?


I read a few posts about "No-knead bread" and it looks interesting. I'm very unhappy with bread prices here in Manhattan - $3.50 for a loaf of whole wheat bread is ridiculous in my opinion. I haven't tried KNB but it looks good from the pics I have seen. Can anyone here comment on using KNB for basic deli sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches, etc?? Also, is it possible to make smaller loaves to act as rolls, hoagies, paninis? What sort of dish would be required to make something like that?

Also, could KNB be made to be healthy as a store-bought bread substitute? I see it's basically composed of flour, salt and water. Maybe I can incorporate multigrain and whole wheat flour and basically just cook up one of these every so often instead of buying supermarket bread? What's the shelf life of this KNB?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. You can get a decent rise with NKB (your acronym is dyslexic!), but it's not going to be nearly as airy as your typical store-bought sandwich bread.

    The shelf life is much, much shorter than store-bought bread too. After a day it will be seriously degraded and after two days it can be downright stale.

    I think you're getting ahead of yourself. Why don't you try it out and see what you think?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jeremyn

      Wow, I think I am dyslexic. Been noticing mistakes like this lately..

      I'll wait until I get the dutch oven and try it out.. too bad the shelf-like is so short.. I was expecting at least 4-5 days.

    2. I don't have a dutch oven, so haven't tried the nkb, but you might want to try the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day. I love their wwheat sandwich loaf. Here's a link with lots of info and several recipes: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-F...

      1. Yhis is a very wet dough that won't hold its shape well enough for rolls.

        You can absolutely use healthier flour - I use White Whole Wheat. When I make Jacques Pepin's no-knead one-pot bread, which is even easier than the NK or 5minute breads, I use a cup of oatmeal to replace one of the 4 cups of flour. You can use different liquids too - I like to substitute cider for half the water. But you really do need the salt or the flavor will suffer - and I am a person who uses VERY little salt.

        Making your own bread is certainly more economical than storebought, and you can freeze any that you won't eat right away. We tend to think of homemade as "free", since there's flour in the pantry. However, specialty flours cost more than AP white, and you'll go through quite a bit of it if you bake often.

        1. No knead bread doesn't have a very long shelf life, as it's pretty lean stuff. For a "keeping" loaf, you need a bread recipe with a little fat/oil, or an egg (the lethicin in the egg helps to prevent staling), or maybe something like potato starch. I recently made King Arthur's "Sharing Bread" recipe; it made excellent toast, sliced very thinly for sandwiches, and didn't turn stale in an instant. Here's a link to the recipe: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe... The King Arthur website also has some no-knead recipes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            Yes, I agree, the NKB (like the Lahey/Bittman bread doesn't keep that long, although I've kept it a couple - three days.

            If you want bread for daily use and don't want to be whipping up a new batch every day, the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day is a good way to go. You can mix up a big batch and keep it in the fridge for a couple weeks. (Actually, keep it one week and freeze what you haven't used after that so it doesn't change. Ask if you want to know about that.)

            Then, with the dough in the fridge, you can pull off a little hunk big enough for dinner and bake that. Easy. The book has lots of variations as miss louella mentions. So there are some richer breads and some whole wheat. There are lots of recipes from the book online in different places.

          2. I use no knead bread for sandwiches, toast, and all usual uses, although it doesn't have any sugar and so it's a bit more savory than many sandwich loaves (including multigrain). It also has a more hearty, elastic texture than your average sandwich loaf. You can sub whole wheat, rye, and other flours (or oatmeal, rice, etc. if you adjust the liquids, too) for up to about 1/3 of the white flour w/o hurting the rise much. You can also add nuts and seeds with no problem. My current favorite is 2/3 white flour, 1/6 whole wheat, 1/6 combo of wheat germ and rye, with a large dose of sunflower seeds thrown in.

            I slice and freeze all the bread I make w/in a day (usually hours) of making it and then use it right out of the freezer. This works fine for both toast and sandwiches, if I make them in the morning and eat them for lunch.

            1. I use the NKB as a my normal bread. Before finding this recipe, I used artisan breads from local bakers for everything, including peanut butter sandwiches and grilled cheese sandwiches, and now I use this -- it's very close to being as good as any artisan white I've had. You can use whole wheat in it -- it's denser. But frankly, even using white flour, this is way healthier than any supermarket bread. Here's what Brownberry Ovens' 100% Whole Wheat contains:

              Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Wheat Gluten, Soy Fiber, Yeast, Fructose, Sugar, Salt, Wheat Bran, Molasses, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Mono- and Diglycerides, Natural Flavor, Soy Flour, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Ethoxylated Mono- and Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Sucralose.

              2 Replies
              1. re: valereee

                Thank you all for your replies. I learned a lot, and although I haven't made it yet I will be making it in the next week or so once my D.O. arrives.

                I'm thinking I can make a loaf once a week, cut it in 4, freeze 2 pieces and leave 2 pieces out for immediate consumption.

                1. re: classacts

                  Since it's round, I make 4 slices around the perimeter to create a square. The 4 curved pieces are perfect to have with salad or soup, and are best eaten the same day since they have the most crust, which loses its crispness by the next day. Yhen I cut the square into slices and wrap and freeze some of that. These are not tall but they are long, so fine for sandwiches if you don't insist on square slices. Or, you can cut only two adjacent perimeter curves which leaves you with a right angle. Then cut slices on alternating sides, herringbone fashion, for matching slices that are straight on one side and curved on the other.

              2. I've been making the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for a while. I love the technique and I love the results. I find that a loaf kept in the fridge for a few days will lose its freshness... Toasting seems to re-awaken the bread.

                1 Reply
                1. re: wineguy7

                  With the 5 minutes a day dough, you can always have fresh bread. Just make it in small loaves, the amount you will eat in one day. Then, the next day, take out a small blob of dough from your refrigerated batch and bake that. You can have fresh bread every day and don't need to worry about freezing bread and the loss of quality that can come with that.

                  To me, it's obvious as a general bread replacement.

                2. Personally, I think the NKB is too crusty for sandwiches.

                  I like this recipe for whole wheat bread: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Simple-W...

                  It makes three loaves that freeze well. You can (greatly) increase the amount of whole wheat flour- I usually use at least half ww. I also forgot the butter the last time I made it- it was definitely rougher, and I would not suggest it.

                  1. The KNB that started the trend is a boule with Italian style big holes, not the kind of bread that easily lends itself to a sandwich with anything that can drip through. But the technique has a wide variety of applications. Jim Lahey's new book includes a number of different breads that make very good sandwiches. But they are all in the Italian style: stirato, focaccia, stecca. And he has some good sandwich recipes. If you are looking for the classic peanut butter and jelly type bread, you will need to make something with a finer crumb. So you may want to choose another route. Take a look at Peter Reinhart's latest book and his new take on his old classic struan bread. Bread dough is not hard to knead. You can use a stand mixer or even a food processor. A 45 second whirl with the steel cutting blade in a food processor will knead the dough quite well, though you may have to cut the dough into several pieces to avoid burning out the motor. As for making the KNB as a multi-grain bread, I had one of my few poor batches last weekend when I used 30 ounces of bread flour, 5 ounces of oat flour, 4 ounces of cornmeal, and 1 ounce of rye. I did it as a sourdough NKB and got a couple of rather dense, though flavorful loaves. The gluten was underdeveloped. Usually when I mix grains, I knead the dough somewhat and fold it several times more. You can do a 100% whole wheat KNB, but up the water a bit. Various people have reported a short shelf life for NKB. Actually, it stays fresh longer than most lean breads, but don't expect to keep it more than three days, unless you want to make panzanella. Ours never lasts three days, so I haven't discovered its absolute shelf life. But you could make a large loaf, cut it in half after it cools, and wrap and freeze half of it. To my mind, the main advantage of the KNB is the slow rise that allows flavor to develop. You can give a kneaded bread a slow rise as well.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Father Kitchen

                      I agree that the holey breads aren't quite as good for some kinds of sandwiches.

                      The 5 minute a day bread is not as holey as the Bittman/Lahey bread. It has a finer crumb. And the 5 minute a day book goes beyond the recipes for the basic bread (flour, yeast, salt, water) and also includes some enriched breads that have some eggs and/or fat that might be good for sandwiches too.