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Jan 13, 2011 09:04 PM

no knead bread

Is there any info on not preheating the pot before baking the bread?

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  1. You have to preheat the pot for it to work, the hotter the better.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      Agreeing with chowser: preheating is essential for creating the sudden steam-oven effect that this recipe relies upon..

    2. I"m going to dissent a bit here. I've been having problems with the bottom of my bread burning just a bit, resulting in my having to shave the bottom of bitterness. Strange, because I've been making AKNB for quite some time-many, many loaves before this happened.
      I tried placing the dutch oven higher in my oven, but to no avail. So, I stopped heating the ever-living shit out of it before hand!
      I allow my oven to come up to 500 and put the vessel and dough in cold. No problems, and no burnt bottom.
      I also worry about what the prolonged pre-heating is doing to my (lodge) oven-especially the enamel lining-when it gets so hot, empty.

      18 Replies
      1. re: monavano

        Oh, this is a great thing to know because I was going to halve the recipe for my 3.5 qt, and I also didn't want to waste energy heating up the pot. Thanks!

        1. re: monavano

          Do you use lightly oiled parchment and reduce the oven temp to 425 after putting the bread in? I just made some in a preheated to 500 oven in a 7 qt. dutch oven, and then reduced the heat. The bottom was a little overbrowned, but not enought to really matter.

          I do seem to remember thinking the bottom was a little overdone in the past, though, but this time worked well.

          1. re: monavano

            Good to know. I'm wondering if placing the DO on a sheet pan would prevent bottom burning, but it sounds like you have a working solution. Do you get a good oven spring from that technique?

            I want to mention that you shouldn't fear high heat damage in a enameled CI vessel. The enamel on a Lodge DO is vitreous, often called porcelain (powdered glass) enamel, and is fired in layers at Lodge's proprietary temp of 1400°F+. That's much hotter than your oven will get, I'm sure. So, be fearless with it, heat-wise, but maybe not for the bread.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Good to know about the enamel, although it's gotten discolored from the baking. As for the oven spring, it is less.
              I've used greased and non-greased parchment. You know what I did one time? I always keep my pizza stone in my oven, so that heated to 500. I placed the dough onto it for 5 min. (rolled it on like pizza with cornmeal, which btw, is delicious on the bottom!), then transfered it to my DO, which had not been preheated.
              Worked well.
              I'm still tinkering with my technique. Tonight, I'll make another dough and tomorrow morning I'll try heating my DO for about 5-10 minutes and see what happens with the bottom of the bread.

              1. re: monavano

                I use only the stone for no-knead bread. I've never done the pot method. Stone is on the upper rack, broiler pan is on the lower rack. I put the bread in the oven and pour a couple of cups of hot water into the broiler pan, shut the door quickly. Lots of steam, lots of spring, no burnt bottom.

                1. re: morwen

                  Excellent, I may try this! How long do you bake it for? Temp at 425?

                  1. re: monavano

                    425F and approx. 30 minutes for a small loaf. Larger loaves I test with a probe thermometer looking for around 190F-200F.

                  2. re: morwen

                    That's the approach I used to use for years, except that I used ice cubes to prolong the steam effect. I also would open the oven once or twice to to spray the loaf and oven with a water mist and maybe add some ice.

                    The advantage of the no-knead Dutch oven loaf is that there is much less work for what seems to me actually a better crust.

                    The advantage of the no-DO baking is that I could bake three small loaves loaf at a time on my stone.

                    I'm supposing you must preheat the stone, thought. And do you use a drier dough than the Lahey one? I can't imagine spilling his wet dough onto a hot stone.

                    1. re: Bada Bing

                      I preheat the stone with the oven and slide the loaves on a piece of parchment onto the stone. If you click on the link above you'll see the recipe along with photos of the dough in the tub. It's loose, sticky, wet, dough.

              2. re: monavano

                I'll experiment with your cold pot approach. Depending on various factors, ranging from the moisture of your dough to the thermal conductivity of your pot, I could see it working with some extra time.

                For my part, I don't find bread to be super-fussy about temperatures, and 500 is more than is necessary. To minimize discoloration of my pots, I preheat to 450 or even 425. Either of those temperatures will get you almost as quickly to a great crust and an internal loaf temperature over 200.

                1. re: monavano

                  Same here. Burnt bottom (and trouble getting the bread into the pot properly without burning myself) but it came out perfectly when I used a cold dutch oven.

                  1. re: monavano

                    This is interesting. I've always been under the impression (probably because Lahey said so) that it had to be hot. So, there's no difference in texture? Do you preheat the oven for half an hour? That's one reason I don't bake it in the summer but if it could be a matter of preheat quickly and bake, I would.

                    1. re: chowser

                      I've stopped preheating for 30 minutes. Once it reaches temp, in it goes.

                        1. re: chowser

                          Me too. I put it in as soon as it beeps.

                          1. re: jvanderh

                            Sounds good--I'll admit, taking out that hot DO and trying to get the dough in the center was a little scary sometimes. I was always worried I'd touch it by mistake. I'm loving this new twist. I wonder why the emphasis on the hot container then.

                            1. re: chowser

                              do you use a parchment paper sling?

                              1. re: monavano

                                Yes--it's just the irrational fear of the heat and needing new oven mitts.

                  2. Here is one my friend, Rick, makes.

                    I'll have to give it a try soon.


                    1. I tried the No Knead bread twice after the craze started, and decided that it was No Need bread. The loosey goosey dough was too difficult to handle without getting burned by an extremely hot uncoated cast iron Dutch oven. I have since learned patience and allow dough rise for at least 16 hours. The dough is mixed around 4 p.m. and ready to knead the next morning for a few minutes at 8 a.m.

                      I bake the bread in an old stainless steel rectangular roasting pan with a cover to keep moisture in the pan for a crisp crust. A loaf is shaped and allowed to rise again for a couple of hours in the roasting pan. The dough rests on aluminum foil to which it does not stick. I'm not naming the brand of foil. The foil can be used several time before it needs to be replaced. The roasting pan sits on a beautiful rectangular pizza stone given to me as a gift from our oldest daughter.

                      The dough is mixed by hand with a wooden spoon in a glass bowl which has a glass cover. That eliminates the need for plastic wrap.

                      FORGET THE NO KNEAD BREAD!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ChiliDude

                        I wouldn't dare attempt to lower the dough into a hot DO without the parchment paper sling. Ouch!