or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

No Knead Bread

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm sure you have all seen this or heard about the no knead bread, I just saw this a little over a week ago and I gave it a try. I didn't let my first loaf rise enough on the second rise but it was still VERY good. The second time I made it, I gave it more time and the loaf was perfect. This loaf could go up against any bakery bread that I've ever tasted and hold it's own.

What I would like to know is, if I let this bread sit longer than the 24 hours that the recipe calls for, would I end up with a loaf of sour dough bread or a sour dough starter. Would it break down and go all soupy like a sour dough starter does?

OH! I almost forgot to mention, on this recipe I cheated and added a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to the flour.

I would have posted the link to the recipe, a link to a how to video and pictures of the bread I made but the site wouldn't let me because I have less than 15 posts.


This recipe first appeared in the New York Times in November 2006. Mark Bittman visited the Sullivan Street Bakery where Jim Lahey, who devised this tasty bread and its unique cooking method, demonstrated how to make this bread.

This was one of the most emailed articles from the New York Times, because it’s simple and results in a magnificent loaf of bread.

Unlike most recipes that have you hunting in specialty stores for ingredients you will never use again, this recipe has four basic ingredients: Flour, water, salt and yeast. No sugar or added fats. And it's inexpensive - one standard package of yeast will make about 6 loaves of bread! I estimate ingredients for this bread cost about 50 cents - you would pay $3.00 to $4.00 for this loaf in an artisan bakery! Plus, there is NO KNEADING! None! Time does all the work in creating the gluten that gives bread its unique structure.

Time and patience are the key elements to making this recipe work. The bread needs 19-24 hours to work its magic prior to baking.

The following is a visual guide to making this delicious bread, based on much experimentation with various techniques and tools.


Once your dough has rested for 12 hours, it should be very bubbly and doubled in size. You can choose to stir the dough down and have it rise again if you need to delay the baking process, up to 24 hours or more, especially if you like more of a sourdough taste. Don't worry that there will be spoiling or mold formation. The live yeast is producing carbon dioxide and alcohol, which keeps all the nasty bacteria away, plus they have a hard time with the starch anyway. Another bacteria, lactobacillus, is producing lactic acid, which gives sourdough bread its great tangy taste. I find that if you make the dough in the evening, stirring it down in the morning and then letting it rise again during the day gives excellent results.

Step 1 ~ Mixing

In a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl, (NOT metal) combine:

3 cups all purpose flour or bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4-teaspoon instant yeast

Mix well to combine dry ingredients

Add:

1 1/2 cups water

Mix well with a spoon. No need to beat this, just get all the flour absorbed - you might need a little extra water if it's very dry where you are. Make sure you purchase instant yeast such as Rapid Rise from Fleischmann's or Quick Rise from Red Star. You only need 1/4 teaspoon, not the whole package. Fold the foil package that the yeast came in and place it in a zipper bag in the refrigerator for the next loaf.

Cover your dough (it will not be very pretty) with plastic wrap and place in a warm place (at least 70 degrees). I find the microwave oven (off, of course) makes an excellent resting place. I usually make this in the evening so I can bake bread the next evening. In some ways, this is easier than conventional bread baking where everything happens in compressed time - you end up baking until 11 at night. With this method, this first step takes just five minutes.

Step 2 ~ Let it Rise!


If your dough has not risen significantly, it could be that your yeast was old and no longer active...you may want to give it some more time to allow naturally occurring yeasts to multiply. In the middle ages, there was no yeast for sale so folks relied on natural wild yeasts that are always flying around in the air. For consistency, using yeast you buy is a better idea.

Step 3 ~ Transfer to Parchment Paper for Final Rise!

(I just left mine sitting on my floured counter top and dusted it with flour then covered it with a piece of plastic wrap and a dish towel.)


This part can be a little sticky and tricky, so be patient. Your dough should be well risen after the 19-24 hour rest period. Sprinkle some flour over the top and start scooping the dough together - use more flour if you need to. Place the dough on a well-floured piece of parchment paper. It MUST be WELL floured, or the dough will stick. Now, simply fold the dough from the sides, and then the top and bottom, like you were folding all four sides to the center, and flip it over. Roll up the top of the parchment paper so the dough has a little covering, like a tent. Parchment paper should be available in any grocery store - you can also use waxed paper.
The original recipe from the New York Times called for the dough to be placed in a towel. Both times I tried that I had a sticky mess on my hands - others who have baked this bread and written up their results on blogs have reported the same problem. I have used the parchment three times and it works much better than the towel method - cleaner too as you can just throw the parchment paper away when finished.

Now, let the dough rest in the paper from 1-2 hours, or until about doubled in size. I usually do this out on the counter.

Step 4 ~ Selecting a Baking Pan!

Perhaps the second most crucial part of this recipe (after the long rise period) is the selection of a baking dish. You need to essentially create "an oven within an oven" which will produce the steam you need to achieve the wonderful crust. Commercial bakeries have steam injection ovens which keep the humidity high while baking to aid in crust formation. Other bread baking methods call for pans of water in the oven, spraying the bread with water while baking, or even placing ice cubes in the oven! I DO NOT recommend any of these methods - one person reported on a blog that placing ice cubes in a hot oven warped the floor of her oven, which could not be repaired.
Selecting a proper baking pan means finding a round baking dish that can handle lots of heat and has a lid. In the original recipe, a Le Creuset Dutch oven was recommended, in the 4 to 5 quart size. If you have such an implement, by all means use it. This cast iron enameled pot is perfect. However if you do not already own one they are not cheap, costing well over $150. A tip - place foil over the knob on the lid to protect it from the extreme heat. There are other less expensive alternatives. Some on Internet sites have recommended a clay baking pot like a Romertopf, the inside of a Crockpot (the crock part), Corning ware or Pyrex.
I bought new Pyrex and it seems to work quite well. Many though have warned that Pyrex could be dangerous and possibly shatter, so use at your own risk! I bought a 5 quart bowl and use a Pyrex pie plate as a lid - a $10.00 solution. As Pyrex ages, it becomes more likely to shatter due to the continuous heating and cooling, so if you go the Pyrex route, buy new. Some have also used their Cephalon Dutch ovens, but have reported sticking and cleaning problems. Also, do not be tempted with a knock-off Le Creuset...I saw one in a big box store for $39.00, but the knob at the top would not have taken the high temperature needed for this bread.

Step 5 ~ Time to Bake!

About 1/2 hour before baking, place your baking dish as selected above in a cold oven to pre-heat. You should not need to grease the pan, but you can if you choose to. I have found it unnecessary with the Pyrex. Set the oven to 475 degrees - a very hot oven, so be careful! When the oven has reached that temperature, open the oven door and pull out the rack (wearing oven mitts) with your preheated pan. Take the dough in the parchment paper and "plop" it into the pan - PLEASE BE VERY CAREFUL AS THE OVEN AND THE PAN ARE VERY HOT!!! It does not need to be all nice and perfect - this is a rustic loaf. Carefully place the lid on the pot and slide slowly back into the oven. Close the oven door and set the timer for 30 minutes.
DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR TO PEEK! If you oven has a window and light, you can watch the bread do its final rise or "oven spring" (if you are using Pyrex). Otherwise, you will have to curb your curiosity. Don't worry if a lot of the flour from the parchment ended up on the bread - it will actually add to the look of the bread when it's finished. Also, remember that when the yeast was "brewing," it was producing alcohol - the very small amount produced will burn off during the baking process. The yeast used in baking is actually the same type used in brewing beer, Latin name Saccharomyces cerevisia.
After 30 minutes, open the oven and CAREFULLY remove the pot lid, wearing your oven mitts. Set the lid in a safe place, away from any children or pets, to cool. Close the oven door and set your timer for 20 minutes - oven temperature stays the same at 475 degrees. After 20 minutes, check the loaf to see if it has sufficiently browned. If not, let it bake an additional 5-7 minutes.

Step 6 ~ The Grand Unveiling!

Now, the moment! Carefully remove the baking bowl from the oven, wearing your oven mitts. Flip the bread out of the baking dish and carefully place the bread on a cooling rack. Turn off the oven and return the baking dish to the oven to gradually cool down.
If all went right, you should have a beautiful rustic loaf that will SING to you - as the bread cools, you will hear crackling noises which indicate your crust is perfect! See what a nice finish the dusting flour gives?

RESIST the temptation to cut open your cooling bread. It must sit at least one hour before slicing.

Step 7 ~ Enjoy!

The fruits of your labor are evident! After a few successes with this basic recipe, allow your imagination to take over - use different types of flour such whole wheat, rye or spelt; add things such as chopped olives or dried tomatoes. I cut my loaves with an electric knife, but any good bread knife will also do the trick.

Storage: Keep this bread out of the refrigerator! It will ruin the crust. Keep it cut side down covered with a piece of paper or a towel. That keeps the moisture in but does not ruin the crust. Keeping in a zipper bag will also cause the crust to become less crunchy.

This bread makes a wonderful gift - give with a little bottle of flavored olive oil.
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
post #2 of 16
Heres the no-knead video to check out too..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13Ah9ES2yTU
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you Joyfull; have you made this bread?
Betty
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
post #4 of 16
No, not yet. I've yet to get a proper pot for making it..
Have you been following the thread on this website about the bread? Its amazing how many people from all over the world are now making bread for the first time because of Jim Lahey..
Check it out..

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=95345
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the link, I hadn't seen it.

I'm going to mark it and read the whole thing later, it's late and I'm going to head off to bed.
Betty
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
post #6 of 16

Good book on subject

No Need to Knead.

http://cheftalk.com/content/display....d=47&type=book
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you M Brown.

What do you think would happen if you left the dough to sit at room temperature for more than 24 hours? Would it develop a sour taste as it aged but still hold it’s shape or would it break down and get all soupy like a sourdough starter does?
Betty
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
post #8 of 16
Thanks - great tips and recipe
post #9 of 16

24 hour proof?

After re-reading your origional formula, 24 hours plus is okay! I would not go much over it though, up to say 30 hours? perhaps.

let me know how it turns out. I will be trying it out too. My oven blew up a few weeks ago so I have to break in the new one!

:lol:
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you.

I've been having some trouble with this recipe. I don't get any oven spring with it. The taste of the bread is good and the crust is good but it's a very small compact loaf and normally 3 cups of flour would give me a much larger loaf.

My regular bread has 5-1/2 cups of flour and I get two very large loaves out of it. It's a part whole-wheat sandwich bread and has tons of oven spring but then I cook it at a much lower temp.

I was wandering if cooking it at such a high temp would make the bread set too quickly and not give it time to rise in the oven?

I know what you mean about breaking in a new oven. We moved about a year ago and I wasn't able to take my old stove with me, the space for the stove in the new house was too small for it to fit.

The stove in the new house has issues! It is a brand new stove and I really love the cook-top but the oven is strange. I have to set it between 25 and 50 degrees cooler if I want a temperature between 200 and 400 degrees. If I want a temperature over 400 degrees then I have to set it 25 to 50 degrees hotter. But after a year I've gotten used to it and can pretty much nail the temp on the first try now. :rolleyes:
Betty
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
post #11 of 16
after thinking about it a bit, i had an idea, i think a taracotta plant pot, you know the big round redish brown ones? and the draining tray would make a perfect subsitute for a clay baker thing, or dutch oven, and the best part you may have laying around you garage... though i would clean it first. its perfect though, i think it perfectly could replicate a hearth inside your oven and since its clay, it can take the heat, justplug up the hole on top with a smooth, round rock (clean too)... or dont worry about iti havent tried it yet, but only because we still have a plant living in ours. and the best part is the whole rig is a heck of a lot cheaper than clay baker thingies and dutch ovens, id guess this whole setup would cost $10-15 tops...
RAR!!!
Reply
RAR!!!
Reply
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Before you use a clay pot you will need to test it to make sure that it is lead-free; there are inexpensive lead test kits available for sale at most hardware stores.

I've been doing a few Google searches on the subject; the clay pots are said to work very well just beware of pots with lead in them.
Betty
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
post #13 of 16
but the lead is what gives it that great taste!!!:lol:

good point, i didnt think of that one...
RAR!!!
Reply
RAR!!!
Reply
post #14 of 16
I am making this bread almost every other day... it is so delicious and reminds me of the bread I used to have in Romania (my original home). It is so easy to make and great especially if you are a busy person as I am (two jobs, but still cooking and baking) and now I make a lot of it for friends and family that are in love with it.


I would show you photos with my bread, but maybe later on.
post #15 of 16
Betty,

Every time I make the bread... I use a glass pot (resistant to high temperatures) and I always preheat the oven and the pot with the lid at 500 F. When it is hot I take it out, I put on the bottom of the pot some parchment paper (to prevent sticking - it happened before) then I drop in the pot about 1/2 cup of water and the dough. I cover and back in the oven. It always rises at least double in size in the oven. I let it bake for 35 min with the lid and then 15 min without the lid.

Truth is that i usually double the recipe as my pot is pretty large.

But it always came out great.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you Talida I'll give this a try and see if I can get it to work better for me. I don't have a large glass pot but I have a stainless steel one that I'm going to try out with the water. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Betty
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pastries & Baking