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cooking times on no knead bread

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
anyone give me a quick primer on the cooking times for bread? Am going to make a loaf of the no knead stuff for the first time this afternoon & when I look at the recipes, the cook times/temps are all over the place for the same recipe.

500 deg 15 min then 20-30 w/ the lid off at 475, 450 all the way through (w/ lid on & off) 475 for 15, then 450 (lid on then off) Even saw one for 425. yikes! no wonder works for some people & not others, but where do I start?
post #2 of 8
Your elevation and relative humidity, flour types and such all have some impacts on things bake in your location. This is probably part of why you're seeing such variation.

you should probably start with Bittman's original recipe. There's a good discussion of it


in these very fora.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 8
(deleted - user error)
post #4 of 8
I started baking again with the No Knead Bread and then, after a friend gave me an old Kitchenaid mixer, started making kneaded bread. With a mixer, not that much more trouble.

NKB or kneaded bread, you can get GREAT baking info and feedback at a site/web forum called The Fresh Loaf.

As everyone else said, it all depends on your flour, your pot, your oven. You're going to have to tweak until you get it right.
post #5 of 8
Quick primer:

No matter how it's cooked, bread is done when the moisture is largely cooked out of the center and the interior is at an appropriate temperature for the sort of crust you're trying to get. If you want a soft crust, cook to an internal of around 190F. If you want a crusty crust, cook to an internal of around 205F. Higher temperatures, shorter cooks promote crusty bread. Lower temperatures, longer cooks promote soft crusts. Cooking to a higher temperature will, as already said, result in a crustier crust.

You see, the "no knead" process is not the determinative aspect of cooking time and temperature strategies. The whole deal with lid on - lid off, and all that stuff, is the second major technique in the recipe. A technique which has no direct connection to the lack of kneading. That's a variation of "cloche baking," which means baking in a container which holds the moisture in. It's an old fashioned way of building an "artisanal" type crust. All this temperature/time craziness is about crust.

This should make some sense out of the problem. In terms of solving it, I recommend a common sense approach. All of the recipe approaches will work, as long as the bread is cooked long enough. But each approach will result in a different crust texture. Analyze the time and temperature recommendations in terms of the rules I gave about crust, and choose the temperature profile which best suits you on that basis alone. In a way, it's not fair to you to put the onus of making the choice on someone who has never baked this bread; but what the heck? I've got faith in you. If anyone can handle it, it's you!

If you do not have an instant read thermometer with a thin probe to check the bread's internal temperature. Check indirectly for interior temperature by checking for how much humidity is inside the loaf. That is, thump it. When it sounds hollow, it's done. Ideally, you can catch it at the transitional point when it's not quite done -- then on the next check it will be just done (190F), and you can allow about 1 minute for 1.25F to build some crackle into the crust, if that's your desire.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
thanks for the info. Picked one of the middle of the road temps w/o meddlling in the middle of the cooking, I figured lid on/off was enough for the first time. Just taste tested the loaf that was supposed to be for supper tonight.

Oh well, guess we'll have something else for supper...the taste test left something to be desired-another loaf....(well, a little bitty heel..., had to be sure it was satisfactory after all:rolleyes:). I really liked this bread.

I was very pleased w/it, it needed about 5 minutes more on the inside, but it was a really nice crust. I went 450 the whole way through today, (20min, then 30 min). If I lower to 425 for the lid off portion & go longer will I end up soggy? I hate to undo what was basically really nice bread, but I don't want iron hard crust either. Just needed a touch more cooking inside today, but 5min more & the outside would have been too done for my personal taste.
post #7 of 8
If you cut into the bread right away, you taste the crust at its hot crackling best. But the inside might still be a little gummy. If you let the bread cool before you cut it, the residual heat from the oven will finish baking the inside of the loaf.

If you bake the bread until it is perfectly dry inside, right out of the oven, you may end up with dry bread.

I try to wait at least 30 minutes to cut the bread, but it's a hard wait.

All this is a matter of taste, of course. You'll soon figure out how to bake it just the way you like it.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
It was cooled about 1 1/2 hours, it was a really hard wait. Still just slightly warm enough to melt the butter, barely. It needed just a touch more time in the oven. Just need to figure out how to get the inside a little more done but not the outside. 5 minutes more with the temps the way I had it & the outside would have been more done than I like it. Don't know if I decrease the cooking temp by 25 degrees & increase the time by 15minutes if I'll have it, or if I'll lose the nice crisp crust it had.
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