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A "New" Look at No-Knead


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J. Kenji López-Alt takes a (nother) fresh look at the Lahey recipe which democratized (Reinhart's term) bread making for the home cook.

 

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The promise of “no knead” may have propelled the recipe to superstardom, but baking the bread in a lidded Dutch oven preheated inside a regular oven was, in many ways, the more revolutionary of the concepts introduced.

 

No-Knead Bread, Revisited

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I read it over and over. The final few paragraphs confuse the hell out of me. I cannot figure out how he is accomplishing baking without the preheated Dutch oven. I’m going to make another cup of coffee to see if that helps. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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I'm not sure he noticeably advanced home economics with this study/article.    I've been making this loaf since its publication without encountering the problems he tries to address.   But then I probably never religiously followed the original instructions.   

eGullet member #80.

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I use parchment paper to transfer the loaf into the dutch oven. The ~20 min I leave it in the doesn’t burn the paper, merely browns it. After the steam hs done its magic I usually remove the bread from the durch oven and leave it in the (regular) oven until done.

That being said, I have cone to the conclusion that at 65%-75% dough hydration, the no knead and the dutch oven technique work just as well, and give me more traditional options to shape and score, while still retaining an open crumb. Pretty much all my breads are baked this way ...

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Agreed that the basic concept allows for individual adaptation.   And probably most important is kitchen configuration and choice of cooking utensils.    I can see how a wall oven presents much more hazard than a range oven re height and moving a super-hot pot.    And while instructions. allow for a lot of variation in "pot", one with "ears" or side handles is much more user friendly.  My oven-to-table set up makes it very easy for me to transfer dough to pot, pot to oven and the reverse.   YMMV

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Far be it for me to stick up for J.  Kenji Alt whomever.

 

But probably everyone has at one time or another cursed at this bread; either for it sticking to something, or getting caught on a handle when unloading, or burning one's self somewhere along the process.

 

So while this is far from revolutionary, I kind of like the idea of the flip.  And @Anna N - I think the oven is super preheated, but not anything else.

 

I'll give this a try - next winter, when I start baking again. (I CAN'T WAIT FOR PIZZA!)

 

And like @Duvel, I've been using parchment as a sling for bread for a long time.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Posted (edited)

Rice flour is my god.    The dough ball is placed on one end of a rice-flour coated tea towel on a rimless cookie sheet.   Ball slightly rolled around to coat low sides.   Top of towel brought over the ball and side edges tucked under the ball to form a support.   Ball rises within this support.    When time's up, hot DO bottom moved to a board on adjacent table.   Tea towel removed from top of loaf, tucked under top of cookie sheet and ball tipped into the pot.   Pot shaken to center the ball.    Lid on -> into oven.    When half baked, like Duval, I remove loaf from DO (using a long, broad wooded "spatula" and oven mitt) and let it finish directly on an oven rack.  

 

Works for me.

47787482_ScreenShot2021-05-04at10_49_06AM.thumb.png.e65f2783fb5c6c11921be1e154dcfec6.png

Edited by Margaret Pilgrim (log)

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2 hours ago, Anna N said:

I read it over and over. The final few paragraphs confuse the hell out of me. I cannot figure out how he is accomplishing baking without the preheated Dutch oven. I’m going to make another cup of coffee to see if that helps. 

 

As I read it, the dough ends up on the cookie sheet with the large bowl inverted over it, acting as a cloche. As I have always been on the edge of panic dealing with the hot DO, it seems worth a try for me.

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"There are no mistakes in bread baking, only more bread crumbs"

*Bernard Clayton, Jr.

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9 minutes ago, AlaMoi said:

veddy easy.  been doing it long time now....

 

bowl_parch_s.thumb.jpg.f6a4331651dc7a69a7f6471b254b5ca2.jpg

 

finishes like:

2614s.thumb.jpg.24025c93b3271bf9fbb200771ffd5ba4.jpg

 

 

Do you bake it on what looks like a pizza stone?

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Posted (edited)

“But, in my testing, I happened upon an even more convenient method: letting the ball of dough proof in a towel-lined mixing bowl, then, after proofing, I would place an inverted aluminum sheet tray directly over the smaller bowl, and flip the tray and bowl together before carefully removing the cloth. You wind up with a tall, shapely ball of dough that’s ready to bake.”

 

Explain to me “smaller bowl”. What is the larger bowl doing and where does it come into this picture?

 

Edited to add that I have made hundreds of the “no knead” bread using the Dutch oven method. 

Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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1 hour ago, ElsieD said:

 

Do you bake it on what looks like a pizza stone?

 

 

yes - I use parchment because my peel skill suck, onto the baking stone.... preheated

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3 minutes ago, AlaMoi said:

 

 

yes - I use parchment because my peel skill suck, onto the baking stone.... preheated

 

Thanks.  My peel skills suck too.

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

... I have made hundreds of the “no knead” bread using the Dutch oven method. 

 

Me too.   Kenji seems to be addressing problems and trepidations experienced by some, but from my POV, it ain't broke.   I also appreciate the loft you get from a pre-heated DO.   

 

 

eGullet member #80.

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

“But, in my testing, I happened upon an even more convenient method: letting the ball of dough proof in a towel-lined mixing bowl, then, after proofing, I would place an inverted aluminum sheet tray directly over the smaller bowl, and flip the tray and bowl together before carefully removing the cloth. You wind up with a tall, shapely ball of dough that’s ready to bake.”

 

Explain to me “smaller bowl”. What is the larger bowl doing and where does it come into this picture?

 

Edited to add that I have made hundreds of the “no knead” bread using the Dutch oven method. 

The”smaller bowl” is the one that is towel lined and used to proof the boule. The “larger bowl” is another bowl that’s large enough to allow the bread to rise, it gets rinsed out with water and put over the top of the bread just before putting it in the oven.

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15 minutes ago, DesertTinker said:

The”smaller bowl” is the one that is towel lined and used to proof the boule. The “larger bowl” is another bowl that’s large enough to allow the bread to rise, it gets rinsed out with water and put over the top of the bread just before putting it in the oven.

Thank you.  I’m glad you worked it out and shared it. I think the instruction was very poorly written. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I see there is a video by Kenji on YouTube, should you feel so inclined...   

 

 

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"There are no mistakes in bread baking, only more bread crumbs"

*Bernard Clayton, Jr.

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14 minutes ago, AlaMoi said:

another way to "cover" no knead:

DSC_4640s.thumb.JPG.1922391c60051717a0a51db91282a6aa.JPG

Pure genius!!!

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