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Minimalist No-Knead Bread Technique (Part 1)

595 posts in this topic

It is time I joined in. Been reading this thread with much interest. Though I have not baked much in the past, I have decided to start. Really want to bake bread and have purchased several bread baking books (BBA, Artisan Bread). They scare the heck out of me!!!! I will get to those BUT need to take baby steps. This recipe seems like a start.

After all the I've read here, I used 2 cups KA bread flour, 1 cup KA WW flour, 1/4 tsp instant yeast, slightly more salt than the recipe called for, and a little more than 1 1/2 c water to bring it together. Waiting the 18 hours now. Hopefully will bake great bread tomorrow evening! :smile:


Donna

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I never did get around to baking the dough I mixed and allowed to "develop" in the fridge for a somewhat extended period. Some friends showed up and settled in for the day and I had a brainstorm and pulled the bag out of the fridge, filled the deep fryer and made fried bread. Actually I allowed my company to do some of the work - dipping the dough out of the bag with a medium disher. Each piece blew up like a balloon, some in extreme freeform shapes.

I sprinkled an herb-salt mixture over some, which we had with omelets and the last couple of batches were dusted with a cinnamon-sugar mixture to go with coffee.

Not even a crumb was left so the results were obviously not too bad.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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My latest experiment: making rolls like SparrowsFall's housekeeper. (See SparrowsFall's post, 12/2/06). My ingredients list:

430 g King Arthur unbleached bread flour

1/4 tsp yeast

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 cups buttermilk

2 TB melted butter

2 TB sugar

I mixed up the dough as usual. The first rise took about 20 hours--I think the buttermilk and butter must have slowed down the yeast development. The second rise took 2 1/2 hours. Compared to my usual dough from this recipe, the buttermilk dough seemed less bubbly and drier, without the long gluten strands clinging to the sides of the bowl.

(The dough did not look promising. I considered dumping it, but then just forged ahead.)

After the second rise I formed the dough into rolls. The dough seemed dry, so I decided to skip S's housekeeper's "steam oven" method (dropping the dough into a preheated muffin tin, then covering with foil). The dough didn't feel moist enough for this technique to work. Instead, I placed the rolls into a well-buttered muffin tin. I let the rolls rise until doubled, covered with plastic wrap, while I preheated the oven. There was a little extra dough so I made a couple bigger rolls and placed them in buttered ramekins.

I baked the rolls in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes, then because the rolls were getting very brown, I lowered the oven temp to 375 degrees and baked for another 5 minutes. The rolls smelled divine while they were baking. I was beginning to feel optimistic! When I removed the rolls from the oven, they tested 200 degrees on my digital thermometer.

Despite my anxieties, these rolls turned out very good. They are tasty and tangy from the buttermilk, sugar, and butter. The texture is slightly denser than usual, but open and airy (smaller holes). The crust is tender-crisp and dark brown, as you would expect from a buttermilk roll.

The next time I make these rolls, I will try to push the internal temperature to 210 degrees before removing them from the oven. I think they could have used a little more cooking time. I may start with a lower temperature of 425 degrees in the oven, and let the rolls bake longer.

The rolls I baked in the ramekins were beautifully caramelized on their bottoms. Maybe ramekins are the way to go when baking rolls.

SparrowsFall, pls thank your housekeeper for the idea of making rolls, and thanks to you for passing the tip along. :smile:


Edited by djyee100 (log)

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Has anyone else tried letting their kid make it? That's one of the things that appealed to me from the first recipe; the tease that even a four year old could make it. I didn't have one of those laying around, but I DID have a five year old, and she made a beautiful loaf. I'm eager to try some of the variations - this was a bit too white for my tastes.

Here are the details.

I hope that it doesn't have to be said that I would let a kid get anywhere NEAR smoking-hot cast iron.

It is detailed on her blog that Mom did in fact handle the cast iron, though it does bear repeating here I suppose.

I think its great that her five year old got to make bread! Nothing but good will come of that.

She does help make quesadillas at the stove, but I'd have to be pretty damn crazy to let her handle a Le Creuset that was pre-heated to 450 degrees.

She was very proud of the bread. I told her that we would try some new variations this week, and she has requested olive.

Wow, she's made it to the olive before me!

:biggrin:

Both of you have fun with it. Maybe she will never have the "Baker's Block" so many people get.

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I want to make baguettes as well.  How can we make it happen?  Shape into breadsticks on parchment, then slide onto a pizza stone and hope it expands?

Use a banetton (proofing basket) to raise the loaves. For one multiple of this recipe, I use two (15" or so) banettons for baguette-size and three for something closer to a ficelle. Bake on a well-heated stone at 475F for ten minutes with steam and until the bottom is almost burnt without (usually about another 10 minutes).

Jake Parrott

Ledroit Brands, LLC

Bringing new and rare spirits to Washington DC.

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SparrowsFall, pls thank your housekeeper for the idea of making rolls, and thanks to you for passing the tip along.  :smile:

Will do! I'm collecting all these posts about her for her next visit. She'll be thrilled!

"Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon." --Dalai Lama

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I have looked through this thread to see if anyone has tried this technique to make a baguette? I saw Bittman's mention of it, but found only 1 brief mention in the thread. I have a baguette shaped cloche(I am sure there is a name for it) and would like to use it but wonder if manipulating the dough to fit would cause it to lose too much volume?

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I'm now on loaves # 7 & 8. More or less using the original technique, but have gone w/two tsp. salt, and sometimes I use 2.5 cups KA Bread Flour and 0.5 KA whole wheat flour. I also do the second rise in an bowl oild w/olive oil and just dump the whole thing into a well used Staub enameled cast iron pot. Wonderful revolution!

Staub

gallery_39170_2381_107342.jpg

Results: One after the other is a good way to go

gallery_39170_2381_192760.jpg

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Arriba!, I did a baguette in my Le Creuset terrine pan and it was very good, so I see no reason your cloche wouldn't work. When I folded the dough I shaped it into a long shape, and although it did get somewhat distorted plopping it into the pan, it was still baguette-like.

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I am so excited!!! My very first loaf of bread is out of the oven and cooling (only after I carried it all around the house to show my husband and MIL).

gallery_44782_4004_478263.jpg

This is when the lid was removed, after 25 minutes at 475 (lowered the oven temp from 500 to 475 when bread placed in oven). Baked another about 23 minutes uncovered, internal temperature was 209 when removed from oven.

gallery_44782_4004_14672.jpg

It came right out of the pot...no sticking at all.

gallery_44782_4004_41007.jpg

I am so looking forward to cutting into it. Hope it looks as beautiful as all of yours.

Will hopefully get photos!

This was so easy. If the bread tastes good, looks like bread baking is in my future. Could easily do one or two loaves a week. Maybe later I will gain the confidence to do more. WOW!! What a revelation :biggrin: !

I have been so inspired by the whole lot of you. Thanks so much.


Donna

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Very happy with the results. Husband and MIL impressed. They would like a thinner crust, though I liked it as is. May take the lid off a little earlier next time. Easy enough that I do believe I have become a bread maker!!!!! Expect to do this often.

Not too bad for a first timer, eh?

gallery_44782_4004_350998.jpg


Donna

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It is really interesting watching the success of "virgin" bread bakers with this recipe. Makes you wonder if Leheay is trying to put himself out of business! I think it has sold more than a few copies of "No Need to Knead" as well.

It certainly has changed our habits in my household. I think its wonderful.

"Time to bake the bread."

:biggrin:

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Very happy with the results.  Husband and MIL impressed.  They would like a thinner crust, though I liked it as is.  May take the lid off a little earlier next time.  Easy enough that I do believe I have become a bread maker!!!!!  Expect to do this often.

Not too bad for a first timer, eh?

gallery_44782_4004_350998.jpg

Wonderful! I love it when success comes out of the oven, don't you? :biggrin:

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One more question and then I will be making a batch to attempt as a baguette in a clay baker. I read in one of the many postings that fresh flour is of the utmost importance which I learned on my first attempt which bombed(really old flour). My flour is one month old--is that fresh enough?

Abra, thanks for the input and I will definitely post results!

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Actually its the opposite. Flour older than about 3 weeks will make different bread than fresh flour. If you use fresh flour you will need to either modify your technique or add oxidants like Vitamin C to oxidise an enzyme that will otherwise eat the gluten.

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I have had the best results making bread with flour bought relatively recently from a store. Month old should be fine though. Take note that after that point, whole wheat can turn rancid if it is not refrigerated.

As for using flour that's too fresh, I've never run into that problem. I expect that it's at the usuable point when it's on the store shelf. I've gotten excellent results using a new bag of flour every week or two though tend to buy King Arthur.

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Re: using fresh flour

I have read caveats about using fresh-milled flour, i.e., you should let it dry out and season for a week or two. Yet I buy fresh-milled flour from a local farm. When I mentioned this issue to the farm people, they thought I was nuts. They bake with fresh-milled flour all the time. I've baked with flour that was milled only a day or two ago, and the results were fine. This is stoneground whole-wheat flour.

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Actually its the opposite. Flour older than about 3 weeks will make different bread than fresh flour. If you use fresh flour you will need to either modify your technique or add oxidants like Vitamin C to oxidise an enzyme that will otherwise eat the gluten.

I've never heard of this, so I'm eager for more information. Do you allow your flour to age slightly, or do you add oxidants? What do you add, and how much? Very interesting! Oh, such a geek I'm going to be at the Christmas table!

Edited to ask: I usually put even my unbleached flour in the freezer when I first get it home, to kill any hitchhiking bugs. Does that affect the "age" of the flour?

I am happy to report success in my proselytizing efforts. My sister has heard the words of the Gospel of the Bread that have fallen on her ears. My brother-in-law called this morning to discuss the sizes of cast iron pots available, and which would be best! Yesssssssss! (He's going with the 5 quart, as opposed to the 7 quart.)


Edited by jgm (log)

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I am happy to report success in my proselytizing efforts.  My sister has heard the words of the Gospel of the Bread that have fallen on her ears.  My brother-in-law called this morning to discuss the sizes of cast iron pots available, and which would be best!  Yesssssssss!  (He's going with the 5 quart, as opposed to the 7 quart.)

Definitely a good move; from personal experience, a 7-quart is too big. My 5-quart Lodge may even be a smidge large; if I come across something a bit smaller (0.5 quart smaller) I may pick it up.

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Ok, now that I am on my 4th batch I have a question.  Given I never baked bread with any regularity before this, what exactly would be the perfect crumb on this type of bread?

I assume we are looking for a webby inside where the crumb is light and completely cooked and the thinner parts of the web are translucent and glistening in the light.  And overall the smell of the crumb is yeasty but not that wet undercooked yeast smell.

Does that sound about right?

That certainly sounds right to me, although that seems to describe the perfect crumb for most any vaguely "country style" bread. More to the point, IMO you want a very open crumb with lots of big holes evenly distributed through the bread.

I've just reactivated my Bahrain culture from Sourdoughs International and will be making a few no-knead boules soon.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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...from personal experience, a 7-quart is too big. My 5-quart Lodge may even be a smidge large; if I come across something a bit smaller (0.5 quart smaller) I may pick it up.

I'm having good luck with the ChefMate 4.5 qt. casserole I bought at Target -- 40 bucks plus tax...

gallery_7232_4006_174506.jpg


So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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Unless you grind your own, or buy "green" flour straight from the mill it will have done its ageing by the time you get it.

Usually a small amount of Vitamin C (0.1%) will do it, or a mixing regime that incorporates a lot of air.

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I baked a baguette shaped loaf today in a clay 2 peice baker and it turned out great. I was afraid it was going to be a disaster because the dough stuck badly to the towel this time--not a problem with my last attempt because I used LOTS of flour on the towel. A lot of that flour stuck to the dough and the resulting loaf was covered with clumps of cooked flour that would not brush off. Not attractive! I covered the towel very well with flour, but still stuck. I "plopped" the dough into the hot baker and sort of shaped it as it tore off the towel. It was a big mess but turned out amazingly well--good rise, crackly brown crust and interior not quite as moist as the round loaves I made. I cooked it to internal temp 209 and let it cool completely before cutting.

I have a batch of Julia's mixed starter bread rising now and will try half in a pre-heated baker and half not for a comparison. Someone posted way back in this thread that they thought it would be more flavorful--I will know tomorrow!

Thanks for all the help!

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So impressed with everyone's photos.

I'm not much of a baker, never seem able to stay to a recipe exactly, to the annoyance of my husband. But since he's a stickler to a recipe, this technique is great for us.

Yesterday we baked a raisin cinnimon loaf, which tasted fantastic, but wasn't the prettiest thing in the world. Fine by us, we scarfed it down and chalked it up to experience.

Our oven spring has been on and off. Any advice would be great from the more experienced bakers out there.

Now go bake some bread! :raz:

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I was a little nervous baking it in my Romertopf (stories of cracking) but I soaked it for a couple of hours, put it in the oven as it heated, and did half batches in the Topf and my Le Creuset oval dutch oven. The Romertopf takes the cake! Better overall crust (more crackly and even), less bottom burning, and best part was no staining on the clay (my LC is slowly getting darker and darker each time I do this). I did 1.8 rye, 1.8WW and the rest AP, and this time the flavor is getting more developed. Still working on it, though.

I know others have said that you can adapt any bread recipe to this methodology. Does that mean I just keep similar wet to dry proportions and long rise, or...?

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