• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

cdh

Minimalist No-Knead Bread Technique (Part 1)

595 posts in this topic

I've never worked with yeast before, so forgive what may be a dumb question.

The recipe calls for using a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot and the pictures show the bread rising about half way up the sides. I've got a 4.5-quart LC oval pot I'd like to try this with. In your experience, will this work or do I need to bite the bullet and find a bigger pot?

I took my loaf out of the oven an hour ago. It is beautiful and exactly as Leahy said it should be . I used a 5 qt oval le Creuset and had no problem. I think 4.5 qt might work but definitely nothing smaller as the dough might hit against the lid.

I think the recipe does not call for enough salt. That is the only fault I can find with it and easily remedied.

Ruth


Ruth Friedman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been baking bread in a preheated cast iron dutch oven for years--no sticking problem at all. In fact, when I saw the article, I wondered whether preheating an enameled pot wouldn't damage the finish. I preheat mine--both the top and the lid--to 500 degrees, lower the oven temperature to 450 when I put the loaf in, and when I remove the lid after half an hour, I sometimes lower the temperature further, depending on how much color the loaf has at that point.

I also spritz some water inside the pot with a sprayer when I first put the loaf in. I put the lid on and then hold it open a crack and spray in some water. But my dough may not always be as wet as the Lahey formula.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've never worked with yeast before, so forgive what may be a dumb question.

The recipe calls for using a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot and the pictures show the bread rising about half way up the sides. I've got a 4.5-quart LC oval pot I'd like to try this with. In your experience, will this work or do I need to bite the bullet and find a bigger pot?

I took my loaf out of the oven an hour ago. It is beautiful and exactly as Leahy said it should be . I used a 5 qt oval le Creuset and had no problem. I think 4.5 qt might work but definitely nothing smaller as the dough might hit against the lid.

I think the recipe does not call for enough salt. That is the only fault I can find with it and easily remedied.

Ruth

Did you use regular table salt or kosher salt?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I took my loaf out of the oven an hour ago. It is beautiful and exactly as Leahy said it should be . I used a 5 qt oval le Creuset and had no problem. I think 4.5 qt might work but definitely nothing smaller as the dough might hit against the lid.

I think the recipe does not call for enough salt. That is the only fault I can find with it and easily remedied.

Ruth

I'm so excited to hear that it came out well (except for salt). I can't wait to try it. I work only until mid-day tomorrow, so I'll mix the dough tonight and bake tomorrow... I was very afraid that it wouldn't work as the article said.


Just a simple southern lady lost out west...

"Leave Mother in the fridge in a covered jar between bakes. No need to feed her." Jackal10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Devlin,

Gorgeous breads. I'm curious, what hydration do you use, when you say you don't knead?

Also I was curious that Lehay lets the bread develop 12 hours at room temperature - most sourdough recipes I've used call for a retard in the refrig because the dough would proof too long at 70 F. Do you find that to be the case?

Thanks, Sam (an avid home baker)

For illustrative purposes, if you'd like to see my own results, you can check out my web site (pics head several of the pages there):

The Village Bakery

Sorry I'm so long in responding, and you may have already gotten some answers. I'm not entirely sure the exact hydration of my breads, but they're roughly 65-75%, and the one I can't fold by hand but needs bench scrapers is 80% at least. It's more nearly poolish consistency from start through build-up and baking.

I've never simply let a dough sit for 12 hours without refreshing, so I can't comment on that particular method. I go through a fermentation process, with a basic sort of poolish starter, and that sits at room temp for anywhere from 12 to 17 hours. And then I add the remaining flour and water and whatever other ingredients specific to the particular bread, and then it rises from 2 to 4 hours, turning every hour, with a rise of roughly an hour in the final hour.

And, of course, I don't use anything but the floor of the oven for baking. No pots, no pans, etc. But even when I was baking my breads in the beginning in my electric oven, I simply put the breads directly on a pre-heated oven stone to bake (the one super wet dough on parchment).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would my 7 quart oval LC pot work for this method, or is the pot too big?


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've never worked with yeast before, so forgive what may be a dumb question.

The recipe calls for using a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot and the pictures show the bread rising about half way up the sides. I've got a 4.5-quart LC oval pot I'd like to try this with. In your experience, will this work or do I need to bite the bullet and find a bigger pot?

I took my loaf out of the oven an hour ago. It is beautiful and exactly as Leahy said it should be . I used a 5 qt oval le Creuset and had no problem. I think 4.5 qt might work but definitely nothing smaller as the dough might hit against the lid.

I think the recipe does not call for enough salt. That is the only fault I can find with it and easily remedied.

Ruth

Did you use regular table salt or kosher salt?

I never use table salt - sea salt or kosher


Edited by Ruth (log)

Ruth Friedman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, I use a similar method but instead of a poolish I've been making a biga (10 percent starter, flour and water at 50 percent hydration) and letting it develop anywhere from 15-24 hours. Then making the dough at 70-75 percent hydration. It's tasty with BIG holes but I'm finding it a bit too chewy ...

I also bake on a stone and put the broiler pan on the bottom of the oven. I pour in about 1/4 cup of water before I put the loaf in, then add another 1 cup once it's in. It steams for about 15 minutes and gets a thin, crisp crust. I will try Lehay's method but it seems to only apply to boules and I prefer the Italian loaf or baguette shape.

I posted these pictures on another forum here. The one on the right is a bit overproofed.

gallery_39515_3791_53527.jpg

Devlin,

Gorgeous breads. I'm curious, what hydration do you use, when you say you don't knead?

Also I was curious that Lehay lets the bread develop 12 hours at room temperature - most sourdough recipes I've used call for a retard in the refrig because the dough would proof too long at 70 F. Do you find that to be the case?

Thanks, Sam (an avid home baker)

For illustrative purposes, if you'd like to see my own results, you can check out my web site (pics head several of the pages there):

The Village Bakery

Sorry I'm so long in responding, and you may have already gotten some answers. I'm not entirely sure the exact hydration of my breads, but they're roughly 65-75%, and the one I can't fold by hand but needs bench scrapers is 80% at least. It's more nearly poolish consistency from start through build-up and baking.

I've never simply let a dough sit for 12 hours without refreshing, so I can't comment on that particular method. I go through a fermentation process, with a basic sort of poolish starter, and that sits at room temp for anywhere from 12 to 17 hours. And then I add the remaining flour and water and whatever other ingredients specific to the particular bread, and then it rises from 2 to 4 hours, turning every hour, with a rise of roughly an hour in the final hour.

And, of course, I don't use anything but the floor of the oven for baking. No pots, no pans, etc. But even when I was baking my breads in the beginning in my electric oven, I simply put the breads directly on a pre-heated oven stone to bake (the one super wet dough on parchment).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a loaf I made a couple weeks ago. The hydration is about 70-75%. This was kneaded, so it's not really an example of no-knead technique, but it did use only a half-pinch of IDY and a 36-hour fermentation (a poolish stage and then a second stage after adding more flour and salt). It was cooked in a Schlemmertopf clay baker.

PB020015.JPG


Edited by rxrfrx (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm bad at following directions. Here's what I did.

I created probably 80% hydration sourdough dough with about 6 cups flour, 2tspns salt, and refrigerated overnight, and then let rise about 8 hours.

Then I proofed for about 2, preheated the oven with a Dutch oven in it to 450F. It was too hydrated to get much surface tension into it although I tried.

I was a little apprehensive about getting the dough into the pot. But that was pretty easy. I covered and baked for 30 minutes then uncovered and baked for another 10 until the internal temperature was 205F.

My loaf had no oven spring and I think I should have baked it longer, perhaps at a lower temperature, maybe 425F.

It has a marvelous reddish crunchy crust that my bread hasn't had before and it tasted very good although I shouldn't have sneaked a slice as it wasn't yet cool.

I will definintely try this again and refine it for my style which is 1) sourdough, and 2) refrigerated immediately upon mixing, for 1 or 2 days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'kay, I started a batch of this within five minutes of spotting the article. (Finished reading it as I worked.)

Worked pretty well--looks *beautiful*--but various issues/ideas/thoughts:

1. It was so wet even after 18 hours that the idea of "folding" it as instructed was like folding pudding. Couldn't put it in the pot seam-side up as instructed because there weren't no seam. Two possible reasons:

a. It's a volume- (not weight-)measure recipe so it's possible there was too little flour--flour-to-water ratio was short.

b. My house thermostat kicks down at night to about sixty, so maybe it didn't do enough fermenting to build the glutens/align the proteins. Longer time or consistent warmth might change that.

2. When I pulled it out of the oven it had a great crunchy crust, but by the time it cooled it was chewy not crunchy. I only cooked it to light/medium brown (15 minutes after the pot lid came off), not dark brown. That might explain it.

3. The internal bubbles are beautiful, but the texture is much more elastic, even rubbery, than I tend to like. Would prefer more crumby. I wonder if one of the following would change that:

a. higher flour-to-water ratio

b. longer/more fermentation

c. longer/browner cooking

4. I am an almost obsessively minimalist bread baker. Read: lazy. (My everyday toast/sandwich white bread involves 5 minutes/2 hours rising/form into loaves (never touching the bread board which would require cleaning)/half hour rising/bake.) So this recipe is *way* attractive to me. Drawbacks:

a. It really gums up the bread board, which then must be cleaned. (Which in turn gums up the sponge... I told you I'm lazy.)

b. It *really* gums up the towel that's recommended. Pain to clean.

BTW, it does *not* stick to the pan as I feared. If I get good success with this I'll devote a pot to it that I rarely or never bother to clean, like my bread pans.

I have another batch fermenting now (which seems to be a bit drier). I'm going to try minimalizing it even more, going straight from the bowl (maybe knocking/stirring it down once for a second rising) into the hot pot, forming it a little bit with oiled hands in transit.

I'll let you know. Other folks' results?

Steve


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm puzzled as to why no oven spring. I have had good oven spring with this same hydration ratio.

I could fold the dough although it was much slacker than in the video. Really more of a ciabatta dough but I'm used to working with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took a course up at King Arthur's with Jeffrey Hamelman and James MacGuire where James discussed his research into no-knead doughs. His thoughts were that bread-makers from years ago didn't have spiral mixers of the tools of todays bakers. He shared with us a technique he was working on that takes about 4 hours before shaping. I've been playing around with the idea since that class, and have come up with some recipes that really, REALLY work well. Here's links to my recipes:

Baguette/Boule

Vienna

Focaccia

Sauerkraut Rye

Multigrain

There's a bunch of step by step pictures.... I do tend to use my own shortcuts, so if something doesn't make sense, just ask...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I just finished eating my loaf of no-knead bread. Honestly, I don't think it's worth skipping the 15 minutes in the Kitchenaid. The hole structure was less well-formed, and I couldn't get to a completely fully-proofed stage with Bittman's recipe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I measured out the ingredients then weighed them. The 3 cups flour was about 450 grams and 1-5/8 cup water was about 350 grams for a 77 percent hydration.

I'm baking in a few hours and will post the result....

OK, I just finished eating my loaf of no-knead bread.  Honestly, I don't think it's worth skipping the 15 minutes in the Kitchenaid.  The hole structure was less well-formed, and I couldn't get to a completely fully-proofed stage with Bittman's recipe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ohhhhhh...I want to try this...what I cannot figure out is exactly what kind of pot did he bake that in.....I will have to go buy one, thats why I am asking. If I even come close to that it will be worth any price I pay for the pot....

the breads on this thread are beautiful!!!!


"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think he was using enamel on cast iron, but I also heard him mention in the video that pyrex could be used, or even cast iron.

I think the issue with the pot has to do with taking the high heat and the cover. I am not sure Pyrex would have the same sort of heat rentention qualities that cast iron does, but it might bring something else to the table in reference to the moisture rentention that I am not getting. Pyrex also generally comes with a clear lid, and I am wondering how that will affect browning. I do know that my LC will brown the top of items.

I am mixing my dough today, and will report back tomorrow. I am looking forward to hearing from everyone else!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've never worked with yeast before, so forgive what may be a dumb question.

The recipe calls for using a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot and the pictures show the bread rising about half way up the sides. I've got a 4.5-quart LC oval pot I'd like to try this with. In your experience, will this work or do I need to bite the bullet and find a bigger pot?

Mine's in the oven at the moment, in a 4.5-quart LC oval pot at 500 degrees since the video said to go hot hot hot. I just pulled the lid off, and it was nowhere in danger of hitting the top. (I do have a larger dutch oven in the house, but it's an unenameled cast iron pot from my husband's family, and I wanted to be sure that it wouldn't stick and force me to try and reseason the pot.)

I started the dough at a little before 5 PM yesterday. I turned it out of its bowl when I got back from my swim at about 8:45 this morning. I dusted my towels with rice flour, because it doesn't seem to get as goopy as regular flour with a wet dough and I don't have any wheat bran on hand and the only cornmeal in the house at the moment is blue, and I didn't have any trouble with things sticking. My only apparent goof so far: I did the towel rising on the counter on the opposite side of the room from the range, and in the process of transferring the dough into the hot pot, I managed to dust the floor all the way across. (Note to self: next time put the towel on a sheet pan or pizza peel, idiot!) The dough went into the oven a touch before 11.

When I pulled the lid off just now, the top was already starting to get brown. I'll be sure to leave it in long enough to get really good and dark, though...and I'll take the temperature of the bread's interior so I know it's good and done.

Does anyone else wish the measurements had been given in mass? Despite seeing exactly how the measuring was done in the video?

eta: Two modifications I'd look at for next time, if this is as promising as the article made it sound: swapping in some whole wheat flour, and replacing the smidge of yeast with some of my sourdough started. That's where I really miss not having masses. Guess I'll just have to weigh things next time myself.

MelissaH


Edited by MelissaH (log)

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I took a course up at King Arthur's with Jeffrey Hamelman and James MacGuire where James discussed his research into no-knead doughs.  His thoughts were that bread-makers from years ago didn't have spiral mixers of the tools of todays bakers.  He shared with us a technique he was working on that takes about 4 hours before shaping.  I've been playing around with the idea since that class, and have come up with some recipes that really, REALLY work well.  Here's links to my recipes:

Baguette/Boule

Vienna

Focaccia

Sauerkraut Rye

Multigrain

There's a bunch of step by step pictures....  I do tend to use my own shortcuts, so if something doesn't make sense, just ask...

Love that you bake that in an egg. I've thought about doing that (being an egg owner myself) but haven't tried it yet...Seems like it would be very much like a brick oven

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My bread just came out of the oven. When I took the lid off, I set a timer for 15 minutes. When that beeped, I took a peek. Since there were a few little bits up on the top that were turning a very very dark color, I decided it was time to pull the loaf out of the oven.

The bread came out of the pot without a problem. I don't even think I'll need to wash the pot, other than maybe a quick swipe with a damp cloth to get a little bit of stray rice flour from my towel dusting. The internal temperature was 208 degrees F right when it came out, and within half a minute, it started making the most delightful crackling sounds.

The loaf is oval-shaped, because my pot was oval. It measures about 3 inches high in the middle. And it looks like this:

gallery_23869_3399_4783.jpg

gallery_23869_3399_3353.jpg

(In the first photo, you can see a bit of the white rice flour I'd used to keep the dough from sticking to the towel. And in the second photo, taken from a different angle, you can see that the top got quite browned.)

It's still too hot to cut.

MelissaH


Edited by MelissaH (log)

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lovely MelissaH. That was what I was hoping to see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eagerly awaiting the next installment of your story, MelissaH!

Two nights ago, I started this recipe. Our kitchen has been a bit cold, so I put some water in the crock pot, inverted the lid, topped with towels, and set the bread bowl on it. Upon checking the next morning, I was unhappy to learn that a lot of heat was coming out of the crock pot --way too much. So I turned off the pot and set the bowl aside on the counter. When I arrived home from work last night, I followed the rest of the directions, but the dough didn't rise a second time. Looks like the initial excess of heat did it in. I didn't bake it.

I started another loaf last night. I just heated up some water in the crock pot and turned it off, allowing the residual heat to work on things. The dough looked considerably better this morning. I can't wait to get home and finish it.

Sooo... the bread should be cool soon; do let us see the inside and tell us how it tastes!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Eagerly awaiting the next installment of your story, MelissaH! 

Two nights ago, I started this recipe.  Our kitchen has been a bit cold, so I put some water in the crock pot, inverted the lid, topped with towels, and set the bread bowl on it.  Upon checking the next morning, I was unhappy to learn that a lot of heat was coming out of the crock pot --way too much.  So I turned off the pot and set the bowl aside on the counter.  When I arrived home from work last night, I followed the rest of the directions, but the dough didn't rise a second time.  Looks like the initial excess of heat did it in.  I didn't bake it.

I started another loaf last night.  I just heated up some water in the crock pot and turned it off, allowing the residual heat to work on things.  The dough looked considerably better this morning.  I can't wait to get home and finish it.

Sooo... the bread should be cool soon; do let us see the inside and tell us how it tastes!

Another technique is to put the bowl on top of a heating pad. Depending on the temp of your kitchen, you can set the heating pad low or high. But my wife insists I get my own heating pad because she's tired of flour in bed when she's using it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Love that you bake that in an egg. I've thought about doing that (being an egg owner myself) but haven't tried it yet...Seems like it would be very much like a brick oven

Yeah, it was. Lets me get some high temps and I was able to control it pretty well. That's why the pic is of a boule instead of a baguette. Dough is the same, just the shape is different.

I see that the recipes you guys are following takes over 12 hours !!! Wow, I have problems planning that far in the future ;) The 4 - 5 hours this process takes is just about perfect for me.... an hour - hour and a half paying attention to the dough, and then 2.5 hours of tending to other matters... then shaping and baking. I'll usually bake every Sunday. Get up, do the one hour prep thing with the dough, then prepare whatever the Sunday meal will be.... Bread and dough seem to finish right about time to eat :)

<br>

<br>

Vienna:<br>

gallery_20352_3866_18740.png

<br>

<br>

Focaccia:<br>

gallery_20352_3866_30886.png

<br>

<br>

Multigrain:<br>

gallery_20352_3866_2158.png

<br>

<br>

Boule:<br>

gallery_20352_3866_32733.png


Edited by UnConundrum (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Similar Content

    • By borgr
      I want to leave my sourdough (itself, not baked loaves of sourdough bread) for a while (going abroad) but I do not want it to die, can I leave it in the freezer? do you have other ideas?
    • By hazardnc
      Having no local Arabic bakery, I have long hoped to learn to make good khoubz at home. Every time I try, however, my bread is too stiff and tough. I have been successfully making other breads using The Bread Baker's Apprentice, and now wonder if my bread woule benefit from an overnight ferment in the refrigerator.
      FoodMan (and anyone) can you help me?
    • By FrogPrincesse
      San Diego has a small number of artisanal bread bakeries. Bread & Cie has been my favorite for years, and their breads are now available in many supermarkets, which is very convenient. But it's nice to have some variety. So I was excited to spot a new bakery this weekend in Linda Vista. It's called Pacific Time and it is also a sandwich place with a small market with things like small-batch preserves, local beers, a cheese counter, charcuterie platters, and wine. It's located within a recently renovated strip mall that also hosts Brew Mart & Ballast Point.
       
      The bread I bought was a French-type rustic boule, dark, a bit reminiscent of Poilane but less dense. The crust could have been a little more crispy (it felt like the bread had sat around a little bit and softened in the paper bag), but the flavor was wonderful.
       

       

       
      Here is the bread:
       
       
       
    • By Lisa Shock
      The team over at Modernist Cuisine announced today that their next project will be an in-depth exploration of bread. I personally am very excited about this, I had been hoping their next project would be in the baking and pastry realm. Additionally, Francisco Migoya will be head chef and Peter Reinhart will assignments editor for this project which is expected to be a multi-volume affair.
    • By Chris Hennes
      The folks behind Modernist Cuisine have announced a projected publication date of March 2017 for their new five-volume set on bread (previously discussed here). Start saving up now!
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.