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Minimalist No-Knead Bread Technique (Part 1)


cdh
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I'm dying to hear about the results. I guess hubby and I just might have to take up some home brewing...

Also, do you purchase a different type of yeast for home brewing. I've heard about brewer's yeast of course, but I have the sneaking suspicion that you are not referring to that brown jug at the grocery store.

On brewing yeast: yes, there is a boatload of choices out there. The two biggest yeast labs are Wyeast and White Labs. Each has around 40 strains of yeast in their product range that correspond with particular styles of beer. They're sold as a liquid slurry. You'll likely have a homebrew shop someplace near you that stocks some of the products of one or the other of the labs (few stock both, as there is a lot of overlap). There are also dried yeast strains on the market too.

As to results, I found the yeasty flavor better in my loaf made with a few drops of beer yeast slurry. The yeast I used was liquid slurry left over after brewing with Danstar's Windsor dry yeast. Isolating what it added is tough, as that loaf also used milk instead of water and had some olive oil in it. I'll just say that it was good.

If you want to take up homebrewing, we have a fine beginner's course right here on eGullet, if I do say so myself. :biggrin::raz:

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I tried the recipe substituting 2 tsp starter for the yeast and let it rise until doubled, about 20 hours. Suffice it to say this failed. 2 tsp of starter does not equal 1/4 tsp of instant yeast. The dough was very tough, though loose. No oven spring.

Usually, I use anywhere from 15-33 percent levan in a sourdough loaf and it rises in 2-1/2 to 4 hours, to more than double in size. So the starter is alive, but in that small quantity it did not replicate as I expected. I do not know the science here so will do other experiments on how much starter to use in a 12-18 hour rise.

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Just thought I'd add what I've done to the mix. First loaf was pretty much true to the recipe except I just floured the bowl it had it's 18 hour rise in instead of using towels. The thought of gunky towels was just too much. Second loaf I added 1/2 cup of ww flour, golden raisins and fennel seeds. And again just floured the bowl. Not sure if oil would change the crust and I like it so much I don't want to fool with that. Never been much of a bread baker till now. I'm so jazzed I talk about it at work till people's eyes glaze over. People either want the recipe or just say bake me a loaf please

The olive bread sounds divine. I'm also going to try a roasted garlic loaf with whole cloves of garlic folded in. I grow about 75 plants of garlic every year so I have plenty to play with.

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Just thought I'd add what I've done to the mix. First loaf was pretty much true to the recipe except I just floured the bowl it had it's 18 hour rise in instead of using towels. The thought of gunky towels was just too much. Second loaf I added 1/2 cup of ww flour, golden raisins and fennel seeds. And again just floured the bowl. Not sure if oil would change the crust and I like it so much I don't want to fool with that. Never been much of a bread baker till now. I'm so jazzed I talk about it at work till people's eyes glaze over. People either want the recipe or just say bake me a loaf please

The olive bread sounds divine. I'm also going to try a roasted garlic loaf with whole cloves of garlic folded in. I grow about 75 plants of garlic every year so I have plenty to play with.

Fennel and golden raisins - just happen to have some of that laying around.

I know what you mean about being jazzed. Hubby reminded me that I have to "control" myself yesterday. Of course, that was around a mouth full of bread and butter!

:biggrin:

I never thought I would be baking bread again after all this time. It feels good.

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I'm going to try your approach next, Jack.  But I'm really liking the addition of 20% semolina flour, so I might have to tweak that into it.  Has anyone else tried that?  I think it's a major flavor boost, but maybe it's just me.

I've made several loaves with semolina, (33.33%) and its really really good.

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

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I tried the recipe substituting 2 tsp starter for the yeast and let it rise until doubled, about 20 hours.  Suffice it to say this failed. 2 tsp of starter does not equal 1/4 tsp of instant yeast. The dough was very tough, though loose. No oven spring.

Usually, I use anywhere from 15-33 percent levan in a sourdough loaf and it rises in 2-1/2 to 4 hours, to more than double in size. So the starter is alive, but in that small quantity it did not replicate as I expected. I do not know the science here so will do other experiments on how much starter to use in a 12-18 hour rise.

Sam, I use about 1 1/2 Tablespoon of starter, mix it with 5 oz flour and 5 oz water to make a poolish. I let that sit overnight on the counter, then proceed with the recipe deducting the flour and water used in the poolish from the full recipe amounts. It comes out very well.

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

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If you want to take up homebrewing, we have a fine beginner's course right here on eGullet, if I do say so myself.  :biggrin:  :raz:

Indeed you do! I need time to read and digest, I like to go back and forth a bit to make sure I understand, but thank you. German hubby just might get a surprise!

Anne

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I am using Sierra Nevada Gold, the Mexican brand name for SAF-type instant active yeast. It works fine.

Let me just state the obvious, with no aspersions cast or intended: 1/8 cup = 2 Tablespoons.  Easy to measure that way.

Is anyone besides me using SAF Gold or a cloche?

Buen provecho, Panosmex
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I was using a Cloche, but part way through baking today the bottom saucer broke.

And for those who find the dough sticking to the towel etc., I keep talking about letting the dough do its final rise in a basket/bowl on a sheet of parchment, seam side down. Then slash th top as you wish, and transfer the dough AND paper to the hot pot. It works; you have no sticking problems; and the crust is still great.

I feel like I am talking to the wall.

Dianne.

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I was using a Cloche, but part way through baking today the bottom saucer broke.

And for those who find the dough sticking to the towel etc., I keep talking about letting the dough do its final rise in a basket/bowl on a sheet of parchment, seam side down. Then slash th top as you wish, and transfer the dough AND paper to the hot pot. It works; you have no sticking problems; and the crust is still great.

I feel like I am talking to the wall.

Dianne.

Rest assured you are not talking to the wall! Just take a peek at the number of views vs. the number of posts. People don't always comment, and I am sure you have helped somebody. I know I try to keep my mouth shut when I don't have anything to add. The operative concept is to "try to keep my mouth shut" of course.

I can personally tell you I took note of your experience and observations, however have to go buy a new roll of parchment. Thanksgiving tapped out my supply, and it was a surprise. I think you would be surprised looking at the bottom of the page at the nuimber of people browsing the topic at any one time, and who they are.

So sorry about your Cloche. That would bum me out for sure. I hate losing stuff. I keep wondering if I am doing permanent damage to my Descoware (which I inherited from Mom's kitchen, and KNOW that I am lucky to have it and I use it for so much) each and every time I bake a loaf of bread. It certainly does an excellent job, though. Better than my cast iron pot, and though others have tried it, I am scared to put any of my pyrex or corningware to the test.

It seems to be holding up admirably to the usage so far. Someone at LC needs to take notice and design a sturdy and durable piece for this application. It will cost a fortune, but oh well.

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I would love to make an oatmeal bread with this method but am not enough of a baker to feel like I could improvise and make it work ! :laugh:

If anyone has tried this or has a suggestion on ratios, etc., I'd love to hear them.

I LOVE oatmeal bread......... :wub:

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I have made the recipe for the first time today. 20 hour initial rise at exactly 70 degrees. ( 468 grams of unbleached AP flour including 3 heaping tbsp of a locally milled whole wheat per RLB's suggestion, 1.5 cups water, 1.5 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast). Second rise was 2.5 hours in a thin cotton kitchen cloth "floured" with oat bran on a pizza peel (which made sliding the dough into the pot very easy..)

Oven heated to 500 but lowered to 450 after insertion. 35 year old Le Creuset round casserole. 30 minutes with lid on, removed from pot and additional 15 minutes baking on oven rack. Removed at 208 degrees

Oven spring was good but it may have overproofed. Waited two hours to cut in half. Good crust but crumb's taste was a bit insipid. A little too moist. Perhaps it needed more time or a temp of 475 after preheating.

I had no problem with the cloth. It was not gummy or gooky. The oat bran worked very well.

Edited by Robin Shuster (log)
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I would love to make an oatmeal bread with this method but am not enough of a baker to feel like I could improvise and make it work !  :laugh:

If anyone has tried this or has a suggestion on ratios, etc., I'd love to hear them.

I LOVE oatmeal bread......... :wub:

Dockhl, I substituted rolled oats for 1/2 cup of the flour in the recipe. I ended up using the same amount of water, but ended up with a stiffer dough (I think the oatmeal had a higher capacity for absorbing water). I thought it was delicious and am now working on a loaf with rolled oats as a substitution for 1/3 of the flour. Not sure if it's going to work with the higher proportion because the weight of the oats maight make the infrastructure collapse, but we'll see! I'd love to hear about any other oat-related suggestions....

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'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:

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

This issue may have already been addressed but I'm just getting around to reading this thread and don't have time enough to work my way to the end before it's time for work, so please excuse any redundancy.

I HATE the way dough fouls towels and gave up on towels years ago. I use a heavy weight plastic veggie bag from the greengrocers, split open to form a rectangle (the bag that is, not the greengrocer :wink: ) Draped loosely over rising dough, it works well to keep things moist and is a breeze to clean and re-use.

/Deborah

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Question for those who have tried this with Le Creuset dutch ovens ...

I want to experiment, but my pot has one of their plastic (phenolic?) handles on the lid. Supposedly oven safe, but I'm skeptical that it would handle 500 or 550 degrees (which I think of when I see "blazing hot" in the instructions.

Any thoughts?

Notes from the underbelly

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Question for those who have tried this with Le Creuset dutch ovens ...

I want to experiment, but my pot has one of their plastic (phenolic?) handles on the lid. Supposedly oven safe, but I'm skeptical that it would handle 500 or 550 degrees (which I think of when I see "blazing hot" in the instructions.

Any thoughts?

I'm using my LC in a 450 oven with no problems. Can't say about any higher. some have mentioned to wrap the handle in foil

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I was using a Cloche, but part way through baking today the bottom saucer broke.

And for those who find the dough sticking to the towel etc., I keep talking about letting the dough do its final rise in a basket/bowl on a sheet of parchment, seam side down. Then slash th top as you wish, and transfer the dough AND paper to the hot pot. It works; you have no sticking problems; and the crust is still great.

I feel like I am talking to the wall.

Dianne.

No walls here! I think it's a great idea thanks for sharing. I don't always have parchment so I've just been dumping the dough in a floured bowl for it's second rise and that's working great for me.

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I would love to make an oatmeal bread with this method but am not enough of a baker to feel like I could improvise and make it work !  :laugh:

If anyone has tried this or has a suggestion on ratios, etc., I'd love to hear them.

I LOVE oatmeal bread......... :wub:

Ratios, no, but methods, yes: Do like James Beard and cook your rolled oats first for about 5 minutes. I'd also dissolve some light brown sugar, honey or molasses for color and flavor. Let it cool.

ETA: Oh, and a little butter. Why not substitute a little milk for the water while you're at it?

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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SYNOPSIS OF FEEDBACK

1) More salt. The published article specifies 1 1/4 t.

2) For second rise, parchment paper or a greased bowl and naked dough work, too.

3) If you prefer a thinner crust, remove the lid before 30 minutes pass.

4) Technique is easily adaptable to a variety of leavening agents, flours and additions.

5) Internal temperature of finished loaf should reach 210 F.

6) The ideal oven temperature is closer to 450 F (MB) than video's 500 F.

7) Recipe is scaleable; 1/2 recipe works beautifully in 3-quart casseroles.

Explanations:

2) Several bakers find the floured towel a bit of a hassle, resulting in sticking, tearing or scary, uneven plop into the Dutch oven. Solution 1: Just turn the sufficiently slick bowl containing the shaped dough upside down over the heated casserole. Solution 2: Place dough, seam-side down, on parchment inside a dry basket or bowl. Lift paper and dough to place both into your heated pan when ready to bake.

3) Jackal10 posted photographs of sliced loaves with extremely dark, thick crusts and large holes which he finds less appealing than the thinner crusts of a traditionally baked bread. Abra's tastes differ.

4) Simply monitor degree of hydration, e.g. adding more water when using WW flour, to reach the consistancy of the dough made during your first attempt. For a sweeter bread, dissolve sugar into water when putting dough together, allowing water to cool to around 70 degrees F.

5) Abra's finding after a number of complaints concerning damp results. As one baker observed, this effect can be avoided by waiting until loaf has fully cooled before slicing. Checking for the internal temperature may be the best solution since quite a few loaves end up with a "moist" crumb" (Fromartz). Abra insists that a scale and digital-read thermometer are your best friends, especially when making adjustments to the recipe.

6) However, opinions differ broadly on this. Some prefer 475, others using sourdough or modifying the recipe in different ways think that higher temperatures would be better.

7) See individual posts for further details, including weight in grams and ounces to help in varying amount of recipe made at a single time.

* * *

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER SUMMARIES:

1) Weight of dough going into pan and weight after baking.

2) PM me if you have definitive, succinct advice or a formula, especially when changing flours, leavening process, etc.

At this point, I am not reading everything in the thread, but don't have problems with removing the annoying apparatus of blue-fonted long quotes from my original summary to update basic information. I'd even be happy to list something to the effect of an index: Whole Wheat Bread: Cf. Posts #435; Sourdough: Posts #.....

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Mr. Bittman and Mr. Lehay are both in grave danger of receiving a big wet kiss from me, should we ever meet face to face. This bread is a revelation. It is changing my life. I am actually declining to schedule meetings and social activities on certain evenings, so that I can bake bread. And finally, I have good bread to eat without driving 25 miles, roundtrip (literally) and paying more than $3 per loaf.

While visiting relatives on Thanksgiving weekend, I decided I wanted to show my sister-in-law how to bake this bread. She was excited when she heard about it. We were several hundred miles from home, and I hadn't brought the LeCreuset pot I bake it in --although I had thought about doing so. (I have a [ahem, well-deserved] reputation in the family for being "high maintenance", and dragging around a heavy pot to cook a special bread recipe in, would just make it worse. :raz: ) So my sister-in-law took me to Wal-Mart, and there she bought a 3 1/2 quart "combo" made by Lodge --combo because the lid can also be used as a frying pan --and gave it to me as a Christmas present. It was about $27. It worked beautifully, and the family was enthusiastic with the results as well, which is unusual for them.

Just a question... a good friend has celiac disease, and I've found a cookbook that has a wheat flour substitute, made out of a combination of several non-wheat flours. Would anybody venture a guess as to whether that mixture would work with this method? I'll probably try it anyway, but if I can head off potential problems first, that would help.

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