Great No-Knead Baking Techniques

Many thanks to Margaret for this well detailed outline of her no-knead baking techniques.

Perhaps the best thing about the no-knead method is that it makes quality home bread baking possible for so many more people who would otherwise not have the time or inclination to bother or venture past the bread machine. Margaret notches up "easy" to another level.

In her words…

About the no-knead bread, I’m on something between loaf 30 and loaf 40. What fun! My latest experiments, which are geared toward simplicity, are:

  1. When the dough has risen (after the first 18 hours or so), I wet the dough scraper (so it doesn’t stick to the dough) and turn the dough within the bowl to rest (without dumping it out, and without using any flour).
  2. Then, I shape the rested dough, again wetting the dough scraper, by folding the dough inside the bowl.
  3. I then wet my hands and scoop the dough into them, quickly rounding the dough. (Speed is important here. You have to get rid of the dough before it thinks about sticking to you.)
  4. Then I place it to rise onto a piece of parchment paper about 12 to 16-inches square. I gather the edges of the parchment and lower the whole thing into a bowl that is slightly smaller than the pot I’m baking it in. Optionally, I would think the new Reynolds Release Foil (non-stick aluminum foil) might work in place of the parchment.
  5. I may or may not dust the top of the dough with wheat bran.
  6. When it’s ready to go into the oven, I snip 3 slashes into the top of the dough with my kitchen scissors, if I remember.
  7. Then I again gather the edges of the parchment, lift it from the bowl, lower the dough into the preheated cooking pot and put the cover on. It doesn’t matter if the top squashes the edges of the parchment.

Alternatively, if you have a baking stone, you can leave the parchment flat in step 4, then put the dough onto the stone on the flat parchment, and COVER it with an inverted pre-heated pot (assuming the handles of the pot allow it to sit flat on the stone).

This works no matter how dry or soupy your dough is. I keep mine pretty wet.
 
None of this is particularly original. I’ve gleaned the bits from other generous experimenters and simplifiers. The advantages are not having to use or clean up the additional flour, not worrying as much about burning yourself or deflating the dough when it’s "dumped" into the pot, and very little cleanup since the pot stays clean and the kitchen isn’t dusted with flour.

Margaret, Ball Ground, GA, www.margaretberthold.com
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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlie September 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I’ve been baking variations of the no knead for a while and have been wondering if anyone out there has mass produced the dough, then weighed it out and set it to rise?
I currently do 2-3 dozen loaves a week to sell at local farm stands and a I do a farmers market also.
I’m not sure it would be any faster by making a large batch of dough, handling it could prove messy but if anyone has any info it would really help.

I started out with pyrex and have stuck with it; I use the bowls for mixing, rising and baking w/ a pyrex pie plate for a lid. I preheat to 475 for 40 minutes, bake lid on for 30, lid off 18-20 as reaches it’s highest temp.
This site is a fantastic resource, thank you very much!

Charlie

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Steve February 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Has anyone done the no-knead method, but made multiple smaller loaves? Such as you might get at a restaurant? Or as a long thin french bread loaf? If so, what adjustments must be made?

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Breadtopia February 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Hi Steve,

When I do this, I usually add a bit more flour to stiffen up the dough some (just my personal preference) and reduce the baking time quite a bit. Rolls, small loaves, baguette shaped bread can bake in as little as 15-20 minutes, so you need to keep your eyes peeled.

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Daniel December 11, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Hi Steve,
I make lots of small loves and use plastic tubs to mix the dough and first rise, then give couple of folds in the container, 15 minute rest then portion and fold to mould then into aluminium tins lined with a teflon sheet. The cone out amazing crispy crust and great oven spring. I can bake up to 20 at a time in my oven. I use the same recipe as large loaves just cook them a little less normally 25 on full blast (250-260 c fan forced) and a final 10 at a lower temp 220c fan forced. They work great with fruit and nuts as well.

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Bonnie Staffel June 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

This may be a little off topic, but since I purchased a Cuisenart Bread Baker, it mixes, rises twice and bakes the bread in about 3 1/2 hours. Howewver, I was raised by a mother who made her own bread, letting it rise by setting it on the kitchen radiator. She also would send me to the local bakery to buy a quarter inch of fresh yeast. Did that make the difference? I remember the wonderful odor from the rising bread. I don’t get that with the fast Cuisenart, nor is the final flavor of the bread the same. The baker is very precise in the recipes and I think there is an Artisan recipe in there. I now weigh the ingredients so as to be precise for the baker. I also used to use flax seed meal, but did not like the flavor it gave to the bread. I might now try the Artisan recipe in their book to see if I can get that old flavor I remember. I don’t have an oven in my apartment, only a toaster oven. Maybe I can try the NKB in that. As I am a potter, I could make a bisque bread baker which I can soak in water to get the required steam. Love this forum.

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MZalusky February 14, 2011 at 1:55 am

Margaret,
I love your gathering of ideas and clear steps. After about 20 loaves I’m always looking for added efficiencies. Here are the steps I use for my cold-oven no-knead bread method (using the Cook’s Illustrated recipe ingredients):

1. Measure and mix all the ingredients as instructed in the recipe and let ist a room temperature – I typically go for a 24-hour period.

2. Line a 2 1/2 or 3 quart enameled cast iron pot with parchment paper and lightly spray it with nonstick cooking spray. (Yes, the container is much smaller than the recommended 5+ quart size pot but the smaller pot will force the rising dough to increase in height rather than spread wide.)

3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead and shape as instructed in the recipe. I find that kneading it a bit more vigorously than CI recommends results in a crumb with a bit smaller crumbs but still very light and airy.)

4. Put the shaped dough into the cold, parchment-lined pot, put the lid on and let rise for 3 hours. This is 1 more hour than recommended by CI. I’ve tried 2 hours and prefer resulting dough achieved with an additional hour rise time. To get a consistent rise time, regardless of my home’s ambient temperature, I get a consistent 3-hour rise by putting the covered pot into my oven with the oven light turned on and the oven door closed.

5. After 3 hours the pot is removed from the oven, the dough gets a few slashes, the pot -s re-covered and returned to the cold oven (door closed). Set oven temperature to 450-degrees and bake fo 35 minutes. Remove the lid, insert a remote thermometer probe set to 207 degrees. For me the crust is too dark and crumb too dry if baked to 210-degrees but YMMV.

Having the dough rise and bake in the same small pot eliminates the step of having to transfer the dough into a hot pan and the much smaller pot results in a very high boule. Also, eliminating the pre-heating step means the oven is only being used while the bread is baking.

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Sue Tang July 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Dear Maragret, thanks for sharing. Do you mean after doing the 2nd rise in cold oven, you can leave the pot there whirl the oven go through the preheating process until it reaches the desire oven temperature? Does the baking time starts counting when heat is turned on or only after it is at the right temperature. Based on how I use to bake I would assume a need to remove the pot, preheat oven and then put it in when the correct temperature is reached. Appreciate if you can clarify. Thanks in advance.

Sue T

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Madelyn July 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Haven’t posted here for a while. I bake an almost no-knead rye and I no longer preheat my oven. After the second rise and scoring/snipping the top, I put my covered Romertophs in a cold oven. I turn my oven on, but the baking timing starts when it has reached its temp…. MY 0ven takes approx 15-20 minutes to heat up. I then leave the bread in for 30 minutes covered, then remove the lid to bake another 10 minutes. My oven tends to be on the hot side so once it has heated up, i will check it and after 10 minutes may lower it by about 15 degrees. but that is my oven.

Summary:
15-20 minutes to reach 450
30 minutes at 425-450 covered
10 minutes uncovered or until internal temp is 210 and its nicely browned but not too dark

Timing may vary based on your oven behavior

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Lauri February 14, 2011 at 12:20 am

Are there specific adjustments for high altitude?

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Becky February 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Is it possible to use baskets other than proofing baskets so as to have alternative surface patterns on the NKB?

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Catherine August 11, 2009 at 10:45 pm

It has been very exciting reading all these comments about the NKB! I am new to baking and didn’t know there was a whole “bread lovers” world out there!

I have prepared aout 7 loaves so far with great results. I will try the cold oven method tomorrow, as well as the pre-heated pizza stone covered with an aluminum roasting pan… I also have reduced the second rise time to about 1 hour (after turning dough around the same bowl where it has risen for the first 12 hours or so) and then baking it with great results.

This really seems to be almost like a fool proof recipe! The other day I added green olives and saute onions in the second rise and it was excellent.

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Dave the Novice January 3, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Hi, Starter,

If you’re going to go with a cold Dutch oven, I wouldn’t bother to preheat the oven at all. It’s going to take a while to warm up all that cast iron, so, whatever benefit there is in the initial blast of heat with preheating, you’re giving that up. Quite a few people prefer to start cold, and they are happy with the results.

I did a head-to-head test with identical loaves, one started cold, the other with a preheated Dutch oven. The preheated loaf got a little more oven spring, but both worked fine.

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Starter January 3, 2009 at 7:36 pm

I am just about to bake my first no-knead bread, and I am choosing to use a 20 min. preheated oven of 475, with a cold or room temp. cast iron pan, because I think it will be a lot easier not to transfer the dough after second rise. I read an article in the magazine “Eating Well” by Nancy Baggett. I have a question though, Has anyone ever used the “Nouveau” pots from “Princess House”? Made in France. They are made of the same materiel as the tile used on the space shuttle and can stand heat over 700 degrees.

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viginia December 12, 2008 at 10:48 pm

i am baking bead like cazy eric…i just received my clay bakers,,,i have to loafs eady to go in tomoow,,,cant wait to ty the la close…..i have lost weight making bead and eating it to…its better than eating cakes and cookies with no fat in the bead .i am telling eveyone that comes into my shop about you site…best of luck…viginia

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Harvey December 10, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Mzalusky,
Thanks for the dutch oven comparisons. I have one more to add. I just tried a 4 qt Lodge Logic pre seasoned cast iron. I found this size just about perfect. The dough rose up nicely, even though it was quite soupy to start with. The best part is I don’t have to worry about discoloring and ruining my expensive Le Creuset pots or melting knobs. The 4 qt Lodge cost me less than 1/4 of the price of my Le Creuset of the same size.
The black color also changes the bake time from (covered /uncovered) 30 / 15 min. for the basic white NKB. to 25 / 10 min. Internal temp went to 209.

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Harvey December 10, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Barbara Ross,

to answer your quest about covering the dough directly on the hot stone. Try a foil roasting pan. They come in a variety of sizes and depths and are available everywhere. Supermarkets, dollar stores etc. all have them. I suggest the deep steam table pans.
They are so thin and heat conductive that they heat up almost instantly in the hot oven and eliminate the need to preheat them. This make them easier to handle.

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mzalusky November 30, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Thanks for your questions. I too am a novice baker. I’ll try to answer your questions based on my personal experiences.

Since my husband wasn’t with me when I found the knob at Home Depot, I took along the Le Creuset knob and screw to help find a suitable replacement and approached a store employee and for help to find a solid brass knob and the right screw size.

I have made the bread in both Le Creuset and Corning bakeware containers and much prefer the results from The Le Creuset. I don’t get as crisp a crust from the Corning containers (my hunch is because the glass cover doesn’t seal as well, allowing moisture to more easily escape than with the Le Creuset pots). I also prefer using the smallest possible container so the 2-1/2 hour rise forces the bread up rather than out. After baking, the crust is evenly browned on all sides.

Specific pot sizes I’ve used are:
#22 (3-1/2 qt.) round Le Creuset. Raised dough filled the bottom of the pot and touched sides somewhat with a gently rounded crown. Crust perfectly browned/crunchy all around and crumb beautifully open and airy.

#23 (2-3/4 qt.) oval Le Creuset. Raised dough filled the oval container with a rounded crown about an 2 inches from the top. Crust perfectly browned/crunchy all around and crumb beautifully open and airy.

#18 (2 qt.) Le Creuset. Raised dough filled the pot completely with rounded crown within a 1/2 inch of the top. This bread definitely touched the lid as it was baking. Crust perfectly browned/crunchy and crumb didn’t seem to be compromised by the more compact baking vessel at all.

You know, I’ve never timed how long the cold-oven method takes versus pre-heating. In my oven (Dacor brand) with a pure-convection setting it takes longer to get to temperature than if I use a regular bake setting but I’ve never timed or compared hot to cold methods through to the finished product.

What other beers have you tried? My last batch used Fat Tire and the bread aroma and flavor was far superior than using Coors.

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Dave the Novice November 30, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Mzalusky,

Isn’t it fun messing around with these recipes and techniques?

I have a few questions about your innovations and experiments.

First, how did you find the right screws for your metal knob replacements? When I got my Le Creuset, I stopped by Home Depot, myself. All the knobs I found came with screws that were way too long for the Dutch oven lid, and they were a different gauge and thread size from the one on my lid. I couldn’t find any shorter screws in the hardware department that fit the knobs. How did you solve that problem?

Second, I have been using a larger Dutch oven than you, on the assumption that I don’t want the dough to touch the sides of the cooking container (maybe not a good assumption?), and I have been removing the bread completely from the Dutch oven for the final browning. I find that if I don’t, I don’t get the great crust on the sides of the loaf. You are letting your dough fill the container. Do you still get good crust on the sides?

Third, how do you figure you are saving money with the cold start? I did my own experiment comparing cold vs. hot start. You can see my results over at http://www.breadtopia.com/basic-no-knead-method/#comment-32056. I was primarily testing which gave better oven spring, because proponents of both methods had cited better oven spring as an advantage of their approach. But I found I had the oven on almost as long with the cold start. That loaf took a total of 56 minutes, the other took 35, plus preheating. Now, that is a savings of nine minutes for the cold start, but I’ll bet I could cut down my preheating time a bit, If I’m willing to actually measure how long the oven takes to come up to temperature. And nine minutes isn’t much savings. Of course, different ovens perform differently.

Please don’t take my comments as criticisms of your approach or ideas. I’m new to all this, and am just trying to figure out the basics, and to understand what principles apply. I like to experiment, and I really enjoy conversing with others who do, too. When our results differ, I’m driven to try to find out why.

Oh, and I completely agree with you on the use of better beers for better bread.

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Verne June 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Have you tried an automotive parts store for the screws? I know they sell lots of different sizes .

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mzalusky November 30, 2008 at 12:36 am

I’ve tried simplifying the Cook’s Illustrated NKB 2.0 recipe a bit more with very good results so I thought I’d share (letting bread rise – for 2-1/2 hours – in the same pan in which it will bake and then baking the bread starting with a cold oven) Here’s what I did:

• Mix ingredients and let rest for 18 hours, and knead as directed.
• Line a 3 quart enamel cast iron pot (I’ve replaced my Le Creuset knobs with metal ones from Home Depot. Easy and cheap) with parchment paper and put post-kneaded, formed dough ball into pot. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 2 1/2 hours.
The trick is to not rush the rising time. In my 3-quart pot, the dough almost rises to the top – not quite touching the lid before I slash it. For the 2 1/2 hour rise time, I typically put the covered pot in my COLD oven with the oven light turned on. This smaller pan restricts the dough sides and force the dough to rise upward rather than outward.
• After it’s sufficiently risen, remove pot cover, slash dough as directed in the recipe, recover the pot and place in a COLD oven.
• Turn on the oven to 450 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for as long as it takes for the bread to get to an internal temperature of 210 degrees (I use a remote food thermometer) to take the guess work out of determining doneness.

I get the same tall, crusty but tender crumb results as doing the exact same steps using a pre-heated oven. The only difference is I’m saving a bunch of energy starting with a cold oven.

I’ve also experimented with different beers. The heftier lagers definitely impart a stronger yeasty smell and flavor – something my family prefers to the bread using a light lager as recommended in the original recipe.

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Dave the Novice November 20, 2008 at 9:31 am

Mary,

Most people who have reported baking in the kind of pot you have, said they soaked the pot first, and then started with the cold technique. I have not tried it. We used to have one similar to yours, but it broke long before I got interested in baking.

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Mary November 19, 2008 at 10:18 pm

But I still have a quuestion. Do I should wet the pot before I preheated? Do I should use the cold technique?

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Dave the Novice November 19, 2008 at 11:32 am

Marc,

See my cold vs hot results:

http://www.breadtopia.com/basic-no-knead-method/#comment-32056

Mary,

That simmer pot looks like it would work fine.

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Mary November 19, 2008 at 9:41 am

I have a Litton Simmer Pot #849 and I was wondering if I can use it. I want to try and actually I already have a NKB resting for 14 hrs. Any comment?

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marc lowen November 18, 2008 at 2:43 pm

what is the problem with the cold start vs the heated dutch oven

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Breadtopia November 14, 2008 at 8:43 pm

Thanks Don! Useful info.

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Don November 14, 2008 at 1:07 pm

No-knead and Cold oven.
Long time baking bread, first time at no-knead. I used your sourdough starter and recipe. I baked the bread using a “cold” round La Cloche and placed it in a “cold” oven. Set oven to 450˚F for 30 minutes. Removed lid and baked for about 27 minutes. I used an instant read thermometer and removed the bread at an internal temperature of 200˚F. Cold start baking saves time and money. Looked and tasted great. I will be looking for other places to use the cold start baking style. Thanks for all the information

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Marge October 19, 2008 at 5:56 am

Bread Doofus
I used the cold oven method on my last loaf, and it came out just as well. The first no-knead I made was from the King Arthur site and it was made in a cold oven, so I thought I’d try it on these breads. I will be baking all the no-knead this way. I have a Pampered Chef baker, and put it in the oven at 475 for 45 min., and take the cover off and bake about another 10 min.

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Breadtopia October 16, 2008 at 9:47 am

I’ve heard the same, some like it better, some don’t. Maybe you could try it both ways and tell us which you prefer.

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Bread Doofus October 14, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Ok folks, I’ve been reading about this NKB on the internet, and I came across someone who puts her dough into the COLD dutch oven for the final rise, and then puts it in a COLD oven, turns on the oven to 450, then proceeds as usual, and says her bread is just as good as when the pot is preheated. (I was actually searching to see if this could be done when I found this, because all the switching pots and such sounded like such a hassle to me!) Others said they did it, too, with great results. I also read in a different blog that it didn’t work as well.

Eric, have you tried this out? Anyone? It seems like I read on this site that someone had done that, but I can’t find it again. It would be really nice if it would work!

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Breadtopia October 8, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Sure, you can do that.

But using a Dutch oven will probably give better results. There’s something about the high thermal mass and small enclosed space of a Dutch oven or some such vessel that makes the great crust of no knead bread.

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ali October 8, 2008 at 2:26 pm

I was wondering if you have to use the Dutch oven, can you just put it on a pan and let it cook that way, free form?
thank you.

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Laurel July 12, 2008 at 4:25 am

To Jerry Ulett or others who’ve tried that method for looks: do you use the foil to put the bread in the pot? I think of that as the big advantage of using foil or parchment, but wouldn’t that put the shape on the bottom? I haven’t been able to successfully invert the bread from the basket to the pot. It always gets a little lopsided… Any tips appreciated! Thank you.

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Connie June 22, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Thanks for the reply. I’ve looked at PR’s whole wheat recipes, copied some from library. Trying to decide trying one as they have sourdough. No knead but maybe I’ll have to stop being so lazy. I want to use my own starter.

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breadtopia June 22, 2008 at 8:51 am

Hi Connie,

The Cooks Illustrated No Knead recipe converts very well to a tasty sandwich bread. If you go with their “whole wheat” recipe, it’s about 1/3 whole wheat.

Peter Reinhart’s whole grain book has some excellent 100% whole wheat sandwich bread recipes that I’ve made a lot, but they’re not nearly as easy as the no knead recipes.

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Connie June 17, 2008 at 1:38 pm

I’ve had great success with sourdough no-knead; so far I’ve not deviated much from the original recipe, adding a few grains, etc. I’m looking for a recipe for whole wheat sandwich bread that uses at least part whole wheat but that is soft and not too holey or crumbly for sandwiches. I tried the KA white whole wheat sandwich bread and it was light, soft with good texture but it was just tasteless, using KA white whole wheat flour as recommended. I used the bread machine to make the dough and was not a no-knead bread. Just wondering if anyone has successfully converted a ww or oatmeal sandwich bread recipe to no-knead.

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mork May 17, 2008 at 3:53 pm

use a nonstick wok with metal handle.

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fred March 19, 2008 at 2:37 pm

My newest & favorite way to create a great loaf is using a 12 inch diameter round clay flower pot (which I place the bread in) , covered on top with a 12″ clay plant saucer….The clay pot cost less than $ 10 at my local Lowes hardware store.

I’ve tried soaking the pot & saucer in water before baking to vary the amount of steam (which lengthens baking time & alters crust crunch) but isn’t necessary.

I put clay flower pot & saucer in oven to get hot for several minutes before lowering in bread loaf on parchment paper…(lowering on parchment paper helps to avoid deflating loaf which sometimes occurs when dropping it in, especially with soft-wet dough)

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Sylvia February 9, 2008 at 11:42 pm

I have used the bottom of a blue speckled enamel turkey cooker on top of two baking stones that cover the width of it and the bread came out beautiful with a thin crispy crust not burned on the bottom. I really liked more than any other loaves crusts I have made. I read about doing this online somewhere! The idea suggested above about using silcone gloves makes the pan easier to lift on and off. I also like using my super peel to slide my loaf onto the baking stone.

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Barbara Ross February 9, 2008 at 1:25 pm

Error above. It is supposed to be HOT, not “not”

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Barbara Ross February 9, 2008 at 1:21 pm

SOME ADDITIONAL IDEAS:

Slide the parchment risen bread on a hot stone and cover it with a NOT big aluminum bowl. They are really CHEAP at the dollar stores and work fine. The only thing you need is silicone potholders to lift the aluminum bowl because regular potholders slide. If anybody has any other ideas on what to cover the bread with (when baking on a stone) I’d love to hear them.

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Sylvia January 13, 2008 at 1:27 pm

I was checking my oval crockpot yesturday wondering would it work…but I didn’t know the lids were not heat proof…great idea using the cookie or foil to cover. Thanks for letting me know this pot works…I have been using a very old covered daisy pattern Marcrest crockpot, old add on the box they came in say they are heatproof to 500 degrees also they are stoneware,just the right size…and it works great too..I got it on ebay..about 10 bucks. I wonder if I could use my old brown stoneware bowls with the foil/c.sheet method.

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Sylvia January 10, 2008 at 4:00 pm

You might try using some vital wheat gluten. Have you tried active dry yeast. Make sure your yeast is fresh and kept refrigerated or frozen when not in use. Maybe your dough has is not wet enough and sometimes wheat flour takes a lot longer to proof. That’s about all I can think of… Good luck, Sylvia H

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Dave Reich November 2, 2007 at 3:34 pm

For those searching for an appropriate pot, I have used with great success a 4 quart, round crock pot insert. Since their lids are not oven proof, you can simply use a cookie sheet or foil for the covered portion of the baking.

I have also increased the recipe by 1.5 and used a 6 quart, oval crock pot insert. Again the results were great.

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breadtopia October 30, 2007 at 1:47 pm

Thanks for the update, Vikram.

Flax seed in place of poppy sounds like a really good idea. Good for digestion too.

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Vikram Babu October 30, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Hi Eric, Thanks for the advice, I decided to go back to basics and things have turned out much better since.

One thing I should mention is I was using Red Star Active Dry Yeast. To make the bread using ADY I need to use almost twice as much and activate it with some warm water and honey rather than a dry mix.

Second, I’ve been making the Seeded No Knead which is also our favorite bread, @ 1&1/3x the recipe, which fits my 5.5qt Dutch Oven well. I’ve been making it with flax instead of poppy which adds some crunch.

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breadtopia September 30, 2007 at 7:42 pm

Hi Vikram,

I’m not sure the no knead method is all that suitable for recipes that involve large percentages of whole wheat. From my experience so far in making no knead bread, which is getting to be significant, you’re better off sticking to the exact recipes that have proven to be successful until you get at least on of them down. Then experiment from there.

For mostly (or all) whole wheat bread, follow an altogether different recipe. I’ll be adding more recipes and videos for 100% whole wheat that are excellent. They’re just not no knead recipes.

Regarding following the exact recipes, I would suggest you even stick to the exact quantities given at first. Don’t worry about your Dutch oven being too big. Also, buy some SAF Instant Yeast. It really is superior to most.

Hope this helps.

Eric

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Vikram Babu September 30, 2007 at 4:20 pm

I am on my 10th loaf of no knead bread, make that any bread. I have a problem with my loaves though, I’ve never made a white flour loaf as yet, preferring to use King Arthur White Wheat instead. To make things worse, I only have a 5 1/2 qt oval Staub, since its a bit bigger I’ve been making 1.5x the recipes. I follow the standard proofing times but my loaves never rise more than 1.5 inches. I’ve tried fresh yeast, Red Star & 1/2 white wheat & 1/2 white. How can I get my loaves to rise higher?

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breadtopia August 26, 2007 at 6:52 pm

Hi Anne,

Here are a few suggestions for softening the crust:

  • Wrap loaf in a slightly damp towel while it cools.
  • Before the bread has finished cooling, place it in a plastic bag until it has cooled completely.
  • Brush the crust with melted butter when it comes out of the oven.
  • Using milk in recipe tends to result in a softer crust. Substitute a couple tablespoons milk for water next time.

There are no doubt other ideas, but these are a some that I’ve used or heard about.

Good luck.

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Anne August 26, 2007 at 5:32 pm

I made the NKB for the first time yesterday. I used sourdough starter and about 1 cup of whole wheat bread. The bread turned out pretty well – the flavor was excellent. However, the crust was beyond crusty – i could hardly cut it with my bread knife! Any ideas on how to correct that?

Thanks!

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Charlie August 12, 2007 at 8:52 am

When you put the dough in the liner that’s in a skillet for the rise period, before the transfer to the D/O, do you cover the foil for the rise period, and if so with what?

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rlabohn June 26, 2007 at 11:37 am

you put the bread and the foil in the dutch oven to bake??

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breadtopia May 15, 2007 at 5:40 am

Thanks for the great tips, Bob!

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Bob Parvin May 14, 2007 at 7:36 pm

Here are my suggestions for no-knead bread:

# I pre-boil my tap water to eliminate any free chlorine and bad bugs that could reproduce in the long fermentation.
# I cut a 12 square of heavy-duty aluminum foil and roughly shape it on the outside of my 5-qt cold Dutch oven. Then I put it on the inside and press and smooth it snugly against the sides of the pot. Then I lightly grease or spray with oil the sides of the foil liner.
# I remove the foil liner and place it in a frying pan so that I can easily move it over to the stove. Then I sprinkle the bottom with bran and put in the dough for its second rise for up to a couple of hours. The liner has the advantage of being safer and less messy and also of not deflating the dough when putting it in the hot pot.
# During the last 30 minutes of the rise I heat the oven to 500F with the empty Dutch oven in it.
# Using oven mittens, I take the hot pot out, remove the lid, and set it aside on something heat proof. I grasp the two opposite corners of the foil liner, lift and lower it gently into the hot pot (without having an anxiety attack), and replace the lid.
# After returning the pot to the oven I set the temperature to 500F and bake the bread for 30 minutes, remove the lid, set the oven for 450F, and bake for 20 minutes. (These times may need to be adjusted depending upon the oven and pot used.
# Remove the pot from the oven with mittened hands and remove the bread and liner from the pot, and let the bread cool for at least 30 minutes. Then let the enjoyment begin!

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Jerry Ulett February 2, 2007 at 3:18 pm

The last two loaves of NKB which I have made have turned out great!

For taste, I have used 2 teaspoons of salt and about a half cup of whole wheat flour.

For looks, I have lined a coiled proofing basket with non-stick foil (Reynolds Release), pressing it down and in, so that it takes the shape of the basket. Then I put the dough into the basket for the hour and a half rise. After it has risen, I lift the foil and dough out and put them in a 5 cup dutch oven to bake.

The final shape is perfect and the flavor is delicious.

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