No Knead Bread Baking Method

On this page, you will find both the short and long version videos of a basic no knead bread baking technique. See these variations of no knead recipe too.

Before we get started, I wanted to share an email I received from Leanna who says more for the benefits of the no knead method than I could ever convey. She says…

Love This Method

I’ve been baking bread for 40 years and this method has turned my bread baking upside down. I even had kneading down to an art. My dough had to feel just right. My ingredients had to be the best. Now I just throw these four items into a bowl and with no effort on my part, I end up with perfection. I take care of a lady with handicaps and bake it for her too. She has a gas oven and mine at home is electric. I have had no problems with this method. I used to have a sourdough starter but several moves ago, I discarded it. Now with your starter I am back in business. I can hardly wait for my first loaf of NK sourdough bread.

6 min. 40 sec.

12 min. long

Ingredients for basic yeasted No Knead Method:

3 cups bread flour (the above video used 1 cup (5 oz.) whole wheat flour and 2 cups (10 1/2 oz.) white bread flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups purified or spring water

  • Mix together the dry ingredients.
  • Mix in water until the water is incorporated.
  • Cover with plastic and let sit 12-18 hours.
  • Follow video instruction for folding.
  • Cover loosely with plastic and rest for 15 minutes.
  • Transfer to well floured towel or proofing basket. Cover with towel and let rise about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Bake in covered La Cloche or Dutch oven preheated to 500 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Remove cover; reduce heat to 450 degrees and bake an additional 15 minutes.
  • Let cool completely on rack.
  • Consume bread, be happy.

Note: Regarding the 15 minute rest after the long proofing period; it’s a habit of mine from working with “regular” dough where it helps to have the dough rest after folding in order to relax it so it’s easier to shape for the final rise. With the wet no knead dough recipes, I’ve been skipping it and haven’t noticed any difference in the results.

No Knead Revisited – A Three Year Check Up

The original New York Times no knead bread recipe was published in 2006, about the same time Breadtopia was born. By far the most common difficulty people write or call in about is with the dough being too wet to handle at the end of the long first proofing period and also when it’s time to place the dough into a covered vessel to bake at the end of the second rise.

When you run into this, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it other than attempt to follow through on the instructions and ultimately wrest the dough into your heated baker and into the oven. Your “mistake” may turn out better than you expected and if nothing else, you’ll learn from it. The next time around you can do one or a combination of a couple things differently.

  1. Add more flour and/or use less water than you did the first time. Dough has a way of getting more slack as it sits for many hours so if you start off with the dough being a little stiffer than you think it should be, that’s fine and maybe it’ll be easier to handle later.
  2. Consider reducing the long proofing time by several hours. Don’t get stuck on the idea of 18 hours. Depending on your room temperature and humidity, 18 hours may result in over proofing. When dough proofs too long, the gluten breaks down, the yeast looses some oomph and it can just get downright soupy. Most of the time, I find 12-14 hours to be about right (and sometimes even 9-10 hours during very warm weather). If you want or need to prolong the proofing time, but don’t want to risk over proofing, stick the dough in the fridge for several hours or overnight. That will slow things down a lot. Then resume proofing at room temp until it’s ready to bake.

The same principle holds true on the second rise. While 1-2 hours is the suggested range, I’m almost always at about 60 to 75 minutes.

Another concern we hear a lot is about the dough not rising much during that second short proofing period. I don’t see mine rise much then either and it doesn’t matter so long as you see a good rise during the first several minutes that the dough is in the oven. That’s called oven spring and it’s a very good thing. By keeping your proofing periods on the shorter side, you’re more likely to get good oven spring from the still vigorous yeast or sourdough starter.

Of course all of the above is assuming your yeast or sourdough starter is fresh and viable to start with.

In summary, most problems can be helped or solved by stiffening the dough a little and/or shortening the rising times.

If you’re new to bread baking, don’t think from reading this that it’s difficult or tricky to get great results. Most people find it a breeze and enjoy success right out of the blocks. Others may find it takes a few tries. It’s important to have fun with it and don’t worry about bombing. There’s no significant downside to bread baking but the upside can be fabulous. Enjoy!

This method of baking is quite forgiving if you alter the ingredients and proportions. One of the great things about a bread recipe that is so easy and involves just one loaf at a time is you don’t feel like you’re risking a lot if your experimenting goes awry.

Try using different flours and/or different proportions of flour and play around with the water measurement a little.

We’d would love to hear from anyone with their experiences using this technique, both successful and otherwise. Please share your experiences below.

Note: Here are some great dough handling tips from Breadtopia reader Mark Liptak. Also, check out these no knead baking techniques by Margaret Ball.

{ 1592 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Detrano July 27, 2010 at 5:33 am

a question about the second rise. when you put the dough in the pan for the second rise, do you oil the pot first. i tried baking from a cold start last week and the bread stuck to the pot. i bake my nkb in a porcelain covered iron pot.

thanks,

joe

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Gary July 26, 2010 at 9:29 pm

The double size loaf came out great. As I mentioned I was making a double recipe loaf. The normal three cup of flour loaf would only last less than 24 hours in our house. After the first rise of over 24 hours, I put the wet dough in my new dutch oven for the second rise and then in the oven cold. I turned the oven on to 500 until it was at 500 and turned it down to 450. I cooked it 45 minutes covered and another 10 uncovered. At that time the probe thermometer was at 200 degrees.

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Breadtopia July 26, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Hi Gary,

If you have a probe type (instant read) thermometer, you can test it after the normal time and then periodically until the internal temp is about 200 degrees. Also, with the larger loaves, you might want to reduce the temp a little so the crust doesn’t burn before the inside is done. Maybe go with 425 or so. I’m guessing, but that’s probably what I would start with on a 6 cup loaf.

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Gary July 26, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I trying a double loaf today. 6 cups of flour etc. Any suggestions on how long to cook it? I will let you know how it turns out.

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Jean July 19, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I am wondering if anyone have a good schedule for a working mom to have KNB just out of oven in the morning as breakfast? Have anyone heard of only 1 proofing/rise in the baking pan in cold oven which is on a timer and will start baking say 3am in the morning? am I too lazy and greedy? :P

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Sheila July 17, 2010 at 11:10 am

Gary,
I do the second rise right in pan then put all in cold oven then turn it on for 48 minutes with lid off last 10 or so. This works fine for me and uses less energy. I liive in Arizona and we have enough heat. Sheila

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Gary July 17, 2010 at 10:52 am

Sal,

Please explain how you do the cold dutch oven method. I have a loaf risiing right now and a new dutch oven that is going to be used for the 1st time. I have made all my other loafs in a pyrex bowl with a glass pie dish.

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Sal July 17, 2010 at 6:08 am

Madelyn,
I use the cold oven and cold Dutch oven method for my no-knead. After shaping the dough, I place it in the Dutch oven and let it proof. Check the loaf with a wet finger and if the depression slowly fills in into a cold oven and time set for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Usuall remove the lid for the last 10 minutes.

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Madelyn July 17, 2010 at 4:34 am

I’ve been baking 1-2 loaves a week of Almost No-Knead Rye for the past 6 months. We recently had central air installed. The only warm place lately has been my porch so I’ve been using my porch to proof my breads. The temperatures in the area have been in the high 90′s. The porch can get pretty warm. I had two batches of dough. One I popped in the fridge. The other I wanted to bake very early so am calculating 18 hours in my head and decided to leave it out. Live and learn! This AM I had to deal with a limp mass of dough I could barely pick up or form into a loaf. EEK it was sticking to my work area. I was panicking and wondering what the heck was going on. During the second rise I ran over to the computer to check with Breadtopia and found the writeup above which calmed me a little, though I could barely look at the ugly mass that was going to be a gift to a friend who never tried my bread before. I was considering not bringing it.

Well, the ugly mass was put into a cold oven in hopes that I would get some kind of oven spring as the oven heated up. Voila, it sprung. Didn’t come out looking like and ugly loaf of bread.

I knew I had to factor in temperature changes in my house, but never quite encountered such an overproofed batch before. The No-Knead Revisited msg is right – its not hard, its not difficult, you do need to remember what you did and learn to adjust. “It’s important to have fun with it and don’t worry about bombing. ” is exactly right. None of my efforts have ever bombed. Be brave and you will be pleasantly surprised!

Just curious… what the thoughts are on cold oven vs hot oven relationship to oven spring. I’m starting to like the results I get putting my breads in a cold oven and letting everything heat up together.

Thanks again Breadtopia!!!

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Nancy Conway July 11, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Hi.
I’ve been doing the no knead bread for about a year now and love it. I got the bread dough whisk from you that is also fabulous. Lately, with this hot weather, I’ve been baking my bread on the grill with a plain old paving stone under it to diffuse the heat some. It has come out great and doesn’t heat up the kitchen!

My question now is can you make an Anadama Bread with this NKB method? I have been craving it but am spoiled with this bread making method.

Thanks,
Nancy in NH

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Gary July 11, 2010 at 12:34 am

Sal,

When I use a Dutch Oven, I bake at 450 degrees…. covered for 35 minutes, then uncovered for 10 minutes…. Crust comes out just fine for me… I’ve read that others have used parchment paper in the bottom of the Dutch Oven with good results, although I have not done this…. Continue to experiment with subtle variations in time and temperature to get a consistantly great loaf for your conditions…!

I purchased an oblong La Cloche baker here on this website and it works even better for me…!

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Breadtopia July 10, 2010 at 7:40 am

Hi Sal,

I’ve also heard that putting your Dutch oven directly on a cookie sheet while baking helps.

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Sara-Anne July 6, 2010 at 4:17 pm

I followed advice from a fellow baker and use parchment paper on the bottom of my enamel pot. This does help.

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Sal July 5, 2010 at 11:25 am

My breads, baked in the Dutch oven, are too brown almost burnt on the bottom. Any advice on how to eliminate this? Checked oven tmp and even lowered temp 25 degrees. Only slight improvement.

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Dave June 28, 2010 at 10:10 am

Nancy,
1. let the bread rise until double in size is a good rule of thumb
2. try a “retarded rise” in the refrig over nite; then take it out and let it rise until double
3. try letting your starter develope a day or two longer to get a stronger taste before using
good baking!

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Maria June 25, 2010 at 1:07 pm

@Nancy: For what time period do you let the dough proof?

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Nancy June 24, 2010 at 8:29 pm

My no -knead breads turn out looking fantastic with good texture but not a lot of taste or flavor. What do you suggest to improve the taste of the basic recipe? Thanks.

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Dave June 21, 2010 at 2:15 pm

TIP FOR PROOFING BASKET
I went to a well known culinary store and they had no idea what a proofing basket was (??) Soooo, I went to my local craft store (who just happened to be having a sale) and bought an oblong basket with handles and a cloth liner—cut off the handles, wash the liner and I have myself a great proofing basket at a fraction of the cost. Happy baking!

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Breadtopia June 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Hi Bryan,

Not stupid at all. Definitely get the unbleached & unbromated flour.

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Bryan June 21, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Stupid question I know…..but for the white flour on many of these recipes….should I only use unbleached white? or do really any of the baking flours work? what about in my starter? Thanks!

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Scooter June 16, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I use parchment all the time at even higher temperatures. No problem.

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Sheila June 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I bought the Clay Baker and love it. I wonder if I could use parchment paper at 450 degrees. The package states oven safe to 420. I like to proof in the clay baker and thought the parchment paper might help with sticking problem. Sheila

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April June 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Sam,

I had to chuckle when I read your ‘problem’. There have been several posts on this very topic, about how to ACHIEVE such a crack in the bread.

As far as I am concerned, you are doing everything right. However, to AVOID such a crack you can increase the amount of time your dough is rising between forming and baking to expend the yeasts energy before it hits the oven. In essence ‘overproofing’ the dough will tame the ovenspring you are experiencing.

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Sam June 11, 2010 at 11:42 am

Hi all,
i am having a little problem:
when the bread raises in the oven, it makes a huge crack (see picture).
Does anyone have a solution to prevent it?
thanxx

[img]Picture2.jpg[/img]

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Cullen S June 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm

re: Dorothy
Thanks for the response. The reason why I was confused is that I -was- using a digital scale, with precision down to the gram. I expected the problem to go away once I went from simple volume measurements to weight measurements. It didn’t.

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Dorothy June 9, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Response to Cullen’s post:
I don’t know if you are weighing your flour or measuring it in a cup. It sounds like you are just measuring. You are ending up with too much flour because the flour is compressing with the way you are doing it. I suggest that you invest in an inexpensive baker’s digital scale. All the recipes can be converted to weight measurements and you will be much happier. I tried that and I never end up with too much flour. You set the bowl on the scale and push a button to zero it out and then fill the bowl while it is on the scale. You can see by grams how much it is. And with the other ingredients also. I also use a wonderful Danish dough whisk and a plastic scrapper to mix and then fold and stretch. You just can’t screw up with the scale. You can measure you water in a container that shows fluid oz but I weigh mine now as well in grams. Dorothy

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Sheila June 7, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I am 72 and love making this bread. I have a vintage pyrex type loaf pan with lid I use to bake this bread. I oil pan with olive oil and do the second proof right in this pan. I put pan in a cold oven and set timer to 48 minutes at 450 degrees with lid removed last 15 minutes. This makes a perfect loaf for sandwiches. The crust isn’t as heavy as in pre-heated oven. I just ordered the long clay baker and am so excited to try this one. I make a great vegatable soup and along with the homebred find I get a lot of drop in company for lunch. Good times!

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April June 6, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Steve,

I always bake two loaves at a time. Never put bread in a bag until you are certain it is completely cool. I store the bread in a ziplock type freezer bag with the end left open. This works great for whole or cut loaves and will last for several days without harm. We usually slice and toast older bread even though it is still ok for eating without. Crust will never be the same as day one with any storage method, but you may be able to pop the bread into a hot oven for 10 minutes to crisp it up if wanted to.

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Steve June 6, 2010 at 4:18 pm

What is the best way to store bread? Today I made two sourdough loaves. I’d like to have the bread for the rest of the week (small family) but my experience is that the bread either gets hard and stale – almost overnight or, if I put it in a plastic bag, it gets mushy and flat.

Should I buy a bread box? How about paper bags?

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Maria May 25, 2010 at 7:22 am

@Matthew: Does your oven setting only go to 415F, or did you use an oven thermometer to check the temperature of the oven? I suggest the latter to get a better feel for the temperature that your oven is actually heating to.

@Cullen: I agree with April! Do you live in a dry climate? Was the weather warm and dry when you did the mix? I live in a dry climate and at high altitude so I usually have to add a bit more water than what is called for. However, I also find that I have to adjust the amount of water added even when the weather changes – humid or rainy/heavy snow, less water; windy, warm and drier, more water.

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April May 24, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Cullen,

Add more water. The measurements are approximate and you may need to adjust the amount of water in the recipe with every new bag of flour. Keep a log of the weights and results and tweak it til its right. Good luck.

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Clair Midia May 24, 2010 at 4:49 am

Bonjour.
I love your website. I’m looking forward to the world cup. But not as much as i’m looking forward to making your bread!

[img]france-98.jpg[/img]

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Cullen S May 23, 2010 at 5:26 pm

I have been playing with No Knead for a couple of months now and I seem to always have an issue with the step of mixing the water into the dry ingredients. At first I thought that it was an issue of imprecise measurement, but I took the step of buying a digital kitchen scale and measuring all ingredients down to the gram (using Jim Lahey’s version of the recipe from his book). The results are the same, and I’ve also tried the version on this site.

What happens is that it always seems like I have about 1/3 cup too little water. When I pour the specified amount of water in I use my hand to mix it all up. It quickly forms into a big mound of dough, but there is easily a 1/4cup of flour at the bottom of the mixing bowl that doesn’t bind up and get mixed with any water. I can pick up the dough ball and there will just be loose flour on the bottom, and the dough ball will seem/look dryer than the videos I’ve seen of pros making the bread.

Any suggestions?

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Matthew May 23, 2010 at 2:45 pm

On my first attempt, i realized that my oven does not heat to above 415 degrees. However, even with the low heat, at the recommended baking time, I actually slightly OVERCOOKED the bread, with some charring up top and a bit of burning on the bottom. Any suggestions as to how this possibly happened?

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Wil May 9, 2010 at 9:18 am

Just follow Eric’s videos. Use 1/4 cup of starter for your bread recipes. No need to change the amounts of flour or water called for w/NKB. Mix your starter in the water, stir good and add to your flour, that’s it. Look at the videos as they show you how it is done.

Wil

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michael castro May 9, 2010 at 8:52 am

Today I bake my sourdough bread in a cast iron dutch oven. I will put it in the oven..

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Sal May 9, 2010 at 8:52 am

In reply to question of how to convert a yeast recipe to sourdough, the folowwing courtesy of Rose Levy Beranbaum:
HOW TO USE A SOURDOUGH STARTER IN PLACE OF COMMERCIAL YEAST IN OTHER RECIPES

When adding sourdough starter to a recipe, you are, of course, adding the flour and water, as well as the wild yeast and bacteria, contained in the sourdough, so you need to reduce the amount of flour and water in the rest of the recipe as appropriate and eliminate the commercial yeast (or reduce to no more that 0.2 percent of the total weight of the flour). When worked out by weights, this is a very easy calculation. (If you have a liquid starter, convert it to a stiff starter.

To convert a liquid starter to a stiff starter: By weight, if a recipe call for, for example, 5.25 ounces, 150 grams stiff starter, you will need to increase the amount of starter called for by one and a third times (meaning 7 ounces, 200 grams liquid starter) and then remove the amount of extra water you have added (one-quarter of the weight of the liquid starter, which is 1.75 ounces, 50 grams) from the rest of the dough. Or to convert it by volume, simply stir flour into the liquid starter a teaspoon at a time. When it becomes stiff enough to touch without sticking to your fingers, knead it with your hand, adding flour until it is no longer sticky.

To convert a stiff starter to a liquid starter: If a recipe calls for, for example 7 ounces, 200 grams liquid starter, and you have a stiff starter, you will need to decrease the amount of starter by three quarters (which equals 1.75 ounces, 150 grams stiff starter) and add water to equal one-third the weight of the stiff starter (1.7 ounces, 50 grams) to the rest of the dough.
In order for the sourdough starter to be about 30 percent of the total flour and water component of the finish dough, you need to:
1. Total the weights of the flour and water in the recipe.
2. Multiply the flour and water total by 30 percent to get the amount of starter you need.
3. Since the starter is one-third water and two-thirds flour (by weight), divide the total amount of starter by 3 to get the amount of water it contains and by 1 ½ to get the flour. Subtract these amounts from the total water and total flour in the dough.

EXAMPLE IN GRAMS:

FLOUR: 100 GRAMS
WATER: 68 GRAMS
SALT: 3.7 GRAMS
YEAST: 0.5 GRAMS

Total flour and water equals 168 grams. The amount of starter at 30 percent of the total flour and water (168 grams) would be 50.4 grams. Round it off to 50 grams. This is the amount of starter to use.

The 50 grams of starter contains 16.6 grams of water and 33.3 grams of flour (it’s one-third water and two-thirds flour, i.e., 1 part water to 2 parts flour) so those are the amounts you need to remove from the rest of the recipe.

Subtract the 33.3 grams of flour from the 100 grams of flour from the 100 grams used in the recipe, for a total of 66.7 additional grams of flour to be added to the starter.

Subtract the 16.6 grams of water from the 68 grams of water used in the recipe, for a total of 51.4 additional grams of water to be added to the starter.

Eliminate the yeast, and the salt remains the same.

Obviously there is no need to use a sponge starter, as the sourdough starter provides all the flavor needed. You can also replace the biga (and yeast) in a recipe with the equal volume or weight of stiff sourdough starter.

When to Add the Sourdough Starter

If mixing the dough by machine, it is best to mix the rest of the dough, (except the salt) and knead it for 3 minutes, enough to develop the gluten structure a little. Allow it to rest (autolyse) for 20 minutes, then knead in the sourdough starter. Add the salt after the sourdough starter has been mixed into the dough, as direct contact with salt is harmful to yeast. In addition, the salt should be added at the end because it draws water from the dough and causes the dough to become stiffer.

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Vajra May 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm

The last three loaves of NKB have been delicious. I’ve standardized at 1 c. Kefir + 1/2 c. water. I’m also using a heaping measure of yeast rather than a level measure. The last two loaves I added 1 T. sugar, which gave a really beautiful rise. Still allowing the dough to rise for @ 18 hours, but limiting proofing to @1 hour. Preheat to 500˚ then reduce to 425º for 35 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered. http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4021/4587402299_006bec4699_m.jpg

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Wil May 8, 2010 at 9:24 am

Thanks Mitch, you are right on. I think putting your NK bread dough in the refrigerator for a day or more gives a more flavorable result. Pretty much the same theory. I would say when using a sourdough starter, it is essential to give the starter time to grow and impart it’s wonderful flavor and it holds true, a little less is more. My dough spends about 12 hours in the refrigerator, on average, 10-12 hours on the counter overnight and another hour or less after shaping for baking.
Wil

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Mitch May 7, 2010 at 9:07 pm

JOE April 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm

HI :
THE NO KNEAD IS GREAT I HAVE BEEN BAKING BREAD THIS WAY FOR ABOUT A YEAR . I LET MY DOUGH RISE FOR ABOUT 6 TO 8 HRS THE SECOND RISE IS IS AN HOUR OR LESS . MY BAKING TEMP IS 450 DEG IN A WELL CONTROLLED GAS OVEN . NOW FOR THE KICKER I HAVE BEEN USING ALE YEAST ( MUNTONS ) FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS . THE YEAST PACKET WEIGHS 6 GRAMS , I USE THE WHOLE THING . THESE LITTLE BEASTIES ARE VERY ACTIVE ! I START THE YEAST OFF IN 1 1/2 CUPS OF 120 DEG WATER WITH TWO TBS OF HONEY , I WHISK THIS UP GOOD AS THE YEAST NEED OXYGEN TO DO THEIR THING . GIVE THIS A TRY YOU’LL LIKE THE RESULTS !
JC

A word or two of advice from someone who has been doing this for quite a while. I use instant yeast (not sourdough) for all of my NK breads, and when the room temperature has been at about 70-72F I have let the dough ferment for 18 hours, sometimes a little longer when I can’t get to it within 18 hours, and the results have been fantastic.

I have read Jim Lahey’s book and Nancy Baggett’s book, both dealing with the NK method. Jim recommends 18 hours at roughly 72F and Nancy recommends 18 – 24 hours, depending on room temperature. They also recommend starting with a water temperature of about 55F. They both stress that it is the longer fermentation time that gives the bread it’s fabulous flavor. If room temperatures are warmer than 70 – 72F then you should cut back on the yeast in order to try to get to the ‘magical’ 18 hours.

The point of all this is that you want the longer fermentation time to get that great taste. Anyone can add more yeast, which will speed up the fermentation time, but IMHO, it will sacrifice taste. You can add so much yeast that the fermentation time can be reduced to just a few hours. But realize that you are going to sacrifice taste for speed.

The ingredients are cheap enough so you can try it both ways and see if you agree that the longer fermentation time will give you a tastier bread. That’s my take on it and you clearly don’t have to agree. I’m not trying to start a dispute here, just passing along my own experience.

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Richard Moseley May 3, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I’m a 68 year old bread virgin in England, and could not be more pleased with my first sourdough loaf by the NK method using your pineapple starter. The crust a little dark, crsip (but not aggressively so): and the crumb soft, open and very tasty. Beginners’ luck maybe, but I’m converted, and look forward to regular visits to Breadtopia to try out new variations and bread types. One of the most exciting sites I have discovered this year. Many thanks

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Maria April 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Hi Kasey- I’ve done this, but can’t exactly remember. I do know that I keep the oven temp the same; I think I also bake 30 minutes with the lid and 10 minutes without the lid.

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Kasey April 29, 2010 at 8:32 am

I’ve been making whole loaves of your basic NKB recipe for a few weeks and they are coming out just perfectly. I want to try splitting the dough into halves to make two smaller loaves. Would you decrease the oven temp, bake time or both to achieve the same results with two smaller loaves? [I've been baking 30 minutes covered at 500 and 15 uncovered at 450 for the full loaf in an oblong cloche.]

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Kasey April 29, 2010 at 8:31 am

I’ve been making whole loaves of your basic NKB recipe for a few weeks and they are coming out just perfectly. I want to try splitting the dough into halves to make two smaller loaves. Would you decrease the oven temp, bake time or both to achieve the same results with two smaller loaves?

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JOE April 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm

HI :
THE NO KNEAD IS GREAT I HAVE BEEN BAKING BREAD THIS WAY FOR ABOUT A YEAR . I LET MY DOUGH RISE FOR ABOUT 6 TO 8 HRS THE SECOND RISE IS IS AN HOUR OR LESS . MY BAKING TEMP IS 450 DEG IN A WELL CONTROLLED GAS OVEN . NOW FOR THE KICKER I HAVE BEEN USING ALE YEAST ( MUNTONS ) FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS . THE YEAST PACKET WEIGHS 6 GRAMS , I USE THE WHOLE THING . THESE LITTLE BEASTIES ARE VERY ACTIVE ! I START THE YEAST OFF IN 1 1/2 CUPS OF 120 DEG WATER WITH TWO TBS OF HONEY , I WHISK THIS UP GOOD AS THE YEAST NEED OXYGEN TO DO THEIR THING . GIVE THIS A TRY YOU’LL LIKE THE RESULTS !
JC

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Jeri April 26, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Yay! Homemade bread! After making three loaves of no-knead bread in less than a week, I can confirm that for me, 12 hours for the initial proofing time is best. Any longer and I lose some of the gas I want to keep trapped in the dough. This, followed by about an hour and 15 minutes for the second proof seems to be about right. I follow what I think is the original recipe, and bake my bread covered at 450 for 30 minutes, followed by about 18 more minutes uncovered. I’m a proficient cookie and cake baker, but bread never seemed to work for me–until now! My loaves are great looking and great tasting. I’m so pleased.

I live near Ft. Lauderdale, so perhaps the near-sea-level affects things and is what contributes to the lesser proofing time and the lower cooking temp.

I now wait for my first attempt at pineapple starter to do it’s thing, meanwhile, I can’t wait to try the many variations I see on this site!

Thanks for all the tips, tricks and advice!

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Jacque April 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Hi Maria, your loaves look great.
I wonder why the same recipe can act so differently. I did an experiment – I started rising my dough in a straight-sided plastic container. I checked on the dough every hour, to see what it was doing, both at the surface and below the surface. Here’s the thing – the dough was definitely full proofed at around 10 hours. I have shortened the total rising time – from mixing to oven – to around 8 or 9 hours, and am getting a much better rise.
I do add 1 tbsp molasses to the basic recipe, so that could be the reason that my dough is rising so much faster than yours. I love the subtle flavor the molasses adds. I haven’t yet experimented with retarding the dough to develop more flavor, but that is next on my list. Right now, I am working on translating the english volume measurements of the recipe to metric weights, and tinkering a bit with the hydration. It’s not as simple as it might sound, since 1 cup volumes vary so much in weight. I’m not yet satisfied, but the bread continues to taste wonderful, so I am enjoying the experimentation!

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Maria April 22, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Hi Jacque: I read your comments RE: the challenge of getting your loaf to rise. I have to add that we live at 8200 feet, and I have not yet really had a problem getting the loaf to rise and get a good loaf . See photos (first is NKB in a clay cloche baked in oven; and second is NKB on a cast iron griddle covered with a stainless bowl on a propane grill). What may be working for me is: 1) I use about 1/4 tsp more yeast than called for; 2) I let the dough proof the first time for at least 18 hours (sometimes more, but not more than 21 hours); 3) during the first proof, I loosely enclose bowl and all with a recycled plastic produce bag; 4) I place the bowl in the oven (turned off of course) during the proofing, so that it is not subject to drafts, bumping or general disturbance, and so that the humidity and temp stays fairly constant; 5) during the second proofing, after handling it, I place it on a pizza slip dusted with flour and then oat bran – this facilitates sliding the whole thing off into the baking dish when it’s ready to go into the oven; it’s covered during the resting stage with a stainless steel colander; 6) I heat the oven and baking dish to 450F, and do not vary the heat; 7) I have a baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven which may help hold heat evenly in the oven. One other thing – I use a locally-produced, locally-milled unbleached wheat flour that may just work at this altitude (lower starch/higher gluten; I live in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado/northern New Mexico).

I use either a stainless steel bowl or a glazed ceramic bowl for the proofing stage, and I do use Fleischman’s Active Dry Yeast in case you’re wondering.

The few times I got the flattish, unsatisfactory-looking loaves, I suspected the yeast was not good, so I threw it out, bought new yeast, and did not have that problem again.

Keep it up! It takes practice, but if you keep at it, you’ll eventually find something that works for you.

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April April 16, 2010 at 10:04 am

I use an electric convection oven. I used to bake NKB without the fan on, but have discovered that my oven preheats faster in convection mode. I keep it on for baking and have made no changes to time or temp. I think the convection helps to recover oven temp more quickly due to the door being open several minutes when putting in the dough and when taking off the lids.

The only time I have made a change in lowering the oven temp is when I switched from clay bakers to enameled cast iron. The bottom would burn at the higher temp in the cast iron. It was only a 10 degree change.

Keep a notebook and experiment with temps as every oven is different.

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Sara-Anne April 15, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Thank you all for the useful comments. Would anyone bake bread in a convection oven. Normally I wouldn’t but as the bread is covered for the most part, perhaps it would with the necessary adjustments for temp. and time.

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