Cook’s Illustrated Almost No Knead

A Clever Variation of an “Old” Theme

My hat is off to CooksIllustrated.com for formulating a worthy variation to the now famous New York Times no knead recipe. They call it their “Almost No Knead” bread since it involves a bit of light kneading, but another key step in the process is streamlined so overall their recipe is still a cinch to make.

If you’re already familiar with the “traditional” no knead recipe, I think you will find the final results of this one significantly different in almost all respects. This crust has a nice crunch to it but is much thinner and easier to chew and the interior crumb is tighter (smaller holes) and softer. I wouldn’t classify this bread as “rustic” like I would the NYT version.

But what really sets this recipe apart is its flavor. The addition of a few ounces of beer and a tablespoon of white vinegar creates a unique and pleasing flavor all its own.

In these videos I cover the Cooks Illustrated plain white flour and whole wheat flour versions.

This recipe also converts extremely well to sandwich loaf bread. In the third video below, I do just that.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of this bread – please leave your comments below.

Update: See Virginia’s comment post of 8/22/08. She made a few changes to get great results with a rye version (click link) of this recipe.

White Flour Recipe:

3 cups (15 ounces) all purpose or bread flour
1/4 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (7 ounces) water at room temp
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (3 ounces) mild flavored lager
1 Tbs. white vinegar

Whole Wheat Recipe:

2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose or bread flour
1 cup (5 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. honey (I used 2 Tbs. raw sugar)
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (7 ounces) water at room temp
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (3 ounces) mild flavored lager
1 Tbs. white vinegar

Note: The beer can be non-alcoholic.
Also, regarding the use of sugar and the ratio of white to whole wheat flour in the ‘Whole Wheat’ recipe, see the post from Beatrix below. She used 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 of white and it still came out light.

Baking Instructions: For both these recipes, preheat your oven with Dutch oven or Cloche inside to 500 degrees. Reduce temperature to 425 when the bread dough goes in and bake covered for 30 minutes. Then remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the internal bread temperature reaches about 200 degrees.

Almost No Knead

Almost No Knead

Almost No Knead Sandwich Loaf Recipe

The thinner crust and softer, tighter crumb of the Almost No Knead recipe, combined with its subtle flavors, makes it a nice candidate for a sandwich loaf. Here’s a video of the process with the the adjusted ingredient quantities.

18 ounces (~3 2/3 cups) flour. Use all white or a combination of white and up to 6 ounces whole wheat.
1 3/4 tsp salt
3/8 tsp. instant yeast

1 cup (8 ounces) water
1/2 cup (4 ounces) beer

1 1/4 Tbs white vinegar
2 1/2 Tbs honey
(I use raw sugar instead). The honey is suggested only when baking the whole wheat version of this recipe.

Baking Instructions: Preheat oven to 425. Place bread pan with risen dough in oven and reduce temperature to 350. Bake for 55 minutes or until internal bread temperature is about 200 degrees. Note that in the video I’m using a Pyrex bread pan. A metal bread pan would probably bake a few minutes faster.

Note: some have reported an issue with the loaf sticking to the bread pan. After buttering/oiling the baking pans, cornmeal can be sprinkled liberally on the insides and bottom of the pans. This eliminates the bread sticking to the sides while baking. Thanks to Tom & Melody DeGraziano for this tip.

{ 613 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Ann February 25, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I’ve tried the basic cooks illustrated recipe with a little beer in it and we like it a lot. My question, and it may be in here somewhere but too many comments to sift through, is if it is OK if the beer is stale. Hate to just throw out almost a whole can, but we just don’t drink the stuff. I put my leftover beer in a jar with a lid and it is just sitting in the frig waiting for it’s destiny.

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Jeffrey February 19, 2009 at 2:48 pm

“Last night I made my first No knead in a 3quart corning ware covered pot. Previously I used a cast iron Dutch oven. Same recipe however the cook times were much longer to get internal temp to 200 …Why??”

All other things being the same, I’d say that the only apparent answer is: heat transmission of the cookware material. As the dough absorbs heat from the cookware, it takes time for the heat from the oven to be transmitted through the cookware material. It would seem that cast iron is a faster conductor of heat energy than Corning Ware.

My favorite loaf-pans are Pyrex. I never have problems with the crust burning next to the glass.

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marc lowen February 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Last night I made my first No knead in a 3quart corning ware covered pot. Previously I used a cast iron Dutch oven. Same recipe however the cook times were much longer to get internal temp to 200 …Why??

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Marianne February 10, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Hi Eva,

About half an hour before I wanted to bake the bread, I put the pizza stone and the flower pot into the cold oven. I then turned the oven on to 500F and let both the stone and the pot preheat for about half an hour. I didn’t soak the pot.

I pretty much followed the directions in the recipe as written for the time and temperatures. I removed the flower pot for the last 15 minutes of baking time.

I’ve only done this a few times so I can’t say if or when the flower pot might develop a crack.

Hope that helps. :) Marianne

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Eva February 9, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Marianne, another question: Do you soak the flowerpot in water before baking and do you pre-heat it also?
Thanks, Eva

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Eva February 8, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Hi Marianne,
Could you please let me know at what Temperature you pre-heated the oven along with the pizzastone, I suppose.
Also, how long did you bake your bread covered and uncovered?
Since my rye bread always turns out rather moist inside I want to try to bake it on a pizzastone.
A baker told me, that rye bread baked in the dutch oven will always come out moist since the moisture in the dough does not have a way to escape.
My bread tastes super good; I would just like to have it dry inside.
Thanks,
Eva

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Breadtopia February 8, 2009 at 8:21 pm

I received this email today. Thought I’d take the liberty to post it here. Thanks Marianne.

I’m not new to bread baking, but I am somewhat of a rookie in the no-knead method. I’ve been having fun baking some of the breads from your website. Today I baked the Cooks Illustrated almost no-knead bread. Since I don’t have a La Cloche or a dutch oven, I baked it on my pizza stone and covered it with an unglazed terracotta flowerpot. I plugged the pot’s drain hold with some aluminum foil. The bread turned out just great! Thanks again for the recipes and the videos!

I’ve attached a photo of the almost no-knead bread.

Take care!

Marianne
British Columbia, Canada

Marianne's Fantastic Bread

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Tony S. January 29, 2009 at 11:45 am

Thanks for the tip, Bob.
Will give it a shot.
Tony

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Bob Packer January 29, 2009 at 11:29 am

Tony,

Now try cutting some Pepper Jack cheese into 3/4 inch squares and put in with the Kalamat olives. Good stuff.
Bob

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Tony S. January 29, 2009 at 11:05 am

Hi, Eric,
I’m awaiting the second rising (sounds religious, doesn’t it?) of my first ANK loaf, and started wondering if anyone had tried to make a ANK or NKB with a Pyrex or metal baking
pan under a La Cloche dome. Am considering buying the loaf type La Cloche unless this variation works.
Several friends and I are still baking the NKB on an almost daily basis, with some variations…guess we’re never satisfied. Latest is using Kalamata olives – sliced and rinsed – added during the dry ingredients mixing. Turned out delicious. Then noticed that I recently saw it on your site.
Thanks for your continuing efforts, Eric!
Tony

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harvey January 28, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Hello All,
The Great Debate continues. I don’t want to corrupt the purpose of this great site so I’ll add my thoughts and hope they help. Assume that yeast is yeast and the actual fermentation is controlled by the ‘local’ bacteria. That could be why you have different rise times, flavors and textures to a variety of items and they all seem to have different flavors depending on their origin. This may very well explain why ‘San Francisco’ sourdough is so unique, even among its many imitators around the country. I have a neighbor that brought back an ‘Amish’ starter from PA. I tried the bread and it is definitely a different taste than a traditional ‘S.F. Sourdough’. Draw your own conclusions. Local yeast or local bacteria? Whichever or whatever the reason, love your bread making. It’s the least expensive ‘therapy’ you can get.

Happy Baking
Harvey
“Man does not live by bread alone, sometimes he needs a little butter too.”

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Bob Packer January 28, 2009 at 11:43 am

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh – I made the fatal mistake of assumption.

I was assuming that everyone refrigerated their doughs.

I control my rise by the length of time I keep the dough in the fridge.

If you check out the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes, you will see that the dough is kept out for 2 hours, then refrigerated for up to two weeks. But even in this recipe, I halved the salt.

Bob

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Jeffrey January 28, 2009 at 11:08 am

Hi, Bob

“Salt also appears to somewhat control the fermentation. So less salt and a longer fermentation SHOULD get about the same result.”

From what I read, salt slows fermentation, so less salt means faster ferment. To get the longer ferment (for much better flavor), if you put in less salt, you probably should also either put in less yeast or refrigerate the dough for much of the rise time, so the dough doesn’t ferment too quickly. How much less yeast, I don’t know. If I were experimenting, if I reduced the salt by half, I’d probably reduce the yeast by half, too. I’d be more inclined to refrigerate.

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Bob Packer January 28, 2009 at 10:48 am

Salt also appears to somewhat control the fermentation. So less salt and a longer fermentation SHOULD get about the same result. Be worth trying, anyway.

I also use less salt in most of my recipes and just watch the rise on the doughs.

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Jeffrey January 28, 2009 at 10:45 am

Hi, Kerry

I always put in less salt than bread recipes call for. Most of the time, if I put in the full amount, the bread tastes, well, not salty like pretzels, but “brackish”. I try to use salt so that it brings out the flavor of foods, without flavoring them with a salt taste. If a recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp., I put in 1 tsp, or maybe even 3/4 tsp. and still get good results. I also use sea salt (Haines coommerical sea salt, usually), which provides more flavor with less salt.

I”ve read that salt strengthens gluten to add structural integrity to bread. Seems to me less salt and higher gluten content would do the same thing, either by adding Vital Wheat Gluten, or using a higher-gluten flour.

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Dave the Novice January 28, 2009 at 10:41 am

Jeffrey,

I hope you get a response from Mr. Leader, and post it here. Everything authoritative I have been able to find suggests that yeasts, wherever they may come from, have nothing to do with the taste of bread. It may not matter much whether the yeasts are displaced, if the bacteria are not.

Kerry,

I usually use less salt than these recipes call for, simply as a matter of taste. I find that sourdough, or any other acid component, reduces the amount of salt I prefer in the bread.

On the matter of yeast, this is the best posting I have seen:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10455/fleischmann039s-yeast-confusion#comment-55298

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Bob Packer January 28, 2009 at 10:36 am

Kerry,

I googled your question and this site might help:

http://www.recipesecrets.net/forums/general-chat/19009-salt-substitute.html

Bob

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Jeffrey January 28, 2009 at 10:32 am

Hi, Harvey

Helpful link – thanks.

I just read “Local Breads”, a new book by Daniel Leader, who also wrote “Bread Alone” (and who owns/runs a bakery by that name in New York State), and he actually had samples of sourdough starter tested in a lab, and the results completely validate the notion that sourdough starters become “localized” over time. (Incidentally, “Local Breads” is quite well written, and has some interesting and entertaining stories about Mr. Leader’s search for recipes in various parts of Europe.)

At the same time, I have starters from three different sources (France, Alaska, & San Francisco). When I refresh them, I swear that I can smell a big difference between the cultures – and that may have more to do with the kind of bacteria in the culture, rather than the yeast. The Alaska culture also seems a lot “faster” – much quicker rise, although at the end of 8 hours the amount of rise is the same as the other 2. Also, I threw out a Russian-source culture I had, because I just didn’t like the flavor of the bread.

I think I’ll write to Mr. Leader, if I can find an email address and ask him what he thinks about the idea that, while yeast may become localized, bacteria might not.

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Kerry January 28, 2009 at 10:23 am

I’ve got another question. I watch my sodium levels, and was wondering if anyone had tried these recepies using less than 1.5 tsps of salt. I know salt is needed for the chemistry to work, I just wasn’t sure how much was needed.

Thanks for all the help!

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harvey January 28, 2009 at 9:59 am

Jefrey, and anyone else,,

Yeast is not all the same, but they are all similar. Check out this web site:

http://breaddaily.tripod.com/yeast.htm

If you have ever had questions about what kind of yeast you can substitute when you run out or how to store unused yeast, then look no further than the chart on the site!

A word about natural yeast and starters. There is yeast in the air almost everywhere. It is carried with the wind and is part of the environment. If you have a starter, it will eventually take on the characteristics of the ‘wild yeast’ where you live. While I started with a ‘San Francisco’ sourdough starter, I am sure that at this point I have a ‘South Florida’ sourdough starter. Especially since Florida is a state where grapes are grown commercially. ( that makes for lots of yeast in the air to be transported by the wind ) Not that this is a bad thing. My starter makes great sourdough bread.

Happy Baking.

Harvey
“Man does not live by bread alone, sometimes he needs a little butter too.”

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Jefrey January 28, 2009 at 9:14 am

Hi, Kerry

From what I’ve read, “Bread-Machine” yeast is the same thing as instant yeast. Comments anyone?

Still, I like the idea of using the stuff that says it’s definitely instant yeast.

Another possible subject for comment: I know that supposedly all yeast is pretty much the same, and that the only difference is really one of age, but I really, really prefer SAF instant yeast over all the others.

And while we’re on the topic of SAF, there’s two kinds of SAF instant yeast: regular and Gold (which can be purchased at King Arthur). Gold is a specialized instant yeast which is designed to function better in sweeter or more acidic breads – i.e., better for sweet rolls, and a good way of boosting sourdoughs. I have some, but not enough experience with it to comment.

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Kerry January 27, 2009 at 9:08 pm

I made my first two loaves on Sunday. The first time I’ve ever made bread, and not only was it edible, it was really good! The crust was beautiful, the crumb perfect. I made one loaf of white and one of wheat, and we like both. I can’t wait to try again with different types of beer.

For reference, I used fast-acting yeast because I couldn’t find instant (I’ll order some from Breadtopia soon) and the first rise was closer to 20 hours. I used Sam Adams Boston Lager and I used bread flour as my white flour, not all-purpose.

Thank you for this site! I never though I’d made bread from scratch, now I can’t wait to do it again.

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Margo1t January 27, 2009 at 8:07 pm

I made my first loaf of almost no knead white bread (the 15 ounces of flour one) today. A couple of variations, I used 3 ounces of Semolina flour in the and the rest KA All Purpose. I used Hale’s Ales Wee Heavy Winter Ale and FORGOT the sugar/honey part entirely. Used a slightly smaller pyrex loaf pan and it came out GREAT! even without the sweetner!

I have the larger recipe rising right now – used the same ale and 3 ounces of the Semolina again, but substitued Cider vinegar and used about a teaspoon of brown sugar and the rest of the measurement honey. Will let you know how that works.

Great recipe!

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Jeffrey January 22, 2009 at 10:19 am

Hi, Barbara

From reading your post, I’m not certain what kind of flour you used in your bread – you mention high gluten flour, but also talk about rye bread. Rye flour has almost zero/zed gluten in it, so if you used a lot of rye flour, there’s not much likelihood you would get much rise.

Another possibility is that your yeast is dead or worn-out. You can proof yeast to make sure it’s very active by putting a little bit in some lightly-sugared water, waiting 5-10 minutes and seeing it if produces a lot of bubbles. If it doesn’t, you need new yeast.
(I can’t recall the exact amounts of yeast, water and sugar to use for proofing, but I’m sure someone else here can provide the information.)

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John Gordon January 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm

For Barbara:
I had problems like this as wel starting outl. Here’s a couple things to check:
1. If you’re using tap water, make sure you are filtering it or you have a good filter on your system. Tap water has chlorine in it and chlorine kills yeast and your rise will suffer If you can’t filter tap, use bottled water, it doesn’t take much.

2. Weigh your flour and water with a digital scale. I found a nice scale that switches to grams or imperial. Polder KSC-310-28 Easy Read Digital Glass Top Scale, Silver is the one I use, or you can try one of the two he has on this website at http://www.breadtopia.com/store/kitchen-gadgets.html

If your dough is too wet it will not rise properly. If your dough is too dry you get lumps of flour in it. As long as you follow the recipe proportions and weigh your ingredients, you should be fine. Best of luck!

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Richard Walker January 21, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Moisture might help as might folding the dough (1/3 from top toward bottom, 1/3 from bottom toward top, 1/3 from left toward right, 1/3 from right toward left, flip, back in the rising pan, cover) instead of kneading between risings. Perhaps additional time on each rising to let the carbon dioxide get those holes going for you.

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Barbara January 21, 2009 at 12:46 pm

I just found this site and thanks for the help. I made ANK bread and found the inside very dense and too moist. Will try to increase moisture as the dough was the same as kneaded bread dough. I am using flour I brought back from Canada because of the higher gluten. The best bread in Canada is Winnipeg City Rye – no sugar, no fat and it has rye berries in it. Getting 8 loaves brought down this weekend. Could my dough be so dense because of this flour and will increasing the moisture help? I also like larger holes in my bread.

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Karil January 14, 2009 at 4:34 am

Hi Rich

Whenever the dough gets a mind of its own, just let it rest a bit—ten minutes or so. It relaxes and permits you to tease it again—fold it, roll it, stretch it, whatever.

Karil

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Rich Witt January 13, 2009 at 11:37 am

Hi Eric and all

I want to make a 100% whole wheat ANK loaf based on the C. I. recipe, using KAF White Whole Wheat flour

I’m wondering what additives to use here. Someone suggested that I might want to add some vital wheat gluten flour to the mix. Also, would the amount of sugar need to be adjusted? How about the amount of liquid?

I picked up a bag of Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten flour, and on the back of the bag, it suggests 1 tbsp of the VGW flour per cup of flour used.

I saw some other posts on this site re 100% whole wheat bread, but didn’t see anything about the VGW being added.

Any thoughts?

Rich

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Rich Witt January 13, 2009 at 10:22 am

If you recall my post of Jan 4 regarding my attempt at cinnamon/raisin bread, it was my belief that while it wasn’t too bad, there were some short-comings. Several of you had suggestions, and I incorporated them into my next attempt.

The next attempt took the form of Eric’s ANK sandwich loaf. Instead of using the beer & vinegar though, I used 4oz. of apple cider along with 8oz. of water.
I also used 18oz. of KAF white bread flour, rather than adding any whole wheat, and omitted the 2TBS of sugar. Otherwise, it was the same amounts of ingredients as Eric’s sandwich loaf.

After the 18 hour ferment, I put the dough out on my floured surface, and folded it over. When I did the last loaf, after the recommended 10 or so folds, the dough became too elastic to spread out to a flat semi rectangle, so this tiime, I only folded it over 3 times, and spread it out flat.

This time I coated the flat dough with an egg wash, allowed it to set for a minute or two, and sprinkled the dough with the cinnamon/sugar mix. I then rolled it up jelly-roll style, pinched the ends & seam together, and placed it seam side down in the glass bread pan to do it’s second rise.

I had some distractions while making the bread, and about half-way through the 2nd rise, I noticed the 1/2 cup of raisins setting on the table. I had forgotten to put them in before rolling up the dough. #*@&*#@! Oh well, I figured I might as well let it go just as a cinnamon swirl loaf. I baked the loaf in accord with Eric’s time and temp instructions. During the last 10 minutes of baking, I brushed some of the egg-wash on the top of the loaf, and sprinkled it with raw turbinado suger. That turned out to be a nice touch.

I was also doing a 2nd loaf of ANK rye bread. It was the same as Eric’s ANK round whole wheat loaf, except that I substituted 5oz of Red Mill dark rye for the whole wheat flour, and added 1TBSP of carraway seeds

As soon as the cinnamon swirl came out of the oven, I put my baking vessel in the oven and set the temp to 500F for 30 min. After the pre-heat I put my rye loaf in the baking vessel and lowered the temp to 425F. After the 30 min bake time, I un-covered the baker and let it go for another 10 min. I then checked the internal temp of the bread and it was only at 195 F. I tented the loaf and let it bake for another 10 min, which did the job.

As soon as I took the rye out and racked it to cool, a friend of mine showed up to go out to lunch. When we returned, we had to check out the bread.

I cut both loaves in half and sent half of each home with my friend. Later, he emailed me that his girlfriend ate all but one slice of the cinnamon loaf, and only let him have one slice.

Anyway, as soon as I post this, I’ll send Eric an email with some pictures of my effort.

Rich

Richard Witt ANK

Richard Witt ANK

Richard Witt ANK

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Karil January 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Hi Ken
I agree with Eric—sandwich bread is sandwich bread—it sports a more tender crust that makes biting off a piece easier and, therefore, also helps keep the insides from oozing out the other end of the sandwich. Also, the shape and size of the sandwich loaf is more or less standardized, as is the thickness of the slices. Indeed, some coldcuts and cheeses are even cut to fit such loaves. My suggestion is, if you like the crust and texture of the artisinal loaf for sandwiches (as I do), then enjoy two small sandwiches rather than one big one. I like cutting the sandwiches into two or three strips so that they are easier to eat (just a little bit less wide than my mouth). That way the contents don’t ooze as much. Also, open-face sandwiches are great on the smaller slices cut from long artisinal loaves, though they can’t be packed up into a lunch bags quite so neatly. Either way, enjoy your new Clôche and your loaves!

Karil

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Breadtopia January 12, 2009 at 7:44 am

I usually use standard 9 x 5 loaf pans when I want sandwich bread. You don’t get the same artisanal (thicker) crust as you typically get when baking with clay bake ware, but then you usually don’t want a lighter crust on sandwich bread anyway.

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Ken Krawford January 12, 2009 at 7:37 am

I have been making ANK bread for almost 2 years in a round container. This Christmas I received an oblong La Cloche. The loaves turn out too small in diameter to use for sandwich bread. I tried increasing the standard ANK receipe by 50% but the loaves are still too small.
Any suggestions?
Thanks.

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Amy K January 12, 2009 at 6:15 am

FYI – My bread (CI ANK-see the picture above at 1-04-09) still made good toast a whole week later – was a little dry and crumbly for untoasted use, but really great toast. Had it stored at room temperature in tupperware type container. Excellent recipe. Thanks, AK

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John Gordon January 11, 2009 at 7:10 pm

The sandwich loaf works outside of a closed cast iron pot or cloche because you don’t want a crunchy crust with your sandwich. An enclosed environment lets the steam escaping the wet dough become like a steam injected oven. The high moisture environment will help produce a good crust, but a hard crust isn’t found in most sandwich bread. Baking outside of a pot or cloche lets the moisture evaporate, thus a softer crust.

Someone put it more eloquent or technically correct, please. I’m a neophyte.

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BJ January 11, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Wait, there’s something I, a novice at no-knead bread, don’t understand. Why does the sandwich loaf work? I thought that a requirement of this process was baking inside a covered vessel or “fake” oven? Or is that not truly necessary with these recipes??? I’m puzzled.

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Jeffrey January 7, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Hi, Jacob

Another note about the usefulness of refrigerating shaped loaves: its a lot easier to slash the loaves when they’re cold. (Slashing can help with oven-spring and help prevent large pockets from forming under the crust. Done improperly, it can help deflate the loaf, though._

I’ve had great success using my Cloche in a pre-heated oven – but without pre-heating the Cloche itself. I put the shaped dough into the room-temperature cloche, or I have allowed the refrigerated Cloche to come to room temperature after a night in the refrigerator, then it into the hot oven. (That’s actually what my Cloche instructions said to do.) More importantly, I have also had success putting the cold cloche directly out of the refrigerator into a cold oven, then just turning on the oven, and adding about 7-10 minutes to the cook time. And for really big loaves, I’ve used my Cloche upside-down, fitting the handled between the wires of the oven-rack.

Anyway, I think it would entirely feasible for you to put the refrigerated cloche into your oven before you go to bed, set the timer on the oven to come on about 1/2 hour before you usually arise, and, Voila!, you could have the smell of baking bread coming to wake you from your dreams. You might want to modify the rise time of the dough, shape the loaves a little early, to account for the 6-8 hours the dough spends waiting for hte oven to turn itself on.

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Jacob V. January 7, 2009 at 9:46 am

Hello all,
I just wrote this as a email reply but I’m not sure if this works so here I am posting it on Eric site (Thanks Eric, great site!) so my apologies if you get it twice.
In my quest to wake up with the smell of freshly baked/baking bread I have found retarding the dough in the fridge very use full.
My obsession for waking up with that fresh bread smell stems from my college years back home in Holland when I lived above a bakery. Especially around Easter time and X-mass it was unbeatable, I would wake up to all sorts of delectable aromas and only had to walk down (put on some clothes first..) and get some bread. My favorite was always the mini stollen with the almond paste inside of it…..mmm, delicious!
Anyway, the closest I’ve gotten is a freshly baked bread 2 hours after getting out of bed by using my variation of the NK of AKN recipes (I’m using the yeast version at the moment because it is more predictable, for me at least…). I start in the morning mixing all the ingredients plus a tablespoon of honey (another fun ingredient, there are so many different honeys out there and there all delicious and each imparts its own flavor to your bread) letting it ferment till evening, punch it, shape it, put it in the proofing basket and then right into the fridge. The next morning I’ll take it out and put it on top of the stove while I pre-heat the oven and cloche for 30mins, bake it 45 mins and rest it 45mins or 1hr if I can muster up the patience (not very often). E Presto! get out the butter and the home-made jam or cheese and it’s hard to keep the grin off your face…
It is not quite waking up to the smell of bread but as close as I have been able to get and unless I can get my wife to get out bed 2 hours before me (don’t bet on it!), this is what I’ll be doing until my kids are old enough to bake it for me, LOL…

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Gia January 6, 2009 at 9:52 am

Thanks! Here is half eaten ANK cinn loaf (gooey one because i dumped the egg mixture instead of brushing so cinn went everywhere).
Gia's Cinnamon
Gia's Cinnamon

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Rich Witt January 6, 2009 at 9:26 am

Gia

To post a pic, send an email to Eric [eric@breadtopia.com] and ask him to post it with your particular message [message sender, date, time]

Rich

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Jeffrey January 5, 2009 at 1:57 pm

A few more thoughts about NK or ANK bread and retarding in the refrigerator:

1. Such retarding probably would help give more flavor to breads raised with commercial yeast, in addition to making sourdoughs more sour and complex in flavor.

2. Retardation broadens the window of baking opportunities – from what I’ve read, you can retard bread dough for as long as 12 hours, so if you run out of time or an emergency comes up, putting the loaves in the refrigerator can save the loaves from ruin.

3. The only issue that comes to my mind is the timing of it: retarded loaves rise more slowly, but they do continue to rise. To avoid over-proofing with the ANK or NK recipes, I’d be inclined to shape the loaves a little early (like at 16 or 17 hours instead of 18) if I intended to retard them in the refrigerator over-night or during the work-day.

Also, sourdoughs tend to rise less quickly than commercial yeast.

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Gia January 5, 2009 at 12:58 pm

How do post a pic?

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sandy January 5, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Jeffrey. Would you email me please about your comments, thanks, sandy

sscasagrande@yahoo.com

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Gia January 5, 2009 at 12:52 pm

The swirly one is gone but the other one is still around. I can take a pic of that one. As far as the flour, don’t know I took it from another cinn bread recipe. It is a small amount of flour. I baked it with directions from the ANK loaf (sandwich bread) in a glass loaf pan.
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinn
2 tsp flour
1 egg beaten w/ 1 tbl water

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sandy January 5, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Jeffrey………………..thank you soooooooooo much for this statement. ……..”Anyway, I do think that the most pronounced sour taste actually comes from retarding shaped loaves in the refrigerator overnight – dough has risen, gets shaped, as per the recipe, but instead of letting it sit for 20-30 minutes, it gets covered & put in the refrigerator immediately, to be taken ought the next day for an hour or so of warm-up, then baking. Of THAT I am at least almost certain.”

Sandy

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Jeffrey January 5, 2009 at 12:41 pm

New comment on “sour” sourdoughs:
A while back, I commentd:

“What’s the difference between using a liquid, poolish-style sourdough starter and a firm, Biga-style starter: depends on the book you’re reading. Dr. Wood says the result is pretty much the same; Peter Reinhart in _Crust and Crumb_ says liquid is more sour, while in _Bread Baker’s Apprentice_ says firm is more sour; Maggie Glezer says that firm starters activated and nurtured in cool temperatures are more sour, while warmer more liquid starters are less sour, and that retarding sourdoughs in the refrigerator increases sourness.”

I just got a new book by Daniel Leader & Lauren Chattman entitled “Local Breads: Sourdough and Whole-Grain Recipes from Europe’s Best Artisan Bakers”, which is extremely well-written and which says that firmer starters are less sour, liquid are more sour. Sigh.

I wish I could say I’d experiment with it and come back with a more definitive answer, but if these experts who’ve been making sourdough for decades can’t come to a similar conclusion, such a venture on my part seems rather pointless.

Anyway, I do think that the most pronounced sour taste actually comes from retarding shaped loaves in the refrigerator overnight – dough has risen, gets shaped, as per the recipe, but instead of letting it sit for 20-30 minutes, it gets covered & put in the refrigerator immediately, to be taken ought the next day for an hour or so of warm-up, then baking. Of THAT I am at least almost certain.

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Rich Witt January 5, 2009 at 11:12 am

Gia

You mentioned sprinkling flour along with the cinnamon & sugar on the egg wash. Why the flour? Also did you add raisins? I’d like to see a pic of your loaf if you have one you could send to Eric to post here.

What temp. did you bake your loaf at, and for how long?

I think if I can combine some of the ideas in several responses here, I can potentially achieve perfection [in reaching my goal].

I think I’m going to skip the beer & vinegar and try substituting apple cider for them, as Karil suggested.

Rich

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Gia January 5, 2009 at 8:59 am

Sorry I did use the ANK recipe but I used my starter instead of beer and vinegar. Have made a loaf with starter and beer and that came yummy too. Sweet Thick moist dense texture. It was good like a meal in itself!

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Gia January 5, 2009 at 8:56 am

I just did a ANK loaf with cinn and sugar. I used my starter though. But after the first rise I kneaded 10 times and then pushed it out. Brushed with egg water mix and then sprinkled a cinn , sugar, flour mix on it and then rolled it up and pinched ends in and then baked in loaf pan. Came out YUMMY! the egg mix helped keep it in place. Brush the egg mix though. First one I just dumped it on and it went everywhere googy mess but loaf still came out good, the cinn sugar was everywhere in the loaf instead a pretty swirl but it was still super yummy.

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Amy K January 5, 2009 at 8:46 am

My ANK sandwich loaf pictured above not only looked delicious, it tasted fantastic with wonderful crust and crumb – it was 12 oz unbleached white flour and 6 oz reg whole wheat flour and I used ODouls non alc beer (that is what was in the frig). As you can see, great rise and oven spring. Am also a devotee of Artisan Bread in 5 min/day method and have been using various doughs from their book for over a month now with great success and ease of preparation – I highly recommend it and their helpful website and blog. Haven’t bought bread in the store for over a month and don’t plan to. I don’t currently have a cloche and was wondering how some of your cloche recipes work if just baked on a stone without a cover. Not ready to invest in cloche just yet, but will be looking for terra cotta pot (lead free) to used with my baking stone. Love your site and have already sent in my order for the wisk and other items.

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