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.

{ 609 comments… read them below or add one }

tom May 23, 2011 at 4:32 am

Vinegar really help with the wheat and sourdough flavor. Combo is great and most of my friends who try it for the first time remark about the “sourdough” taste. Have tried balsamic and cider vinegar but prefer the white vinegar.

Best bread I have ever baked in over 40 years of bread baking – even beats the bread my mother used to make.

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Madelyn May 22, 2011 at 9:14 pm

I’ve been making this bread for a year. I make a rye variation instead of whole wheat. I started out using the vinegar but as my starter aged, found I don’t need it. I bake for a friend, too, and the vinegar was just too much for her tastes which is why I eliminated it. I think its a matter of taste. I suggest trying the original recipe then experiment to find how you like it.

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Jim May 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm

The beer and vinegar seems like an odd mix, but if it gives a sour dough taste then I bet this is a winner. Can anyone give a their opinion of the affect the beer and vinegar have on the taste?

David, thanks for sharing your great videos. Can’t wait to try this out and compare to Jim Lahey’s methods.

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Breadtopia May 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Beautiful, Peter. Love the dark crust.

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Peter Cook May 6, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Hi Just made two of these loaves last night Just perfect,added some rye flour they tasted fantastic best home made bread yet.

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t May 6, 2011 at 6:35 am

I’m no expert but I would try it once using the whole recipe and cooking longer, it might make any interesting puffier shape. I tried cooking in iron pot in pyrex loaf pan and put the remainder in a second loaf pan in the oven with a cup of water and cooked at the same time and found very little difference.

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Sandy G May 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I have a 3.5 qt le creuset dutch oven. Can I cut the recipe in half and just cook it less? Any suggestions on how long it would be? Guess I’d see how it looks after 15 min covered + then uncover to brown.
Or could I make the recipe as is and only use half the dough and put the rest in the fridge to use a few days later?

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Terry May 1, 2011 at 9:14 am

Yes, I had this same question. I made it in a bread pan, not pirex, and it turned out fine. Try it.

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T May 1, 2011 at 8:22 am

Has anyone baked this bread in pyrex loaf dish inside a cast iron dutch oven to achieve a loaf shape?

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Richard L Walker March 26, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Seems with 12 oz liquid you could just forget about the water and pour in the entire bottle of beer. Extra malt flavor.

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Don March 26, 2011 at 3:30 pm

This is awesome – had much more success first try with this than I have with the regular no-knead recipes. Followed the recipe to the letter, but brushed the top with an egg wash and sprinkled sesame seeds.

Used a dutch oven. I removed the lid after 30 minutes, and it only took 2-3 additional minutes uncovered to hit 200 internal. I am nearly at sea level with a gas oven should anyone care.

Didn’t really rise much after kneading and resting for 2 hours, which initially concerned me, but WOW fantastic oven spring.

Very tasty! Definitely a keeper. Next time I am going to double the beer and vinegar (and reduce water accordingly) to see what that does to the taste.

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alejandra March 20, 2011 at 9:04 am

Thank you so much for this recipe. I have finally found a bread that my son cannot get enough of. I am referring to the sandwich loaf bread you posted in the third video. it is an absolute HIT plus oh so yummy.

Is it possible to make this sandwich loaf with sourdough starter instead of instant yeast?

Do you have other recipes or variations for other sandwich loaf breads?

Thank you!

Alejandra

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Justy February 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Following up on the Rosemary question below -
Do you think its possible to make this recipe using Rosemary and Olive Oil?
If so, how much olive oil would need to be added and would you need to reduce the water or keep it the same?

Thanks!

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am February 7, 2011 at 8:29 am

Can you use a pizza stone instead of a dutch oven?

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Breadtopia February 7, 2011 at 7:05 am

Hi Justy,

The only experience I’ve had with freezing dough is freezing pizza dough. I freeze individual pizza dough balls one hour after mixing up the dough and they would be good for a couple months at least. They’d be ready for baking several hours after taking out of the freezer. I don’t see why the same thing couldn’t be done with bread dough. It would just take longer to thaw and rise being a larger mass of dough.

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Justy February 6, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I finally got good results after my 5th or 6th attempt. I started using a scale to measure out the ingredients and also tried a new package of instant yeast, so not sure which one helped, but regardless the results were fantastic.

Question: For the ‘Almost No-Knead’ I would like to freeze the dough so I can store it for future use- when in the process can I do this? Can I do this after the overnight rise so I only have to let it defrost for the 2 hour rise and then bake?

Also, does the same freeze rules apply to the ‘Regular’ No-Knead breads?

Thanks !

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Breadtopia February 5, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Hi Tom,

It wouldn’t hurt. But if you’re talking about the water that they typically come in, I really don’t think there would be much of a difference.

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Tom Tigue February 5, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Would it be a good thing to use some Calamata olive juice – maybe an ounce -in place of an ounce of water when making the Olive, Parmesan, Rosemary loaf?

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Terry Morrison February 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for this great site. I’m a new baker and was wondering if I can make the ANK bread in a bread pan instead of a Dutch oven.

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Breadtopia February 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Sure. Since it’s intended to be baked in a covered baker of some kind, I don’t know if you have to be wary of the crust over baking, but that could easily be remedied by tenting it with some foil after it’s risen and/or reducing the heat. Just keep an eye on it.

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sandy January 31, 2011 at 6:01 am

juliek…………..guess I missed something along the way. tell me, what method do you have that you do not have to drop the dough into the hot container?

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juliek January 30, 2011 at 10:59 pm

This has become my favorite bread recipe! I love not having to flip the bread into the hot le creuset. I often would mess it up. I almost always make the whole wheat version but I don’t add the honey or sugar. I tried that once and no one liked it. I guess it would be fine if someone wanted a sweet bread, but we didn’t like it.
I also got a scale for xmas and it is so much easier than fluffing, scooping, swiping the flour. One thing I’ve never been able to master is the way you score the loaf with the razor. I’ve tried lames and sharp knives and razors but it’s never easy! Doesn’t make much difference to the end product though.
thanks for your wonderful website.

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Sally January 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I made a great loaf of bread! I cannot believe it. It is a beautifully shaped loaf with a lightly brown crust. And it is one of the best tasting breads I’ve ever eaten.
I’ve never been interested much in baking bread because I didn’t want to do all that kneading and I didn’t have any confidence that the end result would be edible. Thanks so much for this easy sandwich bread recipe.

I have made a couple of loaves of no-knead bread and enjoyed them. But artisan bread wasn’t what I wanted to make. I wanted to see if I could make a relatively low glycemic sandwich bread. Today was first time to try this sandwich bread recipe and method. I used 12 oz. of bread flour and 6 oz, of Hi-Maize flour, a high-fiber and starch-resistant flour. I used sugar as if using whole wheat flour and I just used ordinary light beer. This loaf is delicious! I’m so excited that I can make bread. I am going to experiment with substituting whole wheat and/or rye for part of the bread flour.

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JKdrummer November 20, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I noticed in the video you’re using the scale to measure the liquids. So water is about 1oz=1 fluid oz, but the beer must weigh more. No matter, just an observation. FYI, I used a food processor to mix it all together and it worked great.

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Madelyn November 16, 2010 at 8:49 am

I have been baking with the ANK method for a year. Once your dough starts rising, the dough becomes more pliable and wetter. What is the temperature where you are proofing your dough? It could be too cool. Also, I have found certain flours need a little more work. When I started using Hodgeson Mill stone ground rye flour my dough seemed to need a little more work than when I used Bob’s Red Mill rye. I sorta cheat and use my KitchenAid so its not exactly NO knead.

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justy November 15, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Hi,
I’ve tried the almost no knead method a number of times and I am having some trouble. My dough is very dry compared to the video and is not really rising overnight. Any thoughts on what could be wrong?

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Karil October 30, 2010 at 1:59 am

Hi Al_in_Omaha! My guess is that your difficulties lie in one of two places: either in your old brewing habits or in the yeast. You may be using water that is too warm for instant yeast, especially if you were trying to bloom it. Do forget the blooming, and use the recommended COOL temperature water in your ingredients (measure the temp of the water or liquid with your thermometer). Also, buy another small packet of instant yeast and use this. The date might be fine, but you never know what the package went through getting to you. Of course, if you change both of these variables in the same baking and the bread comes out fine, you won’t know if it was the yeast or the procedure and
temperatures. GOOD LUCK ON YOUR SUBSEQUENT BAKING. Karil

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Al_in_Omaha October 29, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Thanks everyone for the quick replies.

I’m a homebrewer and have always bloomed the yeast prior to pitching, so this habit may have to go. I bought the SAF Red Label Instant yeast from here, but it’s been almost a year.

The “bread” came out flat and wet. My wife tried to jumpstart the rise by putting the dough into a warm oven, but it didn’t help.

I’m really wanting some good bread and it frustrating trying to nail down the cause.

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Eva October 29, 2010 at 2:18 pm

that is 1 -1/2 ( 2 -1/2 ) hours not 11/2 (21/2) ;))

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Sachya May 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Gosh – this sounds ainmzag! All my favourite things – orange, sesame and bread and they come all together. I’m not much of a bread maker but luckily my hubby is so he’ll have to make it for me. Can’t wait.

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Eva October 29, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Hi Al,
just a few suggestions…
Since I live in the South I keep my flours in the freezer and the yeast ( Fleischman’s BreadMachine in a jar) in the refrigerator.
After I have mixed my various flours I will heat them in the microwave at 30% for about 2 or 3 minutes ( depending on the amount of flour). You might want to stir the flour every 30 seconds and check the heat. After that add the yeast and stir flour and yeast very well. Yeast likes to have a warm environment to rise properly.
I start out with very warm water and add the beer and vinegar ( both should be at room temperature).
I stir my flour-mixture into the liquids. I find that this distributes the flour better than the other way around and I do not have flour spots in the bread. I move the dough around a little bit so that I can spray some olive oil at the bottom and along the sides of the bowl and a little bit on top of the dough. That way the dough will not get stuck to the bowl after rising.( Bowl is also easier to clean).
I put my bread-bowl (with the dough inside) into a large plastic bag and cover it with a dish towel ( Since I have a cold granite counter top I make sure that my bowl sits either on a rack or on a coaster). The dough will then rest overnight. Turn the dough onto a very lightly floured surface ( I use a plastic cutting-board) , knead it a little and shape into desired form ( round or oval). Put shaped dough into a Parchment paper – sling-lined pot, cover with plastic bag and let rest 1 1/2 hours or more until dough as risen sufficiently ( my last rise took 2 1/2 hours).
I pre-heat my lidded cast-iron pot with a layer of Ceramic Pie Weights ( marbles) for at least 30 Min at 450 F . Then I lift the sling with the dough into the pot and bake covered for the desired time. I cannot give you an estimate for your particular bread since I bake a mixed rye-flour bread that requires ( as a found out after more than several tries) about 90 Min. of covered baking. Next time I will try Bob Johnson’s suggestion with the small cast iron frypan and the ice cubes for the uncover baking time ( I think that is a GREAT idea!!)
Sorry, that this comment is so long-winded. Wish you great success and don’t give up:)

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Bob Johnson October 29, 2010 at 8:56 am

Al in Omaha,
You might be overthinking this. I’ve been making this bread for several years and have gone through a number of revisions. Currently I’ve eliminated the beer, simply use water for the amount of beer, use apple cider vinegar for the vinegar part, and use Active Dry yeast dry along with the flour and salt. As a result there are only 5 ingredients in my version, flour, salt, yeast, water, and vinegar. I have also doubled the recipe and instead of 3 teaspoons of salt I now use 4. I try to let the bread go overnight and bake in the morning, about 18 hours total. Preheat the oven with my enamel cast iron dutch oven covered for 30 minutes at 500 degrees, add the dough using a parchment sling, bake covered at reduced temp of 425 degrees for 47 minutes, uncover, insert my temp probe for my remote and let it go until it reaches 212 to 215 degrees. I can now look at the crust to determine if I am where I like the bread. One addition which I started recently..when I preheat the dutch oven I also put a small cast iron skillet in with it, found it under the stove awhile back. When I uncover the bread I add 3 ice cubes to the skillet to generate steam which really helps create the crust I like. Hope this helps…when I started I was anal about measurements etc. but now I just let it fly and the results have been very consistent. Judging from the reactions of those I serve it to the method works!!
Bob Johnson

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Al_in_Omaha October 29, 2010 at 8:32 am

I’m having trouble with the dough not rising on both the ANK and NKB. Also, the crumb is still doughy and even has pockets of flour. I’ve made about 6 loaves and my results are very inconsistent.

Here’s my process:
– Weigh out each ingredient as shown on the videos here
– Bloom the yeast in some warm water
– Mix using the cool dough whisk that I bought on Breadtopia
– Cover w/plastic and let rise for at least 16 hours
– Room temp is ~68-70*F
– Bake as per instructions here

As I mentioned above, I never get the rise I see on the videos and the crumb is doughy/floury.

I think the yeast is still good. It’s been stored in an airtight container for the 6-8 months since buying it. I think it’s the temperature, but need the collective wisdom here to tell me what I’m missing.

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Breadtopia October 29, 2010 at 8:42 am

Hi Al,

What kind of yeast are you using? Instant yeast, which is what’s called for in the recipes, is the kind of yeast you just mix in with the dry ingredients prior to mixing with the water. There’s no blooming in warm water involved. In other words, you don’t activate the yeast first. Make sure you have that part straightened out before you tackle any other issues.

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Vince September 15, 2010 at 9:40 pm

If I want to double the ANK bread, do I also need to double the baking time?

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Breadtopia September 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm

You’ll need to increase the time, but not double. Maybe add about 10 minutes and then check it.

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TOM ZACCHEO September 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Have enjoyed Almost NKB but wanted more crust. I use the parchment paper method to put the dough in the pot. In order to introduce more water into the covered steel pot I tried putting an ice cube behind the parchment paper and quickly putting the lid on before putting it back in the oven. It gave me a much better crust and a lot more ‘singing’ while the bread cooled. Try it, but be careful because steam really burns!

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Mary L. September 5, 2010 at 8:55 am

I happened on this site, which is terrific, while searching for the recently released ATK test recipe I just prepared (but then my hard drive crashed….). Anyway, I whole-heartedly agree with those who love the Almost No Knead bread. A visiting guest called it a “masterpiece…”

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Brian August 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm

The recipe for the white flour version just turned out amazingly. I am so excited to find a variation on the original that improved it this much. It truly had a much better crust (lighter, crispier) and a better crumb (not as sponge-y). Awesome flavor, as well, with that addition of vinegar and beer.

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Cindy August 17, 2010 at 7:55 am

I just printed out the instructions.
How long does the sandwich bread rest before you put it in the oven.
The directions do not say.
Thanks

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Tom July 1, 2010 at 7:10 am

Is there a way to calculate the amount of flour/water when you add steel cut oats/granola/whole wheat/five grains/regular oats, etc. for different variations of the basic white bread? i.e. if you add 1/2 c of steel cut oats do you simply subtract 1/2 c of the white flower and keep everything else the same or does it change for every different addition?

Have really enjoyed basic loaf and variations and appreciate all the work that went into sharing this basic recipe.

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karil July 1, 2010 at 12:07 am

Hello David Mayes

Don’t worry about the bread being flat, or non-alcoholic beer, or even flat, non-alcoholic beer. All of them work perfectly. I’ve used cider, too, and added some nuts and dates or currents or dried cranberries—and the bread was wonderful.

Canned beer I would transfer to a bottle, if you want to keep it for a while, just as you wouild transfer canned food to glass or ceramic, if you are going to keep it after opening the can.

Greetings,
Karil

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David Mayes June 30, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Hello,

I have had great success with your NK recipes down here in South Africa baking in a cold, wet Romertopf, with baking paper liner. Tonight for the first time, I’m starting a loaf of ANK whole wheat and excited to see how it will turnout. I don’t drink beer, so I’m wordering what suggestions you might have about using all the leftover beer from a six-pak can. Can I store it and use it in another loaf in a few days? Any help would be welcome.

Thanks for creating and supporting this site!

Dave Mayes
Cape Town

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Breadtopia June 18, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I haven’t used sourdough starter with this recipe. I think the main idea behind this recipe is to simulate the flavor of sourdough bread without using sourdough. So this is a good recipe for the larger group of home bakers who don’t bake with starter.

Personally, I don’t think it tastes like sourdough bread but has a nice flavor in its own right. I’m inclined to either make a basic no knead bread with sourdough or this bread as it is. Just two different recipes with their own appeal.

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Marilyn B. June 10, 2010 at 10:34 am

In regard to David’s April 18 comment, I am wondering if you used sourdough starter in addition to the yeast, in place of the beer and vinegar, or besides, or did I get a mistaken take on it? Eric, you have said you often use starter instead of yeast, so I also wonder if you have tried doing that with this recipe? If so, how would you adjust the amount of liquids? (I don’t have a scale, except a postal scale and you need a flashlight to read the numbers!)
Thanks.
Marilyn B.

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David April 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Gosh,

Thank you all for your replys!

I have been baking my weekly bread for only two months. I use the sourdough starter I purchased from this site and it adds a complexity to the bread I really like.

I still have not been able to duplicate the San Francisco sourdough flavor I long for and I am hoping by adding the lager and vinegar it will “improve” the flavor to more of the flavor I am looking for.

I have started proofing the “sponge” 18 hours before my first rise and second rise and baking but still no San Francisco flavor.

I will keep at it and continue to experiemment with the entire process until I acheive the flavor I am looking for in my bread.

I was sure that the question about flat lager had been asked but I really didn’t want to take the time to read all the posts in this forum to find them. Sorry for the duplicate question.

And again thank you all for taking the time to answer my questions.

David

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Karil April 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Yes, rather early on in the discussion of this recipe there was confirmation that flat beer is just fine for making the bread. I love beer, but I am not always in the mood to drink it, or it might not be the right time of day when I open a bottle for baking. I don’t drink flat beer (yuk), but I’ve found no detrimental side to using it for baking this bread and have also used the same open bottle stored in the fridge over the period of a week or so. I’ve also used cider along with cider vinegar, which is also very good, especially if making a nut and raisin bread. Soak the raisins in the cider first to plump them up. The cider can be flat, too.

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Madelyn April 18, 2010 at 11:28 am

I bake bread every week. I open a bottle of beer and use it til its gone. There was a previous post that said that was ok to do.

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Bob Johnson April 18, 2010 at 9:25 am

David,
Oddly enough I’m a brewer’s son which doesn’t mean a lot when baking bread but I’ve been using the Almost No Knead recipe for a couple years and find no problem with using flat beer. In fact, I buy a quart of lager and use it till it is gone. Simply store it in the fridge, the bread doesn’t need the bubbles. We used to pick up all bottled beer from our customers when it was 30 days old but that isn’t a concern with the bread. Hope this helps. Note: to my taste I prefer a lighter beer rather than the heavier brews. I know this may offend some readers taste buds but that’s what makes the world go round!
Bob Johnson
Bonsall CA

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Will April 18, 2010 at 8:29 am

David,
Ask around an you’ll find someone who home brews beer and they’ll be happy to supply you with a few ounces of beer. Home made bread with home brewed beer. Ask for IPA or Stout. Yummy!

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Breadtopia April 18, 2010 at 8:07 am

Hi David,

I’m in the same boat as you. I haven’t noticed a difference using left over flat beer in the recipe. So the benefit must come from the flavor which is retained as far as I can tell. Beer ingredients also include yeast. I kind of doubt if the yeast in beer contributes any leavening to the bread even if newly opened, so that’s probably not an issue either.

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David April 18, 2010 at 7:48 am

Greetings:

I have a simple question regarding the ingrediants for this Cook’s Illustrated bread recipe:

Can the open lager (beer) be saved and used the next time I bake bread?

I bake once a week pain de mie sourdough and I do not drink. I know the beer will go flat when stored. Do you need the “bubbles” or just the beer flavor for this bread?

I would prefer not to purchase one bottle of beer each time I bake bread. I don’t want the expense of the beer to add to the cost of the bread.

David

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Karil April 7, 2010 at 10:45 am

Hello Falsehaat
Actually, I have baked the NK and ANK loafs covered during the entire baking time in a clay pot or in a Dutch oven and find that the crust browns more evenly that way and with less danger of the top becoming too dark. It doesn’t seem to have any detrimental effects on the crumb. Check it after about 45 minutes. As Jeffrey writes, try it. And yes, DO test for internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer.

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Jeffrey April 7, 2010 at 9:42 am

>> My question: What are the merits of simply baking the full 60 minutes with the lid on?

Falsehaat

I suppose the bread would not lose quite as much moisture, with a less well-developed crust. Why not bake a loaf that way and let us know the results? But another 30 minutes might be a disaster – if the loaf is nicely browning after 30 minutes with the lid on, another 30 minutes might result in an over-brown loaf. If it were me, I’d go for another 10-15 minutes or so with lid on (40 min. total), then check it, and adjust the “lid-off” timing further if need be.

The recipe does say “or until the internal bread temperature reaches about 200 degrees.” Do you have an instant read thermometer to check the bread temperature? They’re quite useful, and Eric sells them at a reasonable price.

Also, your oven seems like it might be “hot”, i.e., a setting of 425 might actually produce a higher temperature, such as 450. It would be a good idea to check the temperature with an oven thermometer (borrowed, if you can find one). Oven size can be a factor – I used to bake in a small cottage oven which was barely wide enough for two loaf-pans or one clay-pot cooker, but not wide enough for a round La Cloche cooker. It made beautiful bread, but I had to watch it closely. Something about the small baking compartment made it different from cooking in larger ovens. I didn’t use clay pots for breadback then, but the oven size I think made that unnecessary.

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