No Knead Recipe Variations

Menu of No Knead Videos:
Cranberry-Pecan Seeded Sour
Parmesan-Olive Steel Cut Oats

 

Here are some of my favorite No-Knead bread recipes. Each is distinctly different from the others, touching on some of what’s possible with this simple and hugely time saving bread baking method.

(Note: If you’re brand new to no knead bread baking, I strongly encourage you to give the basic no knead recipe a try first before moving into the variations.)

In each of the videos you will see I’m using sourdough starter as the leavening agent. The use of sourdough starter is usually my preference in baking but as the written instructions indicate, you can just as easily substitute instant yeast for the starter by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast in with the dry ingredients and leaving out the sourdough starter entirely. It’s that simple. I don’t want to see anyone deprived of the luxury of this bread experience if instant yeast is your preference for leavening.

As always, feel free to play with different flour mixes and ingredients to come up with your ultimate bread masterpiece.

Please leave your comments, questions and experiences at the bottom of the page.

December 14th, 2007 Update: Check out Kendra’s recipe for cinnamon raisin bread below. It sounds awesome. Thanks Kendra!

Also, see the post by Joanne Polayes with her variation of the cranberry pecan recipe.

July 2008 addition: Definitely check out Carolyn’s No Knead Sourdough Lavender Bread. Wow, well done Carolyn!

Jan. 27 2009 addition: For a great looking focaccia recipe, see Hedy’s post. And a little above that, Toni offers her focaccia variation which includes whole grains.

Feb. 9, 2009: See a Newfoundland favorite by Janet Kelly. Thanks Janet!

March 31, 2009: Donna Wakefield has discovered that baking with keifer for both leavening and flavor produces excellent bread. Her posts start here and continues above under her name (“Donna” and “Donna Wakefield”).

Dec. 22, 2009: Mike Owens suggests this no-knead variation: “I blend up some frozen spinach with the water and add to the flour. Then when I fold in thirds I add some grated Gruyere cheese to each fold and I do the trifold twice. It is fantastic. Hope others like it as well. Makes my lunchbox ham sandwiches more interesting.”

Aug. 1, 2010: Couldn’t resist adding this email from my new best friend ;). It includes some great no knead recipe variation tips…

“Hi Eric,

Ever since I found your website a couple years ago, we have not bought store bread (except for burger buns and pitas). Baking bread is a complete joy for me: making it is fun, seeing the results is amazing and the reactions I get from those I share it with are gratifying. Our “daily bread” is the regular sourdough (but I add 1 tsp.poppy seeds). The olive parmesan loaf is a special treat for when we have guests (my siblings love this one especially – we’re of Greek descent =)) – but I usually add a head of mashed roasted garlic to it.

I have even created my own sourdough KNM variation that I thought I’d share with you. Feel free to post it, if you’d like. It’s the basic NKM sourdough with 1/4c. chopped, pickled jalepenos and about 5 oz. shredded cheddar cheese mixed in. I was selling them to a neighbor for awhile, but then she started a weight-loss program that forbid bread (scary, huh?).

I currently take care of my elderly mother full-time, but all this bread-baking has led me to seriously consider baking as a career. I fondly imagine my own little bakery someday.

You have changed my life, Eric. Bet you don’t hear that everyday, but it’s true. Thank you.

– Elise Davies

Jan 1, 2011: Check out Bill Burk’s variation using 7 grain cereal. Makes an excellent sandwich bread.

Feb 27, 2011: Michelle Kaptor’s Cherries and Chocolate No Knead recipe looks like a winner.

Sep 9, 2011: Thanks Lisa K. for this gem – Black Russian  no knead. Based on a bagel recipe, it’s as intriguing and exotic as its name. 

Oct 17, 2011: Like Chocolate… a lot? Chocolate no knead recipe with great tips. Thanks Bart!

Mar 9, 2012: Here’s another Chocolate Cherry Sourdough version from Bradley that looks like a winner


Cranberry-Pecan Extraordinaire (makes 1 loaf)

1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz.) whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups (13 oz.) all purpose or bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1 1/2 cups purified water
1/4  cup sourdough starter or 1/4 tsp. instant yeast

(Read paragraph near top of page for instant yeast version of this recipe)

  • Combine the flours and salt
  • Mix the starter into the water until mostly dissolved
  • Mix the water/starter solution into the dry ingredients
  • Mix in the pecans and craisins
  • Cover bowl with plastic at let sit at room temperature for 18 hours
  • After 18 hours turn dough onto well floured surface and gently flatten enough to fold dough back onto itself a couple times to form a roundish blob. Note: This folding stage can be accomplished within the bowl, speeding up the process even further and leaving less of a cleanup.
  • Cover blob with plastic and let rest 15 minutes. During this rest period, coat a proofing basket or towel lined bowl with bran flakes.
  • Gently and quickly shape blob into an approximate ball and place in proofing basket or bowl.
  • Cover with a towel and let rise for 1-2 hours depending on room temperature.
  • As gently as possible, flip the dough into a Dutch oven or ceramic (e.g. La Cloche) baker preheated to 500F degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes at 450 degrees. See Great No-Knead Baking Techniques for more tips.
  • Allow bread to cool completely before slicing and eating. Warning: this most difficult step requires superhuman discipline and restraint.

You may have to adjust the baking times and temperatures to adapt to the various weights and materials of different baking containers.

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Seeded Sour (makes 1 loaf)

This recipe holds a solid spot on my “all time favorites” list. It is adapted from the George’s Seeded Sour recipe in Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery book.

1/4 cup (1 oz) rye flour
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups (13 oz) all purpose or bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 tsp. quinoa
3 1/2 tsp. millet
2 Tbs. amaranth
1/2 Tbs. poppy seeds

1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup sourdough starter or 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
2 Tbs. yogurt

Seed Topping Ingredients:

1 Tbs. amaranth
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 Tbs poppy seeds
2 Tbs. anise seeds
1 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds

Combine all the dry ingredients (except the topping ingredients) and then add to that the combined wet ingredients.
The rest of the baking steps are the same as those listed above for the Cranberry Pecan bread.

As shown in the video, I coat the proofing basket with the combined topping ingredients so they stick to the dough during the final rise.

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Parmesan-Olive (makes 1 large loaf)

This recipe makes one amazing loaf of bread. It’s great for special occasions, and considering the price of ingredients, you may want to reserve it for special occasions. Use fresh parmesan cheese and it’s likely you will not find this loaf’s equivalent in any bakery. They would have to charge too much!

1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz.) whole wheat flour
2 2/3 cups (13 1/2 oz.) bread flour
1 tsp. salt
7 oz. grated fresh parmesan cheese
2/3 cup pitted kalamata olives (cut in half lengthwise)
1 3/4 cup purified water
1/4 cup sourdough starter or 1/4 tsp. instant yeast

Follow the same steps as those listed above for the Cranberry Pecan recipe. Combine the dry ingredients (including the cheese) then add to that the combined wet ingredients and then stir in the olives. The ingredient measurements are a little different than usual as the cheese is salty to start with and the dry mix takes more water than usual.

Here’s a video from Breadtopia visitor, Archer Yates… Nice!

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Steel Cut Oats (makes 1 loaf)

It’s amazing what the addition of a mere half cup of steel cut oats can do to enhance and vary the quality of a basic loaf of no knead bread. During the long fermentation period, the grains soften and swell to give the bread a wholesome and satisfying flavor and texture.

Simple enough to whip together in a heartbeat and interesting enough to become a regular in your no knead rotation.

3/4 cup (3 oz.) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (3 oz.) steel cut oats
2 1/4 cups (10 oz.) bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup firm sourdough starter or 1/4 tsp. instant yeast

Pictured here: Awesome steel cut oats no knead by Breadtopia reader Marianne Preston
Marianne's Steel Cut Oats NK
Another Breadtopia reader, Allan Castine, offered this…

In my last e-mail to you, I mentioned that I had made your steel cut oats bread recipe with mostly excellent results.  My only concern, as I told you, was that the bread was a bit bland for my particular taste.

I made the recipe again yesterday with a couple of alterations:

I added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of salt and, following a suggestion from a friend of mine, I lightly toasted the oats in a dry saucepan over medium heat before adding them to the flour mixture.

The results were great. The bread was very tasty, i.e., not bland.
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{ 551 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura November 21, 2007 at 7:57 pm

I am a new convert to this type of bread making. Can any bread recipe be a no-knead recipe? I have an old favorite that had warm milk and melted butter and an egg in it. Sounds like I might kill all my dinner guests if I did it the no-knead way. What do you think?
thanks, Laura

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Dave Reich November 4, 2007 at 9:58 am

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

For a larger loaf, I have used 1.5 times the ingredients in a 6 quart oval crock pot insert. Again, the results were great.

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Herb November 3, 2007 at 1:18 pm

Hedy, As for the sourdough don’t get too involved. Would advice KISS. If for some reason I do not have an active sourdough going, do this:
Pinch of Active dry yeast ( 1/8 tsp), stir into 1/4 cup of water, let desolve add 1/4 cup of flour, + or – to make about the thickness of pancake batter. Let set out at room temp.
Add flour and water every day for several days, 3, 5, 7, ever how many you want. Then make bread, then add flour and water to sourdough starter and put in frig. If I forget to take the starter out the night before, just mix with warm water that you have measured out for the bread. Feed once a week or so. I use whole wheat flour to make starter, just feel there are probably more good things in ww to help the starter. Most important thing for good bread is good fresh flour. Try to find a mill and buy from them.

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Hedy November 2, 2007 at 12:41 pm

Made a no-knead bread again…with great success. I added about 2 cups of WW flour. I make my no-knead focaccio on a pizza stone…and spray with water every 5 minutes at least 3 times. I put garlic and chopped parsley with olive oil on top. It is devine. This has been my signature bread for years. Now I want success with sourdough baking and whole grains.

Would you mind ….
Just a couple of quick questions that maybe you can only answer.1) Do you use a refreshened sour dough starter immediatley after adding a feeding? or do you let it sit around for a few days or hours.
2) I am reading the Reinhart book on whole grain baking…it is a lot of info…like a science class…What is the difference between a biga, soaker and mash…as opposed to a starter? What is a mother. He is too scientific for me to remember.
When you have time to answer…no rush. Thanx
Hedy

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breadtopia October 24, 2007 at 5:32 pm

Hi Herb,

Thanks for the good info and tips. People are frequently asking what a good size is for a Dutch oven.

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Herb October 24, 2007 at 4:46 pm

Eric, thanks so much for your great website!!!
Bought a cast iron dutch oven…2 quart size and it is perfect for one loaf. The lids that usually comes on these dutch ovens are flat, so picked up a glass round top lid. Kamart or your local Goodwill type stores. Found my dutch oven at local consignment store, ($12.00) it had never been used. No problem with sticking. The last time I baked bread, made two recipes. Made one recipe and 1 1/2 hours later started the other one. Worked out great as I only have one dutch oven so when the first loaf was finished baking the second loaf was ready to put in the oven. Saves on natural gas too as only needed to heat oven once.
450 degrees for 30min and 425 for 15 min. Great bread! I have been baking sourdough for several years and your no-knead sourdough is one of the best!

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breadtopia October 7, 2007 at 5:13 am

Hi Hedy. It’s my pleasure. Thank you for sharing your story – I love it.

I’m not sure what you’d find with doubling the recipe in the same pot. My guess is it would change a lot of things, perhaps significantly. You would probably have to lower the temperature and bake a little longer to prevent the crust from burning before the inside finished baking. Then you might loose some of the oven spring and crusty crust which are hallmarks of no knead bread. Or, I could be completely wrong :).

I haven’t checked to see if two 4 or 5 quart Dutch ovens would fit in a standard 30″ oven at the same time. When I need 2 loaves in one bake, I use a round and oblong La Cloche simultaneously.

Hopefully, others have ideas that address your question.

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Hedy October 7, 2007 at 2:07 am

Firstly, I want to thank you for sharing your knowledge and being so generous and forthcoming with such valuable information. Such an easy website to remember,I have passed you on to friends.

I have been making Focaccia bread with my water sprayer on a stone for years with many compliments. I tried the no-knead plain bread as an experiment, not thinking if would actually work. I brought the loaf to the Sabbath (Friday night) meal to break bread, making all sorts of apologies that it propably wouldn’t be good. It blew everyone away. We all could not stop raving about the bread. For that, I thank you. The crumb was fabulous as well as the taste. We were sorry that there was only one loaf. Can I double the recipe in the same pot? Will it bake through or will the dough remain wet and doughy (yuck)?

By the way…I forgot to use purified water and used tap.

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Brian Avery September 9, 2007 at 11:02 pm

In my earlier post I forgot to mention that I added thin slices of red pepper about an inch long(not hot)to the bread with the jalepeno peppers. There’s no noticeable taste difference but the bread looks nice. I would have preferred to simply use fully red-ripe jalepenos but I had only one small one in the garden.

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breadtopia September 9, 2007 at 8:58 pm

Hey Brian, those sound like awesome variations. Thanks.

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Brian Avery September 9, 2007 at 7:15 pm

I forwarded my no-knead “recipe” but apparently I didn’t send it in the proper manner to be posted. I use quotes around the word “recipe” because I don’t have definite quantities to recommed. Just experiment and adjust for your taste.

Actually, now I have two “recipes”:

1: Try adding some grated cheddar cheese (or cheese of your preference) and a couple thinly sliced jalepeno peppers. If you like it a bit hotter, try three or maybe even four.

2: Grated cheddar cheese and fresh rosemary added to the basic no-knead recipe is also very delicious.

I haven’t tried it yet but I think a little grated cheese spinkled on top of the loaf prior to baking would be very good.

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breadtopia August 23, 2007 at 3:25 pm

There is. Here’s a link to a recipe that I plan to try some fine day.

Dec 6 2007 Update: Link no longer functional, so I removed it.  Eric

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judy August 23, 2007 at 2:56 pm

Is there any way to make dinner rolls from the no knead bread method?Thank you.

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breadtopia August 11, 2007 at 5:48 pm

Many like 4 qt. size.

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Charlie August 11, 2007 at 11:47 am

What size cast iron dutch oven is best for a single loaf?

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drtisbeter August 4, 2007 at 9:59 am

Just finished the steel cut oats version, with sunflower seed in the dough and as topping => truly delicious

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breadtopia August 3, 2007 at 10:53 am

Sure. The more you experiment, the more you’ll find how far you can go with different grains before you end up with something significantly different tasting and textured bread. But you might like what you come up with better.

To me, half the fun of bread baking is experimenting and seeing what you come up with.

Regular wheat flour is the grain naturally highest in gluten, which is nice for bread baking, but of course people bake with everything and I understand bread in Europe is usually far different (and healthier) than what is common here.

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drtisbeter August 3, 2007 at 10:43 am

Thanks, I just made and ate your seeded sour with a little different seed mixture; amaranth, millet, poppy and sesame The same for the topping but with the addition of flax seed.
I forgot (not intentional) to put the yogurt in.
It is deffenitly the best bread I’ve ever made, it was delisious and didn’t last very long.
Will be making this again for sure with some variations –>add yogurt maybe ;)

One question though; at my local health food stare (40min drive)they sell some whole barley, buckwheat and spelt, could one add these to the dough? What I’m really looking for is cracked wheat (commonly use for bread making in my native Holland)

thanks again

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breadtopia August 3, 2007 at 9:30 am

Hello drtisbeter,

My only familiarity with the use of flax seed comes from Jeffrey Hamelman’s "Bread" book where a few of his recipes call for using flax seed in a cold water soaker before baking. The seed soaks for several hours before mixing into the dough. This makes the seed more palatable plus the seeds don’t rob moisture from the dough when mixed in.

I’m not sure why the yogurt as opposed to just milk for example. Maybe yogurt, like buttermilk, has some small leavening component. Or maybe it adds a bit to the "sour" thing.

Have you baked it yet? I love this bread!

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drtisbeter July 31, 2007 at 9:53 am

Questions regarding the “Seeded Sour”;
I would like to make this bread with some different seeds like flax. Can flax be used as is or should it be cracked/boiled/soaked first???
The other question, what is the purpose of the yogurt in this recipe?

Thank you much, and thanks for a great, informative site. A great help.

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laurie June 20, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Thank you, thank you!!!!

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Ann Timms June 16, 2007 at 8:14 pm

Hi Eric, the steel cut oats version is fantastic! I think I could have added slightly more salt as I’m using kosher salt, but otherwise the flavor and crunch are wonderful. I used yeast but will try it with my starter next time. I am getting MUCH better about being patient and letting the dough proof, and I did buy an instant read thermometer which read 205* – no more gummy crumb. Thanks again, Ann

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breadtopia June 10, 2007 at 4:40 am

Hi Laurie.

This is it:

3 cups bread flour
2 tsp. fine salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/2 cups water, at room temperature
Coarse wheat bran (for preventing sticking to towel during rise)

Bake in covered pot at 500 or higher for 30 minutes and then uncovered for another 20 to 30. Cool until barely warm.

Good (and funny) article. Many detailed and helpful tips too. One in particular that addresses problems with the bottoms of loaves burning – place the baking pot on the highest rack possible and/or his solution is to insulate the bottom of the pot with silicone disks that are sold as hot pads.

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laurie June 7, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Does anybody have the Jeffery Steingarten no knead bread recipe from Vogue magazine? I accidentaly threw my copy away!

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breadtopia June 5, 2007 at 5:29 am

I would extend part 1, then if at the end of a “normal” part 2 your bread doesn’t pass the temperature test, put it back in for an extended part 2 for a few minutes.

I sure hope this works for you. You’re brave to attempt the parmesan olive bread while still in test mode.

Looking forward to hearing of your progress (although I suppose this reply may be too late to have been of much use).

Eric

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MrO June 4, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Hi Guys,
Just got the tools and have just started initial proof of the parmesan olive bread but i have a question in regards to the extended baking time. Considering that i am only trying to get a dryer or hotter center (205 – 210 f), should i extend both parts of the baking meaning top on and top off or should i only extend 1 part of the baking.

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MrO June 3, 2007 at 5:59 pm

Thanks carol,
I think just getting a thermometer will solve the problems without having to experiment with water and temperature etc. Thanks again for the tip, I’ll post some feedback.

MrO

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Carol June 3, 2007 at 9:52 am

Hi Mr.O:

I had that problem with my first loaf. I found that baking the bread to an internal temperature of 210 degrees solved my problem. Everyone’s water, flour, oven, etc. is different, but it may be worth trying for you. Carol

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MrO June 2, 2007 at 9:54 pm

Thanks so much for the speedy reply….i have increased the baking time by ten minutes already and still with no succeess but maybe it just needs a little longer here at down under…i will try to increase the time and cut back on water..i will give you somew feed back asap…thanks and well done with the site.
MrO

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breadtopia June 2, 2007 at 9:13 pm

Well… if you hadn’t explained all your attempts to solve your problem, I would have simply suggested that the bread needed longer cooking. Every body’s ovens have somewhat different baking characteristics. I actually think it’s still possible that longer baking may still be the answer. If you haven’t done this yet, maybe try baking quite a bit longer and possibly baking quite a bit longer at a lower temperature so the inside crumb has longer to bake before the crust burns.

A problem like this can sometimes be more easily solved with an instant read (probe type) thermometer. Wet dough breads should reach about 205 degrees Fahrenheit (~96 C)internal temperature.

The only other thing I might suggest is cut back a little on the amount of water you are using in the recipe and see what happens.

Another idea is try an altogether different type of bread recipe just to have the experience of getting the results you want. Of course there are a million recipes that can be found on the net.

I think if you hang in there long enough, and your grocer doesn’t ban you from shopping there, you’ll hit on the right combination of factors sooner than later. Maybe bread just bakes differently in the southern hemisphere ;).

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MrO June 2, 2007 at 6:16 pm

What a wonderful site.
The breads and tips posted on this site is really impressive, especially all the no knead recipes. However I just need a little help in perfecting this wonderful bread. I have tried many and all sorts of flavours and they all come out wonderful..(Beautiful crust, great flavour, awesome colors and lovely even holes through out.) The problem i have even with all these great results is that it seems a little wet, heavy, or some would say doughy. I have tried longer times with cover on and have also tried longer times with cover off. Ive tried cutting the ends to let steam out, longer cooling down periods in and out of oven, ive tried whole wheat, semolina, plain you name it ive tried it and its such a shame because everything else about the bread is AWESOME.
PLEASE HELP BEFORE THE LOCAL GROCERY STORE STOPS ME FROM TAKING ALL THEIR FLOUR :)
MRO
GOLD COAST AUSTRALIA….

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breadtopia May 8, 2007 at 10:21 am

Hello happydog!

Yes, try proofing for a shorter time. I don’t know how much shorter, just try something and see how it goes, then take notes and try again. The sinking while baking sounds like over proofing as do the other symptoms. It would sink when the yeast has consumed its available nutrients and starts to die off before you’re ready to bake. The trick, which comes with practice, is catching the right time to stick in oven based on just watching how quickly the dough rises and the volume it rises.

Are you using commercial yeast or sourdough? The biggest single mistake people make is not feeding their starter often enough or freshening it up prior to baking. A good healthy starter is really important in order to get good results.

I think it is important to use a closed heavy pot like a Dutch oven or clay baker for the no knead method. Covered clay bakers are great and less likely to create turtle shell crust.

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happydog May 7, 2007 at 7:22 pm

I’m so thankful I found your site, I’ve learned so much! I have a couple questions if you have time. My kitchen is 80 degrees. Should I proof for a shorter time? If so how long or what should I look for? Often my dough seems overproofed and reeks of alcohol. When it does that can it be salvaged or should I just throw it out and start over?
Often it rises high but sinks as it bakes. What causes that?

This one I hate to ask but – I’ve made the original no-knead bread a couple of times in a hot pot and had the crust come out very tough, thick, and hard (think turtle shell)can I bake these in a traditional loaf pan or is the hot pot an essential element?
Thank you very much, I’m planning to try these three recipes in the next day or two. I have high hopes!

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Christina March 22, 2007 at 11:02 am

Hi Eric.
Here’s a couple variations on variations we’ve been enjoying.

Tutti Fruiti
To regular no-knead dough add the finely grated peel of 1 orange, 2 tsps. unrefined sugar, and up to 1 and 1/3 cups dried fruit. (We used whole cherries, chopped pineapple, minced candied ginger, and golden raisins.) The dough can be on the wet side as the fruit will absorb moisture. Rise and bake as usual. (Beware, the sugary fruits will caramelize if they touch the pot directly, so use a pot that cleans up easily and try to form the dough so that not too much fruit is exposed.) Makes a sort of light-hearted cousin to a stollen.

Whole Grain Spelt
Make the dough using 3 1/2 c. whole spelt flour, 1 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/3 c. starter and water to 1 2/3 c. Stir in more flour if you can–the dough seems to gain quite a bit of moisture as it rises. Monitor the volume of the dough rather than watching the clock. I found I had to cut my rising times quite a bit. For the final rising put it in a greased bowl that has been well dusted with rice flour. (If you leave it on a flat surface it will just ooze as it rises.) Use a bowl that has a diameter slightly smaller than the pot you’ll be baking in. It won’t rise as much as a loaf made with refined flour, but should increase by 2/3. Dust the top of the dough with rice flour immediately before baking so that when you (carefully) flip it out into the pot you’ll have some there to prevent sticking. Bake as usual. Makes a flattish loaf–not as fluffy as those with some refined flour, but good texture with smallish air holes throughout and great taste.
If anyone comes up with a way to increase the fluffiness of whole grain NKB I’d love to hear about it!

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breadtopia March 10, 2007 at 6:55 am

Hi Joanne:

Maybe others have some ideas, but for the time being here are some more of my ramblings…
King Arthur makes a flour specifically labeled as "Bread Flour". Last time I saw it, the 5 lb bag had blue coloring at the top and bottom. Maybe it’s not carried so widely in stores, but any brand labeled as "Bread" flour should have a higher gluten content which might make your large hole quest a little easier to achieve.

I could easily be overlooking something more obvious, but besides the high hydration, I think it may really help if you can manage to move the dough around with minimal disturbance. The holes are carbon dioxide gas bubbles, a product of fermentation. The term "degassing" comes from punching down your dough but would occur to some extent anytime you disturb your dough. In many recipes, degassing is called for as a necessary step in the baking process. In this case, you may want to minimise the disturbance to minimize degassing. Try the technique described in the article "Great No-Knead Baking Techniques" where you allow the dough to do its final proof in a parchment paper lined basket and then just lift the paper out with the dough still in it and gently lower it into the Dutch oven, parchment paper and all.

Do try shortening your proofing time. Not only the long (18 hour) part, but the final proof too. There’s an optimal time to let dough proof that varies all the time depending on temperature and other factors. After that (sometimes elusive) optimal period, dough will start to deflate under its own weight. For the sake of experiment, try 16 hours on the long proof and only an hour to an hour and a half on the final proof. In your earlier post you mentioned a 3 hour final proof. That’s too long. You can always increase the time again later to maximize the flavor development.

I hope this helps. You are absolutely REQUIRED to report back here with your progress… or lack thereof.

Eric

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Joanne March 10, 2007 at 2:21 am

Thanks for the information and suggestions but I only use King Art unbleached white bread flour and I am still not getting large holes. The dough is very wet with good hydration. I do get one or two but not enough for me. Am I proofing to long? (18 to 20 hrs.) I do have a bit of trouble getting it out of the basket into the hot pot it sticks a little. Could the stretching that occurs as it comes out of the basket cause it to not have big holes because it is being disturbed to much? The crust is fine and the taste is good it is just missing the big holes. I don’t want to give up on this and am hoping someone can shed some light on my problem. Thanks, Joanne

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Christina March 4, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Hi Anna,
If your dutch oven is already seasoned, then you don’t need to do anything else. Amazingly, the bread just doesn’t stick. If a slight film of oil remained on your dutch oven after the last use, you may find it smokes a little during the preheating stage, so you might want to crack open a window just in case. And have fun with the NKB–it’s downright addictive!

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Jerry March 3, 2007 at 4:49 pm

I adapted the Peter Reinhart recipe for Three-Pepper bread. It came out very well.

Find this great recipe here:  http://www.breadtopia.com/sourdough-starter-bread-recipes.

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breadtopia March 3, 2007 at 11:35 am

Hi Anna. Maybe Christina knows the answer, she uses a cast iron dutch oven. Christina?

Eric

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Anna March 2, 2007 at 7:37 pm

I am just starting with the no-knead recipe. I have a cast iron dutch oven. It is already “seasoned’. Do I need to do anything else to the pot? Oil it, anything?

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breadtopia February 28, 2007 at 7:37 pm

Okay, Cajun Three-Pepper Bread sounds great. You’re on record now, we’ll be looking out for that!

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Jerry February 28, 2007 at 6:20 pm

I decided to delay making the parmesan-olive bread until I have a dinner party. Instead, I got the sourdough starter which you sent me really alive and made the cranberry-pecan bread. It is magnificent! It made a taller loaf than any I have made previously and the flavor is great.

I am about to try to make a sourdough no-knead bread version of Peter Reinhart’s Cajun Three-Pepper Bread. The recipe is in his Brother Juniper’s Bread Book. When I get it working right, I will send the recipe.

Jerry in Seattle

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breadtopia February 27, 2007 at 7:26 pm

Hi Joanne,

Sorry, I didn’t see your post when you sent it.

Generally speaking the higher the hydration the bigger the holes and your hydration is WAY high. I use about 75% hydration, proof for 18 hrs and rise for 1 and 1/2 hrs. I get very big holes if I use all white flour. Specifically, high gluten bread flour. The high gluten helps with the big holes. Look for flour labeled “bread” flour. The more whole wheat flour you use the harder it is to get big holes because the sharp edges of the bran cuts the gluten walls which create the air pockets (holes).

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Christina February 25, 2007 at 8:14 pm

Hi Eric,
I tried a variation on your cranberry variation. (I used walnuts, ’cause I had them & added orange zest and cardamom and 1 cup whole spelt flour because I like them.) It came out great, this despite the power going out while I was preheating the pot. As many have pointed out, NKB is sooo forgiving! It didn’t seem to mind at all being driven across town in near freezing weather and waiting in the car while my friends’ oven heated up! (And my friends didn’t mind either. They devoured the part of the loaf I left with them.) Thanks again for the great site.

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breadtopia February 25, 2007 at 6:30 am

Hi Jerry. I look forward to hearing about it. I find I have to use more than 1 and 1/2 cups water with the amount of flour and parmesan listed above. But then, once you’ve made a few no-knead loaves it’s not hard to just go by feel on the moisture level.

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Jerry February 24, 2007 at 5:59 pm

Jerry:

All of the new recipes look great. I have the olives and Parmesan cheese on hand so I will be able to start the third recipe tonight. Rather than delay until my sourdough is ready, I will be using instant yeast and will increase the water to the normal 1 and 1/2 cups. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

Jerry in Seattle

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Joanne February 24, 2007 at 12:14 am

I need help in getting BIG holes in my no-knead bread. I have followed everything to the letter. I get a few big holes but not a many as I would like. Can you help. I have 85% hydration. Proof for 20 hrs. and then 3hrs.

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Connie February 23, 2007 at 3:55 pm

I have been toying with my sourdough starter you sent me a few months back and am THRILLED that I’m not alone in trying new ways to incorporate new ingredients. I have both a whole-wheat and a plain white starter that I feed and whose toss-aways have done many things, including become pizza crusts.

I cannot wait to try the parm-olive here. With the breads your starter has bred (haha) here, every day is a special occasion! – connie

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breadtopia February 23, 2007 at 3:11 pm

Is “a lot” a standard international unit of volume measure? Seriously, I should have thought of that. It’s at least 2 cups. Maybe a little more, but 2 cups of grated parmesan should give you the appropriate (eyes rolling back in their sockets) effect.

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Christina February 23, 2007 at 2:57 pm

Oh, wow, those look great!
I don’t have a kitchen scale (I know, I know) so could you take a guess at a volume measurement for the cheese?

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