November 8, 2006

No-Knead Bread

Description:
This is from the November 8, 2006 New York Times food section -- "The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work"

I've been waiting to post this until I took a better picture, but I haven't made this bread since last year, so you'll have to be content with what I have. I'm only posting this now because my mom wanted a copy of the recipe and I've had this is "draft" mode since November or so.

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 5/8 cup water

Directions:
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

47 comments:

  1. wow... doesn't get much easier than this!!

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  2. Rest for 12 hours?! Good god...

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  3. Hey... I can rest for 12 hours easy. lol The bread and I will rest together :)

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  4. I found this recipe online recently and was curious about it. Did you like it when you made it? Personally, I sort of like kneading bread, but I know its not for everyone.

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  5. Heh. I don't have enough foresight (or patience) to wait until the following day for fresh bread. If I'm gonna bother baking it, I want to eat it the same day.

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  6. I use a bread maker. It does it all for me and when we wake up in the morning there is fresh bread for us.

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  7. If you don't knead it, then what kind of crumb does it have? Is it an extremely light (lighter than store-bought white) bread?

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  8. We had one, but I just wasn't happy with it. I've never had a better bread than one I've kneaded myself.

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  9. I let Safeway do my dirty work for me =/ As long as it has flax seed, Im a happy camper.

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  10. I've made a variation on this recipe three times so far. I'm starting a loaf this afternoon. I use 16 oz. whole wheat flour, 12 oz. cold water, 2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. yeast. Fermentation times depend a lot on the temperature in the house. When it was running close to 80F, 12 hours was probably plenty. Fermentation takes longer and the bread taste more subtle at somewhat lower temperatures, 65F or so. Crumb is moist with largish holes, crust is hard & cracking.

    I also have a bread maker. It makes a very competent loaf, but nothing as beautiful as the no-knead recipe.

    :w

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  11. Did you like it when you made it?
    Sure did. That's why all that I had to take a picture of was that little rind. ;-) I made it twice and both times we tucked in so quickly that by the time I thought to pull out my camera it was gone.

    I would have kept making it but the fact that I had made bread twice made Rob want to get into the act and he made kneaded bread a few times next (which got me out of the habit).

    If you don't knead it, then what kind of crumb does it have?
    Think of sour dough bread -- crusty on the outside, flaky and soft on the inside. It's actually lighter on the inside than Rob's kneaded bread. But definitely crustier on the outside. And it doesn't taste like a sour dough (because it's not) it just has that texture.

    lighter than store-bought white
    dude, this is meg you're talking to. meg who grinds her own hard red wheat berries. not only would it not be like store-bought white bread because it's a different recipe, but it's not like store-bought white bread because it's made with ground wheat rather than glue paste. :-P with the hard crust it's far more like a french bread (although, like i said, the crust reminds me more of sour dough than french bread) with a soft inside.

    I also have a bread maker. It makes a very competent loaf, but nothing as beautiful as the no-knead recipe.
    *waves* hey there, jo.

    i don't like the crust from bread maker made bread. it's not really crusty but it's not really not crusty either. it's in a sort of no-man's land in terms of crust.

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  12. This recipe got rave reviews in Woman's Day magazine. I hate kneading so I'm game. I will start it the night before. Can I use whole wheat? Meg's mom

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  13. Wh-wh-wh-what? YOU are Meg? I had no idea... </sarcarsm> :)

    I would have expected a lighter crumb since the dough's not being kneaded. Kneading creates gluten, which makes bread dense and a tighter crumb than store-bought white break (think Wonder or Sunbeam or Merita). I wouldn't have thought a no-knead bread would have much of a crumb at all. Just surprised is all. :D

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  14. i'm in shock. first Jo (canna) replies and now my mom. what next?

    yes mom, we use just whole wheat -- the stuff we grind. i used to have some white flour in the house (for making play dough) but i've never used it for the bread. i didn't alter the recipe any.

    it's yummy.

    do you have a big cast iron pan you can use? we have an extra. i think it comes out really well in the cast iron. and it's really easy clean up, too.

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  15. apparently the whole point of kneading bread has something to do with aligning something or other inside the bread. (it was all explained in the original NYTs article.) by allowing the bread to rest (you can even put it in the fridge to do this, which is what i do since i tend to make the dough the night before and then cook the bread the next day for supper. so it gets about 20 hours of rest time.) you give it time to align those thingies on it's own. (this is also a wet dough, which apparently helps those little guys align as well, since it's easier for them to move around.)

    so i don't know what that means in terms of crumb, but the thingies get aligned. and aligned thingies are always a good idea. :-)

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  16. hey, i just checked and unlike most NYTs articles that become hidden after a week, this one is still visible. so check out the link above the recipe. hopefully the stuff about aligning thingies will make more sense there.

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  17. It forms gluten. Gluten's the protein in bread that gives it alot of structural support and also makes a firm crumb.

    [ source ]

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  18. Actually, it's Wes. I'm just using Jo's account. I don't have (or want) yet another account. Jo mentioned that you'd posted this recipe, but you need an account to see it. So I'm using hers :)

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  19. shoot. why did i set it to network? i think that a boo boo. i'll change that now.

    *starts to walk away. stops. comes back. waves at wes. turns again and heads off to fix the privacy setting.*

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  20. ah. ok, then. i suppose the answer to your question is that it has a firm crumb.

    when i make this again i'll take a picture that includes a view of the inside of the loaf. maybe i'll go whip up a batch now. wonder how this would work with chives in it. i've got a bunch growing in the back yard that i'd like to start using.

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  21. I'd put the chives in during the "fold a few times" phase, before you form it into a loaf. I have one going now, it's been fermenting since noon (9am now). I figured I'd bake it in the morning.

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  22. OMG, 3 replies and a headshot. I'm about to fall off my chair.

    OK, so I said I'd make a loaf and then forgot all about it. Instead I made some really yummy enchiladas (with black beans, sweet corn and peas). So off I go to make good on my word.

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  23. dang. i made the dough last night and just pulled it out to start step 2. the surface was covered with bubbles and it looked good. but when i turned it out it was waaaay too wet. :-P i'm wondering now if i put in 2 cups of flour instead of 3.

    i think i need to make this when i don't have two 7 year olds trying to show me every single picture in arthur's field guide. *sigh*

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  24. very nice head shot. ...except that you're not Jo!!! :-P

    *whistles* nice loaf!

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  25. Did you cook it in a tin to keep it upright?

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  26. Can one of you "dough" heads explain to me the fascination of making your own bread?

    ie. Why should I make my own rather than getting my usual flax seed bread at Safeway?

    Am I missing something?

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  27. Because what you get at the foodstore doesn't taste the same. And there's no satisfaction when you eat store-bought bread, no feeling of "this was my work". And your house doesn't smell like freshly baked bread when you open the bag. And you didn't spend about 10x the amount needed to make it, and it doesn't really consume that much of your time to make. And store bought doesn't have the same quality ingredients, and usually has ingredients you would never add to your own work.

    And then...

    :P

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  28. I've had your work. Keep practicing.

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  29. i use a cast iron pan when i make mine.

    this isn't really sandwich bread. it's more like "dipping in olive oil and balsamic vinegar" bread.

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  30. Nice. I like soup in a bread bowl, but my bread tends to flatten out while cooking...

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  31. The curmb's texture isn't that dense...

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  32. are you saying that your product is a bit limp?

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  33. Nooooooooooo.

    :P

    I'm saying it's like a flapjack when it ought to be round and full and springy to the touch.

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  34. I've actually tried letting it rise in a tin and then placing the tin in a pre-heated dutch oven. The problem with that approach is that 1) the crust that is touching the tin isn't at all of the same character as the top, and 2) the dutch oven required to accommodate the tin is too big, so even the very wet dough doesn't give off enough moisture to steam it -- not much oven spring. The loaf pictured is instead unceremoniously dropped into a pre-heated 2.5 quart All-Clad Windsor pot.

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  35. 1) Mines better. Not a little better. The best bread I'd had prior to this loaf was at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor. In fairness, you can't compare my whole wheat to Zingerman's (say) sour dough, but my whole wheat is considerably better than their whole wheat.

    2) Mines cheaper. I'm using King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat flour, which I get for about $2.40 for 5 lbs, cheaper on sale. That's about $0.50 per loaf of the best whole wheat bread I've ever tasted.

    Someone mentioned the time it takes. For me, that's 10 minutes at 3pm to mix it all up. 5 minutes around 9am (if I'm up) to fold it, another 5 minutes around 9:30am to ball it. Turn the oven on around 11:30am, if I remember. Toss the dough in the pot at noon. Take the lid off at 12:30pm, take the loaf out at 12:45pm. So yeah, longer than throwing whatever I can find at the grocery into my cart.

    Call me crazy, but I'm seriously considering Meg's "grind your own flour" shtick. In order to justify it to myself, I think I need to find someone local who will sell me wheat. Preferably for not much more than I'm paying for flour already. Unless it's really good, in which case I'll probably pay more. Or I'm feeling very carbon-footprint-conscience, in which case I'll probably pay more.

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  36. 1) you will never regret it.

    2) you can never go back to the "it's been sitting on the shelves for months" variety of flour ever again.

    3) you will become a bakery snob extraordinaire. i have Such a hard time eating the stuff some people make, not just because they use the pasty white flour that lacks most of the nutrition that the grain originally came with, but because it lacks all of the marvelous flavor that freshly ground flour has.

    4) freshly ground corn tastes approximately 4000 times better than store bought corn flour or corn meal. i have corn flour that i made last week and i'm not really interested in using it because corn flour, after it's been sitting for a day, already tastes half as good as it did when it was first ground. at this point i feel like it would be better off in the compost pile. just imagine what corn flour that's been sitting on the shelf in a super market for, oh, 10 months, tastes like in comparison. bleh!

    5) Z will love, love, love helping you scoop the flour from the grinder to the flour container.

    6) everyone will ask your for the recipes you use. it always geeks me out when someone asks for my chocolate chip cookie recipe and i tell people that it's the same one that's on the back of the nestle toll house cookie bag. (i don't use nestle's choc. chips any more, though. i generally get the grain sweetened chips.) they say, "but i use that same recipe and my cookies don't taste this good." at which point i can tell them that they use crap for ingredients.

    after about 7 years we've managed to about destroy our grain grinder. (i dropped the flour catcher once when i was taking it to the kids' school for a demonstration. it's now being held together with blue tape. and somehow rob managed to disconnect the top of the grinder from the bottom. it still works fine, though.) so we've been contemplating getting a new one. rob has settled on the whispermill.

    we also have this hand grinder back in SF. it took forever to get a few cups of flour, but the kids got a kick out of grinding stuff. and it was neat to hear and feel the difference between grains as you grind them.

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  37. Where do you get your wheat? I haven't found anyone local (yet), and I feel pretty bad about having it shipped cross country when I know it's grown in the area.

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  38. vitamin cottage sells Hard Red the cheapest. i don't think it's organic and for all i know it's not even local. i should look into that.

    in a pinch i'll also pick some up from the co-op, and i used to pick it up at wild oats back before whole foods moved in and drove them out of the neighborhood.

    my mom has also picked up huge sacks of the stuff when she's gone to utah. since they like to stock things for the end times, they sell things like grain in bulk for cheap.

    this past year we went off grinding for awhile 'cause some guy passing through town visited our church and sloughed off two bags of whole wheat flour. no one else in our church eats whole wheat so we had it all. it was awful stuff, though. it had lost all it's fluff from sitting in bags so long and foods that the kids had liked for forever they instantly started to hate because they just didn't taste as good any more. we managed to give a bunch of the stuff away and ate like crazy through the rest so we could get back to grinding our own.

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  39. there was another no-knead bread article in the new york times today. the recipe seems to use more flour and more yeast.

    mother earth news also had an article in the latest issue on Easy No Knead Dutch Oven Crusty Bread (which is basically the same recipe as the original NY Times article on no knead bread).

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  40. My in laws in a Mexican farming community preserve their corn by storing it dried. Then each day they prepare masa by re-hydrating the kernels and then they take it to a neighborhood home that has a tortilla press and oven. All the women in the village are seen in the pre-dawn hours walking with cloth covered bowls of masa to the tortilleria (tortilla factory). For 8 pesos or roughly $0.80 they get a delicious fresh stack of tortillas to use throughout the day. Man that brings back some great memories of fresh tortillas, black beans and thin sliced beef with rich coffee. What isn't eaten by the family is used for the evening food for the dog(s) combined with whatever leftovers are handy. Whoever said that dogs shouldn't eat chicken bones forgot to tell those Mexican dogs, it was all business when it came to the evening feeding.

    'Freshly ground corn is 4000 times better tasting' - I couldn't agree more. In Mexico they have a bounty of varieties and many flavors. I guess I am now realizing that I a corn flour snob. Thanks Meg :)

    Great website - thank Mark Levin for pointing me here.

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  41. oh, you're more than welcome. ;-)

    the san francisco chronicle had a great article on fresh tortillas once (made from freshly made masa and not dried or reconstituted stuff). i was thrilled after reading the article to read that one of the few tortillarias (did i spell that right?) that made their tortillas from scratch (mashing the corn, adding the lime and making it all completely fresh) was just down the street from our san francisco house. when we moved to colorado i brought a suitcase full of tortillas with me and stuffed them in the freezer.

    at this point, though, i'm stuck using the mostly tasteless variety. :-P

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  42. I finally updated that crummy old picture with a brand spanking new one.

    This bread is uber easy to made and turns out really well. I let it rise overnight, then failed to do the rest of the folding and rising bit properly and it still came out great.

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