No-Knead Bread Revolution

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mark Bittman’s New York Times article The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work (use bug me not for a site password) is inspiring an uprising in the culinary world.homemade bread

Scores of happy bread munchers have chimed into a discussion thread at eGullet reporting great results from this recipe and technique. Many have written in measurement questions (as an accompanying video conflicts with the written NYTimes provided recipe) and others with bread making historical knowledge are attending and pointing out that these are ancient techniques. Regardless it remains true that this New York Times article is inspiring many to bake their own artisinal loaves for the first time.

Persuaded by all the great images I’ve seen of inspired loaves pushed me to run together a batch of dough to proof overnight. The timing of this bread making article couldn’t have been better as Sweets has been perfecting his fire tending skills in our house. This makes for a great bread rising temperature! We are a nice 80 degrees inside on average (though we did have a gleeful moment when we pegged the thermostat this weekend at 90).

I cut Sweets and I each a slice of tender bread, whose crust crackled under the knife. Our eyes met, sinking our teeth in slow motion on this busy morning, as we quickly rushed to the door. I swear to you, and I was caught by Sweets who spied my twinkles, tears welled up and that bread stopped us in our tracks. In those bites, a history of daily bread making swelled through these ancient yeasts and laughed at us:
How silly we are to separate ourselves from the pleasures of baking our own bread.
How silly we are to pay others to do the work for us.
How silly we are to call this too much labor to perform in our own homes for those we love to feed.

Marianne’s post at the Unemployed Chef echoed my sentiments this morning upon devouring our too warm loaf of bread. The Best Bread I’ve Ever Made.

Update: New York Times adds more information to the recipe technique.

35 Comments

posted November 15th, 2006 at 9:53 am

Genius!

I wonder how hard this would be to adapt to sour dough instead of using yeast. It should be fairly straight forward I would think. I’ve put together sourdough starters on more than one occasion but can never find quite enough use for them to justify keeping them going.

posted November 16th, 2006 at 3:59 pm

I’m so glad you tried this great recipe! I made another batch today with a few tweaks–I’ll post an update later.

posted November 16th, 2006 at 9:29 pm

Holy cow! After I read this yesterday I started a batch. It’s in the oven right now with all of 5 minutes left. The house smells amazing!

  • Excellent!
    I have bread envy :)

    –McAuliflower

posted November 17th, 2006 at 9:08 am

The first time I read this, I went right to the NYT site, printed the recipe, and watched the video (highly recommended — it’s only a few minutes, and really helps make sense of the technique). It’s definite on my menu for Thanksgiving — though I’m worried that if I bake it in the morning, it might not make it until dinner (too many nibblers!).

posted November 17th, 2006 at 9:51 pm

Thank you for posting this!

posted November 18th, 2006 at 6:23 pm

What an incredible post! You’ve summed it up so perfectly … it’s so easy to do this at home and enjoy the fruits of our own baking!

posted November 19th, 2006 at 4:16 am

You and Mark Bittman have inspired us to try it! A friend recently accidentally invited Mr. Bittman to dinner and, upon realizing his folly, panicked, abandoned his plans for lasagne, and called in the caterers.

posted November 20th, 2006 at 12:04 pm

Gosh all these photos of no knead bread are just mouth watering! Between you and all the other food bloggers writing about this I just may have to cave and try it out. :)

posted November 22nd, 2006 at 6:06 am

I am attempting this today. I already have my dough sitting out and with a few hours left I will see if it works for me . :)

posted November 24th, 2006 at 5:45 pm

I am just finishing the sixth loaf! The BEST bread I ahave ever made! I created a website to document the process: http://www.aresrocket.com/bread

Worth the effort!

posted November 30th, 2006 at 8:57 pm

[...] Having fun with the success of the No-Knead bread procedure, I tossed shards of 70% chocolate into the dough as it was being mixed up. [...]

posted December 3rd, 2006 at 7:24 pm

Did you use flour during the transfer/second rise? We used cornmeal in our preparation, but ended up with a too crispy crust (for my taste, anyway). I’m wondering if the flour is a better option. We’re definitely planning on another loaf, though!

PS, your picture looks great, and the crust is the crust I want :) maybe next time!

Good question- I had found that flouring my towels and bowls for the second rise haven’t helped ease the transfer to the cooking container. This last loaf, I oiled my secondary rise container with canola oil and lightly oiled the top of the loaf as well, and I didn’t use a cloth under the bread. This oiled loaf transfered the easiest out of the bunch- no sticking.

I haven’t dissected the effects this additional oil had on the baking loaf, and the evidence of a loaf is all gone! :)

–McAuliflower

posted December 4th, 2006 at 8:47 am

Ginger, what an inspiring website and a glorious loaf! I’m going to make this tonight!

- Dragana
posted December 10th, 2006 at 9:16 am

The only thing I have ever known my husband to cook. He can’t get enough of this marvelous bread. It takes us both back to the days when he was posted as a U. S. delegate to the U. N. in Geneva. The only things missing are the Swiss wines and cheeses.

We prefer to use wheat bran rather than flour or corn meal on the 2-hour rise. We get it on the ‘Net at kingarthurflour.com, along with other of the makings.

- ann
posted December 11th, 2006 at 12:04 pm

I READ YOUR comment about oiling the bowl rather than using flour on that final rise, and up to a point it worked beautifully, i.e., fell beautifully into the hot baking pan. MY PROBLEM was that it got STUCK in baking and I had a hard time getting it out. By the time I did, the crust was slightly burned on the bottom.

HOW did you avoid getting the bread stuck…..my guess would be you used the seamless La Creuset cookware…. I used my regular cast aluminum pan I’ve been using…..but then again, I realize it could simply be that an aluminum pan may not be “seasoned” as a cast iron pan would have been, i.e., allowing the “sticking”.

IF you have a thought on this, I’d sure appreciate it.

The pan I cook the bread in is enameled so has a smooth interior. I have had bread stick once- when I put cheese in the dough.

Perhaps aluminum doesn’t retain enough heat to crisp up the crust to prevent it from sticking?

–McAuliflower

posted February 9th, 2007 at 4:21 pm

[...] excellent lead popped up today from Boingboing for anyone who wants to kick up their no-knead bread a [...]

posted March 17th, 2007 at 5:25 pm

What would cause the extreme hard crust’s ?

Sorry Ray, more info please?
Is this a problem with bread that you are making or a general bread-physics question?

–McAuliflower

posted December 15th, 2007 at 3:59 pm

I’m teetering on the brink of
trying my first bread recipe. Would it ruin anything if
“stuff” were thrown in like
a pesto, or roasted garlic?

no- do it! :)
I’ve made cheese loafs, onion poppyseed ones and a speckled chocolate studded one. Oh and whole grain no knead bread works very well.

Have fun
–McAuliflower

- Terry
posted December 15th, 2007 at 9:07 pm

The NY baker is making an Italian ciabatta bread with the novel ‘cooking pot’ twist. You can find details in bread cookbooks. The long ‘sponge’ time adds a lot of flavor and changes the crust texture, making it shiny and chewier.

If you don’t own such a large oven-proof pot, buy unglazed tiles (~ 9×9″) at the hardware store and cover the bottom rack of your oven with them. (Be sure to leave gaps on all sides btw tiles and wall/door.) Preheat well, throw a little cornmeal on the tiles, and toss the quivering lump onto the tiles. Might want to mist the oven every 3 minutes for the first 10 or so to help the crust stay soft and the loaf can get a full oven-rise.

Try it, you’ll like it.

- j althauser
posted December 30th, 2007 at 2:33 pm

[...] must therefore, a little bit grudgingly, add my voice to the hugely gigantic chorus, no tidal wave, no really more like a tsunami, of blogs, forums, articles, and even baking guru Rose [...]

posted February 26th, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Ah, I’ll never forget this, my first foray into the art of masonry. Needless to say, I mixed, I baked, I made a brick. I was 16 at the time, a culinary noob (still am at 17) so I blame this mishap on my younger less bread friendly self. I will have to have a second-go.

- Javier
posted February 9th, 2009 at 2:31 pm

There is another great cookbook called Artesian Bread in 5 Minutes a day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. With this method you mix up a large batch of dough and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You pull out how much you want when you want, let rise for 20 to 40 minutes and bake. Lots of recipes for different kinds of breads, rolls, even bagels.

- Evonne
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posted February 19th, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I just finished making this recipe and it is absolutely fabulous yummi! I didn’t have any instant yeast so I just proofed some active dry yeast after doing some basic calculations (and I thought algebra wouldn’t be useful!).

Only thing I did wrong was add too much flower at the last stage…had to sort of bang the excess off.

I also think that this bread would make great bruschetta or croutons. Thanks!

- Beth
posted June 19th, 2009 at 6:08 am

I totally agree with you

- Max
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