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Old 11-21-2006, 02:23 PM   #71
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I made the bread over the weekend and we liked it. So easy and fun.

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Old 11-22-2006, 02:44 AM   #72
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Link to NYT Video for No Knead Bread

here's a working link to the video on this recipe No Knead Bread Video

Anyone who is contemplating making this bread should watch this video carefully. I don't know how long the link will work so watch it soon!

Gretchen - thanks so much for posting this. I'm off to give you karma now...

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Old 11-23-2006, 09:56 AM   #73
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resolving the "how much water should I use" question

A great deal of confusion has arisen whether bakers should use 1-1/2 cups water (as recommended by baker Jim Lahey in the video) or 1-5/8 cups water (as recommended by writer Mark Bittman in the printed recipe). There are many complaints that 1-5/8 cups water makes the dough "too wet".

Both recipes are otherwise identical (3 cups flour, 1/4 tsp yeast, 1-1/4 tsp salt) so which one is right?

They both are, because the real question is how much does a cup of flour weigh?

If you use what is known as the "scoop the flour lightly into a measuring cup and level off" method, then recipe writers generally agree that 1 cup flour = about 4.5 oz. This is very similar to how Jim Lahey is measuring flour in the video.

However, research has shown that home cooks often use what I call a "put the measuring cup in the flour canister and smoosh it up against the sides" method, in which case 1 cup flour = about 5 oz. Mark Bittman, our canny food writer, knows this.

Lets do some simple math and calculate the hydration level of the dough, which is simply the weight of the water divided by the weight of the flour.

If a cup of flour is 4.5 oz and you use Lahey's 1-1/2 cups of water, then 12oz water divided by 13.5oz flour is 89% hydration.

If a cup of flour is 5 oz and you use Bittman's 1-5/8 cups of water, then 13oz water divided by 15oz flour is 87% hydration.

These hydration levels are very similar, so there is no real difference.

How do *you* measure flour? (I use a scale.)
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Old 11-23-2006, 10:01 AM   #74
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scoop ... tap ... level

Just to note, when I measured the water for this, I "eye-balled" it in my dry measuring cup since my liquid measuring cups were all in the washer. I filled it to where I thought it was just slightly above 1/2 full.

So now a new question regarding this bread ... how are herbs or garlic going to affect it? Anyone tried modifications with additional ingredients? I don't want to ruin a good thing but I just can see it with some extra flavors to compliment different meal ideas I have ...
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Old 11-27-2006, 09:45 AM   #75
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Oh hey look ... I'm a member of the last post club - again.
But seriously ... I have a question with this bread. I am at my sister's house and want to make this for them. However, they have All - Clad stainless, not Calphalon like I have. Has anyone baked this in SS?
Thank you!
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Old 11-27-2006, 11:41 AM   #76
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OMG Make This Bread! Part I: on Equipment and Ingredients

I've made this bread five times now using the recipe as published by the New York Times. It just keeps getting better.

Gretchen's posts here are all spot on. Read them! At the risk of redundancy, here are some observations (with photos)...

The Pot and Lid - Required
People elsewhere have reported success using enameled cast iron, cast iron, ceramic (La Cloche or crock pot insert) and anodized aluminum (Calphalon). I haven't seen anyone who used Pyrex yet. The pot must have a snug-fitting lid (to hold in the steam when the bread bakes).

Some enameled cast iron pots have a plastic knob on the lid; in this case, cover the knob with tin foil to protect it against heat damage.

While the recipe calls for a 6 to 8 quart size, others have down-sized with success - the smallest size used was 4 quart capacity. All else being equal, obviously the dough rises less when baked in the larger size. I would say the sides should be at least 4" for a smaller capacity pot.

I use a 5 quart cast iron Dutch oven (not enameled) with a cast iron lid.
Dough Scraper - recommended
A dough scraper (aka "bench scraper") made it easier for me to shape the dough and to move the shaped dough onto the towel for the final rise. They're cheap on eBay ($5 or less plus max $5 for shipping to continental US) or amazon (go to amazon.com and search for "dough scraper" here are the results of my search on amazon.)

If you don't have one and can't wait to buy one, go to your local hardware and get one of those tools to scrape paint off the walls (6" to 10" wide).
Rising Container - optional (for the chicken-hearted)
The recipe shows the dough resting flat on a towel for the final rise. This dough tends to spread out rather than up if you let it rise flat. Some bakers had trouble plopping it into the pot when it was ready to bake and recommended using a large (towel-lined!) sieve or a colander.

My baking arsenal already includes a rising basket. It is round, plastic and cost $1. I used it the first few times. Once I had a better feel for the dough, I let it rise flat.

If you go the rising container route, something with holes is better than a bowl. The dough benefits from air circulation during this 2-hour rise. Using a container puts a little more weight on the bottom of the dough so make sure you use wheat bran or coarse cornmeal on the towel in addition to rubbing in lots of flour.

Rather than repeating the ingredients, just look at my link to recipe and instructions and/or the more complete link to recipe and instructions plus Bittman's write-ups. I created these files from the original NY Times articles and uploaded them to my personal website. The links are in Adobe Acrobat Reader format; you are welcome to view, print and/or download them to your computer.

Comments On Ingredients
  • flour - I've used both unbleached all-purpose flour (both Gold Medal and Heckers) and bread flour (Gold Medal) with equal success. When made with unbleached all-purpose flour the dough is a little softer but the final bread has somewhat bigger holes. When made with bread flour the dough is a little firmer, the dough rises a bit higher during baking and the final dough has somewhat smaller holes (but still plenty of them). There is no taste difference. Use what's convenient - it'll work fine.
  • water - many people found 1-1/2 cups water (rather than 1-5/8 cups) to be sufficient. If you weigh your ingredients you can use the recipe as printed
  • yeast - instant or active dry yeast were both successfully used; active dry yeast is intended to be dissolved in water prior to use but most bakers simply mixed it into the dry ingredients
  • salt - many people increased the salt to 1-1/2 tsp (1-1/4 tsp is the amount in the recipe). Kosher salt is the standard salt in my kitchen. I used 2 tsp Kosher salt, since kosher salt grains are a little larger than table salt.

Comments On Dusting the Towel
Even when the towel has been heavily rubbed with flour, some bakers find that the dough partly sticks to the towel when it's dumped in the pot. When I only dusted the towel with flour, that happened to me too. When I used an ample amount of coarse corn meal (you could also use wheat bran) I had no problems. Flour tends to absorb water from the dough during the resting period; you need to use something coarse for dusting to prevent this.

A few posters on other forums suggested using rice flour instead of wheat flour to prevent sticking. (I haven't tried this.)
Stay Tuned for Part II

A picture really is worth a thousand words. In Part II I'll go through the recipe instructions step by step, with photos for each step. I still have a few more photos to upload, but I'll try to post again soon.
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Old 11-27-2006, 10:31 PM   #77
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Gretchen and Kitchenelf, Thanks so much for posting the link to this and Lee your loaf looks great. I love baking bread and this sounds like a fun way.
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Old 11-28-2006, 01:22 PM   #78
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I used a pillow case dusted with flour and cornmeal and had no problems at all. I am going to experiment with using some dried spices this week, we will see. I am thinking this bread and some homemade jam and hummus will make a nice gift for some of my friends.
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Old 11-28-2006, 08:31 PM   #79
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OMG Make This Bread! Part II: Step By Step Instructions With Photos

I find photos immensely helpful whenever I attempt an unfamiliar recipe. I've made No-Knead Bread five times now, so here are mine. If you haven't made this bread yet, I hope they'll encourage you to do so.

Mix Dough and Let It Rise

Mix dry ingredients together. Measure water and dump in bowl. In the New York Times Video it takes ten seconds for master baker Jim Lahey to mix the ingredients with his hand. All you want to do is swiftly incorporate the water with the dry ingredients. Photo 1 shows the dough mixed and ready to rise.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise from 12 to 24 hours at room temperature. "Room temperature" is the low 70sF. My rising times varied from 15 to 24 hours. When I wanted to let the rise go beyond 18 hours, I put the bowl in a cooler area - mid to high 60sF. I find rising times of 18 hours or more are better for this bread. Photo 2 shows the risen dough.
Shape Dough plus Brief Rest

Gently scoop risen dough onto floured board. It will be wet and loose - see Photo 3 - and should be about 1/2" high.

Flour top of dough and fold it on itself like a business letter. Be gentle. I use my dough scraper for this. Photo 4 shows the shaped dough - it is about 1-1/2" high now. Lightly flour the top and cover with a towel. Let rest for 15-30 minutes.
Shape Again and Final Rise

Heavily rub flour into a towel and sprinkle coarse cornmeal or wheat bran on it. Shape the dough on the board into a rough ball and place it on the towel, seam side down. A dough scraper is a great help at this step. In Photo 5, you can see that the towel's pattern (seen in the lower right corner) is totally masked by the flour. The shaped dough is now about 2" high. Sprinkle flour on top, cover with a towel, and let rise.

If you chose to let the dough rise in a container, pick up the towel by the four corners and gently set it in the container, as shown in Photos 6 and 7. Cover the top with a towel.

It is ready to bake when the dough keeps an indentation after a gentle poke. While the recipe says the dough will "double in bulk", this is hard to gage if it is rising flat (since it tends to spread out, not up). Even in a container, I find the dough doesn't really double. The finger poke test is better. I find it takes from 2 to 2-1/2 hours rising in the low 70sF to be ready.
Preheat the oven (with the pot and lid in it) to 450F. (The video says 500F, but I tried a higher heat and it burned the bread so I stick to 450F). My oven takes about 30 minutes to reach temperature. The oven must be at the required temperature when the dough is ready to bake, so plan accordingly.

Swiftly and deftly dump the risen dough in the pot, cover and return to oven to bake. Don't worry about the dough deflating when it hits the pot. This does take some practice but even if it lands in the pot a little sideways, it will bake up fine.

I find that 30 minutes with the lid on and 15-20 minutes with the lid off is just about right. (On my first attempt, I baked it 30 minutes with the lid on and 30 minutes with the lid off - not good! The bottom got scorched.)

As Photo 9 shows, the finished bread shrinks from the sides of the pot considerably. Dump it on the rack to cool; it will come out easily.
Yum Yum Eat 'Em Up
That "snap, crackle and pop" noise the bread makes when it first starts to cool is the crust drying out to a lovely crispness.

The loaf should cool for about 3 hours. Time is needed for the interior of the bread to dry out. Try to be patient!

Photos 10-11 show a loaf made with bread flour which rose in a towel-lined basket prior to baking. Photos 12-13 show a loaf made with all-purpose flour which rose flat on the towel prior to baking. While its a little hard to measure the height on a dome-shaped loaf, I would say each was about 3" high.

The interior of the bread is moister than most breads made with just flour, water, salt and yeast. These kinds of breads usually stale within 48 hours but this one will stay fresh for several days.

Don't refrigerate the bread (that makes it dry out faster). I keep mine wrapped in a cotton towel on the counter.
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Old 11-29-2006, 09:39 AM   #80
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OMG Make This Bread! Part III: More Links With Photos

I probably read (almost) every food blog that wrote about this bread. The best ones, IMHO, are those with lots of photos and a detailed explanation of the steps. If you still want more information, here are links that will take you directly to the blog entry on this bread...

Best of the Blogs
The Fresh Loaf
iVillage Garden Web
flicker.com - photo essay on noknead bread by milkshakepants
Blogs in German
These are for our German friends but all of us can benefit from the photos posted.

Kulinarischer Adventskalender
Chili Und Ciabatta
Dinner Rolls Using the No-knead Bread Recipe
Don't want a loaf that's round? This author figured out how to use the recipe to make dinner rolls. Has a detailed explanation (though not a lot of photos).

No-Knead Bread (dinner roll adaptation)
Rose Levy Beranbaum Weighs In
Beranbaum is the author of a number of books on baking. Possibly best known are The Pie and Pastry Bible and The Bread Bible. I've read her The Bread Bible and made some of the recipes in it though, frankly, I think there are better books on bread making than hers.

IMHO, her article needlessly complicates what is a very simple recipe. However, she has her fans, so here's the link...
Rose Beranbaum on Jim Lehay's Noknead Bread
Thank You Jim Lehay!
At the very end of the New York Times Video On No-Knead Bread, baker Jim Lehay of Sullivan St. Bakery says
Make sure that everyone has access to it. That's the goal.
The goal is reached. We owe you, Jim!

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