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No-Knead Bread

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    Posted: 10 January 2011 at 17:27
I have been making the most amazing bread for some time using Jim Lahey's No-Knead technique.  Jim is the owner of the Sullivan Street bakery in Hell's Kitchen http://www.sullivanstreetbakery.com/ and he devised this technique for the home baker.  If you haven't tried this you need to, I cannot believe I am able to make the breads I have been making by using this technique.  For years I have tried to get a good crust and that wonderful holey, chewy crumb by baking on a pizza stone and spraying water on the dough, spraying water into the bottom of the hot oven, etc without success. 

The technique uses a very wet dough using very little yeast and an extremely long fermentation.  The bread is then baked in a dutch oven.  The dutch oven creates a micro climate in which the bread bakes in an environment of very high humidity which mimics commercial ovens that are steam injected and creates an amazing crust.  The long fermentation of 18 hours or more coupled with very little yeast creates a situation where time does the work of kneading for you.  I feel really strongly about this technique so I have included what is, perhaps, too many pictures but I don't want to leave any important information out.  I have made this many ways; using different flours, substituting warm beer for the water, etc and it has never let me down. 

Here is a video where he explains and demonstrates the technique.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13Ah9ES2yTU&feature=channel%29


Here's the basic recipe.

3 cups of flour (I use bread flour)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 5/8 cups water

Measure the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.





 
Add the water and mix until it all comes together into a wet dough.









It will look something like this when it comes together.



Cover the bowl with Saran wrap and let ferment (rise) for 18 hours or more in a reasonably warm place, our kitchen is right at about 70 degrees which makes a 20 hour rise just about perfect.  After the rise it will look like this.



Turn it out onto a floured surface dusting with just enough flour to keep it from sticking.  Pat it out and then fold it a couple of times like he does in the video then place it seam side down onto a well-floured towel to rise again until doubled, anywhere from two to four hours.









Put your dutch oven in the oven preheat to 425 degrees, Jim Lahey says to bake at 500 degrees or more, however in my oven 425 works better and it will only get 212 degrees inside the dutch oven anyway due to the amount of moisture migrating out of the dough as steam.  When the oven has preheated put the dough seam side up (I screwed up here and placed it seam side down which makes a more uniformly round loaf) into the dutch oven, place the lid on the dutch oven, and bake for 30 minutes. 



After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes until nicely browned.

Here is how it looks while it is cooling.  As you can see this loaf is pretty uniformly round due to my baking the dough seam side down, had I baked it seam side up it would have resulted in a more rustic looking loaf with nice cracks on top but I got in a hurry and screwed up.  Tastes the same, though.



Allow it to cool and then slice and here is what you get.  A wonderful crumb that is full of holes and very chewy with great flavor and a crunchy delicious crust.  This bread is better than any I have ever bought anywhere.  I am still amazed that I can bake bread that is this good.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jdonly1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2011 at 20:49
Will keep an eye on this
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 02:11
Looking good so far Andy...have you done sourdough this way?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 07:00
This looks very interesting! I've neen researching just that type of bread, and the info I'm getting is similar. Long, long risings and fermentations being the key. Don't feel shy about the pictures, so far they've been great. Keep the post coming Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 09:17
andy - this looks great! keep it up and keep us informed. will definitely want to try this!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 17:01
Magnificent Andy! What a terrific looking loaf, and the crumb looks fabulous...I'm going to have to try some sourdough with this method.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 17:02
Originally posted by Hoser Hoser wrote:

Looking good so far Andy...have you done sourdough this way?


Dave,

I haven't done sourdough this way yet but I am sure it would work.  Use a small amount of starter with a very long ferment and then bake in the dutch oven.  The long ferment is the key to developing the gluten strands which results in that wonderful crumb and the micro climate created by the dutch oven produces the extraordinary crust.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 17:05
now that looks like it is as good as can be! i can almost smell it through the computer screen.
 
very nice, andy!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2011 at 21:31
I have a a version of this going right now made with beer and cheddar cheese.  I'll post some pics and a review of the finished loaf after I bake it tomorrow night.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2011 at 10:36
loooking forward to that - i can imagine the house is smellinig good while this rises, and it will be even better when it is baking!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2011 at 21:38
Okay, the cheese bread using this method was a complete failure, the loaf stuck badly to the dutch oven and I tore it up trying to get it out.  I think it must have been the cheese that stuck.  I'll experiment some more with this using cheese but this time didn't work out so well.  Tastes good, though!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2011 at 07:52
Dang nice looking loaf of bread there, Andy! No worries on the seam, it looks beautiful. That crumb is perfectly done and just what we all shoot for~ definitely a success on your part Thumbs Up Sorry to hear about your cheese bread though....what if you shot the dutch oven with a little Pam first?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote got14u Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2011 at 19:45
Man that is looking GREAT. You are also killing me my friend, I can't have bread for another 3 days
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 January 2011 at 17:36
Thanks guys!  I just finished off the loaf pictured last night and have another to bake tomorrow that is a beer bread.  I'll post pics.

The cheese bread tasted awesome and I am going to try oiling the dutch oven a bit as well as letting it cool a bit before taking it out of the pan next time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 February 2011 at 09:15
alrighty - click here for my attempt - looking great so far!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote curious aardvark Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 February 2011 at 17:01
very interesting - the interior/sliced shot looks a lot like a ciabatta.

How's it last ?
I always add vitaminc (ascorbic acid) to my bread to stop it going stale.
One if the things that the chorleywood (commercial fast mix steamed bread) method does is increase the longevity of the bread.

Not having a dutch oven I guess a normal casserole saucepan and lid should work ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 February 2011 at 17:49
Originally posted by curious aardvark curious aardvark wrote:

very interesting - the interior/sliced shot looks a lot like a ciabatta.

How's it last ?
I always add vitaminc (ascorbic acid) to my bread to stop it going stale.
One if the things that the chorleywood (commercial fast mix steamed bread) method does is increase the longevity of the bread.

Not having a dutch oven I guess a normal casserole saucepan and lid should work ?


Aardvark,

It keeps very well.  If you cover it in plastic wrap the crust becomes softer and chewier and if you leave it uncovered the crust remains crunchy.  I like the thick crunchy crust so we leave it out and if it has already been cut you can just cut off a real thin slice and discard as that will be hard from being exposed to the air and then cut and eat as usual and it retains the wonderful crust and the soft chewy interior.  A casserole will work as long as you have a lid for the first stage of the baking.  Anything works fine; aluminum, steel, cast iron, even Pyrex.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 February 2011 at 14:09
say, andy - i posted this on another forum, and got an interesting question: how would this work with whole-wheat flour? i see where you said you have had success with other flours, so i am assuming it went well, but were any adjustments necessary?
 
thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 February 2011 at 17:20
I have a batch of no knead sourdough proofing as we speak. It should be ready for a fold and second proofing around 9:00 tomorrow morning, into the oven at 1 or 2, then on the road with us to JPEEP's for the Polish feast.
I'll let you all know how it came out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 February 2011 at 19:29
Originally posted by Hoser Hoser wrote:

I have a batch of no knead sourdough proofing as we speak. It should be ready for a fold and second proofing around 9:00 tomorrow morning, into the oven at 1 or 2, then on the road with us to JPEEP's for the Polish feast.
I'll let you all know how it came out.


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