The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Just finished first no-knead bread...

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Christina's picture
Christina

Just finished first no-knead bread...

loaf, and it came out wonderfully!  The sound I so often read about, the crackling of the crust, I finally really heard when I took the loaf out of the pan.  My one question is this:  I made the loaf in a (black) cast iron dutch oven, and the 500 degree temp. was so high smoke started engulfing my kitcken.  Thinking now that maybe, because the pan is so dark, if a lower oven temperature (perhaps 475 degrees?) would prevent this? 

 Thanks for your input.

-Christina 

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

When I first started making the NYT bread I baked it at 500º but it baked too fast I had trouble with it browning too early. I always bake the bread at 450º now and it works just fine. Hope this helps.   weavershouse

Cooky's picture
Cooky

You can't beat cast iron for high-heat retention, which I think you really need to get the best crust. However, I also have seen poor results keeping the temp at 500 for the entire baking time. After playing around with variations, I found I get the best results when I pre-heat the pot as hot as I can get it (500, 525), leave the high setting on for the first few minutes after the pot goes back in the oven,  then turn it down to 425 or 450.

 

This seems to overcome the gummy-crumb problem you can get with this recipe, as well as yielding that great crackly crust.

Christina's picture
Christina

Thanks for the tips, and as I'm planning on making two more tomorrow, I'll let you know how it turns out. 

Cooky, I see what you meant about the gummy-crumb.  I don't think mine was too gummy, as my loaf sort of replicated this great bread I ate at an Italian (non-chain) restaurant, but I'll look out for it.

For my next loaf, there is about 1/3 cup KA whole-wheat flour, as I had some left over after making my regular loafs and decided to throw it in.  The next loaf has almost a cup of bread flour (because I ran out.  Sadly, I was just at the store the other day...) so the remainder I used AP flour, which makes me nervous, though the recipe says it's okay to use.  I hope it turns out well, since I'm giving it to my dad.

Oh, yeah, I cooked it covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for 10, which was perfect, since any longer and it would have burnt.

-Christina

Kate's picture
Kate

How are people making the no-knead bread? When I have made it before I got spectacular crumb and crust, but the flavor was lacking. The last time I made it I used my sourdough starter which was better, but... has anyone mastered this technique? Do you have any flavor advice? I'd like to use my starter if I could.

Thanks,

Kate 

rac's picture
rac

Here are several flavor improvements that I've experimented with.

I've added a 1/4-cup of "chef" to each loaf.  My chef started as a1/2 of dough from my first attempt, I keep it covered in the 'fridge and feed it every few days (or each time I make bread) with equal amounts of flour and water.  Seems to help the flavor a bit. 

I've also experimented with adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped kalamata olives and onions to each loaf as well as adding 1/2tsp of balsamic and 1/2tsp of olive oil.  

After reading Peter Reinhart's Bread Bakers Apprentice and trying his Pain a la Ancienne, I applied the same technique to the no-knead recipe.  Mix with very cold water and put the dough in the 'fridge immediately.  Let it come back to room temperature before continuing with the original no-knead recipe.  I've left it in the 'fridge up to 48 hours. 

Finally, I'm addicted to topping my loaves with sesame seeds.  I liberally sprinkle them in my rising basket and plop the dough on top for the final rise/proof before baking.

I mix and match all of these variations depending on time of day and phase of the moon %^)  - try them and see what you think.

 

 

Christina's picture
Christina

I have seen others blog about the lack of flavor, which they then usually go on to add more salt.  Jim Lahey's recipe (actually, he said it on the MS show) said it's okay to use up to 2 tsps of salt.

What sort of salt do you use?  I use Kosher salt in my breads, which, to me, has a (by far) better flavor than table salt.  Sea salt is good, too.

-Christina

Kate's picture
Kate

And I definitely upped the amount from the recipe. Didn't do much for me, though, it was just missing that certain something...

Christina's picture
Christina

I guess someone with more experience (I don't make artisan breads that often) will have to chime in.  I always figured the long rising time helps to develop the flavor, but maybe this recipe is lacking something, who knows.  Intersting thing, though, I made a bread recipe from Cooking Light (because I like rating the recipes, but usually I don't make their breads) and it was very bland compared to my regular loafs which I adapted from a recipe in "The Bread Book," and also to Floyd's basic loaf in Lesson 2 (that is the one with milk and butter, right?), which I think is caused by faster rising time and no sponge (mine uses a spong, and I forgot to use wheat gluten).  

Sorry i couldn't help,

-Christina 

Kate's picture
Kate

- of not being satisfied is that I get to keep playing with it! Every time I make a loaf of anything I learn something, so I'm sure I'll get there eventually. I think next I'm going to try turning my pizza dough into a bread loaf... One thing I'm looking for is a one day loaf using my sourdough starter - so many of my sourdough recipes require starting the dough the night before, but I'm never certain the night before whether my babies will cooperate the next day and let me do any baking. But my pizza dough gets made in the morning and baked at night, so it's really convenient for me. And VERY tasty, so maybe it'll make tasty bread, too. =)

Kate 

beanfromex's picture
beanfromex

The first time I made this recipe as per the instructions. 2 tsp of salt and for me, if was far too salty.

I then cut the salt back to a scant 3/4 tsp and this works fine for my taste buds. Nor did I find the bread lacking in flavour. I use regular AP flour and WW flour with a ration of 2:1.

 Also,  perhaps the salt question depends in how much salt is in your regular diet and whether you cook with salt and then use salt at the table. 

Good luck with future baking.

auzziewog's picture
auzziewog

Yes - the no knead is brilliantly easy and wonderful to eat - I am now on my 18th batch - I make two at a time and freeze one  nice toasted with marmalade - I use 2 cups of wholemeal flour - 4 cups of plain - 1.5 teaspoon of cooking salt - table spoon of oil 3.5 cup of luke warm water and 1/2 tsppon of yeast - I let it rise for 20 hours and then fold it over twice like making puff pastry and then after resting 30 min plus shaping - 2 hours into an oven of 450 deggies and I brush the loaves after I have taken to cover off with a little oil to make the crust more crunchy - nice stuff -

 

Christina's picture
Christina

I just finished my second loaf of bread.  I used an initial temp of 500, stuck the dutch oven in to heat for 10 minutes, then after I placed the dough in, kept it at 500 for two minutes.  I then lowered the oven to 475 for 28 minutes, removed the lid for another 10, then took it out.  The resulting loaf's crust wasn't as crisp, but I don't know if the gumminess of the crumb was due to not waiting as long as last time to rest before cutting.  The holes were better this time, though. I should probably have kept the lid on for 20 minutes, then took it off for another 20.  Just to test it out, the next loaf (made with AP flour) I'll make the same as the first to see if the difference, but maybe lower the temp to 475 when I remove the lid, perhaps.

-Christina 

Christina's picture
Christina

I just pulled my last loaf from the oven and here is what I learned:

A. The higher temp (500 all the way) was better than 475,

B. There was more of a crackling sound after baking at 500 than 475,

C. I cut down on the smoke by heating up my dutch oven for only 20 minutes, and

D. The crust is much crisper.

However, I am anxious to know what the crumb looks and tastes like compared to my first one, made from bread flour, not all-purpose. Unfortunately, I won't know because I'm giving it to my dad so I'll have to remind him to take notes.

Thanks for all the input, everyone.

-Christina