The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

no knead

DownStateBaker's picture

Sorry for the delay. I thought I would have a chance to post day two right away. I am now in day three of the creation of the starter. So let's catch up!

Day 2

This is how my starter looked at 30 hours from the initial mix of 300g flour 300g water. I stirred it 5 times over the 30 hours. In the first 12 hours i had left the bowl, covered, on my pellet stove. It got up to 90 F, this was initially thought of as a mistake by me. So I moved the bowl to somewhere at room temp. Then over the next 28 hours it was alive with activity so awesome. So hopefully over the 30 hours you've seen activity similar to what is shown above. If it takes more time than 30 its ok, this is what you want it to look similar too before going on to the next step.


You should have 600g of starter mix. Take 300g of this mix, add 150g of flour, and 150g water. I had just poured a glass of a nice weizen-bock and mixed the water with the yeast sediment in the bottle. I figured the more the merrier, yeast wise. Then mixed it up until well combined (No chunks of dry flour). To look like this.

Day 3

Here is how it looked at around 12pm today before I mixed it up again (not adding anything). Updates to come

DownStateBaker's picture

Introduction to bread baking

Bread has been baked since 4000 BCE. Keep this in mind while reading this and other bread books or information. So really all you need is some simple tools, flour (in this intro flour quality won't be a huge issue), salt, water, an oven, and most importantly time.


Hands- These are your greatest tools. Their most important attribute is what they can tell you. They can tell you how strong, moist, warm, cool, and proofed your dough is. You will develop how to interperet these tactile sensations through practice.

The Bowl- While not entirely necessary, it was one of the earliest and best development in baking. When choosing one look for durability (I use a steel bowl) and size (big but not too big to hold under your arm while mixing, but big enough to have a lot of space for mixing).

A Mixing Implement- I use a wooden short handed flat spoon thing I found somewhere (pictured).My implement

Oven- In this introduction I use an electric oven.

Flour- We could go on and on about flour, but for the sake of brevity I'll keep it short. At home when I don't always have good bread flour I use King Arthur All-Purpose or Gold Medal All-Purpose flours. I am not above using store brand all-purpose if money and the availability of these flours are an issue.

Salt- A nice unrefined sea salt containing calcium and magnesium is best. If this isn't available then I would go with Diamond Crystal Kosher salt. In a pince non-iodized table salt will do fine (iodine is no good for yeast or other microbes that we might like in our bread).

Water- I am lucky enough to live in a house where I get really nice water from a well. I don't know the chemistry of my water but it works well. In general acidic water weakens gluten and alkali strengthens it. Hard water helps create stronger gluten networks because of the presence of calcium and magnesium. Less water makes denser easier to work with loaves and more water lighter more difficult to handle dough.

Yeast- In this introduction we're going to be catching some wild yeast. But store bought yeast will work if you want bread ASAP (this goes against my bread philosophy, but I understand when you want bread and you want it now). Dry yeast has a longer shelf life than cake yeast. So if you are unsure of the freshness of the yeast in your local store go for the packaged dry yeast. Check the expiration date.

Digital Scale- I am also lucky enough to have a scale in my home kitchen. I suggest anyone serious enough to be on a baking forum get one. Grams are what I use when writing my recipes. I like the exactness making rounding a rare occurence. If you don't have one on hand this website has good conversions

Time- The more the better.

Lets Begin

First get your bowl and mixing implement ready and clean.

Next get some flour and water (I use 80 F at this step). Weigh out 300g of flour and 300g of 80 F water. Now you can also get creative and add some ripe fruit or some bottle conditioned beer if you want a little help in cultivating the yeast. Water and Flour first added

Mix the water and flour until combined (Picture).

Keep the mixture covered in a clean warm spot in your house. Stir every few hours for the next 24 hours. Four or five times should do it. Don't worry if the mixings aren't equally spaced apart just so long as there is about 5-6 hours between mixings. We are mixing it this many times not so much to develop more strength in the dough but because we want to expose more of the mixture to the air containing ambient yeast as well as spreading out yeast that has begun colonizing the mixture.

Tommorow I will update.

JoeV's picture

Sourdough No Knead bread

October 24, 2009 - 6:51am -- JoeV

Here are two no knead loaves baked in an oblong cloche. Both were made using the same reipe, using 1/4 Cup of sourdough starter in lieu of 1/4 t of instant yeast. The difference is in the fermentation time (12 hours for the first and 16 hours for the second), and the resultant "explosion" of the crust with the second loaf. Has anyone else seen this type of reaction when Iusing sourdough starter? I do not get this reaction when using commercial yeast and varying the fermentation time as earlier described. The flavor is magnificent, by the way.


mrosen814's picture

Using the “no-knead” method, popularized by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery, I went for a ciabatta this weekend.  There were a few adjustments I made to the recipe:

  1. I used 2/3 bread flour and 1/3 whole wheat flour, instead of 100% bread Flour.

  2. To develop the strength of the dough a bit, I used the “stretch-and-fold” technique several times throughout the 19-hour fermentation period.

Overall, I was pleased with the results.  The crumb had a nice open structure, with uneven holes throughout.  The crust was a bit thinner than I expected, and was hoping for a bit more oven spring. :)


taurus430's picture

No Knead Ciabatta

April 11, 2009 - 1:39pm -- taurus430

I've been making no knead breads and started using that method for ciabatta. I do however like adding non fat dry milk powder to my ciabatta dough. Can I add this when mixing, and keep it out 18 hours? Some recipes for ciabatta are 2 steps, adding other ingredients on day 2 and mixing. I want to avoid the second stage of using a mixer.




cogito45's picture

The proper pot for no knead

March 6, 2009 - 6:07pm -- cogito45

I just bought the most beautiful covered pot and am about to make no knead bread.  Possible problem:  the diameter of the pot at the lip is 3/4 in. less than down below.  How will I get the bread out?  Can I succesfully let it cool in the pot, and will the bread shrink when cool?  If letting it cool in the pot is o.k. but it won't shrink,  how about cutting it into pieces while still in the pot?  All ideas will be much appreciated.

Traci's picture

Bake times for smaller loaves

October 9, 2008 - 5:17pm -- Traci


I have only just started baking. I've made the no-knead bread and really like that. However its really, really large for one person. If I want to split the recipe in two and make two loaves how I should adjust the bake times to still get the same results of a crispy, crackly crust and nice soft inner part? Also, is there anything I'll need to do differently with my dutch oven?

Thanks in advance!



marcsababa's picture

One stage sourdough bread made the best whole wheat sourdough bread !! But how can I make it a little less sour?

April 8, 2008 - 3:24pm -- marcsababa

I found this recipe here on the boards.  It was called Sourdough Guy's one stage sourdough bread.  I used the exact quantities given with whole wheat.  It requires so little labour and it actually allows you to soak your flour for long enough that I think it must meet the requirements of the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, but it produces a loaf that is incredibly light.  I am so happy because I have been trying to make the healthiest bread possible out of wheat flour and yet I wanted it to be light for sandwiches and buns. 



Subscribe to RSS - no knead