The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Advantages and Disadvantages of No-Knead Bread Baking

mizrachi's picture

Advantages and Disadvantages of No-Knead Bread Baking

I get that no-knead bread is both convenient and requires little in the way of equipment.  What are some other advantages to baking this way?  And, surely, there must be  some disadvantages.  What might those be?



raidar's picture

I would think that life expectancy of the bread would be a disadvantage; without added fats, it doesn't stay fresh as long as some breads. As well, the loaf isn't shaped or textured for all your needs.

I enjoy no-knead bread and have made a fresh loaf every two days now for almost a year (on top of regular bread baking) so I don't have too many complaints. From a mix of different flours, ground up seeds (sesame etc..), herbs and more, it does provide some great versatility with little prep.

flournwater's picture

IMO, the best advantage is that it takes almost no time at all to prepare.  I tend to rely on it when I don't have time to spend on other bread varieties.

Disadvantages, although I'm not bothered by it, might include the fact that when you select the "No Knead" process  you're stuck with an artisan style loaf of bread.  But I prefer that style of bread so, to my mind, it's no disadvantage.


giertson's picture

Personally, I find that the only downside of the no-knead is that it can inspire a little bit of laziness. I am less likely to whip up a really fun/difficult/new bread when I get the craving for bread since it is a simple, go to daily bread that is very satisfying. This is a pretty subjective answer, though, so it may not hold true for many.

The advantages I see are many but two stick out:

1) it is great for teaching, and even better, 'infecting' people with the bread bug. There is a long chain of people I have never even met who are baking no-knead because I taught somebody they know how to. Its easy and satisfying and most people (i find) want to know how to do it when they hear about it.


2) It is fun to experiment with. Pretty much anything you can leave out at room temperature can be incorporated. Hard cheeses, herbs, vegetables (like spinach or sun dried tomatoes) are all good ideas. I have actually been mixing in the paste from whole heads of roasted garlic lately which results in a mild but delicous garlic taste throughout the crumb.


drhowarddrfine's picture

I do notice a significant lack of taste compared to any other bread I make so I stopped with it altogether after a few loaves.

Janknitz's picture

The flavor does not suffer if you do a good job with the techniques.  There is still a nice long ferment with both NK and AB in 5, and I find the flavor is actually quite well-developed. 

Perhaps I don't have a very sophisticated palate, but I think (and I am NOT trying to start a flame war and I'm NOT directing this at anyone in particular) that sometimes people who criticize NK and AB in 5 methods haven't given them a fair trial--they are just making assumptions. 

I think the disadvantage is that there is a limited type of dough you can create with these methods (primarily highly hydrated doughs), and I like having a broader repertoire with more options for various dough textures and techniques.  Sometimes I like to have less hydration just so I can play with some fancy, dancy scoring or shaping.  

I work full time PLUS, I have a marriage, kids, and a life, so I am thrilled that these techniques exist to allow me to play with dough on MY schedule with fantastic results.  When there's time to slow down and use traditional (and not so traditional!) methods,--well, I ejoy that, too. 



hsmum's picture

Wouldn't bread made with "stretch & fold" techniques be classified as "no knead"?

I am puzzled by the suggestions that one is restricted to artisan breads and to breads that are not enriched. Could someone explain that, please?

As a busy mom, just this past week I tried my own variation on the 'stretch & fold" with a couple different sandwich loaves (one multigrain, the other an enriched white sandwich loaf) and both turned out just the same as they always have with my regular hand-kneading process.  I was amazed at the results given the lack of effort, frankly.  But as a new baker, maybe I'm too easily satisfied with merely satisfactory results, so I'd appreciate some education! :)