The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

NKB my first attempt

Martyn's picture

NKB my first attempt

I've read a lot lately about "no knead bread", so after watching several Youtube vids, I decided to have a go.

My first problem was that the recipe is measured in cups, so I picked up a set of cup measures at the supermarket. I measured out the ingredients as stated in the video; 3 cups flour (I used strong white bread flour), 1 1/2 cups water, 1 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp yeast. The vid says instant yeast, so I presume that means the sort of stuff used in bread machines as opposed to dried active yeast. The ingredients were then mixed until combined, covered with clingfilm and left over night for 15 hours.

The dough had certainly doubled in size and was covered in small bubbles. I tipped the dough out onto the worktop and was encouraged at the sight of all the bubbles in the dough. The problem was that the dough was too soft to fold. With the aid of a large spatula I managed to obtain some sort of folds before transfering a sloppy mess onto a floured towel. I'm now giving it a rest for a couple of hours before baking.

This process has raisd a few question in my mind:

Since I live in the UK where cup measures are not the norm in baking, is there a recipe for no knead bread using weights?

What is the ideal hydration for the NKB dough, that way I could at least work out the proportion of water/flour?

The recipe says bake at 500 degrees; this must be fahrenheit and my oven is in centigrade, this converts to 260c. My ovens max is 240, how much long should I bake to compensate for this?

The dough will go into the oven in just over an hour, I will post the results, good or bad, whan it's done :-/

Martyn's picture

Thanks for the reply, I'll use this recipe for the next batch. I got the 500 degrees from the NYTimes video with Jim Lehey.

I've just checked my dough and it's in serious danger of running off the towel. I've just had the idea of lowering the towel into a colander to try and gather the dough in a smaller pool. The oven in on and my pyrex pot is preheating; the next big challenge is going to be getting the dough off the towel.

Martyn's picture

Wow, the dough came right off the towel no problem thanks to the flour coating, I think the colander was a good idea. But the thing I'm really excited about is the way it's rising in the oven :-D Is the pot going to be big enough? Is the loaf going to touch the lid?

Martyn's picture

I am impresed! I took the lid off the pot after 30 mins, after another 10 mins it started to burn on the top so I took it out. I need a bigger pot!

I'm off out now but will post a crumb shot when I get back (must leave a note telling the kids not to eat this before I get back).


Martyn's picture

I can't tell you all how chuffed I am :-)

Oldcampcook's picture

Next time you need to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, just google "fahrenheit to celsius". That will bring up a site where you can enter the F and it will convert to C.

Same for gas mark, if your oven has them. "Fahrenheit to gas mark"

As a courtesy, on my website, I have been trying to remember to add C and Gasmark to all my recipes. 

BTW, darn good looking bread.


mrfrost's picture
mrfrost has several no knead recipes and videos.

The links to the videos and recipes are on the left side of the page. Most of the recipes are given it weights...well sort of. Hybridized may be a better term. Flour is given in weights, sometimes water, but most of the time, it looks like besides flour, most of the others are volume measurements.

That guy is so nice and professional though, that if you have any questions, just email him through his "contact" link and he gets right back to you(within a day). I sent him a question the day before Christmas eve and he responded on the eve. I bet he would even give you all the info you wanted in weights, maybe even put it up on the web.

I still recommend to download and use that Josh Madison Convert program. I use it all the time for converting measurements.

If you just do a search(google, yahoo, etc), for no knead breads, you should also find several(probably a lot) of recipes.

No knead cheddar cheese bread:

copyu's picture

That was a spectacular first attempt.

I always reduce the water and increase the salt slightly. I use 430g mixed plain (all-purpose) flour and bread flour; sometimes I replace some of the flour with rye (30g) or semolina flour (because I can't buy unbleached flour in Japan, at a reasonable price, anyway!)

I *strictly* limit myself to 340g of water at a maximum...maybe the flour is different here in Japan? I use about 12g of salt and the recommended quarter teaspoon of instant yeast. Never had a failure, yet!

There are many exciting variations of NKB. These days, I use a 'wild yeast' ("sourdough") starter for my NKBs instead of the instant yeast. It can cut the waiting time down a bit. I find it's also good to do 2 or 3 "stretch and folds" instead of just one...then I do my final proof in a Brotform. The first time was difficult, but it's become effortless with a bit of reading around TFL.