The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Questions on no-knead bread

cex112's picture
cex112

Questions on no-knead bread

Hi,

I'm pretty new to breadmaking, funnily enough because I think I have a bit of a wheat intolerance. However, having researched how to make better bread I came upon the NY Times 'no knead bread' method and have been using this successfully over the last three weeks, making bread pretty much every day.

But I'd doing some things just because that is 'how it was done' on the video and would like to understand what is going on, so a couple of questions:

 

1. Why for the final rise is the bread 'upside down'? Does it matter? It would be easier for me to get it into the pan if it was the right way up I think.

2. On the video, they are making this in a bakery. I'm in a home and can't throw flour all over the place (often looks like I have though!). The original technique puts the dough into some floured towels for the last 2 hour rise. Now does this matter? Can I replace this with non-stick bowls or something? My reason for asking is that I've probably destroyed about 5 tea towels with the dough sticking to them (even though they were floured).

 

Thanks for any insights.

Royston

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

Spray or rub a little cooking oil on a sheet of palstic wrap (or I use plastic shower caps from the Dollar store--they come 10 for $1) and cover the bowl with that--no flour flying around.  Some people spray the plastic with a cooking spray, but I have a refillable oil sprayer with olive oil.  Just a thin coat is all you need. 

You might want to check out "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Herzberg and Francois.  They have recipes for breads that don't contain any wheat and the method is similar to the NY times recipe. 

cex112's picture
cex112

Thanks for your help, I haven't tried plastic wrap with oil. Tried it without and that didn't work!

I'll look up the book, sounds good.

 

Cheers

Royston

This Day's picture
This Day

1.  Since you don't score no-knead bread, having the seam up in the oven allows the bread to break along the seam as it expands during baking.

2.  I sift rice flour in a large circle over the middle of the dish towel before setting the dough on it.  Then I gather the four corners of the towel and lower the dough into a cheap woven straw hat (from a dollar store) that has a deep crown.  Still holding the corners of the towel, I gently tip the dough back and forth to see that it releases from the towel.  If it doesn't, I sprinkle a bit more rice flour around the edges of the dough.  I place the top of the towel loosely over the top of the upside-down hat.  If the crown is deep enough, the dough won't rise high enough to touch the towel on top.

When I'm ready to bake, it's easy to pick up the hat and tip the dough into the pan or pot.  I just hold back the hat brim and loose edges of the towel in one hand, flip the hat over and push on the crown to tip the dough out. 

I usually use some whole-wheat flour in no-knead bread, and twelve ounces of water.  In the video it looks as if Jim Lahey uses more flour than the recipe states.

 

 

cex112's picture
cex112

Thanks, that all makes sense, never thought of using a hat, but I can see how that would work.

Does it matter that when you tip it in, that lots of rice flower ends up in the pan too? (i.e. that was on the towel?)

I would like to use some whole-wheat flour too, do you have a sense of how much to use is okay? and does this affect timings at all?

 

Thanks again

Royston

This Day's picture
This Day

You don't need to use very much rice flour--it's surprisingly non-stick.  Most of the rice flour will adhere to the towel anyway.  You can brush off any excess on the bread after it has cooled.

You can use about one-third whole-wheat flour, but maybe you should experiment with less at first.  The dough won't rise as high, and the baked loaf will be smaller.

I usually let my dough putter away for about 24 hours for the initial rise, so have forgotten how much whole wheat affects timings using the usual procedure for no-knead bread.  You'll probably need to allow more rising time.