The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lahey No-Knead baloney

livingdog's picture

Lahey No-Knead baloney

After re-watching the NYT video of Jim Lahey making his "No-Knead" bread I have noticed something I didn't see before. Watch it again and see if you can catch it:

... did you see it?

Answer: the bread after the 19 hour rise time is sticky as a glue ball. However, the dough he starts to handle is anything but sticky. In fact it has a beautifully smooth and silky consistency.

So my question is, what did he do to that sticky mess that became easy to handle and even allowed him to throw it into a 500 deg pot?

Thanks in advance,

-ld (Ecc. 9:1-4)


jim_kk5rz's picture

He dusted it with flour to facilitate handling and he folded it on itself.

MichaelH's picture

What exactly are you implying?

Keep in mind that Jim Lahey is a very successful baker and author who has almost single handedly brought the ability to make good bread to the average household without any equipment, training or expensive ingredients. His method also takes very little time.

livingdog's picture

In a dramatization of Galileo showing the moon through his telescope to the Church officials he said (paraphrasing from memory): "Do you not see? The moon is not a crystal at all, but has mountains and deep valleys!" The religious authority there to decide whether Galileo was a heretic looked through the telescope, thought for a moment, and declared Galileo a heretic.

MichaelH's picture

You proved my point. Don't forget your meds.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

it had rolled in the flour once it hit the floured table.  I throw a little flour on the dough first before tipping it out just so it rolls out easier.   A fold is easy and does wonders but technically not kneading and requires little muscle.  Weather it was edited out or not, I see no problem. 

I don't think it was kneaded when the camera wasn't looking, if that's what you're after.  If you dip your finger tips in flour first, grabbing the wet dough quickly where the flour has already dusted the outside sticky surface is not hard.  Just keep a loose grip.  When he folded the dough it stuck pretty good onto itself meaning... that the dough was still pretty sticky. 

Thanks for bringing up the video again.  I easily forget how easy it really is when one is sure of the method.  Lets see... was that 3 cups of flour and 1.5 cups water?  heck we are back with the aproximate 100% hydration recipe again!  Handy little formula...  Shall we call it focaccia? 


teojen77's picture

At my location, the weather is really hot and humid. The first time I tried his recipe, using the same amount of water, I couldn't handle the dough at all and it seemed overproofed too..

Hence, the next time I did it with less water, and shorter proofing times. And, I could at least see the same dough as seen on the tv.

Sidetrack - I noticed if the weather is too hot, this no knead dough will spoil. It will have a "bug" smell. Something like the flour turn bad, only this is dough.

Anyone out there - Do you think it is possible if we can use the same trick as the 5 mins artisan bread? dip the entire dough in flour?




mrfrost's picture

Be aware there may be 2 versions of this recipe published, with the difference being a slight difference in the amount of water prescribed.

copyu's picture

There are several formulae about the place...

Some kind, (but possibly naive) soul, somewhere, converted the original formula to gram measures...but it was still over-hydrated and slightly under-salted. For Lahey's original NKB formula given in the video, which is in cups <GRRR!>, I always recommend a MAXIMUM of 340g and stress that "less is more" if you want impressive results. [Cups of water are not the same as cups of flour, as we all know...]

I also discovered that my bread turned out at least as well as Mr Lahey's in the video (better, sometimes? MAYBE!) by cutting the time back a few hours and using the balance of the time to do at least 3 stretch-and-folds. I've done S&Fs at intervals anywhere from 60 minutes, down to 20 minutes. It's still NKB, though, and works beautifully! I got to where I could do my final proofs in a proofing basket with no sticking, ever!

We have to remember that Jim Lahey is a very experienced baker, who could undoubtedly make good bread with the NKB formula almost with his eyes closed, just by smell and feel. [From watching the video, I don't think he'd handle the loading of the oven very well with a blind-fold on, however! ;-) ]



livingdog's picture

I watched Rhineheart's video on YouTube and there is something done to the dough beyond the naive single stretch and fold. They're called "tricks."

Like you I found that the recipe as described kneads :) to be adjusted.

Thanks for the instructive reply.