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"No-knead" Bread : which approach?

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vink's picture
vink

"No-knead" Bread : which approach?

Hi, 

I've just started baking bread recently, have had couple of reasonably successful rye loaves using one of the recipes on this site (Eric's Fav Rye).

I would like to bake some simple white bread using the  the no-knead method. With some research, I see three methods:

  1. The method in "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes Everyday", which involves mixing the dough and letting it proof in the fridge and then bake directly
  2. The method from the NYT article/video, which involves mixing the dough and letting it proof at room temperature for about 12 hours or so
  3. The method that involves folding several times instead of kneading. 

All of those are "no-knead" in some way or other. I think I can tackle any one of those based on what I have done so far, any advice on which approach would give the best results for a newbie?  I am looking to make some white bread that my kids would like, Rye ain't gonna be what they like.

Thanks in advance!

--Vinod

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Go with the method with a couple folds or so.

You will end up with appreciably better texture, in my opinion. Much easier handling/shaping too. It's always been my suspicion that Lahey throws in an extra(unshown) fold or so. In addition to mixing a little more thoroughly than shown in the video.

cinnymom's picture
cinnymom

I've used all three methods and it really depends on what you are looking for.

1.  Artisan Bread in 5 minutes method.  This is easy peasy - minimal mixing, approx 2 hours at room temp, then refrigerate.  Final proof at room temp.  It took me a few tries to get the feel for how "wet" the dough should be.  You have extra for multiple loaves

2.  Lahey method.  This is also easy peasy - minimal mixing, rise at room temp (I go 18 hours when I can) and final proof also at room temp.  I'm not sure wht the previous commenter meant as being suspicious of an extra fold, as I have done minimally handling (no folding!!) and by far this has produced the best texture and taste, IMHO. 

3.  If you are referring to Peter Reinhart's method, then I've only really used his method for making sourdough, which I have NEVER done before and it's also quite easy.  A bit more work, but I don't find that the "folds" improve the taste or the texture.

In the end, it's also dependent on how you bake these.  My oven vents steam, and steam while baking (for the first 15 minutes)  is important for good oven spring.  So, I use either a clay baker or a cast iron dutch oven as directed to get the best texture (crust and crumb) as the doughs are all much wetter than conventionally made bread.

I hope this helps :)

vink's picture
vink

The method 3 I am referring to is like this video:

 http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10276/noknead-video

Here, instead of kneading, you fold several times. I used a similar approach to doing the rye sourdough I baked last weekend.

I guess I will probably try the Leahy method over the weekend. I am not sure I really want to make a lot of dough yet, so I am a little reluctant to try the 5 minutes method and have a lot of dough that's not working out well :-)

Thanks for all the advice, I will keep you posted on how it works out.

 


HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

I found the videos at http://www.sourdoughhome.com/stretchandfold.html show a method that's very easy to replicate and it's become my "go to" method.  Since I work at home online, I just set the timer to remind me to go stretch-and-fold.  It's fun to see the ragged mess you start out with turn, seemingly by magic, into a beautiful, silky dough.

vink's picture
vink

Thanks, I used something sort of similar to do my rye. That is a very nice tutorial. 

RonEld's picture
RonEld

Not to disparage any other method, you should over time try them all. This however is my experience with No-Knead.

Most all of the professional bakers I've spoken with agree that the best tasting bread comes from dough that has been given as long as possible to rise with the minimum of yeast. A cool environment helps too. One baker used the example of aged wine to make the point. The NYT recipe is easy, results in an attractive loaf and really tastes great. The crumb however can be unpredictable. I spritz with water once in the pot and sprinkle some Danish white poppyseeds (hvid birkes) - give it slash across the top. I use a cast iron covered pot preheated for at least a half hour to bake the bread, the last 10 minutes uncovered. Cast Iron is heavy and heated to 450f makes it dangerous so be careful.

3 cups flour & 1/4 tsp yeast some water & salt. It really doesn't get much easier. I prefer white cornmeal to flour or yellow cornmeal for final dough prep. No reason, just preference. When it comes time to transfer dough to the pot, don't be fussy about how it landed. It will look (and smell) amazing when it's done.

Prep the dough at 6:00 pm the day before, then bake it in the early afternoon the next day. I do this on Friday when I get home from work and bake it Saturday. That way I can use the oven to make a Pizza for the kids lunch too.

vink's picture
vink

Thanks, I think my timing will come out somewhat similar. I made the dough last night around 10pm, and should be home around 5 to start on the baking, and my dutch oven should be delivered today from Amazon as well. Thanks for the hint on the crust (my kids get rid of the crust anyway ..sigh) 

FaithHope's picture
FaithHope

These are some of my 63313 loaves.  I love it!  Super, super, easy!!

 

vink's picture
vink

Sorry, I can't seem to get to the 6-3-3-13 link. It drops me straight back to this thread. Thanks.

MickiColl's picture
MickiColl

what is 6-3-3-13 ?

FaithHope's picture
FaithHope

It's in Artisan Bread in 5 minutes Everyday.  I haven't gotten the book yet, just trying out a couple rec. in it.  But so far like this one the best!  It's super easy and really quick to whip it out!  Might not be totally "fancy" but in a rush, it works great for me! :)Plus I never have to read the recipe.  I just remember the #'s and mix it up, dump it in the bowl, let it rise an hour, throw it in the frig!  AWESOME, every time!!

PS. I am planning on getting the book! :)

sheffield's picture
sheffield (not verified)
carefreebaker's picture
carefreebaker

I bake both Lahey's and Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day weekly. I cut the AB recipe in half and it's makes almost the same size loaf as Lahey's recipe.

When I remember to start the dough the night before I make Lahey's. If I forget or want a quicker loaf, I go with AB.

We prefer Lahey's bread for the flavor and texture. Both recipes are super easy and delicious.

I bake both breads in my clay baker or a covered dutch oven.

leto3000's picture
leto3000

I am using Lahey's recipe for several years now, but proportions I came to look as follows:

flour - 800 g
yeast - 1 g
salt - 16 g
water - 600 g

meaning - I doubled everything except for yeast, and it seems (to me) that it tastes better. Rise - 8 hr in summer and 12-18 hr for the rest of the year.

500F, 30 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered.

I have two pots for baking this bread - a dutch oven and a thick aluminum casserole. Both work well.

vink's picture
vink

I baked a loaf using the original Leahy recipe yesterday. I will post pictures later. Overall, it tastes great and the DO worked great. I had two issues.
1. The dough was a little too wet, I couldn't really shape it. I folded it and kind of just dropped the blob into the DO after an hour and half.
2. The loaf didn't have much height. The crumb was good, so I think it is the shaping problem, but you all can tell me when I paste the pictures.

Anyone have this recipe converted for whole wheat?

Thanks for all the advice, you guys are very helpful!

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

That's why I suggested it may possibly be necessary/desirable to do an extra fold or so. There are quite a few posts(search) with initial results like yours(ours) that would have been greatly improved(probably) with an extra fold, or two, over an additional hour or two. Possibly just a little better mixing, if one mixes like he shows in the video.

As I earlier suggested; easier handling, better volume. More consistent results from one effort to the next. If it seems to messy to handle(and doesn't look/handle like his), why not do an extra fold if you know it will help(it will).

Although there are probably just as many that are quite satisfied with results like yours. Good for them too.

Good luck.

Also, what type/brand flour are you using?

vink's picture
vink

Thanks for the suggestion on the extra fold. I will try it tomorrow. I am using Safeway 365 organic all purpose flour. For tomorrow, I have a batch with KA white whole wheat.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

You're on your own with whole wheat. Not really, but all whole wheat could change "everything". So much so that you are virtually creating your own, new recipe.

Best to start off making smaller, less significant changes. Like maybe start with replacing one cup of the flour with a cup of whole wheat flour.

Good luck.

jkmanosque's picture
jkmanosque

I've used the Lahey method over and over with great results.  I've stopped baking the dough in a cast iron pan and instead shape and bake them as baguettes - no spritzing, slashing - and the baguettes are excellent.  On a recent visit to Manhattan I went to Sullivan and tried some of their bread and italian sweet bread - fantastic stuff.  Awhile back i tried the Artisan in 5 minutes method and found the bread is too heavy, no holes in the crumb.  

The other method i've used in the past with great results is dan lepard's sort of no knead but lots of folding - i highly recommend his book the handmade loaf.

enjoy.

cinnymom's picture
cinnymom

As mentioned previously, I do NOT use any extra folds for the Lahey method and have had wonderful crusts and crumbs with this method.  I only make 100% white bread maybe once a month if that, but it does take a bit of trials to know how "moist" the dough should be.  It's hard to explain in text, but I would suggest using a bit less water next time (by the way, are you weighing your ingredients or using cups?  I weigh mine for this one).  I also follow the time and heat suggested by the ABin5 folks (it's on their website rather than in their books) regarding the use of a dutch oven.  I preheat (with the pot in the oven) for 30 minutes at 500F, then I bake it covered for ony 15minutes.  I then remove the cover and turn down the heat to 450F and go for another 20-25 minutes.

Bottom line, I think that's the benefit to trying all of the different no-knead methods (there is one more I forgot to mention - Nancy Baggett is the author of Kneadless Simple) as a previous commenter indicated.

 

For whole wheat variations, I've followed the Pane Integrale instructions and have tried all 400g of whole wheat, but prefer 300g whole wheat with 100g unbleached white bread flour.  With whole wheat, you will never get exactly the same crumb (and oven spring) as with all white, but it's pretty good and tastes delicious. 

vink's picture
vink

Here are the pictures from the three experiments. Last week, I used the Leahy recipe pretty much as is (and cinnymom: I weighed the ingredients). It came out a little too wet and hard to shape, but tasted great. It was somewhat flat. I used the convection mode in my oven, pre-heated at 450 for 30 minutes, baked covered for 30 minutes and then uncovered for 15.

Here is it in the DO: 

 

Here is the loaf, a little flat, like I said before:

Here is the crumb:

Today, I made essentially the same all-purpose flour recipe with a little less water, one more folding and used a loaf pan to make it softer for the kids, and did a 100% whole wheat flour version in the DO. I used the non convection setting, which did a little bit of burn on the bottom, but both came out pretty good overall.

Here are the two loaves:

Here is the crumb:

Still lot to learn and experiment, but I am very pleased that the last five loaves have all been very tasty, and I am learning more as I go along.

 

Thanks again for all your advice!

 

cinnymom's picture
cinnymom

I say "yay" to you, vink, bc you are willing to experiment.  We can all provide advice and comments and opinions until the cows come home, but in the end, there are many variables that impact the final product (including oven, ingredients, etc etc).  If you are willing to invest a little experimentation time, then the benefits far outweigh the time you may spend.  You will get a feel for how moist the dough should be and how best to bake as well as what adjustments you can make.  For example, I started out with the pizza stone with a tray and water for producing steam but as mentioned before, quickly realized that my oven vented steam so couldn't use that method.  Although I wouldn't consider myself an expert by any means, I do feel a lot more comfortable making adjustments to recipes and just going by how the dough feels and being confident in the outcome.  It feels really good and I have a lot of fun.  I hope you do as well. 

 

By the way, your loaves look great :)

vink's picture
vink

Thank you for the encouragement .. I am already thinking about what to bake next weekend :-) 

LovelyCraftyHome's picture
LovelyCraftyHome

Artisan Bread in 5....it took me from a complete non baker to a very proficient bread maker. I have not made anything from the book that turned out badly. Everyone who tries the bread thinks it's delicious, and I'm planning on purchasing their second book "Healthy Bread in 5"