The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

NYT No-Knead Bread

sqpixels's picture

NYT No-Knead Bread

I'm writing because I need some advice on bread baking... I decided to
give the famous NYT No Knead bread a go...

I followed the online video instructions :

3 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water

Mix it all around into a dough making sure everything was hydrated,
covered with plastic wrap and left it alone for about 19-20 hours.

I don't have a cast iron pot so I used a chinese claypot instead,
preheated it on top of my baking stone at 225C (max/ 437F) for 1 hour.

I did the folding of dough and so very carefully transferred the dough
into the pot. Baked with the lid closed for 30 minutes and removed lid
and baked for another 17 minutes.

It looked GREAT and I was so excited! then I sliced it to check. I
think I almost had it perfect - I had the beautiful large holes from
the gluten formation but it was a bit doughy wet inside not light and
dry. I've enclosed 2 pictures of it so you have an idea what I am
talking about.


































So I am wondering what went wrong? Was my dough too wet? or did I not
bake it long enough??


Oldcampcook's picture

I made my first loaf of no knead yestereday, using one cup of whole wheat and two cups of bread flour.

I followed the recipe exactly, but thought the dough was a bit wet. 

I cooked it in a cast iron Dutch oven, 500 degrees (oven thermometer) 30 mins with lid on, 15 mins with lid off.

 My crust was great - nice and crisp and good looking.  The crumb was not bad, but the inside was wet and doughy, also.

edh's picture

I make the NYT NK bread quite often (I'm afraid it's just too easy to give up), usually with 1/3 ww, 2/3 white bread flour. After the 30 minutes covered, I find that 20 minutes uncovered generally does it. I've gone as long as 25, but found the crust a little dark for my taste. 205 - 210 F should be the temp, but even without a thermometer, I think you'll find an extra 5 or 10 minutes will do the trick.

Enjoy; you've got a beautiful crumb going there!


LilDice's picture

I haven't done this bread, but I think it's obvious you didn't bake it long enough. You should be using a thermometer to check the inside temperature, most breads this is around 205 F in the center for proper crumb formation.

Cooky's picture

Your problem is one that a lot of people have run into with this recipe. It just takes a little adjusting.

For one thing, as many folks noticed, in the original NYT video demonstrating the technique, the baker scooped his flour out of a sack and tapped it to level it off. That can give you a little more flour in your recipe than you get if you spoon the flour out first or sift it or otherwise aerate your flour . So adding a bit more flour, even two or three tablespoons,  might help. As with any bread recipe, the dough is going to be a little different every time depending on how much moisture is in the flour and in the air in your kitchen.

Also, 17 minutes uncovered bakng is just not enough in many cases, in part because ovens vary so much. I've found that 20 minutes is the minimum I need. If the bread seems to be getting too dark, I sometimes turn off the oven after 20 minutes and let the loaf stay inside as the heat dissipates for as much as 10 minutes. (The danger with doing this can be a thick and very crunchy crust; doesn't bother me, but some folks don't like it.)

Previous posters who advised using a thermometer, and shooting for 205 or 210 internal temperature, are absolutely right. I've found the instant-read thermo I picked up at Target for a few bucks has saved me from all kinds of mistakes.

In any case, might as well give it another go. As so many bread-baking fans on this board have learned, no matter how carefully you follow a given techique, there is no substitute for trial and error.





"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

gtuck's picture

I've given to weighing the ingredients and have had pretty consistent results.  I only need 30 min in a covered 5qt Lodge Dutch Oven and then 10 minutes with the lid off.  More than that in my oven browns the crust too much.  
When is the best time to add other ingredients--herbs, olives and the like--in the initial mix or carefully when folding the dough before final proofing?

Oldcampcook's picture

I actually (for the first time!) spooned the flour out instead of scooping like I usually do.  That may have been why the dough was wetter than I thought it should be.

I also cheated after I cut it and stuck it back in the oven by itself to dry out a bit.

I don't know why I didn't use my instant read thermometer like I usually did.  I guess, in the excitement of trying the new method, I "plumb" forgot.

Well, am not THAT discouraged, so will try again next weekend.

Thanks, Cooky, for the tips.

Old Camp Cook

sqpixels's picture

Wow! Thanks to everyone for their input!
Think I might leave it to bake with the lid on for another 5 minutes and use the thermometer to check too!! Will give it another go this weekend!
Thanks again everyone!

beanfromex's picture

 I keep mine in the oven 30 w/lid and 15 without.

 Also, Try changing using either wheat bran or cornmeal on  your loaves. The difference is golden with the corneal and a darker brown with the wheat bran.  If you ever bake two, the contrast looks wonderful.

Oldcampcook's picture

I used cornmeal and it looks great on the crust.  BTW, I used sourdough starter in lieu of dry yeast.

Old Camp Cook

dwg302's picture

i would love to try making this but unfortunately i don't have a dutch oven.   has anyone tried to bake it in something else with good results, tried it free form, or maybe in la cloche?



Cooky's picture

I've baked this bread in Visions glass pots, in stainless steel stockpots and a glazed clay casserole dish with a cover. As long as your container can take relatively high heat (425-500+, depending on your preferences), it will work.

I have tried this using the cold-oven method too (no pre-heat, just throw the developed loaf into the covered dish, put it into the oven and turn on the heat), and it has worked fine too. Not quite as much crunchy, crunchy crust as with the pre-heat, but still pretty yummy bread.

If this is your first time, be careful not to take it out of the oven too soon. And extra 5-10 minutes at a slightly lowered temp during the uncovered phase is is a good way to avoid the gummy texture that you can sometimes get. It is a very good idea to use a thermometer to make sure the internal temp is over 200 degrees. Also: Don't cut it open until it has cooled thoroughly. It takes as good 20 minutes or more (depending on the size of your loaf) after you take it out of the oven before the inside of the loaf sets up completely.


"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

KipperCat's picture

I use a heavy 4 quart saucepan. Here's a pic of yesterday's loaf.


KipperCat's picture

David, I've baked one loaf free form on a stone, with very good results. I think with some of the wetter doughs from my earlier batches, it would have spread a lot more. This one was proofed in a colander.



I find this recipe even easier since I started weighing the flour (430 grams)  It yields a much drier dough. 

weavershouse's picture

Bread looks delicious. I think this is a great technique baked in a pot of some kind or free form. If I decide I want to make bread the next morning I just mix a batch of this dough up at night, no kneading or fussing and I'm all set. And the bread tastes very good. You're right about making a wet but not too wet dough. I don't know hydration %, I just go by how it feels. Great job.                                                              weavershouse

KipperCat's picture

Thank you!

AnnieT's picture

 Eric at Breadtopia has a spelt version of the NKB and the comment was that it was flat. I asked if substituting some bread flour might improve the crumb, and plan on trying it myself. I have baked this bread in all sorts of pots and so far the best results are with my stainless steel Dutch oven. The cast iron pan gave me burned bottom crusts - annoying because I bought is specially for the NKB. I have also used a wide flower pot - well washed and with a piece of parchment over the hole and a casserole lid on top. I still use a smaller one for the half recipe. I used to get flattish bread until I started lining my banneton with parchment and then GENTLY lowering the dough and paper into the hot pot. Much better oven spring. Hope this helps, A