The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

NK Beginner - Time to progress

Leighem's picture

NK Beginner - Time to progress

As a beginner I've been baking the basic 1-2-3 NK loaf (1 tsp a/d yeast, 2 tsp salt, 1 2/3 cups water & 3 c flour) in a cast iron dutch oven.  After about 10 loaves, I'm now happy with the result and want to try something different, but not too different.

Is it possible to bake a NK loaf with this recipe as a baguette or batard shape?  How would I do that without my c/i DO?  I have a baking stone...but could such a wet dough shape/work on that?

This is my first post to this wonderful site.  Looking forward to your input.     Leigh

PastryPaul's picture

Welcome aboard

First off, I assume NK means no-knead. Frankly, I've never heard it referred to as "NK."

Shaping no-knead into a baguette shape will alomost certainly require baguette forms. I saw some short ones at Wal-Mart for about $12 if memory serves. Commercial forms won't fit in a home oven.

There are tons of videos online about shaping breads. My favs are here

(You can also find some on YouTube)

Just a note: In the video, when he forms the final shape, he is not whacking down th edough, he is simply pinching the seam closed. Do it right and you won't lose all the gas you built up.

If you have trouble working the dough, liberally flour your work surface. The dough will pick some up and get a little stiffer


LePetitPoulet's picture

Hi Leigh,

My first post too...I've been a lurker off and on for a while.

I'm a bit of a budget girl and also don't have access to all of the right equipment due to location (New Zealand).  Years ago I went to the fabric store down the road and purchased some material called "duck"; it's a very thick woven cotton like canvas and I use this to proof all sorts of breads.  You flour it, shake it, kind of bunch it up to make grooves, flour it gently again, and then proof the dough in it.  It's sturdy enough so the dough rises and will hold its shape and mine never sticks - and I make ciabatta with 85% hydration (i.e. very wet) and it's all good.  I've been using the same bit for years and years; having met bakers in France and Italy I learned that you don't wash it, just shake it outside after each batch of bread, fold it, wrap it and store it in a dark dry place (my hot water cylinder works a treat).  

My grandma's generation also used to use old flour sacks and the like.  

Enjoy your journey with bread; I can assure you that you'll have a wonderful experience, at times frustrating (try a husband who washes out your container of sourdough starter that you had been religiously cultivating for 4 years because he thought it looked "off" - marking it clearly helps!), but ultimately rewarding and really gratifying.