The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Here we go again? No knead part deux?

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Jimme's picture
Jimme

Here we go again? No knead part deux?

colinwhipple's picture
colinwhipple

I wonder how this can work.  I thought that kneading was necessary to create the gluten structure that bread needed to hold the carbon dioxide bubbles created during the fermentation.  I can see how folding can take its place, but what do you end up with in no-knead/no-fold bread?

What am I missing here? 

Colin

 

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Colin, for an easy to understand video of this method check out Breadtopia where Eric shows how it is done, and also gives some variations. I particularly like the one with steel cut oats. Give it a try, A.

Jimme's picture
Jimme

Annie,

 This is not the NYT no-knead bread that Breadtopia demonstrates.  This method is something a bit different.  The book just came out and the article is just appearing in various papers.  The recipe/method appears easier (if that's possible) than the NYT no knead.  I plan on trying  it out during Thanksgiving break, but not tomorrow because I'm not allowed in the kitchen!

 

 

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Sorry! A.

browndog's picture
browndog

Colin, the NYT no-knead lets time do the gluten development--I believe this dough rises 12 hours or so.

 

colinwhipple's picture
colinwhipple

You zeroed in on my question.

 Colin 

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Gluten development can occur in a number of ways.

One is simple chemical action.  When you wet flour and wait, you will get some gluten formation.  Maybe not enough, but it is there.  When this is added to other techniques, it becomes more significant.

Another is physical action, whether that is kneading or stretching and folding.  You are extending the gluten that is being formed, and that organizes it and strengthens it.

A third mechanism is the action of the riser.  When your yeast or sourdough or whatever raises the dough, it stretches it.

When you mix dough and let it sit with a riser for 18 hours, the two predominant mechanisms are chemical action and riser action.

 

When  you knead dough you are getting chemical action and physical action as the predominant mechanisms.

 

When you develop dough with a stretch and fold, you are getting chemical action, riser action and physical action.  However, you are getting less physical action, so some doughs - such as doughs with lots of rye in them - still turn out better with kneading.

 

Hope this helps,

Mike

 

rideold's picture
rideold

If you can believe it the latest issue of Cooks Illustrated took on the "No Knead Revolution" and set out to improve it.......guess what they found made the bread better?....Kneading....

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

I almost always check their site when I'm trying something new or looking for what the best olive oil, chefs knife is according to their tests. I didn't know they'd taken on "n-knead" bread - I'll check it out ... but TOMORROW! Too much cooking going on today!

 Trish

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Yes, I read the article.  Everyone wants to tweak this recipe.  Of course you can't call it "No Knead" if you knead.  But, unless you're a purist, it's okay to knead.

Rosalie

harrygermany's picture
harrygermany

Hi all,

what do you think our ancestors did, the bakers, some decades or centuries ago?
You know that they kneaded the dough, by hand!

Do you believe they were ignorant, all of them?
Or just dawdled away because they had nothing else to do?

Believe me, they tried hard to finish work as fast as possible.
And they also tried several techniques to achieve good breads in shorter time.

So compare what our bakers are doing nowadays.
Still kneading. All blockheads?

Harry

---------------------------------------
Everyone is a stranger somewhere -
so don´t give narrowmindedness or
intolerance no chance nowhere.

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I feel like this quote kind of sums it up (from the NYT article on the same book):

"With the hands of a practiced baker, kneading, long rises, multiple rises and sourdough starters produce complex breads of great variety. For most people they produce frustration. That, Dr. Hertzberg said, keeps many people from baking bread."

 

I guess I like that these methods help people get started, but I feel like it makes "real" bread baking seem too hard to try. Obviously, as you said, people have been kneading and baking for many generations--and there sure are a lot of folks at FreshLoaf doing just fine!

suave's picture
suave

Well, my ancestors believed that Eli the Prophet rides in the sky and smites sinners with thunderbolts.  Were they ignorant?  You betcha they were! I know quite a few people who are not much advanced, mind you.  And they had guilds - I seriously doubt innovation and idea exchange were particularly popular policies.  Also, from what I gather we'd refuse to touch the flour our ancestors had to deal with with a ten foot pole.  So I would not necessary consider medieval techniques to be the pinnacle of the craft.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I have no idea how people developed their dough a couple of centuries ago. All I know is that, for breads that need more than 3 hours or so for the bulk rise, in my kitchen here in the present, folding the dough two or three times makes a goode enough loaf for my family. It takes less time and is easier on my schedule.

If it's got a substantial amount of rye (more than 1/4 of the flour) or has a 2 hour rise or less, I'll knead it.

I don't think anyone has implied that people who knead their dough all the time are stupid. Whatever works for the baker is my philosophy

JERSK's picture
JERSK

    Kneading is really simple if not slightly time consuming. Commercial bakeries producing hundreds of loaves daily knead all their breads. Homemakers for centuries, producing 1 or 2 loaves at a time knead their breads. It's a critical step in producing good breads. You can get away from doing it, but why bother? It's not difficult, especially if you have a stand mixer. Some of the doughs I've seen here have saturations of 75% and up. You have to knead those doughs. The flour is basically in suspension at that point and the likelihood that gluten molecules are going to get together in any cohesive fashion ain't gonna happen. It's a good workout at least. work off a few of those carbs you're about to ingest.

browndog's picture
browndog

But isn't the idea that time and/or strech & fold accomplishes the same thing as or more effectively, with less effort? At least for the home baker? (Speaking as a person who patently refuses to give up hand-kneading in the face of any or all opposing evidence.)

Cooky's picture
Cooky

The point that ultra-simple, stripped-down techniques -- e.g., no-knead -- make bread-baking more accessible is a valuable one. Several of my friends who had never baked bread took it up after reading about no-knead (and tasting my own NK results). Now, they're hooked, as in "I'm ready to move on to whole grains" or "I think I'll try some sourdough."

I'm also not convinced that what we call 'no-knead" or 'stretch-and-fold' are particularly new. Haven't I read something from historians on this board that these techniques have been around for centuries?

 

 

 

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

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

I agree with the first part of your post. But to not touch stone ground, organic flour with a ten foot pole - Why???!! I'm sure the flour was far better than we can buy now - which is why I mill my own. 

 

Also - (not you now, suave!! ) I have never seen any reference to a medieaval stand mixer - and I'm pretty sure they didn't hand knead  stones of dough - the fold / leave / fold / leave must have been known then, too. I've seen several 14th / 15th century English Elm dough troughs, which are BIG, and I'm sure they used them for overnight gluten development.  It would be too hard to hand knead that amount of dough... Project for a doctorate??!!

 

Andrew 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

The milling process is one thing, the grain itself quite another.  I doubt most of us could work with the grain of 3,000 or even 500 years ago in quite the same way we do today.  I don't know how much rye has changed in that time, but today's wheat is very different.

JERSK's picture
JERSK

   In "The Bread Builders" Alan Scott describes his method of kneading 100 lb. batches of dough. It takes about 45 minutes and involves resting and autolyse. He breaks them down into 3 batches, kneads each batch for 5 minutes and they get a 10 min. rest in between. Each batch is hand kneaded for a total of 15 min. which gives them 30 min. resting. It's desem bread which is 100% whole wheat.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Here's the recipe, for those who missed it.

 

The Buffalo News

Bread that’s worth baking By J.M. Hirsch - ASSOCIATED PRESS
Updated: 10/24/07 7:19 AM

Artisanal quality breads in just five minutes a day?

Not quite. But for that little effort, even breads that are merely pretty good would be worth baking. And that’s what Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois deliver in their forthcoming book, “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” (Thomas Dunne Books, November 2007, $27.95).

The concept is inspired. Spend about 20 minutes making a large batch of refrigerator-friendly, no-knead bread dough that, following a standard rise, can keep up to two weeks.

Each day, the desired amount of dough can be removed from the batch, shaped and baked (the basic recipe produces three to four small loaves). Total active time each day you bake is about five minutes.

An example:

Bread Boule in 5 Minutes a Day

3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees)

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt

6 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour (no need to sift)

Cornmeal, for the pizza peel

In a 5-quart bowl, combine the yeast, water and salt. Add all the flour, then use a wooden spoon to mix until all ingredients are uniformly moist. It is not necessary to knead or continue mixing once the ingredients are wet. This will produce a loose and very wet dough.

Cover with a lid (not airtight), or plastic wrap with several holes poked into it. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse, about 2 hours, but no more than 5 hours.

After rising, the dough can be baked immediately, or tightly covered and refrigerated up to 14 days. The dough will be easier to work with after at least 3 hours of refrigeration.

To bake, prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it with cornmeal. Alternatively, overturn a baking sheet and sprinkle it with cornmeal. This will prevent the bread from sticking when you transfer it to the oven.

Uncover the dough and sprinkle the surface with flour. Pull up and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit- size) piece of dough (serrated knives are best). Re-cover the remaining dough in the bowl and refrigerate for baking at another time.

Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won’t stick. Create a smooth ball of dough by gently pulling the sides down around to the bottom, rotating the dough as you go.

While stretching, most of the dusting flour will fall off. The bottom of the loaf may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out during resting and baking. This shaping should take no more than 1 minute.

Place the dough on the peel or overturned baking sheet. Allow the loaf to rest for about 40 minutes. It does not need to be covered. The bread may not rise much during this time; this is normal.

Twenty minutes before baking, place a pizza stone on the center rack of the oven. If you don’t have a baking stone, use another baking sheet. Remove any upper racks. Place a broiler pan on a rack below the pizza stone or on the floor of the oven. Preheat oven to 450.

When the dough has rested for 40 minutes, dust the top liberally with flour, then use a serrated knife to slash a v-inch-deep cross or tic-tactoe pattern into the top.

Slide the loaf off the peel or overturned baking sheet and onto the baking stone. Quickly but carefully pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close the oven door.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Allow the bread to cool completely, preferably on a wire cooling rack. Makes four 1-pound loaves.

 

colinwhipple's picture
colinwhipple

I am going to see what happens if I do.

 Colin

 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

It should work fine, but I'd recommend increasing the water to 3.25 or even 3.5 cups. WW flour absorbs a lot more water than white.

colinwhipple's picture
colinwhipple

I had mixed the dough before I read your message, so it is already done.

 Since I am experimenting, I only did about a third of the recipe, a cup of water and slightly more than two cups of flour, plus yeast and salt.  I let it sit for a little more than three hours, and it rose nicely.  I plan to pull it out of the refrigerator on Sunday and bake it after it warms up.

Colin

colinwhipple's picture
colinwhipple

The Bread ended up a little bit dense, but still pretty good.

No-Knead Whole WheatNo-Knead Whole Wheat

CrumbCrumb

The part that interests me the most is the 40 minute interval between taking it out of the refrigerator and putting it in the oven. It opens possibilities for making the dough during the weekend, and then baking portions of it for lunches during the week. I usually get up fairly early to drink coffee and read the newspaper in the morning before going to work, so a 40 minute warm-up time and 30 minute baking time is very doable for me.

Colin

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

so after all the brouhaha about knead, no knead, ancient flour, medieval stand mixers..... just out of curiosity and the Buffalo News article itself, has anyone given it a try? ..Personally, I'm a sourdough fool.  I tried the NYT no knead for fun. I won't make it again. I'll try this too, what the heck, why not?

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

I found this older recipe from 1861 from The Canadian Housewife's Manual of Cookery, Hamilton, Ontario after the NYT no knead came about. There was a discussion of the historical age of this formula on CBC radio too. I haven't tried it, but it sounds interesting:

"With a quarter of a peck of fine flour mix the yolks of three and whites of two eggs, beaten and strained, a little salt, half a pint of good yeast† that is not bitter, and as much milk, made a little warm, as will work into a thin, light dough. Stir it about, but don't knead it. Have ready three dishes, divide the dough equally in them, set to rise, then turn them out into the oven, which must be quick."

-a peck is quite large as well, 1 peck = 8 quarts = 16 pints = 32 cups

* Not the "baguette"-style of French bread familiar today, but rather the luxury dough enriched with milk and eggs that was enjoyed in France in the 17th and 18th centuries. The same recipe, with double the amounts, appears in the Englishwoman Eliza Smith's The Compleat Housewife, London, 1750 (first ed., 1729). Her recipe can be traced back to Robert May's To Make French Bread the Best Way, in The Accomplisht Cook, 1660, according to Elizabeth David, English Bread and Yeast Cookery, London, 1977, p 376. Eliza's book was also published in Virginia in 1742, so Americans were also making no-knead bread in the 18th century!
† Before the advent of commercial yeast cakes, yeast was in liquid form; hence, the large volume of liquid stipulated. Cooks usually made their own yeast from various combinations of ingredients, such as hops and potatoes, or they purchased "barm," a bi-product of beer-making, from the local brewery.

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

I mixed some on Thursday night. Baked one on Friday morning. This is a recipe for mediocre bread that is sufficient if what you want is "warm". It is agressively active when it is fresh and gets fairly poor after a few days in the fridge (with required, daily punch-downs). It would not be very good afer a week, let alone after two weeks. It is, however, fairly foolproof for beginners and easier to handle than the first no knead recipe. 

As easy breads go, no knead bread part one is a much superior bread.

Paul Kobulnicky

Baking in Ohio

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I think I'll pass..I hate mediocre..I can buy that in the store  :  )

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

That's a lot of yeast for "artisan" bread.  A listserv that I belong to talks about this recipe, and one person commented that the flavor was much better when the dough was refrigerated for a few days.

Rosalie

lisak's picture
lisak

I have made about 4 batches and it has come out really well each time. Much better then the original no-knead recipe. It might not be "the real deal" but for me it is a pretty good loaf of artisan quality bread that is really easy to make.  I mix the dough up right before I go to bed and in the morning I bake 2 big loaves of bread without much work at all, they guys think I am a genius and  that makes me happy. :)

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Lisak, I am waiting to take a small loaf of this bread out of the oven. L_M suggested making part of the recipe to try but I figured I might as well make the entire amount so that I could get an idea of how it works. I baked the first 2, a boule and a mini-baguette soon after the initial 2 hour ferment. I followed L_M's advice and used the Susan's bowl method. Both rose well and the flavor was good - and the crust was excellent. I transferred the remaining dough to a plastic container and refrigerated it and it rose to the top with huge bubbles on the surface. That was on Saturday.

The loaf is cooling and the crust was singing to me! So maybe it isn't "the real deal" but the bread tastes good, my house smells wonderful and I am also happy. So supper will be fresh bread and Carrot and Orange Soup. A.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Jeff and Zoe were on The Splendid Table this weekend talking about their new book. You can listen to the interview or get one of the recipes off The Splendid Table website.

Ramona's picture
Ramona

I made this bread yesterday with this wheat and I had added additional water to compensate, but added a little too much, so it was a little slack when I took some out of the refrigerator and I was concerned if it was even going to work as a boule.  So I put it onto the counter with some flour.  I was having homemade lima bean soup and wanted this bread to go with it, so I thought since I have to work with it, I would add some rosemary and about 4 garlic cloves minced.  I folded these into the dough and only had to work with it a couple of minutes and it tightened up, but I was still sceptical it would hold a boule shape and not flatten out.  But I shaped it and put it onto a sheet pan and put it into the oven that had a little warmth in it.  I watched it for the 40 minutes and it didn't seem to change shape or proof, just like they said, and so I slashed it and put it back into a cold oven start at 480 degrees.  I turned it down later to 375 degrees, it baked longer, but I didn't want it to burn.  I did get a good oven spring.  And even though I didn't bake it at the higher temperature and I also didn't add the water for steam (I don't like a tough crust), it still had a crispy crust was an effort to cut through the crust.   The bread was really good.  We ate it right away, even though I know bread is suppose to cool for a while before cutting it.  My family really liked it.  When I make soup, I always make enough for two nights, so tomorrow night, we will be having more soup and I am going to make more of this bread, but this time it will have been in the refrigerator for 3 days, so the flavor is suppose to get better.  This was a big accomplishment for a beginner like me, so I am really pleased with it.  My husband really took an interest in this bread.  I was really surprised that the flavor was so good without any sweetener added. 

suave's picture
suave

I feel that the word artisanal has been devaluing so rapidly it is only a matter of time I find an "artisanal" loaf in bread aisle of local supermarket.  It's like in the old country where everyone above the level of street drunk considers himself a sommelier.

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Suave, I think I have been a member here long enough to know that I am not baking artisan bread when I make the No Knead II. Having said that, the loaf I cut for supper tonight was terrific with that nice glossy holey crumb and a crust that was still crisp after sitting out on the counter all day. Probably even better than some of my more "artisan" efforts. Not something I want to take the place of my sourdough breads but fun and easy and well worth trying. Give it a whirl, you might be surprised, A.

suave's picture
suave

The reason I bake so many breads based on the original NK idea is that they fit my schedule.  I am not going to try not because of snobbery of some sort, I know full well that I am an amateur, but simply because the little precious time I have for baking is best used for other projects.  As it is last week I've resorted to driving home during the lunch to make a preferment.  Twice.

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

That's dedication! I am retired and you would think I had all the time in the world for baking - not so! Maybe if I was better organized... A.

lisak's picture
lisak

Sorry that I used the word "artisan", poor choice I guess on my part. What I meant by that was that the bread had a nice thick crunchy crust and that the crumb was good with nice big holes and the bread had a good flavor. I guess I will go back to lurking now.

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Lisak, please don't go back to lurking! We need opinions from everyone and that's what makes the site so fun and entertaining. Plus we can all learn so much and we don't have to agree all the time. Do you bake the bread using steam? I guess if you bake both loaves at once you couldn't bake them under the mixing bowl. I was happy with the crust but maybe with the last portion of the dough I will skip the bowl. Glad you are having fun baking, A.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Please don't go back to lurking lisak. Many of us use the terms "artisan bread" and "hearth bread" to describe a nice, free-formed, open-crumbed loaf of bread. It is unfortunate that a word that once denoted skillful craftmanship and excellent results has come to mean less than that, but for many people I think it does.

BUT - po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe If it makes a good loaf, that's what matters. :)

Btw, welcome to the Fresh  Loaf! 

suave's picture
suave

I did not mean it personally, it was just a general observation.  I could have just as well written it ten minutes later when I read about artisanal white sandwich loaf.  The fault, if any, is with the authors who probably feel they'll sell more books by stroking readers' egos.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I don't think it has anything to do with ego stroking. At least in the US, the term "artisan bread" is the most common term for describing the type of bread that is crusty and which you buy unsliced. This is the case even when it isn't made by an artisan (like at a grocery store) and despite it being grammatically incorrect.

"Really Crusty, High Hydration Bread Without Other Crap in It in 5 Minutes" also doesn't roll off the tongue. I'd have called it the same thing if I were in their shoes.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

is a title I'd pick up any day of the week. No doubt about it.

goetter's picture
goetter

Pronounced "rich-bwok."   Mmmm... that's some fine rchhbwok, there.

suave's picture
suave

I'd still go with homemade, but one coud argue I guess that in the eyes of general public a home cook is an artisan (arrrgh, this word rubs me the wrong way!).  Perhaps a new category for the true masters is in order, something like haute boulangerie.

zoebakes's picture
zoebakes

Hi. I love your discussion about the name of the book. I just wanted to weigh in as one of the co-authors. I have to admit that the working title for much of the process was pretty close to what Floyd recommended, but alas the PR department at the Publisher shot it down. They didn't think that "Artisan-style bread from stored slack dough" was sexy enough. We wanted "Artisan-style" because of discussions like this one, but PR didn't care for that.

In the end what we wanted to convey was that the bread we are baking is made by hand, has a great crust, when stored for several days is more complex in flavor and has a hole structure that is closer to artisan bread than most of the stuff you get at the store...and doesn't take all day to make. In other words we knew that not everyone would consider this bread "artisan" but for most novice bakers it is really close. We want people to get in their kitchens and start baking good bread. I think we provide a pretty solid start!

For those of you that are obviously much more accomplished bakers we hope you will try the method just to see what you think. I suggest that you save at least some of the dough for several days to really let it mature, it gets much more interesting as it stores. I almost always leave a portion of the "older" dough in the bucket when I mix up the new batch. this also eliminates some clean up.

 

lisak's picture
lisak

I don't know that I would concider myself an accomplished baker (especially compared to so many on this board) but I have been baking bread for the past 25 years and have tried many of Reinhart's recipes and can make a good loaf of bread. That being said I am really enjoying your bread recipe and have even ordered the book. Thank you so much.

* I wish I had said artisan-style in my original post.

qwiksilver's picture
qwiksilver

The NYT recipe just ended up a glutenous mess.  No bread.  I will stick with my kneaded bread baked in a dutch oven. I remember great grandma kneading for about 5 minutes twice and let it rest a couple of times while she did other stuff.  (She didn't allow store bought bread in the house.)