The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

No Knead technique

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

No Knead technique

I am now trying Jim Lahey, first time.  His book, "My Bread" says for his basic recipe to use bread flour.  The video on the internet where he demonstrates says use all purpose.  Confused!  What have others found. I am looking for large holes in the crumb and well developed flavor.  Thanks.  Jim

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

As long as it is either bread or all purpose. If you have both, then do half and half. Have fun experimenting!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Jim, I have a few thoughts on BF vs AP pretaining to artisan breads and open crumb. There seems to be a fine balancing act between having gluten that is strong enough to contain all of the gas, but not so strong as to hinder the expansion of the alveoli (bubbles). 

Using 14% gluten (wheat) will produce a very strong, elastic dough that should do a great job of holding the CO2, but that same strong gluten matrix will require higher gas pressure to enlarge the bubbles and inflate the dough. The gluten is tighter and stronger. AP would have less of those characteristics. Think of high % gluten flour as a thicker balloon and lower gluten % as a thinner balloon. Both flours have their use.

IMO, AP Has a better flavor and texture. 

Compare both flours or a mix of both (as Danni suggested) and see what works best for you. Testing should produce noticeable differences to the discerning baker.

Dan

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Thanks Dan for your thoughtful reply.  I will try both and a mix of the two flours.  WHAT IS 

"IMO  AP flour?

Best,

Jim

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

In My Opinion, All-Purpose flour. We get pretty acronym happy around here. Like floating in alphabet soup!

Have fun!

Carole

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Hey Jim, those acronyms are constantly throwing me for a loop too. It is short for, “in my opinion”.

If both BF and AP flour produced equally good bread, I’d choose AP every time. I think it taste better and is less chewy. But BF definitely has a place in my bread baking.

I have to google those things all the time :-)

Dan

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

Danny's just tossed another one: BF can either mean Bread Flour or Bulk Ferment. 

Contextual acronyms! 😄

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

or best flour or bad flour or me having a flatulent brain.  🥖🌸 

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

for long fermenting times (like days) and use AP for bench flour or use in the recipe if you plan to use up the dough in a day or two.  Mixing half and half gives the bennifit of the two.  

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Thanks for the reply Mini.  I am baking Jim Lahey no knead bread.  First rise with high water and low yeast sits outside refrigeration for 18 hours.  Using bread flour last time and today.  Will try mixing the two next.  Jim

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Love Jim Lahey No Knead, and like crisp crust, but looking for a way of saving my teeth.  What do you think of this possibility:  a) Bake with Lodge lid on for 35 minutes instead of 30, b) continue baking with lid off for 5-10 minutes until crust gets more brown?   Could this produce a more thin but still crunchy crust?  Would the bread get done (205 degrees inside).   Please advise.  Thanks to everyone.

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Jim, I just completed a 123 SD and the crumb came out excetionally soft and luxurious. I attribute that to the oilive oil. The oil was 5% of the flour.

Notice how thin the crust is. The bottom of the crust is a little thicker because of the heat from the stone. Maybe lower initial preheat?

The crust was thin, but not extra crunchy. 

At this time, because everything I believe is subject to change, I believe that extra high oven heat makes for a thick crust and chewy crumb. I have been working towards a little softer chew. Lately I preheat to 500F, drop the temp to 475 once the bread is in and bake covered for 20 minutes. After removing the cover I drop the oven to 425F convection. I stole that from Dab :-)

Thought I’d throw this out in case it interested you.

Dan

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

David Snyder years ago.  I think David stole it from Moses:-)

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

or some yogurt will help with that tough crust. I always include yogurt in my recipes for that very reason. 

The other thing to do is to put your loaf in a plastic ziplock bag once it is completely cooled. 

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

I will try the yogurt.  But, putting the loaf in a plastic bag is the ideal way to get rid of a CRISPY crust!

I'm wondering if there really is a way to get CRISPY without tooth breaking thick crust.  Jim

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

anything else.  Baguettes with lots of surface area and lower hydration baked at higher temperatures for less time is the key to thin crispy crust and the standard look for in baguettes.  Baking at 460 F with steam for no more than 10 minutes than 425 Convection till it hits 205 F.

The lower hydration means the water will be driven out of the small cylinders fast and baking at high temp will get you to 205 F fast and the less time for steam means faster spring and bloom, thinner and crisper crust. Even if you the same thing with other bread shapes the crust will be thicker due to the long time under steam to get the bloom and spring in the fatter loaves. longer bake times to drive the water out means harder thicker crust. 

Lower temp just mean paler loaves and no crisp to be found.  The more starch you gelatinize on the skin, the thicker and tougher the crust later when it gets brown and dry.  Less time under steam and total bake is the key to thin and crisp.

Baggies are the cats meow for thin crisp crust.  No other shape works nearly as well no matter what you do.

Happy baking

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

with long comments from Mariana is still current, and I thought it was full of good advice. Did nothing there ring your chimes?

If not, it would seem to me that keeping the lid on longer might be an option, since the steam is what helps to prevent the crust from forming, hardening and thus hindering ovenspring. So might not crust thickness be related to that?

Just a couple of thoughts.

Carole

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

bag it.  Bag it overnight and the next day a thick crust will be softer if the loaf hasn't been over-baked.

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Thanks Mini.  But my experience is that a plastic bag is the ideal way to get rid of a CRISPY crust.  Is there really no way to get crispy without also getting thick tooth braking crust.  Can you think of any way of manipulating the BAKING process to achieve this.  Maybe I had it bas ackwards  yesterday and should reduce the time with lid on pot and increase the time without lid.  This since I think I remember that steam (lid on) is what produces crust.

Best,  Jim

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Even capitalized, I missed the CRISPY.  Sorry.  The only thin crispy crust that comes to mind is the hard roll type crispy crust.  Egg shell thin.  It's Vienna dough (white wheat) with a fast yeasty rise and baked while still rising in a steamy oven.  Dough is also brushed with a thin glaze halfway thru the final proof.  Keeps the dough skin soft while proofing so it expands and thins more when baked.  That might mean turning a shaped and half risen dough out of a banneton long before fully proofed, glaze and let rise some more and score before baking.  With steam but only for the first ten minutes or so.  Release steam and allow crust to set and brown.

Glaze can be one or any combination of water, milk or egg white, sometimes cooked with a little starch.  

If you have the thin crust but it has gone soft during cooling or overnight, toss the bread into a hot oven for a second time but only long enough to crispen the crust. A one second quick dunk under running tap water before being tossed onto the hot rack can help. Keep a sharp eye on the crust and pinch it to test for crunchiness. Takes only a few minutes.  Does that help?  Any thoughts?

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Thanks again Mini,

Will try your suggestion about basting dough before baking.  I remain puzzled by conflicting advice received here from various contributors about achieving thin crispy (not tooth breaking but still crispy)  crust.  Some recommend More time in the Lodge pot (in effect steaming while baking); some recommend less time that way.  What is your opinion?   If this helps you reply here are the basic about what I am trying:  Jim Lahey no knead bread, high hydration, low yeast, no kneading, 18 hours first rise, two hours second rise, bake in lodge pot in 475 degree oven 30 minutes followed by 15-25 minutes uncovered.  Thanks. Jim Burgin

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

a low hydration dough whether in a pot or not for that crispy crust you're after.  Which is only good for a day.  But...

Try this, toss an egg white into the water measurement so the egg white is part of the total water.  Beat it a little with a fork before combining with flour. Then proceed as instructed.  

With a following loaf, try egg white in dough and uncover early in the bake.  Uncover after 10 minutes.  Then compare them.  Change only one thing at a time with each bake.  You will only find out if you try it.  :)

Dont forget to keep the dough surface moist while final proofing.  Try using a wrung out wet towel over the loaf.

You've been after this crust for a long time.  How do these rolls look to you?  Rolls may stay longer crispy than a loaf.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17641/twist-baguettes-poolish-jeffrey-hamelman#comments

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Thanks again Mini!

Appreciate you taking several shots at my question and giving it some real thought.  I am using 70% hydration as specified in the formula I am following (Jim Lahey's book My Bread, which is a no knead formula.  18 hours bulk fermentation followed by a 2 hours rise, then baking in 475 degrees covered for 30 minutes followed by 15-25 minutes uncovered.  Will try some of your ideas.  Much appreciated.  Jim

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Jim, I read up on Lahey’s No-Knead bread. It is a very interesting procedure. I now better know what you are dealing with. His procedure will purposely break down the dough, causing the cell walls of alveoli to bake thin and light. In theory the crust should also be thin because of the intentional degradation of the dough. The dough has moderately high hydration, but he calls for a very long Bulk Ferment. Anywhere from 12 - 18 hours. How long do you let the BF go? And at what temp are you fermenting?

I bake a very similar ferment schedule (using 2% prefermented flour in the levain), but dough degradation is a big issue. Is your dough shredded (damaged gluten spots on outer skin), or weak after the BF? The dough must be super slack when it comes time to preshape and shape. I estimate the dough would feel more like 85% after the long BF.

I may give this one a try. Have you followed his advice to the letter?

I know you’ve been working for some time to attain that light, thin, crispy crust. I hope Mini can solve this for you.

Are you looking for a crust that will shatter (crack) like super thin glass? It’s hard to explain, but that is my best attempt. If not, please describe in detail what you are looking for. I also understand the crumb should be light and airy with a moderately light to light chew. Am I on track?

Dan

UPDATE - Mini, those rolls look exquisite!

 

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Dan,  I really appreciate you taking the time to look into my concern about Jim Lahey no knead bread.  I follow his instructions to the letter!    Ferment 18 hours at room temp,  which in our house is about 78 degrees.    Being fairly new at bread baking, i don't really understand the words you use to describe the dough:  "shredded,"  "weak", "super slack" "dough degredation".  Maybe you can help me clarify.   I do notice that, unlike the video showing Jim Lahey using his recipe, when I tilt the bowl after BF there are not as many or as long thin shreds as his shows.  Though I am not sure what one looks like, I do not believe I am seeing "damaged gluten spots"  on the outer skin.  As to your question about finished product: 1) I am looking for a crust that is thin and crackles when you bite it.  Looking for a crumb that has marked flavor, large holes, and yes, light to moderately light chew.  Thanks again.  I look forward to your response to all of this.  Will be trying again this week end.  Jim 

 

  

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Jim, I started a loaf today following Lahey’s method. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I used cool water as instructed and will put it in my dough retarder to maintain a constant 72F. Plan to ferment the full 18 hours.

By the way, does Lahey claim the his recipe and methods will produce the crust you are looking for?

Danny

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Thanks again Dan.  I'm looking forward to hearing how your Lahey bread turns out.  NO, he does not claim that it produces the crust I am looking for.   Jim

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Jim, have you tried fully developing the gluten like Mariana instructed. I think this is the gest suggestion I’ve read For light, crispy crust.

Danny

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Danny,

I'm baking again Saturday/Sunday.  Will try the.

Thanks,

Jim

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

So many suggestions.  Not sure who you are referring to, "Mariana."  Is this the same person as Mini Oven?  Jim

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Mariana is miles and kilometers ahead of me in our separate journeys.  She knows baking.

Portus's picture
Portus

... who proposed a solution to your quest earlier this year

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/54803/chasing-thin-crispy-not-thicktough-dough

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Dan, I have found Mariana now.  Haven't tried her but may down the road.  Right now I am working with No Knead.  Mariana seems to say, "Knead the Hell out of it."   Best, Jim

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Since you told me that Lahey doesn’t mention your target crumb using his method, I elected to knead (Rubaud Method) during the Bulk Ferment in an attempt to highly develop the gluten.

I was under the impression that crispy thin crust was produced using a commercial deck oven with steam injection. I hope it can be produced in a home oven.

Dan

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I followed Lahey’s instructions with the following exveptions. Since I have some obsessive ways I mixed the salt in half the water and the yeast in the other half. That half was refrigerated water to keep with his cold water mix. The mixed waters were added to the dough. 

Since you told me that Lahey didn’t target your desired crumb, I took Mariana’s advise and hand kneaded (Rubaud Method) for about 7-9 minutes in each of the 3 sessions that were spread a half hour or so apart. I estimate the to knead time was about 23 minutes. The gluten was supple and the windowpane was thin. NOTE - I think this made the crust thin and crispy. The bread has a very soft bite. If you hold one end of a slice, the opposite side will sag, indicating a very soft chew.

The formula will work for your desired goal. Question are you weighing your ingredients? If so what are the weights of each ingredient?

Danny

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Dan,Do I understand you to say that you ARE going to knead even otherwise using Lahey's NO KNEAD formula?

All his instructions involve a pot at home, not a commercial deck oven.  Ji

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Jim, I don’t think you’ll get the crust you want unless you highly develop the gluten. You could use a mixer, it doesn’t matter how the dough is developed, just that it is. The more developed the gluten, the thinner the crust (skin) will be.

It ain’t exactly no-knead :-) But Lahey’s formula will work to produce the bread you desire.

Danny

Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Very interesting!  So, kneading is the key to thin, crispy crust!  Your previous note sounds like three kneading periods.  With rest between them?  I must look the Rubaud method that you mention.  So, if I am back into kneading, what is the use of Lahey's formula?  Yes,I weigh ingredient using the figures in Lahey's book. 400g flour, salt (I use 9 g rather than his specified 8), instant yeast 1/4 tsp (my scale won't do 1 g), water 300 g at 55-65 degrees (but his utube video says320 g (which did you use???)  Your pictures are great. Crust does look thin.  Your bubbles look much larger than mine.  Any idea why? Thanks again.  Jim  .  

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I don’t have Lahey’s book. So I got the formula from the Internet. My hydration was 80%, but I bet 75% (yours) will als work well.

Not sure why the bubbles are larger. Maybe the highly developed thin gluten sheets, maybe the increased hydration. Maybe fermentation or handling, I’m really not sure.

Jim, do you have a mixer? See Trevor demonstrating the Rubaud Method of kneading. It starts at 1:00 minute. https://youtu.be/zgz0oAhgwyg

I like to rest during any type of kneading. The rest allows the dough to relax, and that makes kneading more easy and efficient. Time is the baker’s friend, except when it comes to over-fermentation.

Dan

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo
Jim Burgin's picture
Jim Burgin

Dan,

Looks great.  Mine is in the oven.  Will let you know. Jim Burgin