The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Almost No Knead Bread

AnnieT's picture

Almost No Knead Bread

My son gave me a couple of bottles of light ale, some that had been brought to a party and he wouldn't drink, so I decided to try the Almost No Knead bread. I used 1/3c of my starter instead of the vinegar, a tip I got from Marie at Breadbasket. Mixed all the ingredients at 9pm last night and by 10am this morning it was pushing up the cover. What a nice dough! Kneaded it just 15 times and put the shaped boule in a parchment lined banneton for 2 hours where it rose beautifully. I baked it in my ss Dutch oven but next time I will use my stone and big mixing bowl. Good oven spring and the crust is still crackly, but the crumb isn't as open as I had hoped. Very light and tastes great, but no big holes. I just checked back on Marie's site and her crumb wasn't very holey either, so maybe it is supposed to be this way. Speaking of holey, I took a loaf to my son's house when I went for dinner recently, and as usual I was anxious to see what the crumb was like. When I said I was happy with the holey crumb my seven year old grandaughter said "Perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches!" I remember somebody talking about grilled cheese sandwiches where the cheese drips through and "toasts" - and he was right. Delicious, A.


John_D's picture

I'm under the current impression that kneading the bread is what makes the holes get smaller. I have thought this why the original NYT bread has such a nice open crumb. NYT bread gets almost no kneading.

Try kneading the absolute minimum. Or maybe just some "delicate" folding" to get it in a reasonable shape.



AnnieT's picture

Hi John, I have made the NYT No Knead bread many times and when I read that this was the new and improved version I had to try it. As I said, the dough was delightful and I kneaded it only the required 15 times. I have another batch ready to shape and I will knead less and VERY gently this time. Thanks for your suggestions, A.

gtuck's picture

I've had best luck combining the two recipes and techniques--hydration level from the original New York Times, folding but no kneading and including the beer and vinegar from the Cool's Illustrated recipe. I oil my hands a bit when forming the round loaf so that the dough doesn't stick. Hydration level is about 72%

Proofing the dough on parchment and in a pie pan works beautifully as does placing it in the pot rather than turning it over and dropping it in.  I score the top twice as well before putting the lid on. I've started adding whole wheat flour and honey to the mix.

We're eating way too much bread!