The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Looking for feedback on no-knead bread

basbr's picture
basbr

Looking for feedback on no-knead bread

I'd love to have some feedback on my no-knead bread from Jim Lahey's basic recipe in "My Bread", with 80% hydration instead of the recipe's 75%. I used French T65 flour with 13% protein. I let it ferment for 18 hours and 1.5 hours in the second proof.

Any signs of under- or overproofing? What do you think about the crumb structure? At 80% hydration, I'd hoped for bigger holes, I guess...

Thanks!

Abe's picture
Abe

Doesn't necessarily mean a more open crumb. It's all in the handling and getting the fermentation just right. Since it's a no knead bread the handling isn't the issue. The crumb looks a bit gummy so I'm thinking under fermented. 

If I were you I'd keep the 70% hydration and work on reading the dough to get the timing just right. Positive criticism out of the way. 

On the plus side... It still looks, and I bet tastes, yummy. 

It'll only take some minor adjustments. Are you using the same kind of flour as the original recipe? If not, does the flour you are using need the same amount of water? If in doubt keep the same hydration and adjust if necessary. But changing the flour and hydration is too many variables already. What temps are you fermenting the dough? etc.

basbr's picture
basbr

Thank you for that. With “under fermented”, do you refer to the first or second proof? The first was 18 hours overnight at room temperature (20-22 degrees Celsius). The second at room temp for 1.5 hours, until a dent in the dough sustained there.

Abe's picture
Abe

And what did you change? When I type in Jim Lahey no knead bread I get 93% hydration and AP flour with 1g yeast to 400g flour. Doesn't quite match your recipe. It also gives a recommended 12-18 hours! That's a wide variable. 

Difficult to pinpoint exactly what goes wrong when too many factors have been altered. Your bread is still very good! I was only commenting on the gumminess. It's risen well, has a lovely colour and tbh the crumb is good. As for an open crumb that's personal taste. 

There's a very good no knead sourdough recipe that's fermented for 16 hours at 77-78°F. It's 70% hydration all bread flour. I'm more familiar with Sourdough so don't know how that will translate to yeast. 

Trick is to know when the dough is done. Perhaps a bit of trial and error? When you first mix a no knead bread it's very sticky. The recipe relies on hydration and time to develop the gluten. When it's ready the dough will be puffy, billowy, areated with a good matrix of air bubbles and while sticky you should be able to handle it better. 

BobBoule's picture
BobBoule

That looks great! I used to look for those gigantic holes when I first started baking and it took me years to figure out that those large holes were useless to me. If you put anything on the bread then it falls through, and i you eat to plain then you are just eating huge air holes. Yours is perfect and you did a great job, I would like a taste!

wvdthree's picture
wvdthree

Hi Bashr,

                 Like the others I think your loaf looks fantastic! I am going to be baking this weekend for the first time in ages and have three questions to ask you.

 

1) Did you bake your loaf in a dutch oven and if so what brand and size? I'm guessing you did.

 

2) Can I substitute Bread Flour for the French T65 if I can not locate that in my area? The SwissBake blog on flours types seems to indicate that yes I could.

 

3) The crust and crumb seem to be darker than many other photos I have seen of Lahey's No Knead recipe. I really like that type of result over a blonde/paler result. Is that due to using the T65 flour or did you add any whole wheat/rye? Or did it have to do with other factors  i.e. baking time/vessel,length of fermentation etc..

 

Thanks so much for any reply you could offer. Keep on baking!

 

Best,

         Vance

 

 

basbr's picture
basbr

Hi Vance,

Let me start by saying that I'm hardly the guy you should be asking. This is the second good looking (and tasting!) loaf I've produced. Earlier attempts from different artisan bread baking books have ranged from "quite ok" to "terrible". But let me answer your questions best you can.

  1. I used a pretty heavy brandless Dutch oven with a 21-22 cm diameter and a well fitting (and also heavy cover). As Lahey writes, it shouldn't matter much which brand of Dutch oven you use. I did use a smaller pot than Lahey advises, to get a higher (rounder) loaf. I let the Dutch oven preheat (with cover) for about half an hour at 250 degrees celsius.
  2. I always struggled with translating the flour types from American bread baking books to the flour that is available at local stores in my neighborhood in the Netherlands. This time I resorted to buying T65 flour online from a Dutch website. I chose it mostly on its protein content (13%, or 13 grams in every 100 gram, is much higher than I bought and used before with dissatisfactory results). For the moment I'm sticking to T65 flour, because it brought me luck! So, I think you can, but check the protein content!
  3. I agree. The dark crust is what I loved about the book and the breads I've eaten in France and Italy. The results I see online tend to have a lighter colored crust. The book states that, after baking for 30 minutes with the cover on, you bake it another 15-30 minutes uncovered. The longer the bake uncovered, the darker and thicker the crust. I baked it uncovered for 25 minutes (and lowered the temperature to 150-200 degrees celsius for this period to avoid burning). The darker crumb is a mystery to me: Maybe it's the 18 hour fermentation, maybe it's the flour. I only used the T65 French flour. No added rye or wheat.

I followed the text of the book to the letter; only adding more water (because my first try could do with a more open crumb structure). I would be happy to give you the exact recipe.

I was very happy with the result. The taste and smell were complex and hard to resist and the looks were good!

Good luck and be sure to show the photos of your bake here!

wvdthree's picture
wvdthree

Hello Basbr,

                    Thanks so ,much for the thorough and quick reply! If you would be willing to leave the recipe you tweaked here on the forum that would be great. Regardless of the fact that you've had some results with other recipes that were not so great you really seem to have come up with a winning version. Thanks again.

 

Best,

        Vance

basbr's picture
basbr

I did this:

  • 400g french bread flour
  • a quarter teaspoon active dry yeast (which is quite little and less than 1g)
  • 10g salt
  • 320g water (just cold from the tap)

Mix it for a minute with a wooden spoon (really just to roughy mix the ingredients, not to develop gluten or anything) and leave it in the bowl covered for 18 hours at room temperature.

After 18 hours, dump the (very wet and sticky) dough on a floured surface. Lightly flour the dough and fold the sides to the middle (like in this video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=13Ah9ES2yTU). Turn it around on a cotton cloth or towel (seam side down), flour the top some more to prevent sticking and cover with the towel. Let it proof for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until a small dent holds its shape without jumping back.

30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven at 245 degrees Celsius with a cast iron Dutch oven with cover in it. Make sure the cover can withstand the heat. 

When proofed, take the Dutch oven out of the oven and gently turn the dough upside down (seam side up!) in the pot. Cover it and put it back in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the cover and bake for 25 minutes more, but at somewhat lower temperature (200 Celsius). 

Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool on a rack. Make sure you really take the time to let it cool for at least one hour. This to finish the baking internally, let the moisture out and let the crust form. 

Now I need photos of the result!

Abe's picture
Abe

8g would be more usual for 400g flour. The usual percentage is 1.8 - 2% of total flour. For 400g that would be 7.2g - 8g of salt.

basbr's picture
basbr

Abe is right. The original recipe calls for 8g of salt. I thought the first loaf I baked (following the exact recipe) could use a tad more salt, thus going to 10g in the second try. I like it, but less is healthier.

Abe's picture
Abe

Salt does 3 things in a bread...

  • Flavour
  • Increases the elasticity
  • Controls the yeast

You have quite a strong flour with a small amount of yeast. Increase the salt and the yeast might struggle with the strong gluten with increased elasticity and it's being inhibited. 

You want larger holes in your loaf. Perhaps swap some of the flour with a flour that's weaker in gluten to get something closer to AP flour which normally comes in at an average of 11-12% protein. And try dropping the salt to 9g. So you'll still get that little extra for taste but not a whole 2g more than the 2% called for in the recipe. 

wvdthree's picture
wvdthree

Thanks Abe and Basbr, I'll keep all this in mind when baking this weekend.

 

Vance

Abe's picture
Abe

Be sure to post them. 

basbr's picture
basbr

So... How did it go?!

wvdthree's picture
wvdthree

Hi Basbr,

               Timing for things got mixed up for the weekend. Pizza tonight (Ken Forkish Straight Overnight recipe) with my son and I will bake the bread tomorrow afternoon. Awaiting arrival of my dutch oven tonight from Amazon! Thanks for checking in,I'll keep you posted.

 

Best,

        Vance

hreik's picture
hreik

having 13% protein.  T65 is ordinarily very low protein flour, like 9 - 10%. 

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

I've finally found some organic t65 at 12% and thought I'd struck gold! T65 in France usually tables out at about 11%. 13% sounds phenomenal. 

Whatever. Happy new year everyone, and keep on baking.

Carole 

PS. The loaf looks great!

wvdthree's picture
wvdthree

Hello,
          I wanted to get back to the community as several or you have been kind enough to help me through this no knead bread baking process. On day one I made the dough at nine am for some reason and left it at room temp (71 degrees) until nine pm. It hadn’t risen that much or developed that much in terms of large surface bubbles but I didn’t want to leave it on the counter until six when I get up as that would have been 21 hours. So, I put it in the frig. At six am I took it out from the frig and it had spread out a bit and maybe added 25 % of volume but it seemed to me like it still hadn’t taken off.

     I moved it into the small room in my house which contains my gas furnace and hot water heater. The room was 76 degrees. I seemed to take off a bit better in that environment so I left it there. I made a post asking for advice and Abe suggested added a warmish water,yeast,flour mix (proof to make sure it is really active) and add it to the existing dough. I ended up not deciding to do that and just see what happened to the existing dough. At four pm I brought the dough to my kitchen and stretched and folded it nd formed it into a nice,fairly taught ball. I let it proof until doubled and it passed the finger poke test after about 2 hours 15 minutes in the 76 degree room.

     I turned the dough over from the banneton onto the work surface and one part of the dough got a bit stuck up on the banneton reeds and made a small rip which was probably one of the expansion tears/rips in the finished boule. I baked it in a Lodge 4 qt DO for 30 minutes at 475 degrees and 20 minutes at 450 degrees. It looked great and passed the knocking test on the bottom so took it out. Did not take it’s temp. It seemed to have a fairly nice oven spring.

     Overall I am quite happy with the results,this being my first time and all. Nice deep crust,even on top and bottom,crumb was fairly open although did not have “irregular” larger open holes. More a consistent pattern of medium holes. The taste of both the crust and crumb were quite nice,maybe more developed flavor due to it’s long fermentation/retardation. One comment is that the boule has a nicely domed shape but is a bit uneven on the top. I am open to all comments but I have two questions based on some photos I’ll post.

In looking at my dough after 22 hours of bulk fermentation and nine hours of retardation (in the middle of the two bulk fermentation times) does the dough seem fully developed to you? It doesn’t seem to have the really poofy texture with a real surface of large gassy holes. As I said it struggled to ever get up to the ‘doubled in size” mark. One interesting thing is that even though I use 20 grams more water (per Basbr’s forum posting tweak of Lahey’s recipe) the dough never got soupy and was quite easily shaped and formed on my work surface. None of the soupy,super slack dough which seem to frustrate many novices like me.

In looking at my finished shots does the crust look well developed and does the shot of the crumb tell you anything I do not see regarding the quality of the finished dough that went into the oven? Should I be striving for more larger,irregular holes and if so how do I develop them. Because the holes were smaller and tighter a slice served as a nice foil for some butter and jam on my son’s slice. I had a slice plain and thought it was quite nice. Does bread with larger more irregular holes taste better because of the holes? Are the larger holes indicative of how the dough was fermented,handled,proofed? What is the relationship between a more open crumb and taste.Just trying to understand the importance of and reason behind more open crumbs. As has been pointed out by others,I don’t mind a slightly tighter crumb as it holds toppings better.

     Well,for those of you who have stuck with me,thank you! I thought my novella would provide the most thorough background from which readers could offer informed responses. Thanks in advance for your time and comments.

Best,
        Va

nce








Abe's picture
Abe

Looks excellent and good call to wait and see. It paid off all right! 

Lovely crust and crumb. 

After your dog's eating the first batch and this second dough "playing up", you've finally landed a lovely bake. 

Enjoy! You've earned it :)

basbr's picture
basbr

Wow that looks terrific! Congrats! The imprint that the bannenton left is beautiful. And did you score it? What did you think of the saltiness?

wvdthree's picture
wvdthree

Thanks Basbr,

                       I did not score it. The expansion cracks are the results,I believe,of having the seam side up in the dutch oven. I thought the amount of salt in your version of this dough is spot on! Thanks so much. I posted a thread just now asking if people have success having the smooth side up in the dutch oven and then make their own scores. Have you ever done the bread this way? Does it work out OK to proof the dough seam side up in the banneton? Does it rise/proof as much if you proof in this way with the seams up?

Cheers,

             Vance