The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Annoying No-Knead

louiscohen's picture

Annoying No-Knead

Does anyone else get annoyed, or at least have mixed feelings, when no-knead bread comes out better than what you get by mixing to develop gluten?

I'm  happy to get the better oven spring and more open crumb, but I just wish I could have done it the old fashioned way.  

BakersRoom's picture

No knead has its limitations. If you want good oven spring, ferment correctly. If you want openness, up the hydration.

louiscohen's picture

Perhaps you would be so kind as to elaborate a bit.

  • Limitations of no-knead
  • Correct fermentation - time?  temp?  folds? 
  • At 85% hydration in a 75% whole wheat loaf, the proofed bread just doesn't hold shape for free-form baking.  It works ok in a dutch oven that limits the spread or probably in a loaf pan.  But batards spread into ciabatta.
Colin2's picture

I wonder whether vigorous hand kneading is really old fashioned.  It may just have become popular in mid 20th century cookbooks under pressure to (a) imitate tight-grained commercial loaves (b) finish fast.

If I'm doing a lower hydration bread I usually still do a little hand kneading, just to dial in the right texture.  But overall, yeah, I'm making better and more varied bread than I was 30 years ago, with less work.  There are still plenty of chores to use up my excess energy.

BobBoule's picture

Annoyed? Well, at first I was because I wanted my hand made loves to be so much better, but they are not so I learned to love No-Knead because they are so beautiful that they make me look good! LOL

agres's picture

Today is national sandwich day (11/3/19) and we required at least one loaf of a neat rectangular sandwich bread. All things considered, I find that easier by kneading.  I think "no-knead" is one tool in the breadmaker's kit.