The Fresh Loaf

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no-knead 1st trial comes out ok

slothbear's picture

no-knead 1st trial comes out ok

Result: gorgeous loaf. crunchy chewy crust. The texture is just a little ... moist, like perhaps just a tad undercooked. I forgot to get a temperature. The taste has a nice sourdough tang, but is a little too, too ... rubbery?

Details: I made the basic Breadtopia recipe, with 1/3 whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup of sourdough starter. Even though the dough looked good after 12 hours, I decided to let it develop for a while longer (thanks Floydm!). I declared the dough ready when I needed to walk the dog at the 16 hour mark ("natural timing").

After the fold and rest and 1.5 hours, the dough didn't look like it had risen at all. I forged ahead and plopped it into my 2.5 liter CorningWare French White casserole. A number of references said the casserole was ok to 500 degrees. The loaf got a great oven spring and started browning before I took the cover off. The brown was aiming towards black, so I ended the bake at 42 minutes.

Next loaf (already underway) will be the basic white with yeast. I like experimenting.


Cooky's picture

That's a good-looking loaf, especially for a first try. (You shoulda seen my first. Eesh.)


The too-damp crumb is a common complaint. I've adjusted my recipe by backing off the water a bit, maybe 1/8 cup, and that helps. I've also found i get more even texture and less burning (which I did a *lot* when I first started playing with this technique) by lowering the temp to 450 or so at least by the time I take off the lids, maybe a little earlier. This seems to be one of those things that you have to figure out by experience, based on how your oven operates, level of humidity in your home when you're making the dough, etc.


I have also had good luck letting the second rise go longer, to as much as 3 hours, if the loaves don't seem properly developed. (My kitchen does tend to be fairly cool this time of year, so that's a factor.) The longer second rise usually yields a nice, airy, fairly even open crumb, if that's what you're going for.


All that is just FWIW from another still-learning breadie. Congrats on your impressive first effort, and bake on!





tony's picture

I've been using the no-knead, slow-fermentation method exclusively since I learned about 2-3 weeks ago. Here are the things I've come to do in the course of making maybe 40 loaves using sourdough culture for leavening.


1. Gluten development: After following the original directions fairly closely the first few times I felt that the dough needed more structure. To get the structure, I've taken to folding the dough a la Jeffrey Hamelman after mixing it and just before the 18-hr. fermentation. Also, I mix the dough as vigorously as I can, stretching and twisting it, pulling out sheets (sort of) and piling them on each other as I turn the bowl.


2. I fold the dough at the end of bulk fermentation, wait fifteen minutes, and fold it again before dividing and shaping.


3. I don't know if this other thing will continue, but several recent batches of bread spread out flat when the were loaded in the oven, due I think to the wetness of the dough (further evidence of lack of structure). So, the seven loaves I baked last night I chilled in the refrigerator for the last hour of proofing. Cold dough holds up better, I hypothesize, and perhaps holds its shape longer as the oven spring gathers itself together and starts lifting things up.


4.  I'm still learning about hydration and different kinds of flour.  Stepping down two or three percentage points from 80 for white and 82 from whole grain flour seems to help loaf shape stabilize in the oven.


This is using a quarry tile hearth and humidifying the oven by pouring simmering water into a roasting pan under the hearth before and after loading the bread into the oven.  I can't bake enough loaves at once in the closed baking containers I have, so I've reverted to my regular method of steaming.


For what it's worth,


slothbear's picture

Thanks for all the hints.  I've made no-knead about 5 times now, from 100% white to 50% wheat, with both sourdough and instant yeast.  I'm about to get rough with the tinkering, now that I've had success with the basic recipe.

Cooky, I've used your hint to make the dough a little less wet, and that has definitely made things less rubbery.  With the 50% whole wheat, I've also used more yeast (1/2 t), as recommended in a whole wheat recipe I found ... uhm, somewhere.  I don't have the link right now.

Tony -- I'm kind of new to Fine Bread Making, and haven't done much with folding. My husband gave me the Hamelman Bread book for Christmas though, and I saw the section on folding.  My doughs have (so-far) been well structured, using mostly a mixture of King Arthur All-Purpose and Whole Wheat (with some occasional KA bread flour).

I've played things very loose so far.  I "measure" the hydration using the directions in the Breadtopia video.  Something like ... stir it up, and bail before it's all stuck to your hands

I'm gently increasing both whole wheat and sourdough; I might add a sprinkle of yeast and an alternative flour or two soon.  I love to experiment.  Thanks again for the ideas.