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Buttermilk Clouds

No-Knead Bread

The lure of the No-Knead Bread has finally gotten to me. As I type, I have a bowl of dough on my kitchen island in the first phase...the long rest of 12 to 18 hours. That is what the recipe recommends, but on blogs across the world, the times have varied.

So far it has been a simple process, only 4 ingredients! I mixed the dough according to the following recipe, but added 1 3/4 teaspoons of salt due to blog peer pressure. It seems the amount in the recipe (1 1/4 teaspoons) just wasn't enough. That is the only modification I made. This is the bread after mixing:

The recipe also recommends a room temperature of 70°. Well, it is winter in Illinois and pretty chilly. As much as I would love it, the temperature in our home is not that high. So, I rigged up a little bread warming station. This consists of a heating pad, a wire rack, four ramekins and a towel.

I thought that the dough would get too warm if the bowl was left directly on top of the heating pad, so I placed a ramekin on each corner of the heating pad and placed the wire rack on them. I then placed the bowl of dough on the wire rack which is suspended over the heating pad and covered the bowl (first with plastic wrap as directed in the recipe) with the towel to keep it warm. Hopefully it will keep the dough at the correct temperature. Here is the dough on the bread warming station with the plastic wrap in place.

Apparently the warming station was a success; this is what my dough looked like after the 20 hour rise:

I scraped/poured the dough onto a floured board to get ready for the 15 minute rise:

Then the dough was folded a couple of times, with the help of my metal dough scraper, and ended up looking like this:

After that I covered it with a plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes. Using the metal dough scraper, I transferred it to a floured parchment paper and covered it with a floured towel and let on my warming station (with a board this time on the rack) for 2 hours.

The pan was a dilemma for me. (I had 18 hours to obsess think it over.) I didn't have the pan used in the video. (But, oh, do I wish!) A side note: I do have a smaller oval 2 quart one made by 'Well Equipped Kitchen' that I found out will work perfectly for half a recipe!!!! JOY JOY. I didn't even think about it, but read this post by Rose Levy Beranbaum Baby Bread--A Great New Technique. I will be trying that one next time. Does anyone else love 'Well Equipped Kitchen' products? I can only find them at TJ Maxx, but they are awesome! Anyway, back to my dilemma. I needed a pan for my full size recipe. I decided on my clay baker. Just for good measure, I put the clay baker on my pizza stone in the oven.

I was a little concerned because of the indentation on the bottom of the pot, but I went ahead. As it turns out, it worked wonderfully!


No-Knead Bread
Originally published by Mark Bittman in the New York Times
Additions by annie noted with an asterisk
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours rising
Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf

3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour (more for dusting) (I used bread flour)
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast *
1 1/4 teaspoons salt **
1 5/8 cups water ***

*Instant yeast is also known as Rapid Rise, Bread Machine, SAF, QuickRise, Instant Active Dry, and Gourmet Perfect Rise (I don't know what I used. Pitiful, I know, but I have a huge container of yeast in my freezer that is not in it's original yeast bag. I do know that it was purchased at Sam's. Whatever it is, I used 1/4 tsp.)
**or 1 3/4 tsp salt
***or 1 1/2 cups water (the debate goes on) 1 5/8 cups was in the NYT recipe

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water (or 1 1/2 cups water), and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) or parchment paper with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

The bread is now out of the oven and cooling on a wire rack. It is true...it crackles!! It sings the bread song! And it is beautiful. By far the prettiest loaf I have ever made. I'm waiting for it to cool before I slice it. That is the hardest part about the whole thing.

Just looking at the loaf, I think I may have overdone the sprinkling of flour on the parchment paper and the towel that covered the bread. I was a little apprehensive about the dough sticking to all surfaces after reading about others' experiences. I didn't experience the overly wet dough. Mine was soft, very soft, but with floured hands I was able to maneuver it to the hot pan in the oven.

A couple of pointers. I used a little rubber pot scraper to remove the dough from the bowl after the first long rest. (Am I the only woman in the world to get a pot scraper for Christmas? I really want to know.) I used a metal dough scraper (I have a scraper for every occasion it seems) to fold it over on itself for the 15 minute rest.

I also used the metal dough scraper after the 15 minute rest to get the dough up off the floured resting board.

I will be making this bread over and over again! So easy. And I forgot to mention the most important part...it tastes like bread heaven! Look at that crumb! The big holes! The soft inside! The crisp chewy crust! And if you noticed the jar of home-made jelly (blackberry compliments from my Mom!) in the first picture? A perfect topping for a perfect bread.


Here are the links to the New York Times article and follow up article:

New York Times Video: No-Knead Bread

THE MINIMALIST; No Kneading, but Some Fine-Tuning


By: Sharon Pickering | 1/20/2007 at 8:04 PM | If you want, you can leave a comment by clicking here.


  1. Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups | 1/22/2007 2:20 PM |  

    Hooray for you Annie!

  2. Blogger annie | 1/22/2007 2:48 PM |  

    That is exactly what I said...Horay for me!!

  3. Blogger burekaboy — | 1/23/2007 8:09 PM |  

    hey there bakerina, i see you joined the ranks and baked this bread. looks great. better yet, no work involved in terms of kneading.

    i still refuse to make it though, lol. i hate trends.

    love the clay pot. ain't tj maxx the bomb for stuff like that? too bad we don't have it here. we have a fakester called "winners".

    success comes from a long, slow rise which should be fairly cool. i often have mine fermenting in fridge, depending on the recipe. some take 2 to 3 days from start to finish.

    anyway, perfection comes with practice. breadmaking and baking is something you need to get the feel for and can be intimidating. this is why this recipe is so attractive to everyone, i think.

    hope it tasted good.

  4. Blogger annie | 1/25/2007 6:14 AM |  

    Ahhhh....burekaboy, you are such the little rebel!!! I love making bread. Any way, fashion or form. And I'm always trying new ways. Such fun!

  5. Blogger hillgrandmom | 1/26/2007 7:33 AM |  

    I have a recipe from 'Joy of Cooking' for 'no knead rolls' which turns out great. That is left to rise overnight in the fridge.

  6. Blogger annie | 1/26/2007 10:16 AM |  

    @hillgrandmom, I have that cookbook!!! I will have to look it up. Thanks for telling me.