No-Knead Bread from the New York Times

December 12, 2011 | Cooking and Recipes, Food | By: Mark VandeWettering

Frequent readers of this blog might be shocked to learn that I’m not entirely consumed by the usual geeky topics that I post about. Among other things, I also like to cook, and as the holidays approach, I like to try to find a few new recipes and techniques. This week’s experiment was one of the most basic: breadmaking.

While I’m not exactly inexperienced in the kitchen, I don’t do a lot of baking, and have never really done any serious incursions into breadmaking. We have a breadmaker, but frankly, the bread it makes was just not very exciting. It’s been unused for a few years. If I want bread, I go to a bakery and buy it. I just figured that bread was too hard and complex for a guy of average skill and equipment to master.

But then I read a recipe which seemed simplicity itself: Jim Lahey’s recipe for No Knead Bread. Flour. Yeast. Salt. Water. And time. Simplicity itself. It is cooked inside a cast iron Dutch oven. It doesn’t require kneading or working. How good could it possibly be?

Recipe: No-Knead Bread – New York Times

Well, here’s the loaf as it comes from the oven:

After it was cooled a bit, I sliced in with a good bread knife:

My first attempt wasn’t perfect, but was very promising. The crust is awesome: crusty, but not too thick. Carmelized, pretty, and beautiful. The inside was just a trifle too moist to be called perfect, but still is much better than any bread you’d get off the shelf at the megamart. I think I could have done a bit better job integrating the yeast during the first mix, and it probably should have left the bread in the oven for 30 minutes covered and 30 uncovered (I only did 15 uncovered). I was concerned about the bread sticking to my cast iron Dutch oven, but it just flips out. I won’t worry next time.

I’ll be trying this bread again shortly. I got some unbleached bread flour for next time instead of the ordinary all purpose flour I used. If you haven’t given it a try before, check it out! For the price of three cups of flour and a pinch of yeast (only one quarter teaspoon) it’s even economical.

If you try this, let me know how it works out.

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Comments

Comment from Goody K3NG
Time 12/13/2011 at 7:04 pm

I started baking bread about two years ago starting with a no-knead recipe. This was after trying to bake good bread unsuccessfully about 10 years prior. Now I’m baking bread on a weekly basis, doing little variations with hydration, rise times, sourdough cultures, etc. to experiment and see what works and what makes bread I like. I’m still a bit of a hack yet in my book, but folks think I bake some pretty good bread. One thing I recommend you do is use King Arthur unbleached bread flour. I started with GP flour, then went to unbleached store brand flour. King Arthur flour was an epic improvement over both. If you like sourdough, check this out http://carlsfriends.net/ and send away for their starter. It’s somewhat an interesting side hobby playing with sourdough starters. As a result of my bread baking experimentation I’ve also gotten into pizza making. You can take everything you learn in bread baking and make some really good pizzas at home, better than anything you buy at the main pizza chains.

Comment from Ollie AJ1O
Time 12/13/2011 at 7:24 pm

Looks yummy!

Comment from Mark VandeWettering
Time 12/13/2011 at 11:28 pm

Thanks for the tips! I’ll look into them.

Comment from Pseudonym
Time 12/15/2011 at 10:32 pm

Sorry to be so anal, but it bugs me when people use of the word “caramelised” (or however you spell it in your locale) to refer to the product of a Maillard reaction.

That’s all. We return you to things more productive now…

Comment from Mark VandeWettering
Time 12/15/2011 at 11:05 pm

I am glad that your life is so good that my misuse of a term rises to the top of the things that bother you in your day. I aspire to that level of peace and tranquility.

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