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Holy Bread!

Nov 13, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose

Yes it Works!
Several people have contacted me regarding the article in Wed. Nov. 8, 2006 NY Times: "The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work." Although the techniques described in the recipe are not new to me, the combination of them was, so I stopped everything I was doing or planning to do Sunday late afternoon and threw myself into dough production. 20 hours later here's the report: The results are exactly as promised--very large holes in the crumb, light texture, thin crisp crust, and an absolute minimum of MIXING effort.

As far as putting the dough into an extremely hot and heavy pot, I think I'll stick with other equally effective methods such as a heavy baking stone that holds the heat and ice cubes tossed into a preheated cast-iron pan or perhaps the new device I'm testing that has a relatively light-weight metal lid that also gets preheated and a very effective steaming device to create steam contained by the lid.

The flavor of the bread developed during the long 12-18 hour fermentation (I gave it 15 hours) was indeed superior to a shorter rise with higher amount of yeast but not as good or as deliciously complex as when I add some of my old starter. Also, I would add my usual 7 to 8 % whole wheat or kamut flour for extra flavor and no compromise in texture.

I like the ease of minimal mixing coupled with long slow rise which develops the gluten more gently resulting in the larger holes. I also like the flavor and texture of bran instead of flour on the outside. I intend to try these techniques with my pugliese recipe which has a slighter higher 80% hydration and different mix of flours.

Two important caveats to the Times' recipe:

I watched the video on the Times' website and noticed that only 1 1/2 cups of water was used, not 1 5/8 cups as was listed in the printed recipe. The 1 5/8 cups, which is 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablesopons, constitutes an extra 2 tablespoons of water bringing the hydration to 82% as opposed to 75%. Using the 1 1/2 cups of water the dough will be much more manageable, especially for those unaccustomed to handling very sticky doughs.

Also on the video it was recommended that an oven temperature of 500°F. or even higher be used to bake the bread but in the printed recipe a more reasonable 450°F. was listed. I hedged my bets, used 475°F. and after 30 minutes of baking the bottom became slightly over browned toward the blackened stage. (Some people like their crust this dark.) Also, the bread was fully baked (210°F. internal temperature) and the top crust beautifully browned without the need to continue baking it for 15 to 30 minutes as was indicated in the recipe.

I usually wait a week before making any recipe from a newspaper to see if there are any corrections because a weekly paper is under such a heavy deadline pressure there are often little or big glitches! In this case my eagerness to try it overcame my good judgment but luckily someone sent me a link to the video. And that's the beauty of the baker's % and weight. Realizing that I had used too much water, all I had to do was rebalance the dough by gently stirring in the additional flour to bring it to 75% hydration and the extra yeast and salt to balance the extra flour. As you can see from the photos--no harm done!

If you'd like to have weights for the ingredients:

3 cups (unbleached) all-purpose or bread flour/468 grams flour
(I used Harvest King flour and would recommend replacing about 3 tablespoons) with equal weight or volume of whole wheat or kamut or about 3 tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups water 354 grams/12.5 ounces water
1/4 teaspoons yeast/ 0.8 grams on a scale designed to weigh such small amounts
1 1/4 teaspoons salt/7.5 grams (i used 1 3/4 teaspoons 10.5 grams 2.2%)

For those of you who may not have access to the article, the basic technique is to stir together the flour, yeast, and salt and then gently stir in the water for a few seconds--just until the flour is moistened to form a soft shaggy dough. The dough is then covered with plastic wrap and allowed to rise at around 70°F. for 12 to 18 hours or until the surface is filled with bubbles.

The dough is then scraped onto a floured counter and with floured hands, shaped into a ball by folding it in thirds like a business letter in one direction and then repeating this in the other direction. It is inverted onto a towel which has been dusted with bran or flour. The dough is then dusted with bran or flour and loosely wrapped in the towel. It is left to rise for about 2 hours or until when pressed with a finger tip the depression fills in slowly.

The risen dough is then inverted (seam-side up) into a preheated 6 to 8 quart enameled cast-iron Dutch oven and covered with its lid. (Or as I suggested above, inverted onto a piece of parchment, set onto a baking stone that has been preheated for at least 45 minutes at 450°F. and steamed with a handful of ice cubes thrown onto a preheated cast iron pan set on the floor of the oven (if you forget to preheat it you can do so on the cooktop).

Finally, I am grateful to The New York Times, Mark Bittman, and Jim Leahey for doing so much to get people excited about baking bread. I could see from the video that Jim Leahey's mission, like that of any good baker, is to get people making and eating good bread.

Comments

why so long?

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my friend told me that she was the only one who had a recipe now I can prove to her she's not! Thanks!

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Thank you for your explanation. There really useful information.

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Yes! Finally found a good resource that actually help with the problem. I've tried this over the weekend and it works. Great stuff and thanks for sharing

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Oh my god, I've tried this at home last weekend... and I'm in love with freshly baked bread now. Problem is that my neighbours are too ;) Thanks for sharing this, great article!

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guen, sorry to dissapoint, the answer is no. crust is not as great than baking free form in a preheated high humidity environment. lets say when I slice the bread, my table top only gets half as dirty with crust shatters (this may be a good scientific measurement of crust quality!).

however taste is awesome!

try see the pics I posted of my Zo bread. I am baking this on the Zo which I believe heats up rather quickly because of how it is built. the heating element is very uniform and close to tha pan. I am just trying to go green and save energy and also doing this at my office where bringing a traditional bread oven and dropping dough the artisan way would be too distracting.

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Thanks Hector, I will try your bread. I am curious about the crust, though. Is it a great crust even without the preheated cooking pot?

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Guen, I've posted several trials, and yet have to find an answer. I must say, there can't be such thing a no knead bread made with sourdough starter.

My theory is that the long fermentation process with sourdough weakens too much the gluten, thus you end up with a wet sponge cake like texture more than a feathery bread.

What I am doing now is to use a low hydration bread, with sourdough, and it is close to no knead: I only knead once at the beginning, to incorporate all the ingredients, then I let it rise for about 12 hours in a loaf pan where the bread will bake. There is absolutelly no more mix/knead work nor transpering to a preheated pot. The bread is fantastic, the taste SUPERB, the texture is feathery, but it does not have holes. I've posted about this under Artisan Who Loves The Bread Machine.

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I am new to making bread but have done several loaves of NKB. Love the crust, but the flavor is bland.

I see that several of you suggest using a sourdough starter instead of yeast, and I would love to do that, but don't know how to begin.

Specifically, there are a lot of sourdough starter recipes out there. Which do you more experienced bakers suggest that I use? Also, how much should I add to the dough instead of the 1/4 t yeast? Anything else I need to know about converting this recipe to a sourdough one?

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Rose,
thanks for your prompt reply dated 4/12/08 re.: ABi5. Was your ABi5 baking based on the "Master Recipe"? If not, what changes have you made?
How would you go about making batards using the ABi5, and baking forms? I wish to make batards with large holes.
I know how to shape batards (per your book pg. 69). However I do not know how how to place the batard, in the form, with the seam down, and then, before baking,flipping the batard over with the seam up.

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ValerieSara
ValerieSara
04/12/2008 05:02 PM

Hi Rose,
I've been baking ABi5 by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois since I purchased the book when it first came out a few months ago.
This bread is fabulous, and, yes, I've kept the dough in the fridge for 2 weeks and the loaves just get better and better. I don't like a real sour taste, and you would think that after 2 weeks, this is exactly what you'd get. But what you get is a very nicly balanced, complex flavored bread. The crust and crumb are wonderful, nice hole development, but the texture I found a bit on the wet side. But I've found asolution: I've made 90 (not a typo!) loaves to date and what I have discovered is when baked in my 5 quart Lodge Logic Dutch Oven ($31.99 at Walmart) the finished product is Just Right.
When ready to "shape" a loaf, I gently fold the dough from left to right (to meet in the middle) and then from top edge to bottom edge (to meet in the middle)and then I flip it, seam DOWN on top of a very well-floured (or wheat bran'd) silicone sheet or linen towel. That is it for the "shaping".
I let it rise, uncovered, for about 2 hours, mindful not to over-proof. I preheat the covered pan for one hour(while bread is rising, of course) in a 450F oven on the middle shelf, which is lined with six (6" x 6" each) unglazed, quary tiles at 31 cents each from Home Depot.
When it's time to bake, I flip the bread seams side UP into the pan (I do not slash it as the seams will blossom beautifully on their own), cover it with the very hot lid, and bake it for 30 minutes. Then I uncover it and continue to bake it at 450 for 25 minutes or until it is nicely browned and shows an internal temperature of 210 degrees. I let it cool, still in the uncovered pan, on a rack for at least 3 hours, so that the inside structure is nicely cemented and not gummy.
By, the way, when I was a child, we would often bake our bread in an old cast iron pan on a campfire that was well-embered. Nothing new here, because cast iron bread baking is as old as dirt!

Visit Jeff and Zoe's sites; they are lovely people and wonderful bakers:
http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/

and Zoe's siste:
www.zoebakes.com.

Thanks, Rose, for this great discussion on NKB - you're tips are great.
ValerieSara

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ValerieSara
ValerieSara
04/12/2008 05:01 PM

Hi Rose,
I've been baking ABi5 by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois since I purchased the book when it first came out a few months ago.
This bread is fabulous, and, yes, I've kept the dough in the fridge for 2 weeks and the loaves just get better and better. I don't like a real sour taste, and you would think that after 2 weeks, this is exactly what you'd get. But what you get is a very nicly balanced, complex flavored bread. The crust and crumb are wonderful, nice hole development, but the texture I found a bit on the wet side. But I've found asolution: I've made 90 (not a typo!) loaves to date and what I have discovered is when baked in my 5 quart Lodge Logic Dutch Oven ($31.99 at Walmart) the finished product is Just Right.
When ready to "shape" a loaf, I gently fold the dough from left to right (to meet in the middle) and then from top edge to bottom edge (to meet in the middle)and then I flip it, seam DOWN on top of a very well-floured (or wheat bran'd) silicone sheet or linen towel. That is it for the "shaping".
I let it rise, uncovered, for about 2 hours, mindful not to over-proof. I preheat the covered pan for one hour(while bread is rising, of course) in a 450F oven on the middle shelf, which is lined with six (6" x 6" each) unglazed, quary tiles at 31 cents each from Home Depot.
When it's time to bake, I flip the bread seams side UP into the pan (I do not slash it as the seams will blossom beautifully on their own), cover it with the very hot lid, and bake it for 30 minutes. Then I uncover it and continue to bake it at 450 for 25 minutes or until it is nicely browned and shows an internal temperature of 210 degrees. I let it cool, still in the uncovered pan, on a rack for at least 3 hours, so that the inside structure is nicely cemented and not gummy.
By, the way, when I was a child, we would often bake our bread in an old cast iron pan on a campfire that was well-embered. Nothing new here, because cast iron bread baking is as old as dirt!

Visit Jeff and Zoe's sites; they are lovely people and wonderful bakers:
http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/

and Zoe's siste:
www.zoebakes.com.

Thanks, Rose, for this great discussion on KNB - you're tips are great.
ValerieSara

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Rose,

where can I find your test results of bread using Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Hertzberg/Francois? I have used the Five Minutes a Day technique for a while, with very good results. However I have problems developing bread with large holes.

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Hi Rose
I am trying to make a baguette from the Bible. It comes out looking beautiful and on my second attempt, the crumb was perfect with uneven holes and nice color inside and out. The crust is nice and hard and thin but very chewey. My friends, to whom I give away one loaf, are loving the chewey crust, but I would like to get a little more crumbly crust. Any idea how to achieve this. Thanks
Salma

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thank you david--i couldn't have said it better myself!

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Meg,

I certainly don't speak for the blog author, but I would guess that your heating pad was too warm and killed the yeast. It isn't imperative to keep it at 70 degrees. My home is cooler in winter--just 60 at night. You just compensate by letting it rise a little longer if your temp is below 70. You'll actually get better flavor with a longer, cool rise. It isn't a bad idea to use a thermometer stuck in your dough to monitor its temperature if you aren't sure how warm or cool it is.

-David

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I attempted to make this bread yesterday and it was rising nicely in the windowsill until I realized that the sun was going to go down in a little while. I placed the bowl on a heating pad and used that for the rest of the 12 hours. This morning when I took the dough from the bowl, it poured out and I couldn't do anything with it. I had to nix the whole batch. Do you think it was the heating pad that did me in? Is there something else I can do to keep the bowl warm for 15 hours? I am really excited to try this bread, and the soup I got was pretty disappointing. Please let me know if anyone else has run into this problem.

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Hi there, just tried this recipe and it was very good. My dutch oven is a 12" deep Lodge Camp oven (cast iron) with 3 legs. It is far too heavy and too big to put on an oven shelf, so what I did was put a layer of fire bricks on the bottom of the oven and set the dutch oven on the fire bricks. That put the bottom about 3-4 inches off the bottom of the oven. This set up worked great. I have plenty of head space so I'm going to try multiplying the recipe times 1.5.

I put it in the frig initially after mixing it for 8 hours, then put it at room temp for 16 hours. I think I'll try it for 24 hours in the frig next time. Still in keeping with the theme of simplicity but gets the kind of flavor you would get from a preferment, I think.

I shaped it onto floured parchment inside a 8 inch basket, and then just slid out the parchment and held the parchment by the corners and gently plopped it into the dutch oven.

Someone above had asked about parchment burning at 450 or above. What I've found with parchment is that the standard kind doesn't stand up to really high temps as well as the one that is sold at Whole Foods. It is a brown package with a green stripe and doesn't seem to have a brand name. The paper itself is unbleached and is a brownish color. When I make rolls, I proof them on a piece of this parchment on an upside down half sheet pan. I then slide the rolls into the oven right on top of my tiles. The Whole foods parchment can be reused about 2-3 times before it becomes brittle and breaks down.

-David

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jerry, re spring water, i only recommend it when in regions where the water is exceptionally hard or has the taste of sulphur. do a side-way-side test so you can decide if it's preferably in your area to use spring water.

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I saw a follow-up on the NKB in the Cooks Illustrated and decided to try this one.
3 c flour, 1/4 t yeast, 1-1/2 t salt, 3/4 c water, 1/4 c lager beer & 1 T vinegar.
It was hard to get the mixture moist, so I had to add a couple of T addl water. I left it for 18 hrs. Kneaded it for 3 minutes, made into a ball and placed it on a parchment paper in a frying pan. Covered it with plastic and a towel. 3 hours later, I baked it as usual in cast iron pot (slashed the top a little). The bread rose higher, the crust was thin and crispy with a fabulous color. The crumb had large holes but was a little squishy thou very good. I baked covered at 450 for 20 min and uncovered at 425 for 8. May be I shd have baked longer.

My next one I substituted 1 c wh/wh flour and after letting it rise 12 hrs, I regrigerated it to see the results if left 3/4 days. Will let you know.

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you're not actually baking at 500*F--but since the heat lowers 50*F when you open the oven, and then you lower it to 450 it never really gets higher than that for very long. parchment gets brown but i've never had it burst into flames!

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Rose,
On page 363 (item 6) of The Bread Bible you call for the use of parchment paper placed on a baking stone pre-heated at 500*F. However parchment papers have a limitation of 450*F. Is the paper safe at 500*, or you are using a special paper?

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Rose,
do you see any advantage in using spring water instead of tap water ( which, among other things, contains chlorine, fluoride etc.)in breadbaking?

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did anyone try it after 5 days in the frig?

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Hi Rose!
I've tried it the Artisan in Five bread and love it.

Posted recipe for the book's Sticky Pecan Caramel Rolls and a Nutella & Roasted Hazelnut Challah up on my site at
www.steamykitchen.com

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o.k. got it from the internet! will need a few weeks to report back.

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p.s. if you could post the recipe i would really appreciate it and it will speed my trying it. i seem to have misplaced it. or else i can probably get it from the times on line.

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yes i will be trying it. what i'm particularly interested in seeing is what happens when it sits refrigerated for 5 days to a week.

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Rose,

I baked using Jim Lahey method with good results. Now, I am getting ready to try the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" as developed by J Hertzberg and Z Francois. Have you tried the Five Minutes recipe? If yes, what do you think? If not, are you planning about trying it? I do value your comments,and keep referring back to your book everytime I bake.

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Jen, let me answer this, I am assuming you are trying to make free form bread (without a loaf pan).

I am certain the ONLY requirement you need in any oven is that it can reach 450oF to 475oF degrees. Please test this with thermometer.

The second need is to create a hot surface at that temperature, and that can stay that hot when the bread is added on it. You can use a pizza stone, quarry tiles, or a cast iron surface. These materials cool down very slowly, if any.

The third need is moisture for the first 5 minutes. 1/2 cup of ice cubes dropped on your oven floor or on a cast iron surface will sizzle and create the needed moisture. Answering your question, YES, if you use a preheated cast iron dutch oven (also the lid preheated), you won't need the ice cubes.

If you meet the above 3 requirements you will crust!

Ok, let me explain a little more what happens. You need the hot temperature so the air inside the dough expands quickly and before your dough cooks and sets, so your bread dough rises.

You need the dough to touch an immediate hot burning surface, so the bottom crust sets and the bread has only the chance to rise upwards where the dough cooks later. This rises, too.

And thirdly, you need to keep moisture at the beginning, so the top crust becomes moist like gelatin, it is called gelatination (sp.) in fact. This moist crust allows the bread to keep expanding, and ultimately, the 'gelatin' turns into thick crunchy crust!

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Hi Rose, Is it too late to still ask questions about the No Knead Bread recipe? Here's my question: I don't mind kneading but can't get a decent crust in my home oven. Will baking a normal kneaded loaf in a pre-heated dutch oven get me moisture I need for a crust as good as the one in this recipe?
thanks!

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So Sorry...It was the NKB I made in the Romertof Baker. I just made the NKB recipe again in the baker, but changed the recipe by adding some wheat germ and bran, (1/4 cup each), and used half unbleached bread flour with the unbleached AP. Then added 4oz. of liquid sourdough and upped the salt to 2 t. Turned out wonderful...

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i can't quite figure out which bread you were making as your last posting was about sourdough but the proportions you listed are not. the technique is interesting but no one will be able to try it if you don't specify exactly which recipe it is!

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Well, my daughter says, "This is the best bread you've ever made, mom!" I've been baking many years and she has said that on several other occasions...but it did turn out pretty much perfect. I used the basic recipe of 3 cups AP flour, 1/4 t. yeast, 1 1/2 t. salt, and 1 1/2 water. It sat about 15 hours in a cool house, around 65-68F. I then scraped it over onto it's self in the bowl with a bit of flour to keep it from sticking to my scraper. I warmed the oven a bit, turned it off, and let the dough set, covered with wrap, in it for about an hour or hour and a half. I soaked the lid and bottom to my Romertopf baker in cold water about 15-20 minutes, dried them, and sprayed the bottom well with cooking spray. I scraped the risen dough into the baker, put on the lid and set it in the non heated oven. Not on the bottom rack but the next one up. I turned the oven to 450. I didn't look for about 35 minutes. I then lifted the top for a peek. It had risen nicely, cracked a bit on top and smell great, but was still pale. I left the lid on and turned the heat down to 425 for another 15 minutes, then took the lid off for about 10 minutes. I checked the temp. It was 204 and it looked just right so I turn it out on the rack. Beautiful!!! Crispy, crackly, shiny crust. Made Daughter wait about 40 minutes before cutting it. The crumb was glossy and open, not soggy, but not to dry! If I would have let it raise a bit in the baker it may have risen a bit more...but it did pretty good for going into a cold oven. Next time I will try some whole wheat in it. When I was making this bread before it was turning out pretty good and surely was getting eaten, but I like starting from a cold oven and not having to worry about steaming. I got this Romertopf baker at a yard sale for practicely nothing, because it looked like a good idea, and had to look on on line to find out about it and how to use it. I reccommend trying it if you have one! Thank you, Rose, for all the wonderful info. When it's below zero here (Alaska)it makes reading about your travels and all the cooking adventures even more fun. I took pictures of the Romertopf baker bread, if you'd like to see them, let me know how to post them!

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i'm so delighted to hear this (as i have a bread in the oven baking the recipe of which i will post on the blog on dec. 22 as a holiday/winter present!)

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I got my copy of "The Bread Bible" on EBay after keeping the library copy till it was 2 months over due! I love it. I have a Romertopf baker I am experimenting with. Will try the NKB in it tomorrow. I have made the NKB quite a few times but have gotten into sourdough lately. This summer I won a 1st place ribbon and best of class ribbon, and then a 2nd place ribbon in the bake off, with my sourdough bread. I used the starter made from "The Bread Bible", using my fresh ground rye flour. I had never entered before and it was really fun!

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thank you for sharing this and for your last comment that is most pleasing!
did you know that amazon sells used copies of most cookbooks? there's a link on the left side of this blog.

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I've been on a quest for some time to refine Dutch Oven baking, ever since I came across a "Basque Shepherd's" bread recipe in the 'Little Northwest Cookbook'. It calls for beer and yeast and something like 6 cups of flour so it makes a huge loaf. The thing that appealed to me was that the final rise could be done in the pot which gets thrown (cold) into the pre-heated oven.
I recently tried the NKB recipe while at an artist's residency (a related post is here: http://xfrench.vox.com/library/post/no-knead.html)
and found the bread to be very good. I think that Reinhart's Pain a L'Ancienne has more of the sweet wheat flavor that I like, but that's a minor point.
I have tried the NKB in both a hot Dutch oven (works well, no stick) and in a cold one as above, but you must oil the pot in order to keep it from sticking. It is very hard to get a stuck loaf out of a (hot) round pot, unless you are willing to hack at it. Also, I have found that those full-length leather gloves that welders use make for excellent pot holders when cooking and baking at temperatures in the 450-500 degree range.
I just wanted to post because I have learned quite a bit from just reading through this thread, so thank you. I also love your Bread Bible, Rose, and have been impressed with it when I've gotten it from the library and look forward to adding it to my collection. I only buy used, and your book is hard to come by, people must cherish it so (and that's in Seattle, where good bookstores abound). I appreciate the fact that you are so generous and accessible with your blog, it matches with your other work. Happy baking.

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in the bread bible i use atta for paratha. it is a whole wheat flour with little gluten and though it has a wonderful flavor it will not give you a good texture to this bread.

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Hi Rose
Welcome back!Im sure Italy was wonderful.
I keep substituting 1/2 cup flour in the Holy bread with a mix of diff flours etc. How would 'atta' the Indian flour work in this bread and is it any more or less nutrious and what is the gluten content in terms of rising?
Salma

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your postings have some interesting hieroglyphics like notes on them and i'm wondering what language this is.

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Welcome back, Rose, I hope you had a good holiday in Italy, no doubt we will be hearing of it on this wonderful blog. Every one is so helpful here, I love to log on here evvery day and pick up so many tips.

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p.s. i'm far from perfect so please be sure to check the errata section and integrate it into your book!

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what fun! you actually caused me to hold my breath in fear! oh yes--that is a miracle bread--i worked so hard to achieve it--my first breakthrough to get truely holey bread and with such delicate texture. the ciabatta in this country is usually much more chewy but not in italy by the way.
your last paragraph gave me goose flesh which reminds me that on the plane returning from europe i sat next to a delightful man from alsace and we were talking about getting the chills. by mistake i translated the phrase to goose flesh in france and he was hysterical laughing bc there they call it chicken flesh!

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Elizabeth L.
Elizabeth L.
10/31/2007 10:05 AM

I've recently returned to bread baking after a few years and was excited to buy The Bread Bible last month. I've made several recipes with fabulous success, and my five-year-old now *expects* to have Cinnamon Swirl Bread available at all times.

However, this weekend I decided to attempt your Ciabatta. My confidence remained high while making the biga--I trusted you, you see--but when the time came to mix the dough, I began to have doubts. It seemed like an absurdly low amount of flour. It seemed ridiculously wet. Yes, your book used the word "soupy," but really? This? I continued on, assuming it would increase in volume dramatically while rising, and it did, but still, when I got ready to shape the dough, I ended up with the saddest flour-covered lump. I kept re-reading the recipe--yes, I had included everything.

Well, this is going to be a failure, I thought, as I popped the bread into the oven.

When I pulled it out, I was . . . hesitantly relieved. It looked . . . like Ciabatta. OK, my shaping skills aren't there yet, but at least it looked like bread. I waited for it to cool, and then, finally, I cut into the bread. It was holey and glisten-y (that's not a word, but you know what I mean) and smelled amazing. I took a bite.

I apologize to you on my knees for ever doubting your wisdom or your recipes. I feel like I have worked a miracle, that that pathetic flop of dough could become this sublime.

Please forgive me. I'll never lose faith again.

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i describe working with wet dough in detail in the bread bible!

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Rose,
I have your Bread Bible and love it, it explains alot about the process. I have made the Bittman bread several times and am now glad to learn that the water was excessive. However, can you suggest anywhere to learn more about working with a wet dough? Thanks

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Has anyone tried putting garlic in this bread ?? Results..When was it added.???

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reg--this is so very kind of you. i applaud your honesty both before and after!you have found what works for you and your description is utterly charming.

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Hello Rose, Way back in January I made some comments on the NKB. I was out of line as I did not know what I was talking about. I made the assumption that the NKB was the same as a batter bread and I now, after having gained a lot of practical baking experience, realise that I was completely wrong. It is not a batter bread but rather a soft Italian style Ciabatta dough with an 85% hydration and that the Lahey technique is indeed quite unique. Mr Lahey is congratulated on his technique as it has made my life, as a disabled person (a stroke in 1997), much easier as I now don't have to knead my dough any longer in order to get a decent bread. The very reason I tended to use batters before. I am humbly eating every
derogatory word that I ever uttered on the topic.

I bake a fresh no-knead bread every day. I make the dough at 7am in the morning and let it rise during the day at +/-21*C. In the afternoon I put the dough in the fridge and let it stand the whole night to develop flavour. At 6am I shape the bread and put it in a pyrex dish that has been sprayed with non-stick. I cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a combination microwave/convection oven to rise on the 40*C proofing setting. After 15 minutes I switch off the oven and let the dough rise to double its size (2 hours). I then remove the plastic wrap and bake it uncovered on combination cook - 230*C convection and medium-low microwave. The bread has a superb crumb and the crust ok. My priority is, however, a good crumb as you can't live on the crust alone and the bread goes into the bread bin anyway and we all know what that does to a crust. At 7am I mix the next lot of dough in the same mixing bowl and I incorporate a golf ball size of the old dough. I mix very thoroughly with an electric hand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

I really wish you the best and I have to congratulate you on your known expertise - you are known the world over. I wish I could make amends but they say: "a word spoken (written in this case) is an arrow let fly. Please forgive me.

Many regards, Reg - Johannesburg, South Africa

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I found this recipe recently, and tried it. At the end of the process my wife and I agreed that we hoped it would turn out poorly, because the cleanup was excessive. The bread was, however, delicious! So, I've been simplifying the recipe. I now mix it in a bowl, after 18 hours or so I turn it in the same bowl while sprinkling flour around the edges. Three hours later I dump it into a heated dutch oven (I've used teflon-coated aluminum and cast iron) to bake per the recipe. No cotton cloths to clean and it tastes great.

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so glad to hear it works even with improvised equipment--brava!!!

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Shon Pirollo
Shon Pirollo
05/ 9/2007 11:33 AM

Dear Rose: Wow! I just tasted my first attempt at this bread and what a delight! I did, however, need to make some other baking provisions, and want to share them in case anyone else finds themselves in the same position. I have been baking French bread for years and use tiles lined onto the oven rack and a 10" dedicated cast iron skillet on the lower shelf for steam. But I do not have a clay baker, nor anything else that would have sufficed. So, I flipped my mixing bowl over and covered it with heavy duty aluminum foil in order to creat a "dome" of foil. I had a basket that I lined with a towel and dusted with flour. When the bread was ready, I turned it out onto a piece of parchment, slid it into the preheated and steaming 500 degree oven, covered it with my makeshift foil dome and baked it for 20 minutes covered. I removed the cover and baked for another 25 minutes. I don't think I've ever baked such a beautiful loaf of bread! And the taste - well, it's just superb! Thank you, Rose, for this most helpful site and thank you to all who have tried this before. Your experiments, ideas and suggestions have been most helpful and appreciated. Can't wait to start my next batch (batches!) tonight!

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Will try that. I've just got my baby Lodge Dutch oven. I have totally converted on dropping the dough, free form, on the hot cast iron pot. The spring action is amazing.

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very good thinking hector! one must adapt to one's particular circumstances. for ex. i have a hearth kit--i don't think it's being produced anymore, but it has side walls as well as the bottom stone. it retains the heat so well i don't set the initial temperature 25 degrees higher.
if the bottom of the bread is burning, take it out of the container sooner. for breads containing sugary items such as cranberries or raisins i recommend to double pan or raising the bread to a higher level after the first half of baking.

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I have the same experiments. If you use the terracota pot, use the recommendation of Bread Bible for La Cloche. I would use a terracota lid as a cover, not a cast iron lid (I think it would get too hot and not aid on the humidity breathing). Be aware that some terracota is not food safe.

After cracking so many terracota pots, tiles, and stones, I am now a cast iron believer. But I had some issues. When I use my Lodge cast iron Dutch oven, the bottom crust is too well done, but it is tasty (the cast iron adds flavor). When I use my Le Creuset enamel Dutch oven, it comes out good, but it sticks sometimes and I really don't want to add any corn meal; also my enamel gets dirty with hard to remove grease spots. (skip the paragraph below to get to the conclusive point).

Often, a time and cleanup saver, I shape and proof my bread in the Lodge cast iron Dutch oven itself. I keep the lid on, which keeps the humidity nicelly during proofing (I haven't invested on plastic containers for proofing, yet). Then I bake the whole thing (lid on for the first 10 minutes) on a middle oven rack. I don't place it directly on a hot tile or stone, because it will crack the tile or stone (weight of the cast iron pot and temperature shock). I do keep my convection fan on when the lid is on, and my stones are indeed preheated but sitting on a lower rack and on the top rack. The crust is very acceptable and tasty -) and the bottom is not burned.

Rose keeps telling me to try dropping the dough in the heated Dutch oven, enjoy the spring up effect and the beautiful artisan crust. I tried many times, and the bottom burned. Until one day I gave it a good thinking (I have 2 copies of Bread Bible and Cake Bible, one at home and one at work!!!). Following Bread Bible, I preheat the oven to 475oF, then lower to 450oF after 10 minutes of baking. Why? Rose says when you open your oven door to put the bread in, the temperature will drop 25oF. So really, on the ideal scenario, your bread needs to bake at 450oF constant.

Well... cast iron Dutch oven is known to hold temperature well. What I do now, is preheat it only at 450oF!!!. Sure thing when I open the oven door to drop the bread the temperature of the oven will down to 425oF, but I am almost certain the temperature in the Dutch oven remains to 450oF. The bottom came out beautifully!!!!!!!!!

For breads with high content of sugar (cranberry bread for example), bake at only 425 or even 400, but for longer time.

good luck.

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I'd just be careful to make sure that the 'lid' is heavy enough to hold in the moisture of the dough--I believe that is the purpose of the cover. Foil might not provide that complete closure and insulation. Otherwise, any heavy oven-proof lid that covers your bread container should work--glass, metal, cast iron, oven-safe pottery, etc.

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I went and bought a terracotta pot, the wide type, and found that my cast iron Dutch oven lid fit perfectly - I would probably have dropped the saucer. The bread baked perfectly but do remember the piece of parchment paper to cover the hole. When I saw the half recipe I invested in a smaller terracotta pot and used a pie tin for a lid. I was able to use a higher oven shelf and got the best risen loaf so far. Now I am wondering whether my electric oven is too hot at the lower level. Today I baked in my cast iron and the bottom of the loaf was more than well done - but the Dutch oven is too tall to use the higher shelf. Has anyone got a solution, please? I did see somebody used foil as a lid? Thanks for any help, Ann

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I used Jeannie's method of rising the formed loaf with a bowl over the top and SUCCESS!!! A beautiful, high, round loaf! I had been very happy with previous loaves for taste and texture, but less than pleased with the way they spread in my dutch oven. They were great for dipping in oil but not so great for sandwiches. Now I have a picture perfect, yummy loaf with fantastic crust and crumb. :-)

Thank you Jeannie and thanks to everyone for sharing their learnings with this great method. Thanks for leading this, Rose!

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Jessica,

I'm the one who posted the message about using one pyrex loaf pan on top of the other. You can use the entire recipe; it seems to make about one large sandwich loaf. Since large holes in the bread aren't desirable for sandwiches (in my opinion), you can adjust the size of the holes by slightly reducing the water in the recipe (by about a couple of tablespoons, I guess, I just eyeball it). Hope that helps!

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Just got this recipe(like Chuck) from the Tampa Trib. Very interested in trying it out.
Not sure if I have the"right" yeast but willing to give it a go.
Also--wondering about the pot too. All I have is a Le Creuset 3.5qt dutch oven and a crock insert that's probably about 6qt or whatever that size is. I've never made bread--too afraid!!! But, I'm definitely going to give this recipe a try.
I did notice that someone put their dough into a loaf pan with another on top. Did they put the entire amount of dough into that one loaf pan? It seems like that would overflow?! Or-did they put in only 1/2 of the dough into the loaf pan. Just curious since we'd really like to use this bread for some sandwiches.
Great blog--been reading for about an hour (or more)or so!!!! Thanks ahead of time for any input and insight..... first timer here....very unsure of myself in the bread making arena.

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First attempt used 1-1/2 cups each of WW flour and AP. Dumped out result 20 hrs later on Sil cutting mat w/flour. so wet just folded over twice and covered with same platic wrap as on initial pot. You couldn't form it into ball...too moist. Let rise again 2-1/2 hrs, and literally dumped the loose mess into Pam sprayed, preheated Pyrex casserole dish sitting on a clay stone. Baked @ 450 30 min covered and 20 min uncovered until it looked plenty toasted. Ate it all in one day and preparing second loaf w/ 1/3 WW flour. The original had beautiful crust and crumb and super oven spring. This blog is so fun to read all the comments, and this recipe is super, as this was my first attempt at breadmaking. I just used what was available in the kitchen. Been wanting to make bread, and we just had the recipe available 3/28/07 in the Tampa Tribune. Am going to add some rosemary to the next batch and start other experiments. Fun...Fun...fun and delicious eating

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very clever! when i visited india years ago i came home to make chicken tandoori and used a terracotta flower pot to simulate the tandoor!

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I don't have a fancy pan to bake the bread it--I invested in a (new) terracotta flower pot and saucer from the garden store, cleaned them both really well, covered the hole in the pot with a bit of parchment paper, and the recipe works a charm! The terracotta takes the heat of the oven, the saucer seems to keep in the moisture and heat well. I bake the bread in the pot, with the saucer as the 'lid'. Don't laugh, it works!

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vinegar is used as a kind of poor man's starter to jump start the acidity of the dough, making it more extensible so easier to shape and possibly braid, and have more flavor.
shortening or oil, in small amounts can enable the dough to rise more and give it a crisp crust--in larger amounts it gives you a softer crust.

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After making a number of loaves with the no-knead recipe, I have decided that while I like the results, it is not quite what I was looking for. What I have decided is that using a cast iron lidded pot makes for a great bread baking "oven" and that steam is what probably separates the great French breads from the good ones. Now for some questions: some bread recipes use vinegar...why...what quality does it impart? Also, some use shortening...again, what are they going for? Thanks again for a great forum.

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Made my first no-knead bread today, and I'm glad to see that 1 5/8c of water was too much - my dough was VERY sloppy. No way I could shape it into a ball. I used a stainless steel Dutch oven and was amazed that it didn't stick, but I will check the thrift stores for a crockpot insert. The bread was a bit flat but tasted great and the crust was - crusty! I will try it again with less water and slightly less salt. By the way I used King Arthur bread flour and regular dried yeast. I have a sourdough starter ( yogurt based) in the frig and wonder if anyone knows when it starts to taste "sour"? Loved reading all the comments and hints, thanks for the site, Ann

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Lise,
I'm no expert, and it would be interesting to hear from one, but I don't think you have anything to worry about. Aluminum leaching is typically an issue with acidic foods, and bread is not acidic. Cast aluminum is wonderful, not quite as good as cast iron but one fourth the weight!

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I've been waiting awhile to make this because I didn't have a pot big enough (should've checked the internet for alternatives!). I found a 6 quart cast aluminum pot but now I'm worried about cooking in aluminum. Does anyone know if this will be okay? Thanks.

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I've been engrossed in this blog for about an hour and look forward to my 3rd attempt with more confidence. I'm just sorry I didn't find this info sooner.

I've been using my Romertopf for baking, as I didn't want to buy a new pot and I knew it could take high temps. I now line the bottom with Reynold's Release foil which I formed to the outside of the pot first. No wrinkles and the bread slides off. I'm too casual a baker to worry a lot about %hydration, etc., but I'll pay more attention to the state of the dough.

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I you'd like to make regular sandwich-shaped loaves using this recipe, the best way is to use a pyrex or anchor-hocking loaf pan, with another identical loaf pan inverted over the top for the covered portion of the baking. It works perfectly.

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covered for the first 20 minutes. please check the recipe on the blog.

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About this 2 qt. Lodge cast iron pot that Jeannie and Rose talk about. Do you bake the loaves uncovered when you use this pot?

Thanks

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Hello again, Rose! I like to think that great minds think alike - as they say. I ordered and have received that cute little 2 qt. Lodge cast iron pot, too - and for the same purpose!!! I tried it Wed. and it worked great - so great that I put another one in my shopping cart at amazon.com to wait for a special deal on it to come up for it. It’s an incredible multipurpose pan and one that every Lodge addict must have... and anyone who got one who’s not an addict would become one!

I noticed the link in a post above from Chris Brandow (thanks, Chris!) to a recipe on recipezaar incorporating Peter Reinhart's method for Pain a l'Ancienne. His recipe/method is one of my beloved standards - so much that I ordered a 12 c. KitchenAid food processor. I like to make up several batches, form and freeze the dough for baking later. We like a flatbread/ciabatta that we slice like a big sandwich and cut to make our individual sandwiches. We use it for a muffuletta to die for, also. We like it much better than using a traditional large thick round loaf for muffuletta. Anyway, I have the recipezaar recipe in the fridge as well as my version of Lahey's bread standing at room temperature. All I do differently in Lahey’s recipe is make an overnight flour, water, yeast sponge and add a tablespoon or two of fresh ground rye. If I use whole wheat, it goes into the sponge and I usually need a tad more water because the ww absorbs more liquid than regular flour. Next day, I mix the rest of the dry ingredients and add it to the sponge along with the rest of the water and proceed. If I understand it correctly, both the a l'ancienne method and my sponge method will add a lot to the taste and structure of the bread. Both give a dough that is extremely easy to work with... especially slack doughs. (I also add 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. - depending on amt. of flour - ascorbic acid powder to all breads - except sourdough - so I did that in Lahey’s and used it instead of the apple cider vinegar, but added 2 tsp. water, in the recipezaar recipe.) Tomorrow, I'm baking both breads at the same time in two identical 5 qt. cast iron Dutch ovens to see what, if any, difference there is.

As I said in a previous post, I learned how to bake artisan breads mostly from books, hundreds of forum posts - and trial and error. I'm as excited to see how it goes as I am excited when waiting for Christmas to get here! I will post what I find out as soon as I can.

Oh, I almost forgot!!! There’s another person working with this method and has posted a 2 informative videos at http://www.breadtopia.com/basic-no-knead-method/ and another person did an interesting adaptation for dinner rolls at http://not-too-shabby.net/eats/?p=90 with pictures of the rolls that makes you want to smear butter all over your monitor!!! Cyberspace is flooded with people discussing, trying, and experimenting with this method! Mr. Lahey was also a guest on Martha Stewart a few weeks back - a tivo I’ll keep for a long time... I can’t open the one on NYT cite any longer - I think you have to pay for the archive now...

I’m so exuberant about your site and I try to come here every day - I’ve told all my baker friends and my two brothers and two sisters that I taught to bake bread - Thank you so much for all the time you spend on us and all the great help and information you so freely share from your trusted expertise. You’re a keeper!

Franzia

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Wow, I was blown away when I searches for an answer to how much time could be saved by proofing in my convection. . . I have been baking this recipe for the last few weeks, always with wonderful success. I have used half bread flour and half whole wheat, sometimes adding sesame, flax and pepitas (outstanding). Last time I brushed the loaf with egg wash and sprinkled on sesame and caraway and it was superb. I did proof and it shortened the time for the rise but I didn't write down how much. I am trying to decide whether I will need to get up in the middle of the night if I proof now. Thanks All!!
Judith

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To get a higher NYT no-knead loaf I adjusted the flour and water to get a dough that's just a bit sticky but can be handled and shaped. On one loaf for the 2nd rise (w/floured fingers) I gently formed the dough into a sphere, put it on a bran-covered surface and put a mixing bowl over it (about 8" diameter) that was sprayed w/olive oil, including the rim. The dough rose and retained its shape for baking.
For the 2nd rise of the next loaf, I shaped it into a ball, set it on a w/w/covered surface; put a mixture of w/w/bran and sesame seeds on top of the dough and covered it Loosely with a towel. I put a strainer (about 8" diam.) over the toweled dome to keep the dough from spreading out. No sticking to the towel and nowhere to go but up!
I used a wide plastic pizza cutter and a plastic bread dough scraper to pick up the dough and gently place it into the preheated cast iron pot (no turning over). No Scoring. Preheated 500, then turned down 450 degrees, 20 min covered, 20 uncovered. No sticking and both loaves reached new heights!
Thanks for all the help!
Jeannie

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Jeannie,
I have been making this recipe with sourdough starter instead of any yeast, and with whole wheat flour. The starter alone is enough to rise the bread, and I think the key is that it doesn't rise too quickly. For flour, I use a unifine-ground soft white wheat, although lately I've been experimenting with kamut flour (sweet and moist, almost cake-like) and spelt flour (a nutty flavor). I start with 4 cups of flour, salt, and about half of my starter (anywhere from 1/4 c to 1 c). Then I add 2 c water, and begin to mix. Depending on the flour, I add up to 1 c more water until it is biscuit-dough consistency. I generally let it rise 24 hours, although I've had success with anywhere from 18 to 30 hours. My kitchen is at about 60 deg. this time of year, which contributes to the slow rise. I hope this helps.

Thanks to Rose and all of you experts and enthusiasts who love great bread as much as I do. The refinement of this method is a real collaborative effort.

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Does anyone have a recipe to share that converts Jim Lahey's no-knead bread to sourdough using some whole grains? I used about 2 cups white flour and a cup whole wheat, 1-1/2 cups filtered water, 1/4 cup very thick (King Arthur) sourdough starter, 1-1/2 tsp salt.
I followed the basic no-knead method with a very active starter; the dough tripled in size but around 16 hrs seemed to deflate. The final loaf tasted great but was only a couple inches high. I'm not sure how to adjust the different flours and/or water to offset a thick sourdough starter.
Thanks for any help with this.
Jeannie

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Rose:
My first try today: in Honolulu so high 70 -80 degrees and I could not get to it for 21 hours so i threw it in the fridge after 4 hours (already bubbles were copious) and took it out for the final couple hours then folded it (one question: the original recipe said to fold it on itself once or twice and set aside for 15 minutes before making the ball: is that extra step neccesary? Also, for someone who does NOt know how to form a ball, what is the easiest recommendation?)
Anyway, the bread fell once it baked for 20-30 minutes into a weird shape...
I am wondering if the fall was due to too long a first rise given our temperatures?
Thanks!

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yes you can increase but you don't have to.

if using convection lower the heat by 25 degrees so as not to ruin the pt and burn the bottom of the bread.

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I am ready to try this remarkable bread. I have a Lodge 5 quart dutch oven which I will use. My baking will be in a convestion oven. Will the type of oven change anything?

If a loaf is too small for the baking vessel, can it be increased using baker's percentages, or will there be a problem doing so?

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you don't want terry cloth--it will stick! but the pot is the hot pot is key to success for such a soft dough. though pple have posted success doing it on the stone. read the book--in which i recommend ice cubes for steam. and read the postings as i know a few ppl reported success without the pot.

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I would love to try baking the no knead bread but don't have the pot and terry cloth. Can I use new towels instead? I have a baking stone but how do I create steam? Please help.

The Bread Bible is my favorite book as reading recipes is one of my hobbies. I know, I am weird.

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This time I added one onion, chopped rather fine and then sauteed. Even though some of the onion pieces ended up on the outside of the loaf (you try sticking them all back inside a sticky dough!), and got rather charred, the bread still had a nice presentation and tasted great,

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jeannie this is eerie--it exactly parallels my findings! though my whole freezer is stil filled with bread as i'm now on loaf 11. my little 2 quart lodge cast iron pot just arrived and i did jsut what you did--rubbed it with a little spectrum (though once i've aked in it i haven't found it necessary) and mixed up 1/2 batch of dough which is now contentedly rising in the bedroom. i can hardly wait for tomorrow. my thought is that since a smaller loaf will take less long to bake i won't need to transfer it out of the pot on to a baking sheet to keep the bottom from getting too rown.

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Rose,
I've frozen a lot of the no-knead bread (made 6 loaves in 6 days for 2 of us). I made a plain white loaf and then began substituted 2-3 T whole grain flours/bran for white. Each type handled freezing well for up to a week. After that I don't know cuz the bread was gone. I'm now sharing with neighbors.
Re: dough sticking to pots - for the first rise I coat a bowl with a small amount of olive oil. For baking I reseasoned a used 4.5 qt cast iron pot (#8) but still coat it with a small amount of Spectrum organic all vegetable shortening (solid but non-hydrogenated) which can handle high temps. For the bottom of the bread I've used - alone or in combination - wheat bran, corn meal, ground flax or just left the dough uncoated and haven't had any sticking problems or over-browning at 450 temp for about 30 min.
Loaf #5 had 2-3T whole wheat bran substituted for white (King Arthur AP); it was about 4 inches high in center, good taste, nice stretchy crumb with lots of holes, and a light crispy crust. Great for sandwiches, toast or dipping in olive oil.
I've found 1-5/8 cup water works well in the bread where I've incorporated whole grains.
Thanks for all the great advice, everyone! - Jeannie

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Chris Brandow
Chris Brandow
01/17/2007 11:13 PM

I have discovered after some experimenting (by no means as extensive as others) a great and simple method of tasty, easy bread. After trying the no-knead method a few times but being rather disappointed by the flavor, I searched around for more and more experiences that others had had, and came across the pain a l'ancienne method, which I am sure most of you already know, but I am quite the novice. I found someone who had combined it with aspects of the no-knead method.

http://www.recipezaar.com/203502

I have tried this a couple of times and it is the easiest and tastiest of all. mix, knead in mixer, refrigerate for 10 hours, rise outside of fride for 10 hours, dump it in the hot pan, cover and cook for 20 minutes, uncover and cook for 10 more (all at 475). yum, yum.

thanks so much for how much learning opportunities this site provides!

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Angela,
I don't flour or bran the loaf. I just turn/stir it a few times after the first rise, and then dump it into the pan when I'm ready to cook it. I don't need the bran for release because the cast iron is already completely nonstick, and I don't do it for appearances' sake, since I think the bread looks best bare! (The Harvest Kind produces a beautiful color.) Hope that helps!

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Hi Dan,

If you just stir it after the first rise in the same glass bowl, do you still flour/bran the loaf?

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Ann,

Yes, I do preheat the chicken fryer, and it's quite amazing, because it's completely nonstick. The bread just falls out at the end, and what even more amazing, the dough doesn't even stick when I put it in, so the dough can be "repositioned" a bit if needed. BTW, I don't preheat the glass lid, just for the sake of convenience. I think I mine had a cast lid I would.

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Dan,
Do you preheat your chicken fryer?

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I've made about fifteen loaves with this recipe, and Rose, the biggest improvement was using the flour you recommended! The loaf not only tastes great but looks even more beautiful with the Harvest King, although I have no idea why. I hate making a simple recipe more complicated, but I've also found that Rose's suggestion about adding a small amount of whole wheat is right on. My opinion of this recipe is that it allows you to make very good, but not great, bread with almost no work at all. I don't use the towel or shape it either. I simply mix it all in a glass bowl with a lid, let it bubble for about 18 hours, stir it, let it rise for a couple more hours, and dump it in a Wagnerware cast iron chicken fryer. It is perfect.

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this is a wonderful story or should i say evolution. it's awesome that you were able to accomplish this from books. working with slack doughs is a scarey experience at first but once one masters it the results are so worth it and one sees that the worst that can happen is that you have to wash your hands longer to get the sticky dough off your fingers!
i actually did post about the steaming device on the posting called my final conclusions--if you put a search in for the word conclusions or nirvana you'll find it. but here's what i copied from that posting so you can go directly to the steamer blog: (you'll need to copy and paste the url or go to the original posting where the link is "live."
The New Steamer
I adore this steaming device for rustic loaves not baked in a Dutch oven, and use it in my Wolf oven with oven stone in place and without the lid. But in my country Gaggenau I’ll use it with the accompanying lid because even when not set on convection the fan vents out the air and moisture along with it. (Moisture is vital during the first 10 minutes of bread baking for the best crust and crumb.)
Check out: http://info@steambreadmaker.com

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Hello Rose,

I have the Bread Bible and I'm so humbled to be contacting you - and to be calling you Rose! I delved into 'artisan breads' about 3 years ago and have had bewildering success. Handling slack dough was a very interesting challenge and to do as instructed in recipes what seems to go against common logic and depend on it is felt as risky to one just getting into it. Your book and reputation leant way to just 'go for it'. I now am, thanks to you and a few other great authors, quite comfortable with slack dough. It's an amazing feat and a 'must know' to succeed in creating many wonderful breads! My daughter has a gourmet catering/restaurant/market business in Scottsdale, Az and is trying to find a way for me to bake her breads and get them to her fresh! (I’m 90 miles away on a dirt road in a remote (but peaceful!) Tucson/Marana area.) I consider that the greatest ‘pat on the back’ out there.

My question is when are we going to hear more about "the new device I’m testing that has a relatively light-weight metal lid that also gets preheated and a very effective steaming device to create steam contained by the lid."!!! I want one yesterday!!!

Thank you and thank you for all the time you devote to us 'youngsters in bread'. God’s blessings and have a great new year! Consider me a greatful apprentice!

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ann thanks for the great report. i didn't think of the crock pot and that's a great idea.

irene it sounds like you may be using too weak a flour. try the harvest king but also try baking it an extra 5 to 10 minutes with the oven door ajar to allow for escape of moisture.

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I'm getting wonderful results with the no-knead bread but the crumb is too moist. For my second loaf, I reduced the water to 1 1/2 cups and it was still too wet. Any ideas?

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I just baked my first loaf of the no-knead bread yesterday and was so astonished at the wonderful results that I wanted to let you know my technique. I used 1/4 tsp. of Fleishmann's RapidRise Yeast, 2 tsp. salt, 3 cups of White Lily Bread Flour, and 1 1/2 cups plus 2 T. water. The batter was too dry with only 1 1/2 cups of water. I mixed the dough in a deep glass Pyrex dish, covered it with plastic wrap and let it rise for 18 hours in a room that was around 72 degrees. I then placed the dough on well floured parchment paper instead of a towel and shaped it into a ball. (This was not easy to do, as the dough was spreading everywhere and was hard to control.) I inverted a large plastic bowl over the ball of dough and let it rise for 2 hrs. To bake my loaf, I put the dough in the crock from my crockpot which measured 7 inches across and 6 inches deep. I did not grease the crock. I preheated the crock for 30 min. at 450 degrees and dumped my dough from the parchment paper into the hot crock and covered with aluminum foil. Bake time: 30 min. covered, 15 min. uncovered at 450 degrees. My baked loaf filled the crock and rose to 5 inches in height and was the most beautiful sight you have ever seen! I must add, when I dumped the dough from the parchment paper into the crock, it was not an easy feat. It stuck to the paper even though it was floured well. The dough looked like a big mess in the crock, but rose to the occasion in the end. I couldn't have been any happier with the results! Oh, by the way, it tasted wonderful, had a great texture and a nice crispy crust. Probably using the crock which was so deep and wouldn't allow the dough to spread beyond 7 inches, gave the dough the nice high rise.

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Bread Alert! i've just posted my to date findings on this bread as a new posting.

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
12/15/2006 11:36 AM

Hey Francine: I wrap my loaves in either "deli" paper, or parchment paper, then put them into sealable plastic bags.
Plastic bags alone enhances staling. Then the loaves can either be frozen or refrigerated. To bring them back to life (refresh), put them into a 400º degree oven, with steam for about 5 minutes. They will be like just baked. However, you can only do this once to any loaf of bread. Hope this helps.

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allen i will foward you the contact info. for the ice school as soon as my computer is back in action--should be by monday.

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Hi: Getting there but not quite. Have pictures- can I send? Problems are: 1)dough still very sticky after 1st phase;can't really fold over and therefore I add flour to handle it; 2)oven rise is not much; end up with 2and 1/2 inches high and 7 inches wide. ANy suggestions? thanks as always

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Does anyone have suggestions on the best way to wrap the bread to keep it for the next day. We love the bread, but just can not eat it fast enough. I am cutting the dough into two loaves, and baking them for a slightly lower time (20 minutes covered, then 10 uncovered) I love the crust and would like to preserve as much of that quality if possible.

Also, people mentionned giving smaller loaves as gifts. How do/did you plan to package them?

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when i did the bread free form it went in at 9 inches and didn't grow sideways at all so either it's the heat or the flour. you could hedge your bets by trying the harvest king flour or even bread flour though i think it would be too chewy.

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Actually ,the spreading sideway started in the second rise ,when I put it into the oven it is somewhat 9 inches in diameter and 2 inches high in the middle. When it come out it ws roughly 11 inches diameter and 3.5 inches high.(the spring was not too bad) I feel that may be the flour are not strong or the high hydration.As for steam, I also have ice cubes put into a cast iron plate but the ice quickly melts into water and I am not sure whether steam was enough and I add onto spray some onto the dough. However the taste of the bread was good when you eat it right away. I elevate the baking sheet to 2 inches above the baking stone(tiles) 15 min after lest the bottom crust will be too thick or burnt. The whole loaf took 25 min because it is large but short.

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i'm glad you pointed this out bc i've found the keeping quality poor in exactly the way you described.
i don't believe in spritzing water as the oven heat drops every time you open the door so taht's why it's spreading sideways.

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I have tried another batch using Harvest King and baked with terracotta tiles in the oven and spitzing water into the oven for the first 10 min. The outcome was ,the dough is wet but manageble but it speaded much sideways rather than rising. the crsit is comparable with that baked inside a container.One thing about this kind of bread is they cannot keep well.The crust is best soon after it is out from the oven ,soon it will lose its crispiness and the crumb go hard. I do not find it easy to use as a gift unless it is given away very soon after it is baked. Any comment?

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do send photos!!!

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
12/14/2006 10:18 AM

I doubled the recipe with sourdough, put the dough into the fridge for a 24 hour cold fermentation. Took it out, let it ferment at room temp for 18 hours,divided it into 8 small loaves, baked them on a stone with steam for the first ten minutes, ate one,and giving the rest as gifts at a party today. The flavor was great. Next time I will try a 48 hour cold fermentation. Thanks Rose

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julie, that sounds like a good combination of flours as i would think the white whole wheat would not close the crumb as much as the regular whole wheat.

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chris, if it's dense you need more water. and leave the oven door partly ajar during the last 5-10 min. of baking so the moisture can escape. good idea to check the temp too. an instant read is realiable even if you're using it for meat too!

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dr. lim--i a gree with you. it's an intriguing bread and the technique of baking it in the preheated pot may well be adapted to other free-form loaves--but i'm beginining to miss the flavor dimensions of some of my other breads and the hands on connection/involvement.

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david in seattle--your rising times relate to a very low temperature and i suspect it is THE ideal temperature for flavor development. you're now one bread ahead of me! i'm waiting for the lodge enameled cast iron 5 quart dutch oven to arrive as i think that could be the ultimate container.

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david (in france)--
i quite agree with you! in fact i tried adding starter and also rye and then whole wheat but for this technique i find it works best with white flour. the main virtue is that for people who were afraid of venturing into the bread domain and/or don't have oven stones to retain the heat, or ovens that don't vent out moisture in the early stages, the dutch oven technique is a god-send. i know you said his--i'm just continuing to agree! i just hope it will encourage ppl to try other possibilities.

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One of the great things I've found about this bread (and lots of other food bloggers too!) is that it takes well to adaptation. For my last loaf, I decreased the water per Rose's instruction. I also increased the entire recipe by 1/3, since I wanted a slightly larger and higher loaf than the dimensions of my cast-iron pot seemed to allow. I used 25% King Arthur's White Whole Wheat flour, 50% bread flour, and 25% all-purpose flour. This gave a nice wheaty flavor and a pretty pale-brown color to the crumb. I plan to experiment more!

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chris brandow
chris brandow
12/13/2006 06:23 PM

my biggest lacking in the bread is that it still seems a little bit "dense", despite having lots of bubbles and structure. maybe its also a little over moist in the middle, though the crust is great. I may not be using the precisely correct terminology, but I hope the question is clear. Should I be using less water/more flour?

next time I will use a thermometer to check. I assume that a meat thermometer will suffice?

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Dr John Lim
Dr John Lim
12/13/2006 06:00 PM

Dear Rose,
I am inclined to agree with David. After having made several of the "no knead breads"( which have turned out well as you have seen from my pictures),and having friends try this out,the general consensus amongst my friends is that it's not much better like the bread that is kneaded! As another bread maker told me yesterday, "Kneading puts soul into the bread". This bread, though it has the advantage of not having to put much effort into it, gets boring after a while. You don't have the variety of texture, shape, flavour, colour, smells, etc of the kneaded bread! While there will be some who prefer this simple method of making bread, I think many people will soon become bored with it, and the good old kneaded breads will reign again!

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David in Seattle
David in Seattle
12/13/2006 03:23 PM

Regarding temperature and rising time... I have now made 10 loaves of this bread and each has been better than the previous (with one exception). I think I have the basic recipe pretty well perfected for our tastes and room temperatures. I have been using a dryer dough than Bittman -- about 435 grams of King Arthur bread flour and 320 grams of water. I have found that I like an initial rise of close to 48 hours, but anything longer than 18 hours seems to work. About 3-4 hours seems to be about right for the proofing rise. Our household temperatures at this time of year are typically around 62-64... I suspect that my rising times might change with warmer weather. I have not noticed any real sourdough quality to these loaves, even with the long rise. I do want to start experimenting with a pre-fermented starter to try to get more of a sourdough quality.

p.s. The exception was at Thanksgiving where I had to fight for oven time. Wound up with a 20 hour rise, a 14 hour proof (!), and a pretty dense flatbread. Even this was edible and not really awful, just not nearly as good as my previous efforts and what has come since.

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Rose; That wasn't my bread...that was the dough!

Anyhow, after making my forth batch, I finally figured it out, which I'm going to post on my site once the Menu For Hope auction is over. But I don't know if I'm convinced about this bread; I don't think it's any improvement over bread kneaded for 5 minutes and baked a few hours later. To me, once you've dusted the counter with flour, you've basically committed yourself to making bread, and I don't know if this is worth spending 2 days on (although the baking technique in the casserole is phenominal!)

I found it rather dull and one-dimensional tasting (and I used a combination of wheat and rye, with some levain added.) Curiously I went to my boulangerie to get my first batch of flour, which as you pointed out, was as flat as a pancake!
Wish they would ship Harvest King to La France!

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For kitchens that are very cold at night, letting dough rise in the oven with the oven light on is an option.

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hey david--how great to hear from you! i wanted to tell you what a terrific job you did on the 3 perfect days in paris.
you bread (now don't be insulted!) looks more like a pancake! reminds me of the time i arrived in paris in the apt. of a friend whose daughter was trying to make a pie crust. voila! she said. show her how. i failed. it was la farine de francine no. 1--the weakest flour they make. i didn't know about those things then and now i would have treated it differently--strengthening what gluten potential it had by adding no fat til the water combined with the flour. i'm sure there is flour used for baguettes that wolud be perfect for this bread. after all, didier rosado developed harvest king modelled after the french artisan flour. ask the french bread bakers what they use (and tell us!)
xoxoxox

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lisa, i find a bread that rises for so long from starter is too sour to my taste but if you like the taste it's fine. if it doesn't spring back it's reached the point where the gluten is exhausted.

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i like a long deeply serrated bread knife. food service has these so check out restaurant supply places.

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good idea frazer to make several holes and i would put the preheated cast iron pan under it.

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kitt, this isn't the kind of bread dough i would think of for a sweet cinnamon bread. i'd want a soft buttery dough.

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I've been using 1T kosher salt with great success. Also took Bittman's advice and stopped obsessing about 70 degree room temp. Its usually 78 in my home, and the technique is so forgiving that I still get perfect bread with a 12-16 hour rise and 1 hr second rise.

I have been experimenting with temperature and time. I've finally settled on 425 on convection oven for 27 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered.

After I uncovered the bread at 27 minutes, I stuck one of those remote temperature probe thingies into the bread (the other end sits on my kitchen counter) and waited until it beeped at 210 degrees. Perfecto. This may be the easiest way to judge bake time - I don't have to keep opening the oven door to check and I don't have to keep an eye on the clock.

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chris brandow
chris brandow
12/12/2006 12:11 PM

THANK YOU for clarifying the salt issue! I have been using kosher salt and I had no idea that there was such a volume issue.

I went to 1 3/4 t for my latest batch. Now I will have courage to go higher. :)

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
12/12/2006 06:48 AM

Hey Lisa: In school we let bread dough ferment for four days in the fridge. The flavor was outstanding. We left some of it in the fridge for the fifth day, and it spoiled. The flavor of fourth day bread was outstanding after we baked it. My suggestion to you is to experiment with the dough and see what the maximum fermentation time is before it dies. Another issue: The yeast and other microbes in the dough do not have feet so you have to bring the nutrients to them by folding and stretching the dough periodically. When they get fresh nutrients they respond by making more carbon dioxide and therefore more flavor. Eventually all the goodies are used up and the microbes die so you have to bake it before it spoils. Oven spring is the last gasp of the yeast in response to heat. It usually happens at about 140º with a final release of carbon dioxide which causes the loaf to rise.
The dough is ready to bake when you poke your finger into the dough and the hole slowly fills in. Hope some of this helps.

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Rose! I've been working on this recipe using French flour. My first few tries I got really wet, flat dough (see it here.)

I was using the amount of flour Bittman recommended, both measured by weight & volume, then tried upping the flour by 1/4 cup and it was still too runny. So I'm going up to 475-500 gr tomorrow (the higher amount was recommended to me by a professional baker in NY.)

Curiously, I got several responses from others in France from my posting who had great luck using 400 gr, or 3 cups of French flour, as indicated by the recipe in the Times.

(You must've had a fit when you saw how Jim measured flour in that video!)

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Rose and all,
I'm thoroughly enjoying everyone's experimenting and enthusiasm for good bread.

I've noticed that the flavor intensifies with an even longer proofing time. I've got a batch that I will bake tonight that has been "rising" for 2-1/2 days at 60 deg F. When I've used commercial yeast in the past, a long rise time would "kill" the batch of bread - if I didn't punch down soon enough, the bread would never fully rise. Using starter to rise the bread, the dough just keeps rising. I punch it down once a day or so when it reaches the top of the bowl.

I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this, and if anyone has tried the bread with a rise time longer than 18 hours. How does this relate to oven spring - if the dough does not spring back, has it been rising too long, or not long enough?

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Rose...can you recommend a good bread slicer (electric or otherwise), that can make the process of slicing the slow-rise bread a bit easier...?

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Dear Rose:

I'm sure it varies by the size of the can and the hole, but for me it's about 1/3 full. (I used a small sharp finishing nail.) I'm actually thinking that making several very small holes around the edge of the can might be best because I noticed last time that there was still water in the pan at the end--which I think means that the area of the pan where the water is hitting is cooling down and therefore not producing any more steam.

Best regards,
Fraser

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Slice it thin, put cheese on it and run it under the broiler. Mmmmmm.

Rose, do you have any suggestions on the best way to sweeten this bread? I'm thinking of doing a raisin cinnamon version.

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absolutely agree--forgot to mention that!

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Rose...I've made half a dozen loaves of the slow rise bread so far and find that the best way to eat it is always toasted, whether with butter, as a sandwich, with a little olive tapenade or some smoked whitefish pate, but always toasted brings out the flavor and the crispy crust....

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Rose...I've made half a dozen loaves of the slow rise bread so far and find that the best way to eat it is always toasted, whether with butter, as a sandwich, with a little olive tapenade or some smoked whitefish pate, but always toasted brings out the flavor and the crispy crust....

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jaden--THANK YOU--that explains everything. of course he must be referring to kosher salt--the kind that is fluffed up so takes up less volume in the spoon. that's why i like to use fine sea salt for everything. like kosher salt it doesn't have the off flavor from iodized salt but is standard. kosher salt may or may not be fluffed up depending on the brand so when someone calls for it without mentioning this you never know how much salt was intended.

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jbickal, check the posting from today a few ones up and go to his blogsite--something from bklyn. if i remember correctly, in addition to making a hole in a can and putting water in to drip out to create steam during the first 10 min. he also baked on a stone and not covered with a pot. my guess is that the pot technique really works for those who don't have oven stones but that an oven stone with steam works every bit as well--maybe better bc i suspect not throwing the dough into the pot will result in a higher rise--it makes sense. the purpose of the silicone mat is to prevent sticking when shaping but if you bake on it this may cause the bottom to be tough. parchment is better for that.

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mark--you must have missed my answer to this same ? further up the chain where i suggested poking your finger into the dough and when it fills in slowly it's ready. if it stays indented it won't spring much.

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Rose - kosher or table?

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Rose: I am so happy to find your blog (mentioned by a contributor to the NYT food forum.) I have used your Cake Bible for years and I use the Xmas Cookie book too.

I have made the bread about half a dozen times so far and my latest effort incorporated a number of suggestions on this blog and the NYT forum. I used about a 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and the flavor was good but I agree that it reduced the holes. Someone on the NYT forum suggested putting a pot upside down over the dough. I did the 2nd rising on a silicon cake pan liner, used my peel to put the whole thing onto the baking stone in my oven and then put the pot upside over the top of it. I did preheat the pot. The rise was excellent - much higher than I've gotten with dumping the dough into the pot. A beautiful loaf although the bottom crust was still very tough. I thought the silicon mat might help with that.

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I've made several of these breads, and have been impressed overall with the results. However, I don't seem to get as much ovenspring as others seem to be getting (based on posted photos). Is that because I am overproofing on the second (i.e. 2 hour) rise? How do you know when it's ready to be baked?

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just finished mixing batch #9 and having reread the lastest ny times mention of this bread with weights i see that mark bittman agrees with many of us that it should be saltier but NOT 1 tablespoon--yikes. that's got to be another misprint. it would be about 18 grams which is 3.8% salt given my weight of flour at 468 grams and given him of 430 grams would be 4.2%. NOONE wants this salty a bread. he did say just under a tablespoon but it's still much to much.
i'm not meaning to criticize him bc he has done a great thing presenting us with the recipe but just to warn anyone who is listening not to increase the salt to this extent and thus be disappointed. by the way, i am using 10 grams which is 1 2/3 teaspoons.

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Took my bread to a party last nigh (first loaf I made) and it was a big success. People asked for the recipe and said it was real "artisan bread." Just finished baking my second loaf --- haven't yet seen a "seam side" because the dough seems too moist for that when I flip it around. Next time I'm going to start adding other ingredients -- have been checking out all my spices and herbs...

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fraser this is a genius idea! do tell how much water is 10 minutes worth. (i won't ask what size nail you used to make the hole!) your crumb is magnificent. bravo!!! you are the winner of original techniques for this bread.

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Dear Rose:

Thank you so much for your continued insight on this topic. I just posted an update on my results with pictures and my own rudimentary steaming contraption at: http://brooklynsod.blogspot.com/2006/12/back-to-bread-and-now-break-from-music.html

Best regards,
Fraser

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several people have posted info on canadian flour so please start with a search for that on this blog. hopefully someone in canada has tried this bread and will also be able to make a recommendation. someone did post about the pyrex bowl being an effective container. but someone else said it worked just fine on parchment and a baking stone and steam (more about this when i post my final conclusions)
i would start with the parchment and see how you like it since even with pyrex it could be too heavy for you.

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Rose,
Thank you very much for following up on this recipe and your suggestions. I live in Canada and have some issues with lifting heavy weights (i.e. muscles in my hand can give out when least expecting it.) No knead seems to be the ideal thing for me. However I am wondering what kind of weight is involved if I use a pyrex bowl. The bowl seems the least expensive and lightest way to go. Also what should I look for in terms of flour? I can't find your recommendation in any stores here. If I understand the thread I need to find something that is between bread and all purpose flour. Any brand suggestions or would your readers have any suggestions?

Again thanks in advance. I am looking forward to trying this out.

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i just LOVE all the individual and creative solutions you all have come up with. the cooler with different temperature and amounts of water reminds me of the story of the bell ringer i read as a child. a boy was given the responsibility of ringing the church bells and all he knew how to do was make music using water glasses filled with different amounts of water to achieve specific notes. so he put the glasses of water a the levels with which he was familiar under each bell to correlate to the sound the bell made and was able to reproduce the music!
the point being that if you know your dough, i.e. if you do it often enough to have a sense of the texture desired, you can do it by feel and not worry about weight or measure.
the only reason i'm being so precise is for people who are learning so they can see what the standard is. from there you can create your own. as some one pointed out, this bread is always wonderful and that i can believe. but don't tell me it's the same (no one has!)if you vary the amount of flour, water, or rising time/temperature. and it doesn't have to be. that's part of the joy of bread baking. you can fly free (within certain parameters anyway).

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
12/10/2006 05:46 AM

Hey James: The less you share the less you get back.

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Oh, that's a good idea!

I put the dough in my gas oven and prop the door open an inch with a rolled up hotpad. That keeps it right at 70 when the rest of the house is 60.

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When I ready the NY Times article, I had just been experimenting with slow-rise bread with no commercial yeast, just starter. It works great with this recipe, and it's so forgiving - I don't even really measure. I plop about 5 scoops of flour (I'm using unifine-grind whole white wheat) into a bowl, add some salt, pour in the starter (whatever I would throw out anyway in refreshing the starter), and add water until it's the right consistency (biscuit dough). I mix it up, then cover it and let it sit on the counter until I need another loaf of bread (my freezer is now full of bread too). If it rises too high, I just punch it down and reshape it. I keep it at about 60 degrees as it rises, and it has been fine rising from 12 hours up to 24 or more hours. The flavor is out of this world - the best sourdough flavor I've ever made, and the best crumb by far. Unfortunately, when removing my last loaf from the oven, my casserole dish slid out of my hands and smashed on the floor. And would you believe all the stores are out of large, covered baking dishes?

One trick I came up with for rising at a certain temperature: a cooler with jars of water. I fill four quart-sized canning jars with hot water, place them in a cooler with a thermometer, and I can maintain a temperature of 82 deg F (when I made my starter, for example). I also use this for making yogurt. You could also use cold water in a hot environment.

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Glad the topping worked for you, Salma!

Made another loaf today using starter from a previous one. Nice flavor, though I can't really tell if it's different from previous loaves.

I am very sloppy in measuring (one reason I've stayed away from bread before). Seeing the video of Jim Lahey just scooping out that flour made me confident that I could do the same (though I do level the cup). The hydration probably has varied wildly, too. And yet, perfect bread every time.

It's a beautiful thing.

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Rose:
Thanks for your hyper-prompt responses. Since receiving them, I have: 1. Realized that my scale is simply not accurate at low weights, accounting for my use of too much flour, and the resulting inaccurate compensation with water; and 2. Purchased a bag of Harvest King flour. (I was going to tell you that it wasn't available in my area, but decided to make a trip to the grocery store and found it there - same price as all other flours); and 3. Started a new dough using your suggested volume measures, and in all other respects conforming to your instructions.
I have great hopes for this version, which we expect to enjoy tomorrow evening. Nevertheless, I will look forward to your comprehensive comments on this technique later this week. If all goes well, I will then have to decide whether to share the recipe with all my friends and family, or keep it as my own trade secret. Thanks for your help.

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i just went back and read my own postings and i recommended 75% hydration not 72%

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no two people measure flour the same way so i'm really not interested in volume. the critical thing is the hydration which did explain how to evaluate or achieve. i seem to remember that i liked 72% and in his latest article mark bittman recommended 80% which is probably too wet for most people to handle unless they have experience with very wet dough.
here's my advice:
either do the recipe the way i recommended further up this chain or wait until i post my final findings with recipe later this week. ALSO, i recommend harvest king flour which is somewhere between unbleached all-purpose and bread. with bread flour you will need a higher hydration to get the same results as i did as it has more protein which drinks up the water.
as for the yeast, instant is more reliable and faster. active dry will be just fine if it is alive. usually one adds about 1 1/4 teaspoon for every 1 teaspoon of instant but in this case since it's such a long slow rise it really probably doesn't matter at all.

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Tried this bread yesterday working only from Mr. Bittman's original article & recipe, the NY Times video, and his follow-up 12/6/06 article. My results were good, but I can see from your comments and those of others that I can do better. I'm confused about two important ingredients: flour and yeast. Mr. Bittman says 3 cups of flour, but gives the weight of same as 430 grams. Your suggestion is for 3 cups/468 grams. Before reading your comments, I used 430 grams of bread flour, and 1+5/8 cups water, but produced a rather dry dough - no wetter than a normal yeast dough. Thinking that my use of bread dough had caused the dough to be drier, I measured 3 cups of all-purpose flour, and then weighed that quantity. The weight of 3 cups of the all-purpose flour was 400 grams. So I concluded that I needed to add more water, and added about 1+1/2 ounce more. The finished product was somewhat gummy, but not unpleasant - I thought perhaps I should have given it another 5 minutes of unfinished baking. So my first question is: Should I use all-purpose or bread flour, and should I use 430 grams, 468 grams or "3 cups"? About the yeast: Mr. Bittman's follow-up article says the recipe calls for rapid-rise yeast but "you can use whatever you want." I used Fleischmann's Active-Dry yeast, which is kept constantly refrigerated and remains well within the "best-if-used-by" date. Your comments indicate that the manufacturer doesn't matter, but that the yeast must be "rapid rise". I can see from others' reports (http://www.aresrocket.com/bread/) that they had a far-more bubbly dough during the first rise (I let mine rise for 20 hours). So: How much flour, and does the yeast in fact matter? I would appreciate any help you can give on this - I'm very much interested in having this work out correctly.

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
12/ 9/2006 01:08 PM

Hey Barbara: Have fun at the party, but don't forget to take the bread recipe with you. Once they taste it everyone will want it!!

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This bread is so forgiving! I woke up this morning and realized that more than 18 hours had passed since I started my no-knead bread. (Don't ask -- I just counted wrong...) I was afraid that some of the moisture was gone from the dough, but I went on to the second step and then baked it as directed. After 30 minues it was already lightly golden on top when I removed the lid. I baked it a few minutes more until it looked more done. Am taking it to a party tonight, wrapped in a holiday tea towel. Let's hope it tastes as good as it looks.

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
12/ 9/2006 10:25 AM

Hey Vince: Be careful of using parchment paper at ANY temp over 450º. It burns at 451...Remember the book Farenheit 451!!! You might try using oven mitts that go up over your forearms to keep from getting burned. If the parchment is well floured, keep one edge longer than the others and grab it to slip it out of the hot pot. I use semolina, it functions like a bunch of little ball berings and adds a nice crunch and flavor to the bread. Hope this helps.

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it would still be a bit crinkly due to the nature of foil but might actually look interesting and offer support! ah so many things to try....(what fun!)

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Just a suggestion, to prevent the bread from being crinkly how about letting it rise in a foil lined bowl the same size as the cast iron and then just transferring into the heated cast iron?!

Thanks Kitt
I did lay my bread on the seeds and salt and most of it stuck after the baking.

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actually i thought of lettingi the bread rise on foil and then lowering it into the pot with the foil but the sides of the bread would be all crinkly. you could line the very bottom of the pot with foil, hoping it will stay in place when you drop the bread in. seems to me if the pot is well-seasoned and the dough well braned or floured it won't stick or make a mess on the bottom of the pan but i'll find that out on monday.
read through the thread above--several people including myself have posted re adding things to the bread. more to come next week on this subject.
by the way, 525 is extremely hot--i use 450. maybe your oven is off--at 475 the bottom of my bread burned.

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Dear Rose,

I found your web site last night and found it very informative. I have successfully made about five loaves of the no knead bread. I use a cast iron pot that my wife inherited from her grandmother. I bake the bread at 525 for 30 minutes and leave the cover off for five minutes more for a nice golden crust. However, the bottom of the pot is very difficult to clean afterwards. Can parchment or tin foil be used on the bottom?

Also, I make pizza a lot using the food processor. Is there any way to use the no knead dough for pizza?

Additionally, I am interested in adding ingredients to the bread. Has anyone done so successfully? What have they added? Raisins, etc? Can you use semolina flour?

Thanks for your advice!

Vince

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o.k.! i put together all my notes on all my trials of this bread in the car on the way to our country place. i'm planning ONE more trial using a 4 quart cast iron pot that i just reseasoned. i discovered that it only has a glass lid which i don't dare put in a 450 oven but i found i have just the right size cast iron frying pan (i collect cast iron) to invert over it as the perfect lid. this will indeed rise higher, as mark bittman suggested in this week's times piece, because the bottom is only 8 inches which is smaller than the finished loaf when free standing or even in the larger 6 quart cast iron-enameled pan.
i'll be baking this loaf on monday so will do a new posting with photos soon after. i'll do it as a new posting as this thread has become so ery long and besides--i need to add the photos. so this week for sure!

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they're probably erring on the cautious side figuring if one sets the oven to 400 it might go higher. since le creuset says 450 and you got it on sale anyway i think it would be worth the risk. the bread will bake better at 450 than 400.

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Hi Rose,

Thanks for this wealth of information. I'd been waiting to an affordable enamelled cast iron pot. Picked one up today at a discount store. The instructions say it is oven safe up to 400F. There are no plastic or rubber parts on it. The brand is Olive and Thyme. I'm wondering if 450F will be a problem. What do you think? Should I try a lower temp.? Thanks again- I can't wait to get going!

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George the philochefer, Thank you for your advice. I shall watch out for that. It seems rather risky as compared to handling of very hot pot. Anyway ,I shall give it a try to convince myself which method to adopt thereafter. Thank again!

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Suzanne, that was me. No adjustment needed! It worked dandy in Denver (5,280 feet) and also in Winter Park (9,000 feet).

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unfortunately that's knowledge i don't have living only 7 stories above sea level. but on a previous posting someone wrote how well it worked at high altitude and i find that most bread does. i wrote in my book "the bread bible" that at high altitude people make the mistake of increasing the liquid to compensate for the dryness but that causes the dough to rise more and possibly collapse due to the lower air pressure. hope that helps.

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Rose, I love the access to your knowledge- thank you!
Can you suggest adjustments for high altitude (7300 ft)?

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Salma, I shape the dough as called for, then spread out a layer of the sesame sprinkle and salt and also wheat bran next to the dough on the parchment paper (which I use instead of a towel), roll the dough onto it and let it sit for a minute. The weight of the dough is enough to moosh in the topping, so that when I invert the dough into the pot, it sticks.

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for one thing, i use 0.8 grams of yeast so i would double check if you don't have a scale that has decimel points that you are using no more than 1/4 teaspoon.
the bread dough appears fully risen after about 10-15 hours but can still sit for a total of at least 18 hours--mark bittman wrote in the time yesteday he even lets it sit 24. if yours is over proofed it happened after the shaping and second rise.

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Ross  Bishop
Ross Bishop
12/ 7/2006 07:43 AM

Rose,
I had written you before about over proofing this dough with anywhere from a 15 - 18 hour first rise. Yeserday morning I made a batch of dough and set in a place where the temperature was 66 degrees. My intention was to go for a long rise at lower temp for flavor and not over proof it. Well, at 10 hours the dough was obviously ready, so I pulled it, finished the bread, baked in my Dutch oven and got a slightly overproofed loaf.

I used 471 g. of bread flour, 383 g. water, 1 g. yeast and 8 g. salt.

Any suggestions as to what is happening?

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How did you make the herbs, sesame seeds and salt stick? Did the steam do it or did you brush the top with something?

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
12/ 7/2006 05:18 AM

Hey Cindy, please be careful with the spray bottle when baking on the stone. Adjust the nozzle to "stream" and ONLY spray the oven side walls. Do NOT let any moisture from the bottle hit the stone, the glass on the oven door, or the oven light. All of them may break!!
I pre-steam, then squirt every two minutes for the first ten minutes of baking. This retards the crust formation and allows maximum oven spring. Five minutes before baking is complete I open the oven door to vent out any residual moisture and crisp up the crust. Hope some of this helps.

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that's really interesting. it seems this is the most forgiving bread on earth! i keep wanting to post my conclusions and i keep not having time. soon......

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I topped my latest with an herb and sesame sprinkle plus coarse sea salt. Turned out very nicely, and the bottom was not burnt, thanks to the cookie sheets for the last 10 minutes.

I meant to say earlier, too, that a report from a friend at 9,000 feet is that her bread turned out perfectly, too, a first for her at that altitude. (I'm at 5,000, btw.)

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you've made a very good point--it is not appropriate to add things to the bread that will ferment for 18 hours. when adding cheese, for example, it would be adviseable to add it after the 18 hours and before shaping.

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Hi everybody! It is really interesting to see U making creative variations to this bread.So far I have only try the standard version. I plan to try baking it with a stone and with ice and water spraying instead of the container in the oven version to see how much difference is there on the crust and crumb.As to my understanding the extra ingrediets are also added in the first step and then let time do the job by leaving it there for 12 to 18 hours, right? So anything that is perishable will not be suitable. From your experience, cheese is still Ok. These will certainly be good news least the bread will get boring sooner or later.3 cheers for bread baking.

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How about fresh basil? (if my plant has not yet frozen in the garden) I think that might be an interesting flavor.

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i would sauté them. please check my book the bread bible for suggested amounts or use your own judgement.

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If I want to add onions to this bread recipe should I use raw onions, or lightly sauted? How much to add?

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the moment you add ANYTHING to this bread you get smaller holes! sometimes though it's worth it.

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Fortunately my husband saved the Times for me while I was away for 10 days. This bread is the easiest and best I have baked. No wonder so mucy hysteria!
I am on my 5th. Started with original recipe; next one I have added 1/3 ww flour, raisins, craisins and walnuts pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds (excellent); I have two going right now with a TBS of olive oil, fresh rosemary and pine nuts. Breads have been excellent, great crust but not enough holes. Baked at 500 for 20-25 closed and 15 min open. Any suggestions?

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wendi, incidentally, the weight of flour can depend on how people measure it and the type of flour but the dictionary definition of water is 1 cup = 236.35 grams so if the NYTimes recipe intended to use 1 1/2 cups of water that would be 354.5 grams. the 340 grams they list would be 1 1/2 cups minus 1 tablespoon. but then they lowered the weight of the flour too so if 430 grams is supposed to represent 3 cups their weight of a cup of flour is 143 grams.(this is not my weight for 1 cup of flour however)

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pamela, do send the photo and i'll post it. sounds fantastic!

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wendi, divide each ingredient by the weight of the flour and you will see the % compared to mine.
i can't WAIT to see the times when husband brings it home--i just KNEW he's revisit this hot topic. but couldn't resist a quick "bread down analysis" on the spot and looks like he has now raised the hydration to 80%. he's also raised the yeast slightly to 0.2 and the salt is lower than mine at 1.8 (this is a personal preference)
people were having trouble with the lower hydration but if you don't mind working with a very sticky dough it should be even more holey! i would use the silicone mat and flour your hands and the mat lightly to keep from sticking.

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i'm sure pam means seam side down. i tried this on one of my 8 variatios and did get a higher rise but there was a big air bubble in the top so would recommend slashing if doing this!
also, you want the bottom heat for oven spring during the first part of baking so don't protect the bottom until after the first 20 minutes or until it gets brown enough.

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Happy anniversary, Rose! Glad your blog is going strong. It's certainly been helplful to me on this topic.

I've got loaf No. 2 ready for the oven, this time with your 3T whole wheat subbed in. Also scooped out a pinch to use in the next batch to see how that helps the flavor.

George, thanks for the cheese and jalapeno idea. And Jen, ditto for the pretzel salt on top. I'll be trying both.

Pamela, when you say "right side up," do you mean "seam side up"?

Rose, thanks for the doubled baking sheet tip to reduce bottom-browning. That was what I came here to ask about today. My idea was to put a form-fitting baking rack in the bottom of the Le Creuset with parchment on top of it and see how that worked, but your idea is much simpler.

Happy baking!

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I'm greatly enjoying reading this topic. I tried the NYT recipe and wasn't satisfied with the end result. But I'm eager to try again seeing how so many people get great bread. My question is regarding the weight measurements you provided above. They differ from Bittman's weights provided in today's NYT (430 g flour; 345 g water; 1 g yeast; 8 g salt). As a novice bread maker, do the differences between your weights and Mr. Bittman's greatly alter the end result? Many thanks.

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Last night: the best loaf yet.

2 changes to the original recipe---
1. a few glugs of sourdough starter
AND
2. instead of flopping the dough upsidedown into the pot, I carefully lifted it by first putting my hand on the top of the loaf, taking the weight of the loaf on my hand, peeling off the parchment and placing the loaf right side up in the pot.

I got a MUCH higher rise. I should send the photos! it was at least 5 inches high in the center.

the difference seemed to be that once placed in the pot right side up, the loaf didn't spread to the edges. It retained some of the shaping it had for the 2nd rise.

The top crust was brittle with a huge gash in the center just as if I'd slashed it (but I didn't). It was remarkable.

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anne, i use a baking stone even when using the enameleld cast iron so that is probably why my bottom is getting so browned. using different containers and different ovens will of course result in variations so the best thing is simply to adjust to your own circumstances which i'm happy to see you're doing!

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allen, use the silpat mat and flour your hands and the dough.it HAS to be foldable.

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Anyone could make one of these loaves each day in their sleep (I started mine at 5 AM.)

I made my first loaf tonight using what was on hand, all AP flour. My loaf was nearly perfect, the kind of light, slightly chewy loaf with gossamer holes and a crust that was thin and both crisp and chewy. I added all the water (1-1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp) because it looked dryish at first mix. I did a 12 hour rise because I wanted it for dinner, but I don't think it needed longer, it was quite high and bubbly. Very easy to scrape out the blob, dust with flour and form. I used a small heavy stockpot, 8 inches across by 8 inches high. I baked it at 475 (well preheated) for 20 minutes with the lid on. At that point it looked crusty so I just gave another 15 minutes. I wish I had cooked it just slightly longer. The bottom was not dark except for an area the size of a quarter, so I will do the full 30 minutes covered plus 15 or more next, checking the crust. Looking forawrd to getting some fresh whole wheat flour and will try adding 3 Tbsp per cup next try.

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Hi; Still working at it. Used your suggestion and weighed everything. Made a big difference. Bread much bigger. Still have problem after first rise because very stick and not stiff enough to fold. Used Gold Bread Flour. ANy suggestions? Should I use less water?

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jen, that pizza sounds fantastic. someone please post a condensed version of it so i can try it!

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john--i know my question about my friend was a leap but her family owned tang square which i thought might increase the odds!
re humidity and volume vs. weight, i've given this a lot of thought vis a vis salt and baking powder which are extremely hygroscopic and have found that for these ingredients that seem to change weight from one day to the next and are measured in small amounts it is better to use volume though i'm always cross checking with weight just to see what range it falls under. when i configured my cake mix i gave a range of acceptable deviation based on several years of weighing.
but for flour i still find weight more accurate.

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brian, on rereading your posting it appears that you did indeed bake it without the lid for 15 minutes. but apparently there still was too much moisture in the center to keep the crust crunchy. if this continues to be a problem and you don't want to darken the bread further, try baking for the last 5 minutes with the oven door propped slightly open. you can always return the bread to a hot oven for 5 minutes which crisps the crust though it does make it slightly thicker. sounds like you're doing great with it!

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i feel like i'm running to keep in place with all these wonderful reports and questions! so i'll have to try to answer them in one posting rather than individually.
it seems there's little one can do wrong to this bread and not have it come out well if differently! i will report my findings from my 8 or so experiments as soon as i catch up with everything else! meantime my freezer is so stuffed with bread i can't open it without some slithering out (the plastic bags to protect it from freezer burn are slippery). and i keep praying the freezer door stays shut.
STEVE, 1 5/8 cups was a mistake--it's 1 1/2 cups--a little extra if you add whole wheat flour. 210 is a good internal temperature.
BRIAN, because you didn't remove the lid toward the end the bread still contained moisture which worked it's way out on cooling and thus softening the crust.
i've worked out my timing so that i can give it 10 minutes uncovered when using the pot but i've also tried other methods and will post this soon. the most important thing, however, is if the bottom of the bread is getting too dark before the top is dark enough (usually the case) i set it on a cushionaire baking sheet for the last 10 min. of baking. a double baking sheet will also work.

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
12/ 4/2006 11:03 AM

Hey Allen, send me your email address and I will send you the recipe in MSExcel format. I'm at drillo@earthlink.net. It is basically Rose's formula with the addition of 4 ounces of sourdough, canned, diced jalapeno peppers, and grated cheddar cheese to taste....I just finished a small loaf this morning....oy veh!!!

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Regarding Jeff Varasano & his excellent pizza website: Jeff, could you provide a "condensed" recipe for your pizza?

I've made this bread 4 times now; per my hubby's suggestions, I did the final rise on sesame seeds, and dusted the top (which becomes the bottom) with cornmeal, then just before the baking, sprinkled a little pretzel salt on top. Wow!

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Wow, got to love the web! Thanks Rose for hosting this discussion. I have made the bread twice. I tried years ago in vain to make a French style bread at home...never worked (crust bad). This recipe works great first shot. I did have a dutch oven so I cheaped out and bought a thin metal enameled roasting pan with lid at Walmart for about $10. Set oven for 450F. To my surprise it was done and brown after the 30 minutes covered (didn't need to bake uncovered.
My second attempt, I tried to cover dutch oven with Alum. foil to slow things down. I also was more careful on the water (used 1 5/8 cups) whereas I think I used more like 1 1/2 cups for first try. Second try not good...too doughy in the middle (under cooked?). I think 1 1/2 cups water is better.

Is measuring internal bread temp a reliable way to judge internal doneness?

Is 210F the right temp?

Thanks, Steve

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Hi: Could George post the recipe. It sounds great.Allen

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
12/ 4/2006 09:27 AM

Rose: Just made another recipe of the no-knead, holey bread with sourdough added.
This time I added some canned, diced jalapeno peppers and
some shredded, cheddar cheese during the folding process.
It gets a bit messy, but worth it.
I bake at 450º directly on a pizza stone with steam every 2 minutes for the first
10 minutes. I bake until the crust starts to singe black.
I scaled the recipe up 1.5 times and made 4 smaller loaves.
We want to add them to our xmas gift cookie trays.
I recommend everyone try scaling up, making more, and giving it away
to friends and neighbors along with the recipe. The more people
that experience this the quicker Wonder Bread will die.

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you were definitely overproofing because the weight of the yeast (1/4 teaspoon) is 0.8 grams NOT 8 grams! this is a huge difference.
but if you are satisfied with the flavor of 10 hours compared to 18 now you have a successful way to do it your way!

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Rose,

Re. my earlier problems and your suggestion:

I got a suggestion from another list that I might be overproofing my dough. So instead of 12 - 15 hours per the NY times suggestion, I made a loaf today that I let only rise 10 hours on the first proof. It did the trick. I got an excellent result. It's not a "10" yet, but close. I'll try again in in a couple of days with even a little shorter rise time.

I used:
471 g of flour
383 g of water
8.6 g salt
8 g yeast.


Ross

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Dr. John Lim
Dr. John Lim
12/ 3/2006 05:51 PM

Dear Rose,
I am sorry I do not know a Beatrice Tang. We may be a small island, but there's more than 3.5 million people in this dot on the world map.
On another note, I notice that you emphasize a lot on weighing the flour. Since flour is hygroscopic and absorbs water, this weight must be variable at locations with different humidities. Added to this would be the flour source from different mills. Would not volume be slightly better in judging the amount of flour needed? I know this is also subjected to how one compacts the flour(density).

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Well, I finally had my first crack at making this bread. Rose, I followed your modified recipe (although I used only Harvest King flour). Thank you so much for providing all the weights - I weighed the flour and water, and the dough was great. It's 70 degrees in my house here in NJ, so it was the perfect temp for 18 hours for the 1st rise. After the first rise it looked just like the video and I was able to easily fold it like a letter (just like the video) using a lightly floured silicone mat. I put it on parchment covered it with plastic wrap for the second rise, although it seemed like I could have used a towel because it wasn't excessively sticky (again, it looked like the dough in the video). For the second rise I kept it in the microwave with a measuring cup of hot water which kept the temperature right at 80 for 2 hours. I cooked it in a 6 qt. All-Clad pot on a baking stone (both pre-heated for about 40 minutes) in a 450 oven. After 30 minutes when I took off the lid, the top crust was only slightly browned, so I left it in for another 15 minutes. When I took it out, the top was light brown and it seemed very crispy. I could hear it crackle as it cooled.

The result - the crumb was good and it had great flavor with lots of holes. However, the crust got kind of soft by the time it fully cooled (and I didn't cut it for a couple of hours after making it). It isn't humid here, so I can only think that I should have cooked it a little longer or at a higher oven temperature. (I should have checked the internal temp of the bread after I took it out, but I didn't.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Brian

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allen, the following was a reply to you that got posted by mistake in my g-mail so i'm copying it here. i think it is very helpful. i give all the weights in this thread so just scroll up a few inches. i don't give classes but i recommend ice (institute of culinary education or the french culinary)
John Lim
to rose

Hi Allen,
I used a silicone coated kneading mat which is great because the
dough does not stick to it. The brand is Roll'Pat. Dusted the mat
with whole wheat flour, and then transfered the dough to the mat
using a plastic scraper. I was able to shape the dough into a boule,
and then I transfered this to parchment paper to sit for another 50
minutes before baking on stone. Dust the top of the dough too, and
your hands, when you shape the dough after folding it as described in
the video. You can actually get a 'tight skin', and this helps in
getting more height into the loaf. Don't use too much flour else you
won't get the big holes in the crumb. 1-2 tablespoons tops.You have
to keep the water content as high as you can.
My two cents worth. Hope this helps.
John Lim

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Thanks. will try weighing. What does 3 cups of flour weigh? As to comment 4- do you give one and I will be the first to sign up. Would you ever consider one in Manhattan?

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dr. lim, i am impressed and pleased to know that the bread is working so well in singapore. and also happy to know that the flour available produces such good results. humidity of course is a friend of bread's! i'm also glad to know that ppl around the world are taking their bread to bead as i do!
i know this sounds silly but it's a small world so i will ask anyway if you happen to know beatrice tang--a wonderful friend who lives in singapore. when i was there several years ago for a quick stop on the way to the melbourne food and wine festival she gave me a tour of the city and the most exquisite chinese lunch i've ever experienced. her e-mail address changed and i lost touch with her.

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move to singapore! (just kidding) allen, judging from my experience and other people's reports such as the one above, i suspect you are not weighing and therefore your dough is too wet to shape bc you are probably adding too much water or not enough flour. so here are my recommendations:
1) weigh the flour and the water
2) try harvest king flour
3) use enough flour on the outside of the dough when shaping to make it possible to touch without it sticking to your hands
4)sign up for a class in bread baking for hands on guidance if the above doesn't work for you.

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HI: Report on bread: used unbleached flour; hard to shape and had to keep on adding flour after first rise; bread came out 8 inches wide and 2 inches high, but still tasted good. Still doing soemthing wrong. Any hints? Thanks Allen

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Dr John Lim
Dr John Lim
12/ 3/2006 12:08 AM

Dear Rose,
I am from Singapore where the climate is hot and humid.Temperatures range from minimum 25C to 34C. Humidity after a rain is in the high 90's.
I made this "no knead bread" today starting at midnight last night using bread flour and replacing three table spoons with whole wheat flour as you suggested. I kept the dough in an airconditioned room ( my bedroom) where the temperature was 23C till 7 am and took it out into the kitchen where the temperature was probably 28C. The dough more than doubled it's size by 9 am. So in 9 hours, I did the folding on a silicone kneading mat and had no problems with the sticky dough, and set the shaped dough on parchment, covering the dough with a large stainless steel bowl. After 50 minutes, the dough rose to double again and then I baked the bread over a baking stone.The oven temp was 230C.(450F). The bread also rose to 3.5 inches. I am please with the results. Very thin crust, crispy and a crumb which was very chewy with large holes! The crust did not stay crispy long because of our high humidity. But after lightly toasting the slices, the crust became crispy again!
I am just writing to say that in our part of the world, with high ambient temperatures it's still possible to achieve the intended results!I've been baking bread for a few months now, and have your Bread Bible!

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Sorry for not being specific. From NYC. Used Hekers(?) unbleached.

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allen, you need to be more specific. i've never heard of gold's flour. is it bleached or unbleached. why don't you use one of the flours we've been talking about or are you writing from another country such as canada?
and pelase post directly ON the blog.

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allen, what's regular flour?

pamela--i'm on my 8th loaf--you are not alone!

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Just wanted to throw my hat into the bread ring so to speak...

I've been consumed with this bread (hubby even bought a le creuset 7.5 just so I could try it---what a doll!) since the article came out.

God bless the internet. Now I see I am not alone!!!

I'm on loaf #4 and every time teaches me something new. thanks to all of you for the great information---esp. about the temperature limitations for my new pot. Ya'd hate to ruin a $300 pot in the first week....!

Pam

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Rose: again thanks for answering. Pretty amaxing to correspond with you. Tried regular flour but pretty sticky after first rise. Couldn't fold over. I just kept adding flour. Did I put in too much water to begin? used 1.5 cups. Allen

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ross, have you tried weighing all the ingredients yet? it's hard to know what you're doing or not doing that you report a dense moist crumb but obviously something is different!

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You asked what kind of flour I used. I've been working with King Arthur AP and bread flour. I didn't notice a lot of difference between them for this recipe.

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I put this in my boiler room, before I realised that it was much hotter than 70 degrees - after five hours it was double in size with the requisite bubbles, so I figured it was ready. Otherwise I followed the recipe to the letter - did a two hour proving in the kitchen - and it turned out perfectly. Absolutely delicious and a fantastic crumb and crust. So I think you can make this much more quickly, in under ten hours, with the same result.

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just enjoyed two slices of my latest version--this one baked covered with the lid of a steaming device (more on this in a future posting, but for now--i'm really liking it best because it's not heavy, doesn't need preheating, and gives the richest color to the crust and the best texture to the crumb.)
although adding whole grain flour results in slightly smaller holes, the flavor is so phenomenal it's well worth it. this time i used the 7.5% whole wheat mentioned in a prior posting above. this is replacing about 3 tablespoons of the white wheat flour with 3 tablespoons of the whole wheat. i added about 1 1/2 teaspoons of water bc of the way the bran in the ww eats up moisture--(a total of 360 grams water) and 10 grams/ 1 2/3 teaspoons salt.

this is my ultimate bread flavor. no starter needed--the 18 hour first rise develops just the right degree of sourness for me and though no sugar is added, there is a sweetness from the grain (the flour). no bitterness as i grind my own ww. i've GOT to stop eating this bread!!!

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I know pizza rules. But you bread guys know more about starters and mixing techniques than a lot of the pizza guys do.

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david, le cloche makes a baguette-like shape.

jaden, i'm not using convection--when i do i lower the heat 25 degrees F.

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Rose- are you using convection?

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I tried the NYT recipe, and couldn't imagine it would work with such a goopy dough. But every time I make it, either in a ceramic pot or cast iron, it comes out great. Sometimes a bit flat, but always tasty with a great crust. I thought I would try a double loaf, to make it taller, and so I stuffed it into the ceramic dish. It needed a longer baking time, but came out fine. I am going to try it with a sourdough starter too. Now, I wonder, is there a covered ceramic dish available that would make a baguette shaped loaf?

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cassadra you sure made the most of your sitaution! thank goodness for great insulation and oven stones that hold the heat!

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you'll enjoy bread jeff, but let's face it-pizza rules!

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Loaf #2. My big plan was to use parchment paper for the second rise and do no flipping. I added 4oz. sourdough starter to the recipe but failed to realize that I needed to add extra flour to balance out the extra moisture from the starter. I waited about 20 hours to transfer the dough to a floured counter. Created a puddle. You can't fold a puddle. I scraped the dough back into the bowl and decided to add more flour. My dough was still pretty wet so I scraped it into an 8" springform pan so it would have some shape. I let it rise another 2 1/2 hours and baked in the springform pan on a baking stone. We are in the midst of an ice storm here and the power went out about 15 minutes into the baking. All this did not bode well for my bread. Ten minutes later the power came back on so I rushed to the oven to turn it back on. Believe it or not, this was the best bread I've ever baked. It's a very pretty loaf and it's magically delicious!

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Hi Rose,

This recipe is fascinating to me. I haven't tried it yet, but it's mimicing what I've recently been discovering with my pizza trials (Click on my site, which is one of the most visited pizza making recipes on the web). It's amazing how the pizza bloggers and the bread bloggers rarely intersect. I think I'm going to start paying more attention to the bread side for a while.

Jeff

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what kind of flour did you use?

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Rose,

Thanks for your prompt response. You thought that my temperature might be too high. I have a stand alone thermometer plus the oven thermometer and they both read pretty consistently the same. I tried lowering the temp. but didn't get the rise I wanted. Could there be any other reason for the dense, moist loaf? I'll weigh ingredients for my next attempt.

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no--the bottom of my cloche is larger than the baked diameter of the bread so it doesn't require the constrainment on the sides to rise well.
make sure you're using a good flour, i.e. not old
make sure you pinch together the bottom when you shape it to give it surface tension during rising.
tomorrow i'll be trying one more thing-bake it on a flat surface with a steaming lid into which i direct steam before baking. i want to see if i get the same oven spring without the preheated cloche dome or le creuset pot.

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I've been baking my loaves in a 7.5 quart round enameled cast iron pot, and the resulting loaves seem pretty flat, I assume from the wet dough spreading out in the pot. It seems that using a smaller pot could yield a taller loaf. Am I right?

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the 18 hour rise was at 70F, the 2 hour shaped rise at 80. shaped rise is usually at a higher temperature. and by the way, huge holes and delicious flavor.

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Rose, thanks for the answer. Do you feel there is an "ideal" temperature at which this bread should rise? The NYT's article says 70 degrees for the initial long rise. Would a warmer temperature be better, worse??

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mark, my second rise which i do in the kitchen at close to 80 degrees is 2 hours. the size is then around 8 inches wide by 2 1/2 inches high i always like size as an indicator but you can press the side of the dough lightly and if it fills in slowly it is ready. the bread rises to 3 1/2 inches high by about 9 inches wide.
it's been sitting for 1 1/2 hours now and i'm dying to cut a piece but keep getting interrupted. right now i'm holding on the phone.....

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i bet the sales of cast iron and enamelled cast iron are sky rocketing now!

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I've been making your version of this bread (i.e. weighed ingredients) with impressive success. I don't get much oven spring, however. Could this be because of the second rise (too long or too short)? How do I tell when the right time is for me to stop the second rise and bake off the bread?

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One thing I have found is that the thermal mass of the cooking vessel is a key factor; the higher the better. I used our cast iron dutch oven from the camping equipment stack, preheating it at 525 with the lid off (lid also preheated) then using the temperatures pre the printed recipe.

Using this method I got good oven spring and an excellent balance between what I consider good crust and what my family considers burned!

These camping dutch ovens are available at garage sales in suburbia everywhere, or new from Lodge Manufacturing (in the US) if you must have the top-of-the-line!

sPh

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i think the temperature is much too high so it's getting too dark on the outside and the inside isn't baking enough. your thermometer may well be off. i just baked it in the la cloche using 425 and it took a total of 40 min.--cover off for the last 15. next time i'll try 450.
even when i did the higher heat version and didn't take the cover off and used the cast iron enamelled pan it wasn't wet insdie. i'm using harvest king flour and 1 1/2 cups water though i'm doing everything by weight so if you're not you may be getting extra water--most measuring cups are so off. hope this helps.

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Rose,
Appreciate all your help. I've made this bread a few times by the recipe. I'm getting a great chewy crust, but the inside is a bit denser and wetter than I would like. I'm pulling it at an internal temp. of 206 to keep the crust from burning. I could let it go a bit longer, but don't think it would make a great deal of difference. I'm getting a decent rise on the second rest, but not as much as I'd like. I've used both bread and ap flour by King Arthur. I'm baking in a dutch oven, have played wih the temperature a bit, doesn't seem to make much difference.
I haven't tried your method yet because the dough on the second rise spreads out a bit, and the pot seems like a smart idea here. Should I be shaping it more before baking?

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not misting the dough isn't a big deal since you steamed the oven with the ice cubes but getting a good tension in shaping does affect the rising.

try the times bread first using the all-clad pan. i haven't decided yet if having the container to help the shaping makes a big differece.

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Rose,

This is such a fun topic. I made bread last week (for the first time) using the Harvest King flour and your recipe for hearth bread from this blog (an update from the back of the package). It was good, but I think I can do better. I'd like to get the crust a little crisper and the loaf was not as high as I would have liked (about 2 1/2" high in the center).

Two observations -1) In my haste to get the bread in the oven and get the ice cubes for the cast iron skillet, etc, I forgot to mist the bread before putting it in - Would that affect the ultimate crispiness of the crust?

2) I didn't really get a good surface tension on the top of the dough when I put it on the parchment right before going into the oven - It seems like from the posts above that the tension may help it to rise a little better in the oven. Is that right?

Finally, I thought I'd try this NY Times recipe with your modifications (I love holey bread). I don't have a cast iron Dutch oven. I was debating between using your standard method for cooking (cookie sheet, baking stone, etc) vs. using an All-Clad 6 qt pot on a baking stone. Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Brian

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p.s. jen reported 30 minutes at 400 but people's ovens and instant reads vary. the great thing is if you don't overburn the outside of the bread there's little risk of overcooking even if it bakes for a few minutes more than after it reaches the 210 desired internal temp.

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that's sweet of you jaden to realize how close to impossible it is to keep up with all this stuff plus the rest of my life!

i have a bread rising nwo to be baked tomorrow. i don't like what happens to the bottom of the bread at 450 so i'm trying it again at 425. yesterday's had starter and wasn't as holey. today's has a little kanut--only 7.5% and i'm hoping it will not influence the great texture. i'll report my findings. but so far at 425 it takes 40 minutes so 27 is the shortest and 40 the longest. always best to check with an instant read!

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Rose- I've been keeping up with all the questions and comments in this topic - its wonderful to see so many people baking at home and getting such good results. There is such a wide variable of temperature that people have been working with. (I used 450 convection, 27 min total bake time)

Is there a "ratio" of temperature to time that you recommend? I understand internal temp of 210 is goal, but if you can recommend a ration, that would really help.

Thank you for your advice.

p.s. I love that you are a world-famous expert and you still take time to read and answer your fan mail...sometimes within minutes of posts!

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I baked mine in an Anolon covered pan - since the pan isn't to be used at such a high heat as the recipe states, I baked it at 400 degrees, and it only took about 30 minutes. Came out great.

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i'll post it soon, but for now, i just want you to know that grinding your own flour is the best way to have a good texture and flavor in whole wheat bread. the flour starts deteriorating quickly so when you purchase it in the store it is quite compromised!

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I do have your book and will check out the percentages. I have not been using recipes but trying different combinations. I am still determined to make a 100% whole grain bread and I would LOVE to see the recipe you noted with the walnuts and walnut oil - sounds magnificent. Thanks and hope you can post it soon!

Beth

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if you have my book you will see the % of grains advisable to add which does not impair texture. i seem to remember around 30% of the flour but please check.
i did a marvelous 100% wholewheat bread with walnuts and walnut oil for food arts magazine a few years ago. i will try to post it soon so please keep your eye out for it. and let me know if you need me to look through the book for the % if you don't have it.

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Rose-
I am trying some different grain combinations in an attempt to come up wiht a truly delicious whole grain bread. My last attempt was whole wheat and oat flours, flax seed meal, wheat germ and finely chopped walnuts with a bit of honey. The taste was delicious but it is crumbling much to much. The crumb looked beautiful until I used a knife.I added some wheat gluten, thinking that it would add elasticity to the dough, which it did not do.I could tell while it was rising that it would crumble, as the dough pulled apart while rising rather than just expand. Too much yeast perhaps?

any of you have any suggestions on how to make a hearty whole grain bread and still have the elasticity to the rising dough that leads to a texture that allows slicing???

thanks!

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noki it has to be your oven as lower temperature ALWAYS results in longer baking time unless you changed the vehicle on or in which you bake the bread.

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allen, try it with white flour first to see how it works (and it does) before introducing so much whole wheat that will not work in the same way at all. not enough protein forming gluten and it absorbs a lot more water so your inviting failure by using such a high %)

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Hi: Doing something wrong and I am determined to do this. I used 3 cups of whole wheat bread flour, 1/2 tsp of Fleishmans rapid Rise higly active yeast and 1and 1/2 cups flour. Bread very spongy and not much rising. Any hints? Thanks Allen

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
11/27/2006 04:03 PM

Hey Noki: Congrats on the bread. My opinions: Any internal temp over 190º is good. Look for a slight singe of black on the crust before taking it out of the oven. I use semolina instead of the bran. I bake it directly on a stone at 450º, pre-steamed oven, with squirts of water on the oven walls to make steam once every two minutes for a total of ten minutes (be careful not to squirt the stone nor the oven light). Then I leave it alone until I see the first signs of singe. Mine also bakes in 30 minutes. As for the burning of the bran, 450º may be the limit of it's heat tolerance. When water hits 212º it turns to steam!! Your addition of the rosemary and the olives sounds delicious. I want to try sharp cheddar and diced jalapeno peppers!! Go bake somemore bread!!

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Thank you, Rose & George, for your advice. I've made the bread twice now: it truly is fabulous and super easy. I have a follow-up question:

The first time, I followed Rose's adaptations - Harvest King bread with 3 TBS switched out for whole wheat, 1.5 cups flour, 1 3/4 tsp. salt, oven temp at 475'. I charred the bottom of the bread and smoked out the kitchen by burning all of the excess bran flakes in the pot. It took about 40 minutes for my bread to get to an internal temp of 207'.
The weird thing is that the next time, I knocked the temp back to 450' and it cooked in only 30 minutes. I did make a slight adjustment to the second version by adding rosemary and folding in floured olives before the 2-hour rise. (I was very happy with the additions, btw!)

Any ideas as to why it would cook quicker at a lower temperature? Might it have had something to do with the olives?

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excellent suggestion--heating pads on low can be around 90 which is too hot so use a thermometer to gauge.

also you could use a styrofoam container with small hole cut out and very low voltage bulb inserted.

finally, you could just let the dough rise more slowly and perhaps develop even better flavor than the 18 hour method. that's what i'd do first!

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How about placing bowl on top of a small electric heat pad at lowest setting. If that is too warm, put a layer of towels between the pad and bowl. You may want to wrap entire contraption in a large towel or blanket so that the heat is more even all the way around the bowl and not just at the bottom.

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It being winter here, I'm having a bit of trouble maintaining 70 degrees for such a long time. My spouse despises turning on the furnace, so the house tends to run well below the recommended temperature. I tried leaving it atop the fridge, but mine must be pretty efficient as that doesn't do the trick. Any suggestions (preferably one that doesn't involve purchasing additional hardware)?

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fleischman's shoujld be the same as long as it's rapid rise.
water in the rising bowl? is it leaking out of the dough? maybe you're using too low a protein flour. try harvest king.
i think it would work well with sourdough. starter recipes are in my book and all over the internet.

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Hi: Overwhelmed by posts and so many questions:1)if I use fleishman's rapid rise yeast how much should I use 2) why does there always seem to be water in the rising bowl after 15 hours 3) can you make this with sourdoughadn if so whre can I find a starter recipe. Thanks again. Allen

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ginger your blog is terrific--good job!!!

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stuart, i think most rustic breads could be adapted to this technique. my recipe for sourdough rye in the bread bible should work well. it's not as high a hydration but you wouldn't want a real jewish rye to have large holes right?

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excellent advice!

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Before this article came out, I had never baked a bread, figuring it was too complicated, etc. Now, I've made 3 with really good results.

My "fantasy" would be to make the equivalent of a good NY jewish sour rye using this method.

Can anyone tell me how to adapt it to do that? And, how to get a starter going and how much of it to add?

Thanks....I know people out there know just how to do this....

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
11/25/2006 09:46 AM

To those of you afraid to bake this bread or feel you don't have the necessary equipment, bake it on an upside down, pre-heated sheet pan. If you mess it up, the loss is less than $0.75 in ingredients. The learning experience is priceless...and you can always make the best tasting bread crumbs you ever tasted!!

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RE: Le Creuset Handles
Sorry - I quoted John's original post, not Justin's. Props to John.

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justin,
someone once recommended covering the knob on the top with foil. for the le creuset dutch oven that i've had for years it wasn't necessary. it appeared entirely undamaged even at 475 but the inside darkened in 450°F is the highest recommended as in any case i don't think the bread benefits from higher!

ginger--great to hear the pyrex bowl is working--clever to use the pie plate as a lid!

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Originally posted by Justin:
- - - - -
Rose,
re: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron
According to Le Creuset's website, pans with metal or heat resistant plastic handles may be used in the oven. The maximum temperature that should be used is 450°F or 232°C. I baked the bread yesterday at 450°F and my Le Creuset dutch oven was undamaged
- - - - -

I bought my Le Creuset in 2002. Its paperwork says the max temp for the handle (Bake-O-Lite or whatever the material) is 200°C, or 392°F. I swapped it out for a metal handle from another pan to be on the safe side. Overkill? Further insights, Anyone?

With everyone's comments about sticky towels, I used plenty of flour and I am raising mine on my pizza peel covered by a well-floured towel.

The first try is going into the oven at 9 a.m. Thx!

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I am on my sixth loaf! I created a web page to document my methods - http://www.aresrocket.com/bread - the best bread I have ever made! I use a 4 quart Pyrex bowl and a pie plate for a lid - works great! Could not afford the LC pot...

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thanks so much for this great feedback! i can't wait to try it now.

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
11/24/2006 06:57 AM

Rose: I made the holey bread for Thanksgiving dinner and added 4 ounces of un-refreshed sourdough starter right from the fridge. I let it proof on floured parchment (easier than a towel)then baked it directly on a stone at 450º with steam from a misting bottle. It was the best bread I've ever had. Thanks for the guidance offered by your blog and all that participate on it.

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the dough is very wet and sticky so you need to flour the outside of it well AND the towel. don't worry about there being too much on the outside of the dough--it won't ruin the open inside crumb. i really liked the bran as it didn't absorb in to the dough and kept it from sticking really well.

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I tried this just today and had great results except for one thing... my dough stuck to the floured towel and became horribly mishapen when I pulled/cut/teased it off. Next time, I will place it on floured parchment paper for the second rising and transfer it directly to the dutch oven without flipping it over. I may try the baking stone also... transferring directly to the stone without flipping. This first one was beautifully shaped until the flipping and sticking occured. Darn.

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despite all the cakes i have to make this week i'm going to make another bread using the steamer by next week i may have at least a preliminary report.but i don't think this is the onne to which you're referring.

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A little off topic but I'm so curious. When will we get the results on the steaming device. I know there is a patent for one by a noted bread baker. Is this the one or are you sworn to secrecy?

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i think you could make it just like the recipe intructions for the hearth bread but at a lower temperature as honey and molasses will burn at 450.

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thanks john--i suspected it had it's limitations heat -wise.

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I used to make a rich wheat/molasass/honey bread and would love to surprise my sister with it on Thanksgiving. Any idea how to adapt the no knead bread to incorporate such flavors?

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Rose,

re: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron

According to Le Creuset's website, pans with metal or heat resistant plastic handles may be used in the oven. The maximum temperature that should be used is 450°F or 232°C. I baked the bread yesterday at 450°F and my Le Creuset dutch oven was undamaged.

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Rose,

I just wrote earlier about shaping seeming to be the key to getting this method right. I have now gotten to cut into the bread after letting it cool, and the second try was a true success. Beautiful irregular crumb structure and great taste. Earlier with my first attempt I was just trying to follow the method as was shown in the video, but I guess I need to know when to just trust my instincts.

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To the person who was asking about La Cloche-- I bought one and I like it, but I admit that you could probably get the same effect baking inside your Dutch oven, or using a pizza stone and a watergun to spritz the wall of the oven a couple of times early on. It's more a convenience thing, so if that's worth $50 and the minor hassle of one more thing in your kitchen, then it works very well.

I posted about my experiences with it and with bread-baking using sourdough starter in general at a Chicago food board here:

http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=10612

The whole thread has a bunch of folks talking about the no-knead method (which I didn't use), and some photos of my bread. Incidentally, I'm glad to learn about Rose's site here because I have used her pie book since a chef on the same board recommended it; I've been baking pies with leaf lard using her methods for a couple of years and couldn't be happier with the results. (At the risk of providing too many links, here's the thread talking about my pie-baking and Rose's book, also with photos:

http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=8

Anyway, thanks Rose for the pie book and this thread, too!

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justin, to tell the truth, re the shaping--i guess it was instinctual but after folding the dough in one direction and then the other, forming a package. i then tightend it by tucking it underneath and pinching it. you're right-- you need some surface tension to get the best rise and crumb.

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Well, I did it. And it worked. It did take me two tries though. First try, I changed up the recipe to include some rye flour and it was leavened only by my sourdough starter. Though it came out tasting very good, the crumb was to still to wet, I should have baked a little longer, and it looked bad. Flat, looked like a fat/tall pancake. I tried again using Rose's exact recipe as written above. The only thing that I noticed about this method in the video, he doesn't show the boule being shaped at all. Just one or two turns of the dough. When I did this the first time, two folds produced nothing in the way of surface tension of the top so the top was not smooth as he says it should be. So during my second attempt I did my typical shaping of a boule. The dough a little wet to handle but I'm getting pretty good working with wet doughs and it's pretty easy. Anyway if anyone has trouble with this method, I really think the important thing left out / oversimplified in the video is that shaping. Take the extra 30 seconds or minute to shape the dough and get a nice smooth surface and you'll be in great shape. Tell everyone the truth I think the overall shape is nicer when you follow rose's recipes. And with this recipe you don't get to put the nice slashes into the dough.

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good question but no--it get's quite enough exercise just leaving it to do it's own thing. more gluten and you won't get the nice open holes bc it tightens the crumb, i.e. a weak "muscle" gives more!

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If multiple risings "exercise" the gluten like muscle - would you recommend a couple of punchdowns and quick fold of the dough with wet wooden spoon during the 18 hour fermentation?

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noki george is right about the size of the pot. as you noticed, it didn't fill my 7 quart pot and i had increased the recipe to compensate for the excess water i had used before discovering the intended amount was only 1 1/2 cups.

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george, i delete nothing when adding sourdough. i just use my stiff sourdough starter that hasn't been fed for a week (it's 66% hydration--sort of biscuit consistency). it's there for the flavor not the yeast activity. but i do add salt to balance the extra flour. here's my rule of thumb:1 use 16% of the flour contained in the recipe (not including what is in the starter)for 75 grams of old starter i add 1/8 teaspoon (1 gram) of instant yeast.

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fraser--boy never has any of my posting elicited such a response as this bread!
check out my pugliese in the bread bible. also my basic hearth bread using harvest king that's posted on this blog. that will give you a good sense of how much whole wheat or other flour i like to add to breads to have more depth and character of flavor without compromising the crumb!

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christine, i've been in melbourne three times (lucky me!) so may very well have visited your café--i think my friend anna schwartz (she owns a wonderful gallery) brought me there for breakfast. it was such a busy trip last time with the food festival in full swing and having to get home too soon for a big birthday (mine!) i've lost some of the details.

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
11/16/2006 01:22 PM

Hey Noki
My opinion is that the pot size only has to do with the capture of steam.
The dough is very slack (moist) and lots of steam is given off to retard crust formation and obtain maximum oven spring. This recipe does not make a very big loaf. I think your baking vessel will work just fine....now go make the **** bread!!! It's delicious!!

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I have not tried this recipe yet, but wanted to get an opinion on using a slightly smaller dutch oven. Mine is only 5qt. The recipe calls for a 6-8 qt. vessel.

But this bread doesn't seem to need to rise too much, and in the photo at the top of your pg., it looks like there is plenty of room in the baking dish that you used.

I don't have any alternatives: no baking stone, no super big pots with lids.

Or, should I try to decrease the quantities? And if so, by how much would you recommend?

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George The Philochefer
George The Philochefer
11/16/2006 08:35 AM

I just made the no knead, cloque bread. It is OUTSTANDING!! Next time I will sprinkle it with semolina instead of flour...more crunch. Please advise, how much sourdough do you use for this in your original recipe and what do you delete?

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Hi again Rose!

It's been great to see the enthusiastic response to the article, and great to have your opinion on it. I have to say I was a bit sceptical when I first saw it.

I might just have to try this 'no-knead' bread soon and what good timing too--I've recently contracted tendinitis in my left wrist due to all the Christmas and other baking I've been doing at work. I'm off for the next two or three weeks, so that should give me plenty of time. =)

By the way, I never asked--when you were here in Melbourne, did you ever visit the Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder? That's where I work.

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Dear Ms. Beranbaum:

Thank you so much for your quick reply! You're my baking idol!

Sorry I ended up with my comment on the wrong post. Here for anyone who didn't see it is what I said before:

This is how mine turned out--a little flat, with a big crater towards the top. (You can see a photo on my blog: http://brooklynsod.blogspot.com ) I used some whole wheat bread flour, which he says in the recipe is fine. I made two batches; the first had a slightly "cheesy" taste to it that I didn't love, so I added 1 tbl. malt powder to the second batch which ended up with a more appealingly balanced, sort of "nutty" flavor. The first batch I measured loosely, the second I weighed (about 77% h2o,) but the feel and end result was almost the same--good, but not amazing. I have to say, I much prefer your focaccia from "The Bread Bible."

So I guess I'm wondering how much whole grain flour you think will work? I went clearly a bit over the top with 300g wwbf and 600g bf (a proportion that I find works fine in many other recipes like your focaccia I mentioned before.)

The first batch I made, I worked from the video and baked at 500 degrees for 25 minutes covered and about 10 min uncovered. It felt a little out-of-control hot and melted a silicon oven mitt and the wheat bran that fell on the oven floor burned like anything and set off the smoke alarm. Also at that point the internal temp of the loaf was about 220 degrees. The crust was quite nice though. The second batch I did at 450 for 25 minutes and then about 5 minutes uncovered. Temp was already over 200, so I took it out. Crust was not quite as nice, but overall the flavor was better.

I'm looking forward to trying it again this weekend!

Thanks so much!
Fraser

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larein! what a great way to start my day. oh the power of bread and the internet--there really is a marvelous bread baking community out there!

thanks so much for the link.

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Hello Rose,
If you want to read how this "no knead bread" is getting all over the world , and in the Netherlands, read my friend Karen's blog (in English) : http://bakemyday.blogspot.com
Isn't it great what one bread can do ??

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my crust was thin, shattery and chewy. it might be a combination of the lower baking temperature and the pyrex pot not conducting the heat adequately. by the way, i seem to remember that le creuset is not supposed to be heated to very high temperatures so doing this often might cause the enamel to crack. it wouldn't be a problem with cast iron though.
when bread is baked without a final complete proofing it usually bursts open so i can't see how this would be any different with this bread. we haven't seen pictures of this guys bread that he claims "came out fine."
the bread was best the day it was baked which is generally true of bread that contains no sourdough element.

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Dear Rose,
I have tried the nyt no knead bread . I like the crumb but the crust is still not to my expectation. I want it to be thinner and shattery as it proclaimed. Mine was crisp but still "chewy". Would it be due to the oven temp or steam ? I do not have a cast iron pot. I used a Pyrex one with lid.(I can see the whole rising as it bake though)I turn the oven to 500 but the oven thermometer indicated 450 only .Some response on the nyt question the rise after shaping.One guy heated up the oven and pot and shaped his bread only to find that the bread has to go through a 2 hour rise. he just neglected it and put the dough to bake . He said it came out just fine. Do you think it is necessary? And also ,is bread like this needed to be eaten right away? Does bread with no oil freeze well?
Your blog and books has been my baking mentor all along. Thank you so much.
Cindy

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Rose,

Thanks for the info on the barley flour. One more question: There is a reference above to dusting the towel with rice flour to prevent sticking. Is rice flour just ground up rice, i.e. I can make my own by grinding a small quantity in a coffee grinder?

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mark, many flours contain a small amount of malted barley flour to make enzyme activity consistent during fermentation and the rising process (page 552 in bread bible. it helps to convert the starch to sugar which feeds the yeast and also aids in the browning of the crust.

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you're absolutely right--but i did use 1 3/4 teaspoons which is 2.1% baker's % and it was perfect to my taste. i corrected it on my posting to reflect what they had intended and what i did. thanks!

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Correct me if I'm wrong but both the recipe and video say 1.25 teaspoons of salt, not 1.75 teaspoons.

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hmmm--i'll have to check about the barley flour but yes--this is the ideal artisan bread flour. do a little search on the blog and you'll see all i've written about it and that my recipe is on the back of the bag i like it so much!

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I noticed that you suggested that you try this recipe with Harvest King flour. I see that this flour has some barley flour in it. Why? Do you recommend this flour over King Arthur AP or bread flour?

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it's on the left hand side of the blog under links but i'm repeating it just so no one misses this fabulous treat:

www.breadbasketcase.blogspot.com

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Can you please send link to Marie's blog?
Thanks!

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melinda, canadian and british strong flour for bread is proported to be high in protein and excellent. you should have no problems though for some of the soft sandwich breads you will probably do best with a combination of plain flour and bread flour or maybe even all plain flour since it's not bleached and therefore will be stronger than our bleached all-purpose.
i'm so pleased to hear you were inspired by marie--she amazes me with her skill, spirit, and terrific writing and sense of humor not to mention wonderful photos that really give credibility to what she's doing. you needn't make every bread but you never know--you might get hooked!!!

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judy, rice flour seems to work the best and if not using a banneton a colander lined with rice-floured towel should work. a solid bowl does not allow the dough to breathe and causes sticking though the lecithin oil is another story. when you use flour and holes so to speak, the outside of the dough crusts a little helping it to keep its shape.
alternatively, use the lecthin oil and tent the bread with foil before it starts getting too brown, removing it shortly before the end if necessary to crisp up!

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I made the NYT bread in England using Canadian very strong flour bought at Waitrose (protein 15.0) and it has turned out beautifully. I am always a bit weary about USA recipes in UK. It seems there is always something I can't easily get hold of or only inferior product is available. But this really was perfect. I've made some Pasta e Fagioli soup from Marcela Hazan to enjoy it with. When I finish (the paper from hell) I plan to English bake test some of your bread bible recipes. Very much inspired by Marie Wolfe's blog. No plans to do the complete book and blog, but plan to keep a baker's diary for my daughter to look at. A gentle homage to Marie and you. Cheerio! Melinda

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Thanks, Rose, for your lightning fast analysis! I've made this nice loaf three times, and agree that using starter makes it even better. Here's my problem. Where I live (Holland), high-gluten bread flour is hard to come by. Our regular flour seems really designed for pastry and cookies, but I make good bread with it. Except for these really wet doughs, which just run all over the place without some support for the second rising and baking. When I tried the second rising on a heavily floured, closely-woven cloth, it stuck like crazy and was an awful mess to clean up. Is there a way around this, other than rising the dough in a bowl? Haven't tried a real banneton, but I suspect the dough would just puddle through.

I usually use the wonderful lecithin/oil mix from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book for all my greasing needs, including bread pans and raising bowls, and it works well in this application, too. I turn the treated raising bowl upside down, the dough slips right out into the hot baking receptacle, and everything goes well, except that the dough on top, which has been "greased", browns darker and faster than the bottom. It tastes just fine, but looks a little two-toned.

Any advice for making non-stick bannetons and floured towels for those of us who flunked Play-Doh?

Many thanks for all you do.

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thanks ted for your comments. i would hold off on the la cloche til i finish testing the aluminum lid and steam maker neither of which is breakable as is la cloche and also can accomodate more bread! so glad to hear you found 30 minutes resulting in the exact same temperature as i got. actually between 190 and 211 is an acceptable reading--harder to over bake bread than underbake except that i do detest the burnt flavor of overly browned bread. bringing a rustic hearth bread to a higher temperature makes it more likely to keep its crisp crust.
i do like bannetons for very soft doughs as they help to support the shape but i don't thing for a 75% hydration they are absolutely necessary--borderline hydration for banneton!

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that was an excellent solution and good judgement baking with cover on for only 20 minutes. i suggest you reread the time article for a well written harold mcgee explanation as to why a slow rise is equal to a gentle knead--it involves alighment of the gluten etc. no point rephrasing what he said so perfectly except perhaps to add that developing gluten is similar to exercising muscles. allowing bread several risings as is done is some instances gives the gluten more muscle and tightens the network of gluten resulting in a finer less open crumb structure.

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Question - how come kneading the dough isn't necessary? I thought kneading helps distribute ingredients and allows gluten to form.

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Rose & Anna,

I live in Florida - its typically 77 degrees in my home without air conditioning this time of the year. What I did was put my dough in a taller container. Then I got a separate big wide bowl, filled it with water. I placed my dough container in that water overnight, and took it out in the morning. The water kept the dough cool but not as cold as refrigerator. The last couple of hours on the counter let the dough get warmer and rise faster.

I used my convection oven - preheat at 500 and turned it down to 475 to bake with cover for 20 minutes and uncovered for 7 minutes.

My bread was perfect!

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hi rose--
wow! i am amazed & thrilled by your lightning fast parsing-out of the Times' recipe. i'm heartened to hear the water needed a little adjusting. because my dough was so wet, i dumped it in one of my round willow bannetons (sp?). are you a fan of them? i also needed no more than the 30 minutes baking, which may still have been too long. i used an instant read thermometer, which came in around 206-8. isn't 200 degrees ideal? lastly, i'm wondering about the La Cloche dome you mentioned. do you think that's worth getting? i like that i can fit two loaves on my quarry tiles, so i feel tempted to stick with that plus the cast iron pan for ice. i have to admit, my final product was tasty, though i agree it could use your touch of whole wheat/kamut. thanks again for your invaluable insights--

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either the fermentation will be somewhat shorter (judge from when the top is filled with bubbles and has risen to about double or a little more) or you could use a tiny bit less yeast.
i had to bring mine in to the bedroom to avoid higher ethan 70 degrees and also bc i thought if i woke up during the night i could take a peak (which i did!)

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Rose,

I live in a part of the world where the NYT recipe's assumption that 'warm room temperature' is 70 degrees F is inaccurate.

Where I live room temperature is usually closer to eighty degrees, even with air conditioning.

Would you have a suggestion how to adapt this recipe in warmer climates?

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