Saturday, December 30, 2006

Daily Farm Photo 12/30/06: No Knead Bread!


Hot Crusty Bread Is Definitely The Stuff Of My Life

This is my version of the No Knead Bread that recently appeared in the New York Times and immediately became the biggest thing since, well, sliced bread. When I read the original article back in November, I knew I had to try baking it.

I made it for Thanksgiving dinner in my new
Lodge Enamel Dutch Oven (which I then immediately washed out and cooked Thanksgiving dinner in—no it wasn't turkey), and it was delicious and beautiful. The crust was crisp, and the crumb was light (in a good way) and full of various-sized airholes.

But because I'm a firm believer that if you have either freezer space or friends you should never bake just one loaf of bread at a time, I experimented and learned that there is actually no need (ha ha) for the dutch oven.

The loaves you see here were baked directly on a hot baking stone and I did not find them any the worse for it. I did make minor changes to the recipe--mainly adding more salt and increasing the first rise to about 24 hours (because this time of year there is no place in The Shack that stays 70 degrees). I used Heartland Mill Organic Strong Bread Flour (which I buy in 50-pound sacks), simply adding more than called for if the dough was too sticky.

Doubling the recipe will give you two 1½-pound loaves, three 1-pound loaves, or four baby 12-ounce loaves. Each batch I've made has come out slightly different, but that, of course, is the beauty of handmade bread. Every loaf was scrumptious.

If you haven't already been bombarded by this bread, you can read lots more about it at this post on Lindy's delightful blog, Toast. And this post at The Unemployed Cook includes the entire original recipe as it appeared in the New York Times. If you'd like to read more about bread baking in general, I invite you to check out my Ten Tips For Better Bread.

2007 Update: I gave this bread an Italiano twist over at A Year In Bread—and made one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I've ever had. Click here for the step by step recipe, which can also be used to make the "plain" version—simply omit the seasonings.

Click here if you'd like to read more about A Year In Bread, the joint blogging project between myself and two other passionate bread bakers. It's 12 months, 36 recipes, and more fun than should probably be allowed in the kitchen. Ready, breadie? Then come bake bread with us!


© 2006 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote acres, and there are always at least four kinds of homemade bread in the freezer.

22 comments:

  1. I can't wait to join this no-knead phenemonon.

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  2. Yay - I'm famous! Looks wonderful.

    And I'm happy not to have to use a dutch oven (since I don't have one).

    I will definitely try this in the new year.

    But Monday I'm making the beer bread again (with cheese soup) because it's just darn easy! And tasty!

    Happy New Year!

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  3. That's a beautiful bread!

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  4. Thanks for the kind mention. Beautiful bread you've got there, Susan. There was another baker who skipped the pot, and for the same reason! I have a hard time using up one bread a week, myself. (Anyway, it was a good excuse for a new pot, no?)
    I've been saving a lump of dough in the fridge from each bread and using it in the next, and the loaves are starting to develop a pleasant sourness. I was never able to make bread often enough in the past to make that sort of thing feasible. Fun.

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  5. Thanks for a great site. You've inspired me to set up my own Amazon shop. It's fab!

    And I'll be baking some bread today - your photos are so beautiful, it's making me hungry.

    mtp

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  6. Very nice looking bread Farmgirl!
    I will have to try this next time I make bread.

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  7. I love your 'Daily Farm Photo'
    I wish you a Happy New Year ! :-)

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  8. I am staying in a Tahoe cabin with 20 people and I have been making the bread every day, sometimes two loaves. I have even been giving no knead bread lessons! Although I have not been very precise with the measurements I hadn't thought to NOT use the dutch oven (I had been baking one at a time). I was very glad to find that the high altitude didn't have any effect on this bread like it does to other things, though.

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  9. Is this the same bread that featured on wednesdaychef.blogspot.com a couple of weeks ago? It's wonderful if it is! So glad your back in blogland!

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  10. Thanks for the great post this past year, FG! The recipes are always a welcome to see. I can't wait to try the no-knead bread. You've been an inspiration to me! Happy New Year! Kris in WA

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  11. Glad to know that it works to bake this bread on a pizza stone - I don't have a dutch oven, but having sold Pampered Chef for three years, baking stones I have!

    Happy New Year Susan! T.

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  12. I couldn't agree more. I love a good crusty bread!

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  13. Thanks for pointing out the recipe. I tried it myself and it was sooo simple and good.

    http://wanderingchopsticks.blogspot.com/2007/01/no-knead-bread.html

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  14. I finally tried this, and it's wonderful! I can't believe how easy it was!

    Now I'm off to experment with whole wheat thrown in.

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  15. You can make the no-knead bread without a pot? I'm totally making mini loaves as soon as I get home. It was going to be my convenient excuse to get a dutch oven, but seeing as I'm broke, this is even better.

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  16. This bread is SO FORGIVING and still comes out great. I can't tell you how many mistakes I made. From being at 74.5 degrees and letting it rise for at least 14 hours. From putting it in the fridge and then letting it only rise for 2 hours instead of 3 and part of those two hours included the rise after shaping, but not all of it. I probably added a smidge too much flour due to the mistakes.
    I took it to a potluck and people were begging for this bread. By the way, served the bread with Vinegar Based NC style Pork BBQ and it was the PERFECT COMPLEMENT. It was sturdy enough to stand up to the juiciness without falling apart and tender enough to bite without tearing and dropping the food all over yourself. I'll be making this again!

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  17. sorry to leave a comment on such an old post, but do you have any tips on making the no-knead bread without a dutch oven? do you just bake it the way you'd bake any bread, or might you tent it with tinfoil at first, or...?

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  18. Hi Jenny,
    Congratulations on your delicious bread success! Don't you just love it when a recipe (especially one for bread) is so forgiving? Thanks so much for taking the time to write. I may not always have a chance to reply to comments, or reply to them in a timely manner, but I read all comments and really appreciate the feedback, especially the ones about recipes. : )

    Hi Molly,
    I've had good success baking the no-knead bread without a dutch oven (though I've certainly been putting my beloved dutch oven to good use cooking all sorts of other things--I honestly don't know how I survived so long without one!). I baked it uncovered on a hot baking stone just like any other freeform loaf. The main thing I did was add enough extra flour so that the dough was firm enough that it wouldn't spread all over the place while the formed loaves were rising. Click here to read more about my experiences baking this no-knead bread, including my version of the recipe and step by step instructions (simply omit the Italian seasonings for a plain loaf).

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  19. Hi Farm Girl, Great site. I really enjoy your writing.
    Good point about the baking stone. I've seen this recipe made using the dutch oven, and also in a caserole dish (with a lid). It's probably true for the majority of home bakers that a caserole dish is more easily available than a baking stone. (it's true for me. my kitchen is minimalist and I use a Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven for all my baking).
    TJ

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  20. Cooks Illustrated did a pretty extensive test/review of the NYT no-knead bread in their Jan/Feb 2008 issue, improving on it and offering a number of tips. Highly recommended reading!

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  21. Susan,

    How do you get the outside crust of the No-Knead Bread so crusty and thick? I have baked so many on a pizza stone and after 15 min. out of the oven, the crust softens up.

    PS- your website is my baking encyclopedia/baking bible. Thank you for creating it!

    Jackie

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  22. Hi Jackie,I'm not really sure how I got the crust thick on this loaf. Is it thick compared to other peoples' no-knead breads?

    As for the crust softening up not long after the bread comes out of the oven, that happens to me, too - especially during our humid springs and summers (humidity is 80% today). I usually reheat our crusty loaves before serving (even if the bread has just finally finished it's 40 minute cooling/rest period, LOL), and that crisps them back up.

    You can also brush or spritz your bread with water before putting it in the oven to help crisp it up. I've never tried it, but lots of people do it. Some even quickly run the whole loaf under the faucet! : )

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