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I’ve been trying different recipes for no knead bread and this one turned out to be our family favorite. The crust is perfectly crunchy and the inside is soft and moist. I have a Dutch oven, but I ended up using a cookie sheet and a stainless bowl to cover the dough. I also tried making the bread with olives, dried fruit, nuts and etc. Any version has turned out to be fantastically delicious!
A few questions:
– My dutch oven has a phenolic knob – online sources say it’s safe up to 390 F and some say up to 500 F (I’m assuming different versions and mine is about 7 years old). I’m thinking of unscrewing it and plugging the hole with foil as I’m nervous it will melt. Anyone have thoughts on this?
– I’m in the middle of this and the dough is super sticky and has no structure to be pulled up into a ball. It just stretches and sticks to your fingers. I weighed the flour in the beginning, but the dough is so sticky it seems like I’d have to add a lot of flour to the board … it’s just very hard to work with. I made another no knead recipe once years ago and didn’t do any shaping and it was pretty flat once baked. Thoughts?
– I used active dry yeast and dissolved it in the 1 1/2 c of water first instead of adding the dry yeast to the flour in the beginning. Also used kosher salt and increased to 1 3/4 tsp.
– Also, the ingredients state 1/4 cup of cornmeal or flour for the final rise, but the instructions only mention 1 heaping tsp of flour?
– Does the size of the Dutch oven matter – i.e. is a smaller oven better to shape the slack dough and help the rise? I have a 7 1/4 qt, but am wondering if a smaller one would help with shape.
Hi Michelle, let’s roll up our sleeves and get down to business!
-As Sally says in the recipe, “If your Dutch oven’s knob is not metal, cover the knob with foil to protect it.” And yes, that includes Le Creuset phenolic knob. Cover it with foil and you won’t need to remove it.
-No knead doughs at the outset are more slack (loose and sticky) than traditional doughs. When you are done combining ingredients, it can look like a messy tub of cottage cheese. As it rises, the flour absorbs more of then liquid and become less sticky, though it will still be looser than traditional doughs. If it seems very wet after the first rise, perhaps it’s because the flour you are using has less protein. If so, just press on (don’t knead in more) and embrace the flatness to make a focaccia of sorts.
-The cornmeal or 1/4 cup flour is used for lining the parchment paper in Step 3. The 1 rounded teaspoon of flour is optional, for sprinkling over the top of the shaped loaf, in Step 5. It’s simply to give it a more rustic look.
-I think the size of the Dutch oven does assist in giving a more rounded loaf, as opposed to flat. Here’s another option Sally outlines in the post that might give you a rounder loaf: “Option 1: Use a large cast-iron skillet (10 to 12 inches), a small cast-iron skillet (6 to 8 inches) and ice cubes. Preheat both skillets as you would the pot. Place the dough round (on the parchment) into the larger skillet, and place about a cup of ice cubes in the second hot skillet. Be sure not to use glass or ceramic baking dishes for the ice cubes, as they could crack.”
The main thing is to keep on making the no-knead bread, if it’s fun for you, and eventually you’ll learn little tricks to make it your own. I don’t think I’ve made it exactly the same way twice, which is part of the fun. Happy baking!
Hi, I only have a cast iron pan without lid. What is the best thing to replace cast iron lid?
Can I use a oven safe lid made out of glass maybe? As long as it covers, does it have to be a cast iron lid? If anyone can give me some idea/ insight, that will be great! Also, will be a big problem if I change the shape of the bread in order to fit it in my cast iron pan. ( won’t be a ball… will be flatter.) Thanks!
It’s not good to bake glassware at high temperatures, as it can explode (sounds dramatic, but I’ve seen it happen and it’s not pretty). So leave that glass lid off! Happily, though, you have some options with just the cast iron skillet. This post from Jessie over at Life as a Strawberry has some three options for you to bake no-knead bread without a Dutch oven.
Probably not what you are looking for, but I recently learned about Challenger Bread Pans made just for baking bread, and the gearhead in me really wants one. But I’ve baked no-knead bread in an open skillet before and it still turned out great…no new gear needed!
Good luck, and I’m sure your loaf will be lovely and crusty.
I noticed this recipe uses almost a cup more flour then the original NYT recipe. What sort of difference does that make?
I have found that when using all-purpose flour the dough is a little slack and doesn’t rise or hold its shape in the same way it does when you use (strong) bread flour, so adding a small amount of flour seems to do the trick to compensate for using all-purpose. Bread flour has more protein than all-purpose flour, so it produces a higher amount of gluten.
Second attempt was awesome!! Baked at 450! My oven must be hot!Can I tweak this recipe to make it whole wheat or multigrain??
Glad you’ve been enjoying this. You can introduce whole grain flours to this, yes, by subbing up to a third of the white flour for other flours (whole wheat, oat, rye, etc). You may need to add a bit more water to keep the hydration up. It’s possible to make 100% whole grain no-knead bread–it’s wonderful, but very different from this. I’d say start by experimenting with smaller percentages of the alternate flours first, and go from there.
if baking in a stone, do you still bake for the same amount of time as in a dutch oven
Yes, everything stays the same. You may end up with a little more oven spring (a quicker rise in the beginning) than without one, but that’s a good thing!
I found this quite easy to make!! However my burned slightly on the bottom??? The top looks like the picture!! Just waiting for it to cool to taste!!
Glad you wound up with a beautiful loaf! The dark bottom could be because your oven’s bottom heating element is more powerful. (I’m assuming you used a Dutch oven.)
Next time, try (BEFORE baking) to see if you can move the rack up one position and still fit the Dutch oven and its lid in there. Or preheat the empty Dutch oven for 30 minutes, not 45. Hope that helps!
So easy and good. By the way, it makes a beautiful base for bruschetta!
This is great bread – a 6 yr old can make this & be a star. However, I now live at 7000’ & this recipe needS tweeking. I have tried 7 times. The dought does not develop enough.
Can anyone help me?? Would be do greatful!
You must be a very dedicated and determined baker! I feel poorly qualified to address this, being an Ohioan. Here’s a tip sheet from King Arthur Flour that might help. And this blog post from High Altitude Bakes should help even more. Best of luck to you!
I would like to make this. The problem is I only have a convection/microwave oven. No dutchoven or cast iron works in that and a baking stone won’t fit. Any way I can adapt this?