But if you try sometime….you’ll find….you don’t need to knead

My first attempt at No Knead Bread

So I have been curious about the no knead bread craze for awhile but it wasn’t until I read this blog post that I was motivated to try Jim Lahey’s famous NYT recipe.

I’m definitely a convert.  This is the easiest dough I have ever worked with and can literally be made in about 10 minutes.  Then you wait a day, crank up your oven, bake it in a covered stock pot for 30 minutes, remove the lid and finish the bread for another 15 minutes. Voila.

So it’s your turn…do this now.


3 cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. Active dry yeast
1 1/4 tsp. Salt (I think you are better off adding 2 tsp. of salt)
1 5/8 cups of water (I did more like 1 3/4 the first time and then 2 cups second time)


Mix all these ingredients together and allow it to sit for 18 or more hours

Initial Dough

After 15 hours at room temperature (you could easily keep this 2 days in the fridge if you wanted to retard it further and develop more flavor)

Lay down a clean tea towel and dust it with 1/8″ thick layer of flour. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and lay it on the floured tea towel.  Fold the dough loosely into itself to form a flattened boule. Cover with the excess tea towel and allow to rise for 2 hours

15 hours later the dough is ready to be turned out onto the floured tea towel

An hour and a half into the rising period heat up your oven to 450º along with an 8 qt. stock pot (must have a tight fitting lid which you will need when you add the dough)

After the two hour rising period. Remove the pan from the oven and gently place the dough into the pot (the recipe says to put it in seam side up, but I did it seam side down and it worked fine). Place the lid on the pot and put into the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes.  Allow the bread to cool down before trying to cut.

Bread right out of the oven

A few notes on what I have learned so far.  No adjustments have been necessary for the altitude here in Denver. The amount of yeast seems to create a nice airy dough.  The original recipe’s water content seemed a little shy on my first attempt so I added a little more.  Approximately 1 3/4 cup of water.  the second time I went right for 2 cups. Both doughs worked fine.  I preferred the 1 3/4 cup version as it was a little less loose to work with.

The original salt content of 1 1/4 tsp. salt tasted flat.  2 tsp. was much better.  Next time I will try 2 1/4 tsp.

The first time I used a le Creuset casserole and the second time I used an anodized aluminum Caphalon pot.  Le Creuset created a much more uniform deep brown crust, the Caphal0n burned the bottom lightly.  Both times I actually baked in a 465° oven.  Maybe if I baked it in the Caphalon at the recommended temperature it would have come out perfectly.  Regardless of which direction you go this dough seems to be very forgiving and low maintenance.

Second attempt


4 Responses

  1. I have to say I’ve been making this quite a bit lately, but I use the variation from Cooks Illustrated. It works like a charm every time. Gorgeous crust, beautiful crumb. Happy to share the variation if you like.

    • Sure Thomas. Give us the cooks illustrated version. I’m trying to make this every week and play around with the variations.

  2. Ingredients are essentially the same. They specify instant yeast in the same quantity and 1.5 teaspoons of salt. For liquid, 3/4 or 7 ounces of room temperature water and 3 ounces or 1/4 cup of lager (they actually recommend Budweiser). Plus, one tablespoon of white vinegar.
    Whisk together the dry ingredients, add the liquid and use a rubber spatula to combine into a shaggy ball. Cover with plastic and let it hang out 8 to 18 hours. I make the dough at night and finish it the next day. After kneading 15 times and shaping it into a ball, they recommend placing the ball on a parchment lined 10-inch skillet, then spray the surface or plastic wrap with non-stick spray, cover with plastic and let double in size.
    The parchment acts as a sling to move the bread. They use a 6 to 8 quart Dutch oven to bake the bread. What’s important is that the knob is metal, not plastic. You can replace with a metal cabinet knob if necessary.
    Thirty minutes before the bread is ready, adjust the oven rack to the lowest position, but the Dutch oven with lid in the oven and preheat to 500º for a half hour. Lightly flour the top of the dough and cut a 1/2 slit in the top, then lift the dough with the parchment and place in the Dutch oven (it stays on parchment). Cover, into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 425º. Bake 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 20-30 minutes.
    The only issue I’ve had is that the bottom may get overly brown. I just scrape it. It is almost effortless and has been incredible every time I’ve made it.

  3. […] pizzeria owned by Jim Leahy, the man who popularized No Knead bread which I have posted about here.  Excellent wood oven pizza. Share this:ShareEmailFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

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