January 5th, 2010

almost no-knead bread

almost no-knead bread

so, after another brief (ha!) hiatus, i’m back sharing my kitchen adventures. to be honest, besides being consumed by work this fall and winter, it took me a little while to get excited about baking again. planning time to bake, take pictures, and post took away some of the spontaneity and fun of it, but a few things have helped me get back on track lately. one, the girl got a new digital SLR, with which she has generously let me play. but two, more importantly, i spent a few days at my parent’s house for christmas, and i was reminded of the care my mom puts into the dozen plus varieties of cookies she makes for the holidays each year. she does it because she loves to bake, and she loves to see others enjoy her baking. it’s the reason i started blogging in the first place, and it’s re-inspired me. i feel privileged to share these photos and recipes and stories with all of you.

almost no-knead bread

so onto the bread. this is not the first time i’ve attempted no-knead bread, but it is the first time it’s actually come out right, and i have christopher kimball to thank for that. until just recently, the girl and i had 6 meager tv channels in our place, one of which was the truly awesome WETA “create” network which is nothing but PBS cooking and baking shows. every night, it was jacques pépin, julia child and, our favorite, america’s test kitchen.

almost no-knead bread

i was surprised to see their version of no-knead bread that, well, required some kneading. it also included a bit of beer, which got me interested. i decided to get back on the horse and whip up a batch. for the most part, it follows jim lahey’s original recipe, but the beer gives it a bit of flavor, and a tablespoon of vinegar helps stabilize the loaf. the ingredients still come together quickly and easily.

almost no-knead bread

almost no-knead bread

and like the original, the majority of the work is done overnight as the bread rises (8-18 hours).

almost no-knead bread

don’t mind me, just doing a quick knead, won’t be a sec.

almost no-knead bread

ok, all set.

almost no-knead bread

almost no-knead bread

i’ve learned that when the recipe tells you to score the bread, score it deep enough to really open up the dough. the idea is to direct where the bread will expand during the “oven spring” (when it first hits the heat of the oven and expands). i happen to have a bread scorer, but any sharp knife will do.

almost no-knead bread

this bread truly comes out best when baked in a dutch oven. it’s the best way to get the heat and steam needed for a good rise and the perfect crust. don’t be afraid of a deep, dark crust – bread baked in a home oven usually takes more time than in a commercial oven, because it’s harder to get the temperature high enough at home.

almost no-knead bread

almost no-knead bread

it’s amazing that a dough that takes all of 5 minutes to prepare could produce such a beautiful crumb and robust taste. it’s great by itself, or even better toasted with a little butter. if you’ve tried the original no-knead recipe (either with success or failure), it’s worth trying this one as well.

almost no-knead bread

almost no-knead bread
makes one delicious loaf. from america’s test kitchen (requires a login).

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 oz), plus additional for dusting work surface
1/4 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast (or 1/2 tsp dry active yeast)
1 1/2 tsp table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp water (7 ounces), at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp mild-flavored lager (3 ounces)
1 Tbsp white vinegar

1. whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. add water, beer, and vinegar. using rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.

2. lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

3. about 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500F. lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). cover pot and place in oven. reduce oven temperature to 425F and bake covered for 30 minutes. remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

48 Comments for almost no-knead bread - why not leave some love?

  1. […] almost no-knead bread | pete bakes! No Related Post View the Contact Powered by Web Search […]

  2. DavidM says:

    Glad you’re back, and that it was mostly/merely blogging fatigue behind your absence (and nothing more serious). It’s always a pleasure to see your work and read your posts. Happy New Year!

  3. the girl says:

    please make this bread. it is seriously good people.

  4. Anu says:

    I’ve made the classic no knead bread with success but this looks good too. Thank you for posting.

  5. Tessa Lau says:

    Thanks so much for the pictures! I’ve tried no-knead bread many times but it has never come out as well as I wanted it to. Now I see that my dough was way too wet. I’ll try again with less liquid. Thanks for blogging this.

  6. Jaime says:

    Americas Test Kitchen and my favorite book “The New Best Recipes” are always my go-to for recipes. I dont know where I would be without their guidance!
    I need to try this recipe though! Thank you so much for sharing. I never have much patience with baking and this is something I can certainly handle! Glad you are back!

  7. Michelle says:

    Looks perfect. I’ve gotta conquer my fear of yeast and kneading this year!

  8. Kathie Funk says:

    Pete, Glad to see you back. This bread looks so good , can’t wait to try it. I myself am just finishing baking 9 loafs of Cinnamon, Cranberry, Walnut Bread and the house smells amazing.
    Love to read your posts.

  9. Mondo says:

    OMG pete, I love the makeover. your site and the no knead bead looks fantastic! great to have ya back!

  10. Joseph M. says:

    I kept stopping by to see what’s baking here Pete and this post is a great one.
    Been baking a few versions of no-knead bread lately and this looks like the next one I will try – most likely this weekend.
    Happy New Year!

  11. Olga says:

    That is one seriously gorgeous bread. I can’t even imagine how good it would be as a sandwich.

  12. Kristina says:

    I ADORE America’s Test Kitchen. This bread looks amazing. Good to have you back!

  13. Sook says:

    What a great looking blog you have! Love it! This bread looks spectacular! I love baking so I’ll have to save this recipe. Thank you.

  14. Mimi says:

    Welcome back Pete! The bread looks delicious! please keep baking for us.

    P.S. I love the new look you chose for your blog.

  15. Caroline says:

    I baked this bread last weekend. It turned out beautiful. And very, very tasty! I used my cast iron dutch oven to bake it in, and when it came time to take the lid off, I was just thrilled at how great it was looking. Finished product was terrific. I will definitely be baking this one again. Thanks so much!

  16. Chad Williams says:

    Wow! I took this out of the oven about an hour ago and just sliced off the first crusty bit. As good as it looks, I wasn’t expecting much for flavor. Was I ever wrong! This is a really great loaf! Thanks!!

  17. Jenny says:

    one part of the bread looked a bit mouldy.

  18. stupid person says:

    This looks like John’s bald head. Maybe his rotting skull in future.

  19. Sylvie says:

    hi pete.
    i wish i could remember how i stumbled across your blog-i think i was googling “bread recipes.” anyway, I’ve got my bread in the oven and am really excited to pair it with dinner tonight. i didn’t have a lager in the fridge but i did have a lone key west sunset ale shoved way in the back that i decided to use. ale is certainly no lager so i’ll be curious to see how this bread tastes considering the substitution.
    hope you’re having a great day!

  20. […] there’s the stickiness, though there are work-arounds for that.  What I will try next is the Almost No-Knead variation.  But for now I’ll be spreading butter on my flat little […]

  21. Noula says:

    Hi Pete, I made it this morning, turned out great and it’s so easy to make unlike the New York Time’s one, the only problem was it didn’t have so many air holes like yours (any ideas why?), still tasted lovely. My husband loved it! The beer I used was quite warm (straight from the fridge, couldn’t wait to come to room temperature, put it in the microwave, didn’t wait to cool down.Is this the reason? And I also left it longer than 18 hours.

  22. Carlos says:

    Terrific! Easy and quick to make/bake and the result is a delicious bread. Wonderful recipe!
    What do I need to do to get a softer inner core?
    Mine was soft but compact and I’d like to get those big air bubbles like in swiss cheese, which is what appears in the above pics.
    Take care

  23. Becca says:

    Thank you for this recipe! Having tried the NYT’s version (twice) I prefer this recipe. I’ve made it several times now, the last few times substituting some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat. While I had success with a 1:1 ratio tonight’s 1:2 (all-purpose:whole wheat) was too dense, even with the addition of another 1 1/2 tbsp of water and an extra 2 hours sitting at room temp, and it didn’t have much oven spring. I would love a version of this with more whole wheat. Any suggestions?

    • mary says:

      I just did an all whole wheat version, and it was yummy but I did not get the holes I was hoping for. I added one table spoon of vital wheat gluten for each cup of ww flour( to top off the cup of flour) . The dough was not wet enough I think and I will add the 2 tbsp of honey the original recipe said to add when using ww flour and tell you how that went. I also think I need to let it rise longer after I knead it. Hope this helps.

  24. Amy says:

    This looks gorgeous! I’ve been trying to bake the peasant loaf from Artisanal Bread in 5 Min/Day and my crumb is abysmal and the bread is barely cooked through. Maybe it’s our elevation (5,000 ft) or it’s too dry coming out of the fridge. Whatever the reason, I’m having loaf envy.

  25. Rochelle Bernold says:

    Hi Pete !
    I found your wonderful site yesterday when I was searching for my lost recipe for a flourless chocolate pecan cake. Your photos and delightful comments made my quest much richer than just checking out the recipe on The NY Times website 😉
    In return, I just wanted to share a technique that makes baking no-knead bread in an enamel pot even easier.
    Simply line your pot with parchment that has been sprayed with a little oil and sprinkled with flour, bran, seeds,etc.After you’ve shaped your loaf
    simply place it right in the cold pot to rise. When it’s ready,place just the LID
    of the pot in the oven and preheat your oven to 450 . I usually bake 2 loaves at a time, and it takes 36 min. covered and an additional 25 min.or so (covered loosely with a sheet of foil if it’s browning too quickly)until the loaves reach an internal temp of 200.
    Happy Baking !

    Flour Girl

  26. Laurel says:

    I’ve made the NYT No-Knead Bread the way it is in the recipe and always end up burning myself on the hot pot out of the oven and make a mess trying to flip the bread over. Not necessary – instead I tried letting the bread rise in the pot/pyrex bowl or whatever I’m baking it in. I do put a round of parchment paper on the bottom and spray the sides with oil. After the rise, slide it into the hot oven and presto – 1/2 hour later wonderful bread. I’ve found I don’t even have to put a lid on it. Will try this recipe with the Ale in it – sounds delicious.

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  38. Alison says:

    For the first time in my life, I was able to make a decent loaf of bread. Thank you! The pictures, especially the one with the bubbly dough in the bowl, were particularly helpful. I think my problem was that I wasn’t waiting long enough for that stage. THANKS!

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  40. RobP says:

    I’ve been making this bread for almost 4 yrs. It started in 2006, but I discovered it in 2008 and have had very good success with it. I normally let it rise on parchment paper in a basket then drop it into the pot with the parchment paper. I also make no knead ciabatta bread and rolls and focaccia. I also use the ABin5 method also, have both books.

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  46. […] bread, having first tried the recipe that was popularized in the NY Times. I also tried “Almost No Knead Bread” from America’s Test Kitchen, which I liked even more, although it is a fussier recipe. […]

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