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No Knead Bread  RSS feed

 
jacque greenleaf
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Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Is anyone here using this method?

I'm not getting the rise I think I should be getting, so I'd like to discuss!
 
Jami McBride
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I am  and there are others here too.

What are you doing exactly?
 
jacque greenleaf
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Hoooooookay, here's my story...(I've also posted this elsewhere)

I've been making the NKB for a while, and have some questions about it. Although I've tried several times in the past to bake my own bread, this recipe works for me much better than any other ever has.

I use the recipe from Breadtopia (2 cups AP, 1 cup WWW, 1 1/2 cups spring water, 1/4 tsp yeast, salt) with the addition of 1 tbsp golden molasses because I love the flavor. I use KA or Bob's Red Mill flour, and weigh everything. The first rise is overnight, and the house temp probably drops into the high 50s. (We don't keep a warm house.) The dough is soft, slack, and sticky, but cleans the bowl. I fold it in the bowl a few times. I bake the bread in a loaf-shaped clay baker starting with a cold oven. I bake to an internal temp of 200 - can't get much hotter than that because I am at 5400 feet.

I get beautiful thin crackly singing crust, delicious flavor, but not much ovenrise. I get small to medium holes and a moist interior.

The baker is the size of a 9" loaf pan. The dough fills the pan to about halfway, and proofs to just under the pan rim. The finished loaf comes out about 2-3 inches high - just over the pan rim.

For this amount of dough, is this the highest I should expect the dough to rise?

I have been doing a series of timing experiments, and it doesn't matter much whether the first rise is 10 hours or 18 - the loaf is pretty much the same. I switched from active dry yeast to rapid rising, the loaf is pretty much the same. One hour or two for the proof, the loaf is pretty much the same. Whether the proof is at room temp - 65 degrees or so - or in the oven with the light on, the loaf is pretty much the same. The first slice cut after half an hour or two hours later, the loaf is pretty much the same.

So at least I'm consistent. But it really seems to me that the loaf should rise more. Or is the pan a bit large for this amount of dough? The finished loaf weighs 1 1/2 pounds. If the issue is using a cold oven, I am happy to trade the low rise for the crust and not having to deal with a very hot and heavy dutch oven. But if I can get more rise, I'd love to know how!

A related question - why does the original recipe call for rapid rise or instant yeast? Seems counter-intuitive to me, given that NKB relies on a long rising time.

Thanks for any hints!
 
                                  
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
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Rapid rise yeast doesn't require proofing as active dry yeast would.

I have the same problem with oven rise and I attribute it to the percentage of whole wheat.  It should never be more than 50% by weight for maximum oven rise, but even then it doesn't rise as much as white flour.  This is said to be due to the sharp edges of the bran in WW which cuts into the gluten and inhibits its ability to trap the gas that causes bread to rise.

It helps to increase the amount of yeast and/or lower the amount of salt that inhibits yeast growth.  Also, a proofing box is better than leaving it out on the counter if the environment is not near 70 degrees throughout the rise.  Of course you can simulate a proofing box by putting the dough in an oven with the pilot light or the oven light on, putting it on top of the refrigerator where the motor will create heat that raises the temperature, putting it in a styrofoam cooler or a hay box at night, or  setting it under an incandescent bulb to rise.

To create oven spring, you can try spraying the oven with water to create steam just before baking and using a pizza stone under the ceramic pot.  A cloche is best but is expensive.  Good luck!
 
                            
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Location: Vancouver Island, BC
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Hi,
I'm no expert with NKB, but in our baking experience, there are 2 things that could be at issue.  The first is the cold oven.  Oven spring usually comes from a shock of high heat--a high preheat--then a lower steady temperature for the bake.  The initial steam effect that bruc33ef suggests also won't work without that initial high heat. 

The other issue could just be the altitude; as you already know, altitude does strange things to bread!

Great book for all things bread--if you're up for a bit of an addictive chemistry lesson!--is
Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice.  Great stuff!
 
Len Ovens
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No knead bread just seems to work for me. I have never followed the original recipe exactly though... I used sourdough starter right off. The first time I used way too much and the structure of the flour had been damaged too much, so there wasn't that much rise. What I use now is 2 oz of starter (my starter is 50/50 flour/water or 100% hydration) and take 1 oz each off the water and flour. So:

16-1=15oz flour
13-1=12oz water
1/4 tsp salt

I started out with the cast iron dutch oven, but now use a small enameled roaster (much lighter) I find the type of flour makes a huge difference. When I use the cheap (no-name, PC $6 for 10kilo of whole wheat) stuff, it rises much higher than the whole wheat/whole grain stuff. 100% rye rises even less (but tastes so good.... replace .5 oz with flax and another .5 oz with barley).

I have a layer of fire brick (splits) on the lowest rack in the oven. I heat the oven as hot as it goes (around 500F) and try to cook as many loaves as I can... normally 4 4.5x10 and 1 hearth loaf. I have a (modified.... but that is the top) coil type stove where the oven vent goes in the middle of one of the coils.... I block that.... not worth steaming with that open. Sometimes I put a tray at the top to put water in. I have been using the no knead dough for both the sandwich loaves and the hearth loaf and so don't start with the lid on the hearth loaf any more.... (still not decided about that)

I live at sea level... I fully expect to replace my oven element more often ... but they are cheap ($35) and this one is still fine after at least 3 years of this abuse. I would like to redo my ovens insulation too.

Another variation I use is to replace 2oz of water with 2oz of kefer rather than the wild yeast starter. Rises about the same amount.

Big thing though is hot oven.... 450F for such a lean bread.

My son can't have starch and I make bread for him with almonds or peanuts ground to flour. Did some of that today in a solar cooker (sun-buns?) much lower temp... but still over 200F, worked fine.

Len
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i was using the artisan bread in 5 min..no knead method..until i found out that i had to eliminate most carbs in my diet.

it is a great bread and easy.

you can keep a bucket of dough in your frig all the time

see the mother earth news website for some recipes or order the book, i have it but lent it to my sil since i'm not baking bread now
 
Jordan Lowery
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i make it, and sometimes add my own locally cultured sourdough starter, makes it taste GOOD, and puff like crazy. its really great when you want bread in a day, rather than a 2 or 3 day process. so far ive got a system down i can make 10 loafs of 1 lb breads in about 5 hours, that's from flour to my mouth.
 
Len Ovens
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soil wrote:
i make it, and sometimes add my own locally cultured sourdough starter, makes it taste GOOD, and puff like crazy. its really great when you want bread in a day, rather than a 2 or 3 day process. so far ive got a system down i can make 10 loafs of 1 lb breads in about 5 hours, that's from flour to my mouth.


I used to do that using a formula from sourdough.org? (I think) but no-knead is a lot less work. Even with the 5 hour dough, I found letting the flour "soak" overnight tastes nicer.  The longer time over all the dough sits, the nicer the taste, the lower the starch content.... the better it is for your gut...there is really no more work involved (with no-knead there is less) but the bits of work there is must be scheduled... the fridge is your friend for stretching the doughs ready time to meet your ready time.

I have a pile of bricks in my back yard... I will have to try a "dry stack" brick oven to see how that works one day, but listening to a pizza chef... he says gas or charcoal are too dry... so wet heat must be really important. charcoal I can see... all carbon makes only co2. Gas makes water though, but wood has water content as well. I wonder how much water/steam the bricks soak up while the oven is being wood-fired. Having the oven as full as possible of bread keeps the moisture content up too. The dutch oven in no-knead is to make the oven one loaf size for this reason. So I try to fill my oven with as many loaves as I can and block the steam vent... the vent is good for turkey... not for bread.  I would like to get an older "self-clean oven" with the manual door lock to try.

Len
 
Leif Kravis
Posts: 78
Location: Toronto Canada
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personally i like to knead the doughs for bread as that is how the gluten is developed, without kneading  there is less gluten to hold the gas bubbles, less structure, a dough hook on a mixer is great or about 10 minutes of kneading on a floured board.
cheers
 
Len Ovens
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Leif wrote:
personally i like to knead the doughs for bread as that is how the gluten is developed, without kneading  there is less gluten to hold the gas bubbles, less structure, a dough hook on a mixer is great or about 10 minutes of kneading on a floured board.
cheers


The idea of no-knead bread is that there is more that one way to develop gluten. Commercial bakeries, mix it like crazzy and get by with no ferment (first rise)  and so can make (tasteless) bread quickly (mix to oven in 1 hour, I hear).

Hand kneading or stretch and fold (stretch and fold is easier on the dough and on the wrists if you have problems kneading), lets you get developed gluten and tasty bread in only a few hours. From 4am when you start warming a brick oven anyway, you can start baking by 10.

With a high hydration(83% or so), low yeast and a lot of time (14 to 22 hours), the gluten will develop itself pretty much. Actually, you do a very soft knead twice even in no knead bread, once when you bench it and again when you form the loaf. I have done it both ways and with the same flour(s) I get about the same results either way, rise wise. The no knead way has better taste though... at least I think so.... and when it is offered along with anything else ... it goes fast.

If I was going to do a kneaded bread, I would probably soak most of the flour in some of the required water over night. It helps bring out some of that taste. I have also found that a small amount of barley flour (1/2 once for a 1.5 pound loaf) in the soaker gives a really nice taste. I am told that barley has a unique enzyme that breaks the flours starch down differently than that found in wheat (that is why the brewers like it).

BTW Whole wheat flour.... is not. The label "whole wheat" means UB with enough bran thrown in to be about the same as what it originally had... the rest of the grain is missing (germ for example). The label "whole grain" means everything is included. I have found that the cheap "whole wheat" flour tends to rise more than "whole grain". Also note that "whole grain" flour will go rancid if left too long. I refrigerate mine... but I also go through a 22 pound bag in less than a month. Aging also affects whole grain flour, it works well fresh ground, then goes "wild" for a few weeks then settles. So most whole grain flour has been aged before it is shipped to the retailer. This would be something to remember if you were milling your own flour and storing it for any length if time.
 
Leif Kravis
Posts: 78
Location: Toronto Canada
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i understand  what you are saying Len, i like to build the gluten as the sponge is being mixed, first ferment, then just punch it down a little for forming after it has risen, i just find the first mixing helps get a nice elasticity to the sponge,

cheers
 
Len Ovens
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Hmmm, this weeks batch of no knead bread was just like that... rose about half normal so I have seven very tasty bricks. There is some crumb.... but we have been cutting it very thin anyway... I have been making my bread this way for a number of months. So what did I do different? What comes to mind is that I used cold water this time. I have been using hot water (about 110F) but thinking I shouldn't, so I did cold water.... Why was that wrong? Well, I keep my flour chilled... some of my grains I freeze. The kefer that I used for starter was chilled. All this and the house is not cold, but probably hits a low of 16C (60F) at night. When I looked at the dough after 12 hours or so, it had not really risen when normally it doubles... I should have put the whole bowl in the oven at about 100 to 110F for a few hours, but I didn't. I benched it and it did respond a little bit, so I loafed it. It rose but only 30 to 50%... should be at least 100% (double in size). Sprung a bit in the oven, but not enough.

Peter Reinhart in "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" says that yeast grows twice as fast when you raise the temperature by 17F (or half as fast if you go down 17F). So, my flour was at 38F and my water at about 50F (temp of earth), My dough probably ended up at about 43F. If I had used hot water at 110F, my dough would have ended up at about 70 to 74F about 31F higher and the yeast would have worked almost 4 times faster... so if at 72F it worked ok with 12 hours ferment... At 43F I would have needed 48hours.... The only problem with leaving the dough that long is that the bacteria is more active at lower temperature so it would be really sour and the starches and proteins may have broken down too much to hold the bread together. Besides, I would have been at work that day

So temperature is important, regular kneaded bread should start with a dough temperature of about 80F while kneading, but I think no knead can be a little less.
 
Jordan Lowery
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great post len good stuff to know.
 
                                    
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Location: Ishpeming, Michigan
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@jacqueg
I don't know anything about no knead bread as the kneading part is theraputic for me and my favorite part of making bread however...I have found that working with fresh ground whole wheat flour you don't get a good rise without either vital wheat gluten or lecithin powder.
Being your recipe has AP flour in it in a great amount though the problem is probly temp. A neat trick for getting a good rise temp is to turn on your oven for ONE minute and shut it OFF. Put the dough in the oven to rise. I use this trick a lot in the winter.
One other possibility is that most recipes it's pretty standard that you would use 1 Tablespoon of yeast for two loaves of bread or 1 1/2 tsp per loaf...I notice your recipe calls for 1/4 tsp of yeast so maybe this particular recipe isn't meant to have a higher rise?Maybe is't coming out exactly as it's supposed to.
 
Len Ovens
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simplysue wrote:
I don't know anything about no knead bread as the kneading part is theraputic for me and my favorite part of making bread however...I have found that working with fresh ground whole wheat flour you don't get a good rise without either vital wheat gluten or lecithin powder.

Yes... but I really don't want to add stuff like that Some of my whole grain loaves have done pretty good even still...



Being your recipe has AP flour in it in a great amount though the problem is probly temp. A neat trick for getting a good rise temp is to turn on your oven for ONE minute and shut it OFF. Put the dough in the oven to rise. I use this trick a lot in the winter.

This probably would not work with no knead bread.... Most of the yeast growth happens in the primary ferment of 12 to 18 hours, which is why it uses only 20% the normal amount of yeast. The long ferment/soak lets the dough develop more taste.


One other possibility is that most recipes it's pretty standard that you would use 1 Tablespoon of yeast for two loaves of bread or 1 1/2 tsp per loaf...I notice your recipe calls for 1/4 tsp of yeast so maybe this particular recipe isn't meant to have a higher rise?Maybe is't coming out exactly as it's supposed to.

Actually I have made it both ways (kneaded and no knead) and it seems to rise about the same amount either way with the same flour. The picture above is a hearth loaf, but I generally do sandwich loaves in pans now as i can fit more in the oven at the same time (7 or 8 plus a sheet of rolls) which means more moisture in the oven.... more oven spring.... nicer bread. I generally use whole wheat flour or whole rye or a mix. I generally add a small amount of barley and flax seed. I use either whole wheat wild yeast starter (aka sour dough starter though that doesn't have to mean a sour tasting bread) or Kieffer in place of yeast (both give the same amount of rise). I use 4x10 and 4x8 inch pans (forms) as the "standard" 5x9 pans make bread that doesn't fit in any toaster I have seen. I use non-coated pans greased with butter, lard or animal fat... never sticks (when I tried veg oil it did) Most of my pans are second hand store stuff (99 cents each) as non-coated cost twice as much as coated pans.... if you can find them. I would like to try cast-iron pans but have not seen any around here.... and am not willing to ship them in.

The purpose of the no-knead method is not just to get rid of kneading, it is also to create a great tasting bread. It works.... surprisingly well. Anyone thinking of trying this method and not having a cast iron dutch oven.... I would suggest a small round roasting pan with lid... the black enamel kind with lid... regular price $10 on sale as low as $5 and change. Compare that to  the $35 I paid on sale for my unseasoned cast iron one (can't find them any more, just the $150 cuisine art or whatever they are).
 
                                    
Posts: 32
Location: Ishpeming, Michigan
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Nice looking loaf Len
I would look to thrift shops, flea markets and garage sales for them pans..it's shocking that some ppl think cast iron is worthless...
I like to add the vital wheat gluten and lecithin powder to mine. They are both completely natural foods and give a boost of protein to my bread. Also, I replace the oil in the recipes with 3T. of the lecithin plus water in the amount of called for oil. Brings 2/3 cup of oil down to 150 calories I thought that eliminated the oil would leave me with a tough bread but the lecithin works beautifully. My lil man has had to lose a few pounds so I enhance nutrition and cut calories where I can. Using regular yeast and no vital wheat gluten or lecithin powder has left me with bread that is very hard and and flat.
 
Jordan Lowery
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it's shocking that some ppl think cast iron is worthless...


yup! i got 8 practically brand new cast iron pans, two 10", two 8", two 6" and two 4" for 10$ at a yard sale.
 
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