Trying again with ‘no knead’ bread

15 07 2020

When I made blueberry muffins the other day, I also tried my first attempt at ‘no knead’ bread. It was a disaster!!! Just a hot glob of yucky dough. It seems that dried yeast has a shelf life—who knew?! So I bought some more yeast and tried again today. (And put the yeast container into the freezer afterwards to prolong its efficacy.)

So far, so good—my first loaf has just come out of the oven and it smells and looks great. The proof will be in the eating, of course, but that won’t happen for a few more hours. It’s quite a small loaf, so next time I may double the recipe.

Some tips for my future self: The dough mix was quite dry and didn’t bubble after 3 hours, as stated in the recipe and as shown in the video. So I put the bowl containing the dough in the oven on ‘warm’ (about 50C) for about 10 minutes to kick it along. I don’t know if this made any difference or not, but figured I should mention it in case this happens again. Otherwise, I followed the recipe and timings exactly.

Recipe is here: https://www.jennycancook.com/recipes/faster-no-knead-bread/ (2-hour method: https://www.jennycancook.com/recipes/2-hour-fastest-no-knead-bread/)

FAQs about the recipe are here: https://www.jennycancook.com/no-knead-bread-solutions/

YouTube video (with lots of comments/suggestions) is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0t8ZAhb8lQ

And pics just after it came out of the oven

Bread cooling down

Bread cooling down

Bread fresh out of the oven and still in the cast iron dutch oven I cooked it in

Bread fresh out of the oven and still in the cast iron dutch oven I cooked it in

The underside of the loaf

The underside of the loaf

I couldn’t resist and cut into it while it was still quite hot! Delicious—hubby loves it too! It’s a bit denser (similar density to sourdough) than bread you’d buy in the shops, but it has a lot of flavour. That said, if I make it again, I’ll try the recipe writer’s variation with more yeast and a shorter ‘proving’ time, and perhaps a tad more salt. Others have added rosemary, cheese, olives etc. but that’s for another day.

Sunday 19 July 2020: I made it again, but this time I used the 2-hour method, which uses more yeast and has a lot shorter proving time. Recipe and method here: https://www.jennycancook.com/recipes/2-hour-fastest-no-knead-bread/

This time the dough rose nicely and went bubbly, as per her YouTube video (see link above). I wanted to add more salt, but based on the comment left after my first write-up, I didn’t know how to adjust the yeast to match the extra salt, so instead I scored the top of the load and shook over some chili flakes and a ground a bit of rock salt on top too. Hopefully that will add just that little bit more flavour. As usual, the proof will be in the eating, but it’s too hot to cut just yet! Because it had a better rise at the dough stage, I don’t expect it be as dense in texture as the first loaf.

Verdict? YUMMO!!!! As expected, the texture was much lighter. Still had that amazing crust. Tasted delicious!

Monday 27 July 2020: Attempt #3, but second with the 2-hour method, which will be the method I use from now on. Cut 8 slits across the top of the dough, sprinkled on chili flakes and a bit of coarse salt so that what you can see on the top of the loaf. The house smells AMAZING! Just out of the oven in the pics below.

Thursday 30 July 2020: Hint: If you keep your dried yeast in the freezer, take out the quantity needed about 30 mins before you start and put it on the kitchen counter to warm up. I did this for the loaf I made today and got the best rise I’ve had and a much better (less dense) texture after baking. For this attempt, I added nigella seeds (black sesame seeds) to the top instead of chili flakes and salt. (Yes, I also baked some more muffins.)


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4 responses

16 07 2020
vivianhelenastinet

looks great to me! I need a cast iron to bake in first.

16 07 2020
Rhonda

You don’t need a cast iron dutch oven (e.g Le Creuset). In her FAQs and other info she mentions alternatives like a baking tray with an ovenproof bowl over the top, or a pyrex dish with a lid, or similar. As long as there’s a lid over the top for the first 30 mins of the bake, and the materials can cope with the very hot oven, you should be fine.

16 07 2020
JoHawkTheWriter

Your loaf looks great. If you do make it again and decide to up the salt remember that salt has a retarding effect on the activity of the yeast. It may therefore, make the loaf more dense. Have fun experimenting.

16 07 2020
Rhonda

Thanks for that tip about the salt!

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