No Knead Bread – Redux

My first real experience with homemade bread was no-knead bread was over two and half years ago. I found it terribly sticky & very difficult to work with every time I tried it, and I gave up and haven’t tried again in a very long time.

I stopped messing with no-knead, and concentrated on mixing my bread dough with the bread machine.

But I’ve been getting bored with my bread lately, wanting a more “artisan” bread, so last night, I decided to give no-knead one more shot. After almost 3 years of dough-handling experience, you’d think it would be a piece of cake, right?

Yes, it’s still a super sticky mess, but I’ve learned over the years, that water, not flour is the key for handling dough.

I always make sure my (clean) hands are wet, and I’ve found it’s a lot easier to shape my bread loaves. I admit, this dough is way more stickier than normal and still difficult to handle, but I did it!

no knead bread - artisan and gorgeous

Link to Mark Bittman’s original No-Knead Bread post from NYTimes

Here are my adapted recipe details:


2 cups AP flour
1 cup Whole Wheat flour
1-1/4 tsp salt
approx 1/3 tsp active dry yeast (if using instant yeast, use only 1/4 tsp)

Directions and Notes:

  1. Whisk dry flour, salt and yeast together in large bowl.
  2. Add water and using a wooden spoon, mix until blended – the original recipe suggests 1-5/8 cups of water (which translates to 1-1/2 +2Tbsp of water) – I found it wasn’t enough so I added more water to ensure it was a “shaggy mess” of dough.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit, undisturbed for at least 12 hours. The dough will expand and become bubbly.
  4. After its all-day or overnight rest, using wet hands, sweep and scoop the dough from the edges of the bowl. It’s going to be a sticky, hard-to-handle mess, but do your best.
  5. Wet hands again, and carefully pick up dough, shaping it into a round loaf. Place it (flat) on a large piece of parchment paper. Lightly sprinkle a little flour (whole wheat or white) on top. Allow to rest/proof for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  6. A few minutes before the dough is ready, set oven to 450F and place a heat-proof covered baking pot inside (enameled cast iron is best). Original no-knead recipes online state to heat oven & pot for 30 minutes, but I find that to be a energy waste, plus it’s not good heat an empty pot for too long. I have found that it works just as well, with 10-15 minutes of preheat time
  7. Carefully remove hot pot and gently transfer the dough to the pot, keeping the parchment under the dough and in the pot. Cover and bake for 20-30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes. I baked for 20 minutes covered, and 20 minutes uncovered.
  8. Remove bread from pot, allow to cool on rack, then eat and enjoy!

I’ll probably try 2 cups of whole wheat and 1 cup of AP flour next, and eventually work up to 2-1/2 WW & 1/2 cup AP. I know I messed with 100% whole wheat no-knead breads in the past, and it really wasn’t great, but I wasn’t as experienced, so we’ll see how it goes.

UPDATE 2013/02/13: I’ve tried 1 cup AP flour and 2 cups whole wheat and it makes a denser loaf. I’m happier with a 50/50 mix but I’ll keep experimenting. I’ve also found that its easier to keep a tighter bread shape when I use my 2 quart cast iron pot for proofing (with parchment) and then transfer the dough with the parchment to my larger 4 quart cast iron. It helps keep the bread from spreading out while it’s proofing.

no knead bread - artisan and gorgeous

I made tuna sandwiches for lunch and the bread was soft with a chewy crust! Delicious!

no knead bread - artisan and gorgeous

no knead bread - artisan and gorgeous

100% Whole Grain No-Knead Bread Retry

When will I learn? Hahaha. I just don’t seem to be meshing with the no-knead bread craze!

Whenever I try, it always seems like more work to me, and always makes me feel intimidated by the sticky flimsy dough! Very frustrating. But I keep trying. I’m sure this will not be my last attempt, especially now that I think I know the error of my ways!

I googled and found another no-knead recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Bread –

Of course, being in a semi-rush, I didn’t read the recipe notes, I just threw myself into the ingredients. sigh.

Looking back at the recipe now, it clearly states that a 1:1 ratio of flour & water is necessary. And she used a regular loaf pan, something I probably should have done as well, since I like the shape better. And of course I didn’t dust with more flour to make the dough less sticky and easier to work with!

I won’t even bore you with my baking notes, since it really wasn’t a triumph. In the end though, the bread was tasty, and I guess that is all that matters. It was just a bear to work with and I would love to say ‘NEVER AGAIN’ but I’ll probably be trying another batch of no-knead when time permits!

I found two no-knead books at the library: Jim Lahey’s My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method, along with the Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads book.

So, here are a few photos from my no-knead experience earlier this week:

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Next Try – No Knead Whole Grain Bread

Well, I am getting better at this bread thang, but still not perfect. I followed the same whole grain no-knead recipe from before. Instead of wheat germ, I decided that corn meal might be a nice addition! And I did buy some vital wheat gluten.

2nd try at whole grain no-knead bread.

It all went very well, until the towel. After the dough rested for 22 hours or so, I didn’t have too much trouble folding it, and I even flipped it, and tucked it under. I transferred to the floured towel, and wrapped it up for a couple of hours more.

So, after the 2 hour rest in the towel, I unwrapped and tried to flop it into the preheated (4 qt) cast iron pot. When I flipped it upside down, it just hung there, and slowly fell, pulling and stretching the dough all the way down into the pot! I was so bummed.

I can’t seem to get the dough not to stick to the towel no matter how much flour I use. sigh. So, no more towels! I am going to just use parchment paper, and plop that into the pot!

As you can see from the photo below, I don’t think it lifted quite high enough in the oven. So, it looks like a cake! So what! It’s bread cake!

Oh but I did buy a cheap oven thermometer to check my oven temp, and it registered at 350° so that is good!

2nd try at whole grain no-knead bread.

So, after it cools for a little bit longer, I will slice it and hopefully it won’t be too dense.

100% Whole Grain No Knead Bread

Whoo hoo. Made my very first no-knead whole grain bread today. Started it yesterday afternoon around 1pm. Decided to follow the recipe over at – I liked that it wasn’t just whole wheat flour, but also included rye, white, ground flax, & wheat bran (I used wheat germ). I didn’t have any vital wheat gluten but I will get it for next time.

Here is my recipe:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup white flour
3 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 Tablespoons honey (dissolved in 1/4 cup of hot water)
1 3/4 cups water (total of 2 cups including the 1/4 cup mixed with honey)

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No Knead Bread – My First Loaf

Whoo hoo. My first try at the NY Times (Mark Bittman) No Knead Bread.

My Facebook friends were encouraging me to try this simple recipe, so I did a little bit of research online and I found a blog tutorial from Kaitlyn In the Kitchen, which gave me the inspiration and confidence to try it myself. (Kaitlyn found her recipe details at the Steamy Kitchen)

So, I started the process late yesterday afternoon. It was so easy to mix, almost too easy.

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