No-Knead Bread – Consolation prize for my ego

2 Mar

I already told you about my fiasco story on the Daring Bakers Feb 2008 Challenge – Pain Francais.

So, to give myself an ego-boost, I decided to try out the NY Times No-Knead Bread Recipe…  of course, with a few modifications because I was using whole wheat flour again.  For months I have been meaning to make this recipe… and to me it was a dream come true, because one of the reasons I have never dared to make any breads or pizza dough is the lack of a Stand mixer – remember my Xmas wishes??? So, this recipe eliminated that need…

For this recipe you need a cast iron dutch oven… yikes, I don’t have a cast-iron dutch oven either. But my friend Kathleen told me I could probably do this with a Pyrex bowl on top of a baking sheet.  I don’t have a big Pyrex glass bowl, but my mom has a glass Pyrex dutch oven – the best of both worlds. 

You still need to plan this recipe out… it needs about 12 hours to proof.  It’s not like you get a bread craving and you can make this in a pinch.  You can make the dough at night to bake it in the morning, or make the dough in the morning to bake the bread at night. 



Adapted from the original No-Knead Bread recipe from the NY Times.

3 cups of whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 tbs kosher salt
1 package of dry active yeast
squirt of honey
1 3/4 cups of water
2 tbs wheat germ
Covered Pot – (5 quart or larger cast iron, Pyrex, ceramic, enamel – something that can go into a 450F oven)

Mix the Dough

  1. When using whole wheat flour, I read in several sources that it’s better to proof the yeast before mixing in the rest of the ingredients.  So take like 1/2 cup of the water the recipe calls for and dissolve the yeast packet.  Add a squirt of honey to help it come alive.  (I threw away several packets of yeast thinking they were dead before doing this little trick to it.) 
  2. Combine all ingredients in a big bowl with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together.  It will be a shaggy, doughy mess.  Control the urge to add more water.  Cover with a plastic wrap and let sit in counter-top for about 12 hours.  The room should be about 70degrees F.  Leave for up to 20 hours if room is slightly cooler.

Shape and Pre-heat

  1. The dough will be wet, sticky and bubbly.  With a wet spatula, dump the dough onto a floured surface. 
  2. Fold ends of dough over a few times with the spatula and nudge it into a ball shape.  You can use your hands if you prefer.
  3. Generously dust a flour sack towel with flour and wheat germ. Set dough seam side down on top of towel.  Let it rest for 2 hours.
  4. Set 2 timers – 1 for 1:30 hours and one for 2 hours.
  5. When the 1:30 hour timer rings – it’s time to pre-heat the oven.  Put your covered pot in the oven and preheat the oven with the pot inside for 30 minutes at 450 degrees F.
  6. When the 2 hour timer goes off – it’s time to bake.


  1. The dough should have doubled in size.
  2. Carefully, remove pot from oven.  Holding the dough inside the towel, dump the wobbly dough inside the pot – it does not matter which way it lands.  Cover.
  3. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Set timer again for 30 minutes.
  4. Uncover.  Bake another 15-20 minutes uncovered  until the crust is golden brown and beautiful.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool in a cooling rack.


I ate mine warm with lots of butter.  The crust was superb.  I ate some of it, and gave a piece to a friend and my mom, which loved it too.

I still do not consider myself a bread baker by any means.  However, I will definitely make this recipe again… and I know that as I feel more confident with it, I will start making modifications to it… adding cheese, or nuts or other flours.  You’ll see.  I won’t keep it to myself…

4 Responses to “No-Knead Bread – Consolation prize for my ego”

  1. Doris H April 24, 2008 at 12:41 pm #

    This recipe looks great! I just wonder if it would work in a deep pyrex caserole dish, which is all I have. Who knows, maybe I’ll set a new trend with square loaves.

  2. Doris H April 24, 2008 at 12:45 pm #

    By the way, how long do you let the yeast proof before adding it?

  3. karmafreecooking April 24, 2008 at 1:46 pm #

    @ Doris H – I checked, and my Pyrex dish says it’s 3L. I guess that if your casserole dish is about that big, it should not be an issue at all. The thing is for the Pyrez to be large enough to accomodate the dough when it rises.

    I proofed the yeast for about 5 mins only… it takes very little time when you add the little squirt of honey.

    Good luck baking your wonderful square loaf… please send me pictures when you do it… I’m curious.

  4. Doris H April 25, 2008 at 8:48 am #

    Thanx for the info, my casserole is also a 3 Litre, so it should work. I have never ventured into no-knead breads and if the first loaf turns out good, I’ll be sure to send you a pic if you’ll tell me how.
    I have read on other sites that it isn’t good to use whole wheat for making no-knead bread, so I was very happy to find yours! Please feel free to e-mail me.

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