No-knead bread is a method of bread baking that uses a very long fermentation (rising) time instead of kneading to form the gluten strands that give the bread its texture. It is characterized by a low yeast content and a very wet dough. Some recipes improve the quality of the crust by baking the bread in a Dutch oven or other covered vessel.
According to one version of the method developed by New York baker Jim Lahey, as described in his book My Bread, one loaf of the bread is made by mixing three cups (430 g) flour, 1¼ teaspoon (8 g) salt and ¼ teaspoon (1 g) instant yeast with 1½ cup (345 ml) cool water to produce a wet, sticky dough.
Ingredients Grams Baker's % Flour 430 100% Salt 8 1.86% Instant yeast 1 0.233% Water 345 80.2% Formula 784 182.093%
The dough is allowed to rise, covered, for 12-to-18 hours until doubled in size and covered with bubbles, then scraped onto a floured surface and allowed to rise, covered, for another hour or two. It is then dropped in a pot that has been preheated in an oven at 230 °C (446 °F). The bread is baked in the covered pot for 30 minutes and, with the lid removed, for another 15-to-30 minutes until the crust is a deep brown, then removed from the pot and allowed to cool for an hour.
The method uses a long rise instead of kneading to align the flour's gluten molecules with each other so as to produce a strong, elastic network, which results in long, sticky strands. The automatic alignment is possible because of the wetness of the dough, which makes the molecules more mobile. Wet doughs, which use a weight of water of about 75% that of the flour, require more salt than conventional doughs, about 2% of the flour weight.
History and Popularization
Although no-knead bread was first described in the 1999 cookbook No Need to Knead, written by California baker Suzanne Dunaway and published by Hyperion Books, author Jeff Hertzberg notes such a method before the late 1990s in Italy. One reviewer described Dunaway's cookbook as, "a book that doesn’t care about kneading and still produces fantastic results!" Due to the popularity of her no-knead method, Dunaway's book was re-published in 2012 by Grub Street Cookery.
In 2007, Hertzberg and fellow author Zoe François published Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which uses a no-knead method of stored and refrigerated dough that is ready for use at any time during a 5-to-14 day period. New York Times journalist Nick Fox wrote, "... soon the bread will be making itself… The crusty, full-flavored loaf that results may be the world’s easiest yeast bread."
New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman described Lahey's method in his November 8, 2006 column The Minimalist. Bittman praised the bread for its "great crumb, lightness, incredible flavor [and] enviable, crackling crust." Two years later, he noted the recipe's "immediate and wild popularity," and a 2009 cookbook described Bittman's column as, "one of those recipes that literally change the culinary scene with discussions on hundreds of blogs in dozens of languages around the world."
- Jim Lahey, Baking the perfect loaf of bread at home, Sullivan St. Bakery, retrieved 2012-05-25
- Lahey, Jim (2009). My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method.
- Bittman, Mark (8 November 2006). "The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work".
- American Public Media. " The Splendid Table" N.p., 7 March 2014. Web. Retrieved 8 March 2014. http://www.splendidtable.org/episode/553/
- Hodgman, Ann. " Just give me the recipe, and shut up already! - Salon.com."Salon.com. N.p., 19 May 2000. Web. Retrieved 30 July 2013. http://www.salon.com/2000/05/19/cookbooks_6/
- Harman, Nick. "No need to knead - Suzanne Dunaway - Foodepedia."Foodepedia - Feeding you the good stuff. N.p., 21 Nov. 2012. Web. Retrieved 30 July 2013. http://www.foodepedia.co.uk/books/2012/nov/no_need_to_need_suzanne_dunaway.htm
- Fox, Nick. "Soon the Bread Will Be Making Itself." The New York Times. 21 Nov. 2007. Web. Retrieved 30 July 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/dining/21brea.html
- Bittman, Mark (3 October 2008). "No-Knead Bread: Not Making Itself Yet, but a Lot Quicker".
- Wolfert, Paula (2009). Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking: Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share.