No-Knead Sandwich Bread

By • September 3, 2013 • 94 Comments



Author Notes: This recipe is a bit of a meeting-in-the-middle between the Artisan Bread in 5 and Jim Lahey techniques. The flavor of Lahey’s recipe is amazing, but a 12–18-hr proofing followed by a 2-hr rise might seem like a daunting amount of waiting time for some. The original Artisan Bread in 5 recipe calls for a fair amount of yeast, which gives the finished loaf a very distinct yeasty flavor. This recipe cuts the yeast in half and compensates by extending the proofing and rise times slightly, allowing more natural flavors to develop without adding a good deal of time to the process. Once the proofing is complete, stick the dough in the fridge for up to two weeks and use it as you need it. (Bonus: the flavor improves over time from the cold fermentation.) No-knead doughs are usually shaped into round, rustic loaves, but they can easily be turned into fantastic sandwich bread. (A technique I discovered via The Kitchn.) A teensy bit of kneading and shaping yields a tighter crumb that slices wonderfully, but still begs to be eaten with just a little butter and sea salt, because it’s that good.

Notes on flour: I've subbed regular all-purpose flour for bread flour in the past and it turned out quite nicely. I've also swapped out half the white flour for whole wheat flour and found it worked quite well too. (It will be a wee bit denser, but it will have that yummy whole wheat taste as a trade off.) I haven't experimented with flours like rye and spelt myself, but I've read about others successfully using them in no-knead recipes. (If you'd like to try those, I'd recommend starting with a smaller amount [i.e., 1 part alternative flour to 3 parts bread/AP flour] to see how it works, then upping it the next time if you think it could use more.) Overall, if you use whole wheat or any other flour besides bread/all-purpose, I suggest giving the dough a bit more time to develop at the proofing stage, and again at the rise.
Carey Nershi

Makes 2 loaves

  • 3 1/4 cups bread flour (433 grams) (see note above regarding alternative flours)
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (433 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast (8 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt (14 grams)
  • 3 cups water (709 grams)
  1. Combine flours, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add water and stir together with a wooden spoon to form a shaggy dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let proof at room temperature for around 5 hours. At this point the dough can be used immediately, or covered with plastic wrap and kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.
  2. On baking day, remove half of the dough from the bowl and return the remainder to the fridge. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and lightly knead 3–4 times. Shape dough into a rectangle approximately 8 in. x 12 in. Fold one third of the dough into the center, followed by the other third.
  3. Place seam side-down in a buttered loaf pan. Cover and let rise for approximately 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Preheat your oven to 450°. Dust the top of the dough with a little flour and score with a serrated knife. Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until the top of the loaf has just begun to brown. Let cool for at least an hour before slicing.

Comments (94) Questions (1)

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17 days ago Tamara Dahling

I made this for the first time tonight. I used regular flour, a cup or so whole wheat. I let it rise for 1.5 hours at least. When I baked it, it didn't rise very much and looks kinda wimpy. Should I have let it rise a whole lot longer?

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about 1 month ago Kathleen

LOVE this recipe! But though I wrapped my second dough securely in plastic wrap and put it in a large ziplock bag and put it in the fridge - when I took it out to bake it less than a week later - it had exploded out of the plastic wrap and now it won't rise before I put it in the oven.

Can anyone please tell me what I did wrong?

Thanks!

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3 months ago Horto

was worried that the amount of instant yeast would not be correct with the heavy rye and oats…we'll see, it's rising!

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3 months ago Horto

thanks antonisjames
i haven't used vital gluten, looked for it at WW, i ended up replacing 170 grams with a mix of ww, wheat germ, oats, rye…..was afraid to do this to half….the no knead is easy to make but boring, wanted it to be like the stuff i get at The Kneaded Loaf….lot's of texture, i'm kinda making this up!

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3 months ago Horto

half of the flours

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3 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

You could half but you'd get a much denser loaf. It will be tastier though! And have a more interesting texture. I'd add a fair bit of vital gluten to give the wheat flour all the help I could. ;o)

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3 months ago Horto

i have made this many times
and again now, but i am going to replace by weight the flours with multigrain cereal and rye flour…..any thoughts?

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3 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Those ingredients won't have nearly the amount of gluten that wheat flour does, if they have any at all, so I'd start with a fairly small percentage -- no more than 5% by weight of the cereal and no more than 20% of rye (unless you don't mind a much denser bread) and use bread flour instead of AP flour. I just read yesterday in a 1994 cookbook by Carol Field that spelt has high gluten content, so I'd probably use some of that! I haven't actually adapted this recipe, so I'm speaking only from experience with similar kinds of dough. There are others here, no doubt, who've actually made substitutions of the kind you're contemplating; I hope they'll chime in. ;o)

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4 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

How interesting that your flours weigh 144 grams per cup! The side of most bags of both AP and bread flours say that a cup = 120 or 125 grams, at most. Looking forward to trying this! ;o)

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4 months ago lisaf

This is so exciting to be able to make homemade bread that comes out this delicious, with a crispy crust and beautiful crumb so easily! I want to try swapping out some of the AP flour for oat or rye, and my question is when you are swapping flours, should you always have at least half bread flour?

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5 months ago Susan Nguyen

I measured my flour by weight and water by volume , but my dough was really shaggy and dry?! Same thing when it came time to bake... I'm getting ready to bake a loaf now. We'll see how it goes....

Stringio

6 months ago Sietske van Schaik

First try is in the oven! Can't wait to give it a try. Used whole wheat in place of the all-purpose, as we usually buy 100% whole wheat, so just white would probably be a bit too light for us. It smells amazing so far...

Stringio

6 months ago Sietske van Schaik

A very nice and above all simple bread. The kids both ate a slice with Nutella for dessert and I enjoyed two slices with a nice bowl of peasoup.. and one with Nutella for good measure.

Tomorrow we will see how it holds up for a sandwich. It's a nice sturdy bread, so I think it will work just fine.

Thank you.

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6 months ago thebreukelenlife

This is a great recipe! I'm a big fan of the no-knead and never thought to try it as a loaf. I used half whole wheat. I can't wait to try it with a bit of oat flour!

Alice

6 months ago Alice Gardner

I haven't bought a loaf of regular sandwich bread since I found this recipe. I feel so cool because I can make incredible homemade bread while I'm at work! I swap out the AP flour for Whole wheat with no problems. I have even used part oat flour and some flax meal instead of part WW flour. This makes AMAZING toast. I haven't had much luck with the second loaf after it's been refrigerated, even after letting it come up to room temp first. I just bake two and freeze the second loaf. Thank you, Carey!

Alice

6 months ago Alice Gardner

Just to update, the last batch with Oat flour instead of AP baked up rather dense and short (but still quite tasty) after a 2 hour rise. I'll have to get my hands on some Vital wheat gluten next time.

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6 months ago Unoma

I just had to share: On Friday afternoon I set up my dough using the same whole wheat flour and bread flour combination as I did previously. After Sabbath,I proofed one loaf and decided to try this dough to make dinner rolls. I set up a 9" by 13" pan with a dozen rolls and proofed them for 45 minutes. The rolls baked for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. I enjoyed some with a schmear of cream cheese and grape jelly for my brunch. I take the opportunity to thank Carey Nershi who shared this lovely recipe.

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7 months ago Horto

is vital wheat gluten easily found?
and were the cranberries fresh or dried?
love this bread
easy

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7 months ago MrsPrincess07

Vital Wheat Gluten can usually be found in the baking isle. The only brand I've seen is Hodgson Mills. If it's not with the flours you can check in the Organic/Natural Foods department if your store has one.

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7 months ago Unoma

Two good brands of vital wheat gluten are Hodgson's Mills and Bob's Red Mill,and found in the bakery aisle and/or the organic/natural food department as it is also used to make a meat substitute known as "wheat meat" or seitan.

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7 months ago Unoma

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful bread! I made the suggested variation with bread flour and whole wheat flour and added 1/4 cup molasses to support the flavor profile. As a matter of habit, I add up to 1/2 cup of vital wheat gluten to my breads to support the structure. The first loaf was gone in an hour,so I'm glad that I have the the dough for another loaf in the fridge for tomorrow.There is absolutely no reason not to bake your own bread if you have access to a simple, good recipe like this.

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7 months ago Stephanie M

I made this bread yesterday and it's SO good! It tastes more like a ciabatta bread to me - chewy on the inside and crusty on the outside. I'm making another loaf today. Split the recipe in half and worked great. Thanks!!

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7 months ago MrsPrincess07

If you make a full batch next time, keep the extra loaf in the fridge for up to 1 week. I have done this a few times now and it actually makes the bread's taste and texture better! Happy baking!

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7 months ago Stephanie M

I should have done that! I don't have two bread pans is the main reason I didn't and it was my first time using this recipe so I wanted to be sure I enjoyed it. Thanks for the reply!

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8 months ago David Hughes

Found the dough a bit awkward to handle but nowhere near as messy as other breads I've made. Baked up nicely. Waiting for tomorrow's lunch for the real proof of the pudding (in my children's eating!).

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8 months ago Loretta

Baked my first loaf, forgot to score, came out looking good, only baked 25 min.--because it was getting really brown, taste good, but was really moist--is that how it should be or was mine unbaked? thanks

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8 months ago jdm7

Thank you!

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8 months ago Lucia from Madison

I followed the instructions - "swapped out half the white flour for whole wheat flour." It is a little denser and did not rise as high as the original recipe but it is very tasty.

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8 months ago jdm7

That sounds amazing! Did you use all whole wheat or subbed some in for either the AP flour or the bread flour? Thanks.

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8 months ago Lucia from Madison

I had a half batch of whole wheat in the fridge and added cranberries and walnuts to the dough. The bread smells so good!

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8 months ago Horto

Hi all, I found the dough very sticky as well. I weighed the dry ingredients and measured water and oil by volume.

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9 months ago MrsPrincess07

Simply amazing!

This whips together in just minutes and is very easy to mix when you use a danish dough whisk. I have made this now twice and I have found that the dough gets better (including the flavor and texture) the longer the dough rests in the fridge. The next time I will double the recipe and let the dough rest in the fridge taking out what I need as I need. Great recipe! New Mommy-Friendly (time is in short supply these days). I plan to alternate this with a whole wheat oatmeal for variety.

This stale bread freezes wonderfully for bread crumbs, croutons, and french toast.

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9 months ago jzirinsky

This came out beautifully. When my 9-year old tried it this morning she blurted "this tastes like white bread!". Yes, it does. its soft and doesn't taste like much, but that's the beauty if you want your kids to eat homemade bread for lunch! I'm going to add in a little whole wheat flour next week.

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9 months ago burns Wattie

I've been experimenting using this recipe and adding some sourdough starter to it. Not a lot - but I'm sensing it helps it rise but more so contributes to a chewy more complex flavour.

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8 months ago thetroikatable

How much sourdough starter did you use, and did you take out any of the liquid/flour in the original recipe to compensate? Looking for ways to put my Fidough to work!

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8 months ago burns Wattie

The way I approached this issue was as follows: the starter consists of flour and water at a 166% hydration. It means for every 100g of flour there's 166g water. This recipe I believe is a very wet 82% hydration. I haven't done the math on it yet, but you would need to add a little more flour in relation to how much starter you are using so that the overall hydration remains the same. For that 100g of flour, you would need to add another little less than 100g to achieve that 82%. But then I only added about half a cup of starter in an initial experiment - so that would suggest to add an additional 40 -50g of flour for the half cup of starter.

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9 months ago MrsPrincess07

Nevermind. I found my problem. Not to self: Don't attempt a recipe while majorly sleep deprived with a teething baby.

LOL! I only added half of the flour. Yep. Major Bad on my part!!

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9 months ago MrsPrincess07

I need help!

I have made this recipe twice now, once by weight and the other by volume, and both turned into flour "soup". I added half the water the recipe called for both times and the dough is quite runny. I allowed it to sit for 24+ hours. It was nice and bubbly, it did double in size. I just placed half of the dough in my cast iron bread pan and it was like pouring in cake batter.

Is this correct?! I've made several no-knead recipes before and never have a seen a dough like this.

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8 months ago Mark Frisk

Are you sure you're getting your measures right? I measure the flour by weight (866 grams total), the rest by volume. After adding 3 cups of lukewarm water and stirring with a wooden spoon, the mixture comes together very quickly. Definitely not like cake batter, especially after several hours in the fridge.

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8 months ago MrsPrincess07

Yeah.... I found my mistake which I noted above.

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9 months ago beril

Thanks for the recipe. It is perfect!

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9 months ago Lucia from Madison

I used up the dough that I had in the fridge and I made Cinnamon Raisin Bread. It was delicious.

Stringio

9 months ago rlr

When using the reserved dough from the fridge to bake that second loaf, do I need to let that rise at room temperature In the pan for an hour or so also, or can I just pop it in the oven?

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9 months ago Carey Nershi

It still needs to rise to the point where it has doubled in size before you put the pan in the oven. This will take a little bit longer since the dough is cold (as it essentially needs to warm up to room temperature, then do its usual 1-hour rise).

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9 months ago giuia.grady

I've been making Jim Lahey's recipe for weeks now and I have a continuous batch in my fridge. I love the yeasty flavor that Lahey's recipe has but it can be a bit strong at times. I like your idea of reducing the yeast and allowing for a longer initial rise to reduce that strong flavor. I am looking forward to trying it with the different flours. Thank you for the suggestion.

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9 months ago Mark Frisk

Lahey's recipe — at least the one I've been using since I read it in the NY Times years ago — calls for 1/4 teaspoon of yeast. Not very much. Are you referring to a different Lahey recipe by chance?

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9 months ago laurenlocally

Lauren is Food52's Director of Partnerships.

My first successful attempt at bread. Thank you thank you!

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9 months ago jdm7

Now that the dinner rolls worked out, I'm thinking they'd make perfect bread bowls for soup, too. That's my next experiment. Such a great, versatile, easy recipe so thank you so much again.

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9 months ago Carey Nershi

Ooh yes, love the bread bowl idea. So glad the rolls turned out well too! It really is such a versatile recipe. :)

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9 months ago mhgoblue

I have a batch of this rising right now. I replaced half the AP flour with whole wheat, and the dough smells like honey!

Stringio

9 months ago rlr

This was fantastic! Better than bread from the best bakery in town. I followed the directions on this one the first time, next, I'll experiment with different flours.

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9 months ago jdm7

Made them and they were really good. Thank you so much for the recipe. Now it'll be fun to try it with different flours, maybe top with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries, it's just such a great basic recipe that you can have fun with.

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9 months ago jdm7

Have them rising right now and will definitely let you know how they turn out. I'm thinking of brushing the tops with melted butter and then adding black lava salt. Will report back later!

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9 months ago jdm7

Made a loaf and it was amazing. Can you take the rest of the dough and portion it out into muffin tins for dinner rolls? Thank you for the recipe!

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9 months ago Carey Nershi

Ooo! I have not tried making this in roll sizes, but I bet it would be awesome. They'd probably only need to bake for around 15-20 minutes, so I'd take a peek around 15 and see if they're starting to brown on top. If you give it a try, please let me know how it turns out! :)

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10 months ago Lucia from Madison

Just took the first loaf out of the oven. It looks amazing! This is going to rank with the Jim Lahey recipe as my go to bread recipes. Still have half the batch in the fridge but may try whole wheat flour next.

Stringio

10 months ago crazyblues

Thank you, this came out great! I am a convert to Reinhardts books - with an overnight rise, it really gets the great taste of the wheat right out there. Living in the tropics I figured I didn't need 5 hours out of the fridge, so it rose about 3 hrs. In the morning, I proofed it half the time, then baked the whole damn things artisan shaped. A lovely big loaf.. My teenage daughter loves me again!!!

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10 months ago daisy326

I'm thinking about halving the recipe. Do I have to equally divide between AP and bread flour? What if I did 1 cup bread flour and 3/4 cup AP?

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10 months ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

i halved it and used half bread flour and half white whole wheat. it worked beautifully! not sure about your ratio but it's certainly worth a try!

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10 months ago daisy326

Thank you!!

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10 months ago Rose Levy Beranbaum

Someone just asked how to divide the dough in half and as i just did it here's the amounts:
Flour: 433 grams
Water: 355 grams
Instant yeast: 4 grams
Salt: 7 grams
And if you use 100 percent ap flour you will need to use less water or add more flour as it is lower protein and will be far too sticky..

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

Thanks, Rose! (That question made me realize that I'd left the weight of the water out of the recipe — whoops!)

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10 months ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This is so easy and good! I subbed white whole wheat for the AP flour and used active dry yeast. Also, I oiled the pan w/ evoo rather than butter. Let rise five hours and then put in fridge over night; punched down and kneaded for a few minutes, baked for 28 minutes I think. I used this as the bread for a large-scale jam tasting I hosted today during a canning class. It was great!! Thanks!

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

So glad you enjoyed it, Emily! :)

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10 months ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

we all did, carey! can't wait to make some more!!

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10 months ago Rose Levy Beranbaum

thought of another! after the 5 hour rise and before refrigerating overnight up to several weeks, do you deflate the dough?

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

Nope! Just stick it right in the fridge as is. (The dough may inflate/deflate a little bit while it's in the fridge, but that's totally fine.)

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10 months ago mhgoblue

You might have to check your dough every other day or so and deflate it in the fridge. Mine overflowed the container!

This is such a tasty recipe. I thought for sure my first loaf would last out the week, but it's been two days and I'm already baking loaf number two because my toddler ate the whole first one. This loaf will be the croutons in the Zuni Cafe roast chicken and bread salad tonight!

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10 months ago Rose Levy Beranbaum

One last question: is an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2" pan about right per loaf? And thanks for the flour answer!

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

Yup! That's the size I use.

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10 months ago Rose Levy Beranbaum

Ps writing on iPhone I meant half unbleached ap not Hald !

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

And I meant to write exclusiveLY below, and I'm not even typing on an iPhone! :D

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10 months ago Rose Levy Beranbaum

I use either gold medal better for bread flour or half King Arthur and Hald unbleached all purpose. Would love to know which flours you use or what total protein percentage. I have not baked bread all summer due to new kitchen construction and this recipe is calling to my withdrawal symptoms!

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

I use King Arthur pretty much exclusive. (It's hard not to when you live in VT!) :)

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10 months ago burns Wattie

I'm looking forward to trying this as I'm always on the search for a dependably consistent bread. One issue I've had with my particular yeast is that it appears to have a fairly short 'life span' and so I'm a little cautious about the 5 hours of initial room temperature proofing. But - I will definitely give it a go. It will be quite the different approach from my present fast track (start to finish in 2.5 hrs.)
I'm also curious how this process would translate to a basic sourdough pan bread - which also likes a long and refrigerated period to get to know the other ingredients.

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

This might just be the recipe for you then, since the extended rise time allows for all the natural yeasts present in the flour to come to life and do their thang. :)
I'd also love to know how this would work as a pan bread (as I haven't tried it yet myself). If you do happen to give that a try, definitely let me know!

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10 months ago burns Wattie

So I finally tried it - a break from my messing around with sourdough. What's interesting is the 82% hydration which makes for that quite wet dough that allows one to pull and fold the dough. The other curious thing is the very little amount of yeast. Normally I'd expect a call for about 20g for this amount of flour. So I am wondering if in its long fridge incubation period, maybe the yeast quick kicks a natural yeast into action???
It is great having this ready to go pile of dough in your fridge. It can be put to all kinds of spontaneous functions: Want a baguette with dinner? peel off 300g, turn oven to 425 or so, gently work the dough into shape and bob's your uncle. Want a pizza? no prob - carve off 300g or so, roll it out, toppings, in v hot oven 10 minutes. And use whatever kind of flour you want too. Sure the results will be different- that's the way it is. In my case, after I had carved off bits and pieces of it, I was left with less than 600g - so a modest smallish loaf - but one with a wonderfully nutty and full flavour. I'm curious though. What would happen if I added a little sourdough starter and a little more flour to retain the 80% hydration level?

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10 months ago ae

Can you substitute whole wheat flour?

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

Yup, you can experiment with swapping in different flours. (I wrote a little about this in the second paragraph of the notes.)

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10 months ago hb

I made this bread last night. It was hard not to slice into it right after baking. Tried some this morning and it was GREAT! A quick Crusty White loaf. This will mostly definitely become our go to bread to have around for sandwiches or for a quick nibble with butter.

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

Hurray! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :)

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10 months ago vvvanessa

Does the temperature of the water matter? I've learned to be so paranoid about having it too hot or too cold. Also, I used a gram scale, and 1 teaspoon of yeast measured 4 grams (the recipe says 2 teaspoons=4 grams). I don't use yeast often, so I don't have a good sense if my measurement or scale is off. Thanks for this recipe; bread is my kitchen nemesis (well, one of them), and this seems manageable, even for me!

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

Cool water is just fine. (Hot water will kill yeast, but we don't need to go above room temp here since the dough is proofing for so long, giving the yeast plenty of time to do their thang.) And omg, thank you for pointing out the measurement issue! That was totally an oversight on my part when I was adjusting the measurements for the double batch — it should be 8 grams.

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10 months ago vvvanessa

Thanks for the info! I started this yesterday and just baked off a loaf. I ended up using 6 grams of yeast (it was before I saw your response) figuring I was either adding 2 grams too many or too few, and I made a couple of changes that I hadn't really intended to when I started out (this might be one of the reasons I have repeated problems with bread: not following recipes). I realized too late that I didn't actually have all-purpose flour in the house, so I used a combination of whole wheat and white whole wheat. Also, I had just made a batch of ricotta and had a bunch of whey left over, so I used that in place of the water. My bread, I guess not surprisingly, didn't rise as high as yours did in the picture, but the texture is lovely and the taste is nice and wheaty. And it makes me feel like I can actually bake bread, which for me is a big deal. Thanks again!

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

Hehe, I know those unplanned flour substitutions all too well. (I always just assume I have AP flour because, usually, I always do! Until I don't...) And I LOVE that you swapped out the water for whey! Such a good idea. Glad you enjoyed the taste and texture! If you still have another loaf to bake from this batch, you could probably let it rise for longer in the pan before baking, since the yeast just needs a little more time to work when there's less of it. I'd let it rise until it's close to the top of the pan, then stick it in the oven. :)

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10 months ago vvvanessa

I know! Like, when do I not have all-purpose flour in the house? The whey-for-water credit goes to AntoniaJames, a prolific and super clever member of the food52 community. I'll definitely give the dough more rising time next time, and there will be a next time-- I can't tell you what a coup it is for me to make bread successfully!

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10 months ago hawaiianhathi

I found the dough to be extremely sticky and impossible to knead. Any tips?

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

It is a rather sticky dough by nature. Add a little bit of flour to the surface, dough, and your hands as needed. (Although I find that I usually don't need to use all that much.) Just out of curiosity, did you weigh the ingredients or measure them out by volume? (If the latter, that might be the culprit, since volume measurements allow a bit more room for deviation.)

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10 months ago Deb

Awesome, Im going to try this today!

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

Yay! Hope you enjoy it, Deb. :)

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10 months ago Veronica

This looks absolutely perfect and perfectly delicious. It makes me excited to take this new venture into bread making. Thanks for posting!

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

Thanks, Veronica! Bread making rules in general, but the no-knead method is a total game changer. :)

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10 months ago laurenlocally

Lauren is Food52's Director of Partnerships.

I can't wait to try this and love that half of the dough can sit in the fridge until its time to make the next batch.

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10 months ago Carey Nershi

Thanks, Lauren! Having an extra batch of dough just hanging out in the fridge waiting to be made is totally clutch. :)