New York Times’ No – knead bread

Posted: September 9, 2009 by lainey in Bread, Breakfast


My friends, C & J, are European and do not like American bread. As a result, C bought J a French Oven and a Kitchenaid Mixer for Christmas and they’ve been making their own bread since. Since I have my very own Le Creuset now, I thought I would give it a try, because well, supermarket-bought bread is just not very appetizing and Clear Flour, though fantastic, is too much of a treat for us to go daily. So I found out that lots of food bloggers out there have tried Bitten’s no-knead bread recipe (which I believe help soar sales of Le Creuset French Ovens everywhere around USA) but decided that Steamy Kitchen’s post about the process, with her little boy doing each step, was easy to understand and extremely accessible for a visual learner like myself. I was so hesitant until I saw her little boy making the bread, and I decided – so can I!


Some notes about my experience:
1) I have a 3.5 Qt French Oven while it’s recommended that we use a 5qt or above. To improvise, I simply cut the dough into half after the first rising and split up the second rising process – so I made 2 cute little loaves of bread instead of 1 big one. I find that more accessible for a 2-person family.

2) Like Smitten Kitchen, I did not have instant yeast in the refrigerator but have some active dry yeast. Smitten Kitchen recommends 1/3 tsp of active dry yeast to replace 1/4 tsp of instant yeast. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I suck at estimating anything. I don’t have a 1/3 tsp measuring spoon so I used 1/4 + 1/8 tsp of active dry yeast. I think that’s pretty close to 1/3 (6/24 + 3/24 = 9/24 ; 1/3 = 8/24) .

3) I don’t have non-terry cloth towels at home. After reading a lot of comments, I decided the best way to make the bread is to put the dough on parchment paper for the second rise. Parchment paper works perfectly, because you just lift the parchment paper with the dough to put in the French Oven, and after the bread is done, you lift the parchment paper out and it’s easy to remove the paper then. None of those sticky fingers that’s pertinent in so many comments about the bread-making process.

Somehow, my second loaf is prettier than the 1st because I did try remove the dough from the paper the first time round and simply did the paper plopping antic the second time round.

4) Finally, Le Creuset says its French Ovens can only handle 400 F but everyone thinks it can do so for 450 F. Some bloggers wing it with the plastic knob on the cover, but I’m poor and I don’t want to risk it. So I found some advice and it’s really simple to just remove the knob with a screwdriver (I don’t even have a screwdrive, I used a knife) and just stuff the hole with some aluminum foil. Minimum fuss for a paranoid gal.

5) The bread is fabulous with just some butter. Seriously, butter elevates it to another level altogether.


  1. Yvonne says:

    Aw looks fabulous!

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