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This is a true "no knead" recipe: the wet and dry ingredients are simply mixed well, and that's it! A very popular no-knead recipe was published in 2006 in The New York Times [pdf], but it is for plain bread, made only with regular "white" bread flour. Such recipes also require a 2-step rising of the dough, and some kneading.

Unlike the standard way of baking bread, there is no need here, to inject water or steam into the oven to get a nice crust! Initial baking is done with the lid on the casserole. This has exactly the same effect, using the moisture that's in the dough!

I wanted a truly no-knead bread, and not plain, but "multi-grain/whole-grain". I have looked at a bunch of related recipes, then tried out over 20 different combinations of flour types, grains, and seeds. I have settled on the combination presented below. The bread is tasty, quite dense, and has a good crust - the way I like it!

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Rise time: 10-12 hours at room temperature
  • Cook/bake time: 90 minutes + 30 minutes pre-heat.
  • Makes one loaf of about 1.3 kg (≈3 lbs)
  • Keeps for days, but cover the cut side with aluminum foil

Last page update: 17 November 2017

INGREDIENTS

  • Dry ingredients - flour:
  • 475 grams bread flour (France: flour type 55, Germany: type 550)
  • 75 grams whole-meal buckwheat flour (France: sarassin T-130, farine de blé noir T-130; Germany: Buchweizen)
  • 45 grams whole-meal large-spelt flour (France: grand épautre T-130; Germany: Dinkel); small-spelt flour has a different taste!
  • 35 grams whole-meal wheat flour (France: blé T-150)
  • Dry ingredients - grains & seeds:
  • 120 grams steel-cut oats (whole-grain oat groats that are cut into 2-3 pieces; France: gruau irlandais, avoine coupée, avoine épointée; Germany: Hafergrütze)
  • may be substituted with parboiled whole-kernel oats or wheat (France: blé dur cuit), or coarse 3-grain bulgur
  • 60 grams green pumpkin seeds (France: pépins verts de courges; Germany: Kürbiskernen)
  • 60 grams raw, hulled, unsalted sunflower seeds (France: graines de tournesol; Germany: Sonnenblumenkernen)
  • 60 grams hulled millet (France: millet décortiqué; Germany: Hirse)
  • Dry ingredients - other:
  • 2 teaspoons (12 grams) fine sea salt; this is almost 2 % of the total flour weight - do not exceed 2%!
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) active bakers yeast granules (in France, I use "levure du boulanger" of the "Briochin" brand)

  • Liquid ingredients:
  • 545 ml (545 grams) luke warm water
  • Note: non-clumping flour (France: farine fluide) typically contains additives and may require a bit more water.
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) dark sesame oil

Recipe

Flax seed (linseed) and steel cut oats


Recipe

Sunflower seeds and hulled millet


Recipe

Pumpkin seeds


EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES

  • heavy cast-iron casserole ("Dutch oven"). I use a round "Le Creuset" with 24 cm diameter (≈9½ inch)
  • accurate kitchen scale.
  • measuring (coarse) dry ingredients by volume is not a good idea, as the amount of ingredient then depends on how tightly you pack it
  • I use an inexpensive electronic kitchen scale
  • large bowl (3 liter / 3 quart), for the flour and the dough
  • small size bowl (3/4 liter, 1 quart), for the dry ingredients
  • small size bowl  (3/4 liter, 1 quart), for the water and vinegar
  • wire whisk, for getting the clumps out of the flour
  • even flour with non-clumping additives does clump!
  • do not use a flour sifter: it will get clogged with whole-grain flour, and the mesh will be hard to clean
  • large sturdy kitchen fork
  • if you don't have a strong arm: use a kitchen machine with a dough-hook, and use the bowl of the machine instead of the large size bowl
  • plastic wrap (kitchen film)
  • 30x40cm (12x16 inch) thin non-stick PTFE/teflon baking sheet
  • oven parchment paper may be substituted, but note that even "non-stick" paper will stick...
  • stiff plastic spatula
  • colander (preferably shallow); mine is about 22 cm in diameter (9 inch)
  • some vegetable oil, for greasing the spatula
  • sharp, thin kitchen knife (paring knife)
  • oven mitts or pot holders
  • food/meat thermometer
  • wire rack (cake rack / cooling rack)

PREPARATION / DIRECTIONS

  • combine the four flours and the yeast into the large bowl
  • I put the large bowl on the kitchen scale, re-set the indicated weight to zero with the "tare weight" function (standard on all electronic kitchen scales), and re-zero each time before I add the next ingredient.
  • whisk the flour until all the clumps are gone
  • add the seeds, grains, and salt to the flour and mix well with a large fork or the wire whisk
  • drizzle the oil over the flour mix
  • measure the lukewarm water into the medium size bowl and add the vinegar
  • quickly pour the water-mix onto the flour, in the middle of large bowl, and immediately fully mix all ingredients with a large, sturdy kitchen fork. IF YOU ARE NOT STRONG: use the bowl of your kitchen machine with a dough hook!
  • the mixing will take some muscle! Do it as fast and as long as you can.
  • make sure you get all the flour underneath the dough ball!!! The easiest way to do this, is to begin stirring in the middle of the bowl, all the way down to the bottom.
  • the dough mass will be soft, wet, and sticky.
  • some dough will be sticking to the inside of the bowl. Scrape it off with the fork and add it to the dough ball.
  • cover the bowl with plastic wrap
  • let rise 10-12 hrs at least at room temperature (21 °C / 70 °F)
  • rising is faster at higher temperatures (but stay below 28 °C / 82° F), however, a slow rise often results in more taste.
  • small holes will form at the surface of the dough; there will be small crackling noises

Recipe

The dough - before and after rising


  • 30 minutes before you want to bake the bread
  • place the empty casserole + lid onto the lower rack in the oven
  • turn the oven on and set the thermostat to 245 °C (475 °F). For most household ovens, this is the maximum temperature
  • After 30 minutes pre-heating:
  • cover the inside of the colander with the baking sheet. If you are using baking parchment paper: brush the top-side of the paper lightly with vegetable oil.
  • take the plastic wrap off the bowl, and separate the dough ball all the way around from the wall of the bowl with a spatula that has been brushed with vegetable oil (you probably have to re-oil a couple of times as you go).
  • transfer the dough ball to the lined colander
  • lightly flour the top of the dough with regular flour
  • with the sharp knife, make 1-2 cm (≈½ inch) deep parallel slits across the entire top of the dough. You can also make slits in the cross-direction.
  • briefly remove the casserole from the oven (close the oven door!!! Be careful not to burn yourself) and remove the lid. Quickly pick up the dough ball by lifting it out of the colander by the baking sheet, and transfer it to the casserole. Put the lid back onto the casserole, and put the casserole back into the oven.
  • Put the lid back onto the casserole, and put the casserole back into the oven.

  • Recipe

    Dough ball is ready to be transferred from the colander to the hot casserole


    • After 30 minutes baking:
    • remove the lid from the casserole
    • reduce the thermostat setting to 210 °C (425 °F) - do not forget this!
    • Bake another 50 minutes. The top of the bread should become dark golden brown
    • Briefly remove the casserole from the oven (close the oven door!) and check the temperature of the center of the bread
    • The temperature should read at least 96 °C (205 °F)
    • If not, put back into the oven for another 5 minutes and check again. Baking it for 5 more minutes will raise the core temperature by another 2-3 °C (≈ 5 °F), without charring the loaf
    • After baking: remove the bread from the casserole and transfer it to a wire rack (otherwise the bottom will get soggy)
    • let cool for at least (!!) 30 minutes before trying a slice! Enjoy!

    NOTES

    • If the bread is too dense for you, then reduce the amounts of whole-grain/whole-meal flours (e.g., by 10 grams each) and increase the amount of white flour (e.g., by 15 grams). Standard white flour requires less hydration, so you will have to reduce the amount of water (e.g., 1 tablespoon). Experiment!
    • Spelt and buckwheat flour have less gluten than regular flour, so they make the bread more dense.
    • The amount of water required depends on the age of the flour, humidity of the air, the alignment of the planets, etc. You will have to get a feel for this, and adjust as necessary.
    • To clean dough off the bowl and utensils, always use cold water first! With warm/hot water, the dough becomes very gooey, goopy, sticky, hard to remove, and will also be hard to get off your dishwashing brush or sponge.


    Recipe

    One of my very first loaves


    Recipe

    One of my very first experimental loaves


    Recipe

    Loaf nr. 10


    Recipe

    Loaf nr. 16 (without millet and pumpkin seeds)


    Recipe

    Loaf nr. 32 (with all seeds and grains)



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