Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Sourdough Bread

Jim Lahey’s No Knead Sourdough bread deserves all the praise it has received since he introduced it at least ten years ago. Here’s a link to an Epicurious article with his ingredient list and method: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/no-knead-bread-56389453

My ingredients are pretty much the same but I use just a bit more water and replace 1 cup of the unbleached flour with one of whole wheat.

2 cups unbleached flour (find and use organic if you can)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 ¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. instant baking yeast

1½ cups water

Mix the flours, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Add the water and stir until thoroughly mixed. Set a dinner plate on top and leave on the counter for the first rise, from 18 to 36 hours. The longer rising period gives a more pronounced sourdough flavor.

This is where I changed the method and made it so much easier to handle using parchment paper:

Prepare a smaller bowl for the second rise that is roughly the same size and shape as the covered vessel you plan to use to bake the bread. Here is a photo of the bowl, pan, and lid I use.
Note on pans: Any metal bowl or stainless steel, aluminum, or cast iron pan will work. Do not use non-stick vessels. Here’s why – https://www.ewg.org/research/pfcs-global-contaminants/teflon-and-other-non-stick-pans-kill-birds Better safe than sorry.

No lid? I have used pie plates to cover the loaf and it worked.

Put a sheet of parchment paper in the bowl and push it in so that it lines the bowl. Oil it or spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Don’t worry when the parchment paper springs up and assumes its former flat shape. When you place the dough into the bowl it will slip back into place. Just be sure to center it in the bowl so that there is an equal amount of paper extending a bit over the top of the bowl.

Put about a quarter cup of unbleached flour on the counter and scoop the dough out onto it. Use a dough scraper and your hands to fold the dough, shaping it as you fold it over several times.  Use the dough scraper or a large spatula if you don’t have a scraper, to help you lift the dough into the bowl. Cover it with your dinner plate and let rise another hour.

Place the baking pan and lid in the oven and pre-heat your oven to 435 degrees F forty to forty-five minutes into the second rise.

When the loaf has just about doubled in size, and the oven has reached 435 degrees, remove the hot pan and lid from the oven using hot pads or oven mitts. Use the paper that extends above the bowl to lift the loaf into the baking pan. Place the lid on the pan and put it into the hot oven. The cover keeps moisture in and helps the bread to continue to rise in the first few minutes of baking. Bake for 35 minutes.

Remove the lid from the pan and bake another 20 to 30 minutes – until the top is nice and deep golden brown. Remove from the oven, carefully using the paper to lift it out of the pan and let cool on a cooling rack. I usually remove the paper 5 minutes after I take it out of the oven.


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