Not Martha

no-knead bread 2.0 in Cook’s Illustrated

The Jan/Feb 2008 issue of Cook’s Illustrated has a recipe for No-Knead Bread 2.0. Morgana left a comment last week about this, and she was kind enough to type up the recipe changes, thank you! I started making the bread last night, and happily my copy of the magazine reached me today just before I was ready to slip it into the oven.

Cook’s Illustrated takes on the problem with the no-knead bread lacking flavor that this type of bread usually gets from using a fermented starter. They use a little vinegar and a little beer substituted in the wet ingredients, and it works. My loaf came out tasting really yummy (we’ve eaten nearly all of it and it hasn’t cooled all the way yet). I liked the previous bread just fine, but this had that little bit of tang that fills out the flavor of the interior next to flavor of the crust.

They suggest doing the second rise in parchment and lifting the parchment into the heated pot when you’re ready to bake. (This is a technique I know I’d read people doing previously as well.) I was a bit afraid that the parchment would burn where it stuck out from the lid of the pot, but it was just browned. I forgot to use a cooking oil spray on my parchment before I put the dough on it and it was just fine, the bread won’t stick after it’s baked. The magazine suggests doing the second rise in a skillet, but I did in a large, fairly wide bowl like I usually do. It worked fine and I didn’t have to worry about the bread rising up and touching the plastic wrap and I also didn’t have to worry about coating anything with flour or cooking oil spray.

They also have new recommendations for newly available inexpensive dutch ovens (I think the red Chefmate pots have finally, actually disappeared from Target stores). They give thumbs up to Tramontina 6.5 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven that is around $40, and the Lodge 6 Quart enameled cast iron that is about $50. Looks like the Tramontina is available at Walmart I’ve seen the Tramontina pots at Target, and the Lodge can be found on Amazon in Caribbean blue, Island Spice red and Cafe.

This issue is a good one for big cast iron pots, in addition to the no-knead bread they have recipes for French Chicken in a Pot and French Onion Soup, and an article on mastering the art of stewing.

Scott gave me a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated last year at Christmas and it has proven to be a fantastic gift with benefits – he gets to eat the new things I cook. I highly recommend giving (or adding to your wishlist) Cook’s Illustrated magazine, or their sister magazine with color photos Cook’s Country. The online membership would also make a fantastic gift – you get access to all the info in the last 15 years of magazines as well as the updated equipment and ingredients ratings.

· comments [27] · 12-4-2007 · categories:food ·

27 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Miss Sassy // Dec 4, 2007 at 6:44 am

    Wow – your loaf looks so pretty. I always had the second rise on a flexible cutting mat.

    Did you use vinegar or beer? Or both?

    My question – do you think I can half the dough after the second rise and bake two loaves? I got a smaller Le Creuset off Craig’s List at some ridiculously low price.

    I’ve had bad luck with a couple Cook’s Illustrated recipes (the only ones I tried, of course). But you have me thinking about renewing my membership. I did, though, have great luck with a Spaghetti Pie in a free issue from Cook’s Country.

  • 2 erin // Dec 4, 2007 at 8:46 am

    Wahoo! Too excited! I’m getting said Dutch Oven from Target for Christmas; knowledge gained thanks to my handy Target List.

  • 3 seedless grape // Dec 4, 2007 at 9:14 am

    I second the recommendation for subscriptions to Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, and the website. I have all three and love them all; I’ve never made a Cook’s Illustrated recipe that didn’t come out well. The website is especially handy for looking up recipes on the spur of the moment as I’m trying to figure out what to make for dinner.

    Your bread looks fantastic! I’ve been reading about your no-knead adventures, and now that I have the CI recipe and a dutch oven, I really should try it myself.

  • 4 sara jane // Dec 4, 2007 at 9:17 am

    My mom gave me her copy of CI to try out the bread, which I did this past weekend… I did like the tangy-er taste, but the CI recipe had a finer texture than the previous NYT recipe. I think I’ll tinker with the recipes to find a happy medium, for my textural quirks.

    Miss Sassy: You use both beer and a little bit of vinegar.

  • 5 courtney // Dec 4, 2007 at 9:19 am

    They had the red pots at target when I was in about 2 weeks ago. I do happen to notice that they won’t have them for a month or two then get in 2 or 3. It always seems like when I have money in my “extras” budget they don’t have them in stock, but when I have spent that, they are in stock. It is quite frustrating.

  • 6 megan // Dec 4, 2007 at 9:36 am

    Miss Sassy – Click through to the comment in the first paragraph for the recipe and the CI adjustments.

  • 7 Mrs. L // Dec 4, 2007 at 10:44 am

    I’ve been thinking about trying this No Knead Bread for ages. I JUST got one of Martha Stewarts new Dutch Ovens as a present and my issue of CI should be in my mailbox shortly. With reading this blog I now have no excuse to try it!

  • 8 Amy // Dec 4, 2007 at 10:50 am

    I’m excited to try the Cook’s Illustrated version of this recipe, but I would add a caution: I have a beautiful Le Creuset French oven (flame, 5 1/2 quart) that lost a chip of enamel from the inside wall when I made the no-knead bread the first time. I think the culprit must have been a small unseen flaw in the enamel and the high heat. I have never heard of anyone else having this problem, but I will probably buy a less expensive Dutch oven for future bread-making.

  • 9 whitney // Dec 4, 2007 at 11:14 am

    My Mom and I refer to Cook’s Illustrated as “the Bible”. I’ve been subscribing to it since 1996, and will probably subscribe to it for as long as it exists! I’m eager for this issue to arrive so I can try my hand at no-knead bread!

  • 10 nazilam // Dec 4, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Ernest’s breeder loves this bread recipe and I’m going to forward this link to her. She’ll be so happy!

    I always find it funny to see the September CI in July.


  • 11 Miss Sassy // Dec 4, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Ah, thanks for the link – I missed that in your original post. I’m going to try it out with beer and vinegar but will have to buy some beer. I usually have a can on hand for beer batter bread but am out!

  • 12 Ben Hyde // Dec 4, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks for the hint about a bit of vinegar & beer, I’ll have to try that. I got a lot more flavor when I doubled the salt in the original recipe.

    People seem to think they need an enamel’d dutch oven, I use a classic cast iron pot and it works just fine. It is a lot cheaper; given the temperature you cook this at the enabled pot has a hard time staying as beautiful as they are in the store. I make two loafs as a go, with one dutch oven used twice.

    I raise my in a closed container; that seems to avoid the skin forming on it as it rises. I bought these cheap large plastic bowl in china town with lids.

    I see you don’t cut a slash in the dough before it goes into the oven; that’s not easy but it does seem to get you a slightly higher rise.

    Getting the bread knife sharpened regularly is a joy. Hard to wait to cut it until it’s cooled; but that makes it less sticky. After slicing I always freeze the bread immediately; it lasts a long time that way and ever slice is like fresh after a visit to the toaster.

  • 13 megan // Dec 4, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Ben – I completely forgot the slash this time, though the CI recipe calls for it. I did read that adding too much salt can affect the life of the yeast, though Bittman’s follow up article from earlier this year does mention you can double the salt.

  • 14 stephK // Dec 4, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    The latest issue of Mother Earth News has an article about No Knead Bread. I like reading people’s adaptations to the recipe, and how they make it work for them. It’s been neat seeing how your loaves turn out, and the commentary you provide. I may just make some this weekend!

  • 15 ann // Dec 6, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Just this past weekend I experimented with substituting whey from my homemade cheeses for the water and it too added that amazing tanginess. The biggest problem was that I made the starter too wet, so I had to knead in some extra flour and the bread came out simply AMAZING. Like something you’d buy at an ancient bakery in Europe. Yay for bread!

  • 16 Riona // Dec 6, 2007 at 11:41 am

    So glad to see this! I’m a no-knead fanatic and I’ve been dying to try out the Cook’s Illustrated modifications. Those photos are fantastic.

  • 17 Bob // Dec 6, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    The best flavor addition I’ve found is to heat the water you’re using in the microwave oven and add herbs to it while hot. I don’t measure, but I usually add two bay leaves and a large pinch of rosemary needles, and often half a dozen to a dozen peppercorns. It steeps overnight, and when I add the water to the dry ingredients, I strain it, which takes all the solids out; at that point, it’s at room temperature as it should be. While with those ingredients the water can be vividly colored, by the time the bread breaks there’s no noticeable tone.

    I’ll probably try out the CI variation, but the steeped herbs have worked so well for me that I’m not too worried about a lack of flavor.

  • 18 Marilyn // Dec 11, 2007 at 7:58 am

    Can you make this bread in a clay cooker? If so, would you soak the lid in water as you do when roasting chicken? I don’t have a dutch oven and have sworn off buying any more kitchen gadgets?

  • 19 megan // Dec 11, 2007 at 9:23 am

    Marilyn – I think the clay cooker would be perfect. I know that clay vessels specifically for bread are used by serious bakers. I’m going to say to not soak the lid, this recipes is designed so that the bread steams itself, it’s part of the reason the dough is so wet. If your bread comes out strange, try a soaked lid the second time perhaps?

  • 20 Mike // Dec 19, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    I saw the lodge pots at the walmart here in Michigan recently, they say that the handle is only oven safe to 400 or so, but it looked like the handle could be removed and replaced like on the target dutch oven. I wrap the handle to my dutch oven in tin foil and it seems to do just fine.

  • 21 wg // Dec 23, 2007 at 9:18 am

    The enamel coating on my enamel covered cast iron pot also cracked while it was heating in the oven to make this bread.

  • 22 Pam // Dec 28, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    I am a long time Cook’s subscriber and also love, love, love their sensible approach to cooking. However, having just cooked last night in my brand new Le Creuset 7 1/4 qt dutch oven (I patiently waited for it to go on sale so that I could spend last years $200 Christmas money from my Mom — it was worth the wait), I must give a thumbs down to Cooks’ review on “cheaper” dutch ovens. The problem with buying “made in China” vs the more expensive, original “made in France” model is that it continues to bolster trademark infringement (in general), manufacturing in a country where it is not unusual to pay workers .25 cents/hr. The problem these days is that people are too cheap and “very impatient” to save for items that will last for years. I’m in my 30’s and I just got my dutch oven now. People file through kitchen items like seasonal fashion whims rather than save for an item and just be done with it. It’s a different approach from that of my parents and grandparents. It’s a losing battle but I aim to buy Canadian, USA, or European as much as possible. Ah, my small approach to not bolster communist regimes and trying to support dwindling manufacturing here in North America. Just my “food for thoughts” (somewhat off topic I know)…BUT, Le Creuset is fantastic and am delighted with the results…save for quality, you won’t regret it.

  • 23 Pam // Dec 28, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    P.S. Your bread looks delicious!

  • 24 thehumblecook // Jan 3, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    It looks great. I tried both the NYTimes and the CI.
    Anyone else done both breads? Thanks!

  • 25 the world is your acorn » almost almost no-knead bread // Jan 22, 2008 at 6:55 am

    […] The other day I received my free issue of Cook’s Illustrated (which I’m totally going to subscribe to, by the way), and noticed an article on No-Knead Bread 2.0, “Almost No-Knead Bread.” I remembered reading about this recipe somewhere else recently, and thought I’d give it a try. I’ve made 3 or 4 loaves of no-knead bread using Jaden’s recipe the last few months, and though they were delicious, I was hoping to produce a more flavorful wheat version of the bread. Anyway, here’s what I came up with. It looks fine, but the truth is, it didn’t rise properly. I don’t really know why. We chucked it. I think I will try again tonight. Any ideas about how I might have fucked it up? […]

  • 26 Nashville is Talking » Cook’s Illustrated // Jan 22, 2008 at 8:59 am

    […] Just thinking about the bronzed muffins in the swimsuit issue makes my mouth water. I hate food blogs when I’m hungry. The other day I received my free issue of Cook’s Illustrated (which I’m totally going to subscribe to, by the way), and noticed an article on No-Knead Bread 2.0, “Almost No-Knead Bread.” I remembered reading about this recipe somewhere else recently, and thought I’d give it a try. [almost almost no-knead bread – the world is your acorn – 01-22-08] Spread It Around: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  • 27 Mike Showalter // Feb 3, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Great article and your bread looks wonderful. The photos extremely helpful. Definitely trying this soon. Our attempt to purchase one of the Tramontina Dutch ovens is here:

Leave a Comment