Not Martha

no-knead bread, some more

Mark Bittman has a follow up article about the no-knead bread including weight vs. volume, salt, pot sizes, other shapes and other flours. And, you can still watch the video with Jim Lahey making the bread.

Some discussion of enameled cast iron pots is going on over at this picture on Flickr. At the moment I’m still interested in oval pots primarily to shape the bread (which I anticipate making regularly), but I’m warming up to the idea of a round pot since there are more affordable options out there and I think it might be even better for using to make stews. Do you have a cast iron pot? Do you love it?

· comments [43] · 12-6-2006 · categories:food ·

43 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dancing Crow // Dec 6, 2006 at 10:37 am

    I have a round (red) Crueset that I love. It took me a while to get the hang of using it, but braising things (lamb shanks, osso buco, pot roast, etc.) is unbelievably easy. It is very durable. It is VERY heavy. It has been with me for 20 years…

  • 2 Rhonda // Dec 6, 2006 at 11:13 am

    I do have a cast iron pot and I do love it. I have a ridiculous electric stove and this pot helps keep a constant temperature. Buy one, you won’t regret it and will wonder how you ever lived without one.

  • 3 megan // Dec 6, 2006 at 11:59 am

    I’m glad to here they are good on electric stoves, I unfortunately have electric.

  • 4 Karen in Wichita // Dec 6, 2006 at 12:11 pm

    Cast iron rocks my world. The only enameled piece I have is a small Descoware Flame skillet that my father gave my mother for their first Christmas together (at the same celebration at which his brother gave *his* wife a fur and diamonds, so Mom says she never really appreciated the skillet) but I’d love to have more.

    I made no-knead bread in a ginormous Corningware casserole dish, and it came out fine… next time, I may try one of my Guardian Service aluminum roasters, though the cast aluminum doesn’t hold quite the heat of cast iron (not sure how it compares to Corningware, but just based on weight I’d say the aluminum still loses out).

    I’m still vaguely peeved that Teflon has suddenly gone out of style and there’s competition for my beloved cast iron. I had to wait 6 months for a 13″ skillet (registered as a lethal weapon in 37 states) because Lodge is so backlogged and focusing on the more common stuff for folks who are just buying into it. You can’t find it in thrift shops, either anymore. OTOH, once I acquire a full range, it’s not like it’s going to wear out and I’ll have to buy more…

  • 5 L // Dec 6, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    I have a mini Staub coquette that is fantastic. It’s tiny, and makes great rolls with the no knead recipe, if you don’t mind going through the baking process multiple times. I use it and a mini Cruset, so I can make two at a time… it’s slow going, but well worth it.

  • 6 Jean // Dec 6, 2006 at 12:30 pm

    We are lucky to call two le cruesets our own, one round, one oval; i have not yet tried the no-knead bread in them, but am looking forward to it- i’ll let you know how it goes in each. shouldn’t be much different though, just shape preference of bread… Anyhow, they’re great pots- expensive but super worthy. The round one IS better for stews, i have found- heats more evenly on the stove top than the oval one (better for brising and whole chickens and things).

  • 7 Erin // Dec 6, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    I have a round blue LeCreuset and it’s one of the five things I would lunge for and save in the event of a fire. Amazing and always useful things. I agree with R above: you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one.

    I’m currently lusting after a huge oval pot. I agree with you that it would make prettier bread, and I don’t think the slightly elongated shape at either end would be a big enough deal to make a round pot dramatically better. I recommend that you get the largest (and prettiest! colors like candy!) Le Creuset oval dutch oven you can afford.

  • 8 Patti // Dec 6, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    I’m glad to see the cheaper pots available. I’ve been coveting the Crueset ones, but they’re so expensive! I make bread fairly often, and kept trying the basic one on Daily Bread on my stone, but it would puddle out – containing it would work better.

    It’s fun to have comments, isn’t it! Less formal than email. :)

  • 9 Zoe // Dec 6, 2006 at 1:28 pm


    After much hemming and hawing and not finding a round french oven at TJ Maxx like I had hoped and we had emailed about, I went to Target, bought a round 5 quart chili pot (hard anodized aluminum I believe from the Kitchen Essentials line) for $39.00 with a glass lid by Calphalon and baked away. I was worried. But honestly it worked wonderfully. I wouldn’t trade it for anything at this point.

    And dare I say it, better than my Mom’s loaves which came out rather flat from the Le Crueset.

    Thanks for the video link, I can see how I went a little overboard with the dusting flour for sure now!

  • 10 Michael Marston // Dec 6, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    I found an 8 qt Lodge enamel cast iron on Amazon for $85!!!! Blue only, other colors were $110. I hear smaller pots work fine as well and make a rounder loaf.

  • 11 jird // Dec 6, 2006 at 1:44 pm

    I bought a round Le Crueset a couple of years ago, and it sat on the counter with the receipt taped to it for weeks, because I couldn’t believe I’d spent that much on a pot, but I use it nearly every day, and it was worth every penny.

    And, for what it’s worth, it works beautifully on my electric stove, and makes lovely oval loaves of the no-knead bread.

  • 12 Erin // Dec 6, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    I know I recommended a ginormous oval above, but I was at my beloved today and spotted this:

    only available til 10pm PT today or until they run out, so if you want it, act fast!

  • 13 Erin // Dec 6, 2006 at 1:49 pm

    I lied– 7pm tonight! Act even faster. :)

  • 14 Elena // Dec 6, 2006 at 2:18 pm

    I had a Le Creuset round blue enamel dutch oven for 15 years, and ended up giving to Goodwill when I moved overseas (too heavy to move). It had burned dry too many times and the enamel was chipped and burned off inside in places. I have since learned that they are guaranteed for life and you can get them re-enamelled. I liked it for making stews, etc. but it was unpleasantly heavy to handle. I still miss it though when making things like chili, pot roats, or anything that needs to be browned then slow cooked.

  • 15 Guin // Dec 6, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    I have a Calphalon (i think that’s how it’s spelled) chili pot with glass lid. D’you suppose it could handle the no-knead bread? I’m a student and unable to invest in yet another piece of cookware, but I’ve wanted to try this no-knead recipe for ages. The only other no-knead I tried ended up as a hardened dough-puddle on a cookie sheet – way too thick, and almost completely flavorless. Ick.

  • 16 megan // Dec 6, 2006 at 2:51 pm

    Guin, I’m not so sure about your glass lid in the hot oven, but I’ve heard people using tin foil as a cover for baking the bread. Also, your first no-knead sounds similar to the results of people who discovered they’d used the wrong yeast or yeast that was too old, perhaps that was the trouble.

  • 17 Sarah // Dec 6, 2006 at 2:52 pm

    I just bought a round Le Creuset on eBay for $16. It was used and some enamel chipped off but Le Creuset states on their website that it can still be used. It was a steal for the price and I can’t wait to make the bread. We just moved and I can’t find my baking ingredients!

  • 18 Kung Foodie // Dec 6, 2006 at 4:43 pm

    I’m in cast iron love for sure, tho I’ve yet to pick up a dutch oven and try the bread recipe. My current fav is making pizza in my 10″ lodge frying pan. Picture here.

  • 19 gerda // Dec 6, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    this recipe seems to be absolutely foolproof.

    although i’d love to own a le creuset my oven is not working properly at the moment. so i decided to make my no-knead bread in my minigrill/oven-thing plus in a casserole covered with aluminium foil!

    i was very surprised that the bread durned out really really delicious! i did not want to buy new cookware but this diy-version works pretty well for me.

    i made 3 loaves so far and i will definitely make more.

  • 20 Jennifer // Dec 6, 2006 at 5:41 pm

    Even though the price will make you swoon, they are worth it. If you have T.J. Maxx or Tuesday Morning there they often have discounted Le Creuset. Happily, and unfortunately, we have a Le Creuset outlet here. Drool.

  • 21 Jennifer // Dec 6, 2006 at 5:45 pm

    Ok, I just checked it out and you have both of those stores in WA, I would seriously look into that if you want to save on Le Creuset.

  • 22 megan // Dec 6, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    This is pulled from this comment another post – Campbell informs us that Le Creuset Outlets are offering 30% off purchases of $75 or more to preferred customers (anyone who signs up for their mailing list) through 12/10. So, three more days.

  • 23 Shawn // Dec 6, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    I have a set of Le Creuset including a round and oval ducth oven. I find that I like the round pot for stove top and the oval for baking things. I particularly like the oval dutch oven for stuffing. Although they’re pricey, I would absolutely buy them again. If you watch Williams-Sonoma online, they periodcially put sets on sale at a pretty substantial discount.

  • 24 b // Dec 6, 2006 at 7:02 pm

    This comment is not related to my cast iron pot-coveting, hope that’s okay. (And yes, I covet, but roommates, relatively short term housing, and loans mean it will be awhile for me). I’ve been checking out this site for awhile, and I’m so excited that you’ve added comments! You often reference all the great suggestions that you receive; I’m glad we can all check them out now!

  • 25 Monique in Bellingham // Dec 6, 2006 at 8:21 pm

    Hey there, I own a cast iron dutch oven and made the no-knead bread in it after reading about it on your page and then checking out all the other “discussions” including the one from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s website. The bread turned out well, the cast iron is a champ! I will be playing around with the recipe of course because I can never leave well enough alone. I highly recommend the cast iron dutch oven, I use it for chili, sauces and now bread amoung other things.

  • 26 jillz // Dec 6, 2006 at 8:32 pm

    I received a Le Creuset round dutch oven last year for Christmas and use it on a weekly basis at least. I haven’t tried the no knead bread recipe yet, but I hope to get to it soon once my busy time around the holidays goes away. I believe that my Mum got it at Marshall’s (a TJ Maxx type store) and it’s a second but it works perfectly well and I would love to own another piece or two. We also have a Le Creuset outlet near us too.

  • 27 marielle // Dec 6, 2006 at 9:14 pm

    I’ve been happier with my thrifted Descoware enamel cast iron pans than my Le Creuset – not sure what the difference is, as they seem to be constructed identically. So my recommendation would be to check Ebay for Descoware – a lot of it seems to go for dirt cheap. You’ll llikely pay more for shipping than the pan itself!

    And yay. Comments!!!

  • 28 Jessica // Dec 6, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    Another vote for Le Creuset enamel dutch oven. I use mine for stew, chili, pot pies, pot roasts. It’s great to go from the stove top to the oven and it’s very easy to clean.

  • 29 Lilly // Dec 6, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    I guess I’m not offering much new info here, but we went to the outlet in Tulalip this past weekend and got a 7+qt round Le Creuset as my Xmas gift … then I got home and started reading more about the no-knead bread and am now fretting over whether I should’ve gotten the 5+qt instead. Oh well; we got it to make chili, stews, and chickens anyway.

    The outlet store has “irregulars” in the back and discounted regular quality ones in the front. My regular 7qt was $200 in the dk blue that I wanted (“indigo”), and the 5qt was $175.

  • 30 megan // Dec 6, 2006 at 11:12 pm

    Lilly – if you use 1 and 1/2 cups of water instead of the 1 and 5/8ths cups in the initial recipe the dough isn’t as wet and doesn’t spread as far when you bake it, so it should be fine in the larger pot. I think the 7 quart is a great size for stews, I’m actually considering getting a larger pot for cooking and a smaller oval pot for bread. And by “getting” I mean “hoping somebody gives me them as gifts”.

  • 31 Julie // Dec 7, 2006 at 4:09 am

    I am a cast-iron overachiever. I have a griddle, 5 various skillets, 2 deeper pots and the largest round Le Creuset (enameled grey). I find I use the Le Creuset much more often than I ever expected – good for roasts, stews, chili, braising, making stock, pasta – and so easy to clean. I live in London having transferred from Seattle and wouldn’t part with any of my collection. I, however, think its worth searching out vintage cast iron, rather than new Lodge ones. The patina and ‘seasoning’ plus the heavier weight and higher quality is really worth the search. Garage sales and thrift stores still are good places – look for names like Wagner or Griswold imprinted on the bottom.

  • 32 ~~Melissa // Dec 7, 2006 at 4:51 am

    I’m a cast iron girl, not only because it’s tried and true but because I have a deeply rooted fear of coated materials for cooking pots. Say teflon and I run and hide (I learned this when I babysat some budgies and found out the fumes from cooking with teflon can kill them). Coated enamel: my jury is out on that one but I’m particularly suspicious of the safety of older pots (when surfaces chip, are we ingesting that stuff? And does it chemically meld with food when we heat it up high?). That said, cast iron does grab food/can stick and takes some learning to work in harmony with.

  • 33 Karen M // Dec 7, 2006 at 5:55 am

    I have a Lodge 7 qt. Dutch Oven, and I love it! It was roughly $50, as I recall, and it’s been worth every penny. It’s round and fairly deep, so I’m not sure how well it’d work for the bread, but it works great for stews and pot roast. We’re going to try it out for short ribs this weekend.

    The only drawbacks are: it doesn’t work all that well with acid ingredients (no tomato sauces) and I’ve been having to wipe it down with Crisco after every use.

  • 34 Ty // Dec 7, 2006 at 7:57 am

    Love the redesign! Comments rock, no??

    I “collect” red Le Creuset. I buy one piece at a time, and search for good deals. I now have two pots, a frying pan, a grilling pan, a very large oval casserole, a heart-shaped casserole (which come to think of it, might make some cute bread…) and a couple small casseroles. I absolutely love them! They are worth every penny. But I completely agree with the previous commentors, go to Tuesday Morning (if you like the blue or the green, they almost always have those colors), Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, or a Le Creuset outlet. They are worth every penny at retail, but discounted they are even better!! :) And they can go from stove to oven to freezer to dishwasher. They are very versatile. The ceramic is also almost non-stick. Things stick a little, but not like they do to metal, and they are perfect for deglazing. Plus, as non-stick pans deteriorate, you start to get teflon in your food! That has never seemed like a good idea to me…

    I also agree with using them for stews and chilis, but I would also add French onion soup…Unbelievable French onion soup!!

    Add a Le Creuset to the Christmas list! It will be your favorite present!

  • 35 Petunia // Dec 7, 2006 at 9:37 am

    I finally took the plunge and got a enameled cast iron dutch oven in September. I love it. It’s a little hard to get used to since it heats so evenly, but I am so liking it.

    I got mine at IKEA for 40 bones and I haven’t noticed any problems. It doesn’t seem breakable, like most of their stuff.

  • 36 Katie // Dec 7, 2006 at 10:57 am

    I have a round 10 qt Calphalon dutch oven and I love it. It works great for the no-knead bread, though be careful removing that 450 degree lid! (I have a little scar from my first loaf) It’s also my go-to pot for chili for a crowd.
    I also would’ve been happy with a LeCreuset, but would note that that brand is harder to use for older folks or those with arthritis. Since my mom likes to cook when she visits, I had to forgo LeCreuset.

  • 37 jird // Dec 7, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    FYI: Cook’s Illustrated just reviewed Dutch ovens, and rated the Chefmate Round Enameled Cast Iron Casserole for Target ($39.99) just barely below the All-Clad and Le Creuset.

  • 38 Rachel // Dec 7, 2006 at 9:24 pm

    I just picked up the Chefmate Cast Iron Casserole from Target this evening ($39.99). It is only available in the store, not on the ‘net. But there were two on the shelf, so it must not be selling out around these parts! It looks great and seems exactly the same as the Le Creuset, even down to the beige interior. I’m very excited about trying it.

  • 39 Rachel // Dec 7, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    One thing about the Chefmate, which I understand is also an issue with the Le Creuset, the knob must be removed before baking above 300 degress F. But still, it looks great! And for this price, I’m not complaining.

  • 40 Ana // Dec 9, 2006 at 8:07 am

    I own LeCreuset pots in several sizes and absolutely love them! they have resisted quite well a couple of moves from continent to continent, gas and electric stoves, my husband, etc. Certaintly recommend them :)

  • 41 Colleen // Dec 17, 2006 at 12:37 pm

    I have a 5.5 quart round I LOVE and am shopping for a 9 quart round. I stumbled apon this website and exchange about the no-knead bread recipe. It’s no longer available for free on the NYT page…does anyone still have the recipe they can share? Thanks!!

  • 42 Angela Melina Raab // Jan 14, 2007 at 9:38 am

    I’ve been using my clay pot without soaking it. (Do you guys know about porous clay pots (mimics old etruscan cookware) that you soak in water?) Bread has come out beautiful, tasty, but – fairly flat. I think it just needs a bit more yeast. Am trying this as we speak – mid second rise, it looks a good deal higher than the last couple loaves. I’m also doubling the recipe because otherwise the loaf is gone in about 20 minutes.

    I’m tempted to get a cast-iron pot just because it’s all the rage, but…why add to the clutter out there when I have something at home that works fine?

  • 43 Phil // Jun 6, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    Found an old heavy crock pot insert at Salvation Army (95 cents) using an inverted Pyrex pie plate for the lid (found in the drawer).

    Check out your local Salvation Army and/or Goodwill. Checked today and found three bread machines (one was practically new) all were under $5.00

    Help yourself and those who are not as fortunate!

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