No Knead Bread | Dr Doughlittle

Large holes in the chewy crumb, a crispy crust, in just 3 hours.

Using the simple Basic White dough recipe at 70% hydration (in my previous blog page dated7/16/20), I tweaked the recipe a little as an experiment. The objective was to bake a No Knead bread in 3 hours! The changes are mainly in the proofing times. I wanted to see if a very much shortened proofing time will affect the size of the holes in the crumb. The flavour will not be as nice compared with a longer proofing time which produces a better flavoured bread. But, sometimes, one can be short for time! And I was curious to know, if a No Knead bread can be produced in a much shorter time!

Is it possible then, to produce a NK bread with a crispy crust and large holes in the crumb, in 3 hours?

300 g Unbleached King Arthur Bread Flour
3/4 tsp sea salt

210 g warm water
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp 100% Maple Syrup

Mix the ingredients thouroughly in a plastic bowl and proof the dough for 3/4 hours, unlike the usual 12 to 18 hours for the No Knead dough recipe. During this time after each 1/2 hour, turn the dough over in the bowl a few times with a spatula to mix it more thoroughly and help stretch the gluten strands. This is an important step! After the proofing time, gently shape the dough on a well floured surface, into a ball or boule. Then placed the shaped dough in a basket or banneton to further proof for 45 minutes or less, until it becomes puffy, doubling it’s size
During this time, fire up your oven to 230˚C. Place a shallow metal tray in the oven to later add 1/2 cup of boiling water for steaming.

Dough after mixing | Dr Doughlittle

The dough after mixing.

Place dough on floured sheet | Dr Doughlittle

Dough on to floured sheet.

Gluten strands | Dr Doughlittle

To show gluten strands.

After 1/2 hour to 45 minutes, or when the dough has doubled in size, transfer this onto a baking sheet and place it in the hot oven. Pour in  1/2 cup of boiling water on the metal tray. Reduce the temperature to 220˚C. Spray the dough with water once or twice in the first 10 minutes of baking at 220˚C.  I find that spraying too many times produces a thick hard crust.

Hand shape boule | Dr Doughlittle

Hand shape into a boule.

Proofing in banneton | Dr Doughlittle

Proofing in a banneton.

Risen dough | Dr Doughlittle

The dough doubled in 1/2 hour.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes till the crust is dark golden brown. Remove the bread from the oven and cool for at least for 1/2 hour on a rack before cutting. During the last 5 minutes of baking, leave the oven door ajar about 1 inch so as to crisp the crust. Letting the hot, moist air out also dries your oven.

And there you have it, No Knead bread in 3 hours. Worked for me!

“Baking bread is a lot like growing your faith in the Lord, Carrie Louise. You mix together the best ingredients you can find and wait for the mixture to mature, but it’s the heat of the oven that makes it something of worth and substance. The same way the tribulations of this world mature a person’s faith.”― Dorothy Love.


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