A Clever Variation of an “Old” Theme

My hat is off to CooksIllustrated.com for formulating a worthy variation to the now famous New York Times no knead recipe. They call it their “Almost No Knead” bread since it involves a bit of light kneading, but another key step in the process is streamlined so overall their recipe is still a cinch to make.

If you’re already familiar with the “traditional” no knead recipe, I think you will find the final results of this one significantly different in almost all respects. This crust has a nice crunch to it but is much thinner and easier to chew and the interior crumb is tighter (smaller holes) and softer. I wouldn’t classify this bread as “rustic” like I would the NYT version.

But what really sets this recipe apart is its flavor. The addition of a few ounces of beer and a tablespoon of white vinegar creates a unique and pleasing flavor all its own.

In these videos I cover the Cooks Illustrated plain white flour and whole wheat flour versions.

This recipe also converts extremely well to sandwich loaf bread. In the third video below, I do just that.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of this bread – please leave your comments below.

Update: See Virginia’s comment post of 8/22/08. She made a few changes to get great results with a rye version (click link) of this recipe.

Cook’s Illustrated Almost No Knead Bread
Cook’s Illustrated Almost No Knead Bread

If you’re familiar with the “traditional” no knead recipe, I think you will find the results of this significantly different. This crust has a nice crunch to it but is much thinner and easier to chew and the interior crumb is tighter (smaller holes) and softer.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 18 hours

Yield: 1 Loaf


    White Flour Recipe
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) all purpose or bread flour
  • 1/4 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (7 ounces) water at room temp
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (3 ounces) mild flavored lager
  • 1 Tbs. white vinegar
  • Whole Wheat Recipe
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose or bread flour
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. honey (I used 2 Tbs. raw sugar)
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (7 ounces) water at room temp
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (3 ounces) mild flavored lager
  • 1 Tbs. white vinegar


Follow directions in videos.

Baking Instructions: For both these recipes, preheat your oven with Dutch oven or Cloche inside to 500 degrees. Reduce temperature to 425 when the bread dough goes in and bake covered for 30 minutes. Then remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the internal bread temperature reaches about 200 degrees.


The beer can be non-alcoholic. Also, regarding the use of sugar and the ratio of white to whole wheat flour in the ‘Whole Wheat’ recipe, see the post from Beatrix below. She used 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 of white and it still came out light.



Almost No Knead Sandwich Loaf Recipe

The thinner crust and softer, tighter crumb of the Almost No Knead recipe, combined with its subtle flavors, makes it a nice candidate for a sandwich loaf. Here’s a video of the process with the the adjusted ingredient quantities.

18 ounces (~3 2/3 cups) flour. Use all white or a combination of white and up to 6 ounces whole wheat.
1 3/4 tsp salt
3/8 tsp. instant yeast

1 cup (8 ounces) water
1/2 cup (4 ounces) beer

1 1/4 Tbs white vinegar
2 1/2 Tbs honey
(I use raw sugar instead). The honey is suggested only when baking the whole wheat version of this recipe.

Baking Instructions: Preheat oven to 425. Place bread pan with risen dough in oven and reduce temperature to 350. Bake for 55 minutes or until internal bread temperature is about 200 degrees. Note that in the video I’m using a Pyrex bread pan. A metal bread pan would probably bake a few minutes faster.

Note: some have reported an issue with the loaf sticking to the bread pan. After buttering/oiling the baking pans, cornmeal can be sprinkled liberally on the insides and bottom of the pans. This eliminates the bread sticking to the sides while baking. Thanks to Tom & Melody DeGraziano for this tip.

Cook’s Illustrated Almost No Knead Bread

Comments from our Forum

Leave a comment ->
  1. alipaige says:

    I'm excited to try the sandwich version of this! One question- I'm concerned about how long this bread will keep as it will take my family a couple of days to get through a loaf. I have added ascorbic acid to bread in the past as a preservative- do you think that will alter the results? I may just try it and see what happens, but I thought I would ask first : )

  2. Eric says:

    A couple days seems pretty quick (to go through a loaf of bread) to me. Have you had issues with some breads going south on you in that short a time? I think this particular bread should hold up just fine for a few days. However, your idea of adding some ascorbic acid sounds like a good one as a precaution. I've heard of people adding ascorbic acid to bread anyway to give the bread a little sourdough like tang. So it might be doubly worthwhile.

    Please let us know if you try it and it helps out.

  3. ksutter says:

    Hi there!
    So I've made the whole wheat version twice - first off, so amazing! The only thing is that the bottom gets pretty darn burnt... I've tried putting it in a higher rack, but still came out burnt. The rest of it is absolutely perfect though. Any suggestions on how to remedy this?

  4. Gary says:

    Hi, There could be several things to do differently. First, get a good oven thermometer since the standard oven readings can be off by 25 to 75 degrees. Another possibility is the radiant heat from the bottom oven element can cause burning. So I sometimes put an empty baking sheet on the lowest shelf. I have found the best bread texture has been by using an Emile Henry cloche. It seems to diffuse the heat more evenly, and has been a great value in my bread baking. I bake at 460 degrees for 35 minutes covered and 5 minutes uncovered, with usually very good results. Some people like a darker crust, so bake uncovered longer - even ten minutes, but that gets the loaf a bit too closed to burned for my family. Also I experiment a lot, sometimes it doesn't work, but mostly, if you follow Eric's videos, the results are quite satisfying. Happy baking! G

Earlier Comments

647 thoughts on “Cook’s Illustrated Almost No Knead Bread

  1. Emmett

    When you turn the dough out after the 18 hour rise, is it supposed to be very very wet, sticky, and so soft that it flattens out on the cutting board? Or am I putting in too much water?

    • Mike

      Emmett, I put in an extra ounce or two of liquid on purpose in order to make a wet dough. From what I’ve read, no-knead bread works in part because the “wetness” allows the gluten to form by itself. After the first rise, which is 15 – 18 hours for me, I add some flour to tighten up the dough before putting it in bread pans (I double the recipe) for the second rise (1.5 – 2 hours). When adding this second bit of flour, I have to knead it a little in order to incorporate the flour, about as much as is done in the video for this recipe. If I leave the dough too wet, I get a flatter, more dense loaf (taste is still the same).

      I do everything, including the “kneading”, in the one large bowl so that I dirty only that, a 4-cup measuring cup & two measuring spoons,

  2. Paula

    I made this bread today again and you don’t even need a bread pan or Dutch oven. I used two metal pie plates. I used the recipe for the sandwich loaf and baked it for 35 minutes. I ended up with two small boules that had a wonderful soft texture. I also used rice vinegar and Blue Moon beer and the taste was excellent. I used 3 ounces of rye, 3 ounces of whole wheat flour, and 12 ounces King Arthur bread flour, plus 3/8 tsp. SAF instant yeast. I used honey instead of raw sugar. This is a great way to make a loaf and share one with someone. This is really one of the best-tasting and easiest bread recipes I use in my regular rotation.

    • becky

      I finally Tried This I Love It! So Easy!

  3. Scott

    I feel compelled to leave a comment because I’ve made at least 100-150 loaves using this recipe. We don’t buy bread anymore since I’ve started making this, and I usually make 3-4 loaves/week. I use King Arthur bread flour and Whole Foods 365 Brand 100% whole wheat flower, either using all bread flower or a mixture of the two (2 cups bread:1 cup whole wheat). I’ve made variations with fresh herbs and garlic, dried cherries or cranberries and pecans or walnuts, and we love the whole wheat version with stone-ground wheat that you can find on this website. I admit I’m not particular about being overly specific with rest and rise times. I usually mix the day before and forget about it until the next day, whether it’s 12, 18, or 24 hours. I knead it a few times and shape it how I want and lest rest in the baking vessel for about an hour. I use Cuisinart enameled Dutch ovens and a Pampered Chef stoneware covered baking dish/pan every time I make it, with the same predictable results.

    The only things I’ve learned is that when I’m less than accurate with my liquid measurements I get a flatter/deflated/denser loaf with a few extra ounces of liquid, but it is still delicious bread. I usually use the water, bread, and vinegar combo for liquid but I have made it sans the beer with great results. For me, I like Bragg’s apple cider vinegar for the tang, and have only used distilled white vinegar alternatively. Keep salt at 1.5 tsp and I usually use a generous 1/4 tsp of yeast for my mixes.

    I’ve never had a problem or a bad loaf using the above techniques, and we absolutely love this bread. It’s comforting to know what you’re eating and knowing what 6 ingredients are in the bread you’re feeding your family and children. Everyone who’s tasted this bread has had nothing but great things to say. I use a very similar recipe for Neapolitan pizza dough with the same rest, rise, knead regimen and it is fantastic (use slightly more flour, salt, and liquid). It’s the best pizza dough I’ve found/made. 3 3/4 cups AP flour, 2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp active dry yeast, 1 1/2 cups water (or use water, beer, vinegar mixture to your taste, which is what I do).

    Baking is done by placing loaves in above mentioned covered pans/dutch ovens in oven set at 425F. When it reaches 425F, set temp to 350 and time for 30 minutes. At 30 minutes I remove the lids, rearrange my 3 or 4 pans in the oven (rotate pans and change racks) and set time for 22 minutes. I don’t check internal temperature anymore because after so many loaves I know I’m hitting 204-205 consistently. Remove loaves and allow to cool on racks for several hours. I get consistent and what I consider outstanding results with this technique every time. I put one loaf in the fridge in a Ziplock bag for immediate use and freeze the others in a Ziplock bag for later use. Remove a loaf from the freezer and leave it to sit on the counter to thaw overnight when you need another loaf and you’re ready to go with bread for the next day. I’ve noticed no decline in quality after freezing/thawing and have certainly heard no complaints!

    As I mentioned before, the only time I notice a difference in the loaves is when I’m careless I use slightly more liquid (~1/4 cup) than called for. But even then the bread is fantastic. Don’t stress too much over times, conditions, rising temps, etc and you’ll get good bread. Just keep at it!. I’d never made bread before this recipe and now it is my weekly go-to recipe that my family has come to rely on.

    • Sarah

      This is great! Would more salt ruin the recipe?

      Also, I used a Le Creuset for the bread. I thought I had been kee it pristinely but it is now s mess with marks inside and out (yes, I used parcent). Le Creuset had the upper temp limit at 475• for its products.
      I’m ordering a Lodge asap. Meanwhile does anyone have suggestions for my precious famy heirloom Le Creuset piece?

      • Mike

        Sarah, I use a little more salt than what the recipe calls for. Tastes good to me!

  4. Julia

    I have made this recipe several times with outstanding results – thanks so much for the helpful videos, Eric. I’m curious if this would work with sourdough starter instead of yeast. Has anyone tried this? (Always looking for recipes to use my very active starter with!)

    • Hi Julia,

      You can definitely use sourdough starter. It’s a somewhat different experience. You’ll probably need to allow for a longer proofing time and maybe don’t expect as much oven spring as you would from the kick that commercial yeast can deliver. I would probably start with 1/4 to a 1/2 cup of starter and see how it goes. I think you’ll end up with a better loaf of bread, but then I’m totally biased and think all bread is better using sourdough starter.

    • Sylvie

      Interestingly, I add sourdough (about) 1/2 c., no vinegar and beer, add raisins and pecans and continue to add the 1/4 tsp of yeast…I place it in the enamel pot to proof – and when ready to bake start with a cold oven…set at 425 degrees and once oven is at temp, decrease it to 375 degrees…I place the pot on the middle rack…good oven spring…
      Excellent tasting…tang of sourdough…

  5. Kevin

    I use an enamel Dutch oven to bake the bread for this recipe and each time that I do, the bottom of the loaf is burned. How can I prevent burning? The rest of loaf turns out great.

    • Try putting a cookie sheet on a rack just beneath it next time and see if that helps.

  6. Paula

    The sandwich bread is excellent. I made both the whole wheat and the white versions. I only needed to bake it 45 minutes to an internal temperature of 204 degrees. I used beer and malt vinegar. I also used one that was just all water and white vinegar. The one with the beer and malt vinegar was far superior. The flavor was subtle but definitely better. The all water/white vinegar was just more bland. I used O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer and it was an excellent bread. I love the way the crumb looks. I am thrilled to find this very easy and delicious bread.

  7. Brian

    Previous attempts at making bread resulted in beautiful cobblestones. This recipe went off without a hitch. I’m very happy with the results and have a homemade bread convert wife as a result. Thank you for your videos and ingredient list.

  8. Karol

    Sounds great but – what can be substituted for the beer. I don’t like the taste of beer, sorry.

  9. Jeffrey

    Addendum: Cleaning the Cloche

    I keep a Scotch Brite Dobie (yellow sponge covered completely in yellow plastic mesh) reserved for cleaning the Cloche in water. No soap, of course. This Dobie is never used to clean anything else, and is very effective in scrubbing the Cloche without damaging the surface.

  10. Jeffrey

    A different approach to using a Cloche

    I have never used parchment paper with my Cloche. For highly-hydated doughs, I use the Cloche upside-down. I rub the inside of the lid – the big bell-shaped part – with corn-meal and shake any residue out, and then put the dough into the lid, allowing it to rise in there. You have to prop up the lid to do this, as the handle keeps it from sitting level.

    If I rise the bread in the refrigerator, and the Cloche is very cold, I do not put it into a preheated oven, as I’m afraid the temperature difference will crack the Cloche. If I rise the bread in the refrigerator, but only put it into the room-temperature Cloche before baking, I preheat the oven – or not. It can be done both ways (cold start or preheated).

    I have never had a problem with bread sticking to the Cloche in doing this, except for once when I neglected the cornmeal rub and let the bread rise overnight in the refrigerator in the Cloche. If you’re really concerned about sticking, spray the inside with oil, then dust it with cornmeal, pouring out the residue of cornmeal – or not, if you like. Also, it’s important that the cloche be seasoned properly before use and periodically reseasoned if need be.

    When I put the Cloche in upside-down (with the short base serving as the lid), on my oven the handle or the bell-shaped component of the Cloche fits between the wires of the oven rack.

    I’ve never used bran to coat my Cloche or any other baking vessel, just cornmeal.

    I’ve never preheated the Cloche, either. I have sometimes deliberately put the Cloche, even when it is at room temperature, into a cold oven and then turned it on. Seems to me to get even more spring that way, because the yeast gets really active as the Cloche and dough start to warm up.

    Once baking starts in the upside-down Cloche, after 20-35 minutes (depends on cold or hot start, cold or room-temperature Cloche, and the amount of sugar-containing ingredients in the dough, such as milk, which affects baking temperature), I remove the “lid” (the short base which is serving as an upside-down lid) and let it bake until done – another 10-20 minutes usually. In the final minutes of baking, the bread shrinks a bit as it dehydrates, and pulls away from the sides of the Cloche slightly, so it doesn’t stick.

  11. Gloria

    My Magnalite dutch oven has to be over 75 years old, if not older. I inherited it from my dear mother-in-law who has been dead for about 30 years and I think she inherited it from her mother. Upon her death, I was the proud recipient of the leftovers that her daughter didn’t want and luckily, she hated cooking and prided herself on that fact. So, I have many wonderful old, precious pieces of kitchen equipment and an assortment of silver and crystel that require some degree of care.
    The Mag pan is ugly but so very useful and I’ve seen them on EBAY with high price tags so they must be well regarded now.
    What fun to use these old fashioned items, knowing that they have become highly regarded now.

  12. Gloria

    Forgot to mention that I used the aluminum bread shaped pan and put it into a Magnalite pan for 30 mins. then 30 mins. uncovered. I preheated the Mag. pan and cover for about 20 minutes, then put the auluminum pan inside the Mag pan. It fit perfectly and so far the crust is gorgeous, sprinkled with chopped onions and sesame seeds. What a smell! Can’t wait to have a piece. Do I have to wait to cut it?

    • Bill Doyle, CEC

      I thought I was the only person left using MAGNALITE pans! It was ALL they used when I was attending the CIA 30 years ago and my wife got me a set with her employee’s discount at Macy’s in 89 a few years before American Metalcrafting bought them and subsequently went under. I use my Magnalite dutch oven which I find gets a little too hot and invariably scorches the bottom crust on evey loaf of this amazing bread when I make it. I also have a 3/4″ stone covering the entire bottom shelf(actually there is at least a 1″ relief around all four sides) or rack in my 36″ DCS range with duel fuel.
      Any thoughts folks?!

  13. Gloria

    I am totally confused about when to put the dough in the refrigerator. Are we supposed to give it a second rise and then put it in the frig. or do we put it in before the 2nd rise? I have scoured the internet and I did see the answer on some website but cannot locate that site. Please let me know. I divided and adapted the recipe for SF Sourdough bread from Allrecipes. I put half into an aluminum bread shaped pan and it’s baking now and looks lovely. The other half was rising alongside. Both rose to double. I then put the 2nd half into the fridge. Will it be ok for a couple of days or a week?
    I’ll try to take a picture of that delicious smelling/looking bread and will send, if I can. Thanks for all details. It’s like a chemistry class and still takes me much too much time but it’s fun when I have time.

    • Barbara

      Hi Gloria. I don’t know which recipe you used but I am pretty sure that once your bread has risen the second time, especially to double, it is time to bake it. Once all the yeast has been used to form the gases which cause the bread to raise, there is nothing left for the gases to do but dissipate and the bread will collapse in on itself if it is not baked. You can refrigerate after the first rise punch down and let the dough rise slowly overnight or all day if you want. This helps develop a wonderful flavor.

      • Gloria

        So should I take it out of the frig. now and let it get to room temp and bake it? Or is it a lost cause? Please reply asap. And thanks for your instruction. I do get so confused with all the details.

      • Gloria

        I decided to remove it from the frig and I’m letting it warm up a bit while the oven heats up once again. The house is like an oven already so what the heck!
        If it turns out ok, I’ll let you all know. I sure don’t like throwing out something I worked to make but how else do we learn. Mistakes are the best teacher sometimes but I wish I didn’t make so many of them.
        The first came out lovely. Waiting to taste.

  14. Rusty

    I tried the white flour version 3 times, with different lager beers and for the life of me, neither I nor the family could taste even a hint of beer or added flavor from the beer. We decided it was a waste of beer. The vinegar is very subtle; I add a very generous tablesoon. Distilled, cider, red or white or champagne wine vinegar, vinegars are all a bit different; experiment! Balsamic is very odd, good, but odd. Balsamic makes the bread look like whole wheat. It also seems as though the vinegar keeps the bread tasting fresh for longer, although I don’t know why.

  15. Cindy

    This bread is wonderful! My family (and dog-who got up and stole a bite), loved it and finished it off in one day! I have to say I enjoy adding the beer. Not only for the success of the bread, but also the fact that as the cook – I got the finish the bottle! I used LandShark Lager. It has a light flavor and was perfect in this bread.

  16. Barbara

    What am I missing here? The instructions go straight from the ingredients to the baking — where are the mixing/kneading/rising instructions?
    Apparently no one else had a problem with this??

    • Branch

      The written instr are too brief. My version (for white or whole wheat round): Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Blend in wet ingredients until shaggy ball forms. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 hours. Turn out on floured board. Knead 10-15 times and shape into a tight round. Put parchment sheet in medium fry pan. Spray with oil. Place dough on parchment. Spray with oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap, let rise for 3 hours (should almost double). Sprinkle on a bit of flour for decoration and slit top 6″ long x 1/2″ deep across top. Heat enamel dutch oven with cover for 40 min at 525. Use parchment to put dough into dutch oven. Cover, reduce temp to 425, bake for 30 min, remove cover, cook another 40 min or until internal temp is 210. Turn out on wire rack. Cool 3 hours.

      • Branch

        I’ve made several loaves with half whole wheat flour. Seems to work just fine. I use 3oz of stout and 1 TBS of honey (half buckwheat/half cover), which seems to give a robust flavor without being too sweat or too malty.

  17. Medbh

    I’m interested in trying this recipe with sourdough starter rather than commercial yeast. Any idea whether you can just sub in 1/4 cup as you do in your no knead sourdough recipe?

    • Dharma

      I tried this with my sourdough starter & it failed miserably… But it may have been my starter, which seemed a bit weak & probably needed a lot more time.
      Also tried it with whole wheat sourdough starter & it worked but tasted awful.
      If you get it to work, please post what you did! 🙂

      • Jeffrey

        Sourdough starters have to be revitalized before being used, which means feeding them and allowing them to grow before using them to leaven bread.

        I usually keep small amounts of starter in the refrigerator, since I don’t bake very often. When I plan on baking, I use a little of the refrigerated starter added to flour and water, and see how it does. If it hasn’t at least tripled in volume within 8 hours, I repeat the operation until I get a very active starter. I use part of the activated starter in my bread, and the rest I again feed and water, and replace the old starter left in the refrigerator, discarding the old starter, washing out the container, and putting the new, activated starter in its place.

      • Laura

        Dharma, I made the whole wheat version a while back w-untasty results. It was another year b/f I was willing to try again. This is the conclusion I came up with after finally making a loaf that tasted great. I only use light beer & I don’t let my dough go past the 10 hour mark. I personally think 18 hrs is too long. Oh & by the way my loaf was made w-instant yeast. W-that said…I returned to this website to see if this could be done w-sourdough starter. See Eric’s link above the white flour recipe that’ll take you to Virginia’s rye version of this recipe.

  18. Anna

    For the whole wheat bread why do you need to mix whole purpose flour? Can you make bread with only whole wheat flour or mix it with other flours like oat flour or quinoa flour?


    • The more whole grains you use, the denser and heavier the bread. You can use whatever flours you want, it just changes the recipe.

      • Anna


  19. Branch

    I’m new to this. Tried the CI recipe. 1) I got some initial rise in 18 hours but not double 2) I got some additional rise after kneading and a 2 hour rest but again not nearly double. I used slightly more water (2 TBs) than recipe in order to moisten dough and Hodgson Fast-Rise yeast andI proofed the remainder of the pkg and it looked OK. My room temp is about 68. I baked in a enamel Dutch oven starting with a cold oven and heating to 425, with the lid removed for the last half hour. I got a good crust and 110 internal temp and let it rest for 2 hours. The inside was doughy and heavy and undercooked with small holes, like Wonderbread. Not eatable. Oven seems to run cool so I bumped it up a bit but I don’t expect that to be the real culprit. Any suggestions. (It’s my New Year resolution to bake a decent loaf.)

    • Branch

      OOPS. I believe the bread temp was 210, as the recipe says. (But is there any chance that it was only 110–I doubt it could have been that cool after an hour in a hot oven but I’m beginning to question my memory. )

    • Bob Johnson

      1. Have never gotten doubled rise for this recipe.
      2. Preheat oven to 500 with pot in oven covered. If you can an enameled cast iron pot works better than non-cast iron for me.
      3. Using parchment sling put dough in preheated pot and reduce oven heat to 425. Bake for required time covered. ,
      4. At end of initial baking, uncover pot and continue baking till you have 203-206 internal temp.
      5. Baking to 110 is entirely too low and will result in exactly what you got.
      6. Consider a thermometer for the oven to get reliable readings and an instant read thermometer to check internal temp of the loaf.
      7. Hope this helps, recipe produces a wonderful bread, have been using for years, have not found a better one yet.

      • Branch

        Bob, thanks for the excellent advice. Your loaf looks about 50% larger than mine, so I think there is something wrong in my rise. My loaf was about 6″ diameter and 3.5″ high. It gained maybe an inch in diameter and height from the original dough ball. (My typo on the internal temp–it must have been 210 not 110.) Other than preheating the pot and oven, my process seems like yours. (I did used a separate oven thermometer and an instant read .) I’m going to try the preheated oven/dutch oven method, but only if I can get a decent rise.

        • Branch

          Success. Fresh flour, new yeast, warmer “room temp”–thanks for all the help.

          • Branch

            Have made a couple of times with the whole wheat recipe–excellent results. I substituted Kaliber (non-alcohol dark stout) for the lager in the whole wheat and think it improves the whole wheat flavor–just a bit richer from the roasted barley malt.

    • Dharma

      I’m not organized enough to remember to start bread the night before I need it, so I use this recipe all the time to start in the morning or even at lunchtime if dinner will be a bit later… Always with excellent results. The difference is that my oven has a warming drawer with a “proof bread” setting that I let it rise in. OR I’ll stick it in the drawer without turning it on & use the oven of something else, which keeps the drawer warm enough. I cover the bowl with a damp towel instead of plastic.

      I also typically use all whole- grain flour, so I add a smidge extra yeast with no discernibly overly-yeasty flavor. I raise it in this semi-warm environment for about 5 or 6 hrs., knead a few times like the video & throw it onto the parchment & back into the drawer for another hour or 2. I’ve never had it not fluff right up as it should.
      Today I discovered that hubby polished off all the beer over the weekend AND I’m trying a mix of 3 new heirloom whole-grain flours so we’ll see what happens. But using the slightly-warmer rising temp seems to give me a consistently positive result even when I make the dough too wet at the beginning & have to knead in extra flour (which I seem to do a lot).
      Good luck!

  20. Laila

    Does this bread have any beer taste to it? I have tried other items with beer as part of the recipe, and not only can I taste it, but it was a vile flavor (I hate beer!). Is there a substitute for the beer? I have never made bread, and this recipe looked like an easy one to do for a rank beginner.

    • Mary L.

      I don’t taste the beer or the vinegar at all. The purpose of these is for their acetic and lactic acids (somebody please correct me if I’m off the mark here) which are normal by-products of the long cold rise and help create deeper flavor. You can leave it out and just use water if you’d like.

    • Dharma

      I’ve never tasted the beer or vinegar either. And I also don’t like beer, so I’d be sensitive to that.

    • Scott

      Just use water. Works fine. Keep the vinegar if you want. It adds a nice tang to the finished loaf.

  21. Char

    I made this bread today with good old Gold Medal flour, an O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer, and malt vinegar. Everything else was just as shown. I started it at 8:30 this morning and by 2:30 pm, it was more than doubled in size, so I dumped it out, kneaded a dozen times, turned into the Dutch oven lined with parchment, and waited for it to rise. One hour and 50 minutes later, I put the top on the Dutch oven, put it in a cold oven, and set the temp at 425*. It took about 15 minutes for the oven to come to full temp, at which point I turned it back to 350* and set the timer for 30 minutes. Then I uncovered and set the timer for another 20 minutes. Took the internal temp and it was at 203* so pulled the loaf. It was beautiful! Round, full, not quite as dark as I expected, but a nice crust nonetheless.

    I sliced into it for dinner an OH MY the flavor. Swoon! DH says this is the ONLY bread I should make from now on, and don’t bother to buy storebought sourdough any more! It’s THAT good! 🙂

    • Mary Lynch

      I noticed it rose more vigorously with my malt vinegar and beer as well. When using the ABin5 method, the mixed dough normally sits on the counter for about 2 hours until it doubles, even triples, then goes in the fridge. Since I use the beer/malt vinegar, I just wait for it to triple and put it in the fridge that much earlier. Using the Lahey method, I leave it to rise 12 hours max. Glad you liked the taste, I think the malt vinegar is great….

  22. Rich Price

    Here’s my best one yet using the Cooks Illustrated method. 2 1/2 cups white flour + 1/2 cup rye with beer & vinegar. Still working on the sourdough starter. What do you think about the San Francisco sourdough starter?

  23. Bill Doyle

    I have a DCS duel fuel oven.
    I also have a 3/4″ pizza stone that literally covers the full sheetpan sized lower rack with about a 1″ air gap around all edges.
    If I use the convection setting it works great for making pizza at 425-450 degrees. However when I heat the oven to 450 and used the stone with a overturned Magnalite pan as my cloche top I got a horribly burned loaf. In the past; when I made this loaf; I used to Magnalite stockpot with it’s lid in an upright position en lieu of a cloche and still got a burned lower crust(a fantastic loaf-albeit with a burned bottom crust that needed to be scraped off before it was deemed edible). Is it just the fact that I am using the convection setting and shouldn’t?

    • Bill Doyle

      Fixed it!
      I simply stopped using the convection setting and also kept the oven at 450. Still got a slight amount of charring on the bottom. Certainly not enough to make it inedible but I can work on that!

  24. Adele Caemmerer

    Can the dough from this recipe be doubled and kept in the frig for baking later? If so, are there any variations to the recipe?

  25. Mae

    I can’t watch the 3rd video. Fr your instructions seems like you only need to proof the bread once? Which is why I wanted the video so much. Been trying many recipes for soft white loaf bread but failed tremendously. My husband only likes white bread.

  26. TOM

    Previously I left a comment on the ANKB by Cooks Illustrated about not having to preheat the oven or cast iron pot as listed below. I did try it and it worked fine. Has anyone else tried it and what do you think about this since you didn’t mention it in your new video. See original post and reference below:
    TOM May 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm
    New post in Cooks illustrated APIRL, 2012 states you can put covered pots w/bread into COLD oven, heat to 425 and then WHEN TEMPERATURE IS REACHED,reduce temp to 350 AND START TIMING for 30 min then with top off for another 20 to 30 min to brown. Good energy saving tip and less fuss.

  27. Just a tip that works for me. I buy a pkg of shower caps and use them to cover my mixtures when rising. I reuse them and if one gets dough on it they are so cheap that I can afford to waste one. I always save the ones when i go traveling which is once a year with my daughters. I am 90 yrs old and have been baking since I was a little girl. I use beer and my sour dough starter.

  28. Mary Lynch

    I borrowed the idea of adding beer and vinegar, I always use it when making my ABin5 recipes. I decided to use malt vinegar rather than white, which seems to add a touch of nice flavor. For an ABin5 recipe that usually calls for 3 cups of water, I substitute 1/4 cup of the water by placing 1TBSP of malt vinegar in a measuring cup and adding beer up to the 1/4 cup line.

  29. Rob L

    Here is a pic of a slice from the white sourdough “almost no knead” recipe.

  30. Rob L

    These videos are EXCELLENT. I just made two loaves and got food ovenspring on a stone. I want to get a bit more sour taste however. I added some sourdough starter to the recipe and I’m thinking of either adding more of it or, more vinegar this time around, just don’t want to mess up the ratios.

    • Jeffrey

      If you’re using a sour-dough starter, one way of getting more sour taste is to extend the rise time by putting the bread in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. This slows the action of the natural yeast while allowing the bacteria that impart the sourness to continue acting. Obviously, you need to extend the timing of the whole operation. By how much depends on the temperature of the room once the bread is removed from the refrigerator.

  31. Anna

    I am new to bread making, have made a few loaves, this last one’s crust was as hard as a rock, only good for putting into soup! I don’t know what made the difference. Can you give me an idea as to what might have caused this?I did handle it a bit more this time as I was putting roasted garlic and red pepper bits into it. I’ll keep experimenting and learning. Also, I am curious as to what brand scale you use and where is the best place to buy one? I live Northern California.
    Thank you, your videos are most informative.

    • bstnh1

      The scale I have is a Taylor that I bought at Bed Bath & Beyond and I think it was about $20. It measures in both ounces and grams and from what I can tell, it’s very accurate.

  32. Phil

    This might be a lame question, but I didn’t realize measuring liquids by weight was the equivilent of measuring them by volume. When the recipe calls for, say 7 oz of water, I would have thought in terms of a liquid measuring cup. It does look really slick measuring onto the scale (and the results are obvious), but I’m just a bit confused. I am definitely going to try this though!

    • bstnh1

      Measuring by volume and weight are not the same and do not produce the same results. An 8 oz cup of moulten lead would weigh a lot more than 8 oz. by weight. If you use a recipe that gives quantities in volumes stick with volumes. If it gives weights, stick with weighing the ingredients. 8 liquid oz are not the same as 8 oz. by weight.

    • It works for water, but not necessarily other liquids, as bstnh1 points out.

  33. Sarah

    I’m trying the sandwich version of this loaf. I found that I had to add quite a bit more liquid to make everything come together. I live in a very dry climate at high altitude, though, so I’m hoping that is a factor! We’ll se how the loaf turns out!

    • Sarah

      This didn’t rise very much at all for the second rise. I split it into two smaller loaves (did the sandwich variety) and I was so diappointed! I have two little bricks of bread. I might give it one more shot.

  34. Rhonda Thibault

    Hi Jay, I always recap the beer and refrigerate it for my next loaves, particularly if I’m baking several times a week. It’s perfectly fine. Of course, you could always drink the rest!

  35. Jay J. Schneiderman

    Hi gang…….
    Being quite familiar with most of the techniques and recipes, here at Breadtopia, I figured it was time to give this cook’s ANK recipe a go around. Well, it creates a smaller, slightly denser loaf than the NKM I’ve been used to, but quite delicious, to be honest. In fact, I’m going to make another loaf again tonight!
    The only pain in the rear end, about this recipe, is having to open a perfectly good bottle of beer, for only 3 oz. , but the flavor of the finished loaf is really quite nice. I wouldn’t say that it gives the bread a sourdough taste, just a different very appealing taste/flavor.
    If you haven’t tried this recipe yet, do so, you’ll like it.

  36. Natalie

    Hi Eric!
    I am so thrilled with this bread that I just had to write and share a photo of my results and thank you for the videos. Just today I successfully baked both the wheat version and the white version. Strangely and opposite of your video, my wheat version rose better/more during proofing than my white version although the end results were great. I deviated from the instructions in only one way which might be helpful to other readers:

    After shaping the wheat version I was concerned about it keeping its shape and since I do not have an oval basket I placed the loaf on parchment paper and then placed the whole thing in the bottom of my oblong cloche to rise, covered with plastic. Obviously, this only left me with the top of my oblong cloche to preheat. When the oven was ready I just placed the preheated top on the cloche bottom and baked as normal. It worked wonderfully.

    Texturally, the white version reminds me a lot of San Francisco sourdough, but not as sour which I prefer. The flavor of the beer came through more on the wheat version. This will remain a keeper in my repertoire as it is super easy with really foolproof results. Thank you again!

    • Gorgeous bread, Natalie. With those results, I’d be happy too.

      Great tip on your cloche preheating method too. Thanks!

  37. bstnh1

    Has anyone tried freezing this dough? If so, when in the process do you freeze it? Thanks!

  38. Bob Johnson

    After trying all sorts of tools for scoring, I’ve come back to the good old scissors…knives, lames, serrated, non-serrated, et al. I cut my crosses about 1/2″ or a bit more deeply and simply walk across the top of the loaf with the scissors. When the loaf is baked you cannot tell how it has been scored and the result looks exactly like a straight edge was used. Very simple, easy, and no frustration level..try it you’ll like it!!!

    • Jeffrey

      I’ve never tried scissors before. Will give it a go next time I bake something that can be scored. I often bake very wet doughs, like Ciabatta, which rise higher, but can’t really tolerate scoring – if I score them, they tend to collapse. The extreme hydration makes scoring unnecessary. But I’ll try the scissors on one wet loaf, to see what happens. It will still taste good.

      • Bob Johnson

        Haven’t used the scissors on a very wet dough yet. My loaf of choice is the almost no knead bread which doesn’t tend to be very wet. Would be interested to read about how it works for you. By the way, I have developed my own doubled version of
        the above bread. 6 cups AP, 4 tsp salt, 20 oz liquid, 1/2 tsp instant yeast, sometimes vinegar sometimes not. Larger loaf is much better for toasting and for sandwiches, in my opinion.
        Thought I’d share…sharing is good!

        • Jeffrey

          Thanks for the sharing. I don’t know when I’ll get to trying it. We moved recently, things are still not where they’re supposed to be. Also, flour is considerably more expensive here on the east coast (NC) than in either Kansas or Texas, where we moved from.

  39. rhonda

    for some reason I had trouble scoring my loaf, I found that it was just easier to score them with the razor while they are still covered with the saran wrap…we will soon see if it workes out, I have 2 loaves in the oven as we speak

    • Jeffrey

      I’ve found that bread scoring works better with a serrated knife dipped in water, rather than with a razor blade, using a very light and quick touch, sometimes going back over the score in some places. I use a steak-knife with a serrated tip. The water-dipping is important, to keep the dough from dragging at the knife.

      Scoring also depends on the amount of pre-bake rise and the hydration of the bread: really light loaves or those with lots of water in them don’t take to much scoring very well, if at all. It also depends on the gluten content – less gluten means less supportive structure to the bread, so that scoring will cause the bread to flatten, rather than help it bloom in the oven. Rye bread with very little wheat flour in it is a good example of something I’m reluctant to score.

      • Gloria

        Well, I took it out of the fridge, it’s been in the oven inside the Magnalite in the aluminum loaf pan, covered. Just took the lid off for the final bake and lo and behold, it’s risen even higher than the 1st loaf! I guess the short visit inside the fridge was not the disaster I had anticipated. Now, what do I do with two loaves of perfectly beautiful bread with only one diner? Guess I’ll fill the freezer with sliced loaves and have enough bread for several weeks. Must try to have a guest over or get fat and happy by myself. Thanks for your help, Barbara and Bill.

  40. bstnh1

    Looks like a great recipe and technique. I’ve had fairly good luck with the Sullivan Street Bakery recipe, but I never get the rise I’m looking for. I’m in the process of trying the white version right now (dough is proofing) and hopefully I’ll wind up with something that rises a bit more. The loaves you ended up with looked fantastic!

    • bstnh1

      Made the white flour (King Arthur Bread Flour) version a couple of days ago and it came out absolutely fantastic. Much easier, much tastier and, more importantly, a much better rise than the Sullivan Street Bakery (NY Times) version of no-knead. It has excellent crumb, a crunchy but not tough crust and bigger holes than I expected. It makes great toast!! Not having a danish whisk, I used a Kitchenaid mixer with the regular blade to mix it. Used Guinness Stout instead of a light lager, but it still came out great. Thanks for uploading the videos. They are excellent – so much better than simply trying to decipher written instructions.

  41. Thanks for the tutorial. I’m going to try this recipe this weekend!
    Brett Cottrell

  42. Piper

    This recipe has been my (almost) first attempt at bread-making, and certainly my first success, so I’m very excited about it. I’ve only made it in my dutch oven so far, but would like to make it in a loaf pan next. This may be a newbie question, but I’m curious to know whether the lack of a lid changes the texture of the crust at all?
    Thank you!

  43. Bill Doyle

    I made this with 100% KABF and LOVED IT!
    I do not own a cloche but my 36″ DCS dual-fuel range is fitted with a stone that pretty much fills the bottom rack. I used an 8 Qt MagnaLite stock pot to bake the bread in and it came out fantastic!
    Thanks for sharing.

  44. Leif

    I’m on my 5th loaf of NKD and every loaf bakery quality bread. So now it’s time to experiment with some different breads.
    With the holidays coming I want to try Julakake, a Norwegian Christmas bread. I envisioning a crusty loaf with a soft sweet crumb and the sent of cardamom and citrus. In my family that says Christmas My one concern, moms recipe includes milk and eggs. Is it safe to do a long ferment with dairy products?

    • Hi Leif,

      That sounds really nice. I like your vision ;-).

      I’ve used milk in no knead recipes without a problem. I think any potential issue would be negated when baked at the high temps anyway.

      • Leif

        Thank you,
        I’ll post my results and a photo.,

    • Jeffrey

      I’ve never run into any problems using Milk and Eggs, although the eggs seem to make for less lift in the bread. The only caveat with milk is that it contains sugar, which results in faster, darker browning, and can cause burnt spots if you leave the bread in too long. But even with a little burning, the taste is still good. For sweet breads, too much added sugar can retard rising – most sweet bread recipes call for extra amounts of yeast.

  45. Bette

    How is the bread different when you use bread flour?

  46. Jason Baker

    Today I made the sandwich version of this bread in a Pullman 9″ pain de mie pan. Sourdough rye with 6 ounces of mashed potato and some whole milk added. Tastes outstanding and the Pullman pan really tightens the crumb for easy thin slicing for sandwiches. Not as pretty as the more rustic loaves I make in the la cloche, but for sandwiches it’s a winner!

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