Mark Liptak, who has graciously shared with us on prior occasions, sent in an email the other day appropriately titled “Back At It”. “It” being bread baking, of course.

Mark’s got some great tips for handling his no knead bread dough with some excellent photos. Good stuff!

In his words…

Now that we’re back into cooler weather I’ve started making bread
again.  The engineer in me is always looking for process improvement,
I think I have found one.

I’ve noticed that I typically have a bit of difficulty transferring
the proofed dough from the proofer into the hot La Cloche.  When the
dough drops out it seems to upset the yeast gassing and resulting
crumb structure and loaf height.  I’ve now started using parchment
paper to transfer the proofed dough.  When the dough is fully proofed
(about 2 hours), I put a sheet of parchment paper on top and gently
turn it upside down, leaving the proofing bowl on top.  Then, grabbing
the corners of the parchment paper I can gently place the dough and
bowl into the waiting preheated La Cloche bottom.  Then gently remove
the proofing bowl and cover the La Cloche with the parchment still
under the dough and let it bake.  The result is a significantly taller
loaf with better crumb structure.  The parchment paper comes out
looking quite scorched, but the loaf easily comes out with absolutely
no sticking or other problems associated with having the parchment
paper along for the whole bake cycle.

Give it a try, I think you’ll find it improves the final result.  I’ve
included a few photos, lucky I didn’t scorch my camera lens, a 500
degree oven really gives a bit of a blast when you open it!  BTW, I
use corn meal rather than wheat germ, that’s what gives some yellow
color to the dough in the photos.



It’s Bread Baking Season

Earlier Comments

43 thoughts on “It’s Bread Baking Season

  1. I just tried my first WW Almost no-knead bread. It was baked in my oval le creuset type Dutch oven. I added a little dry milk powder to the dry ingredients ..@2TB… Since the dough from my first loaf spread out on my baking stone (it was still fabulous by the way)…I decided to try to handle/juggle the dough less. After the quick 15 knead turns, it was turned out on a piece of parchment just a bit bigger than the finished loaf would be. Covered that with a bit of flour and a piece of plastic …braced the loaf on each side with empty glass Pyrex pans to
    encourage vertical rise, rather than spread….covered it all with a slightly warm towel (my kitchen is pretty cool in winter here) and let it proof for about and hour and a half. Then when my stone and Dutch oven were heated for about a half hour I transferred the dough by
    sliding ANOTHER long strip of parchment UNDER the parchment the bread was resting on. It was about 5” longer on each end and the width of the risen loaf. Lifted it up….slipped it in the pan and slipped out my
    parchment ‘sling’. Floured and made slits in the top of the loaf and put it in the oven. WOW! Did this come out great. Terrific oven rise even after the nice pre- rise….Can’t wait to let it cool enough to cut into it and try it out! This loaf is about 5″ – 6” tall.

    • Hi Robyn,
      I once took the care you do to place the risen dough into the oven. But I found a better way – but be VERY careful or you may burn yourself. The reason is that I heat my oven to 550F and then just dump the risen dough into the preheated pot. Usually within 20 minutes it is browned and ready to take out. I use Corningware ceramic pots and there is no need to grease etc as the high heat prevents the dough from sticking. You can buy a couple of the pots and Goodwill for a couple of bucks each and use several to bake the loaves of bread. The bread always comes out wonderful! Try it, you will love it!

      Just remember, the oven and pots are hot as h*** so be very careful!


      • Bill,
        Do you cover your Corning ware pots?

        • Robyn, No but I have a large pan of water on the bottom shelf of the stove. And you may find 550F too hot – I made some delicious multigrain bread right after lunch today. I used 450F for the oven temperature.

          And as a suggestion, you might find that making dough with less water in it and gently placing the dough in the hot containers gives lighter breads. I have even used wax paper sprayed with oil or baking spray as a sling and leaving the sling in place as you lower it dough into the pots.

          I made dough for 2 pots – one was corning and the other was a heavy ceramic pot. The Corning pot was at least 3 time bigger than the ceramic pot.

          Good luck and happy experimenting!


          PS Just remember you can turn any failures into breadcrumbs or bread pudding… I have had a few failures along the way.

  2. No knead fan in CT

    I’m not sure where I saw this suggested (it might have been elsewhere on this site), but here’s what I do to simplify getting the dough into the hot Dutch oven once it’s ready to bake.

    After the long first rise, I take a good sized sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil and form it into a basket shape inside the Dutch oven. You have to really shape it well, paying particular attention to make sure the pot’s lid will still fit on snugly.

    After the foil basket is formed, remove it from the pot (so you’ll be able to preheat the pot later) and spray it with a bit of Pam non-stick spray. After scraping the dough out, folding it and shaping it, dust it with flour and then move the dough into the foil basket with a dough knife. Then just cover the basket loosely with Saran Wrap or a tea towel for the second rise.

    After two hours (and with your pot pre-heated), just remove the pot’s lid and slip the foil basket with dough into the pot. If the basket sags a bit under the weight of the dough when moving it into the pot, press the foil down around the dough with the edge of a wooden spoon once the basket is in the pot.

    (Also, before I put the dough into the foil basket, I put the basket on a dinner plate or cookie sheet. That way, if I have to move the dough and basket around for some reason, I just lift the plate or cookie sheet rather than the basket itself.

    This has worked really well for me, so feel free to give it a try.

  3. Myron Anderson

    I have been baking bread using the “no-knead” method for over a year and have had great success. I have taught several others this method and all rave about the taste and ease of baking. I have tried it ever which way. At first I used Eric’s method to a T, and for the most part it always turned out great, however I was having trouble droping the bread into my Dutch Oven, I have yet to buy and use a La Cloche. I stumbled upon the idea of using parchment paper, placing it in my banton before the second rise, and it worked beautifully. Also I found that my dough was too wet and I had a hard time working with it so I reduced the amount of water, and though the dough was a little stiffer it turned out fine. I have made bread for the Juvenile Detention Facility and all the boys ask for more. I have never had a “bad” loaf yet. some didn’t look too good but the taste has always been great. So a little less water, and parchment paper works fine.


  4. I find that the higher you can get the oven, the better the bread turns out. If you crank it up to 500F or even 550F and preheat the bowls in the oven to those temperatures, that you get better results than using lower temperatures.

    I use heavy clay or Pyrex bowls and have no problem with sticking.

  5. Max Nigh

    Firrst success after 5 tries. When putting the bread in the Coche, I would turn the bowl over and plop in the Coche. The bead became a pancake, and baked about 3/4 inch high. A real dissappointment.
    My solution: I used more flower for dusty the wet dough. when ready to put in the Coche, I took the dough and put it out on a board. I reworked the dough into a ball and made sure it was a ball. I pu tin the baking Coche and , wallla , I got something the looked like a loaf of bread.
    there was one failure. My wife turned the oven off on me duting the 15 minute browning baking. Oh well, it came out pretty brown, but better luck next time.

  6. Richard

    Bread sticking in a clay baker? I do what is often done in a banneton or basket: a light spray of oil and some oat bran. Spray the inside, put in a small handful of oat bran and rotate the baker so it covers the inside.

    Nice outside surface + no sticking + easy to clean!

  7. Rob

    I use the same technique, it works great. Once or twice I’ve accidentally folded the dough over a scrap of parchment paper, though, and ended up baking some kind of weird sourdough-parchment hybrid loaf. Still tasted great, but had a bit more fiber than I had anticipated.

    Have not put the proofing basket in with the loaf, though. I’ll try that next time.

  8. Maria

    Hi – Here’s my tip on how to handle the dough from the second proofing to the hot baking dish. Of course it’s a gooey mess when I get it ready for the second proofing; it’s just something I have become accustomed to handling (I’m pretty faithful to the original recipe). After I prep it on a well-floured board for the second proof, I lightly dust (lightly “rub in”, if you will) a wooden pizza slip with AP flour. Then I generously coat the whole pizza slip with oat bran. I plop the dough on top of that, and then cover it with a stainless steel colander and let rise for maybe 80 minutes before heating the oven and baking dish. When it’s ready to transfer, the dough pretty much slides right off of the slip and into the baking dish with minimal sticking and degassing. Once in the baking dish, I gently agitate the baking dish to “settle” the dough neatly into the dish. See photo of loaf prepared that way, and baked in an unglazed loaf-shaped cloche.


  9. freddie

    For about two years I’ve been experimenting with NKB and this is what I’ve ended up with (for now). Not knowing a damn thing about baking has helped me considerably.
    2 c. unbleached flour
    1 c. Whole wheat flour
    2 T ground flax seed
    1 T wheat germ
    1 T wheat bran
    1+ t salt
    1 t sugar
    1/2 t yeast
    1-1/2 c. filtered water
    Let rise as most recipes and bake, covered at 450 for 30 minutes and uncovered for 15 to 30 more.

    The result isn’t as elastic as usual or as I like, but is very tasty and nutritious.
    I have also added 2 T. of rinsed, dried and ground quinoa or 2 T chia seed, two very powerful grains.
    The walnut-raisin is so popular that I’ve been making about 10 loaves a week for friend who love it as a “breakfast bread”. Even my ex-wife, who is a master baker loves it.

    (1/3 c. raisins + 1/3 c. walnut pieces for walnut-raisin bread)

  10. Re. my last post, the uncovered bake can be between 15 and 20 minutes depending on how dark you want your loaf. The load in this picture was 15 minutes and although dark the crust appears a bit thinner than in the past at 20 minutes. I’m waiting for it to cool down before jumping in.


  11. I’ve experimented with different flour, the amount of flour, and the amount of water after the first two attempts left me with a soppy mess after the first rise. Here’s the PERFECT (for me) recipe and technique. Incidentally, bread flour does respond differently than AP flour which for the same proportions was a bit more wet. Thus, if you’re going to make bread then make it with a high-protein/high gluten four such as All-Trumps or a store bought bread flour. Following is my technique to make 1 Batard with a finishing weight of 1 lb. 7 ounces. The pre-bake weight is 16 + 12 = 28 ounces. Thus there is a 5 ounce loss of liquid during baking. (You may have noticed I’m a bit fanatical about these things). I might add, the crust and crumb are first class and I always get compliments on my bread.

    So, I start off by weighing 1 lb of bread flour to which I add 1/4 tsp yeast and 1 1/2 tsp table salt. I put that in my Cuisinart stand mixer and give it a mix at speed level 1 using the paddle attachment. Then I add 12 ounces (by weight) of room temp. water and let it mix, again with the paddle attachment speed 1, for about 1 minute. I scoop that out and let it rise about 18 hours (I start this about 2 in the afternoon and complete the process upon awakening the next moring) in an 8 cup bowl sprayed with a light coat of oil. In the morning I give the bowl a gentle downward bang on a folded towel and let the risen dough gently deflate itself naturally. Then using a plastic scraper I turn it out on a floured counter. I let it rest 15 minutes (I don’t know why, but it’s a good time to grab a cup of coffee and contemplate the nature of the universe). I then gently flour the surface and press it down to a rectangular shape with the longer edges going away from me. Then I fold the top third over the middle third and the lower third over that. I flour it once again and press it out slightly so it’s a rectangle with the long sides going left to right. I let it rest several minutes then crease the middle long ways and fold it just once on that crease pinching the long edge with my fingers. I then coat the entire log (which is now approximately 12 inches long and 4 inches wide) with cornmeal. I lift it and place it on a piece of brown parchment paper about 1/2 inch larger on all sides and place it on the metal insert that goes in my fish poacher which is 16 1/2 long by 6 1/2 wide by 4 1/2 high heavy metal construction. The insert has two wire handles at each end to lift it when placing the insert into the poacher. I cover the bread with a tea towel and let it rise 90 minutes. After one hour I put the poacher in the oven and turn it on to 500, letting it and the oven heat up for 30 minutes. At the 90 minute mark I remove the poacher from the oven and place in my risen dough it using the self constructed metal handles. Sometimes I score it 5 times with a sharp knife but that risks deflating the dough. I’ve now come to the conclusion that a natural rip across the top during the “oven spring” portion of the baking looks quite nice, thus not scoring with a knife. Just before covering I give it a light spritz of water using a Windex type spritzer you do your windows and counters with. I cover it and put it in the oven at 500 for 30 minutes then an additional 15 minutes at 450 uncovered. When done baking I just lift it out of the poacher with my little handles, slide the bread off of the parchment paper and let it cool on a rack. The neat thing listening to it crack as it cools down. It’s singing to me!
    Over and out not to mention happy baking,
    The Great Throwdini (

  12. Hi Ann,

    Is this a recipe from this site or another one? Sometimes this helps me answer questions.

    Generically speaking, you can try shortening the proofing time to more like 12-14 hours and just stiffen the dough a bit more with more flour. With the no knead recipes you usually have a fair amount of flexibility in the recipe and still get great results.

  13. Ann S

    I am having trouble with my no knead Italian bread recipe – I follow it very carefully, even bought a scale to weigh the flour, I am using 2 cups King Arthur’s italian flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour, but the mixture is too wet and hard to handle after 18 hours. Should I put my dough in the refrigerator? What should I be doing differently?

  14. Bill Huebl

    I use wax paper and spray it with cooking spray. Seems to work as well as parchment and a lot cheaper.

    Also, try using some Goya Malta in your recipes – might start with half a bottle… the results are amazing.

    • diana

      are you using the malta instead of water with the no knead bread

  15. mai O'Neill

    Hi Eric, I’m looking for Denise”s recipe for strawberry & rhubarb pie but can’t seem to locate it on the site right now. Could you please e-mail to me or the part of the site it’s on. Thanks. Mai.

  16. Chris

    Question: has anyone tried to do this with a teflon sheet instead of parchment paper? I love using them in cooking, lining roasting trays, grill trays, cake pans, and afterwards you only need to wipe and dry before reuse. So if it works, it would save money and paper.
    (I would try myself, but I haven’t made a successful loaf yet 🙁 so I’m sure anyone else could answer faster. I do hope to get there soon though)

  17. Linda

    I’ve been using the recipe from the article in Mother Earth News from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I’ve had a couple of flops – we eat them anyway – but this recipe is for free form bread baked on a stone. The crust is good, but by the second day (only two of us eating it, plus I make a whole wheat sandwich on a regular basis) it is soft – does enclosed baking make the crust last longer?? I store my bread in a plastic bread keeper with vent holes – would it be better just left out on the counter? I love the educational videos – I’m a visual person and a lot of my bread book reading is making much more sense.

  18. Hi Billie,

    Yes. There’s whole book out (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day) that’s based on refrigerating large batches of dough and then taking from that when you want to bake.

    You can also freeze dough for later use. I don’t know what most people do, but I freeze the dough right after the initial mix and knead and then let it rise when I thaw it out. I do this with pizza dough a lot but it would work for bread too.

  19. I tried dried rosemary, approx. 2 T. , dried tomatoes-6-8 halves, chopped in large pieces, and some baked garlic in the bread. Put the rosemary and dried tomatoes into the initial mixing.
    Fantastic!!!! I had baked the garlic in the oven before, cutting off the top and putting a little olive oil on it. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake 20-30″. Let cool and mash up a bit. Then put the garlic in when you fold the bread over itself and let rise an additional 2 hours.
    Very good. Colors are nice with the red and green. I have also tried a chunks of Parmesan cheese in the bread with the initial mixing, but it melts away–still good flavor and looks.
    Enjoy! Marilyn

  20. Billie

    Can I freeze or refridgerate the dough for later use? Do I do that after the 18 hour rising?


  21. Joe Valencic

    Hi Eve,

    This may sound a little off the wall, but I can assure you that it works, even though it’s not something a lot of people know about yet.

    When you make your no-knead dough, allow it to proof on the counter for at it’s normal 12-20 hours, then put the dough into the refrigerator and allow it to get cold (overnight is best). You may notice that the dough begins to sag and partially deflate, but that is normal. The dough will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks as long as it’s covered. I use a five quart Tupperware-style container to keep my dough in, and I make a double recipe of no-knead dough.

    When you’re ready to make rolls, flour your hands and dust the top of the dough where you’ll grab it, and pull off a hunk of dough about the size of a grapefruit and cut it off using your kitchen shears or a sharp knife. This will be about one pound of dough and will make 8 dinner rolls. Put the dough on a well floured work surface and use your knife or dough scraper to cut the dough into 2 oz portions, which is a little bit larger than a golf ball. I use my kitchen scale to weigh the dough, and I shape the dough into the shape of a ball, stretching the dough and pulling it all under the dough ball. Try to not overwork the dough. Arrange the dough balls in a circle on a cornmeal dusted piece of parchment paper that’s about 2″ larger than the inside of your La Cloche clay baker.You can use additional flour to keep your hands and surface from sticking. Make sure your grouping of dough balls allows room for the balls to grow to double their size without exceeding the inside measurement of your baker. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and a towel and allow to double in size, about one hour.

    30 minutes before you bake the rolls, preheat the oven and clay baker as you would for regular no-knead bread. When the rolls are ready to bake, grab the parchment paper and place paper and rolls right into the baker and cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes or until the rolls are colored as you prefer.

    Any leftover dough can be put back in the container and returned to the fridge where it will be ready for the next batch of rolls or loaf of bread.

    The beauty in this method is that you can have dough ready each day to bake fresh bread or rolls, without the lengthy fermentation process, and fresh bread is ready for the oven in an hour from when you open the fridge.

    This process is an adaptation of the method described in “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.” I have also used the no-knead sourdough dough to make french baguettes in the open oven. After allowing the dough to rise for one hour I give an egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds and bake in my countertop convection toaster oven. They’re great for breakfast or anytime you want fresh French bread.

    Let me know how this works for you.


  22. Eve

    Hi All,

    Is there a no knead recipe or method for making small, nicely crusty dinner rolls, made in the la cloche clay baker?

    It would be nice to have my lovely bread in smaller portions, easily portable, etc.


  23. Susan

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for your quick answer! I’ve often frozen other breads, homemade as well as store bought, but just wasn’t sure about this one, which goes in the oven in an hour….drooling on the keyboard!

  24. Dave the Novice


    I freeze bread all the time. I usually divide a loaf when I first cut it, and freeze half. Lately, though, because I’ve been playing around with sourdough, and doing lots of experiments, I’ve been baking a lot faster than we can eat, so the freezer is filling up.

    The crust crisps right up when you reheat it.

    As a matter of fact, I keep my thawed bread in plastic bags, so the crust softens. I always pop that in the oven for a few minutes before dinner, too.

  25. Susan

    Has anyone tried freezing a fresh bread? I’m making the steel cut oats recipe now and thought I’d cut half of it to eat today/tomorrow (if it lasts that long) and freeze the other half. I was planning on using it Thanksgiving with another loaf as well, of something else, maybe rye (looks yummy). I would thaw it out and reheat at 350 for 10 minutes to crisp it up. Do you think that will work?

    BTW, I am so happy to have found your site. I have been making the standard NKB recipe for the last few weeks (since I”discovered” it) and wanted to branch out into other grains but was a little uncertain how much of what to use. Now that I have found your recipes, I am planning to be much more adventurous!

    Happy crunching!

  26. Marsha

    The kevlar oven glove is absolutely wonderful. It’s better than anything I’ve ever used to handle those super-hot baking stones and the cloche. I’m going to get a second one.

  27. marc lowen

    thats a heaping 1/4 cup of starter for my interesting bread and 2 heaping tsp of cinnamon

  28. marc lowen

    So I baked an interesting No Knead and thought I would share
    3.5 white KA
    .5 Whole wheat
    2tsp sea salt
    heaping cup of starter
    1/4 tsp yeast
    1++cup goldin raisins
    1.75 cups of water…a little to much
    12 hour first rise 1hour second rise divided cut off small piece and baked it at 350 = delicious loaf small loaf pan waiting to cut the large loaf from my cast iron pot it look great…………..

  29. kathyjean

    Well, I made the loaf today (click link) in the pre-heated clay pot, and everyone really likes it. It is not as “holey” as I had hoped, but still very good. I had to make 1/2 again as much because the pot I got is pretty big. I used 1 1/2 c. whl wht, 3 1/2 c bread flr, and 2 1/4 c water. I’m going to mix some up tonight with all bread flour and see what that does. I’m really enjoying this. I will try the soaking method after that.

  30. I’ve never tried the soaking technique. But I’d LOVE it if you tried it each way and report back on what you find.

    I know others have done it both ways, but I don’t think very many people are subscribed to this particular thread, so we may not hear from them on this page.

  31. kathyjean

    Thanks for the answer. I’ve never done this before. What is the difference in the crust with the hot pot versus the soaked pot?

  32. Hi Kathyjean. You can soak the clay pot in water first if you want. A lot of people do it this way. If you do, then start baking with it in a cold oven. In other words, put your bread dough in the pot just after you’ve soaked it and bring them both up to temperature together.

    This is in contrast to another popular way of handling it where you preheat the pot and then put the dough in. There would be no point in doing it this way if you’ve soaking the pot first, since the water would have evaporated by the time the dough was placed inside.

  33. Chris

    Thank you for the parchment tip, I look forward to trying it. Given my wheat intolerance, I tried using oatbran to line my proofing basket and it works great.

  34. kathyjean

    Newbie question: Do I soak the clay pot in water first? Thanks. I find this site very helpful and informative in helping me out with my bread making. I am just starting to experiment with no-knead bread, I have been making our bread a few years now.

  35. Joe Valencic

    I use a different approach with the use of parchment paper. I line my proofing baskets (wicker) with parchment paper, being careful to form the paper closely to the inside shape of the basket. I trim off all but 2″ of paper extending over the edges of the baskets, then spray the paper with no-stick spray. I shape the dough to the basket shape, cover with plastic and allow to rise for 60 minutes. I then lift the proofed dough out of the baskets with the edges of the paper, and place them in the preheated pots and bake as usual. This method eliminates inverting the proofed dough and risking deflation. I have the La Cloche oblong baker from Eric, as well as two other clay bakers I acquired along the way. IMHO, the clay bakers are the greatest way to bake no-knead breads.


  36. Dear (No) Bread Doofus,

    Not a bad question at all. Besides, this site, as with parchment paper, is flame retardant.

    I’ve never seen or heard of a case of parchment paper actually catching fire but when it gets scorched like that it crumbles easily. So if nothing else, trimming the excess would reduce clean up issues.

  37. Bread Doofus

    Hi everyone! I know absolutely nothing about baking bread, I’m just starting to learn, so please don’t flame me if this is a stupid question. 🙂 I’m wondering if you could just tear or cut away the excess paper so there would be less scorching. It looks like the most severe scorching is happening on the excess that is hanging down, and less so up close to the bread. It looks like a fire hazard to me. eek! But that is some kind of beautiful bread.

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