Earlier Comments

15 thoughts on “Nate’s Bake

  1. Audrey

    Well I have been trying to get one of my guys to clean up my rusty dutch oven for a long time and finaly forced hubby to let me buy a la cloche, since he also never got around to making me the homemade one! I even tried sprinkling the bran on the bottom of the cloche, that burned! I used a oven thermometer, and the oven was around 500! should have waited longer to put it in after turning it down a bit. Is an older stove, they say was a even heater, boy they were’nt kidding!

  2. Bob Packer

    RE: burned bottom crust.
    I use an inverted baking sheet under my cast iron dutch oven for exactly that reason. Seems to cut down on the burning considerably.

  3. I REALLY hope to start shooting more videos this coming week.

  4. Lori O

    Thanks. No, I appreciate the input!! I had most of those items on my list already!! Are more videos coming soon? Thanks for all you do!

  5. That’s like asking me which child I like best ;). Actually, I lean a bit towards the oblong because I’m a crust lover and an oblong loaf has a better crust to crumb ratio.

    Other essentials are the Dr. Oetker dough scraper, a bench knife, instant read thermometer, kitchen scale (with tare feature) that measures in grams and ounces, Danish dough whisk, and you might as well get a package of SAF instant yeast while you’re at it.

    You asked!

  6. Lori

    Hello again! Which La Cloche do you like the best? The round or loaf design. Also, what are the baking “essentials” you’d recommend that everyone should have. (I am creating my birthday wish list :-))

  7. Thanx again Eric and Nate!

    Oh Nate, just to clarify, the whole wheat bread I was speaking about at the end of my email was an entirely different topic. It was not made from the no-knead recipe. It was just some whole wheat bread recipe I found on the internet. I was going to try to make the “Holy Grail of 100% Whole Wheat Breads” recipe found here on Breadtopia…but Eric has told me to hold off….so I will.

    As for your helpful hints for the no-knead, I do cool on a wire rack. Also, I found that on my second attempt, the crust was much lighter and softer than on my first attempt. I am wondering if it was due to the reduction of 50 degrees in temperature or the fact that I only baked with the lid off for 15 minutes instead of for 20 minutes (I was afraid of burning the bottom again). I think I am learning from your comments….keep trying! Perhaps when I order my La Cloche I will have better luck. My Le Creuset pot seems ok for now, but I really don’t want to ruin it! My oven only heats from the bottom too (I think…don’t most gas ovens heat from the bottom??…gotta check the manual I guess). As you originally suggested, next time I try the no-knead recipe, I will invert upside down for the last 20 minutes, once the lid is removed.

    From what I can read in your second email, you use starter instead of instant yeast in your no-knead rustic style baguette recipe, correct? I looked for starter in a few of our major grocery chains here in Toronto but couldn’t find some! I am wondering if I should hit the health food stores next? After reading the info on Eric’s site and watching the video I am a bit more informed on starter, but I still have a lot to understand. I was just going to order a batch of Eric’s starter…just not sure which one to order yet as I do not know the difference between dry and live.

    I am really knew to bread baking and some of the terms used are really foreign to me. I will try again this Saturday.

    until then…happy baking!

  8. Nate

    Gah! Forgot this. IMHO, whole wheat really does not go with a rustic style baguette or “French” bread. White flour, salt, water, starter. I usually put in one half a cup of KA white whole wheat. If I put in a whole cup, can really taste it, and it does get dense. For me, not for this type of bread (no knead, sourdough…)


  9. Nate


    I just turn the loaf upside down on the oven rack to finish the bake. I do this because my oven only has heat from the bottom, and I am trying to avoid burning the bottom. I def recomend a wire rack to cool the loaves on. I do this with both my round and oblong loaves.

    The crusts are crispy and thick.

    My experience in baking is def a learning one. I think I learn something new every time. Times given are a range. Sometimes longer, sometime shorter. And dare I say, same with ingredients. But what do I know?

    Good luck


  10. Yea, I guess I would try keeping the lid off a little longer for a thicker crust. Between the round and oblong cloche, I’d recommend the oblong for crust lovers. You just get more of it for the same amount of dough.

    By “lower hydration” I just mean his dough isn’t as wet as many make their no knead dough, so it has less of a tendency to flatten out under its own weight.

    The “Holy Grail” sandwich loaf bread is meant to be baked in a baking pan vs a cloche, so you’re ok there. However, I’d hold off of that recipe. It’s really not all that great in my opinion. I’ve got a couple more sandwich loaf type recipes coming eventually that are way better. And one of them is actually pretty easy with far fewer ingredients.

  11. Well thank you so much for the comments and advice! I am more confused then ever though…..

    Just some quick comments:

    1. My second attempt at the no-knead method was again a bust. Although the bottom did not burn black, the crust was much lighter and softer (I prefer a thicker, crunchier crust). I baked it in my Le Creuset again but this time baked at 450 degrees from start to finish, 30 minutes with the lid on and only 15 minutes with the lid off (I was afraid to burn the bottom again). I’m still not satisfied. We ate the whole loaf though….so much for my low-carb diet!

    Eric, I am the one who digs out all the dough and feeds it to anyone who will eat it (dog/husband) and I eat all the crust. I do not want a burned bottom or top, but I do love a thicker, crunchier crust than the resulting crust in my second attempt. Based on your comments above, is the key to a crunchy crust removing the lid sooner than the 30minute mark? At what time point…15minutes? 20 Minutes?

    I will try again, this time using your temperatures – 500 degrees for 30 minutes and 450 degrees for 20 minutes. I worry though, that my oven may be a little too hot than most.

    2. When I said I would like to bake a french stick – I think I really meant Vienna Stick. At our bakeries in Toronto, this is basically an Italian version of the French stick but with a thicker crust. I like Nate’s rustic looking loaf and especially since it seems to have a thicker crust. What is a “batard” shape? If it is rustic looking loaf with a thicker crust, I’m all for that, and I guess the oblong La Cloche is the way to go? I don’t think I am adventurous enough to get a stone. I think I may also get the oblong proofing basket as you suggested….gee…my tab is climbing up to $200!

    I am not sure what you mean when you say : “It looks like he (Nate) may have kept the dough a little less hydrated than many people would. But the results look great.” Is this important for me to understand?

    Nate, thanx for your comments as well!

    Since your oven is hotter than most as well, you advise to take out the loaf after 25 minutes at 490 degrees and then to bake UPSIDE DOWN for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Is this correct? Is this advice for the oblong shape? Have you tried this method with the round loaf? Where do I put the loaf once I take it out of the baking pot? Do I place it on the rack? (I do not want to purchase a baking stone….at least not for now). Just wondering…is the crust thick and crunchy? lol…

    My 3yr old just finished up the last of my door-stopper whole wheat loaf for breakfast….poor thing…it wasn’t pleasant watching each drawn out painful swallow. I am going to try baking the “Holy Grail of 100% Whole Wheat Breads”. Problem is, I haven’t ordered my oblong La Cloche yet and the only pan I have on hand is an older aluminum baking pan. Can I use that for now?

    Gottta run…my 9 month old is crawling up my leg….

  12. I do the exact same thing as Nate (lean a bit away from very wet dough) for the same reasons. Get better rise and still open crumb.

  13. Nate

    To answer some of Marilyn’s questions as well as provide some back-story…

    I was looking for more “typical” sandwich shape bread then provided by my round La Cloche. So I ordered the oblong one. Unfortunately, at the time, Eric was out of an oblong proofing basket, but I needed to have some rectangular bread, so I just proofed the dough on parchment paper. It was well oiled, and the dough slipped right off into the La Cloche. I think it held together pretty well, but I won’t have a comparison until I get an oblong basket. Eric is correct, I prefer my dough a little drier than “normal”, to provide for greater oven spring.

    It seems to me that transferring the dough from a proofing basket or paper to a very hot stone (where you have to move quickly) tends to deflate the dough at the very beginning of the bake. So I try to counter that with a “dry” dough, and greater oven spring. But what do I know?

    I also had the problem with the bottom part of my bread becoming more cooked then the upper. I have a Gemini gas oven, which has two ovens (a small one on top, and a larger one on bottom). The bottom oven (where I bake my bread) only has heat from the bottom. So I bake mine for about 22-24 minutes at 490 (I think my oven runs hot as well), then take the loaf all the way out of the La Cloche, and bake it about 10 minutes more at 450 UPSIDE down. I no longer burn the bottom of my breads.


  14. Ah, there you are! Hi Marilyn.

    First off, congratulations on your decision to bake your own bread. Considering how fundamental bread is to our lives and all the factors you mention, I think it’s really a huge benefit for your family in many ways.

    Regarding the temperature thing with no knead baking, people get good results anywhere in the 450-500 range. Most people reduce the temp when they remove the lid for the last 10 minutes or so. I think the best thing to do is just find what works best given your oven baking characteristics and the container you’re baking in. As you indicated, some ovens bake hotter than others and there also seems to be some difference in how a cast iron Dutch oven bakes vs. a ceramic La Cloche kind of thing. After a few loaves of experimenting I think you hit on what you like best.

    Recently someone mentioned that they were also able to somewhat control the thickness of the crust by adjusting the amount of time they left the bread uncovered at the end of the bake. This person didn’t want a super crusty crust and found that by waiting until just the last 5 minutes of baking before removing the lid, the crust was thinner. So there’s small simple things you can tweak to get your ideal loaf. You’ll get it pretty fast. One of the great things about the no knead method is you can cycle through several batches without totally knocking yourself out.

    One of the main things to keep in mind is there is quite a lot of flexibility in the no knead recipe and many ways to do it right.

    I use my oblong la cloche frequently and use an oblong proofing basket to hold the rising dough. When it’s time to put it in the hot cloche, I just gently flip it in. It kind of just rolls over the edge of the proofing basket and gently rolls into the cloche with minimum disruption to the dough. It’s been a big ordeal finding just the right proofing basket at a decent price. The supplier I originally found can’t seem to get them in. I have recently located another source and they just arrived. I need to get a picture taken and posted in the shopping area under "proofing baskets". I’ll do it this weekend. It really is much easier to use these and helps hold the desired shape during rising. However, you can see from Nate’s pictures above that he did quite well just letting the dough rise on well oiled parchment paper on the counter. It looks like he may have kept the dough a little less hydrated than many people would. But the results look great. I will be illustrating all this in an upcoming video.

    As for making a "french-stick-type" loaf like a baguette, I think the oblong cloche is not the way to go. You’d probably get more desirable results using as big a baking stone as you can fit it your oven for that. The oblong cloche is more for what’s referred to as a "batard" shape kinda like Nate’s.

    Not sure I really addressed all your questions. Keep asking if you want.


  15. I saw Nate’s pics in “Nates Bake”.

    I am new to this whole bread baking thingy and I am working on my second loaf. My first attempt was very rewarding even though the bottom completely burned black (first attempt…used my Le Creuset, also for the first time…my relatively new gas oven stove is hotter than most ovens…AND I forgot to lower the temp to 450 degrees!…so you can imagine). I still loved the bread though. I felt so proud and eager to try it again!

    I have a 3yr old and a 9 month old and I really want to bake bread at home especially after noticing how long commercial type sandwich bread lasts in our cupboard – even the more expensive “healthy” breads. Never bothered me too much before but everything changes when you have children and I am trying my best to reduce the amount of preservatives and other not-so-good-stuff in their little bodies.

    Back to Nate’s Bake. Do you have an instructional video on how to properly prepare the no-knead dough for your oblong La Cloche? I am interested in making “french-stick-type” loaves. I am wondering if you have made many loaves in the oblong pot and if you have any words of caution/advice. Are the temperatures the same? How do you properly shape the dough without working it too much?

    Also, your recipe instructs baking at 500 degrees and reducing to 450 degrees.

    The NYT video instructs initially baking at 500 degrees with no mention of a temperature reduction however, the NYT printed recipe instructs baking at 450 degrees with no mention of a temperature reduction.

    When Jim Lahey was featured on Martha Stewart’s TV show, he stated that the bread be baked at 500 degrees from start to finish and the Martha Stewart printed recipe staes the same. I am confused…..can you solve this burning question for me…Jim said this was simple! (no pun intended…lol)

    I have a shopping cart full of goodies to purchase from you, including a round La Cloche. I want to get some tips with respect to the oblong La Cloche before I include it in the order (I want to save on some shipping costs!).

    I love your site and have been linking it to all of my family and friends on my hotmail contact list!…lol….

    Toronto, Canada

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