Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread Phenomenon

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Have you tried it yet? Mark Bittman shared this minimalist no-knead bread in The New York Times Dining Section a week ago today.

The recipe, adapted from Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery, is unique because it doesn’t require kneading and it calls for only 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast.

This recipe has stayed in The Time’s Top 20 Most Emailed Stories list all week. We can’t wait to hear how many of you have made Bittman’s bread or have plans to.

There’s a stream of photos on Flickr, many newsgroup posts and active bulletin boards about this recipe on Cooking Light, Chowhound, and GardenWeb. Let’s get our own started here.

Here’s some of the bloggers who have posted about the bread
Lindy Toast: Toast tried to round up all the bloggers talking about this recipe and gets some credit for creating some online excitement around this bread
Life’s a Quilt: A quilter breaks for bread
After Hours Party (in German): International appeal for this recipe
Concurring Opinions: Wondering how it stayed on the top emailed list
The Wednesday Chef: Not always a Bittman fan, but this recipe’s a winner
Smitten Kitchen: Making the bread one handed
The Buck Stops Here: Baking in a pot makes a difference
Joe Pastry: Great photos. Don’t get burned getting the dough into the pre-heated dutch oven.

Its amazing to see so many people rally ’round the same recipe the same week and then share pictures of the results. After reading so many cook’s comments, I learned that:
• Many bread bakers have plans to try it again in a smaller pan. A smaller pan will make the loaf less flat.
• Some people say the bread didn’t have quite enough flavor and are considering adding sugar, more salt or using different flours
• Over and over, everyone says: Best Crust Ever!
• Some complain that the dough is sticky. Yet that doesn’t matter too much since you don’t need to touch it.
• The recipe is driving some people to buy a Le Creuset dutch oven. That’s great — they are a favorite around here, but there’s some innovation too — with some food bloggers baking the bread in oven-safe soup pots and crock pot inserts. See our Dutch oven alternatives here.

My attempt to make this bread was doomed from the start. I used the wrong kind of yeast. It must be instant yeast to make the recipe work correctly. Still, a credit to this resilient recipe, my crust was shatteringly crunchy and delicious.

(updated: 11/26/07 CP)

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