Well, this started out as my whole-wheat/whole-grain version of a very popular "no need to knead" recipe that was published in 2006 in The New York Times [pdf]. That one is for plain bread, made only with regular "white" bread flour. Such recipes require a 2-step rising of the dough, and yes, still some hand-kneading.
Unlike the standard way of baking bread, there is no need here, to inject water or steam into the oven to get a nice crust! Initial baking is done with the lid on the casserole. This has exactly the same effect, by using the moisture that's in the dough!
I have looked at a bunch of related recipes, then tried out over several dozen different combinations of flour types, grains, and seeds. I have settled on the combination presented below. See here for the evolution of my recipe over seven years (45 loafs). The bread is tasty, quite dense, moist, and has a good crust - the way I like it! A spreadsheet with the evolution of my recipe is here (45 by
- Prep time: 20 minutes
- Rise time: 1:45 hours at room temperature
- Cook/bake time: 60 minutes
- Makes one loaf of about 1.7 kg (≈3 3/4 lbs)
- Keeps for days, but cover the cut side with aluminum foil
Latest page update: 22 May 2021 (starting with loaf #45: all-purpose flour completely replaced with "00" pizza flour)
Previous page updates: 10 March 2021 (starting with loaf #44: decreased amount of all-purpose flour by 50 gr, increased pizza flour by 50 gr); December 2020 (adjusted baking time with lid on)25 October 2020 (simplified the recipe); 16 December 2019
©2012-2021 F. Dörenberg, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be used without permission from the author.
- Dry ingredients - flour:
- 680 grams pizza flour (Tipo 00).
- May be subsituted in part or in whole with all-purpose flour (France: farine de blé T-55 or T-65, Germany: Weizenmehl type 550 or 812).
- 100 grams whole-meal wheat flour (France: farine de blé complet/intégrale T-150, Germany: Weizenvollkornmehl Type 1600).
- 35 grams whole-meal buckwheat flour (France: sarassin T-130, farine de blé noir T-130; Germany: Buchweizen).
- Dry ingredients - grains & seeds:
- 120 grams parboiled whole-kernel oats or (durum) wheat (France: blé dur complet, blé mondé précuit).
- In a pinch, use steel-cut oats (whole-grain oat groats that are cut into 2-3 pieces; France: gruau irlandais, avoine coupée, avoine épointée; Germany: Hafergrütze).
- 60 grams green pumpkin seeds (France: pépins verts de courges; Germany: Kürbiskernen).
- 60 grams flax seeds (linseed; France: graines de lin; Germany: Leinsamen).
- I use the dark brown variety, but "golden" should work fine too.
- 60 grams raw, hulled, unsalted sunflower seeds (France: graines de tournesol; Germany: Sonnenblumenkernen).
- 60 grams hulled millet (France: millet décortiqué; Germany: Hirse).
- Dry ingredients - other:
- 1.5 teaspoons (9 grams) fine sea salt; this is almost 1.5 % of the total flour weight - do not exceed 2%!
- 2.75 teaspoons (11 grams) "instant dry yeast" yeast granules. In France, I use "levure du boulanger" of the "Briochin" brand.
- Contrary to "active dry yeast" granules, "instant" does not not have to be "activated" by dissolving the granules in warm water, is typically "rapid rise", and has smaller grain size.
- Wet ingredients:
- 680 ml (680 grams, 2 3/4 cups) luke warm water.
- Note: non-clumping flour (France: farine fluide) typically contains additives and may require a bit more water, as does Type "00" flour.
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) dark sesame oil.
Flax seed (linseed) and whole-kernel oats
Sunflower seeds and hulled millet
Pumpkin seeds and steel-cut oats
EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES
- Heavy cast-iron casserole ("Dutch oven"). I use a round "Le Creuset" with 24 cm diameter (≈9½ inch).
- Accurate kitchen scale.
- Measuring dry ingredients by volume is just not a good idea, as the amount of ingredient then depends on how tightly you pack it.
- I use an inexpensive electronic kitchen scale.
- A kitchen machine with a dough-hook. I use a medium size Kitchenaid (325 watt, model "Artisan").
- Small size bowl (3/4 liter, 1 quart), for the dry ingredients.
- Small size bowl (3/4 liter, 1 quart), for the water and vinegar.
- Measuring spoons/beaker: teaspoon ( = 5 ml), tablespoon ( = 15 ml), 1 cup ( = 240 ml), 1/2 cup (= 120 ml).
- Always use official measuring spoons, not a teaspoon or tablespoon from the kitchen drawer!
- Wire whisk, for getting the clumps out of the flour
- Even flour with non-clumping additives does clump!
- Do not use a flour sifter: it will get clogged with whole-grain flour, and the mesh will be hard to clean.
- Sieve (D: Abtropfsieb, F: tamis).
- Large sturdy kitchen fork.
- Plastic wrap (kitchen film).
- 30x40cm (12x16 inch) thin non-stick PTFE/teflon baking sheet (re-usable).
- Oven parchment paper may be substituted, but note that even "non-stick" paper will stick...
- Stiff plastic spatula.
- Optional: some vegetable oil, for greasing the spatula.
- Round colander (preferably shallow; D: Abtropfsieb, F: égouttoir, passoire); mine is about 22 cm in diameter (9 inch).
- Sharp, thin kitchen knife (paring knife).
- Basting brush, for brushing the dough ball with water
- Oven mitts or pot holders.
- Kitchen timer (or use the timer of your smartphone)
- Food/meat thermometer.
- Wire rack (cake rack / cooling rack).
PREPARATION / DIRECTIONS
- Slowly boil the whole-kernel oats in water (30-45 minutes, depending on whether precooked or not), then drain well (use a sief) and let cool for a couple of minutes.
- Combine the four flours and the yeast into the bowl of the kitchen machine.
- I put the large bowl on the kitchen scale, re-set the indicated weight to zero with the "tare weight" function (standard on all electronic kitchen scales), and re-zero each time before I add the next ingredient.
- Whisk the flour until all the clumps are gone and all ingredients are well mixed
- Whisking is much faster than using a sifter and also much easier to clean!
- Add the seeds, grains (incl. the boiled oats), and salt to the flour. Then mix well with a large fork or the wire whisk and install the bowl in the kitchen machine.
- Drizzle the sesame oil over the mix.
- Measure 560 ml (2 + 1/2 cups) of lukewarm water, put in the medium size bowl and add the vinegar.
- The remaining 120 ml (1/2 cup) of lukewarm water will be added if necessary, one tablespoon at a time.
- Quickly pour the water-vinegar mix onto the flour, in the middle of the large bowl, and fully mix all ingredients with the dough hook for 3 minutes, initially on low speed (speed level 2 of 5).
- Some dough will be sticking to the inside of the bowl. Once a minute, stop the machine and scrape it all the way down with the spatula.
- Make sure you get all the flour underneath the dough mass!!
- The dough mass should be quite soft, wet, sticky, and slowly fall of the dough hook when you lift the machine out of the bowl. This will not be the case with the initial amount of water. While the machine is turning at low speed (level 2 of 5), add 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water until fully incorporated.
- Briefly speed up the machine (to speed level 3 or 4 of 5). Add more tablespoons until the desired consistency is achieved. You may not need all the water.
- Let rise about 30 minutes at room temperature (21 °C / 70 °F).
- Optional: cover the bowl with plastic wrap or damp cloth.
- Rising is faster at higher temperatures (but stay below 30 °C / 86° F), however, a slow rise typically results in more taste. In winter time, I use the oven, set to 30 °C (fan off).
- Small holes will form at the surface of the dough; there will be small crackling noises.
The dough - before and after rising
- After this first rise, knead at low speed for 30 sec.
- Let rise for 25-30 minutes.
- Lay the baking sheet over the colander.
- If you are using baking parchment paper: brush the top-side of the paper lightly with vegetable oil.
- Take the plastic wrap off the bowl, and separate the dough ball all the way around from the wall of the bowl (and all the way down) with a spatula that has been brushed with some vegetable oil (you may have to re-oil a couple of times as you go).
- Transfer the dough ball to the lined colander - this is the most difficult part of the recipe.
- After this rise time, place the empty casserole + lid onto the lower rack in the oven, turn the oven on (circulating fan off) and set the thermostat to 200 °C (390 °F).
- Let rise another 40 minutes
- After the pre-heating and rising:
- Lightly brush the top of the dough with water
- With the sharp knife, make 1-2 cm (≈½ inch) deep parallel slits across the entire top of the dough. You can also make slits in the cross-direction.
- Optional: lighly dust the top of the dough ball with flour.
- Briefly remove the casserole from the oven (close the oven door!!! Be careful not to burn yourself) and remove the lid.
- Quickly pick up the dough ball by lifting it out of the colander by the baking sheet, and transfer the dough - with the baking sheet! - to the casserole.
- Put the lid back onto the casserole, and put the casserole back into the oven.
Dough ball is ready to be transferred from the colander to the hot casserole
- Set the kitchen timer to 15 min.
- After 15 minutes baking:
- Remove the lid from the casserole.
- Make sure that the oven's circulating fan is (still) OFF!
- Reduce the thermostat setting to 185 °C (365 °F)
- Bake another 45 minutes - set the kitchen timer! The top of the bread should become dark golden brown
- Briefly remove the casserole from the oven (close the oven door!) and check the temperature of the center of the bread
- The temperature should read at least 96 °C (205 °F). If not, put back into the oven for another 5 minutes and check again. Baking it for 5 more minutes will raise the core temperature by another 2-3 °C (≈ 5 °F), without charring the loaf (but keep an eye on it). If necessary, repeat for another 5 minutes.
- After baking: remove the bread from the casserole and transfer it to a wire rack (otherwise the bottom may get soggy) with kitchen paper towel underneath it, to aborb escaping moisture.
- Let cool for at least (!!) 45 minutes before trying a slice! Enjoy!
- If the bread is too dense for you, then reduce the amounts of whole-grain/whole-meal flours (e.g., by 10 grams each) and increase the amount of white flour (e.g., by 15 grams). Standard white flour requires less hydration, so you will have to reduce the amount of water (e.g., 1 tablespoon). Experiment!
- Spelt and buckwheat flour have less gluten than regular flour, so they make the bread more dense.
- Note that only very few people actually have a gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance, or Celiac disease. The rest of the crusade against gluten is pure marketing hype.
- The amount of water required depends on the age of the flour, humidity of the air, the alignment of the planets, etc. You will have to get a feel for this, and adjust as necessary.
- To clean dough off the bowl and utensils, always use cold water first! With warm/hot water, the dough becomes very gooey, goopy, sticky, hard to remove, and will also be hard to get off your dishwashing brush or sponge.