How to make the best bread ever

I know that this post is pretty off topic compared to my regular articles about photography, social media and technology. But a lot of people have asked me about this bread and this is where I share my information. And: for my regular readers I have even managed to put in a nice timelapse in the video showing how the bread is made. :-)

Last year I was attending a lecture on molecular gastronomy. Among other interesting methods Martin Lersch mentioned a bread that didn’t need kneading. For some kind of reason I never tried it but when my friend Jan Omdahl mentioned the same method and told me that it was fantastic I had to try. Because that guy knows what he’s talking about.

So, I found the recipe and the details. And even the video where Jim Lahey shows how to make fantastic bread. And the good news is that this bread is extremely easy to make. (You find the Norwegian version of the recipe and description here.)

So I made this bread a couple of times and it tastes wonderful. But the method had one step that involved huge amounts of flour on the table and a bit of work. I wanted to make it even easier so that I could make this bread every day. I’ve removed the part where Jim Lahey flips the dough on the table and lets it rest in a towel. The main point here is to stretch the dough and the gluten. I figured that it was possible to stretch the dough in the bowl where I had it in the first place. It’s probably not as effective, but after testing both the original and my own new even easier method on the same recipe I figured it was more than good enough. And it was less hassle and less cleaning.

So this is the recipe I’ve ended up with:

10 oz wheat flour
3,5 oz wholemeal
1/4 ts yeast
1 1/2 ts salt
10 oz water

Depending on your location you might want this one:
300 g wheat flour
100 g wholemeal
1/4 ts yeast
1 1/2 ts salt
300 g water

Combine the flour, yeast and salt. Mix in a bowl. Add water and blend it all together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 12-20 hours. Remove the plastic wrap and stretch the dough in the bowl. Cover with a cloth and wait for two more hours. After one and a half hour you warm an iron pot in your owen at 230 degrees celcius (450 fahrenheit). So, when the iron pot has been in the owen for half an hour you’re ready to bake. Throw some flour on top of the dough in the bowl and flip it into the flaming warm pot. Bake in owen with the lid on for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake for 15 minutes more.

But, I figured that the easiest way to show people how it was done was to push record on my video camera while making one of those breads. And of course I had to find some creative commons licensed smooth jazz to give that proper food program feeling…

Link to the video on YouTube.

Other types of flour

I’ve experimented with all kinds of flour. From 100% wheat and down to 100 g wheat + 300 g whole meal / wheat bran etc.

Double the amount

No problem. I’ve made a double version of this recipe. I added some minutes to the baking. 10 extra minutes with the lid on and about 10 extra minutes with the lid off. Giving about 40 minutes with the lid on and 25 minutes with the lid off.

Steam oven

If you’re the lucky owner of a steam oven you can use that to bake the bread. In the steam oven you don’t need to use a hot pot or lid. Bake in a regular bread pan.

Set the oven to 230 degrees Celsius and 30% humidity. Immediately after you have placed the bread in the oven you give it three rounds of steam to fill the oven with humidity. Bake for 16 minutes. Then turn the temperature down to 165 degrees and the humidity to 0%. And bake for 40 more minutes. The steam and humidity gives the bread the same crispness that the method with the hot pot and lid.

Bread in steam oven

And here’s the video that shows the secrets of the steam oven.

How to make the best bread ever

One year in 90 seconds

Please digg this story here.

Link to the video in HD on YouTube.

If you like these videos then follow me on twitter: @eirikso – and you’ll be the first to know about other projects that I might do.

The story

All through 2008 I snapped still images from the same spot on my balcony to make a sort of time lapse video showing one year passing by. The video was hugely successful and has close to two million views on YouTube in addition to about one million on Vimeo and hundreds of thousands of views and downloads from other web sites.

Last year I bought a new camera. The Canon 5D Mark II. In addition to excellent quality stills you can also shoot HD video with that camera. So I decided to do the same thing all over again. But this time I recorded 30 second video clips each time. My idea was that it would be possible to dissolve between the videos to get the same kind of time lapse effect, but this time with motion all the way. Snow falling, wind blowing etc.

2009 is over and I have now put all the clips I recorded through the year into a couple of videos.

I recorded clips with a 15mm fisheye, a 24mm wide angle and a 50mm lens. I’ve made three different versions. The first one is the one at the top of this article. Shot with the 15mm fisheye and “defished” using Fisheye Hemi in Photoshop. To do that I exported the video as an image sequence and did a batch job in Photoshop to run the fisheye hemi filter and some cropping.

The 50mm gives a closer look at the trees and I decided to make a longer video that gives a better view of how nature evolves with that footage. I ended up with 120 seconds.

Link to the video in HD on YouTube.

The last video is a version from the 24mm footage. That’s the short one. One year in 60 seconds…

Link to the video in HD on YouTube.

Download the full quality versions through BitTorrent:

All the videos are available on Mininova for download through BitTorrent in HD:

24 mm – One Year in 60 seconds (1280×720 30P)
15 mm – One Year in 90 seconds (1280×720 30P)
50 mm – One Year in 120 seconds (1280×720 30P)

How To-video (english) (1280×720 30P)

How did you do it?

The way I did it is actually quite simple. I found a spot on my balcony where I could place the camera in the exact same spot each time. Then I recorded video clips at irregular intervals. More or less once a week all thorugh 2009. More often during spring and autumn and not that often during summer and winter. All the videos are then put together using lots of dissolves.

It’s easier to explain the process in a video, so here it is:

Link to the video in HD on YouTube.

The audio

The sound was simply recorded with the Canon 5D Mark II as well. And left as it was recorded on all the clips in the video.

Can I use the videos in my projects?

Yes. All the videos are licensed with a Creative Commons License. To be exact: by attribution, share alike, non commercial.

Creative Commons License
This work by Eirik Solheim is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Norway License.

But what about commercial use?

If you want to use the video commercially I’ve decided to test a feature called Files Forever. At my hosting company, Dreamhost. You can buy a royalty-free, free, totally clean full quality version of the file. It’s a ridiculous $99,- and the money will cover parts of my hosting fees for this website. Buy the files here:

One year in 60 seconds (24 mm)
One year in 90 seconds (15 mm)
One year in 120 seconds (50 mm)

Yeah. But I want to buy the original footage. The files directly from your 5D. I want to edit this myself. No problem. Please contact me at:
eirikso (at) eirikso (dot) com

Where was this filmed?

In Oslo, Norway

I don’t believe you, this is fake.

If you think the video was made in post production using fancy graphics software… Well, that’s your problem. Not mine.

I want to make something amazing from the raw clips

Contact me, and we’ll see what we can do.

I have other questions

Use the comments, so that I can answer to all the other people with the same questions.

…and by the way: if you’re into geocaching I’ve actually placed a cache in the area you see in the videos.

One year in 90 seconds