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

33 thoughts on “How to make the best bread ever

  1. @Carol:
    Fantastic. Then you’re in for some good breads in the weeks to come. Start experimenting! :-)

    @Martin:
    And, if you’re ever near Lom it’s mandatory to visit Mr. Schakenda’s bakery.

  2. I’ve been meaning to try this no-knead bread recipe for a long while now. You have the best presentation of it that I’ve seen. Thanks!

    Time to go buy that cast iron pot so I can finally do this…

  3. Gran emoción llegar hoy yo a tu sitio y encontrar lo primero: una receta de pan noruego que tanto me gustó cuando viví en tu país en 1980-81.
    Luego veré con detenimiento tu bitácora.

  4. raul nicolas says:

    Cuando vivía en Oslo durante 1980-81 uno de los mejores momentos era llegar a una panadería y desafiarme a gustar alguno de los muchos panes integrales con recetas magistales.
    Si publicas más recetas de esos panes eirikso, te lo agradeceré!

  5. Carol Geldart says:

    Lots of experimenting with different flours going on. And we doubled up the receipe and put it in a larger pot to get a bigger loaf so we wouldn’t have to make it quite so often – and it was perfect.

  6. Øyvind S says:

    Tried your recipe yesterday – used 300g wheat flour and 100g whole wheat baked in a glass pot. Result was moist inside with crispy crust – my 2yr old could not get enough of it, and neither could the extended family :-)

  7. Mike says:

    Fantastic! It’s such a good bread. I can’t believe it! So easy to do and so good. Thanks to share with us.

    Mike, Montreal, Canada

  8. Finally got my Dutch oven this week and my first try at the bread is cooling now. Can hardly wait to crack into it! Thanks for the great presentation, Eirik.

  9. hi eirik!

    i went threw my bookmarks recently and as so often i found this bread recipe i always wanted to try out. it was a funny coincidence, that i had my mother in law coming over for breakfast at the weekend, so i decided to surprise everybody with this bread! and haha you are my man! it looks like she felt love in her tummy, because she was so nice this day. thank you!

    daniel

  10. XL-3750 says:

    I love the look of this bread! My wife is on a bread free diet at the moment but I’m not sure if I could last more than a couple of hours without some!

  11. Thanks for the recipe and for the video! I tried the recipe with spelt flour, rye flour, combined with different whole wheats. The result – fantastic bread!

  12. […] De siste årene har det vært en del snakk om knafritt og grytestekt brød. Kort fortalt går det ut på at du lager en litt fuktig brøddeig som bare røres sammen og som ikke trenger noen som helst form for elting. Du tar tiden til hjelp. Lite gjær og en heving som går over 5-12 timer. Jeg skrev om dette på min private blogg for tre år siden. […]

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