Foodlovers Foodtalk Forum

Holes in my no knead bread

Posted by Ali W 
Holes in my no knead bread
August 04, 2019 10:07PM
I regularly make Nadia Lim's hearty no knead bread. The dough is mixed, placed in the tin in a cold oven which is switched on to 50deg fan bake for 30 mins while the dough rises. Then the temperature is switched to 200deg and the bread bakes.

Lately I am getting a large hole in the middle which is very frustrating. My research is not telling me why. The only change I have made is to switch out the sunflower seeds for chopped walnuts.

Can anyone help?

Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 04, 2019 10:51PM
Perhaps as you're putting the dough in the tin, you're folding it over itself. If it's a very moist mixture, you may not notice that a fold has occurred. Maybe if you poke the dough a few times with a knife, it will release any air bubbles trapped in the middle.
Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 05, 2019 10:41AM
I thought maybe it might be mostly due to this:

Bread rose in an area that was too warm
SOLUTION: Allow the bread to rise in a draft-free 26°C to 32°C area away from a heat source. If the area is too warm, bread will rise too fast and begin cooking before the yeast has finished acting. Then, when placed to bake in the oven, the "over spring" is exaggerated and large air pockets form inside the dough.

from this link []
Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 06, 2019 01:30AM
Ali, holes in the bread arise because the yeast it too fast-acting. As J1 mentions above, the temperature could be too high (50 degrees sounds awfully hot - your hot water cupboard would never reach that temperature) or it could be too much yeast or insufficient salt and/or oil. Salt and fat inhibit the action of yeast hence their presence in most bread recipes.

J1, are you still making your Vogels-style bread? I printed the recipe many moons ago and only just got around to making it a few weeks ago. I have done a few batches but it is so weak and crumbly that the slices fall apart. Have you ever had that problem? It wasn't a problem the first time I made it, but that time was a disaster as I left it on the bench to rise whilst I went out and came back to a dreadful sticky mess - it rose, overflowed, went everywhere and what was left in the loaf tin collapsed back onto itself. This was after about four hours. Since then, I have been cooking it after only two hours of rising but I think the gluten development is insufficient which is why it falls apart. I can't leave it longer though, as after two hours it starts to collapse. Maybe I should buy some gluten to add to the dough but I note you haven't found the need to do that. I should add that I am cooking it in the tropics and the kitchen temperature is probably about 28 degrees, hence leaving it on the kitchen bench with a tea towel on top but this should be ideal. I only eat one slice of bread per day (for breakfast) so I want to persevere as the texture and flavour of the bread is exactly what I want. Has this ever happened to you?
Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 06, 2019 06:43AM
I'm not sure what version you're making of it Lynette but I can confirm I get crumbly, fall apart slices now and again. At the moment I'm making it with raw minced kumara, ground almonds and wheatgerm as part of the ingredients. The two loaves I made two weeks ago were perfect but the loaves I made a few days ago are crumbly.... Because it's just for myself, I don't mind (it still tastes delicious) and mostly I only eat it as two slices of toast for breakfast each day and toasting it helps. If you wanted to get a better result, you might have to go back to the long version of it that I based my quick version on.

5 Minute Artisan Bread Posted by: jacqueline 24/1/2011
I’ve been making an artisan bread, from a recipe from Jim Lahey. It’s cooked in a cast iron dutch oven and its own moisture/steam creates a nice crust. I’ve been experimenting with adding grains and the result has been a bread like Vogel’s.
Vogel’s-like Bread Adapted from Jim Lahey’s recipe:
4 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 tbsp gluten
1/3 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/3 cups cool water
Mix till a shaggy dough and leave covered on bench for 12 hours. Leave for longer if cold weather, it needs to have bubbles forming on the top of the dough when ready.

In a separate bowl combine:
1/2 cup kibbled wheat, 1/4 cup kibbled rye, 3/4 cup boiling water
Microwave on high for 2 minutes and leave covered for 12 hours also.

Next morning (12 hours later) gently mix both mixtures along with 1/2 cup sunflower seeds and 1/4 cup rolled oats until just combined. Leave to rest for 15 minutes. Shape into mound (no other kneading necessary). Place on floured tea towel, seam side down. Wrap/overlap sides of tea towel over bread to cover. Leave to rise two hours. Ready when indentations made with finger do not quickly disappear. Half an hour before dough is ready heat oven to 220°C and place the cast iron dutch oven and lid in to heat also. Tip dough gently into hot dutch oven container, seam side up, put lid on pot and place in oven. Bake 30 minutes then remove lid and bake a further 15 mins to brown top. Remove from oven, tip bread onto a rack cover with a tea towel and leave to cool. Do not slice until cool.
Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 07, 2019 12:49AM
Thanks J1. I'm using the version that got saved into the recipe bank here [] but I don't include the honey as I recall you didn't include it in your original recipe. I may try the longer version as the problem with it being so crumbly is that I have to slice it very thick and it is actually too much for breakfast so have resorted to having half a slice of toast which means I can't fit enough topping on it smiling smiley
Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 07, 2019 05:22AM
Lynette -- I've found with J1's recipe and my warm kitchen, I can only leave it to rise for an hour or so before it rises out of the tin and all over the bench!
Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 07, 2019 11:22PM
I also find that my dough attempts to escape all over the bench so I usually wait until it has doubled in size, around an hour or so, and then put it in the oven.
Regarding the crumbly texture, I did have that happening. I have scaled the recipe up by one quarter to better fit my bread tins and I think it was then that I began using scales instead of cup measures. It has been a really good texture since then.
This is using the recipe from Foodlovers originating from J1. (Thankyou J1) I also omit the honey and I use a little less salt.
Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 08, 2019 01:27AM
Thanks all. Good to hear others have had a similar problem. I'm convinced there must be a way to fix this, as to say it is crumbly is an understatement. The slice I took out this morning disintegrated and I had crusts for breakfast as all the inside fell apart - very tasty crusts, mind you and of course, all the inside bits found their way into my mouth smiling smiley

I think the concept of no knead bread is that because there is no kneading, the dough needs time for the gluten to develop so I may reduce the yeast a little and put it in the fridge overnight so it rises slowly.

jj, do you convert the cup measures for flour using the 125g per cup conversion?
Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 08, 2019 02:12AM
No-knead bread is really a yeast-risen unsweetened cake, as without kneading to develop the gluten it has no proper structure and will always be tricky and inconsistent.

You can help prevent a big central air bubble by giving it a brief knead after the first rising and leaving it to rise again (but watch it carefully and don't let it over-rise).

If you want to make bread but can't be bothered with kneading, try making Irish soda bread. It is very easy, much like making a big scone, and slices well.
Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 08, 2019 04:16AM
I'm finding it curious that everyone has fast rising, overflowing bread just by sitting it on their bench. I have mine sitting on top of the HWC and it usually needs about 3 hours. I'm pretty sure it would be even slower on my kitchen bench but maybe I should try it. I use a very level teaspoon of Bakels instant active dried yeast - [] I don't use cup measures either - I use my kitchen scales for weighing everything that goes into the bread except the yeast, salt, and water. I know the ground almonds (50g) I add to my bread definitely increase the likelihood of getting crumbly bread.
Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 08, 2019 05:22AM
TPANDAV, have a look at the picture here: [] - it is a heavy grainy nutty bread, so soda bread isn't a substitute. I make ciabatta, focaccia and pizza bases with yeast and am fine with the kneading, rising, punching down and a second rise but the consistency of this dough is such that it is too soft too knead so the gluten develops in the loaf tin, ideally over a longer period of time.

J1, you say you "use a very level teaspoon of Bakels instant active dried yeast". Is it only use 1 tsp of yeast you use? The recipe states 2 tsp.
Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 08, 2019 06:56AM
I had to laugh at the suggestion of kneading this particular bread -- it is the consistency of thick porridge when uncooked, there's no kneading that! grinning smiley

I have wondered about adding gluten flour to this recipe to see if it would help with the crumbliness. I don't have as big a problem with it as you do, Lynette, but it is certainly not a robust crumb. Possibly doing the rise in the fridge might slow things down significantly and allow the gluten to form quicker.

These are the alterations I've made to the version of the recipe I'm using. I've run out of Bakel's yeast and am using the Edmonds Instant Yeast sachets, but only one teaspoon out of the sachet. Next time I'm going to use 3/4 teaspoon and see if that changes anything. It's a lovely tasting bread, but I still need to tinker with it to get it how I'd like. I find mine is bordering on too wet and sticky on the inside, which is why I've reduced the water a bit, and will probably go a little further, but don't want to end up with the super crumbly problem. I scaled the whole thing down a bit to try and get a longer rise time in the tin. I use the large Bakers Secret loaf tin.

Pan: []

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/08/2019 06:59AM by Jenna.
Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 08, 2019 09:50PM
Lynette, yes I use only 1 teaspoon as I use Bakel's yeast and my original recipe says "1 tspn Bakel’s yeast or 2 tspns Surebake yeast". I use the same loaf pan as Jenna's (I line it with baking paper). Jenna's experiments sound good.
Re: Holes in my no knead bread
August 09, 2019 12:51AM
This is excellent feedback thanks. I am using a European brand of yeast plus bread improver so I obviously need to scale back. Plus I am going to let it rise slowly in the fridge. I use that same loaf tin but unfortunately, didn't pay $10 for it - and I bought two of them....

And yes, thick porridge is such a good description of the "dough" grinning smiley

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2019 01:07AM by Lynette.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Copyright Foodlovers. All rights reserved.