No-Knead without Yeast

In the no-knead technique, is the yeast necessary for gluten formation ?

No. The yeast has nothing to do with gluten formation. In the no-knead technique there is a very high hydration, which promotes gluten formation, and then there is a form of kneading, i.e., folding. The same thing can be done with sourdough, although the timing will differ

Yeast is not needed for gluten formation, but for fermentation and so the dough will rise. Breads need something to make it rise - most use yeast, but some use preferments (like biga, sourdough, etc.)

The more you knead the dough, the more gluten builds up and the dough becomes more stiff and more elastic (like when you make pizza)… it helps it maintain its shape without coming apart or ripping.

You can make breads with or without kneading and with or without yeast - they don’t have anything to do with one another.

I hope this helps.

Two separate things

Not really. Kneading basically stretches the gluten. So does folding. Folding is also more common with wet doughs, where traditional kneading is difficult.

Folding is not a form of kneading.

Kneading is for gluten development - …and not to be confused with mixing (initial mixing of water and flour in the mixer)
Folding is for redistribution of temperature and yeast/preferment

Two separate steps in bread making.

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Let me quote Maggie Glezer’s Artisan Baking:

  • “Mixing” is the professional term for kneading and not really a separate step, although in home-baking parlance, bread dough is first “mixed” and then kneaded.
    page 13

  • Turning
    This is the term preferred by professionals for a step more commonly known as “punching down the dough.” Its purpose is not to degas the dough but to develop the gluten by folding the dough.
    page 16

This no knead recipe always causes trouble …



This isn’t trouble. It is simply animadversions on terminological exactitude. On how to make the bread, I’m sure we’re in complete agreement. Or since we are two different people, almost complete agreement.

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I don’t know who this Glezer is - but I have a professional bread baker expert right in my house and no one (no one) makes bread as good as he does :wink:

Stages of Bread making:
Measuring, Mixing (different depending on the bread), Autolysis, Kneading, Bulk Fermentation (during this stage with certain types of bread with high water content the “punching” - aka Turning or Folding is performed), Dividing/cutting, Preshaping, Resting, Shaping, Proofing, Baking

Almost - which is a good thing! If everyone agreed on everything - why would we need this blog to get opinions, ideas from other people?

…at least we both love bread!

I was about to quote Professeur Raymond Calvel to you, but since we are in almost complete agreement, why bother? The terminology is in any case secondary to the result achieved.

Thanks. I thought maybe there was some reaction with the yeast that “magically” promoted the gluten formation. I made Chinese scallion pancakes the other day (non-yeasted, thin variety). Today I was wondering if I could no-knead it. I actually use a higher hydration than most other recipes, so it looks like I might be successful.

I usually use very hot water, though. That might hurt with gluten formation. There is something different about using warm/hot/boiling water. However, I’m not sure if it affects the end result or just makes the initial mixing phase easier.

Joking aside, I’m not a true believer. I just do it because it’s easy. In my thoughts, I snarkily refer to it as “Acceptable Bread in 45 Minutes a Day.” I envy those that are so skilled and can do it in 5 minutes for real. When I factor in cleanup, and keeping track of the resting period, and making sure I remove the upside down tray that helps in keeping the dough supple and/or crust formation, it’s quite the time investment. Also, the end result isn’t quite “artisan” for me. I tried all the tricks, spent far too much time investigating about it. I didn’t look into the updated, revised edition of the book, though.

Has your partner tried the no-knead method? I’d love to hear his opinion on if, for even a specific type of loaf, it can turn out bread as good as traditional methods. If you have the time to spare, of course.

The method works very well I think. It is just so against standard bread making methods that it always causes lots of discussion. I guess that is why it became such a sensation in the first place.

Hi cupcake,
A few years ago I bought a bread book called Inside the Jewish Bakery by Stanley Ginsburg and Norman Burg. Most of it is sweets, which do not interest me, but there was a recipe for rye bread that called for boiling water. I found this strange, and e-mailed Stanley Ginsburg to ask about it. Here is his answer:

The technique of adding boiling water to rye is called “scalding” and it
has the effect of increasing enzymatic activity in the rye, which
breaks some of the starches down into sugars, thereby increasing the
sweetness of the bread. It also increases the water absorbency of the
rye, making it less sticky and easier to handle.

I don’t know if the same applies to wheat doughs, but it may.

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He makes the most amazing no-knead bread every weekend - which he bakes in a round cast iron or le creuset pot. It can and does come out just as good - if not better - than the kneaded breads. Although - I love them all. Sometimes, he adds Kalamata olives (something we learned from a baker in Rome on one of our stays there) or rosemary. Both delicious!

…and so long as I am online, I always have the time to spare to talk about bread (as you can read in my post in “Let’s introduce ourselves” - it is one of my passions).

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Do you recall if that recipe was 100% rye flour?

You mean both “pure” cast iron and enameled cast iron?

Argh! That means I’ll have to revisit the issue. It’s the first time I’ve heard of a professional bread baker employing this method. Professional bread bakers I’ve had the pleasure of conversing with in real life weren’t so fond of it (or never heard of it.)

So, another question then: Why does he still make traditional kneaded breads with all those 10 stages when he can just use the no-knead method? Or maybe he doesn’t anymore. For some reason it seemed to me like he still kneads in his professional setting.

You’re gonna come to regret that offer, haha. Actually, a local bread baker very graciously helped me improve my brioche. Sometimes you just need to learn from a person.

There is no wheat in the recipe for Black Bread, just rye flour and rye meal. The recipe for Rustic Pumpernickel has some wheat flour added at a later stage, but the boiling water is only used with the rye.

It’s the first time I’ve heard of a professional bread baker employing this method - Two things : First, my husband is a CEO of a company who 10 years ago, took time off to go take a three month bread baking course at FCI in NYC to learn how to make bread and has been making it ever since for family and friends - it is a passion of his, but he only does it in his spare time - as a hobby - so I know there will be those who would not consider him a “professional” - even though I do. Second, it is odd for any bread baker (professional or not) not to have heard of no-knead - sourdough is a no-knead bread. Very popular. I guess bread baking is no different than any other profession - if you bring 5 bakers into a room - you will get 5 different opinions. That is how bread baking moves forward - so many opinions, so many options. If everyone were to agree - we’d still be eating flat bread.
"Why does he still make traditional kneaded breads…" - because he loves it - he loves making breads from all over the world, visiting bakeries in any town in any country we visit and find new ways to make breads (inventing).
You’re gonna come to regret that offer, haha - LOL - I doubt it.
Sometimes you just need to learn from a person - Absolutely - and I have - from my husband :smile: