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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jim Lahey’s No Knead Baguette (Stecca)

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OPRAH I’m thrilled to share that I’m featured on Oprah’s Holiday 2009 website along with some other fantastic bloggers and good friends like Gluten Free Girl & The Chef, Kalyn’s Kitchen, Stephanie O’Dea, Jennifer Perillo and Fuji Mama!

Come check out all of our holiday recipes – we’ll be contributing all season long!

I’m a lazy lazy baker.

My oven gets to sweet action unless I’ve got someone else to help me along in the kitchen — my kids even are forced bake their own birthday cake. So much for winning Mom of the Year award, eh?

And this is exactly why I love No-Knead breads like the No Knead Sticky Pecan Caramel Cinnamon Rolls (beware…I just gained 2 pounds saying that out loud), No Knead Pizza Dough: Pear and Gorgonzola Flatbread with Baby Arugula, No Knead Nutella and Hazelnut Challah. A couple years ago, when Andrew was 4 years old, he even made the original No Knead Bread (if he can do it, you can do it)

First things first…you’ve gotta mix the dough the night before. Or at least 10 hours, up to 18 hours (though secretly I’ve let it go 24 hours…see I told you I’m a lazy lazy baker!)

Mix together bread flour, salt, sugar, yeast, water. This is the night before and the boys are making bread in their PJ’s. Nathan wanted me to send along a message, “please don’t make fun of my pajamas or my Mom will kick yer butt.”

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Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 10-18 hours. But wait. It’s winter. Your “room temperature” might be different that mine. If your house is cold, put the bowl in the warm spot. Or you could let the dough hang out for 24 hours to give the chilly yeast more time to do its magic.

And if your house is REALLY cold, put the dang bowl under your covers and cuddle with it ;-)

Once you’ve let it hang for 10-18 hours, scrape the dough out on your floured counter. Wet your hands and fold the dough over a couple of times to shape it into a flattened ball. Wet hands prevents the dough from sticking to your hands.

Set the dough ball seam side down, tuck the edges and seams under.

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Brush dough with olive oil, cover loosely and let rise for 1-2 hours. So hey, that red towel? Bad idea. Even though I dusted with flour, it still stuck.

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Divide the dough into 4 equal parts.

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The dough should be soft ‘n stretchy. Stretch each dough ball into a long, thin baguette.

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Place each baguette on a nicely oiled baking sheet and embed some goodies in each one.

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Brush with olive oil. Actually, it was more like drizzle and dab the olive oil.

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Sprinkle generously with salt. Go easy on the olive one – olives are salty already.

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My favorite one was the tomato, so I made 2 of those.

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Send ‘em to the oven to bake for 15-25 minutes 500F. If your oven doesn’t go that high, crank it up as high as you can and add a couple more minutes to baking time.

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Voila!

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Beautiful.

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Festive.

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Eat right away…the salt on the bread will make the bread soft once it cools down. If you’re not eating right away, you can pop ‘em back into the oven for a few minutes right before serving to crisp up again.

Of course, you can cheat and instead of making your own dough, just go to the store and get a fresh pizza dough ball at your supermarket (usually refrigerated in the bakery department) and stretch them out into thin baguettes. Now that’s way lazy. I like it.

No Knead Baguette (Stecca) Recipe

Recipe from my-bread-cookbook My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method by Jim Lahey. If you want to keep the baguettes plain, just skip the step of embedding the garlic, olives and cherry tomatoes.

3 cups (400 grams) bread flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups (350 grams) cool 55-65F water
additional flour for dusting
20 pieces of the any combination of following: whole garlic cloves, whole olives, halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, table salt, sugar and yeast. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 10 to 18 hours (24 hours if you have a cold cold home.)

2.  When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Fold the dough over itself to her three times and gently shape it into a somewhat flattened ball. Brush the surface of the dough with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the coarse salt (which will gradually dissolve on the surface).

3.  Grab a large bowl (large enough to hold the dough when it doubles in size. you could also use a large pot) and brush the insides of the bowl with olive oil. Gently place the dough, seam side down into the bowl. Cover bowl with a towel. Place in a warm draft free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, pre-heat the oven to 500F, with a rack in the center. Oil a 13″ x 18″ x 1″ baking sheet.

5.  Cut the dough into quarters. Gently stretch each piece evenly into a long, thin, baguette shape approximately the length of the pan. Place on the pan, leaving about 1 inch between the loaves. Embed the garlic cloves, olives or cherry tomatoes into the loaves, about five pieces per loaf. Drizzle, tab or brush olive oil on each loaf. Sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt over each loaf, remember to go light on the olive loaf since the olives are salty.

6. Bake For 15 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Cool on a pan for five minutes, then use a spatula to transfer the baguette to a rack to cool thoroughly.

Note: The baguette may become a bit soggy in just a few hours because of the salt on the surface. If that happens, reheat the loaves in a hot oven until crisp.



126 Responses to “Jim Lahey’s No Knead Baguette (Stecca)”

  1. julia — 3/3/10 @ 5:19 pm

    I just saw a can of olives in my cupboard last night and wondered what to do with them…Now I know. THANK YOU! I saw this on tastespotting.

  2. Cajun Chef Ryan — 3/19/10 @ 3:21 pm

    This is amazing timing for me as it was shared from Stumble Upon today and I just read about how Julia Child spent weeks perfecting the perfect loaf of French bread. These baguettes are amazing, thanks for sharing!

    Bon appetit!
    CCR
    =:~)

  3. laurà — 5/7/10 @ 3:56 pm

    Is it really only 1/4 tsp of yeast??? Is must be 1/4 oz, right?

  4. Laura — 6/1/10 @ 8:51 am

    My tomatoes fell off!!! :(

  5. Lori Jean — 8/8/10 @ 8:33 pm

    Oh dang… how, I love olives!

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  7. Walin — 8/17/10 @ 3:34 pm

    hi,
    I just tried this recipe today and it didn’t turn out o.k.
    I let the dough sit at room tempt for 19hrs and it was double in size. however, when I touched the dough, I can feel its center pretty cold to the feel of hands (probably in the 60′sF tempt!)
    and the REAL problem is that it’s not just wet or sticky but it is really runny that I couldn’t shape it into any shape. the dough just spread freely on the flour board :(
    well I went on for the 2nd rise for 2hrs. it was still wet and runny. well…what comes will come I thought. and I baked it. the outcome was not good. the 4 sticks were flat like pancake (less than 1/2 an inch), stuck to the bottom, dried out and too crunchy.
    I just don’t what went wrong here. the dough doubled just right. yet why was it so runny! I do think that its runny texture was ruining the bake and the outcome.
    anyone has any comment on this?

    • SteamyKitchen — 8/17/10 @ 3:38 pm

      Sounds like there wasn’t enough flour and too much water. Did you measure accurately? Did you weight the flour?

  8. Walin — 8/17/10 @ 3:52 pm

    yes, I have a kitchen scale. I measured the flour, sugar, salt, yeast and water in grams. however, just after got that ‘wrong’ batch, I attempted the 2nd try (just right before I started this comment). this time I measured with both cups/spoon and then dumped it on the scale…and notice that 1 1/2 cups of water was actually 390grams not 400grams provided that the bowl’s weight was 50grams and the water needed was 350grams (or 1 1/2 cups). but then…I was thinking…could really 10 grams of water ruin the dough? You should have seen how runny the dough was this morning!

  9. Walin — 8/17/10 @ 4:05 pm

    I’ve made pizza dough following Jim Lahey’s no knead recipe and both times turned out so great that I decided it Friday night would be pizza night :) just this very first time I experienced this trouble with the stecca. Well, I definitely will keep you posted right after the batch’s done tomorrow. I’m trying to prepare my own food and bring it to school so I can save money on lunch. there is a real good deli shop near my school, but it’s around $8 per portion and I can’t afford that 5 days/week!

  10. Walin — 8/18/10 @ 4:31 pm

    the dough is in the oven right now…I have that ‘My bread’ book and want to try a few sandwich recipes…but as I looked the pictures on this blog and my own (today), I realize it’s too thin to be cut into half and stuffed. so instead of making 4 thin baguettes, I ended up shaping it into 2 ciabattas. I’m hoping it’s gonna rise well in the oven. do you notice that the dough was very dry and easy to shape/stretch before you place it on an oiled sheet? I noticed that the shape is kinda lumpy and stretching out itself on an oiled baking sheet. while reading another recipe on bread, one says that just cover the dough with an oiled plastic wrap during the 2nd rise and put the dough on a cookie sheet (non-oiled) so the dough can stick on the surface better and therefore rise more instead of being lumpy and ‘stretching out’ on oil. have you ever tried baking on a non-oiled surface? I’m thinking about trying it next time

  11. Walin — 8/18/10 @ 4:55 pm

    the stecca-ciabattas came out well. they’re big enough for 2 lunch servings, which is good coz I need them that big for lunch and easy to carry around on my bike than stick bread. I’m not sure how it tastes as it’s cooling down on a rack right now. I’m letting it cool down for at least 3 hours before I slice it for tonight’s dinner. :) so back to my problem yesterday: I do think that 2-3tbsp of water probably make a big change in bread baking.
    the more you bake, the more you learn!

  12. Minced — 8/20/10 @ 9:09 am

    What did we do before no knead bread? I can’t wait to try this recipe out…

  13. Maria — 8/22/10 @ 9:32 am

    Thanks for this great recipe from Jim Sullivan. I liked the garlic and tomato ones best.

    As for the towel, I’ve never used it for this or the no-knead Bittman/Sullivan New York Times recipe. I just oil the bowl and cover with clingfilm/Glad wrap and it turns out fine. No messy sticky towel :)

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  16. HERBERT — 9/24/10 @ 2:53 am

    This is such a beautiful post, and Congratulations, your work in photography is stunning and very inspiring.It’s
    looks heavenly.

  17. HERBERT — 9/24/10 @ 3:46 am

    This is such a beautiful post, and Congratulations, your work in photography is stunning and very inspiring.It’slooks heavenly

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  19. Cler — 10/15/10 @ 6:55 pm

    Hi Jaden, I thought you would like to see that your recipe was translated and publicated in this website. Great!

    http://charhadas.com/ideas/7405-receta-de-pan-casero-con-un-toque-diferente

  20. NancyS — 12/27/10 @ 3:43 pm

    I’ve made multiple recipes from Jim Leahy’s book and they all turned out great but cook’s illustrated changed the basic recipe a bit by using beer and vinegar in addition to the water to add more flavor (tastes a bit better but not really necessary) but they made one huge improvement in the method and that involves dumping the dough onto baking spray-coated parchment paper set into a 10″ saute pan then lifting the whole thing into the pre-heated dutch-oven. This method eliminates the kitchen towel mess. Postings about this recipe abound.

  21. Kay — 12/28/10 @ 8:58 pm

    I love this recipe! I’m always feeling happy when my breads came out pretty&crispy looking from the oven! Though, sometimes breads got stick to my baking sheet badly and I have to scrape my beautiful bread off… Are there any secrets to transfer the breads without scraping? Thank you!

  22. Roberta — 2/10/11 @ 5:26 pm

    Fantastic chewy, great textured bread! I forgot to drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, but had embedded olives so I think they were plenty salty. Make sure to poke the olive, garlic etc. down in. Mine tended to pop up to the surface. Couldn’t be easier.

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  24. Sidiqa — 2/25/11 @ 11:43 am

    Looks amazing! I LOVE olive and tomato bread. Must try it!

  25. AdamC — 3/4/11 @ 12:42 am

    Hi!
    I tried the recipe out and it worked out pretty well. Just 2 questions though, do I just put a towel over the bowl for the rise or does the towel need to be more snug around the dough if that makes sense?

    Also, won’t the olive oil burn at 500 degrees in the oven?

  26. Laurence — 3/23/11 @ 5:45 pm

    I made this, but slightly modified the recipe with the addition of more yeast (3/4 tsp) and added just rosemary and olive oil. came out delicious

  27. mags — 4/14/11 @ 8:57 pm

    Perfection! Easiest… best… bread… EVER!
    Thank you for sharing!! I’m very happy to have found your site…

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  29. Morgane — 6/23/11 @ 4:03 am

    hello ! I desperately want to try this recipe, but I was wondering what exactly was “instant or active dry yeast”
    I live in France and can’t figure out if “levure de boulanger” is the right product to use here (has to be rehydrated before any recipe, and in this one… No rehydratation !)
    Help ! ^^

    • adamjoanne — 6/24/11 @ 3:45 pm

      We are not too familiar with your particular yeast. However, we suggest you hydrate the yeast before using in the recipe.

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  31. josephine — 7/6/11 @ 12:45 pm

    Hi Jaden, just dropping by to tell you… I ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOUR WEBSITE/ FOOD BLOGS, you are truly hilarious!!!

    I made this last night, just a quarter of the recipe as there was only me eating. made 2 tiny pieces, didnt have fresh cherry tomatoes but had sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil & black olives which I cut into quarters since the piece of stecca was so tiny =P I finished that 2 pieces in less than 8mins (after a cooling time of 5mins as I was just too impatient and wanted to just eat.

    Guess what? Immediately after swallowing that last mouthful, I did another batch but this time half the recipe at 1AM!! so that I can have them for dinner tonight but this time I added more of the sun-dried tomatoes, added some baby rockets & baby spinach… OMG! the bread is truly amazing.

    Thank you so much for the so-easy-to-make recipe. I have only recently (4weeks) started learning how to make bread, truly a beginner but never too old to learn new things =)
    so Thank you (a gezillion times)… jo

  32. apaler1 — 7/25/11 @ 3:59 pm

    Yum. I have so much flour and no bread right now at my apartment, now I know what to do with it. Thank you!

  33. cris — 7/27/11 @ 9:45 am

    Hi Jaden! Will all-purpose flour work just as well? I do not have bread flour on hand. Also, is it ok to halve the recipe?

  34. Bruno — 8/19/11 @ 10:12 am

    Not much of a baker here, but your recipe looks so tasty,, I think I will give it a go

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  39. ian — 11/16/11 @ 8:45 pm

    These look (and sound) nothing like any baguette I’ve ever encountered. I just want to make something that resembles (closely if possible) a good French baguette that you would buy in a boulangerie in France. This doesn’t sound like it – and sounds a lot like the American version of almost anything which normally contains various ingredients that shouldn’t be there (e.g. cheese foam or a can of soup).

  40. Another Vegan — 12/21/11 @ 12:28 am

    I love this recipe – my son make it quite often and I put it on our menu for Christmas Eve this year (he will be busy baking). I love your pictures and was so happy to see your blog.
    Yes, your pictures are making my mouth water for Stecca.

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  43. cris — 1/26/12 @ 4:44 pm

    Hi Jaden, have you tried making 2 bigger loaves out of this recipe? If so, did you keep the same temperature and cooking time?

  44. Sabrina — 2/4/12 @ 10:19 am

    This cookbook is amazing and everything is so simple and delicous. One of my fav. and most used cookbooks!

  45. Mary Clare — 2/26/12 @ 11:23 pm

    Wow! These all look so tasty and don’t seem like much look. This is something I must try in the near future for a dinner party. At Thursdays we love wonderful recipes like this! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  46. Krystal Emerton — 3/19/12 @ 2:43 pm

    Really appreciated your blog article. Truly getting excited about read more. Great.

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  48. Pearl — 4/24/12 @ 4:52 pm

    First, Jaden those Steccas look magnificent! I made them awhile ago, but mine didn’t come out looking as gorgeous. So you’ve inspired me to make them again.

    Second, someone asked about how to prevent both the dough and the finished bread from sticking to either a towel or the baking sheet. Some of the methods I’ve used include:

    - kneading and shaping the dough on a floured silpat, then leaving it on the silpat to rise. (I cover the dough with a plastic grocery bag.) When it’s time to either dump the dough into the heated baking pan or move it to a baking sheet, it separates easily from the silpat.

    - sprinkling wheat bran or semolina on the bottom of your baking pan/sheet before placing the dough on the pan/sheet.

    - when doing the Jim Lahey no knead bread (the one that bakes inside a covered dutch oven), I sprinkle a bunch of wheat bran on top of the shaped, risen dough just before flipping it into the dutch oven.

    Hope those help!

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  50. Jane Kelly — 7/1/12 @ 8:55 am

    I so love your site and your recipes and all of your Tweets. Your photographs and step by step instructions are turly amazing. So far I have truly failed at any bread making but I am giving these a go right now. We have an abundance of fresh garlic, tomatoes and basil so I am going to incorporate those into my breads and I will let you know the outcome. Can’t wait. Talk to you tomorrow!

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