Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holiday Pumpkin Bread - You Want It, But You Don't Knead It

I may never knead bread again, ever. I'd heard about this mythical no-knead bread method for years, but never got around to trying it. Like many cooks, I just assumed that how in the world could any decent bread be made without kneading. It just didn't make sense. Then, a few weeks ago, a commenter sent me a link for a no-knead video done by Mark Bittman. As the sender promised, it blew my mind.

The only thing I didn't like about the technique was the way it was finished by baking in a red-hot Dutch oven. I figured there had to be a w
ay to make this work by just baking on a pan as per usual. As I say in the video recipe, there is no trick photography, or editing to make this look easier than it is. It's the kind of recipe someone who has never baked before could master the first time.

Since the holiday season is almost upon us, I decided to replace a bit of the water with pumpkin puree. The results were quite stunning. The flavor is very subtle, just a slight earthy undertone, and the tiny dash of spice is perceivable only to the nose. For plain bread, just use all water, and follow the steps the same way. Make this bread. Enjoy!



Ingredients:

1/2 cup plain pumpkin puree (use water for plain bread)
1 cup water plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 cups flour
cornmeal as needed

111 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, this looks SO COOL. I'm gonna go make it right now!
Thanks!

Jackie

Jimmy said...

Awesome. I've had two cans of pumpkin sitting in my pantry for 2 years now. I guess I will finally use them.

childsdish said...

OK - Did I sense sarcasm in your voice with that remark about your mom loving cats? If you really called her meow-meow I bet she just might hit you over the head with an old-fashioned iron skillet!

Pyrofish said...

Glad to see you tried it. I like your way better than in the cast iron. I think I'll make a loaf for my sister-in-law's birthday party this weekend. They already have me cooking, might as well bring over some tasty bread too!

Rickey said...

I have a batch rising right now... can't wait.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef John, I am so thrilled that the link I sent "blew your mind". You have blown my mind so many times that I was glad to return the favour:
Salmon Cakes & aioli - mind blowing
Caramel Chicken - mind blowing
Spicy orange chicken - mind blowing
Pasta in broccoli and garlic sauce - mind blowing
Romesco sauce - mind blowing
Pork with apple dijon pan sauce - mind blowing
Chicken Marsala - mind blowing
Flattata - mind blowing
(I could go on & on....)
These are recipes I now make on a regular basis. Everyday at our house is Chef John Appreciation Day!
Anyway...I had a feeling you would put your own special Chef John twist on this bread and I look forward to trying your variation. Since learning this technique I now make bread every other day, usually using 1/2 multigrain flour, 1/2 white flour and find that adding 1 tsp. lemon juice to the water makes the rise even better.
So how about that mushroom soup recipe I requested a while back? It may seem really basic to you but I have never made mushroom soup in my life and the canned stuff is just not an option (gag).
Pretty please? :-)

Chef John said...

Thanks!! Ok, mushroom soup it is. (remind me if you don't see it) ;)

Connie said...

I make bread like that but I knead it after the rise, just for like 10 times. I do use the cast iron dutch oven, but it does not have to be blazing hot, I cook it at 400 degrees. I will have to try it with the pumpkin. I bet cranberries would be good in it too.

Rickey said...

This made a great lunch. I couldn't wait, and I sliced it hot...

Check out my pics here:
http://rickeygalloway.com/blog.aspx

Chef John said...

Looks great! Everyone else...send in your pictures too!

Jen said...

Hmm... I wonder if this can be done with sweet potato? I'm going to try it out!

Anonymous said...

I knew about this no-knead bread recipe when Bittman first posted in the New York Times; I never made it because I just didn't have the Dutch oven pot to do the baking. It seems like it'd be a no-brainer to still attempt the recipe, but it never occurred to me to bake it via your method as it seemed SO necessary to have the hot Dutch oven pot. Thanks for recipe technique :)

Robert said...

Hi Chef - looks interesting. If I were to make plain bread, does the yeast need any sugar?

Chef John said...

Nope, otherwise it may grow to fast. Just do everything the same except the pumpkin for water.

Joseph said...

Chef John, I can't find pumpkin puree at the local grocery stores, only pumpkin filling. What do I do? I am off to cook it plain :(

Chef John said...

roast a butternut squash and use 1/2 cup of that. They taste almost identical

Anonymous said...

Does Williams-Sonoma carry the 1/100 tsp measuring spoon???
HA!
Luisa-Vacaville

Chef John said...

Don't laugh- I bet they do!

Anonymous said...

This recipe would make fabulous rolls for Thanksgiving dinner...

MMMmmmmmmmmm.

Alex said...

Chef John,

First of all, I'm still loving your blog. So many recipe ideas, so little time!

I wanted to ask you a quick question: How long do you think this bread will keep after one makes it? I have a potluck to go to on Tuesday night and will have NO TIME that day! So I was wondering if it would be ok to make this a day in advance and serve it the following night.

Thanks again!

Oh, and for some reason the video doesn't seem to show up. It might be something wrong with flash on my end; but it wasn't working in any of my browsers, so I thought I would let you know.

Chef John said...

Should be fine the next day. Keep it wrapped, and maybe pop it into a hot oven for 5 minutes if you want to heat the crust. But should be good.

D.W. said...

Chef John!

Great post! I'm going to be baking this in the next couple of days and I was wondering how much of the little individual package of active dry yeast I should use to duplicate this recipe. This particular one I have is 87.5 grams / per package. Much obliged!

Chef John said...

just a 1/4 tsp dry active yeast

gabe's girl said...

Dear Chef John,
What happened to the video? I was going to make this today. I have all the ingredients, but not the instructions.

Thanks,
Carolina
your fan!

Chef John said...

Thanks. The recipe seems to be playing fine. Sometimes the hosting sites go down for a bit.

Noz said...

Hey Chef,

I make this bread all the time...the no-knead stuff.

I've done it with olives, sundried tomatoes, caramelized onions, etc...raisins too.

I use buttermilk instead of water...it gives it a wonderful tangy flavor!

Thanks though...very nicely done.

D.W. said...

Thanks for your quick response, Chef John. I was also planning on replacing the 3 cups of flour with half whole wheat and half rye flour. Would I have to alter the recipe in any way? And could I put some chestnuts? Sorry for the million questions... Thanks in advance..~

Chef John said...

I haven't tried an all wheat/rye version so Im not sure, maybe our bakers can help. I would think the same recipe will work, but will be a bit denser.

Noz said...

Chef,

You are correct...I have tried it with wheat flour and it's about twice as dense and doesn't rise as well....perhaps more rising agent/baker powder?

Not sure. I didn't try it again.

Chef John said...

lemon juice has been suggested. I wouldnt add any baking powder though.

Alex said...

Chef John,

I ended up making two loaves this morning: one for my pot luck and one for a colloquium at my department.

I just got back from the colloquium and the bread went over AMAZINGLY. It's turned out perfect. Thanks once again for an outstanding and flavorful recipe! :)

Rosko said...

Chef, here's my bread. Had some trouble getting it out of the pan, but it still photographed well. Any advice for a stubborn loaf?


http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v369/89/55/146100050/n146100050_30398537_9576.jpg

Chef John said...

looks great! just use more cornmeal, lots of cornmeal

mug shot said...

Hi chef!
just finished a dlicious supper of Chef John's bread (without the pumpkin) & frittata. was wonderful.

I used 1/2 high gluten four & 1/2 all purpouse, & i really got a rise.
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

hey chef john, would it be ok not to use cornmeal and just bake it on a silicon mat? thank u!

Chef John said...

sure, but what do you have against cornmeal?

Linda said...

I was interested in this recipe, but the dutch oven put me off too, so I was happy to see it done without the DO.

If you put in olives or sundried tomatoes, does the liquid need adjustment?

Was also glad to see the list of Chef John favorites. I have a couple on my list, but I am a new fan and just starting out. I will be looking up all the recipes on the Chef John Appreciation Day list and seeing if they fit into my own repertoire (sp?).

Jen said...

I'm wondering if this would fit into a regular loaf pan? Or two? Love it, tastes great, but hubby wants "sandwich shaped bread" for his lunches.

Thanks!

Chef John said...

You can tray, it should work, just not crusty.

Chef John said...

olives or sundried tomatoes shouldn't change the liquid amounts. But, I don't like sundried tomatoes. Nuts will work also.

Anonymous said...

lol nothing against cornmeal, just don't have it at the moment xP

Anonymous said...

will sweet potato work?
Yvonne

Chef John said...

yes Sweet potato should be fine.

Anonymous said...

You make it look so easy, like even I could do it. Thank you for the confidence. I'm going to try it.:)

Rosko said...

Chef John,
Thank you so much for this recipe. I made it for myself, and it was gone the same night! Then I made two loaves, one for a church potluck, one for work just because, and they went over GREAT!!!!

Now I have two more rising in the oven for Church on Sunday . Whew! After that I still have enough pumpkin for 4 more, but I don't know that I have enough FLOUR!!!!

Thank you very much for this recipe! When will you make my first loaf (which I sent you a link to already) famous?!

Chef John said...

thanks! please send the link again. I don't see it.

Rosko said...

Here's my first loaf: http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v369/89/55/146100050/n146100050_30398537_9576.jpg

And here's my second set:
http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v361/89/55/146100050/n146100050_30399089_6335.jpg


I'm a bread-making fool these days! My roommates are getting annoyed, but oh well!

Gabe's Girl said...

I finally made this bread today! It was fine. It smelled and looked great up until the oven stage. I think my oven was way too hot (out of calibration). Bread turned out good, but did not sound or look like the inside of your bread. Plus, none of my knives seemed sharp enough to slice down the middle like you did. Oh, well, still edible and I can hardly wait to try it again.

Anonymous said...

hey hey just a little warning for the dummies like me, don't use corn stach instead of cornmeal cause your oven may explose! And it sleems like ****!

yvonne said...

is corn starch and cornmeal not the same thing?
yvonne

Chef John said...

No... cornstarch is a white powder, corm meal is a yellow granular meal. Plus one package says corn meal and one says cornstarch which is also a great way to tell.

Gabe's Girl said...

Chef John, I made your bread three times, all times, the inside of my bread does not come out like yours. It it because I am not slicing down the middle sharp enough? I finally bought a razor to try it in place of my knives.
Thanks, Me

Gabe's Girl said...

Chef John, I made your bread three times, all times, the inside of my bread does not come out like yours. It it because I am not slicing down the middle sharp enough? I finally bought a razor to try it in place of my knives.
Thanks, Me

Chef John said...

How does it taste? Send me a picture next time of before, during, and after, and I will try to be a bread CSI

matt said...

Hello Chef,

I was wondering about shaping the bread differently. It seems like this amount of dough would make 2 nice, little bagettes. However, I'm unsure of when the best time to split the dough would be. Before any rise? In between the first and second rise? Right before going in the oven? Please help!

Thanks,
-matt

Chef John said...

maybe our more experienced bakers can chime in, but IMO I slash the dough right before baking.

matt said...

Sorry, Chef, I wasn't clear. It's not the slash of the dough I was referring to, I actually meant when is the best time to take the ball of dough and portion it into two seperate pieces. And yes, I'll certainly take advice from anyone on this.

Thanks,
-matt

Chef John said...

Oh, sorry, divide it as soon as you flatten it after the first rise.

matt said...

excellent, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Dear Chef John:
I'm sure you're tired of hearing this but I absolutely LOVE your website!!
Also, I wanted to share with everyone my little experiment. Instead of half a cup of pumpkin puree I used a cup of mashed potatoes and reused the water used to boil the potatoes. It turned out beautifully!!!The dough was very very soft. I had to add lots of flour when folding it(perhaps I only needed 1/2 cup mashed p's?)but anyway, the end result was very tasty!.
Thank you!!
G.G.

Chef John said...

Great idea. And, I never get tired of hearing it!

Drew said...

Ultimate fail...I just tried to make the recipe with disasterous results...I let it rise for 16 hrs...I had it sitting in the microwave (because it was slightly warmer inside and no, it wasn't on) overnight and when I took it out, the dough was wayyy too wet and non-elastic...It was more the consistency of oatmeal than having any glutinous tendencies...Any ideas as to what went wrong?

Chef John said...

Was the dough thick and sticky when you first mixed it like in the video? I don't see how it can get wetter as it sits.

I can't be sure, but it sounds like dead yeast possible. If you measure everything and the yeast is not killed by hot water, or is just too old, the recipe is pretty foolproof (no insult intended!)

Watch the video again, get some new yeast, and try again!

Drew said...

Yes, it was thick and quite sticky...The yeast I used was quite fresh and was from an un-opened envelope...I can't for the life of me figure why the dough got wetter either...There were plenty of bubbles in the dough after it had risen but it was just a sloppy mess so I'm at a loss...I'll try it again and see what happens...Maybe I won't keep it in the microwave this time and just let it sit out...

Drew said...

OK, I just tried it again and my dough is practically glistening...Please clarify something for me, as it might be where I'm messing up...If I DON'T use the pumpkin how much water am I supposed to use? One cup? Or one cup plus a half cup to take the place of the pumpkin that I'm not using?

Chef John said...

you'll notice when I scrap my dough on the board it is very very soft. maybe you just thought mine was stiffer. Use lots of flour on the board and form a loaf anyway, and let it rise before baking. It may be fine. As long as it's bubbly you should be fine. Just use enough flour to be able to shape a loaf.

Chef John said...

You need 1 1/2 cups of liquid total, either 1 cup water 1/2 cup puree, or just 1 1/2 cups water.

Drew said...

Your dough was coherent though, when you folded it over...Mine basically ran through my fingers...

Drew said...

UPDATE: I opened a new bag of flour and tried another batch of dough with entirely different results...This time, the dough was 'shaggy' when I mixed it...Nothing at all like the glistening blob I got with the first two attempts...Yes, this was bread flour I used this time but I don't think the gluten sets that quickly upon mixing to have had this profound a difference in texture...From what I understood the gluten takes a while to form...So, does flour get 'old'? The stuff I was using before was sitting in a cannister on my counter for ages...

Chef John said...

Could be, but Im not sure. I've never had flour last that long! ;)

Ann Marie said...

Hey Chef John,
Can one refrigerate the dough before cooking? I was going to start on it at night and let it sit overnight but then I don't want it to sit out all day while I'm at work. Can I refrigerate between the two rises?

Ann

Chef John said...

yes, but since the dough will be cold it will take longer for the loaf to double before baking. But should be fine.

garlic_n_wine said...

This is a terrific and easy recipe. It actually made me look like I knew what I was doing! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

My husbands grandfather came to America from Italy and made his living as a baker. He claimed OLD FLOUR made the best loaves, but now he's gone, and I never thought to ask how old it should be, or where he bought his already aged supply.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,

I attempted to make bread for the first time ever using this recipe. However, I have run into a little bit of a problem--turns out the mixing bowl I used to let the dough rest in is too small!! It's been resting for 7 hours and I'm afraid it'll outgrow the mixing bowl. If I switch the dough to another bowl, will I end up ruining it in any way? Please help!

Chef John said...

just scrape it into a bigger bowl, and let it rise. relax, it's only flour and water. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Another way to do this is to spray oil onto a piece of parchement paper and place the dough to rise there (2 hours, as in the video...). Preheat the oven to 500 with a lid dutch oven in it. Carefully remove the dutch oven, place bread together with the parchement paper (using parchement as a sling). Place lid on pot and return to the oven that has been lowered to 425. Bake for 30 min and then remove the lid and bake for 20 more min... The dutch oven catches the moisture of the dough and there is no need for the pan of water....

Chef John said...

thanks, yes, but that sure seems like a lot more work than just putting in a pan of water!

Anonymous said...

I had never baked bread before and the pumpkin bread was my first attempt. I followed your instructions to the letter and like you said, it came out perfectly. It had a moist interior with a beautiful crust on the outside. The dough seemed too stiff when I began to mix it, but it soon became nice and sticky. It was delicious! Thanks!

sarau said...

I made the plain version using this recipe and was delish! Much thanks for the recipe. However, I ran into a couple of problems. 1st: How in the world do you tuck your dough just before baking w/out removing all the cornmeal beneath it? I had great difficulty doing this, so paid the price w/a very, very thin bread, that looked nice if you hovered over it, but . . . and 2nd I really put a good layer of cornmeal down (read about previous blogger's problem) and I think because of the tucking issue, I now have cemented dough on my sheet pan. No visuals on my nearly having to jack hammer the bread off. Any suggestions on how to get the darn thing off? I'm hoping a good soak will do the trick.

Chef John said...

well, you saw the tucking in the video, not anything major, just a little tuck. Try using lots of cornmeal, and lightly oiling the pan before you sprinkle the cornmeal.

Anonymous said...

Chef John I have tried this recipe and it didn't rise properly. I live above 6500 ft. elevation, what should I do to alter this recipe for high altitude baking. I was also wondering if it may have been too cold overnight would that have altered, and what is the optimum temperature to achieve proper rise? Thanks, the bread was very good, but was extremely dense, almost too thick to eat. Thank you for any help.

Chef John said...

sorry, I have no exp. with altitude baking, but if you google you will find tons of info I'm sure.

It should rise in a warm place, like 70 degrees. If it was too cold then that would explain your issues.

Ummuzulfa said...

Hai,

I just found your blog and it is awesome...(well, I just browsed thru the bread section though...*wink*)

just to clarity...the flour you were using is it plain flour or high protein flour..
and why on earth our cornmeal here in my country is very white compared to yours which looked much more deliciously yellow..,,

Hope to hear from you..

many thanks..

Chef John said...

i used reg flour, but bread flour works as well. thanks

crocopie said...

Hello chef,

I tried this recipe but instead of pumpkin I used banana instead. I tried to cut it with the knife but the dough is too sticky. I put in as much flour as I can but with the same result. After baking, the crust is very rubbery and it didn't have the beautiful brown color I expected. But the inside is okay. What went wrong?

Thanks.

Chef John said...

not sure, but banana has more fat than pumpkin, so many that was it.

Jack Parker said...

This is the video (and the recipe) that got me hooked on Chef John. Since then, I've been on a Chef John Marathon of making Food Wishes Dishes. Okay, that was bad... but true. I've never seen any other chef who had so many recipes I couldn't wait to try. They usually have a few, but I'm like a kid in a candy store on this website. It's addictive. Maybe I need Chef John Anon - ymous? Ok, I'm really stopping now.

wgspools said...

I tried the recipe and it was amazing

Thanks chef John

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love the no-knead method. Can't wait to try the pumpkin version. Does anyone know how to make a loaf using the no-knead method? Ultimately, I would like to make a no knead,high fiber, high protein loaf. Is that just a dream?

Alex said...

In a moment of pure insanity, I accidently used TWO WHOLE CANS of pumpkin in an attempt to make two loaves. (I saw the serving size on the can and thought "oh, each can has 1/2 a cup!" ...turns out each can has 3.5 servings...)

It's in the oven now. and I'm hoping for a miracle.

Jill Drapcho said...

Just made this & it is beautiful! Forgot to add the pumpkin pie spice, but delicious without. Served this to guests with champagne, goat cheese, & applesauce. Will take for Thanksgiving but with the spice. Kneaded it a few turns to get enough flour & this made this made for a finer texture, but with some holes.

Patti A said...

Thanks for this recipe. When Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread was first published, I bought an enameled cast iron dutch oven so I could make it. But working with that hot, heavy pot was such a pain, that I made it only a few times. Your method of using a baking sheet, plus the added yumminess of the pumpkin was a huge hit when I made this last night. I put a sheet of parchment on the baking sheet to contain the cornmeal and flour.

Here's a picture: http://twitpic.com/36ux3t

The bread that didn't get eaten last night made delicious toast this morning.

Kat said...

So as an experiment I used pumpkin pie filling instead of pumpkin (don't judge me I needed more pumpkin action!) and added walnuts and cranberries. What are the odds this bread rises and bakes correctly? :)

Shin said...

I will try this recipe soon, but I have a question. My mom bought bread flour instead of regular flour long ago. It's just sitting there in my cupboard. Will bread flour work with this recipe? Thanks in advance!

Chef John said...

Yes it will!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John, do you think it is a good idea to add some sourdough starter to the dough?

Unknown said...

Great recipe, it came out perfectly and my family loved it!

Question...if I wanted to experiment with adding inclusions in the bread. I have seen some suggest cranberries or olives and sundried tomatoes. I may try pepperoni. At what point in the process would you recommend to mix in the inclusions?

Chef John said...

Usually when you form the loaf, after punching down. Enjoy!

superspryte said...

Chef John, you're my new hero. Seriously, I recently was looking for recipes to use with some leftover pumpkin puree I made and found this blog. Now I'm all over pretty much everything you make. Your videos are so easy to follow that I can even replicate them to have a taste of home while living in Japan.

Super kudos and thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

All the no-knead recipes seem so easy and wonderful. But I have MS and need to avoid gluten. Chef John, any chance that you will be coming up with a gluten-free versions of your amazing dough creations?

Chef John said...

Sorry, but no. That's not my niche, nor do I have any experience. Basically, I film what I eat, and I don't eat GF. There are so many great GF blogs and websites that would serve you much better than I could! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting a reply so promptly. Well, life is way too short to avoid your wonderful chewy glutenlicious no-knead creations! I have to at least taste it once. There is a gorgeous Chef John Pumplkin Bread baking in our oven as I type. Thank you, again.

Eliz said...

I noticed in the video you say "dry instant yeast" but in the ingredients list on the blog it says "dry active yeast" - which one should we use? If I remember correctly, dry active yeast needs to be proofed whereas dry instant yeast does not? Also, I went to the store to buy some cornmeal but there's so many different kinds! Which kind/type would you recommend?

Chef John said...

it's dry active! I only know one cornmeal, so just get anything that says "cornmeal" and you'll be fine. enjoy!

Madonna said...

I have started using a scale to weigh my flour. My product seems to turn out better. Would you say a cup of flour is 4.5 oz. or better yet do you have a gram measurement? I have re-watched this video (you don't really want to know how many), and I am feeling brave.

basswood said...

1st time viewer, made the no knead beer bread. Everything came out fine. Preheated my pizza stone , shaped the bread on the peelboard ( well coated w/ cornmeal slid it on the stone. Voila! Excellent bread.

Niya said...

I've experimented with this bread (without puree) up to half whole wheat and half AP- all loaves were EXCELLENT! Although the bread was a little bland for our taste. Chef John, do you think adding more salt would retard the yeast's growth? Google isn't helping much, expert advice needed!

Chef John said...

Yes, add more salt. Enjoy!

lisa0116 said...

Chef John,
I made the dough for this bread yesterday and let it rise for 16 hours. While making the dough and then today while doing the rest of the process, I was amazed that every step of the way, mine looked just like yours down to the stainless steel bowl! Only thing I screwed up that I noticed when I removed from oven was that I did not put a slice in the top before baking. Oh well..still turned out excellent!! I made two batches at one time in the same bowl. Split the dough down the middle while in the bowl before removing to floured surface. Thank you for a wonderful recipe. Just had a ham sandwich with this bread and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Constantine said...

Chef John
Hello from down under. Only recently discovered your site, and tried the pumpkin bread. It turned out great, and was delicious. I'm next going to try your ciabatta. Thanks for sharing your skills.