The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Suzanne Dunaway's "No Need to Knead"

KipperCat's picture

Suzanne Dunaway's "No Need to Knead"

I just got this book from the library. Has anyone tried any of the recipes? Any opinions on the book or the techniques she uses?

qahtan's picture

 I bought this book a couple or so years ago, and to be honest I have never made any thing from it and have often wondered why I bothered to get it.

 I prefer to make my bread and knead it,  ;-))))) qahtan

weavershouse's picture

Her Focaccia is terrific as is her Pane Rustico and Housewife's Bread. She basically doing what a lot of us do here and that is no-knead and stretching and folding. She got good reviews from Joe Ortiz (The Village Baker) and others including Reinhart.

I know some people object to her not using weights to measure and while I bought a scale not too long ago I made good bread for years without one. Now, of course, THE FRESH LOAF has taught me lots more but I still go back to Dunaway's book for some good recipes. I hope you give it a try.                                                                                                   weavershouse

KipperCat's picture

Thanks weavershouse. I'll take a look.

I'll probably always weigh my flour now, but it's easy enough to convert that.

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

So, how much does a cup of flour weigh?

KipperCat's picture

I've been using 430 grams for 3 cups, which works out to 143 grams/cup.  I'd be interested in hearing what other people use.

I had't baked in years until the NYT no knead recipe came out.  I got OK bread the first few times, but not quite the results expected. Since the recipe also had the weight listed, I decided to try weighing my 3 cups of flour.  It turned out that with the careful way I was stirring then scooping the flour, I was fluffing it up too much.  My 3 cups of flour were way too scant.  So now I set my bowl on the scale, and reset the scale to zero.  Then I just dump flour in until it registers the right weight.  It's actually easier than measuring, though when I didn't have a scale at my sister's I just made sure to get a packed cup of flour and it worked out about the same.

cyalexa's picture

I look at the nutritional facts panel where the serving size is given in both volume and weight.

apprentice's picture

I've been indebted to RLB more than once in my baking life! She has a very helpful section on volume-weight conversions in her book, The Cake Bible. It includes a chart that gives the weight in ounces and grams for one cup of almost any food substance you might use in baking.

She distinguishes among sifted, lightly spooned or the "dip-and-sweep" method of measuring various types of flour. It can make quite a difference. The range is from 4 to 5.5 ounces (121-157 grams) for a cup of bread flour.

Srishti's picture

The hazelnut-sage filoncino is mouth-watering....

It's a pretty decent book.

verminiusrex's picture

To be quite honest, I liked the focaccia but didn't care for many of the other breads.  I feel the same about the NYT no knead recipe, the big holes are aethetic but the shiny glutenous mass just doesn't taste good to me.  This and the Panera Bread Company cookbooks are the only two of my dozen or so bread baking books I've considered throwing or giving away.

andrew_l's picture

read it and haven't done any of the recipes. No weights at all - does anyone who has used the book found it succesful? And what hydration do you aim for?  I couldn't work out just how wet a dough must be to pour it into a container. Also, the idea of a "Sourdough Caraway Rye" which is made using yeast instead of a sourdough starter.....!

titus's picture

I use this book all the time and have been happy with the results.

I agree the lack of weights is annoying.

The only thing for it, I'm afraid, is for you to order a set of measuring cups -- King Arthur has very nice ones and they ship internationally. The first time you make a recipe from the book, measure the flour, then weight that measured flour, and make a note in the book.

It's an extra step, to be sure, but you only have to do it the first time.

Since moving from the US to Europe with my American books, that's what I've been doing (since I've really come to dislike straight measuring). I do this with any recipe that I use -- including the liquid meaurements.

andrew_l's picture

thanks for that. Have you weighed to see what percentages are flour re water? I feel if I knew what she was aimimg for, I'd be able to work out all of the recipes as weights.I like the sound of quite a few of her recipes and love the idea of "easy"!!!I've recently bought a set of measuring cups and will give it a whirl.

BROTKUNST's picture

I bought this book when it was out-of-print because I thought it was a somewhat 'unusual' concept and I wanted to learn more about it 'first hand'. I used a 4.5oz conversion per cup of flour which appears to work reasonably well.

Overall I think this book is not all that great, not a must-have - although I don't mind keeping it in my library.... too much (I have to admit that I think the illustrations are more wanna-be than can-do and appear to be out of place. More importantly the book would have benefited from a more professional editing)

So, when you use 4.5oz flour per cup with this book you should get a hydration that works very well for the No-Knead-Method.


titus's picture

Sorry, I haven't done the percentage thing, so I can't give you any tips there.

I will say that the dough is very hydrated -- you basically pour it into the pans.

Give the measure/weigh thing a try and see how you like the results. You can always tweak.

Good luck with it and let us know how it goes!

JoPi's picture

I have had this book for several years now. The Focaccia and Pane Rustico are my favorites.  I usually make three loaves of the Pane Rustico and give one away.  This recipe makes a wonderful loaf that we use for dipping in olive oil and buttering.  It makes a great sandwich if it lasts that long.  One loaf disappears before the night is out. 

I like to knead my breads too, but sometimes it's nice to have something come out so well even when it is not kneaded. Here's a link to my Flickr photo.   No crumb shot though. : )