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Author Topic: Jim Lahey no knead  (Read 621 times)

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Offline Lisa

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Jim Lahey no knead
« on: March 31, 2021, 05:32:55 AM »
Hello everyone.

Has anyone tried Jim Lahey's no knead method of pizza dough? I want to try it but have a couple of questions I hope the good people here can help me with.

First. At eighteen hours room temperature it seems a very long time to proof. I have most commonly seen recipes where after a maximum four-six hours to proof you then refrigerate. Lahey's method has it at room temperature the whole eighteen hours.

Second. How do you prevent the dough drying out and forming a crust given that it spends so long at room temperature.

Third. He seems to favour all purpose flour ( I think this is called plain flour here in the UK ) but I always thought that AP(plain) didn't have the required protein content to make a good pizza base.

Thank you.

Offline jsaras

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Re: Jim Lahey no knead
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2021, 10:18:15 AM »
Hello everyone.

Has anyone tried Jim Lahey's no knead method of pizza dough? I want to try it but have a couple of questions I hope the good people here can help me with.

First. At eighteen hours room temperature it seems a very long time to proof. I have most commonly seen recipes where after a maximum four-six hours to proof you then refrigerate. Lahey's method has it at room temperature the whole eighteen hours.

Second. How do you prevent the dough drying out and forming a crust given that it spends so long at room temperature.

Third. He seems to favour all purpose flour ( I think this is called plain flour here in the UK ) but I always thought that AP(plain) didn't have the required protein content to make a good pizza base.

Thank you.
Eighteen hours at room temp, and longer, is certainly doable, but Lahey only offers one quantity of yeast.  Craig’s yeast chart will help you dial that in for whatever combination of time and temperature you plan to use.

The protein content of AP flour can vary a lot.  I think Lahey’s point is that the flour is just one factor in the process, and it’s seldom the determinitive one.
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Offline Lisa

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Re: Jim Lahey no knead
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2021, 11:05:30 AM »
Eighteen hours at room temp, and longer, is certainly doable, but Lahey only offers one quantity of yeast.  Craig’s yeast chart will help you dial that in for whatever combination of time and temperature you plan to use.

The protein content of AP flour can vary a lot.  I think Lahey’s point is that the flour is just one factor in the process, and it’s seldom the determinitive one.

Thank you for your reply jsaras.

The only yeast chart I can find is the one about sourdough is that the chart you mean? Is that the same for pizza dough?

Offline jsaras

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Re: Jim Lahey no knead
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2021, 11:28:24 AM »
Craig’s other chart has amounts for cake yeast, IDY and ADY
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Offline Lisa

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Re: Jim Lahey no knead
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2021, 11:52:04 AM »
Craig’s other chart has amounts for cake yeast, IDY and ADY

Thank you jsaras but if I may ask a further question of you.

Looking at that chart am I correct in thinking that if I were to use 500g of flour in my dough and it was my intention to prove the dough for say 24 hours at an average room temp of say 65f I would need only 0.04% of IDY? Basically a fifth of a gram for the whole 500g batch? Or am I reading it wrong? It seems such a miniscule amount.

Thank you for both your time and patience.

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Offline jsaras

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Re: Jim Lahey no knead
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2021, 12:00:23 PM »
Thank you jsaras but if I may ask a further question of you.

Looking at that chart am I correct in thinking that if I were to use 500g of flour in my dough and it was my intention to prove the dough for say 24 hours at an average room temp of say 65f I would need only 0.04% of IDY? Basically a fifth of a gram for the whole 500g batch? Or am I reading it wrong? It seems such a miniscule amount.

Thank you for both your time and patience.

You are reading it correctly!  I often use very small quantities of yeast for extended room temperature fermentations.  I use this $14 jeweler's scale to weigh the yeast (as well as salt and oil): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y61YW7S/?tag=pmak-20    I put the yeast directly into the water and let it sit for a couple of minutes, otherwise it's impossible to get it to disperse properly into the flour. 
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Offline SonVolt

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Re: Jim Lahey no knead
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2021, 12:02:45 PM »
With Jim's method you certainly don't have to worry about the dough "drying out and forming a crust".   ;D   It'll look like a webby matrix of pancake batter by the 18 hour mark.

Offline Lisa

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Re: Jim Lahey no knead
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2021, 05:32:02 AM »
Good morning everyone.

Is there a difference in proofing times between the various ranges of flours or is it solely down to ambient temperature and amount of yeast?

Offline jsaras

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Re: Jim Lahey no knead
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2021, 10:13:16 AM »
The type of flour has no impact, unless you have something extremely exotic.
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Offline RedSauce

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Re: Jim Lahey no knead
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2021, 01:47:41 PM »
Jsaras: Do you favor a long RT ferment over, say, a 48 hr. CF? I'd be interested in your reasons. I'm wondering what the differences would be in the end result in terms of flavor development, texture, handling, oven spring, etc. as compared to a CF, and why some people prefer one over the other.

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Offline RHawthorne

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Re: Jim Lahey no knead
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2021, 02:24:37 PM »
This is the recipe I used for a while when I first got started to get really serious about making pizza at home. The recipe as it is gives perfectly respectable results, but you can definitely play around with it, as I did. I actually went with a full 24 hour rise, and just kept the dough well covered so that it didn't dry out. I would say that his recommended time frame is not only doable, but a mandatory minimum, dut to the lack of kneading. It takes time for the flour to hydrate and for the rise to get going. When I started to tweak it, I brought the total amount of flour up to 4 cups, I switched to bread flour and sometimes substituted in some semolina flour, and I also played around with the hydration. I don't remember off the top of my head how much olive oil the recipe called for, but I always went with 2 tsp to help keep the dough from drying out, and I thought it helped with the flavor, too. My preferred method was to ball the dough up at 24 hours and refrigerate it and then, ideally, wait at least another 24 hours before using it. I learned some good information from Jim Lahey's pizza cookbook, and I think the no-knead recipe is a good one for those starting to get more serious about making pizza.
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Offline HansB

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Re: Jim Lahey no knead
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2021, 02:32:44 PM »
Second. How do you prevent the dough drying out and forming a crust given that it spends so long at room temperature.


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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Jim Lahey no knead
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2021, 03:12:30 PM »
Lisa,

Maybe you already saw it, but a thread was started on Jim Lahey's no-knead dough, including my stab at his no-knead dough, at:

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=7745.msg66537#msg66537

Peter

Offline jsaras

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Re: Jim Lahey no knead
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2021, 03:42:12 PM »
Jsaras: Do you favor a long RT ferment over, say, a 48 hr. CF? I'd be interested in your reasons. I'm wondering what the differences would be in the end result in terms of flavor development, texture, handling, oven spring, etc. as compared to a CF, and why some people prefer one over the other.

Cold fermentation is easier to manage for beginners as it uses larger quantities of yeast (easier to measure, and you can fudge it) and the usability window is much greater.  However, I've found 18-24 hour room temp fermentation to be superior in every way.  I carefully manage my finished dough temp by using the water at a specified temperature (starting water temp = 130 - flour temp F) and the fermentation process works like clockwork.  This type workflow would be difficult for a restaurant to implement, but as a home baker I do not have the same restrictions. 

If you search, you'll find threads that detail the differences between CF and RT written by people far smarter than me.
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