Mark Bittman’s 100% Whole Grain No-Knead Bread

Fast No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread, Mark Bittman, New York Times.
There’s no date on this link so I’ll guess it’s the same 2006 timeframe as his original no-knead bread.

This is the photo that accompanied Bittman’s original article:

This recipe is a variation on the original no-knead bread, which Mark Bittman learned from the baker Jim Lahey. It’s an attempt to bake a loaf with a higher percentage of whole grain. The results are wonderful: you can use 100 percent whole grains, you can vary their percentages all you want (though all-rye bread doesn’t rise much at all) and you can add nongrain flours, sweeteners or dairy. If the proportions of liquid, solid and yeast stay the same, the timing and results will be consistent.


2 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup whole rye flour
½ cup coarse cornmeal
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ water
2 tablespoons maple syrup [my addition]


Combine flours, cornmeal, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Oil a standard loaf pan (8 or 9 inches by 4 inches; nonstick works well). Lightly oil your hands and shape dough into a rough rectangle. Put it in pan, pressing it out to the edges. Brush top with a little more oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 1 hour more.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread about 45 minutes, or until loaf reaches an internal temperature of 210 degrees. Remove bread from pan and cool on a rack.

I’ve made it several times. The first couple times I let it rise overnight in the refrigerator because I was short on time. Not good. The yeast consumed a lot of sugar (from starch) and the result was too alcohol-y, too fermented. They made very pale, non-browned loaves for the same reason.

The consistency of this bread is more crumbly, like a quick bread. It doesn’t rise much because of the rye and corn flours, and all the bran and germ getting in the way of gluten formation. No oven spring at all. But none of that mattered because the taste was just what I was looking for, a hearty whole-grain loaf with a bit more character than whole wheat bread. No white flour, no oil. Great toasted.

I am using Bittman’s exact recipe. I diverged from it earlier but returned to it. My addition of maple syrup balances the slight bitterness of the rye flour, but it’s not necessary.

Directions [Mine, cooked free-form in dutch oven]:

Combine flours, cornmeal, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Stir maple syrup into water, add to flour mixture, stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Nudge dough onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands and a pastry scraper, roll dough around a bit (ok, knead) until it forms a ball. This will happen very quickly, 4 or 5 kneads. Place ball onto a piece of parchment, drape with plastic wrap, let rest 1 hour more.

Before the hour is up, place a large, heavy, covered pot, e.g. a dutch oven, into oven. Preheat oven and pot to 350 degrees. Score the bread. Gently lower bread into hot pot, holding it by the parchment, and cover. Bake 45 minutes, remove lid, bake another 10 minutes. Remove bread from pot and cool on a rack.

This was one of my earlier, refrigerated ones that I cooked in a loaf pan. Mine did rise more that Bittman’s but I don’t know why.

This is my most recent. I’ve settled on cooking it free-form because I like more crust.

I cut it into chunks and freeze them so it’s convenient to thaw as needed.

5 thoughts on “Mark Bittman’s 100% Whole Grain No-Knead Bread

  1. mboydp

    Yes, yours definitely looks better than Bittman’s!!!! Do you think waxed paper would work in place of parchment? (I used to use waxed paper in making fruit cakes.)


    1. Bix Post author

      I’ve never used waxed paper in the oven because I was afraid the wax would melt. I’m even hesitant using parchment paper for fear it would catch fire, but it never has.

      Speaking of parchment, I lined the bottom of the loaf pan with a piece, just a small rectangle. Helps to dislodge it without having to oil the pan.


  2. Bix Post author

    This bread is really growing on me. I’m glad I didn’t give up on it. People on NYTs comment section called it a brick, but others, like me, can’t get enough of it. I hope to make another loaf on Saturday.


  3. Pingback: Heritage Loaf | Fanatic Cook

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