Day 104: No-knead Bread and Homemade Butter


Don’t hate me for making bread (and butter) from scratch.

Wait, hear me out. I knew if the title read: Day 104: homemade crusty bread and freshly churned butter, the collective groan would be ‘oh come on!’, and everyone would abandon me for getting all Martha.


But seriously, I was desperate. I had mixed up a batch of no-knead bread yesterday and forgotten about it until this morning, and so baked it. (That’s the great thing about no-knead bread; people think it’s inconvenient that it has to sit for 12-24 hours, but it’s the most convenient that way: you have a 12 hour window in which to find time to pop it into the oven, rather than spend hours in its service; kneading, resting, punching and rising.)

I taught an hors d’ouevres class at The Cookbook Company this afternoon, and ate my share of spanikopita and bacon wrapped Medjool dates stuffed with Parmesano-Reggiano (I’m sure those will come up again this year – they have to) at about 5, and got home to find myself locked out. So I sat on the patio for an hour and a half, and by the time I got in didn’t have the gumption to feed myself properly, not that I really needed to after cooking all afternoon. (M & W ate at his mum’s.)

Right, the butter. I didn’t have any, and the bread was all warm and crusty. It was tragic. As I rummaged through the fridge I found about about a cup of whipping cream left over from the strawberry shortcakes, and remembered making butter in elementary school by turning the little pint of cream over and over all day long. The seed, I suppose, had been planted by a video of Daniel Patterson making butter on the current Epicurious home page. Was I really that desperate? Yes. (If you smelled this bread you’d understand.) Besides, what’s  the difference between spending 10 minutes (2 minutes actual effort) making the stuff and spending 10 minutes running to the store to buy some?

I quickly referred to the Daniel Patterson recipe, lest I had forgotton some essential detail since 5th grade. I hadn’t. All you do is beat cream for a long time, and it turns into butter. I poured it into my stand mixer, took his advice to splatter-guard the top with plastic wrap, and turned it on high for about 10 minutes while I went about my stuff. (It does tend to spatter once the butter separates from the buttermilk, so the plastic wrap is a good idea.)

In about 10 minutes, I had lovely, soft, pale yellow butter. You can then salt it, although I don’t understand why this is kneaded in at the end, rather than as you beat the cream. I like mine sweet; it reminds me of eating out at a fancy restaurant, so I had some plain and then mashed in a little salt. So I suppose that was technically dinner. (I finished half a banana and a carrot, too.)

Next time, once the butter is done, I’m going to try beating in some Highwood Crossing cold-pressed canola oil, then spread it in a crock and chill it. My theory is that it will stay soft and spreadable in the fridge. I’ll keep you posted.

No-Knead Bread


April 13, 2008

Adapted from Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan


3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting (I usually use half whole wheat and half all-purpose, sometimes with a shake of ground flaxseed added)

¼ teaspoon instant yeast (sometimes I use about 1/3 teaspoon regular active dry yeast)

1 teaspoon salt


1In a large bowl stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let it rest on the countertop for 18-24 hours at room temperature.

2The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice, then roughly shape into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour. Fold it over the bread or cover with another cotton towel and let it sit for another hour or two.

3While the bread is resting, preheat the oven to 450°. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and flip the dough over into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that’s OK. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 10-15 minutes, until it’s nice and golden.

4 Eat up!


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15 comments on “Day 104: No-knead Bread and Homemade Butter

  1. Jj
    April 15, 2008 at 7:25 am

    I think its wonderful that you make butter from scratch! We learned how to do that back when I was in grade school and I always wanted to do it when I “grew up” — well, been grown up a heck of a long time and still haven’t done it, so major kudo’s to you!! You ARE inspiring.

  2. Brigitte
    April 16, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I made that bread, “no-knead” on Monday evening and ate it yesterday. Wonderful!!!
    I will be making that bread again and again.

  3. Tartelette
    April 17, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    Don’t worry, you are amongst friends…we understand the fresh butter thing 🙂

  4. Alison
    April 27, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    I made the no knead bread. I was so sceptical and expected to have to throw it out, had good stuff in freezer on standby. It was FANTASTIC.

    Because I only cook for one, I halved the batch. Still turned out great. I will be baking it a lot now. It is perfect with mushroom soup.

  5. korey
    March 2, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    hi julie,
    I am going to make this bread tomorrow for Rogers daytime and tell the viewers to subscribe to your blog. I am also going to make Leek & Potato soup. I’ll reference Alison’s L&P soup but use another recipe. i hope it sends lots of Ottawa people your way xo

  6. Robyn
    March 5, 2009 at 6:46 am

    Hi there,
    Just saw Korey make the no-knead bread on A Morning. It looks good. Will give it a try tonight and will definitely be subscribing to dinnerwithjulie. Thanks!

  7. Manon from Ontario
    March 5, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Hey I was just telling Julie about Korey making bread and talking about her friend Julie and Julie’s blog on A channel news.

    Julie is famous 🙂


  8. keith
    November 2, 2009 at 11:26 am

    replaced water with milk heated to 100 degrees f for no knead bread after removing lid will try 15 minutes instead of 30 it was delicious

  9. Myrna Ichelson
    January 24, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I’ve been making the no-knead bread for many months and many friends areconverts. I use 1 c. multi-grain and 2 c.white flour, 1-1/2 tsp salt and 2 tsp quick rising yeast. I use the multi-grain when turning the dough onto a surface, pat down with a silicon spatula, fold as you do. When the oven reaches temp, pick up the mess with a well floured hand and spatula in the other. If it plops in unevenly, use the spatula to even out a bit and replace the lid very quickly (to trap as much moisture inside the vessel as possible – which makes the fabulous crust). Let rise anywhere from 4 to 6/7 hrs (also very forgiving). I use a Corningware casserole and a gas oven @ 430 degrees. MY FAMILY LOVES IT!!!

  10. Lyndsey Quamme
    November 17, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I’d love for Google Tv to become made available for use on cell phones.

  11. Carissa
    August 27, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I too am under the spell of fresh “churned” butter. So good! I have a theory that the cream from Vancouver Island may be much more in the sweet department as I believe the cows they have at the Island farms company are Jersey cows. I have been told thats its those cows that make their products so darn yummy! So im going to test that theory soon.
    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes you share, Im a huge fan!!

  12. Laurie
    December 9, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Thank you SO MUCH for this recipe – I was an avid bread baker who (after many traditional style successes!) became discouraged by a new apt.’s crappy oven which seemed designed to ruin my bread – esp. as I usually doubled recipes making 4 loaves to freeze (I have a voracious boyfriend that I feed)!

    This recipe changed my life – I’ve been baking it daily, messing about with proportions of whole wheat to white etc but have yet to have a true failure!

    Been preaching the gospel of it ever since. It is awesome you are willing to take time from your busy life to share with us all, please know how much I personally appreciate it!

    Thanks, best wishes,
    Laurie from Nova Scotia, Canada

  13. Fate
    March 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    To this day, every time I make whipped cream I hear my mother standing over my shoulder, “Don’t turn it to butter!”

    Cheers 🙂

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