Monday, February 25, 2013

Sullivan St. "No Knead” Bread with Figs, Walnuts and Chocolate

No Knead Bread with Figs, Walnuts and Chocolate
Since I was a young girl, watching my mother work magic with flour, yeast, water and her bread baking skills had always intrigued me. She loved mixing up her own wonderful breads, and experimenting with different flours and ingredients. She was a talented baker! So, when I started my life as an adult,  I decided to give bread baking a try.  How hard could it be?  I must have inherited some of her baking skills!  To my dismay, bread baking skills were not in my DNA. They did not come naturally.  Those skills needed to be nurtured. I remember my first few attempts quite vividly…large white bricks come to mind!  Each one of those attempts started with excitement, followed by disappointment!  However, I have a very stubborn nature, and with some encouragement from my mother, I kept challenging myself.  Then one day, it happened! A perfect loaf of bread!  Through trial and error I finally made a loaf of edible bread! I never looked back…something clicked…I got it!  To this day, I can still hear my mom’s voice telling me "prove your yeast, get to know how your dough feels, don’t be afraid of the dough”.  I learned so much about bread baking from my mom.

The bread I’m sharing with you today is Jim Lahey’s “No Knead” bread; to which I added figs, walnuts, and chocolate. This bread is versatile and delicious! I make it often, with many different additions. It's easy to throw together at night, and finish up in the morning.  In 2006, Mark Bittman wrote about Jim Lahey’s revolutionary and quite unconventional No Knead bread technique, in the New York Times.  In doing so, he enticed a whole new generation of home cooks to bake their own artisanal loaves.  This bread is not my mothers bread but, I know she would approve.  It makes a delightful breakfast bread, served toasted with some butter and homemade fig jam! That’s the way I like it!

Sullivan St. Bakery No Knead Bread with Figs, Walnuts and Chocolate
 Adapted from Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan St Bakery


3 cups (430g) flour
1½ cups (345g or 12oz) water
¼ teaspoon (1g) yeast
1¼ teaspoon (8g) salt
 ½ cup chopped figs 
 ¼ cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts) 
 ¼ cup dark chocolate chips 
 olive oil (for coating) extra flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal (for dusting)


Two medium mixing bowls
6 to 8 quart pot with lid (Pyrex glass, Le Creuset cast iron, or ceramic)
Wooden Spoon or spatula (optional)
Plastic wrap
Two or three cotton dish towels (not terrycloth)


Mix flour, yeast and salt together in a medium bowl. Add water, figs, nuts and chocolate chips, and incorporate by hand or with a wooden spoon or spatula for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lightly coat the inside of a second medium bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest 12 hours at room temperature (approx. 65-72°F).

Remove the dough from the bowl and fold once or twice. Let the dough rest 15 minutes in the bowl or on the work surface. Next, shape the dough into ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal; place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with flour. Cover the dough with a cotton towel and let rise 1-2 hours at room temperature, until more than doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450-500°F. Place the pot in the oven at least 30 minutes prior to baking to preheat. Once the dough has more than doubled in volume, remove the pot from the oven and place the dough in the pot seam side up. Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes Then remove the lid and bake 15-30 minutes uncovered, until the loaf is nicely browned.

 I mixed all the dry ingredients with the water and then added the figs, nuts and chocolate

Mix the figs, nuts and chocolate into the shaggy batter and let rest covered with plastic wrap overnight 
In the morning the batter will look like this…fold over itself to deflate…then let rest for about 15 minutes
Form a ball with the dough and place on a cotton towel sprinkled with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal; place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with flour.  Cover and let rest for about 2 hours.
This was just out of the oven…the aroma was amazing 
A perfect slice of bread…all it needs is some butter and jam


  1. I have Jim Lahey's book "My Bread" and enjoy the simplicity of his recipes - I am also a huge fan of the Artisan Bread in 5 series. I like making bread - but there are times when easy is good.

    This is a very lovely bread - great flavors.

  2. What a beautiful rustic bread - and wonderful flavor combination.

  3. I was intimidated from yeast too Kathy! And still I am not totally comfortable with it, but I have walked a long way since then and now I make a lot of things. Your bread is absolutely perfect and so loaded with flavor!

  4. I make bread all the time, but have yet to try this recipe. The additions you made Kathy are amazing! Figs are one of my favorite things to eat and I make your fig jam all the time. I really need to try this!

  5. This loaf is gorgeous!! You definitely have some skillz even if you don't know it yet. The fig and chocolate filling sounds wonderful!

  6. Kathy, your bread looks lovely and delicious. I love the favors - figs, walnuts, and chocolate. Mmm,

  7. Now isn't that interesting... I too got into the yeast culture with Lahey's no kneed bread. Up until then I had on and off successes but mostly failures. Yeast baking used to be a big production for me. Your bread here is alive and I really like the combination of nuts, figs and chocolate.

  8. I cannot actually believe this was a no knead bread considering its delicious results :)
    Your baking skills are simply tremendous!

    Choc Chip Uru

  9. looks wonderful - I just love the idea of chocolate in here!
    Mary x

  10. What a tasty and delicious chocolate bread!

  11. Kathy, this certainly is a loaf that your mother should be proud of. It's funny, as I read your post I felt like I was reading about myself. My mom always made bread and was well known for it. When I started trying it never turned out like hers, usualy a big sticky mess. But eventually I "got" it too and now love to make bread of every variety. It's so gratifying and these NO KNEAD bread are amazing. Love your ingredients in here, such a lovely combination!

  12. Hi, I'm over here from Zsuzsa's blog. Both my parents were Hungarian, I'm first generation Canadian. I too enjoy making the recipes my Mom made for us, but I put a healthy spin to them (not that everything on the blog is healthy!).
    We've been baking this wonderful no knead bread for years now since we saw Jim Lahey on Martha Stewart; the bread is wonderful. I've not thought to put these rich inclusions in but it's a fantastic idea! My Mom used to make a chocolate and vanilla kuhlof that she braided, oh how we loved that bread!
    I have a few bread recipes on my blog that you may enjoy, hope you can drop by sometime.

  13. Kathy, your bread looks spectacular! I think you've found your bread baking gene and how! I made a no-knead bread today...such a fun concept! I'm working on perfecting my bread baking gene, too :)

  14. Kathy, the bread looks awesome! It has really perfect crust and crumb and I love the add of walnut and chocolate in this no knead artisan bread too.

  15. Kathy, I also made one of the no-knead breads from the talented Jim Lahey before, it is amazing and I only made "a plain version" - yours, of course, looks so much more delicious and interesting than mine ever did and I find all the add ins quite inspiring! What a great looking bread!

  16. What a gorgeous loaf of bread. I could easily forget to add in that chocolate ingredient and make this today...we have 8 inches of snow here and I think that baking bread just might be the solution to looking at all that pileup outside my windows! Beautiful photos.

  17. Absolutely gorgeous and I love your added goodies! I have to try your bread baking method- it would be fun to turn out a loaf of bread like this ;)

  18. Your bread looks wonderful! I agree that bread-making is an art, but I'm really enjoying the new no-knead recipes.

  19. I love using Jim Lahey's method and this variation looks wonderful!