Bakers: The No-Knead Bread Revolution Is Over!


The modern loaf of bread: wholly holey.

Earlier today, I traipsed down to Amy’s Bread to buy a loaf so I could make myself a sandwich for lunch. I bought an organic white loaf, and hurried home with my purchase.

When I got home and unwrapped it, I found each slice filled with gaping holes, an experience I’ve had a lot lately. It’s the result of the current fad for no-knead breads, which have been championed by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery, Martha Stewart, food scientist Harold McGee, Amy Scherber of Amy’s, and many other bread luminaries.

The bread was perfectly tasty, of course, but I despaired of making a sandwich with it. Just try to spread butter, jam, mayo, peanut butter, or liverwurst. It goes through the holes. Toast a slice, and it burns around the edges of those holes before the bread becomes crisp. The only people these holes seem to benefit are the bakers themselves, who love the no-knead loaf because they don’t have to fool around with it. They just let it sit and rise. Kneading bread was invented in the first place not only to break down the gluten, but to reduce the size of the holes, and, besides, it’s great exercise.

Yes, getting in your car and driving to work is much easier than walking a few blocks, which is like the argument made in favor of no-knead. Is everything that takes less work supposed to be better?

I want my sandwich bread back! A bread full of holes is only half a loaf, and the bakers are having the last laugh by selling you lots of air.