Bread Experiment: Yohan Ferrant’s ‘Do Nothing’ Bread

I never heard of Yohan Ferrant’s “do nothing” bread until the post showed up showing pictures of another member’s experiment with in back a few days ago.  I love no-knead bread, and the it sounded like this was very much like the NYT recipe but without yeast and with whole wheat flour.  I decided to follow the recipe exactly as stated on The Northwest Sourdough Blog’s article on the topic (link).

This is a 90% hydration dough of:

  • 600 grams King Arthur whole wheat flour
  • 400 grams King Arthur bread flour
  • 900 grams of water around 80 degrees F
  • 10 grams of starter right out of the jar after warming up a bit for a couple hours
  • 20 grams of kosher salt

I mixed all the dry ingredients together to properly disperse.  I think mixed the starter into the water.  I then incorporated all the ingredients together and left to sit.  From what I was reading and the videos I was seeing I was expecting the dough to be really slack.  Technically it should have sat for twenty four hours but reading other people’s experiments it sounded like people were having problems with overproofing when they let it go that long.  I checked at the 16 hour mark and thought it looked ready for shaping.  I cut and shaped two loaves of about 1 kg each.  The dough seemed as workable as my traditional Tartine loaves, maybe even more workable than they are.  After two hours I cooked it in a dutch oven and these are the results:





I have to say that I am universally pleased.  Yes, I cut too early because everyone really wanted to try it fresh out of the oven and I wanted to get a good pictures of the crumb anyway.  The crumb looks great.  The crust looks great. It tastes as hearty and earthy as a great whole wheat bread should. The fact it was so much simpler to make than the Tartine loaf means I could easily see using this as a basis for breads in order to cut down on my overall time for baking.  Really enjoyed this!

6 thoughts on “Bread Experiment: Yohan Ferrant’s ‘Do Nothing’ Bread”

    1. I did mine as an unfed starter. I keep my starter in the fridge and feed it every 1-2 weeks. This was a couple of hours into warming it up to get ready to do the refeeding. It was very little starter for me but mine is pretty vigorous.

  1. I love this recipe as well. I have made it several times, in different variations, sometimes adding a seed/grain soaker and/or some soaked raisins for a bit of sweetness. It has a great flavour! I use 16-18% salt. This method brings out the whole wheat flavour beautifully, and in my case it also has a slightly sour taste which I love. And, it is magic how the gluten develops during the bulk fermentation, all by itself!

    1. It is great! I’ve recently started adapting it to making hamburger buns. For that it’s almost a cross between his and Tartine but with some yeast added in to give it some heft in the final phases so maybe it’s more a new recipe inspired by Yohan’s recipe than an adaptation. After some more experimenting I’ll be documenting it here.

    1. Yeah that’s what his recipe calls for. Actually I believe it called for even more but I haven’t been able to get there. Usually when I do this nowadays it’s more like 10-12 hours bulk fermentation followed by 90 minutes of proofing.

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