The Thief Who Invented The No-Knead Bread Recipe

I was about to quit harping on the Voncigars thief already, but then I came across yet more outrageousness on his blog. Your jaws will drop too, just read on.

Any foodie worth her fleur de sel knows that No-Knead Bread recipe Mark Bittman published in the NY Times last year. The original recipe came from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. It’s the kind of revolutionary recipe that got everyone talking and baking, not to mention oohing and aahing over the results.

Well, the abominable Mr.Voncigars has got a post on his blog titled "Spectacular And Easy – The Perfect Home Baked Loaf Of Bread." His recipe looks a whole lot similar to that no-knead bread Mark Bittman made famous. Actually, it looks closer to Jeffrey Steingarten’s adaptation of that recipe -specifying SAF yeast was the clue. True to form, the thief made no mention of Lahey, Bittman, or Steingarten -nor did he mention some innocent blogger whose series of pictures he proudly displays on that post. (Recognize that gorgeous loaf of bread? I took the photo from the thief’s post. Is it yours or do you know whose it is?)

This is what he had to say about the recipe..

If you are into food – good
food that is – well than you must love bread. Bread is the smallest
common denominator amongst gourmets and gourmands around the world. I
have not met a person that is into food, that does not appreciate a
good piece of crusty bread. And some of us have tried to get that
perfect loaf of Poilane bread
out of our ovens and have failed miserably, just to learn that one
cannot bake real good bread at home! What if I told you that there is
the most simple recipe/method to bake the nearly perfect loaf of bread
right there in your kitchen. Only four ingredients and less than 5
minutes of real work! And the result is better, than what most
professional bakers around you can produce!

Yes! A fantastic and
easy recipe! All you do is mix some instant yeast, bread flour, salt
and ……

Unbelievable. Un-effing-believable.

you haven’t done so, go check out his archives and see if he’s stolen
from you too. He is deleting and editing things furiously now. Two posts that he
blatantly stole -pictures and all- from Aun at Chubby Hubby have already been taken down from his blog. Luckily Google doesn’t forget so easily. Oh, and here’s the Google cache of his bread post, in case the busy thief tries to cover his crime. (Just scroll down a bit.)

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38 Responses to “The Thief Who Invented The No-Knead Bread Recipe

  • Jeremy said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 4:51pm

    What a tool, is he daft?
    Good work, I applaud your work, thanks Pim!

  • Zee said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 5:17pm

    Good heavens – how on earth did he think he could post a bread recipe that was published in the NYT and NOT be found out? As Jeremy asks, is he daft?
    Sheesh. Dumbass.

  • Christine said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 5:44pm

    I can’t believe the nerve of that guy. What a complete tool! His “blog” if you can call it that, needs to be shut down.

  • sam said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 5:57pm

    Pim – I certainly don’t condone his behaviour but I have seen far worse. He doesn’t seem to have any commercial use.
    Perhaps you need to change your own creative commons licence to state ‘no derivative works’ (which is what I have mine set at) instead of the ‘share alike’ you currently have set which actually suggests to him he can actually do what he has done. Also what are your attribution specifications? The licence states the user “must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author”. But I read somewhere the onus is on the original author to state this specification clearly. Have you specified such a thing anywhere? I have mine specified clearly in my about page like so:
    “1) Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor. You must attribute the work to Sam Breach and include a working html link to the Becks & Posh homepage, or relevant Becks & Posh post.”
    This means they HAVE to link to my blog and quote my real name if they use any of my work.
    It seems to me that maybe you should further yourself some more protection for more peace of mind. Right now he has attributed your work as your creative commons licence specifies.

  • sam said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 5:58pm

    PS – I didn’t want to imply I sympathise with him or anything at all, just wanted to make sure you get yourself the right and full protection.

  • Francesca said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 6:15pm

    Ha ha! Did you see the “Links to this post: The Thief Who Invented The No-Knead Bread Recipe” at the bottom of his own post? Too funny.
    He added under the title (in tiny type):
    “This recipe has been created by Jim Leahy of Sullivan Street Bakery in N.Y. City”, but unless he knows his way around code, he’ll have to live with the “Links to this post”.

  • kayenne said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 6:49pm

    hehe as of today, he’s credited the source of the bread post.
    anyway, i came across this website awhile ago from another blogger – i forgot which one, leite’s culinaria first, i think. – geared towards detection of website plagiarism. thought it might help.

  • Chubby Hubby said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 7:12pm

    Good golly miss molly! Some people are just f#$!heads! I wasn’t even aware of this idiot until I read your posts on him. Sigh… Thanks for the eagle eye and for outing this schmuck.

  • miyu said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 8:03pm

    Hmm, couldn’t find the no-knead bread post, perhaps he took it down? But his newly edited comment on the Paco Meralgo entry claims that he was justified in lifting material, citing Creative Commons (even supplies a link!). I guess he didn’t read the site so well, as that very same link stresses the need for attribution for all borrowed material. I’m beyond exasperated and more puzzled; does he just have balls of brass, or is he just too thick to comprehend how egregious his behavior is?

  • Robyn said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 8:08pm

    What a jack*ss. Oh, and Pim – remind me never to get on your bad side.

  • FranMag said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 9:11pm

    I think it’s hilarious that every time you link to one of his fraudulent posts, the “links to this post” shows up with your not so subtle headline!! If he had any devotees before, I can’t imagine they’re still reading his blog.

  • Ed said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 10:02pm

    Are you sure Jim Lahey invented the recipe? Attribution is a tricky subject. These no knead recipes are pretty common and well known in Europe. You could check out, from 1990, le Gout de Pain by Raymond Calvel which is I’m told by a very experienced Melbourne baker is the definative book on the subject. It is still available at Amazon.

  • Chubby Hubby said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 2:08am

    Ed, I was speaking with a Swiss-born pastry chef last month and mentioned the no-knead bread recipe. He said that it’s been something a lot of European bakers have known about for generations. His own family made bread that way when he was young. I guess American media has positioned it as a “new” discovery only because they’ve discovered it only recently.

  • Dave said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 3:59am

    Hi Pim,
    While i appreciate that this is quite an emotive subject for food bloggers, i must point out that you are providing this scumbag with the oxygen of exposure. He’s probably had more hits on his site than ever before. As always in popular media, all publicity is good publicity.
    Kind Regards

  • Mathilda said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 5:40am

    Like Ed pointed out, I was baking the famous No-Knead-Bread decades before the recent hype, it indeed has been really famous in Europe long before the Times’ article. I always wondered, if Bittman and Lahey haven’t done any research on the subject or did I miss their credit to other sources?

  • ann said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 6:12am

    I believe I just found something he took from Deb at Smitten Kitchen and I saw a lot of content not attributed to various lifestyle/travel/style mags. What a dooshie. He must be the stupidest tool ever.

  • Steamy Kitchen said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 7:27am
  • JenMarie said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 1:12pm

    i don’t agree with ed, who worries you’re just giving the guy free publicity. yes, he’s probably had extra hits on his site this week, but what you’re doing is laudable and important, and after it runs its course, he’ll have no followers at all.
    all those downplaying this problem are doing a real disservice to the blogging world. this behavior would be COMPLETELY UNACCEPTIBLE in mainstream journalism. but since bloggers can’t be fired, public shaming is, perhaps, the next best thing. to ignore this man’s plagiarism gives credence to all those who say blogging is not journalism but rather the realm of hacks.
    and so i say: go, pim. go!!

  • JenMarie said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 1:50pm

    oops, i meant i disagree with dave.

  • Sandy said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 2:57pm

    Plagiarism is rampant all over the internet, not just on blogs, probably because anonymity provides cover. It’s important to try to expose this kind of theft whenever possible.

  • EdB said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 3:36pm

    While I agree with the sentiment and understand the frustration…I come here to read Pim’s observations on food, dining, and the culture that surrounds these activities.
    This is one of the more popular foods blogs out there, and there is plenty of reason to be proud and feel proprietary, perhaps Pim should look into copywriting her photos if nothing else…there is some level of protection there and available. Otherwise, its all crying over spilled milk.
    What was only a few days ago a well written, thoughtful and influental blog has devolved into a vendetta forum. It is her blog to be sure, and she should do as she sees fit, my concern is for the place she has created…and lately it isn’t much fun to read, nor I suspect, for her to write. Visiting this guys blog every few hours is almost obsesssive, no?
    I have all the respect in the world for the work and time Pim has put in here, but this is a slippery slope if you ask me. Is Chez Pim to become the blogger’s crusade site in oposition to blog thieves? I hope not, I’d rather read the long postponed reviews of El Poblet and L’Esguard. Any person with two IQ points can tell what a douche the voncigars guy is just by looking at his picture and reading a few of his amazingly error filled posts.
    Feeding trolls only makes them bigger, at least in my experience.

  • erin said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:10pm

    Just a comment on the increased traffic to voncigars–I checked his sitemeter stats (it’s not password protected) on his page and prior to his exposure he was receiving less than 50 hits a day — it is now upward of 300+ hits a day.

  • Shari said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:22pm

    — but now it’s not 50 people who would have thought he was cool — it’s 300+ hits from people who see what a douche bag he is.

  • Shaun said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 7:36pm

    Pim – Good on you for continuing to take him to task. You have enough support from foodie bloggers who are more than willing to go to battle with you and leave ungracious comments on the offending blogger’s page.

  • Nicole said:
    June 13th, 2007 at 4:43am

    I am sure that this is all really annoying. I don’t really see the point of his stealing or you getting mad but hey. This is my first visit to your site. It sounds like you write about really interesting stuff- hopefully next time I pop over there will be a regular entry. Seems like the last few have just been about this other guy.

  • david said:
    June 13th, 2007 at 11:54am

    Actually, that method of ‘no-knead’ bread was advanced years earlier by a book called “No Knead To Knead” by Suzanne Dunaway.

  • Carol said:
    June 13th, 2007 at 3:12pm

    He stole some of the info in his post on Shirataki noodles from Wikipedia. How incredibly lame — that’s like opening a volume of World Book for a third grade report.

  • df said:
    June 13th, 2007 at 3:18pm

    Her photos and blog text are copyrighted the moment she creates them, at least under US law. And I’ve never heard that if a manner of attribution isn’t specified, someone can blatantly rip your stuff off — you still have your rights under copyright even if you use a CC license. Besides, there are four or five conditions of attribution (check the CC faq) and I don’t think any were fulfilled in this case.
    Oh, and I’m here from Chowhound, by the way, and eagerly looking forward to digging through the rest of your site!

  • Vicki said:
    June 13th, 2007 at 4:09pm

    Since I’m not bilingual, the whole thing is moot to me.

  • The Bold Soul said:
    June 13th, 2007 at 4:43pm

    Wow, seems like this is the topic du jour, because I just checked in with a copywriter’s Yahoo Group to which I belong, and they just banned a member for BLATANTLY plagiarizing from other member’s websites. She didn’t just steal the copy they used to describe their copywriting services, she also stole some of their portfolio clips and passed them off as her own! She’s been “outed” now, and the villagers are closing in with torches and pitchforks. It just goes to prove that laziness and lack of integrity is not the way to build your professional reputation.
    Incidentally, through that same group I learned of a website that lets you search on your web pages to see if someone out there has copied all or part of your text. I’m not sure it will work with blog entries though, but if anyone’s interested:

  • David said:
    June 13th, 2007 at 5:07pm

    “&^%$ head”, “douche”, “douche bag”, “jerk-off”, “wanker”, “dumb ass”, “dolt”, “troll”, “daft” etc. – excuse me?!? What kind of language is that? What has happened to one of the most popular private food blogs here? Because one previously unknown and unimportant blogger copied some stuff without mentioning where he got it from?Pim have you ever seen a fake Guess watch in Bangkok? Well they do not exist. That’s because fakers and pirates only copy what is good and exclusive. Being successful means being copied and pirated. Although that’s wrong, this cannot be a reason for the “Chez Pim” readers to come out and start a trashing crusade with language worst than what the teens use on their MySpace sites! If “Chez Pim” is a serious venue in the world of food journalism, this foul language rampage must stop immediately. The point was made a long time ago and nobody has actually added anything valuable or new (with the exception of Sam of Becks&Posh). Please everybody, stop deflating the quality of this blog!

  • yumyum said:
    June 14th, 2007 at 9:51am

    Hey Pim — I’m outraged at this prick. I have specifically not visited his blog (he don’t need no more traffic) but I read with interest the excerpt above. The guy is almost illiterate and we already know he’s stupid. I wouldn’t mess with you. However I agree that this attention is feeding the troll. Believe me, I know how hard it is to rise above the temptation to blast the guy publicly, but at some point you should draw the line and not discuss the matter any further. It’s better for your blood pressure to let it go. Take care, yumyum

  • Maria Glensworth said:
    June 14th, 2007 at 10:01am

    So did he copy the post word for word, or was it simply the same style of bread? If it was the former then yes that is bad, but for the latter It’s not that much of a problem. I myself often get inspiration from other recipes and go about making something similar and it’s not like he’s trying to sell anything or make money off this article.
    Just my 2c
    Love, Maria

  • Kharina said:
    June 15th, 2007 at 8:09am

    I just had a look at his site and noticed he had changed his personal info. He’s turned into a more “humble” kind of man, he even admits his english isn’t the best – it’s his 3rd language after all! I can’t help but think there is something terribly false and made up about this moron. Why bother with that kind of information – did it lead him to copy stuff for his so called blog? He’s obviously gifted in the research department and must have good taste, (he did steal from you!). The guy is obviously a tosser, without a single original idea of his own. Poor fool!

  • Faythe said:
    June 21st, 2007 at 1:08pm

    OMG, what nerve of this guy! You have a beautiful site. I can’t believe it. I must say I have learned a lot from you. In order to protect my work, I had to shrink pictures to make them undesirable to steal, and post Creative Commons info on my site. Having spent hard hours myself on writing, taking photos and such, I can imagine how infuriating this must be for you. On the other hand, it is proof that this guy has NO imagination, creativity, or gift for originality. I applaud the fact that you are publically displaying this fool for who he is, and the crime he is committing against your artistic expression. Kudos, dear.

  • pascale said:
    June 24th, 2007 at 11:53am

    Oh my god ! even in France we know about that recipe and it will be so stupid to write about it without stating who it’s coming from.

  • Bob Fred said:
    November 15th, 2008 at 6:10am

    plagiarism? A recipe? Give me a break, for thousands of years people have been “Baking” and the main difference between that “original” recipe is one person wrote it down, and two thousand others didn’t. Sure if it has some special ingredient then maybe it was different, but this particuar bread recipe my own grandma was making, she didn’t write it down though… so someone else did.
    You guys are a little bit overboard on this. I say Horay for people who post good recipes, because my Grandma forgot to pass most of hers on.

  • benbes said:
    December 29th, 2009 at 8:59am

    doesn’t seem right, how did he get away with others recipes.
    oster bread machine recipes

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