No-Knead Bread Recipe
If you have been hanging outaround Frugal Living NW for awhile, you know that I am a big believer in making food from scratch at home. With a few exceptions, I prefer creating something in my ownkitchen to buying it in the grocery store.
Bread can be tricky, though. Thereis some stiff competition out there, andit is tough to replicate a commercial ovens heat and steam in anormal home kitchen.
For the last several years, I thought that Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes was the best thing since, well, sliced bread. It was simple, and wewere content withthe results. That is, untillast summerwhen our neighbor brought over a beautiful, deliciousloaf of home-baked bread. We had to know her secret. One phone call, and shecame back with the book, My Bread by Jim Lahey (Amazon).
We have been baking bread using this method ever since. I can count on one hand the number of times I have bought bread in the store since then, because I can now make an artisan-qualityloaf at home for a fraction of the cost.
I am telling you, this is consistently the best bread I have evermade in my kitchen. Okay, enough gushing. Lets make some bread.
The only changesI have made to Laheys method is to double the amounts and adjust the baking time and temperature to achieve a bigger loaf with a thinner crust.
Oh, and dont be put off by all these steps. This is totally possible for home bakersat any skill level. I wanted to give you the confidence to do this on your own. A concise recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.
The ingredients are simple: flour, water, salt, and yeast. My husband calculated this breadcosts 74 per loaf (using Bobs Red Mill flour & Costco yeast).
Oh, wait! Dont forget tofactor in the roughly 8 cents of energy usedto bake it for an hour. No, Im serious. My husband really does think about this stuff! Hes funny.
So, there you go. A whopping 81 for a substantial 2.5 pound loaf of bread. That is crazy cheap.
If you want to use some whole wheat flour, substitute 3 cups of whole wheat for 3 cups of the all-purpose flour (3 cups whole wheat and 3 cups of unbleached flour for a total of 6 cups) and add 3 Tablespoons of molasses (optional). This will produce a slightly sweeter, denser loaf of bread. Delicious.
Combinethe dry ingredients, add the water, and stir to combine (the funky looking wood-handled item is the amazing Danish Dough Wisk makesstirring stiffdough a snap). The dough should be wet and sticky. Depending on the temperature and humidity in your home, you may need to add a little more flour or water, 1 Tablespoon at a time. So far, these steps are exactly the same as the 5 Minute method.
The main differences are that you use significantly less yeast(1/2 teaspoon vs. 1 1/2Tablespoons) and significantly more initial rise time (12-18 hours vs. 2 hours).
Once the ingredients are completely combined, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter to rise for 12-18 hours. This slow rise aids in the fermentation of the yeast, givingthe breada better flavor.
Okay, I know what some of you are thinking: 12-18 hours! Thats ridiculous! Who has that kind of time?! Iget it.
However, here are two things to consider:
- Once you get into a rhythm of baking your own bread, its not a big deal. I startmine in the afternoon or evening andbake it the next morning or afternoon. This would also be an easy weekend routine.
- Just like the title claims, this bread requires no kneading. It is not fussy, temperamental dough. Youcan produce a deliciousloaf of bread with very little hands-on effort & experience.
Youll know your dough is ready when it has risen in the bowl, smells yeasty, darkened slightly,and iscovered with small bubbles.
Using well floured hands, shape and tuck the sticky dough into a rough ball. You can also fold it over a couple times on a well-floured surface. It doesnt have to be perfect; just keep quickly tucking the dough underneath with your fingertips until you have a semi-smooth dough ball. The dough should be wet but manageable; you dont want a wet blob so sticky that you cant shape it into a ball.
Take a clean linen orcotton tea towel(not terry cloth) and dust it with flour, cornmeal, or wheat germ to prevent the dough from sticking to the towel as it rises. You can also use a floured square of parchment paper on the towel to make the dough ball easier to handle. Place the dough ball, seam side down,in the middle and dust with more flour.
Cover the dough with the (parchment paper and) towel and let it rise for 1-2 hours at room temperature, until doubled in size. During the last 30 minutes of rise time, place aheavy lidded 6-8 quartpot,like aDutch oven, in acold oven and preheat it to 425 degrees.
Confession: I own three Dutch Ovens.I use them all the time. They are incredibly versatile and worth the investment. If you dont own one, you could also make this in any liddedpot, provided it is oven-safe at such high temperatures. Also, check the knob on your pot. If it isnt rated for such high heat, youll want to remove it or cover it with foil. You can also buy an inexpensive replacement knob that is rated for higher temps!
Okay, this is the trickiest part of the entire operation.Remove the lid from the piping hot Dutch Oven, slide your hand underneath the towel or parchment paper, andflipthe risen dough (seam side up now)into the pot. Try to flip close to the pot or the flour will fly everywhere. Remove the towel or paper and set aside.
This might take a bit of practice, butagain it doesnt have to be perfect. Some of my worst flips have produced my most beautiful loaves. I love what Lahey writes, even the loaves that arent what youd regard as perfect are way better than fine.
Place the lid back on top and slidethe potback into the hotoven.
Bake it for 40-50 minutes. Remove the lid. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until golden chestnut brown. The internal temperature should be around 200 degrees. You can check this with a meat thermometer if youre nervous about knowing when your loaf is done.
Oh man, your house will smell so good about right now.
Place the loaf on a cooling rack. You will hear it crackling as it cools.Use every ounce of self-control to resist cutting into it until it is quiet; cutting it too soonwillmakethe breaddense andgummy.
Thisbread is best the first 2-3 days. I just store my leftover loaf inside the Dutch oven on the countertop. Using plastic wrap will soften the crust. Dry, leftover bread makes great bread crumbs, toast, French toast, or croutons!
Enjoy. And pat yourself on the back. You just baked an amazingloaf of bread!
Basic No-Knead Bread
Slightly adapted from Jim Laheys My Bread
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Addthe water and stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated; the doughshould bewet and sticky. Coverthe bowlwith plastic wrap. Let the dough rest 12-18 hours on the counter at roomtemperature. When surface of the risen dough has darkened slightly, smells yeasty,and is dotted with bubbles,it is ready.
- Lightly flour your hands and a work surface. Place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice and, using floured fingers,tuck the dough underneath to form a rough ball.
- Place a full sheet/large rectangle of parchment paper on a cotton towel and dust it with enoughflour, cornmeal, or wheat bran to prevent the dough from sticking to the parchment paper as it rises; place dough seam side down on the parchment paper and dust with more flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran. Pull the corners of parchment paper around the loaf, wrapping it completely. Do the same with the towel. Let rise for about 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
- After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to425 degrees. Place a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot, such as a cast-iron Dutch oven, in the oven as it heats. When the dough has fully risen, carefully remove pot from oven. Unwrap the towel and parchment paper from around the dough and slide your hand under the bottom of the dough ball; flip thedough over into pot, seam side up. Pull the parchment paper off, scraping any stuck dough into the pan. Shake pan once or twice if dough looks unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
- Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 10-15 more minutes, until the crust is a deep chestnut brown. The internal temperature of the bread should be around 200 degrees. You can check this with a meat thermometer, if desired.
- Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
Here are a couple options for Dutch Ovens. Any heavy, lidded 5-8 quart pot (seasoned cast iron or enamel coated) would work with this recipe. Lodge has the best prices/options for dutch ovens on Amazon.
Lodge Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven (5 Quart)
If you already have a dutch oven (or find a deal on a lesser-known brand) that doesnt have a knob rated for high temps, replace it! There are some really affordable options.
Got questions? You are in good company. Go here for the complete FAQ list.
Looking for more variations to the no-knead bread recipe? Weve created a list withsweet and savory varieties, including the following:
- Cranberry Orange
- Four Cheese
- Sandwich Bread
- Dark Chocolate Coconut
- Tomato Basil Cheese
- Whole Wheat
Looking for more delicious bread recipes?
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