Having dinner recently at my son-in-laws, he was excited to share a wonderful bread he made following a recipe he searched for requiring little kneading and easy preparation. It inspired me to look further into these no-knead bread loaves made hugely popular for their crusty exterior and wonderful crumb texture.
Here is a bread Josh made following the long rise method developed by New York baker Jim Lahey
For the past two weeks I have experimented by baking numerous loaves tweaking very similar recipes each time. My conclusion is that all the loaves turned out pretty much the same.(Jamie has a round Dutch oven and I have an oval one so my loaves are perfectly round)
The following recipe is the one I like simply because it doesn’t require the long rise that most of the recipes do. Essentially the only variable is the temperature of the water. Using hot water hastens the rise time and still produces a great taste, texture and fabulous crusty exterior.
No-knead bread is a method of bread baking that uses a very long fermentation (rising) time instead of kneading to form the gluten strands that give the bread its texture. It is characterized by a low yeast content and a very wet dough. Some recipes improve the quality of the crust by baking the bread in a Dutch oven or other covered vessel. source
Josh and Jamie have made fresh bread everyday for the past 5 weeks with their children as they acclimate them to no more processed bread. There were two hold-outs but even these fussier eaters are learning that when they invest time into making their own food, it is a more valuable item and they are less willing to waste or fuss. I visited my daughter today and she baked bread using yet another slightly different technique that I plan to try myself and will share.
Here are a few links to more no-knead bread recipes:
Jim Lahey Speedy No-Knead Bread
New York Times Mark Bittman
King Arthur No-Knead Crusty White Bread
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1/4 teaspoon yeast (active dry or instant)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups hot water, not boiling ( use hot tap water – about 130° F)
Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Stir in water until it’s well combined.
Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours.
After 3 hours dough will become puffy and dotted with bubbles. You can transfer it to a floured surface but I prefer to oil my counter top as well as a large spatula because it is very sticky. Using a scraper fold dough over 10-12 times & shape into a rough ball.
Place in a parchment paper-lined bowl and cover with a towel. Let stand on counter top for about 35 minutes.
Meantime place Dutch oven with lid in a cold oven and preheat to 450° F. My oven takes 35 minutes to reach 450°.
When oven reaches 450° carefully, using oven gloves, lift the parchment paper and dough from the bowl and place gently into the hot pot. (parchment paper goes in the pot too) Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove lid and parchment paper. Return, uncovered, to oven and bake 10 – 15 more minutes
For the original overnight method, simply switch to COOL water and let the dough rest overnight on the counter top for 8 to 24 hours.