As I prepare this post, I am on my third try at no-knead bread. The first attempt was relatively good but I felt the instruction of ‘hot water’ was a bit suspect. The result? The bread was smaller than I thought and I doubted it would rise. And, I was right in my assumptions. The second time produced a much larger loaf of bread as the correct temperature of the water did the trick. The water needs to be somewhere between 105f and 115f to activate the yeast. Too high and it will kill it. I went with 110f and used a thermometer to be precise.
When making bread, I highly recommend using a digital kitchen scale to weigh the flour so that the amount is accurate. The wing-it attitude does not work well here. There is a science to making bread and any small deviation can prove less than desirable. No-knead bread isn’t something new. It’s been around long before Mark Bittman’s 2006 article for the New York Times crediting Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery for his “revolutionary approach” to bread-baking. According to Eater, the 1943 book Your Daily Bread, Grant wrote a chapter on breads that were fast and easy to make.
I really like this recipe as it’s not a traditional way bread is made. I started it just after breakfast and we enjoyed it by dinner time. Keeping the lid on a Dutch oven allows steam as part of the cooking process while baking and the reason the lid is removed after 30 minutes to reach the optimum golden brown look.
you will need
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110f)
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then add water and mix until combined. Don’t worry about shaping it. Cover with cling film and allow to rise a minimum of 3 to 8 hours. The longer the rise, the better the flavour of the bread.
Preheat oven to 450f. When the oven reaches the desired temperature, grab a Dutch oven with a cover and place it in the oven for 40 minutes. While the Dutch oven is heating up, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a round ball by folding and tucking the dough under. If the dough is sticky, dust it with extra flour as needed. Lightly flour the top of the dough ball, and then carefully flip it upside-down onto a piece of parchment paper, so that the smooth side is on top. Use your hands to shape the ball into an even circle. Using a sharp knife, make a slice in the dough (optional but pretty). Dust with flour and cover with a tea towel.
When 40 minutes have passed, remove the Dutch oven. Remove tea towel and lift up the parchment paper and carefully place it in the dutch oven. Place the lid back on and set it back in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes then remove the lid and bake for a further 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack.
the culinary chase’s note:
Crispy and golden on the outside and soft on the inside. Enjoy!