No Knead Bread

No Knead Bread

This has to be the most forgiving and easy recipe for bread making. It is so simple and forgiving that I often don’t want to tell people how to make it. That way I get to maintain the authority of a “baker”. But, the recipe is too good not to share.

History

The recipe was first introduced Jim Layhey and popularized by Mark Bitman. The goal of the recipe was to produce crusty bread that was porous inside without having to use a steam injection oven. It succeeded.

There have been many variations since. But, the best description of the recipe is here from Simply so Good. This is a easy recipe to follow- and the pictures are useful, but I have made a few modifications to make things easier.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of water (or more if needed, usually slightly warm)
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of quick rising yeast (if you want it to rise faster, use more yeast.)

Mix the dry ingredients in a wide mouthed bowl. Add the water gradually, to ensure good mixing. This will form a sticky dough. If the water is insufficient, I will slowly add more water till I have incorporated all of the dry ingredients. Once formed the sticky dough slowly slides in the bowl like slime. If you have made bread before – do not be discouraged by the lack of stiffness and the wetness of the dough.

I put the uncovered bowl in the oven and let it sit for 12 hours or more. In a pinch you can use 1 Tablespoon of yeast and let it sit for 2 hours, but I think the flavour is less complex when the dough rises too quickly. When the dough is ready, it will be very bubbly and jiggle like Jello. I used to place the dough on a wax paper and coat the surfaces with flour or corn meal, then fold the dough and let it sit for 1-2 hours. Now, I simply form a ball (be gentle as you don’t want to break down the bubbles) with the dough still in the mixing bowl. I then coat the sticky surfaces with corn meal.

I coat a small amount of oil on the bottom and sides of a steel pot. Place the dough in the steel pot. Many recipes will call for preheating the pot in the oven before adding the dough – I find this unnecessary and just complicates the workflow. Preheat the oven to 450 Celsius. Bake the steel pot with the lid on for 30 to 40 minutes. Take the top off and bake for another 15 minutes to create the thick crust.

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