Thursday, June 16, 2011

No-Knead Bread-- Rustic, Easy, Cheap and Delicious

I have a goal to start making most of our own baked products for two reasons: (1) I will know what is in them that way  (2) When you look at the cost of necessary ingredients versus the cost bread is sold's a huge markup.

Because of this, I have started browsing a lot of bread recipes.  A lot of them require a lot of different mixing,kneading & rising steps until you get to the baking stages.  That's fine...if it's a weekend & I have a lot of time to do this.  But what about on weekdays?

I think I have found a good solution.  This bread is Super Easy, Super Cheap, Vegan/Vegetarian, and it is DELICIOUS.  The end product is a rustic looking loaf that has a crust that is both crispy & chewy, and the inside is incredibly light & airy. Granted, this dough has to hang out on your counter for a long time...but you don't have to do anything with it. No complex kneading. No tired arms from kneading for 30 minutes, etc.  I highly recommend this recipe, and I will be making this again in the very near future. I'm really excited to try out French Toast with this bread later this week.

Fresh baked bread that is near-zero on the effort scale? Yes please.

This recipe is modified from a recipe by Jim Lahey as featured on the New York Times on 11/8/2006.

No-Knead Bread
Working time: 8 minutes. Rising time: 10 hours to 24 hours. Baking time: 45-60min. Makes 1 Loaf

Ingredient Lineup: Water, Salt, Flour, Yeast & a tad bit of sugar....
that's it.

  • 3 cups all purpose flour or bread flour, plus additional for dusting & surface prep
  • 1/4 t. instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. raw sugar or granular sugar (optional)
  • 1 5/8 cups of warm water
1.  Place flour in large bowl.  Mix in yeast, salt & sugar.  Gradually stir in warm water until dough is incorporated.  It will be a very wet, sticky dough.  Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap & leave on the counter to rise for 10 hours to 24 hours.  I mixed this up at 10:00pm, & it went into the oven at 7:00pm the next day, total rising time was around 19 hours + an additional 2 hours for step 3.

Ingredients post mixing.

Dough in the morning after 10 hours of rising.
Dough after 19 hours

2.  Prepare your counter top or a large cutting board with a generous sprinkling of flour.  Move the dough from the bowl to the floured surface.  Sprinkle the top of the dough liberally with flour, and fold it over on itself twice.  Gently coat all sticky surfaces of the dough with a light dusting of flour.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap & let rest for 15 minutes.

3.  Place a kitchen towel (cotton, not terrycloth) in a large bowl.  Liberally flour the surface of the towel (this keeps it from sticking).  Place the dough on the towel & cover with a 2nd towel.  Let stand for 2 hours.

Use a lot of flour.  You don't want the dough to mate with
the towel. 

Put dough in floured towel.

Cover the dough. (Thanks to my cousin Michelle for the
uber-fun embroidered kitchen towels. :-) )

Dough after an additional 2 hours of rise time.

4.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  While oven is heating, place a 5-6 quart lidded enameled dutch oven, cast iron pot, or large casserole dish in the oven.  You need this container to be as hot as the oven.  Place the dough in the bottom of the pot & cover.  Bake covered for 30 minutes.  Uncover & bake an additional 15-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Preheat your pot! Without using oil or anything, the dough will
fuse to a cold pot.

Raw dough, ready to get toasty.

After first 30 minutes of baking.  It looks delicious already.

After an additional 15-30's done.
5. Carefully remove pot from oven & remove loaf from the pot.  Cool on a cooling rack.  Dust off excess flour, slice & serve.  

Let the loaf cool on a rack for awhile.  Make sure to dust off
excess flour.  


& Serve. :-)  We had ours with lemon curd & homemade
blueberry preserves for dessert.  

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