Is there anything that smells more like home than a loaf of freshly baked bread? I think not.
But as much as I love the heavenly taste of bread right out the oven, I don’t do yeast. Something about baking with little micro-organisms intimidates me. For real. It’s all too much like a science experiment. What if I give my yeasties too much sugar? What if the water is too warm and I kill the little fungi?
And don’t even get me started on the kneading. It takes FOREVER! And how do you know when to stop? Everyone says you can tell by the feel of the dough. WHAT? I don’t know how the dough is supposed to feel! And I don’t have anyone who can teach me. I adore my mama, but she wasn’t a pioneer woman. We ate Town Talk.
So whenever I’ve wanted a loaf of good bread to go with a pot of stew or spaghetti, I’ve gone to the bakery and spent $3-4 on a loaf that I brought home and warmed up in the oven. And I was content with my bread life. That is until I came across the revolutionary No-Knead Bread recipe published in the New York Times a couple of years ago.
My life has been changed people! Can I get an AMEN? This technique is RIDICULOUSLY easy and now I can turn out a loaf of bread with a pillowy, chewy interior and a thin, crispy crust with almost no work. It’s incredible.
Wanna know how to do it?
First, dump all your dry ingredients into a mixing bowl? What’s in there? 3 cups of bread flour, 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast, 1 teaspoon of salt. That’s it. Give it all a little stir so it’s mixed together. Note: I’ve been told that all-purpose flour works just as well. And I don’t know the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour, so don’t ask.
Dump 1-1/2 cups of water into your dry ingredients and start stirring. I use a spoonula but you can use whatever you have.
It’s a really sticky dough, so you might need to wet your hands and finish the mixing that way. But you’re not kneading. Just mixing it all together.
Now you’re going to cover your bowl with some plastic wrap and let it take a long rest. 12-20 hours long. Yes. That’s right. If you want this bread for dinner, you need to start it the night before. But there’s so little work, it’s worth the planning ahead.
This is what the dough looks like after it’s beauty sleep. All bubbly and mushy.
Next, dump the dough out on a well floured surface. This is a really sticky dough so wet your hands before you shape it. That will keep it from sticking.
Pull all the sides of the dough up toward the top and tuck them into the center. Again, you’re not kneading. Just trying to get a round-ish shape and a slightly tighter blob of dough.
Turn the blob over onto a well-floured tea towel and put the whole thing into a bowl for another rest. Make sure you don’t use a terry-cotton towel or your dough will stick. Cover the dough with the sides of the towel and let it rest for another 2 hours.
About 30 minutes before the second rest ends, put your EMPTY covered pot in the oven and crank the oven to 450°. Let the oven (and the pot) pre-heat for at least 30 minutes.
Let’s talk about the pot for a minute.
You need a lidded pot that can handle a 450° oven. That means no plastic parts. You can use a dutch oven, ceramic, stainless or enamel pot. I use my cast iron dutch oven. I bought it on Amazon and at less than $30 with free shipping, I think it’s one of the best deals on Amazon. It comes pre-seasoned so it’s ready to use when you take it out of the box. I use it for this bread and for stews, soups and chili. Love it!
Now, you want to remove your hot pot from the oven (be careful!!!!) and dump the wobbly dough into the pot. It doesn’t really matter how the dough lands. Give the pot a little shake if you want to even out the dough. But this is a rustic loaf of bread, so some imperfections just add character.
Cover the pot and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.
Then uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes. If you’ve baked bread before, you’ll be able to tell it’s done by thumping on the loaf. If you’re like me, you’ll use a digital thermometer and take it’s temperature. It should be 210° in the center. Note: That link is my thermometer and I love it!
Remove the bread from your pot and let it cool for a while. The bread makes this incredible crackling sound as it’s cooling.
Prepare to experience a tiny slice of heaven on earth. I make this bread at least 2x a week now and it’s become one of my favorite things on earth. And my expanding booty will attest to that fact.
My favorite time to eat it is the next morning. Lightly toasted with a smear of butter, then peanut butter and a drizzle of honey. Sigh. There grows my booty again.
No Knead Bread Recipe
3 cups bread flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups water
- Mix dry ingredients together
- Add water and mix well.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest 12-20 hours.
- Dump dough onto well-floured surface.
- Using wet hands, fold the sides of the dough over the top and shape into a rough ball.
- Turn dough over onto a floured towel and cover the dough with the towel.
- Allow dough to rest another 2 hours.
- 30 minutes before the 2nd rest is over, put your covered pot into the oven and pre-heat to 450° for at least 30 minutes.
- Plop your dough into your pot.
- Cover and bake for 30 minutes
- Uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes until bread reaches 210°.
- Remove and cool on a wire rack.