Sunday, January 6, 2008

No Knead Bread

A few times since I began baking bread, a friend or family member has clipped out a recipe from the newspaper for me. And, invariable, it is for no-knead bread. The most recent time was from my aunt this Christmas Eve. I finally decided to give it a try.

But I didn't have the type of yeast on hand that was used in that recipe (which I now know could have been substituted with what I have, just in a different quantity - so I may try that recipe next) so I searched online and came up with a similar recipe at Steamy Kitchen. She demonstrates how easy this recipe is by having her four-year-old son mix up the dough. (You really have to take a look, he is so cute!)

Being fresh out of four-year-olds, I mixed the dough up myself. And you can too!

  • 3 cups bread flour (I used 1/2 whole wheat and half white)
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3/4 tablespoon sea salt (or 1 tsp table salt)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
I thought the dough looked pretty dry, and assuming that might have something to do with my substitution of wheat flour for half of the flour in the recipe...

I decided to add just a bit more water.

I may have overdone it, actually. But I'd rather have dough that is too wet than too dry any day.

Cover it up and let it rest over night (12-20 hours). I put a post-it on top that said when I put it to bed, and when it would be ready for the next step.

The next morning it looked like this:

Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface with your spatula. It will deflate a little. The recipe claims you can shape it with the spatula - nudging it into a ball shape. But I prefer to use my hands.

Just fold the edges under a few times so that the top is nice and taunt. Then dust a cotton towel with flour (I used rye) and place your dough ball seam side down. Cover and let it nap for another 2 hours.

I let mine rest in my glass crock so that it wouldn't spread out but would gain a little height. But even just on the counter is fine.

During the last half hour, preheat your oven to 450 degrees and place your covered pot into the oven to get nice and hot as well. (I used a Pyrex dish with a lid.)

Below you can see I have flopped the dough ball into the hot dish at the end of the two hours.

Now, cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Uncover and bake for another 15-20. Tap on the bottom of your loaf with a spoon. If it sounds hollow, it is done.

Serve with lots of butter!

My husband was impressed with this loaf. He couldn't believe that it tasted so good and had such a nice crust and crumb for something I had "just thrown together." This would be a great bread to impress dinner guests. I imagine it would taste great beside soup or stew. Yum!

You may also want to take a look at this bread as made by Smitten Kitchen.


Bev and Ollie "O" said...

I like the idea of no knead to knead bread! will have to give this a go.

Mer said...

Yeah - it works pretty brilliantly. :0)

Lunch Buckets said...

Your loaf has a beautiful crust!

I've been intrigued by the "no kneads" but I don't have an appropriate thing to bake it in. One of these days maybe something will turn up :)

Mer said...


That was what kept me from trying it for a long time. But it is worth it. Borrow a Pyrex dish with a lid on it (I think the one I used was intended for casseroles) from someone in your family or a neighbor or something. This bread is too easy and good to miss out on!

Anonymous said...

No knead is wonderfull I have done rye ,whole wheat ,and some exotic combinations .The best thig I purchased was a clay La Cloche for baking the bread worth every penny and fantastic results.