This weekend was an absolute scorcher, with temperatures sitting around 40 degrees C on both Saturday and Sunday. Whilst I was able to fulfill my cooking desires with my boiled sugar treats, I was still aching to bake something, but didn’t want to turn the oven on in the middle of such scorching weather. What to do, what to do?
Whilst pondering this question, I remembered reading about this no-knead bread recipe which had taken the blog world by storm last month – the super long proofing time required for the dough meant that I could feel like I was making bread but wouldn’t have to turn the oven on till the cool change struck at night, and the hot weather during the day was perfect for dough proofing! How could I lose?
Jim Lahey No Knead Bread Recipe
Now, I haven’t had the best luck with yeasted goods, so even though people reported this recipe as being almost foolproof, I still made sure I read plenty of recipe reviews by food bloggers before plunging in to give this a try. Now, to say that I’m enamoured with this no knead bread recipe would be putting it mildly.
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I’m not even going to try and put my adoration into words – all I’m going to say is that we’ve already devoured almost the entire loaf since I finished making it at 1:30am last night, mostly slightly toasted with lashings of salted butter – yum! It was definetely worth my being utterly unable to keep my eyes open at work today 🙂
No Knead Bread Recipe Ingredients
(Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery via Mark Bittman at New York Times)
- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour (430 grams)
- 1 ½ cups water (345 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast (1 gram)*
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt (10 grams)
- Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
* If using dry active yeast, you’ll need to use a little more – about 1/3 teaspoon
How to Make No Knead Bread Recipe
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 20 degrees C. (If room is cold, then the longer proofing time is required)
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it (you may need a spatula to scrape it out of the bowl); sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 – 3 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
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4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 230 degrees C. Put a 3 – 4 litre heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Up to 30 percent whole-grain flour works consistently and well, and 50 percent whole-wheat is also excellent. At least one reader used 100 percent whole-wheat and reported “great crust but somewhat inferior crumb,” which sounds promising. I’ve kept rye, which is delicious but notoriously impossible to get to rise, to about 20 percent. There is room to experiment.
The best time to add caraway seeds, chopped olives, onions, cheese, walnuts, raisins or whatever other traditional bread flavorings you like is after you’ve mixed the dough. But it’s not the only time; you can fold in ingredients before the second rising.
Baguettes in fish steamers, rolls in muffin tins or classic loaves in loaf pans: if you can imagine it, and stay roughly within the pattern, it will work.
COVERING BETWEEN RISES:
A silicon baking mat under the dough is a clever idea (not mine). Plastic wrap can be used as a top layer in place of a second towel.
The size matters, but not much. I have settled on a smaller pot than Mr. Lahey has. This produces a higher loaf, which many people prefer — again, me included. I’m using cast iron. Readers have reported success with just about every available material. Note that the lid handles on Le Creuset pots can only withstand temperatures up to 200 degrees C. So avoid using them, or remove the handle first.
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Yes, you can reduce the length of time the pot is covered from 30 minutes to 20 minutes, and then increase the time the loaf bakes uncovered. Most people have had a good experience baking for an additional 30 minutes once the pot is uncovered.
If you’ve never made bread before, this one is a good one to start with as there’s no kneading to worry about, and the recipe itself couldn’t be easier!