Bread making doesn’t have to be such a complicated affair of punching down and kneading dough in precise steps. We’ve all been intimidated by the process at one time or another, and many of us just went back to buying store bought bread. But, we don’t have to go from one extreme to another, choosing a complicated, time-consuming process or buying already baked bread. There is another solution. It’s called no-knead yeast bread.
- 3 Cups of flour (plus a little more for sprinkling)
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Measure out 3 cups of bread flour into a big bowl. You can substitute whole wheat flour for part of the bread flour if you want.
- Add one-quarter teaspoon of yeast to the flour. Most kneaded bread recipes require around a teaspoon of yeast, so this recipe has the added advantage of helping your yeast supply last longer in an emergency situation.
- Add one teaspoon of salt.
- Mix this around a bit, and then pour 1 1/2 cups of basically room temperature to lukewarm water into the mix.
- Stir it all up to mix in all the water, then cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and put it in a warm spot.
- Leave the bowl of dough alone for at least 8 to 12 hours, or as long as 18 to 20 hours. (Do you see there's a lot of play with this recipe? You can tailor it to work for your particular needs.)
- After the dough has rested, and you are ready to continue, dump it out on a very lightly floured work surface. What you are going to do is pull the sides up and push them into the middle a few times, then turn the lump of dough over. When you're doing this, you don't want to add much more flour to the dough, so even if it's a little sticky, use extra flour sparingly.
- Cover the dough again, and leave it alone for a couple of hours to rise - it should double in size.
- When it has finished rising, it's time to bake your bread! This is a very wet dough that bakes best in a preheated, covered, heavy gauge Dutch oven type pot.
- Preheat the oven and the pot to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When the oven, and the pot, has heated up to 450 degrees, take the pot out of the oven, drop your dough into it, and shake it a bit to level it out.
- Put the cover on the pot and pop it back into the oven.
- Bake the bread for 30 minutes with the cover on, then remove the top and bake it until golden brown - about 20 minutes longer.
- Remove your fabulous no-knead bread from the oven and let it cool. If you're like me, it's hard not to cut into the still warm bread and enjoy it with butter or homemade chicken salad. If you manage to save any long enough to let it cool, this makes great slices for sandwiches, or else you can just tear pieces off the main loaf. One thing is for sure, it won't be around for long, so you'd better start making your next loaf soon!
- when using one of the heavy gauged pots with a lid, be careful not to burn yourself, and use adequately thick pot holders. Make sure to use a well-seasoned pot, so the bread does not stick to it. I like to use parchment paper in the bottom of my cake and bread pans, instead of oil, grease or sprays.
Have you ever made no-knead yeast bread?