We already gave you one tutorial for making bread this month. Here's one more: A step-by-step illustration of making the famous No-Knead Bread! This bread is dead simple. It's ridiculously easy, and very forgiving. If you're intimidated by baking ratios, volume vs. weight, baking scales, and kneading, this is a great recipe to start with. It will give you such a delicious loaf, with about five minutes of hands-on time and literally no way to mess it up. This is just about the simplest kind of bread you can make. You basically throw everything into a bowl and mix it up, then sit around, let the yeast do its work, and bake it.
But it's not just a bread for beginners; those of us who bake frequently also really love this bread. The slow rise gives this bread a great flavor and the baking method gives it an awesome crispy crust. It's artisan quality with very little effort — that's why this recipe is so popular!
The recipe I use in this tutorial, by the way, is a slight adaptation of the No-Knead Bread recipe that appears in The New York Times. This one only takes 8 hours to rise, as opposed to the overnight method in the original recipe.
You will need an oven-safe pot or Dutch oven to bake this bread. Any oven-safe pot will do! If the lid isn't oven-safe you can cover the pot with aluminum foil. Take a look at this post for more alternatives to Dutch ovens for the No-Knead Bread recipe. I actually made this batch of bread while away from home and thus without my usual favorite Dutch oven! I didn't have any of my usual tools and a rather bad excuse for a measuring cup, but this was no problem — the bread turned out just fine.
What You Need
3 cups white flour OR bread flour
3/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups slightly warm water
Spray oil OR olive oil
Oven-safe pot with lid OR Dutch oven (should be at least 4 quarts in size)
1. Gather your ingredients!
2. A note on the yeast: The original No-Knead Bread recipe specifies instant yeast. You can use pretty much any yeast you have on hand; I have used both Quick-Rise yeast and instant active yeast. Technically these shouldn't be exchanged for each other (see this post for more info on yeast). But don't let confusion about yeast stand in the way of making this bread; just use whatever you have got. It will turn out fine.
3. Add your flour to the bowl.
4. Add the yeast and salt and stir thoroughly.
5. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of barely warm (tepid) water.
6. Pour into the bowl and stir thoroughly.
7. The dough will look rough and shaggy.
8. Spray the top of the dough with cooking spray, or, if you do not have cooking spray, lightly oil the top of the dough with olive oil. Spread a thin layer over top with a paper towel, then turn the dough in the bowl so the whole ball of dough is coated with the oil.
9. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
10. Throw a towel over top of the bowl and set it in a warm corner. Leave it alone for 6 to 8 hours.
11. After at least 6 hours have passed the dough will have risen and will look rather bubbly and stretched out.
12. Lightly oil the countertop and turn the dough out onto it, folding it over on itself at least once.
13. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit for another hour.
14. About 20 minutes before the hour is up, turn on the oven to 450°F. Place an oven-safe Dutch oven or pot in the oven.
15. The dough will have risen and nearly doubled in size.
16. Quickly shape the dough into a round ball (see this video for basic instructions) and drop it into the pot. Even if you can't get it into a good ball, that's OK. Just try to roughly shape it.
17. Optional: Slash or cut the top of the dough with kitchen shears or a sharp knife.
18. Place the lid on the pot and put it in the oven.
19. Bake for 30 minutes.
20. Remove the lid from the pot.
21. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
22. You can be extra-sure that the bread is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the top or side reads 210°F.
23. Remove the bread from the oven. If you wish to keep it warm for serving, you can wrap it in a clean kitchen towel.
24. Slice and serve!
• This follows the recipe laid out in No-Knead Bread in a Hurry.
(Images: Faith Durand)