I can't really think of many things more delightful than a loaf of bread, fresh out of the oven, with butter slathered all over it. That smell of baking bread must be as old as time. A smell smelled through the ages! To me it signifies home, comfort, safety, the soother of all woes. To tell you the truth, I've never been a huge bread person, but hot out of the oven, it's a sacred ritual and I always make sure to be hovering around if a new loaf is about to be born. Growing up, my stepdad would bake bread every Saturday. He'd have his favourite tunes cranked up to the max, a towel thrown over his shoulder, and he would do the weekly mop of the kitchen floor, and bake a batch of bread to last us the week.
The recipe comes from New York baker Jim Lahey who owns Sullivan Street Bakery in New York. He came up with the recipe as a way to replicate, in a home oven, that crunchy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside texture of wood-fired Italian bread. He says this recipe is so easy that even a 4-year old can make it. My roommate first heard about it through a friend and borrowed his book My Bread from the library. She kept renewing it for months so it sat on our counter for a long time and we eventually all became converts. Basically, anyone who comes into contact with this recipe starts to pop out fresh loaves worthy of the finest boulangeries. And with that comes the inherent responsibility to share the secret with everyone you know, so beware because this recipe may turn you into a no-knead bread missionary.
The best part is you can't really mess it up. Even if you don't get it quite right, it will still probably be the best bread you've ever made. I like to use 2 parts unbleached wheat flour and 1 part spelt for my bread. Usually, I make a walnut & apricot bread loaf: my ultimate favourite (if you try this one, be sure to use the dark brown organic apricots, they are so much better! Just throw in about a cup of whole walnut halves and whole apricots). Next runner-up is rosemary olive bread (throw in a bunch of fresh rosemary and chopped kalamata olives)... basically, if you're feeling inspired, get creative with your bread, throw in some fennel seed, caramelized onions, whatever strikes your fancy! For the sake of today's post, I just made a plain white batch using organic unbleached white flour.
ONE VERY IMPORTANT TIP: As tempting as it may be to slice into your loaf right away, be sure to wait an hour before taking the first slice otherwise the bread will be gummy.
AND ONE MORE NOTE: Water amounts are a variable thing in bread, the exact amount depends on many things including the type of flour you're using, and also it's a matter of personal taste. I like a wet dough with this recipe but I find my loaves come out quite flat. Lately, I've been cutting down on the water a little and shaping the loaves with lots of flour to get them into a nice boule shape. But I like the texture of the flat loaves better. My roommate prefers the boules. We've been discussing this in great detail lately, and it's an endless process of tweaking and tasting and discussion… the fun continues!
3 cups flour (Jim Lahey recommends a minimum of 2 cups white unbleached flour for best results. The third can be spelt, whole wheat, rye, whatever you fancy, or just all white)
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup water
Roughly mix all ingredients together. The dough will be slightly more wet and sticky than regular bread dough. Cover and let sit between 12 to 24 hours. (I find the results are best at 24 hours, your dough will be nice and bubbly)
Pick up your dough and fold it over onto itself a few times. Put it back in the bowl. Cover and let sit for another 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 F. Put a lidded dutch oven / cast iron pot in the oven for about 15 minutes to get it piping hot. Remove from the oven and sprinkle semolina or cornmeal in the pot to prevent the bread from sticking. Dump your mound of dough in there and swiftly put the cover back on.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid. Bake for another 15 minutes. Let the bread sit for an hour before cutting into it. That's it, that's all!
Oh, and happy Valentine's Day everyone!
Lovely! I know this tastes delicious because I have had your no knead bread..yum....Pepper is a perfect addition to your video :)ReplyDelete
my favorite video so far, though i'll admit to being biased to the furry creatures. pepper is a star!ReplyDelete
Pepper is a big hit in this one, I'll have to see what her shooting schedule and other engagements looks like for the rest of the month, if we're lucky she might possibly have time to make a cameo in the next video.ReplyDelete
J'adore, ça me donne vraiment envie de venir prendre le déjeuner avec toi!ReplyDelete
Houda, la prochaine fois qu'on se voit je te fais ce pain et on déjeune ensemble! xoxoReplyDelete
I can almost smell it.ReplyDelete
This is brilliant - having huge success, will never be without a loaf again!ReplyDelete
I love this bread...and I love the video with lazy kitty! Walnuts and Thompson raisins are my favourite additions, but you can't beat it just as it is...ReplyDelete
Can i use unbleached bread flour for the white portion of the flour? (im using 1 cup for wheat flour as well) Or should i just use all purpose flour for the two cups?ReplyDelete
Yes, unbleached is ideal! And 1 cup whole wheat will work well, I've even done 100% whole wheat and 100% spelt bread with this recipe and it still works well, just have to let it rise for the full 24 hours if using all wheat, and let it do its second rise for a good 2 hours or more. Enjoy!Delete
When you 'cover' during the 24h proof, do you mean air-tight? i'm psyched to try no knead versions!ReplyDelete
Hi there, no it doesn't have to be airtight, I usually cover mine with the lid of a pot, or a large plate, or a piece of plastic wrap. Have fun making it, let me know how it turns out! (Don't forget to let your bread rest for minimum 1 hour after it comes out of the oven)Delete
YUM, I finally made some of this and am having trouble not eating the whole loaf. I messed up a few things and it still turned out great! In case you are a kitchen space cadet, too, here are my mistakes that still led to *amazing* bread:ReplyDelete
1. I didn't mix the dry ingredients together at all before adding the water, which made me feel a little stressed out. Didn't matter, 24 hours later, I had bubbly dough just like in the video.
2. I left the dough for the second rise for closer to 6 or 7 hours than 2 and I didn't flour it enough, so it was super wet and sticky and I had to collapse the whole mess just to get it out of the bowl. I folded it a few more times, floured it generously, and let it rest for 30 minutes, after which time, it still looked sort of small and pathetic - didn't matter! Still rose substantially in the oven into a delightful boule.
3. I had no cornmeal or semolina on hand, so I just used a little white flour, which probably wasn't even necessary. I think the preheating makes a crust on the bottom so fast that it wouldn't have stuck and would still have had a nice texture anyway.
4. I dumped my little sad looking ball into my hot dutch oven in such a hurry that it kind of squished up against the side of the pot, but it was too hot and the dough was too soft for me to mess around with, so I just let it slide - I uncovered the pot after the initial 30 minute bake time and the loaf was perfectly round and no longer slouching against the side of the pot.
In conclusion, this may be even more foolproof than it initially appears. Thanks, Aube! Although I sort of miss kneading:)
Thanks for sharing your bread-making adventures Carmen! Like you, I have made many many variations of this bread that have deviated pretty far from the original instructions and sure enough, each time, I'm shocked to see it come out of the oven all lovely and rustic and delicious. I've taken a little break from gluten this month, but I can't wait to sink my teeth into a loaf in about 2 weeks time. Thanks for visiting, happy bread-making :-)Delete
Happy! This video brought a huge smile on my face and I can't wait to give the recipe a go!ReplyDelete
I know this post is over a year old but just wanted to shard how much I really enjoyed watching your video. =) I love that you use your hands to mix it with. How can you get to know the dough - and if it's "right" - if you aren't intimate with it? I actually know people who are squeamish about using their hands in the kitchen! Which just makes me sad. I also love your dutch oven, which looks exactly like mine. Not the outside color (mine is red) but because neither yours nor mine look like they just came off of the showroom shelf. It is exactly what dishes in a real kitchens look like. The Pepper watching was a treat too! I've been making this kind of bread for three or four years now and it never gets old, if we're having soup or a salad this is almost guaranteed to be an accompaniment.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for your lovely comment Nichole - yes I think using one's hands is key to cooking (and so much more fun) - the no knead recipe was really a life-changer for me, I only very very rarely made bread before that and now I make it all the time. Glad you enjoyed the video and thanks for stopping by! :-)Delete
I'm so excited to have found your video blog! I found it through searching for no-knead bread. I love this video and your style. I also have a food video blog. Anyway, I can't wait to try this recipe and later check out more of your work.ReplyDelete
I would love to try to bake it. One question: Can I use something else for baking part instead of cast iron Dutch oven? They are expensive and I do not have a room for it too. Please advise!ReplyDelete
Hi there :-) Yes, you can bake this in a lidded pot such as metal or clay… with metal saucepans, make sure there are no plastic parts or handles because they can melt and emit fumes in your kitchen from the high heat of the oven. If using a metal saucepan, the bread dough has a tendency to stick to the bottoms of those (more so than the heavier dutch ovens) so use a generous amount of cornmeal at the bottom. I've never done this one but as a last resort, you might be able to bake it on a baking sheet with a large upside-down metal bowl on top. The main goal is to create steam and a "mini-oven" effect… but you could always try this bread in a regular loaf pan and just see what happens, I bet it would still turn out good :-) Let me know!Delete
OMG! what a dream this recipe is. I have made it twice this weekend. I really wanted to stop buying bread and this makes it so easy and delicious. I used white and spelt and it is lovely!!!!!! like sourdough Italian bread. I did oil the bottom and side of the cast iron dutch oven pot then put ground millet since I didn't have corn. It gets crusted into the bottom and adds a delicious crunch..Thank you!!!!! I love your videos I saw you on PBS blog.:)ReplyDelete
Thanks Carrie, so happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe. It has revolutionized many people who I know's relationships with homemade bread, including my own! Happy bread-making and thanks for the ground millet tip, great idea!Delete
My cousin turned me on to this recipe and I've baked 3 loaves already. The first two I used King Arthur white whole wheat flour and it had a wonderfully light texture. Third was all white and that was yummy too.ReplyDelete
Here's my question: can you double the recipe and make a larger loaf? I'm getting requests from friends and wanted to explore other options. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.ReplyDelete
I made this recipe and everything turned out great except for the flavor. It was bland but I think it is because I used kosher salt, would that have caused the blandness? or maybe my flour?ReplyDelete
I really love this blog. I made the carrots and beets with lentils and feta and loved it. I am part of CSA and kept getting beets and had no idea what to do with them, I'm thinking of trying the lentil and walnut non-dairy ice cream seems very interesting. I love the idea of non-diary ice cream. Thank you :)
Hi Candace, I'm sorry the bread turned out bland. I don't think the type of salt would have anything to do with it. My guess is either too little salt or the type of flour used... were you using regular white flour? Regular white flour is often bleached and fairly devoid of taste. I recommend using a nice organic stoneground whole wheat for at least a portion, I usually do 30% whole wheat, and 70% white unbleached flour, but you can do less whole wheat if you wish. You can also substitute a bit of the white flour for a little spelt flour or rye... A little bit of any nice stoneground whole grain flour will go a long way to adding some flavour to your loaf. Also the more time you give the dough to rise and ferment, the more the flavour develops. It definitely won't taste like a sourdough loaf though, so it has its limitations... I'm thrilled you follow my blog and have tried some of the other recipes! I hope you'll give the bread another try :-) PS: You can always add elements to the loaf like herbs or walnuts or seeds, it you want to add flavour that way...Delete
I have "stone ground red wheat bread flour", can I use just this? Also can I double the recipe and bake at the same time in separate Dutch ovens? Can I combine to make one BIG loaf? And one last question, if I want to add herbs or fruit and nuts, at what point do I add them? Thanks! Great recipe!!!ReplyDelete
Hi Anne, yes you can use your stoneground red wheat flour! However, I would recommend using it for 1/3 of the flour and for the other 2/3 using unbleached white flour (all-purpose is fine), organic if you can. I've made a 100% wheat loaf before and it's very dense. If you like a dense loaf, go for it. Jim Lahey, the guy who came up with this recipe recommends sticking to a 1 to 3 ratio for any whole grain flours. However, I've done 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white and it still works quite well. Beyond that, it becomes too dense a loaf for my liking personally. Yes, you can definitely double the recipe, I do that all the time because we go through a single recipe loaf in less than 24 hours! I recommend doubling the recipe and making one big loaf cooked in one Dutch Oven if you can fit it. The cooking time is a bit longer, by about 15 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, stick it in the loaf at the one-hour mark to read the internal temp, it should be around 208F, ideally 212F but I usually take mine out at 207F and it's perfect. For add-ons, add them when you fold your dough over, before the final 2-hour rise. Happy bread baking! :-)Delete
Delicious. I would like to try it.ReplyDelete
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I am going to try to make this bread. I have the first dough now resting in the kitchen. Tomorrow I will see how my will turn out. Thank you so much for the recipe!ReplyDelete
What size of dutch oven would you recommend for this recipe?ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for this & your other videos. I can't wait to try this bread recipe. I've been baking loads of bread lately & have been skeptical of the no knead variety. This looks sooo good & I appreciate your tweaks with the addition of herbs & blending flours. Love making things my own. Happy baking to you!ReplyDelete
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