Ok so if you guys follow me on twitter, or have seen my instagram or facebook page in the past week, then you know that I tried my hand at making the now-famous “No Knead Bread” in my dutch oven. The “no-knead” bread craze started 6 years ago. (Before I was even interested in making bread at ALL mind you). The small amount of ingredients, and very little handling time quickly made the bread one of the most popular things to make if you really liked “artisan” bread, but weren’t too keen on the high price tag.
Now I have made bread before. You can check out my post Homemade Bread for Dummies to get that recipe.
This is not that bread.
For those of you not as bread savvy, no-knead or “dutch oven” bread as it’s sometimes called is soft on the inside, with a heavy crispy crust. It’s the kind they put in the bread basket at higher end restaurants. The kind of bread that tastes amazing when you dip it in olive oil or spread with hummus.
And basically if you have some flour, water, instant yeast, and one of these…
You too can experience the gratification of fresh, crusty bread.
Although the directions are pretty simple. If you’ve never made bread before, it can be a little tricky. If you have made bread before, throw out what you know. Because this is different.
After trolling the web a bit, and trying the recipe a couple of times. (On time was a complete FAIL). I altered the recipe a bit and even found a great site with step-by-step instructions incase you have no idea what the heck you’re doing, but you wanna try this out anyway.
Simple No-Knead Bread Recipe
In a large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients well. Slowly pour in the water until there are no more dry patches. The dough will be the consistency of cookie dough or drop biscuits batter.. thick, but too wet to mess with by hand.
Cover with plastic wrap (or a towel) and let rise in a warm place, (70 degrees F is optimal) for a minimum of 12 hours.
There are people who swear by letting it rise a full 18 hours, but I haven’t really noticed a difference.
Dump the whole blob of risen dough onto a well floured surface, and pat it down gently into a rectangle.
Then fold into a ball. Watch this video for a really good demonstration on this. Then take the cornmeal and dust half of it over a cotton dishcloth. Place the dough seam-side-down onto the towel and then sprinkle the rest of the cornmeal over the top of the dough’s surface.
Gently fold cover the dough with the ends of the towel and let rise for a another 1.5 hours.
Grab your dutch oven and put it in the oven. Then preheat the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Don’t skip this step. You want to put the dough in a preheated/hot dutch oven. Carefully, remove the lid and transfer the bread into the bottom of the dutch oven. Ok, now this is the tricky part. The oven’s hot and the dough isn’t firm, don’t worry about how you get it in the pot, just get it in there. The dough will settle itself once it starts to bake. Place the lid back on the pot and put the whole thing back in the oven.
Bake bread for 30 minutes undisturbed. (Your house will smell amazing!) Then after 30 minutes reduce the heat to 450 degrees F and remove the lid and back for another 10 minutes. At this point, the bread will be nice and brown and crispy!
Remove from the oven and immediately dump the loaf into a cooling rack or an upside down cookie sheet. As it cools you will actually hear the bread’s crust crackling (like Rice Krispies, no kidding!). Let the bread cool for at least an hour before cutting into it with a bread knife.
The video demonstrating the no-knead bread technique can be found here. (Even though he uses a “proofing basket”, you don’t need one. There are a few other things he does that I didn’t do that make the process longer. I didn’t find them necessary.).
*You can use bread flour if you’d like. Or for a wheat-bread version, use 1 cup of whole-wheat flour and 2 cups of bread flour.
**You can use flour instead of cornbread if you wish.
Feel free to experiment a bit. I stirred in fennel seeds I had laying around. I’ve also stirred in tiny sesame seeds. If you poke around the web, you’ll find some interesting variations on this recipe.
|Do the Math… You save a TON of money making bread like this yourself. If I went to the bakery, and bought hard dough bead, on average, (in New York city anyway) it will cost me between $5-$8 per loaf. Here’s how our ingredients add up:
The above listed ingredients used in the above recipe yield about 7 loaves of bread.
That means each loaf of bread I make costs me about $1.14 each!
• Have you ever made “no-knead” bread? How did it turn out? If you’ve never made it, would you try?