Mark Bittman wrote an article titled ‘No-Knead Bread’. He proclaimed this recipe as “one of the most popular” ever published by the NY Times. Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC is the brilliant mind behind this genius recipe. Time (at least 24 hours), flour, yeast, salt and water is all you need to make delicious artisan bread. Despite the lengthy process, the hands-on time is no more than 5 minutes, the rest is spent allowing the dough to rise. The slow fermentation of the dough creates a loaf that is exceptionally flavorful. The cooking method yields a thin crisp crust and a tender and moist interior. Baking is one of life’s simple pleasures and nothing is more soothing than the scent and taste of freshly baked bread.
The how to…
Instructions slightly adapted from NYTimes
1 1/2-pound loaf
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for dusting
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
- Prep. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan, dust with flour and set aside. (Use of parchment paper will ease transfer of the dough to a very hot pot–> Step 7)
- Combine ingredients. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water and stir until blended; dough will look shaggy and rough.
- First rise. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 12 hours (preferably 18) in a warm place.
- Fold. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Gently turn dough (it will be very sticky) out onto a floured work surface. Using floured hands, gently grab the dough and fold over all ends towards the center.
- Second rise. Put the dough, seam side down onto the prepared sheet pan (from step 1) and dust with flour. Using floured hands, shape the sticky dough into a ball. Cover with a floured cotton kitchen towel and let rise for 2 hours, until dough is more than double in size.
- Heat pot. 30 minutes before the dough is ready, place a 3- to 6-quart (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) pot into the oven (with the lid). Heat to 450 degrees.
- Transfer dough. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot (it will be very hot!!) from oven and take off lid. Grab the ends of the parchment paper, lift, and place the whole thing (dough + parchment paper) into the pot. Cover with lid.
- Bake. Bake for 30 minutes. Then, remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes until loaf is beautifully browned. Lift loaf out of pot, peel off the parchment, and let loaf cool on a wire rack.
* For this recipe, I used a 6-quart enameled cast iron dutch oven.