No Knead Bread Taking You Through the Winter

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When you get home from work, or drinks, Friday night, put three cups of flour into a bowl. Add two teaspoons of salt. Then put a quarter to half a teaspoon of dry yeast in a measuring cup. Add hot (not scalding hot, but hot) water to the cup and dump it in the bowl with the flour. Add another 5/8ths cup of warm water to bowl and briefly mix the contents. 

Go to sleep. 

When you wake up (12 hours later or so), put your dutch oven in the oven and heat it up to 450. Drop some flour onto your counter. Plop the dough on the counter. Tap some flour onto your hands and quickly shape it into a ball. Don’t worry about being fussy. Drop the ball of dough onto a piece of parchment paper and then put it in the hot dutch oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then take the top off the dutch oven and bake it for another 15 minutes.

This is, as you may have guessed, the recipe for No Knead bread, the easiest and most-rewarding way to make delicious bread. I’ve been tinkering with the recipe for about a year now, and with some ten loaves under my belt, I’m ready to share a few tricks. 

The New York Times has a great No Knead recipe, though it has a few needless steps (like putting the dough into a towel for 15 minutes). King Arthur has an even simpler version that I've also followed. 

 I didn't shape this loaf as much before baking. 

I didn't shape this loaf as much before baking. 

In general, I prefer the recipe from The Times, but I make sure to add a little more salt, and I also suggest adding warm water directly to a measuring cup with the yeast. Do not just add the yeast to the flour. By the time you dump the water on the flour it will have cooled, and it won’t totally activate the yeast. Also, use warm-to-hot water. Ideally, the water should be hot, but not scolding hot. You should be able to hold your hand in it. If it scolds, it will probably hurt the yeast. Finally, make sure to shape the dough with some flour before dropping it in the oven. You don’t have to, but you’ll get a really nice shape and crust as a result.  Obviously, don't worry about kneading it. 

Don’t be surprised if a few loafs don’t totally work out. They may not rise completely, they may burn a little, but they’ll still be good with butter. I promise the reward, especially after baking three or four, will very much be worth it.

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A few things you'll need:

A Dutch Oven - I have one from Le Creuset, but you're fine with one of these Lodge ones as well

Flour - I've gotten the best results with Red Mill's organic flour, but any flour will do. 

Yeast and salt