Monday, September 24, 2012

I love this No Knead bread

Now that summer has been slowly receding, I've been back into making bread.  Unfortunately, I think I neglected my sourdough starter and it's not quite the same, even though I've been baking it in my dutch oven--which makes the most beautiful crust.  But I still haven't been getting the chewy holey-ness inside.  I would probably fault my crappy kneading skills, though a friend's mom said I need to get a standing mixer with a kneading paddle.

So then I thought about the original No Knead bread recipe that Linda originally posted about and thought I'd give it a try since kneading dough is not my friend and it was only reaching 80 today--brrrr!  Get the oven on!

The ingredients are pretty simple:

Dissolve 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast in 1 1/2 cups of warm water.  Stir in 3 cups of all purpose flour and 1 1/2 tsp salt until blended.  It'll be sticky and pretty slack.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest at least 8 hours (up to 18 hours) at room temperature.  The recipe says room temperature is about 70 degrees but my a/c thermostat is set at 78 but it seems it was all right.  The dough is ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles:

Then you flour the work surface and scrape the dough on it.  Sprinkle the dough lightly with flour and fold it over on itself a couple of times:

Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.  Using enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your hands and work surface, form into a ball.  Then generously coat a dish towel with flour and put the dough ball, seam side down on it.  I didn't have a clean dish towel, so I used parchment paper:

Then dust with more flour and cover with another clean dish towel.  Let rise for 1-2 hours until doubles in size and dough doesn't spring back when you poke it.  I couldn't help but notice that it doubled out but not up.  I wonder if using a dish towel would have been more grippy, allowing less slide of dough out.

Put dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 475 degrees about 20 minutes.  Flip dough into the hot dutch oven, ostensibly seam side up, though mine didn't have much of a seam.  Is it because I didn't use a dish towel?  I'll have to test that out.

Bake 30 minutes with lid on, the 15 minutes more with the lid off.  There's that golden brown crust:

And more so, that chewy, holey inside:

The girl and I ate half the loaf in one sitting. She loved it. I would have loved it more if it was more taller and loafy instead of such a wide, flatter boule. Hope using the dish towel works during the second rise helps. Also, I'm wondering if I could add sourdough starter to this somehow? Anybody know breadmaking science a lot more than me and have advice?

Anyhoo, I highly recommend this bread--if you've got a Dutch Oven, it won't disappoint. It's cheap and easy (NO KNEADING!) and the result is virtually artisan bread!

UPDATE: Yes, using a dish towel (instead of parchment paper) made a huge difference:

It definitely rose more "up" than out.

There's the big beautiful boule I wanted!

Gorgeous.  Sigh.

Here's a little side by side comparison:

Definitely a favorite.


  1. dang i want bread! i'm pretty sure if you used a dish towel it wouldn't have spread like that, but if it does you can always roll it onto itself to make it more loaf shaped (and also creating a seam) right before you drop it into the dutch oven. also you can make 2 smaller loaves, or cut seams into the top like an X.

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