This recipe offers a wonderful opportunity for beginners to get into yeast-bread baking. It is the most basic of all breads and requires practically no effort. Simply stir all ingredients together and place the very sticky, rough dough in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake. About 60 minutes before you want to bake your bread, pull off a handful of dough, shape it, let it proof, then bake for 35 minutes. The result is a phenomenal, crusty artisan-style bread.
No-Knead Crusty White BreadCourse: Breafast, BrunchDifficulty: Very simple
The most basic of all breads.
900 g (7 1/2 cups) unbleached, all-purpose flour
680 g (3 cups) water, lukewarm
1 tablespoon (18 g) salt
1 1/2 tablespoons (14 g) instant yeast or active dry yeast
baking stone, alternatively a simple baking sheet
- Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. If you have a mixer, fit it with the dough hook attachment and knead at a medium speed for about 1 minute. If you don’t have a mixer, simply stir with a fork or a Danish dough whisk until everything is combined.
- Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Then refrigerate it overnight, or for up to 7 days. You may also skip the room-temperature rise and put the dough right into the fridge. The longer you keep it in the fridge, the more aromatic and flavorful it will get. If you allow it to mature in the refrigerator for 7 days, it will taste like sourdough. Over the course of the first 24 hours or so, the dough will rise, then fall. That’s ok; it’s what it’s supposed to do.
- When you are ready to bake your bread, grease your hands to prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers and pull off about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough – a 395-gram to 530-gram a piece (14-ounce to 19-ounce a piece) if you have a kitchen scale. It will be the size of a large grapefruit.
- Place the sticky dough onto a flour-dusted work surface and shape it into a ball or log. It doesn’t have to look perfect.
- Place the loaf on a piece of parchment. Sift a light coating of flour over the top; this will help to keep the dough moist as it rests before baking. Cover the bread with a clean kitchen towel and set it aside to rise at room temperature for about 1 hour (or longer, if your house is cool). The dough will rather expand to the sides than rise upward.
- While the dough rests, reheat the oven to 450F /230C. If you’re using a baking stone, position it on a middle rack while the oven preheats otherwise, have a baking sheet on hand. Place a shallow metal or cast iron pan (not glass or ceramic) on the lowest oven rack and have 1 cup (about 250 ml) of hot water ready to go.
- Slash or cross-hatch the bread with a sharp knife or lame. Load the bread in the oven – either on a baking sheet or place it onto the baking stone – then carefully pour 1 cup of hot water into the shallow pan on the bottom rack. It will bubble and steam; close the oven door quickly to prevent the steam from escaping the oven.
- Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it’s golden brown.
- Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool down on a rack before slicing. Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.
- The flour-liquid ratio is very important in this recipe, so measure carefully. If possible, use a kitchen scale to weigh all ingredients.