I was encouraged by an e-mail from one of the readers to try my hand at no-knead bread. In 2006, food columnist Mark Bittman did a piece on this method of making crusty bread that many people were unaware of. After that, making this bread that takes very little work but a whole lot of time, was all the rage with foodies.
That was years ago, and there's a new crop of foodies — myself included — who missed this phenomena the first time around. I decided to give it a try.
What secret ingredient goes into this no knead bread? None. It doesn't get simpler than this. Flour, salt, yeast and water.
The results? I ended up with a bread that was crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. It's a great bread to serve with a meal or to dip in olive oil. Most of the bread didn't make it until dinner that night. Every time someone walked through the kitchen, another small piece got sliced off and eaten.
I didn't end up with the perfect loaf of bread, but I did end up with a darn good loaf, and I'll be making this again (and again and again). Not only was it easy, it was so inexpensive. Look at these ingredients — it's maybe 75 cents worth of basics.
- 3 cups of flour (plus more for dusting)
- ¼ tsp yeast (yes, only ¼ tsp)
- 1 ¼ tsp salt
- 1 5/8 cups water
Prep time: 15 min, plus 18 hours to set, and 2 hours to rise
Cook time: 25 min
Total time: 40 min
- Mix all ingredients together and put in bowl covered in plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for about 18 hours or until the dough is dotted with bubbles.
- Place dough on a floured surface. Turn it over a couple of times on itself, cover with plastic again and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball and place on well-floured cotton towel. Cover with another cotton towel. Let it raise for two hours.
- Place in a pot with a lid that has been heated in a 450 degree oven and let bake.
Yields one loaf of bread.
More details about the instructions such as the type of pot to use and more precise baking instructions can be found at this recipe.
I've made lots of bread before — in my bread machine, that is. Baking bread in my oven is something I’ve been meaning to try. I'm still going to learn other techniques for baking bread, but I'm definitely going to continue to work with this recipe. I encourage you to give it a try, too.