The Famous No-Knead Bread

Fluffy and chewy no-knead bread

Fluffy and chewy no-knead bread

I am many years behind on this one. There is no doubt about it. Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread recipe has already traveled like wildfire through food blogs, first sparked by the recipe first being published in the NY Times in 2006.

Probably one reason it has traveled so far and wide is because the first time one makes it, you just can’t believe it. It is so ridiculously good, and so ridiculously easy.

To achieve a loaf of rich sourdough flavour, with a crispy crust and chewy, airy interior, all you have to do is this? Really. You just mix three ingredients with some water in a bowl, and let it sit in a corner for 12 to 18 hours. Then you push it down a few times, and let it rise again for two hours. Then bake it in a covered pot for 40 minutes (to create steam for a lovely crispy crust), and voila.

A loaf of no knead bread.

A loaf of no knead bread.

Chewy, delicious sourdough bread–just like that. I didn’t even follow the directions precisely–the first rise, we ended up going out, so after 12 hours I put it in the fridge, and then took it out the next morning, let it warm to room temperature, and then proceeded with the second rise. I also didn’t fuss about with the wheat bran / towel thing for the second rise–I just did the second rise in an oiled bowl covered with a tea towel. None of that seemed to matter, though–because the bread turned out beautifully. Consider me a no-knead convert.

Jim Lahey’s Famous No-Knead Bread
published originally in the
NY Times
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf (12 servings)

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt

Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

Method
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal.

Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees.

Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K.

Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Nutritional Facts
per one of 12 slices:
113 calories; 0.3 g fat; 24g carbohydrate; 0.8g fibre; 3.25g protein

Comments

  1. This recipe makes the most amazing bread! I've been to make it myself for ages but just haven't gotten around to it yet. I love how you can change it up (adding things like raisins and nuts), and it always turns out delicious. Of course, I know this by eating the no-knead bread of others, not my own :) . Do you think the yeast has to be instant or can it just be traditional yeast?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Imma gone try it!

  3. AK, great suggestion on adding nuts. Mmm, I bet hazelnuts would be so good in this. I do think that instant yeast is necessary, just because it is always stated as such in the recipe, so I wouldn't want to risk otherwise.

    Anon, I hope you like it!

  4. I love no knead bread and so does my bread. He requests it all the time but I've only made it once. The hardest part of it all is the waiting! The version I made was with lemon and rosemary. I do plan on making it again.

  5. Beautiful. Just another reason I need to invest in a dutch oven.

  6. Monica-great idea. The lemon and rosemary would be so tasty.

    Tracy, they are definitely worth the investment! I use mine just about every single day.

  7. Excellent post and writing style. Bookmarked.

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