Two years ago I posted a recipe for "Crusty Bread", "No-Knead Bread", "Artisan Bread"...whatever you want to call it. It has been the most popular recipe on my blog. I have received over 2.6 MILLION page views on this recipe alone (thank you Pinterest).
Let me clarify that the recipe originated with Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. Please do not send me a comment stating that I make it appear to be my brain child. I'm not. I'm just helping everyone through the process.
I have received THOUSANDS of questions and responses to this recipe. I have received helpful hints on how to clean my pots, which are sparkling at the moment. Thank you very much. Many of you have sent in your fabulous creations. From classy fig, walnut, and bleu cheese to less classy pepperoni and sausage.
I have had more fun reading about how successful bread baking experiences. I have scratched my head over questions that completely puzzle me. Oh how I wish I could just pop into a few kitchens to help solve a dilemma. I have answered the same stickin' questions OVER and OVER again. I have literally answered some questions HUNDREDS of times! I have to admit I don't mind. Keep them coming. I love hearing from you.
I would like to go over this simple recipe once again.
My starting advice:
- Be chill. It's only yeast. It won't hurt you. Just follow the instructions the best you can.
- Play in your kitchen and play with your food. Especially this bread. CREATE!
- Take a deep breath. You can do this.
- The recipe is VERY forgiving.
The base of this bread recipe calls for 4 simple ingredients.
Simple. Don't complicate the ingredients.
You will need:
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid rise yeast
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups cool tap water
If you can find this product, buy it. It's fabulous yeast. My local grocery store carries it. If you can't find it you can order from King Arthur Flour for $5.95.
In a large mixing bowl add 3 cups all-purpose flour. I always use unbleached flour. I just do. If all you have is bleached flour, then use it. If you have bread flour, use it. It actually works well in this recipe. Remember this is a VERY forgiving recipe.
Add 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast.
IF you do not have instant or Rapid-rise and you only have regular active dry yeast, THEN proof the yeast before you use it by mixing the yeast with 1/4 cup warm water. Let it set for 5 minutes then mix the yeast in with the water. BAM! It will work.
Add 1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. If you only have table salt, you may want to reduce the amount of salt by 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon.
Stir the dry ingredients together.
Pour in 1 1/2 cups water. You don't need to stress over the temperature. I just turn on the tap and use whatever comes out.
Mix the dough together.
I'm using a dough whisk also found at King Arthur flour. (they are not paying me to promote their products. I just wanted to give you a source for purchasing if you want one more kitchen toy)
You can use a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, whatever you have to mix the dough.
Don't over mix. Remember it's "NO-knead".
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Let the dough sit for 12-18 hours.
If the dough only sits for 11 hours, it's ok. Don't sweat the fact that it needs another hour. If the dough sits for 24 hours, it's ok. Don't stress. It will all be good in the end.
I made this dough at 4:00 p.m. I covered it and let it sit overnight. I went to a lower body workout, then ran up hill for 6.6 miles, made a smoothie, showered, put on my makeup, dried my hair and threw in a load of wash. I finally got around to making the bread at 11:00ish. It was rising for 19 - 20 hours. It's all good. The bread will be awesome.
RIGHT NOW: Heat your oven to 450 degrees F.
Once the oven has heated to 450 put your pots with the lids into the oven to preheat for 30 minutes
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:
You do not HAVE to have a enamel coated cast iron pot. They are awesome and I can't live without mine, but it's not completely necessary.
Here is a list of what many people have used with great success:
Old camping dutch oven
A crockpot insert. If the knob on the lid is plastic, it must be removed or it will melt)
Glass Pyrex dish with a lid
A heat proof bowl with aluminum foil to cover
Stainless steel pot with lid
Clay bakers with lids or foil
Pampered Chef clay bakers
Pizza stone with a stainless steel bowl to cover the dough
As you can see anything that can take the heat that has a lid or is tightly covered will work.
The idea is to create a steam oven inside the pan. The steam is what produces a nice crisp crust. What ever the container is that you use, just make sure it can take temperatures up to 450 degrees F. I have some Emile Henry covered dishes, but they don't like an oven hotter than 400 degrees. They will crackle like crazy if you put them in a 450 degree oven (experience).
Oh! Your pot will need to be hold at least 3 quarts. 5 - 6 quarts is ideal, but the smaller will work, just be careful not to burn yourself putting the bread in or removing it. I received at least 500 questions about the size of my pots. I hope I answered that question well enough.
Note: the dough is super sticky.
Heavily flour a surface. I'm using a pastry cloth, which is nothing more than canvas with the edges surged. You can use your counter top, a bread board, whatever works. Just flour the daylights out of it.
If you have a dough scraper, use it.
IMPORTANT: Do NOT knead the bread. Remember it's "NO-knead".
Gently form the sticky mass of dough into a round ball. Look closely at the dough and you will be able to see a large air bubble in the lower right side of the dough. That's good. I don't want to knead out the large air holes. We are making artisan bread and want many large air holes.
Flour the heck out of your hands and gently smooth the dough.
Just to make life easier, I am placing the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper. This parchment paper makes it easier to lift the dough in and out of the pot.
Cover with plastic wrap and let sit while the pots are heating for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes carefully place the dough into the preheated pot.
Place the lid on the pot. Remember we are creating a steam oven. If you are using aluminum foil, crimp it around the edges as tight as you can. Please don't burn yourself.
Bake covered for 30 minutes.
I know what you are thinking. If I don't use parchment paper, do I need to grease or oil the pan. NO! NO! I have never had the bread stick to the enamel covered pot. Oil or grease in this hot pot will smoke like crazy. If you are worried about the dough sticking, invest in parchment paper.
After 30 minutes remove the lid.
Ta da! Isn't that just amazing. It's so pretty I get all giddy inside.
Bake an additional 15 minutes with the lid OFF.
If you have the will power to let it sit until it's cool, it will be much easier to cut. Who cares? The bread is amazing right out of the oven.
Now you can start creating my mixing wonderful flavors into the dough. The sky is the limit. I will be posting a few ideas during the next few days.
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours. Overnight works great. Heat oven to 450 degrees. When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating. Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough. Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
For many of the answers click on the following: Beware there are thousands of posts. The best way to get a quick answer to a question is to use the "contact me" at the top of the page.
Stay posted for more bread ideas.