I was looking for a really easy loaf of bread to make a few weeks ago when I stumbled across something called no knead bread. I'm not sure how I haven't heard of this before, but I'm glad I have the recipe now! I read about a zillion similar recipes and methods before trying it myself, so I don't have a particular blog or anything to credit. I will link you to this version of the recipe though, where an adorable 4 year old shows you how to do it! I have tried this bread a few times now, so I will tell you what works best for me.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1-2 tsp salt (I used 2, I like salt)
- 1 1/2 cups water
Making this is really easy. Mix the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Pour in the water and stir with a big spoon until you have a very rough dough. You really don't need to stir too much. Next put some saran wrap or a lid on the bowl and leave it in a relatively warm place for 8-18 hours.
When you next look at the dough it should have doubled in size and be bubbly. Wet your hands and pull the dough out. Form it into a ball and leave it on a lightly floured surface, or on a piece of parchment paper like I did. Let the dough rest like this for half an hour.
To cook the dough there are two methods. The first uses an oven safe pot with a lid. The second uses any oven safe pan and a steam bath. I used the second method. First, put whatever container you chose into the oven and turn it on to 450 degrees. You want the pot to preheat with the oven and get hot too. Make sure your pot container is oven safe though, or you could not only ruin a pot, but also your oven. I used a 9x9 Pyrex baking dish for mine. I also slid a metal baking pan onto the bottom rack. Once the 30 minutes is up and your oven and pot are hot, quickly put the dough ball in the pan/pot (I just plunk the parchment paper right in it) and fill the metal pan in the bottom with water to create steam. I have found that about 3 cups of water is necessary. Be careful, steam can burn you! I like to wrap my hand in a towel so it can't burn. If you are using a pot with a lid you don't need the steam bath, steam will generate inside the pot while it cooks. Bake the bread for 30 minutes with the steam bath or lid, then bake it for another 15 minutes without.
And voila! Bread!
I have a few notes to add after baking this multiple times. The first thing is that I like to let the steam bath go on a bit longer, sometimes an extra 5 minutes or more. This makes the crust a bit thicker and crunchier, which I like. Next is that the longer you leave the dough to rise, the bigger your loaf will be. It will also have slightly bigger air pockets inside. I left one loaf for only 8 hours and it was considerably smaller than the ones I left for 12 hours or more. This means a slice of the smaller loaf will be a bit denser and heavier to eat. I have also found that this is a great recipe to mix other ingredients into. You can mix herbs, nuts, raisins or basically anything into it and it will still work out fine!
I hope this inspired a few of you to go make some bread! This is a very easy recipe to start with, and it is really delicious!