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Basic No-Kneed Bread

August 28, 2011

I make this bread all the time and it is so easy. And delicious.  You need to start making it a day in advance, but it takes very little actual work time.  It’s from the book My Bread by Jim Lahey, which I strongly recommend buying.

You may be tempted to start your own bakery once you start making this bread

3 cups bread flour

1 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 1/3 cups cool water

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and yeast.  Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. (If it’s not sticky, add another spoon or two of water until it is).  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

2. When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour.  Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece.  Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round. (Turn it around on the flour a few times as you fold the dough into a ball. If it’s still sticky it will stick to the towel in the next step.)

3. Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 min.

4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the over to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third, and place a covered 4 ½ to 5 ½ quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

5. Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. (Use caution—the pot will be very hot.) Cover the pot and bake for 30 min. Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 min. more.

Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly before cutting it (at least an hour).  Store the bread at room temperature in a paper bag or wrapped in wax paper (not plastic).

Olive Bread

To make the olive version, omit the salt, add 1 1/2 cups chopped pitted and drained olives (such as Kalamata), and use 3/4 tsp instant yeast and 1 1/2 cups water

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From → Breads

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