If I had my way, I would have bread every single meal for the rest of my life.
If you told me that I couldn’t have bread ever again for the rest of my life, I may never forgive you. In fact, I may throw a temper tantrum so big that even a two year old would think it was a bit much. (This may or may not have already happened…)
Don’t even get me started on the smell of fresh-baked bread. Because it’s pretty much the best thing ever.
Knowing how much I love bread, you would think that I’d be a freakin’ whiz at making it. But, alas, I am not.
My first attempt at bread resulted in a crazy over-flowing mess. My second and third attempts were tasty, though not really the best looking bread out there.
So I gave up. And resorted to buying fancy bread at the grocery store. No complaints on my part, just sort of resigned to the fact that fresh bread had to come from outside of our kitchen.
Every now and then I would pick up a cookbook or two on baking artisan bread from the library. I would get the books home, take one look at the recipes, freak out at the weird ingredients that they called for, and decide it was too complicated for me.
And then I happened upon 52 Loaves. The author set out to bake the perfect loaf of bread by baking one loaf a week over the course of 52 weeks. Talk about dedication. And some seriously delicious loaves of bread.
I wasn’t sure that I had the dedication to do something like that, but it certainly got me wanting to try my hand at baking bread again.
Fast forward a month, and we were reading The Art of Eating In by Cathy Erway for the Healthy Living Book Club. One of the first things she tries to make when she goes on her “restaurant fast” was a No-Knead bread recipe.
I was beginning to feel like the Universe was hitting me over the head and telling me that it was time to make bread again.
You would think that I took the hint and immediately went in search of a recipe…I didn’t. It took me a few weeks (and some mouth-watering finds over on Pinterest) to build up the courage to try bread-making again.
Now, I know what you’re going to say: No-Knead Bread is like so five minutes ago.
And you’re right. It’s been around the block for yearsssssss.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great way to make bread. Or that it isn’t worthy of sharing yet again.
Because honestly, this bread is so damn good, and so damn easy, that I’m kind of embarrassed that it took me this damn long to do it.
Why I love this recipe:
- There are no complicated ingredients. It’s flour, salt, yeast, and water. Nothing more.
- There are no complicated methods or procedures to get the perfect loaf of bread. It’s a 3-quart pot with a lid and an oven.
- It’s fail-safe. I’ve made at least 4 loaves of this bread and every single one has turned out perfectly.
- It’s incredibly forgiving.
- It’s insanely delicious.
Why I don’t love this recipe: my clothes are starting to feel a bit tight…
The hardest part about making this bread? Finding the right pot to cook it in.
The original recipe calls for a dutch oven. The only dutch oven I had was a 5+-quart one that was just a teensy bit too big for a regular sized loaf. I tried a taller pot, but it was too tall and caused the bottom of the bread to burn because of how low the oven rack had to be.
So, I went on a hunt trying to find the perfect pot and ended up visiting about 7 different stores before settling on the pot I’m using now. Most traditional dutch ovens have plastic nobs and handles that are only oven safe up to 400°F, making them unusable for this recipe.
I ended up finding a gorgeous 3-quart stainless steel stockpot with a glass and stainless lid at TJ Maxx for around $30. Do yourself a favor and just start there. Otherwise, you may pay close to $120 for a suitable alternative.
One trick I learned from reading 52 Loaves, placing the loaf of bread cut side down on a cutting board or surface will prevent the bread from going stale and keep it fresh longer. I’ve tried it with four different loaves of fresh bread AND IT WORKS.
One final word about this recipe: if you’re planning to try a whole wheat flour instead of the unbleached all-purpose flour, you will have to adjust the water content. The dough needs to be fairly sticky in order for it to be perfectly moist and doughy. Trust me on this one. I’ve tried it with a white whole wheat and a full on whole wheat flour. It’s just not the same…
10 hrPrep Time
45 minCook Time
10 hr, 45 Total Time
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt (sea or kosher)
- 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups luke warm water
- 3-quart stock pot with a metal or glass lid or dutch oven
- Additional flour for shaping
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add water and mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is fully mixed in. It will be a sticky mess.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10-12 hours (or up to 3 days) on the countertop. (The longer it sits, the more it will turn into a sourdough.)
- When you're ready to make the dough, place pot in oven with lid. Preheat to 425°F and let heat for 30 minutes.
- With floured hands, pull the dough out of the bowl and put on a floured surface.
- Fold ends of dough over a few times and shape it into a ball.
- Sprinkle a handful of flour into bowl, and return dough to bowl to rest until oven is ready (about 25-30 minutes).
- Remove dough from the bowl and drop it into your heated pot.
- Slice 2-3 lines in top of dough.
- Cover and put into oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Uncover, bake another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden.
- Remove and let cool on wired rack.
- Slice and serve.
Nightshade Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Egg Free, and Corn Free.