No Knead Bread

basic no knead bread

Basic No Knead Bread

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.

Unbleached all purpose flour

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.

grey sea salt

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.

active dry yeast

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.

sticky dough for basic no knead bread

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.

basic no knead bread

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…

basic no knead bread

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.

basic no knead bread

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.

basic no knead bread

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…

photographing basic no knead bread

Yields 4-6

Basic No Knead Bread

10 hrPrep Time

45 minCook Time

10 hr, 45 Total Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add water and mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is fully mixed in. It will be a sticky mess.
  3. 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.)
  4. When you're ready to make the dough, place pot in oven with lid. Preheat to 425°F and let heat for 30 minutes.
  5. With floured hands, pull the dough out of the bowl and put on a floured surface.
  6. Fold ends of dough over a few times and shape it into a ball.
  7. Sprinkle a handful of flour into bowl, and return dough to bowl to rest until oven is ready (about 25-30 minutes).
  8. Remove dough from the bowl and drop it into your heated pot.
  9. Slice 2-3 lines in top of dough.
  10. Cover and put into oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Uncover, bake another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden.
  12. Remove and let cool on wired rack.
  13. Slice and serve.

Allergen Information

Nightshade Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Egg Free, and Corn Free.

6.6.15
http://emilylevenson.com/recipe-no-knead-bread/

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More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a meditation encourager, mama, and Pittsburgh enthusiast. She recently launched a podcast called Nourish + Flourish and is a co-pilot at Propelle.

Comments

  1. Reply

    I love the photos as much as the story. Might need to make some bread.

    1. Reply

      Thank you! That means a lot coming from a fabulous photog like yourself. ♥

  2. Reply

    i wonder if my cast iron dutch oven would work . Anyone have any thoughts on this?

    1. Reply

      It absolutely should! Lots of people use cast iron for no-knead breads. just make sure that the lid is oven safe up to 425°F.

  3. Reply

    Hey Emily! Thank you so much for this recipe! I make it for my family all the time and we all love it! Question for you – have you ever made the dough ahead to be baked the next day? I’m going on vacation and would love to bring the dough ready for baking.

    1. Reply

      So glad you are enjoying it! I usually make the dough the day/night before and then bake it in the morning. So, to answer your question: YES!

      Something to note: the longer you let the dough sit, the more “sour” it becomes. So if sourdoughs are your thing, you may actually prefer to let it sit for longer than the 10-12 hours.

      1. Reply

        Thanks! That sounds awesome!

  4. Reply

    Hi Emily! This bread looks amazing! Thanks for sharing.
    I started my dough last night (so easy and quick!) and am going to make the bread tonight – can’t wait to see how it turns out!
    I do have one question for you… do you think this recipe would work in a 2 1/2 quart round casserole dish with glass lid or would this be too small?

    1. Reply

      I’m not sure! I know that the bread needs space to rise and that extra air helps to circulate the heat for baking, but honestly don’t know if it would make THAT much of a difference. I’d say to try it and see how it goes. And then come back and tell me so that I will know. 😉

      1. Reply

        I’m going to be trying the exact same thing tonight, I have a 2.5qt glass casserole dish as well! Fingers crossed!

        1. Reply

          Mine ended up a little flat. I think it might have been the dough though – it smelled like alcohol when I got home from work.
          How did your turn out Kelly?

          1. Mine turned out fantastic, and there was even some room left in the pot had my bread wanted to further expand. Maybe your yeast was off? Could account for the alcohol smell?

          2. Oh that’s awesome Kelly! Yes, that was probably it. I’ll have to try again this week.

          3. Hmm. How long was it sitting? The longer it sits, the more of a sourdough it becomes and have found they don’t rise as much. It’s also possible the yeast was off.

          4. It sat for 24 hours before I baked it

          5. I’m guessing it was beginning to turn into a sourdough, which has a slightly different smell and profile as a bread. I would suggest making it sooner if you didn’t love it the way it was. I tend to make it in the afternoon or evening before going to bed so that I can cook it in the morning.

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