Anyone who is even remotely interested in food is aware of Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread recipe that became mainstream 13 months ago when Mark Bittman of the NY Times wrote about it. Food websites were agog about this new way to make bread, which required a really wet dough, a long, overnight rise, and baking in a large covered pot. Nearly every newspaper in the country covered the phenomenon of being able to have a crusty loaf of bread without any kneading, with many trying to tweak the recipe to enhance the depth of flavor. Me? I never made it. I even broke down and bought a nice enameled cast iron pot in which to bake a loaf, but for some reason, I just never got around to making this bread.
Last week, however, I read about a new type of no-knead bread. A bread so simple, even a 7 year old could make it. This process also relies on a very wet dough, but you only let the dough sit for a couple of hours. Each batch makes three or four loaves of crusty bread, but you don’t need to bake it all at once. The unused dough can sit in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, and you pull off a portion and bake it when you want.
I gave the recipe to my 7 year old daughter, who has been cooking a lot with our sitter, and I came home on Friday with a bull full of dough waiting for me. I pinched off a couple of grapefruit sized pieces of dough, lightly dusted them with flour, and let them sit on a pizza peel for 40 minutes or so. I popped the orbs into a hot oven with a baking stone, and you know what, my daughter and I ended up with some most excellent bread. And I baked the rest of it tonight, resulting in an even more flavorful loaf.
So, give this recipe a try. If you time it right, you can have fresh bread all the time. And if a 7 year old can do it, I’m sure you can, too.
Recipe after the break.
Ultra-Easy No Knead Bread
- 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough
1. In a large bowl, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100°F). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and pinch off a grapefruit-size piece. Carefully turn dough in your hands to form a round; the bottom will be bumpy. Put dough on pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal and let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.
3. Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.
4. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and quickly shut oven to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.
Makes 3-4 loaves.
From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.