Saturday, September 14, 2013

No-Knead Bread

I'm not sure what I was was doing in 2006 when the No-Knead Bread craze took over the blogosphere but I certainly wasn't baking this bread - or any bread. I decided to finally try the recipe when I came across it in the Essential New York Times Cookbook recently.
Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread
Jim Lahey's recipe, made famous by Mark Bittman in the New York Times, apparently started a bread baking revolution of sorts. I can see why. You don't need to be an accomplished bread baker, or any kind of baker at all to turn out a loaf of this great tasting bread, you just need to plan ahead a little.
bread ingredients mixed dough
First, stir flour, water, salt and a very small amount of yeast together to form a shaggy dough. I used bread flour and included 1 cup of whole wheat.
risen dough shaped dough
Left to their own devices for 18 hours at warm room temperature, these most basic of ingredients are transformed into an elastic dough that's bubbly and very sticky. Turn it out onto a floured board and following a brief rest, with wet hands, shape it as best you can into a ball.
parchment prepared pan
Rather than transferring it to a tea towel, I use a helpful tip that was suggested and place it in a fry pan lined with parchment paper instead. To get a close fit, crumple the parchment becomes softer and more drapable, much better for clinging closely to the sloped sides of the pan. Make sure to use a pan that's slightly smaller in diameter than the pot you're using to bake the bread. Sprinkle the bottom with a little cornmeal before adding the shaped dough.
rested dough risen dough
Cover and let rise for 2-2 1/2 hours until more than doubled in size. Use the parchment paper as a sling to transfer the dough to the pot that's been pre-heated in a 450F oven.
baked bread cooling bread
Bake 30 minutes covered and an additional 15-30 minutes without the lid. I rely on my trusty thermometer to confirm when the bread is done. (The internal temperature was actually 204F when I took the bread from the oven but it continued to rise for a few moments after that). Again, the parchment liner makes transferring the bread from the hot pot to a cooling rack simple and releases easily from the loaf.
You'll want to dive in immediately because it smells sooo good, but you must have patience and allow the loaf to cool before slicing. The crust is thin and crispy (at first), and the crumb is chewy with a slightly tangy, sour dough-like flavour. So easy, anyone can make it.

The recipe for No-Knead Bread can be found here.  


  1. Hi Zosia,
    That is a great looking bread. I have not tried Jim Lahey's recipes before. But I have tried some recipes from Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day, and they are good.
    This bread would be perfect with hot soups!

    1. Thank you Joyce. I'm a little late to this no-knead movement so I haven't tried any other recipes of this type; I've heard good things about that book though, and will have to look into it.


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