There's only one way to fail with this recipe: Not ever trying it. I personally spent months avoiding it, as I sometimes do in situations where I might fail. Week after week, I convinced myself that I had too much work, or too little time, to even try it once. In the process, I missed the opportunity to feed our little family of two with bakery-quality bread right from our oven.
Just like those other tasks or obligations that turn out to never be as bad as they seem, the results of this recipe were reward enough. The finished loaf is crusty on the outside and warm and pliant on the inside. And yet, as you'll see from the instructions, it's essentially a "one and dump" recipe, as I call anything that dirties just a single bowl. You can fudge the rise time by hours and would never be able to tell the difference; even the baking time provides leeway if your hands happen to be full.
Take a chance, and you may never go back to your grocery store for a loaf of bread again.
No-Knead Artisan Bread
Adapted from Jim Leahy's No Knead Bread by the The Landings New Neighbors Gourmet Club
- 3 cups bread flour (I prefer King Arthur Flour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 package Active Dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons if jarred)
- 1 1/2 cups room temperature water
- Oil as needed (for bowl)
- Stir together flour, yeast and salt, barely combining ingredients; do not knead. Dump into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave to rise at room temperature for 4-8 hours.
- About 30 minutes before you're ready to bake your dough, put a heavy-bottomed 6-8 quart pot (cast iron, ceramic or oven-safe glass - I use our Le Creuset) in your oven as you preheat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- At the same time as your oven preheats, fold your dough in half 2-3 times on a flat surface and return to your oiled bowl for 30 minutes. Your oven and baking vessel will be piping hot by the end of this second rise, and now you're ready to bake!
- Using potholders, remove your hot pan and its lid from the oven, gently lowering your dough into the pan. You can give the pan a little shake to even it out, but honestly, you don't have to. The dough will even itself out and bake up just fine with no encouragement.
- Cover the pot with the hot lid and return to the oven to bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for a final 15-30 minutes, or until your crust is golden brown.
- Remove from the pot and allow cool on a baking rack (or brown paper bag, if you don't have a rack) until you are ready to serve it.