No-Knead Bread

Makes one boule, about one pound

This is essentially a sponge that is allowed to rise and is then baked without kneading. The use of a Dutch oven simulates a French steam-charged oven. We use a 3-quart Le Creuset cassarole, which results in a fairly high loaf (the wider the pot, the thinner the loaf). The loaf is a boule with a hard crust and a crumb with lots of holes.

Be careful how you handle the Dutch oven when hot; be careful when moving it in and out of the oven.

For a whole wheat loaf, use 300 grams of white flour and 100 grams of whole wheat flour. Increase the yeast to 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon).

The recipe is adapted from one given in “My Bread” by Jim Lahey. The formula is the same, but we have changed the method. Variants have been popularized by Mark Bittman of the New York Times.

4 cups (400 grams) bread flour
¼ tsp (1 gram) yeast
1 ¼ tsp (8 grams) salt
12 fl oz (330 ml) water

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add water and stir until completely mixed.
  2. Cover and allow to work at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours, the longer the better flavor.
  3. With a plastic scraper, fold the sponge over itself several times. Scrape out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface or a non-stick silicon mat. Wash the bowl, dry it and oil with a few drops of oil.
  4. Return the dough to the bowl.  Cover and allow to rise for 1 to 3 hours.

While the dough is rising, or when all but 1/2 hour is left, place the covered Dutch oven in the oven. Set the heat for 450 degrees F. and allow to heat for 30 minutes. It is important to heat the Dutch oven a full half hour to bring it fully to temperature.

  1. Being very careful of a heavy, hot pot, remove the pot from the oven, remove the top. Using a plastic scraper, scrape the dough into the pot. Cover and return pot to the oven.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the top of the pot and bake another 10-15 minutes. Remove the Dutch oven and transfer the bread to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least one hour.

Source: There are also various sources on YouTube (artisanbreadwithsteve Channel and breadtechniques Channel).

Copyright © 2001-2012 by The Still Waters Group

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