Monday, May 8, 2017

No-Knead Crusty Bread

A few years back a cookbook came out called Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I bought it and tried the bread, with great results.  It involved making a quick yeast dough by stirring the ingredients together, leaving it out on the counter for a few days, then refrigerating.  Whenever you wanted to make a loaf of bread, rolls, or pizza, you cut off a chunk of dough and baked (usually on a hot pizza stone). There was no kneading involved. It was great bread.  However, it made a lot of dough, and took up a lot of room in the fridge. If I was super busy and didn't make bread on a frequent basis, it would spoil.

As the bread was very good, I was intrigued when I saw recipes to make one loaf at a time in a Dutch Oven. This past weekend I decided to try it.  We were in our RV at the racetrack so I made sure to pack a 3.5 qt. Dutch Oven. I mixed the dough on Friday night, Saturday night I shaped it into a ball and baked it. It was one of the best breads I've ever eaten! It has a crusty and chewy texture to it, very similar to a loaf of sourdough bread. We devoured half the loaf with our tri tip dinner then I sliced the rest for toast in the morning.  It could not have been easier to make. I will make this bread again and again.

No-Knead Crusty Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water, room temperature

In a big bowl, mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Pour the water into the bowl and, using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix it until well incorporated.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 18 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Add your Dutch Oven pot to the oven as it's heating and heat it as well until it's at 450 degrees.

Remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid from it. If you want to make sure your bread doesn't stick to the pot you can sprinkle some flour or cornmeal on the bottom of the pot.

Flour your hands really well and also sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball.  Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot.  Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the bread from the pot, it should fall out easily.  Let cool before slicing it.


A small (3.5 qt.) Dutch Oven is better so that the bread rises upwards.  Larger Dutch Ovens will cause the bread to spread out over the surface of the pot.

If the dough mixture is too dry, add a bit more water.  The dough should be sticky.

To add other ingredients to the bread such as dried fruit, seeds, herbs or cheeses, add them when mixing in all the ingredients.
After sitting for 12 to 18 hours, the dough is very spongy and sticky, very similar to a sourdough starter.

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