I love baking bread but my loaves never tend to be as light and fluffy because of my extremely poor kneading technique. I just don’t have the muscles! I must have come across this recipe for No Knead Bread about a year ago, I have no idea why it took me such a long time to make it. It came up on a few more blogs recently and so I set aside some time this weekend to make it.
This bread is not about instant gratification, due to the first prove being 20 hours long, but it is about very very little effort.
Because of the long proving process the dough is beautifully light and airy with very little effort. Also it has a higher water content than conventional bread recipes so you get a beautiful crisp crust.
No Knead Bread
makes approx 1 1lb loaf
This recipe comes from the New York times so my measurements are in cups, apologies to those in the UK! I believe you can buy cups in John Lewis, Lakeland and some supermarkets now. I got mine on ebay for about £5.
3 cups strong white bread flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast (this will use very little of a 7g packet)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water
Put your flour in a large bowl, add in the yeast and the salt.
Then add in your water and stir until you have a soft sloppy dough, like a very thick cake batter. Add a touch more water if your mix seems a little dry.
Then all you need to do is cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm non draughty place for a minimum of 12 but up to 20 hours, I left mine for 20 hours.
After your first prove the dough will be bubbly and light like this:
Drop your dough onto a very well floured surface and form into a rough round shape with wet hands. Your hands won’t stick to the dough if they are wet.
Drop this dough into a bowl lined with a floured cotton towel. Cover with the towel and leave to prove for 1-2 hours, I left mine for 1 1/2 and it was fine. It should double in size.
Half an hour before your dough is ready heat up your pot. Set your oven to gas mark 8 / 450f / 230c. You need to use a thick strong pot, such as a casserole dish, with a lid. I used a big stoneware dish. If I had a Le Creuset it would be perfect for this!
When your dough is ready add it to your pot. The recipe I used said to line with greaseproof paper if your pot isn’t non stick, unfortunately I did this (and floured the paper) and the dough stuck! So I would recommend oiling your paper or just flouring your pot very well.
Bake your loaf for 30 minutes covered, then for another 20 minutes uncovered to crisp the crust. It should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Leave to cool for 5-10minutes afterwards, then slice into big chunks and serve with proper butter!