No Knead Bread

My friend Nick over at Macheesmo is always raving about No Knead Bread.  So I decided to look it up.  It is a simple recipe with just four ingredients.  Flour, salt, water and yeast.  No Knead Bread was devised by Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC. He devised a method that takes little effort and produces a superior product.  I have been unable to partake as it requires a Cast Iron Dutch Oven to make perfectly.  Luckily my Mother and Father love me and bought me an enameled cast iron pan for Christmas.  So I decided to make a loaf of No Knead Bread.

The rustic loaf

The rustic loaf

The bread came out crusty and delicious.  I still can’t believe the flavor.

No Knead Bread – Jim Lahey via NYT

  • 3 cups all purpose flour or bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt (depends on your taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Mix the flour, salt and yeast into a bowl.  Remember, that a packet of yeast is actually 2 1/4 tsp.  So you only need 1/9th of the packet.  I know that it sounds weird, but you do not need any more yeast than that.  You can store the remaining yeast in the refrigerator.

Mix in the water into the dough.  You want to add enough water to just get the flour moist.  You may need a little more, or a little less water depending on the humidity in your house.  For the most part, 1 1/2 cups of water works perfectly.

The dough

The dough

Once you have the water mixed in, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12-18 hours at room temperature.  This works great if you want fresh bread in the morning.

Doubled in size

Doubled in size

After 12-18 hours the dough will have doubled and gotten all bubbly.

Flour the counter and turn the dough out on to the counter.  Make sure to heavily flour the counter as the dough is quite sticky.  Fold the dough into thirds.  Take the left side and fold it into the middle.  Then take the right side and fold it into the middle.  Then take the top and fold it over the bottom.

Fold, form and dust

Fold, form and dust

Next using cornmeal, semolina or wheat bran, dust the inside of a cotton towel.  Make sure to skimp out on dusting.  Form the dough into a round or oval loaf.  My dutch oven is oval, so a football shaped loaf is what I made.  Place the bread dough seem side down on the towel.  Dust the top of the dough and wrap it up in the towel.  Let it rest for about 2 hours.

With about 30 minutes left in the resting period, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Place the dutch oven in the oven to preheat.  If you don’t have a dutch oven, I have heard that a 5 quart pyrex bowl with a pyrex pie plate as a lid can be used instead.

Preheat the dutch oven

Preheat the dutch oven

Once the dutch oven has heated for 30 minutes, open the oven and remove the dutch oven lid.  Be careful, it is 500 degrees.  Next plop the dough from the towel into the dutch oven.  Once again, be careful.  Place the cover back on the pot and place it into the oven for 30 minutes.

Flop the dough into the dutch oven

Flop the dough into the dutch oven

When the 30 minutes is up, remove the lid and turn the oven down to 450 degrees.  Cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and let the loaf brown

Remove the lid and let the loaf brown

Remove the pan from the oven and place the bread onto a rack to cool for an hour or two before cutting.

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

This was some of the tastiest bread I have ever tasted.

Let cool on a rack

Let cool on a rack

The long proofing period allowed the bread to create a depth of flavor that is unmatched in any type of homemade bread recipe I have tried so far.

Look at the bread.  Light and fluffy.  Perfect crust.  Amazing!!!

Look at the bread. Light and fluffy. Perfect crust. Amazing!!!

You have to try this bread.

About Author

Rex

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.

8 Comments

    • Rex

      It is a Paula Deen Pan, but it is cast iron and enamel all the way through. It is a high quality enamel cast iron pan. Sometimes you have to watch out for some of the le creueset wannabe pans as they have flimsy lid handles that can actually melt. Make sure to buy a high quality pan to do this as the oven is really hot.

  1. I tried this and was very excited with the result. I'm over here in England (that eclectic island before you hit mainland Europe) so had to make some minor adjustments with the measurements and terms. Firstly I had to check what a US cup holds; not a problem its about 240ml which equates with a UK breakfast cup or a regular mug. I used strong white flour (a Waitrose supermarket own brand) and Doves Farm instant yeast which you spoon out of the packet. I own a 3.5 litre Le Creuset casserole with lid which proved to be a perfect size. The oven temperature had to be converted from fahrenheit to celsius and then reduced as my oven does not go that high. I simply used its hottest temperature which is 230C (fan) and the resulting bread could not have been better. I shall now have a go using wholemeal or spelt flour. Makes a change to our usual breadmaker bread. Thank you!

    • Rex

      Thank you so much Mary for the conversions. I am glad that you enjoyed the bread. I love the crust the most. I am working on converting all of my recipes to both US and Metric, so hopefully it will be easier for you next time. Thanks again for the lovely comment. -Rex

  2. Hello there, just stopped by doing some research for my Pyrex website. Amazing the amount of information on the web. Looking for something else, but interesting page. Take care.