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Recipe: Easy No-Knead Bread

Fresh Pasta Machine, Recipe

This might be the easiest bread recipe ever. No-Knead Bread requires four ingredients and some patience to create some of the best homemade bread ever.

And don't worry about "I can't do this, it won't come out right." You'll see my bread doesn't come out quite right in the video, but man is it delicious and it made some amazing sandwiches. This is a 24-hour process so the dough you make today will be baked tomorrow.

This recipe is from the New York Times and I highly recommend you get a subscription to access their full Cooking section.

Prep, Cook, Servings

Prep: 15 min. 20 hours rest. 30 - 45 min baking.

Servings: 1 loaf


3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 5/8 cups of lukewarm water

Cornmeal or wheat bran, as needed

Instructions (from the NY Times)

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, the dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Cooking Notes

In the video, you'll see my bread is more like a disk than a loaf. The yeast was either close to expired or already expired so it did not rise as much as it should have. But that goes to show, you don't have to be perfect to enjoy great bread!

Full video transcript, apologies in advance for any typos.

Walter Hey folks, welcome back to Where's Walter. Today we're going to make no knead bread. Walter Making bread doesn't have to be hard. You don't need a special oven, you don't need a special bread machine. All you need is some flour, yeast, salt and water. In this recipe, this is actually from the New York Times. This is called No knead bread. Now this is going to take 24 hours, so it's not like we're going to make this dough right now and go right in and bake it. So this recipe is simply three cups of flour, just all purpose flour. This flour happens to be bleached, only because in the store there was no unbleached flour. So I got bleached, so all purpose flour, one and five eighths of a cup of water, that we're going to need one and a half teaspoons of salt and then yeast, a quarter teaspoon of yeast. Now that would be you know those little packets and if you don't make a lot of bread, I would highly recommend you just go buy little packages of instant yeast. This way it'll stay fresh. But if you really get into this and you see just how easy this is, I want to say this is from Costco or something like that. Just a big bulk amount of yeast and we're just going to go ahead and scoop out a quarter teaspoon. So step one, we're going to dump the flour into a big bowl. Now you do want to do this into a big bowl, because it's not going to come out of this once we, once we put everything into the bowl and we mix it up, it's not going to come out of here. If you don't have a big bowl like this, maybe you've got like some old pots around. You can use an old pot. It doesn't have to be a bowl. Almost everybody has a pasta pot, right? So make sure that you use a big bowl when you get started. Alright, so the flour's in there, now I'm going to add one and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Just you know one and a quarter teaspoons. That feels about right. You know Italian kitchen. Then we're going to need a quarter of a teaspoon of the yeast. So get these measure that out, that's about a quarter of a teaspoon you think. Yeah. Sprinkle that around. So the water will help to wake up the yeast. You know the yeast is a living organism. So it needs to wake up and that's what's going to make all those lovely bubbles in our bread and make it rise. Walter You see this is not scary. Look at that. So we've just kind of mixed it up. Just get some plastic wrap. Here we go. This bowl's is going to take a couple of pieces. There you go. We've got dough wrapped up. Now we're just going to let this sit for 18 hours. Well, good morning everybody. It's actually been about 19 hours since we put the dough in here and covered it all up. And what we're looking for is for the top to have beautiful bubbles on it and take a look at that. Absolutely gorgeous. So that's the yeast doing its thing. So, we haven't done anything. We just left it in a bowl, covered it up overnight. And there we go. Now we've got about two and a half more hours before we're ready to bake. Two more steps, let's go. Now we want to get the dough out of the bowl, but we want to be very careful, you don't want to go squeezing into this and mess up all those beautiful bubbles that we spent 19 hours creating. I happen to have this little scraper right here. If you're going to use your hand, just kind of go gently around the bowl and just kind of scoop it out. So I kind of get in there with my little scraper. And gently, gently as I can, and it's kind of like the blob. Now what we want to do is we want to fold it over once or twice, that's it. Don't want to disturb it too much. I'm going to use a metal scraper that I have. Grab this just kind of fold it over on itself. Walter And then I'm going to scrape it again and fold it over on itself. Walter Now, just cover lightly with some plastic wrap and sprinkle a little extra flour on there, just to kind of keep the plastic from sticking too much. And there we go just lightly, don't pat it down. Don't make it too tight or anything like that. Wait about 15 minutes, let this rest and then we'll go on to the next step. I'm going to get dressed. Okay, ready for the next step? And for this, you're going to want to have two cotton towels. Make sure they're not terry cloth that they're actually cotton. And then one of them, go ahead and sprinkle it generously with cornmeal. We're going to put the dough on top of here, so you want to have a lot of cornmeal or you can use flour, and you can also use wheat bran, but just something to keep the dough from sticking to this towel, because once we work the dough, we're going to drop it right onto this and then we're going to cover it with the other towel. I just have this sitting on a cooking sheet, just to make it easy. Pull the plastic off our dough. And now what we want to do is we want to shape this into a ball. Again, we want to be very careful, you don't want to go grabbing into it because you're going to get rid of all the beautiful bubbles that we worked so hard to create. So I'm going to use my bench scraper again. I'm going to put a little bit more flour on here. You want to be careful not to put too much flour on here. I'm going to use the bench scraper to go ahead and get this up off the counter and kind of fold it over, kind of fold it over, kind of trying to very quickly turn this into a ball, with as little work as possible. And once I feel like I've got it into a ball, put the seam side down, just like that. Walter Now, what I'm going to do, is cover it with more cornmeal so that the other towel doesn't stick. Cover this with the other towel. It's been two hours. Look at that. Then the other thing that you want to look for is when I poke it with my finger, it doesn't just spring right back. See there's still a hole in there. And we're going to do a two part baking process. So for the first part, we're going to have this covered and then for the second part we're going to have it uncovered so that that crust really goes well. Now for this I'm going to use one of my grandmother's really old cast iron enamel covered dutch ovens. And so what I did was about a half hour ago I turned the oven on, and set it to 450 degrees. And I put the dutch oven in the oven when I turned it on, so it's nice and hot. And if you don't have a cast iron dutch oven, you could use something like a big old cast iron pan, and maybe just you know, put some foil on it. Just make a nice little bridge of foil that the bread still has some room to rise. You can also use Pyrex baking dishes. But whatever you use, make sure you put it in the oven first, so that it heats up. Be very careful taking it out. Obviously that pot is 450 degrees. I have these Ove gloves. Walter All right, here we go. We're gonna pick this up. It's gonna be messy. There's really no way around that. I'm going to try to get up underneath. Here we go. Walter Let it fall right in there. Look at that. Didn't quite land in the center. I'm just going to shake it a little bit. There we go. Now it's in the center. Close that up. Ooh, that is hot. All right, so we're going to go 30 minutes covered. And after 30 minutes, we'll take the lid off. And we're going to let it go for at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes, you know everybody's oven and is a little bit different. So what we're looking for is to get that really nice dark crust. We'll see that in a little bit. Whoo. Look at that, that is really looking pretty. It's baked up very nicely. So now we're going to go ahead and let it go for another at least 15 minutes, maybe up to 30. And finally, we have bread. I ended up baking it for an extra 20 minutes, instead of the 15 uncovered. Now is it perfect? No. As you can see, it looks more like a disc than a big old loaf of bread. And I probably should have brushed off more of the cornmeal on the top before I started it baking. But you know what? It smells amazing. Listen to this. Nice hollow sound on the inside. That's exactly what bread should sound like. So I can't wait to cut into this. Walter Okay. Walter Oh my gosh, that is a crusty bread. Walter Oh my goodness. Now it might be like a little disc. But look at the hole here. I'm gonna show you. Look at the holes in there. Oh my gosh, this is probably one of the best breads I've ever baked. And again, is it perfect? No, it should certainly be a little bit taller. But it looks gorgeous. I'm going to cut into this again. Walter Oh, listen to that. Walter That is a beautiful bread. Now this reminds me of the breads like we used to buy in New York. Is it perfect again? No. In fact, now did I feel this it could have certainly baked a little bit longer. I was afraid that it was going to burn in there because, my oven. That's really good. Walter To make it even better, olive oil. Good extra virgin olive oil. Mmm. Mmm. That's really.

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