I began, very ambitiously, by trying to grow my own starter, but after lots of goo and 25 pounds of bread flour I still had nothing. I needed something fairly effortless, not some complicated science experiment.
My neighbor gave me a recipe she had cut out years ago from Mother Earth News magazine and I was immediately intrigued. I had heard all the rage about no knead bread, but had never tried making it before. With apron adorned, I headed to my kitchen to see if I finally had the answer to my bread deficiency.
Now months later this is the bread I make at least once a week. I’ve tried different flours, added oat bran, flax seed and herbs. This bread is pretty much fool proof. Only once has it completely failed me to the point of throwing it out and that was only because I was desperate and used all whole wheat flour (word to the wise, that doesn’t work).
The original recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but I think bread flour gives it more chew. You can play around, use half bread and half all-purpose. I use bread flour and whole wheat flour—a little more bread than whole-wheat—but more or less half and half. It may take a few tries to get the perfect flour ratio for a nice risen, flavorful loaf.
You will also need a heavy dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid to bake it in, cast iron is best since it holds heat really well. I use a Le Creuset braiser, which produces nice round loaves.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Combine water and yeast in a large bowl. Add flours and salt and stir until blended. Add more flour if necessary to create a dough that forms a ball and then sinks back into the bowl a bit. It will be sticky and soft. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours.
- The dough is ready when it has become an airy mass and its surface is dotted with bubbles.
- Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle 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.
- Remove plastic wrap and using enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands, gently form into a ball. Dust a clean towel generously with flour and place dough on towel. Dust another towel generously with flour and place over dough. Let rise until doubled in size and dough does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.
- At least 45 minutes before dough is ready, heat oven to 425°F and place a 6 to 8 quart Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid in oven as it heats. When dough is ready carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide you hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot. It's okay if the dough looses its shape it will even out as it bakes.
- Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for 8 to 10 minutes more, or until browned. Remove from pot and let cool on a rack at least and hour before slicing.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0g