So I’d be willing to place a bet that there isn’t a single person alive who doesn’t absolutely LOVE the smell of freshly baked bread. That being said, baking the bread yourself from scratch is often daunting to a new baker. I struggled with getting my dough to rise for years. Last year I took a bread making class with my sister in law, found some better yeast, got some freshly ground flour (OMG!) and made a delicious loaf of bread. In my Kitchen Aid Mixer. NO KNEADING. Be still my beating lazy heart.
But a few months ago I discovered something even easier and all it requires is a tiny bit of “thinking ahead”. About 18 hours ahead.
I know what you’re thinking? EIGHTEEN HOURS AREYOUCRAZY? Ain’t NOBODY got time for that. But trust me, this is literally the easiest way I’ve found to make bread.
Still not convinced? How about if I tell you there are only FIVE steps?
I first got this recipe from a friend and I didn’t even try the original NY Times recipe. I loved the blogger’s tweaks so much I didn’t really mess with it at all. The recipe is incredibly adaptable and I was able to combine my own mixture of 12 grain flour and with bread flour, which added some extra crunch and “healthiness” to the bread. Speaking of flour, if you have been making your bread with all-purpose flour, you should stop and give bread flour a chance. You can learn a bit more about the difference at The Kitchn, which tackles the difference between bread an all-purpose flour.
So without further ado, I present you with my favourite recipe for fail-proof and super delicious bread.
NY Times No-Knead Bread (recipe from A Stack of Dishes, and I highly recommend you read this post for more helpful information)
3 cups all purpose, unbleached flour or bread flour (this is where I go nuts and add a variety of things that all “equal” 3 cups – rolled oats, 12 grain flour, bread flour – knock yourself out!)
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups water (warm or cold is fine)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast and salt. Pour in the water, and with a spoon, stir until blended and all the flour is incorporated. The dough will be rough and shaggy, almost like a scone dough, and fairly sticky.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit out on the counter for at least 12 hours and up to 24. (No need for a “warm” spot, room temperature is fine. The warmer your kitchen though, the quicker the rise.)
- The dough will be ready when the surface is level and bubbly, anywhere between 12-24 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 450˚ with a dutch oven inside and the lid on.
- While the oven is heating, turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. The dough will be VERY sticky and stringy. With well-floured hand, fold the dough a few times over onto itself, and then shape it into a ball. NO KNEADING! If you’re using parchment, dust the paper and lay the dough on top. Other wise, let the dough rest on a well floured surface for an additional 30 minutes. Cover with the plastic wrap.
- (A Stack of Dishes Note: the oven will come to temperature well before the dough has risen, but you really want the enamel pan to be super hot, so that extra heating time is perfect.)
- About 20 minutes after you have shaped the dough, using a sharp or serrated knife, make cuts about 3/4″ deep into the top of the bread. Then let rest for a final 10 minutes.
- When ready, open the oven and remove the lid of the pot with a cloth or potholder. Either lift the parchment paper, or with well floured hands, carefully lift the dough and lay it into the pot. There is no need to grease the pan. It absolutely will not stick.
- Using the potholder, replace the pan lid and slide the pot back into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 15 until the bread is browned and beautiful.
- When ready, grab the bread out of the pot and place it on a wire rack to cool.