Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread

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Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread

star rating (29) rate this recipe Ľ
Published prior to 2008

This recipe is one youíll find yourself making over and over again. First, itís incredibly easy. And secondĖjust because itís so easyĖitís fun to try variations. Add seeds. Substitute some whole wheat flour. What about stirring in toasted pecans? Go for it! All you need is four basic ingredients; a bowl; a spoon; a covered crock, and a hot oven. Please read all the way through this recipe before starting. Thereís lots of good information along the way; and you need to be sure you have the proper crock for baking.

5 cups (22 1/2 ounces) Sir Lancelot Hi-Gluten Flour*
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 3/4 cups (22 ounces) cool water

*Weíve also used King Arthur all-purpose and bread flours, but find Lancelot gives the highest rise and nicest texture. If you use all-purpose flour, reduce the water to 2 1/2 cups. For bread flour, use 2 2/3 cups water. Why? In any given yeast bread recipe, the higher the gluten level, the more liquid needed to create the desired texture.

First, decide on a timeframe. The dough is stirred together; rests for 10 hours; is put into the crock; rises for 2 hours, and bakes for 45 minutes. So thatís just under 13 hours. Itís a good weekend bread; stir it together Friday night at about 10 p.m.; scoop it into the crock about 8 a.m. Saturday; bake about 10 a.m., and your bread will be baked, cooled, and ready to slice for sandwiches by noon. Or get up early on Saturday to stir up the dough at 6 a.m.; put it into the crock at 4 p.m.; bake at 6 p.m., and serve fresh and hot from the oven at 7 p.m.

Next, select your crock. Ceramic/stoneware, cast iron, or glass all work; the key is that the crock must have a lid. A Dutch oven is a good choice. The crock we used for this recipe is a 4 1/4-quart capacity, 9 Ĺ"-diameter, 4"-deep round stoneware crock with lid. See if you can find something of a similar shape; baking times will be affected if the crock is shallower/wider, or narrower/deeper.

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl, large enough for the dough to double in size. Stir to combine. At first the dough will stick to the spoon and follow it around the bowl. But once all the flour is completely absorbed (after about 10 seconds of vigorous stirring), the dough will become softer and stick to the sides of the bowl. Thatís it; youíre done stirring. Cover the bowl, and set it aside to rest at cool room temperature for 10 hours. If itís very hot and humid, leave it in the cellar, or in an air-conditioned room; someplace thatís about 68įF to 70įF is ideal.

After 10 hours, the dough should be very bubbly, and will have risen quite a bit. Grease your chosen crock with non-stick vegetable oil spray, and then rub with a bit of olive oil, for flavor. Be sure itís well-greased; the last thing you want is for the baked bread to stick in the crock. Gently stir the dough down; this redistributes the yeast, giving it new life. Scoop the dough into the greased crock. Place the lid on the crock, and let the dough rise for 2 hours at cool room temperature. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450įF.

Peek at the dough before putting it in the oven; it should be very bubbly, and nicely risen. If you donít think itís risen enough, give it some more time. If it rose too much, then fell, bake it anyway; itíll be dense, but chewy and flavorful. Note that the bread wonít rise any farther, once itís in the oven; what you see is what you get. It also wonít dome, but instead will form a flat top surface.

Bake the bread for 45 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, till the top is a deep, golden brown. Remove the crock from the oven, and turn the bread out onto a rack to cool. PLEASE donít slice into it till itís just barely warm; slicing hot bread makes it irretrievably gummy. When fresh, the breadís crust is crisp, and the interior chewy; as it rests, the crust will gradually become chewy, as well. If desired, refresh slices in a toaster; or wrap gently in foil, and warm for 5 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350įF oven.
Yield: one round loaf.

Variation: Weíve also tried kneading this bread dough in a bread machine or mixer, rather than simply stirring it. The resulting loaf has a higher, rounder crown.

Reviews

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  • star rating 02/27/2015
  • Beccah from Seattle
  • Good, easy to use recipe that makes a crusty old fashioned loaf. Easily enough for one for a week, depending on how much bread you eat.
  • star rating 02/17/2015
  • Sharon from Seneca, SC
  • Experienced baker. Have always used traditional kneaded recipes but arthritis is taking it's toll and am now trying no knead recipes. This one. Well, followed to the letter, weighing all components. No rise. Proofed yeast; it is OK so added more. Dough is extremely thin, pourable- is this correct? It did bubble though. Baked at 450 for 45 min. in cast iron Dutch oven; took lid off. Burned. Shoot! My oven is right on temp. cause I am a baker and have it checked once a year. Waiting for it to cool to taste it. Meanwhile will suggest lowering temp and or time to bake. Also increase yeast to 1/2 tsp. My loaf looks perfect except for color, haha, being very dark brown.
  • star rating 02/14/2015
  • thespianmonsalvo from KAF Community
  • I keep coming back to this recipe. It is so easy to make on a Friday night or Saturday morning and have delicious bread all weekend. The bread is great with anything really, but it makes a crazy good grilled cheese sandwich.
  • star rating 11/01/2013
  • aliasfalcon0 from KAF Community
  • I have made this bread several times in a Dutch Oven. Yesterday, I tried a double pullman pan. I was not able to put the top on because my doubled recipe was just too big so just left it without a cover but with an oiled piece of plastic wrap. I buttered the pan, cooked the loaf at 425 for fifteen minutes, reduced the heat to 375 and baked for about 30 minutes more. Removed from oven, let cool for 10 minutes, and turned on out on a rack. It cam out of the pan beautifully, and the loaf is wonderful. No more Dutch oven for me, baking it now in my double Pullman pan without lid. The crust is no quite so crusty but it is still really good crust and the crumb of the bread is very similar as that when cooked in a Dutch Oven.
  • star rating 10/25/2013
  • Terry from Huntsville, AL
  • I love this bread. I doubled the recipe exactly using 45 ounces of flour using five and a third cups of water, 1/2 t years and 4 t kosher salt. We love the larger loaf. I have had to adjust the cooking time - increased by about 10 minutes in a 10" Dutch Oven. The only problem I have had is that I can't get the loaf out of the pan even though I oil liberally with extra virgin. However, that only increases the texture of the crust so no issues with time. Love it. With the larger loaf, it makes a spectacular presentation.
  • star rating 09/11/2013
  • stratratcat from KAF Community
  • This is an excellent tasting, delicious looking and very easy to make bread. I've made it numerous times using a 5 qt. cast iron dutch oven coated in olive oil and each time was better than the last. It's very versatile in that you can add any variety of things like, cheese, garlic, cranberries, huckleberries, etc. to make a nice variety.
  • star rating 01/05/2013
  • diane from milford, ca
  • One of my favorite bread recipes. I bake at 400' because my crock has a temperature rating of only 400'. It came out perfectly. My family is fond of this bread with dried cranberries and thinly sliced pieces of candied ginger added.
  • star rating 12/05/2012
  • azpicker from KAF Community
  • Made this bread again today. Put some extra olive oil in the cast iron pot and the crust just gets better each time. very easy to make and looks like professionally baked. I'm overwhelmed at the holes in the bread. Wish I knew how to do this in my other breads. Thanks
  • star rating 06/21/2012
  • azpicker from KAF Community
  • I made this bread for the 2nd time and used an unbleached flour, I adjusted the water because we have low low humidity and it came out even better than the first time. Can't wait to get some Lancelot flour and see if the taste will go up yet another notch. Regards
  • star rating 06/03/2012
  • azpicker from KAF Community
  • I made this bread for the 1st time, followed the recipe to the letter, used 2.5 cups of water, started the 10 second mix at 10:00pm, at 8:00am moved the dough to the cast iron pot that I sprayed and brushed with EVO, 2 hour rest and into the preheated 450 oven for 45 minutes cover on and 5 minutes cover off and WOW!!! Right off this is great tasting bread. If you make bread from yeast, this is a must. Thanks KAF for a great recipe.
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