Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread

Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread

Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread

This incredibly easy recipe is perfect for anyone who’s never baked yeast bread. All you need to make this high-rising, crusty loaf are four simple ingredients (bread flour, water, salt, and yeast) and four basic tools (a bowl, a spoon, a covered crock or casserole, and a hot oven). Really! King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour is the key here: it provides the added structure this loaf needs to attain its open crumb and nicely chewy texture.

Prep
15 mins
Bake
50 mins
Total
12 hrs 35 mins
Yield
1 round loaf
Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread
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Instructions

  1. First thing to do when baking this bread? Decide on a timeframe. The dough is stirred together; rests for 10 hours; is put into a crock; rises for 2 hours, and bakes for 45 minutes. So that's just under 13 hours. It's 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 by noon.

  2. Be sure you have something to bake the bread in, namely a 4- to 4 1/2-quart round, deep covered crock, Dutch oven, or casserole dish. It must be oven-safe (obviously); it really does need a lid, and it has to be deep enough (about 4") to hold the rising dough.

    Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread – Step 2
  3. To make the dough: Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. 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. That's it; you're done stirring.

    Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread – Step 3
  4. Cover the bowl and set the dough aside to rest at cool room temperature for 10 to 12 hours. If it's very hot and humid, do your best to find a cooler spot; about 68°F to 70°F is ideal. After its rest, the dough should be very bubbly and will have risen quite a bit.

    Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread – Step 4
  5. Grease your chosen crock with non-stick vegetable oil spray, then sprinkle with cornmeal or semolina, for a nicely crunchy crust. Be sure the crock is well-greased; the last thing you want is for the baked bread to stick.

    Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread – Step 5
  6. Gently stir the dough down, and scoop it into the greased crock. Add the lid and let the dough rest and rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at cool room temperature; again, 68°F to 70°F is ideal. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450°F.

    Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread – Step 6
  7. Check the dough before putting it in the oven; it will have risen about 1/2" and show some large bubbles on the surface, though it’ll be flat across the top, not domed. Shake the crock very gently; the dough should jiggle a bit.

    Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread – Step 7
  8. To bake the bread: Bake the bread for 45 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the top of the loaf is golden brown with deeper brown blisters (from the bubbles). Remove the crock from the oven, and turn the bread out onto a rack to cool.

    Absolutely No-Knead Crusty-Chewy Bread – Step 8
  9. Store completely cool bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • It's best not to slice into this loaf until it's just barely warm; slicing hot bread makes it irretrievably gummy. When fresh, the 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 350°F oven.

  • Want to make and bake the loaf all in one day? You can shorten the initial rest to 8 hours. Mix up the ingredients at 7 a.m., and put the dough into the crock at 3 p.m. Bake at 5 p.m., let cool for an hour, and serve fresh bread at 7 p.m.

  • If the dough rests too long in the crock before baking, it may fall. That’s OK; go ahead and bake it anyway. You’ll still have a delicious loaf, though a bit denser than the ideal.