No Knead Country Loaf

By • March 22, 2013 • 20 Comments

490 Save


Author Notes: I’ve always cherished the dear notion of forming an intimate relationship with wild yeast lassoed from thin air with water and flour, but more often than not when faced with the prospect of a multi-day process and feeding schedule, I end up running out to the store instead. While it’s no indignity to pay a baker for your bread, I still prefer being able to conjure sustenance from, seemingly, pennies and dust at home. The ever popular “no knead” method now allows me the satisfaction of more often than not baking my own bread, but it’s low maintenance enough that I can actually, in real reality, integrate it into my weekly routine. If traditional artisan methods are like having a dog, this "no knead" method from Jim Lahey's book "My Bread" is more like having a cat. Just leave it alone and let it do its thing. This recipe is now my reliable go to when I haven’t time for a “project” but want bread. Which is mostly always. Even better you can make it your own by folding in almost anything right at the beginning when mixing the basic ingredients: nuts, fruit, spices, olives, cheese, roasted garlic, or herbs. Make it your own. A ribollita with olive bread is a natural, and pain perdu made with spiced cranberry & walnut bread is heavenly. Note: All purpose flour will work in a pinch here. Beth Kirby | {local milk}

Makes 1 10" round loaf, 1 1/4 pounds

  • 3 cups bread flour (400 grams)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt (8 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast (1 gram)
  • 1 1/3 cup cool (55-65 degrees F) water (300 grams)
  • Wheat bran, cornmeal, or additional flour for dusting
  1. Sit a bowl on a kitchen scale. Measure your flour, salt, and yeast directly into the bowl. If using volumetric measurements, skip the scale. Stir in the water to form a sticky dough using a wooden spoon. You know, so you can get at least a little of that visceral, old world thrill. It should be tacky, and if it isn’t, add a tablespoon or two more water. Cover that bowl with a tea towel, plastic, what have you. And then let it come to life in a dark corner of your kitchen counter over the course of 12-18 hours. It will more than double in size and be dotted with bubbles. [Note: If you don’t have a scale, the volumetric measurements are acceptable albeit less accurate, but don’t pack the flour in. And then get a scale. I’m one of those true believers, a kitchen scale evangelist. More accurate. Fewer dishes. Amen.]
  2. Pull the stringy dough out onto a generously floured surface and make a ball by pulling the edges into the center with lightly floured hands. It's gonna be sticky but resist the temptation to add more flour. Wrap seam side down in a kitchen towel (no terry cloth unless you want fuzzies in your bread) dusted with your choice of dusting flour for an hour or two. When your press your finger in 1/4 inch and it leaves an impression, it's ready. If not let it rest another 15 minutes.
  3. In the last half hour of the second rise, heat your oven to 475° and throw a Dutch oven in there to heat up along with it. When it’s time to bake, dust the bottom of the pot with cornmeal or flour. Invert your bread ball in off the kitchen towel, seam up. Bake it 30 minutes covered and about 10 uncovered or until it’s deep golden. Cool it thoroughly, about an hour. Or don’t and rip into it within ten minutes, burning your finers, like I inevitably do. And there you have it. Yeasty, crusty, golden bread with, I swear, no more than 5 minutes of hands-on time.
Jump to Comments (20)

Comments (20) Questions (4)

Default-small
Default-small
100_0642

7 months ago MrsK

Any thoughts on using part or only whole wheat flour?

Default-small

7 months ago m tynan

Please no more comments to my email.

Open-uri20140216-11362-15l8zkx

7 months ago pcskinner

By the way I followed your directions to the letter. It was the crusty chewy dunk in EVOO or pasta sauce kind of bread I have been looking for. Thank you for your great recipe. Making more this evening as the first loaf won't make it till tomorrow! Very similar to Chabatta bread my fav.

Open-uri20140216-11362-15l8zkx

8 months ago pcskinner

Just popped a loaf out of my oven!!!!!! Ohhhhh fabulous! Couldn't wait until it cooled slathered it with butter .....beautiful!! taste treat

Default-small

9 months ago Nancy

I don't have a dutch oven or pizza stone, can you just put it on a cookie sheet? What else would work?

Default-small

10 months ago Lorrie Burkes

So it goes in the oven with the seam up? Just wanting to be sure :)

Default-small

11 months ago Linda

For the final rise, I put the dough on a Silpat and cover it lightly with plastic film -- no towel fuzzies and easy release.

Default-small

about 1 year ago MillersMom

Anyone try this with whole wheat bread flour? It's the only bread flour my local Whole Foods stocks in bulk, and it's all I have!

Default-small

about 1 year ago Johnny Ringo

I've done this successfully with 100% Whole Wheat flour, and with Rye flour, but it will turn out pretty flat (although still tasty) if you don't add wheat gluten. Hopefully you have a source for that...

Img_6652

about 1 year ago Rachel C.

How much wheat gluten did you use?

Default-small

over 1 year ago Fina62

Can you form these into several smaller boules? By how much would you reduce the cooking time?

Img_0828

over 1 year ago Jennifer Ann

Thank you! I just pulled a loaf out of the oven, and smeared a hot slice with lots of butter. So delicious and easy! This is the FIRST TIME I have ever had success making bread, and I will definitely put it in regular rotation :)

Img_0259

over 1 year ago Courtnay

I made this yesterday and added chopped black olives and chopped lemon peel. It is already gone!

Stringio

over 1 year ago Crish Sequeira

This looks amazing, thank you! However - my oven is way too small to squeeze in a dutch oven :( Is there an alternative approach to baking this?

Dsc00893

over 1 year ago Sandra

if you have a pizza stone or something close, i just throw the whole ball of dough onto the stone and spritz some water (with a spritzer) for that extra crispy crust.

Default-small

over 1 year ago m tynan

Beth--- Only 1/4 tsp of yeast? It just doesn't sound right. i went to your site and saw another lovely loaf that had a more reasonable amount. Advice?

Frying_bacon_makes_me_happy

over 1 year ago Beth Kirby | {local milk}

Yep! It's right. The long fermentation makes up for it. That said, I usually weigh a gram not measure 1/4 tsp. http://www.nytimes.com... b

Default-small

over 1 year ago Johnny Ringo

This appears to be taken directly from Jim Lahey's bread cook book "My Bread", it's a fantastic book and I recommend it to everyone. Here's a link to it on Amazon...http://www.amazon.com/My...

Default-small

over 1 year ago Johnny Ringo

I see now (sorry) that you mentioned the book in the description...still glad I posted a comment / link so EVERYONE can go buy this book. It really is one of my favorite cook books.

Frying_bacon_makes_me_happy

over 1 year ago Beth Kirby | {local milk}

Thank you for the link & I'll add one in the description if I can. The lack was an over sight...also a favorite of mine!