First of all, no panicking! I know, making bread from scratch can be scary and intimidating, or just too much work. But here’s a secret: it’s really not. In fact, it’s so easy, you’ll be wondering why you never did it before. Plus, how cool are you gonna look next time you have a brunch party and you pull out the homemade stuff? Celina Dean, guest-blogger extraordinaire, has shared with us her easiest, fail-safe-est bread recipe, and I guarantee you: your bread-lovin’ life will never be the same again. Here’s to bread! And to pilates, which lets me eat more bread!
No Knead Bread
by Celina Dean
Adapted from Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery via Mark Bittman at the New York Times, and Deb at Smitten Kitchen
This recipe has been blogged about, talked about, emailed and shared just a ton. And I’m sharing it with you because it’s truly worth it. YOU’RE worth it. Yes you. No… you.
This recipe allows you to make kick-ass bread in your own oven with SO little effort. You can sabotage this recipe to infinity and beyond- trust me, I keep screwing things up and it’s damn near indestructible. How, you ask, has perfect me screwed this recipe up? Here goes- I’ve made it with white whole wheat flour instead, let it rise for only ten hours, let it rise for 26 hours, baked it in a Teflon pot, let it rise on terry towel, gah… point being, it somehow always turns out and so there’s just no such thing as “screwing up”. Now be warned, there’s a step or two where you’re gonna look at your “dough” and wonder how on earth will it make a loaf, let alone be edible. Friends, this recipe is not only edible, it’s nearly the best loaf of bread you can bake out of a home kitchen, and compares to anything that your adorable local bakery will sell you for upwards of $4 a loaf.
Embrace carbs, making tiny messes and fear of failure. Come on guys! Let’s bake some bread to enjoy with those Myer Lemon preserves your friend brought over or the fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil that will crown it to make perfect simple bruschetta or the midnight grilled cheese you’re gonna need to help you power through Season 2 of Weeds on Netflix while your husband is still away in Toronto (damn him). You need this recipe for a million reasons. Mostly though, just for bragging rights. I mean, for the taste.
3 cups All Purpose or Bread Flour, more for dusting
¼ tsp Instant or Rapid Rise Yeast (guys… yeast. There seem to be a million kinds. Go here ( LINK) for a thorough explanation of yeast and Deb’s directions)
1 5/8 cup water (I just use a little less than two cups and it works like a charm)
1 1/4 tsp salt
What to do:
1) In a large bowl, measure the ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined into a shaggy, messy lump. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-18 hours… the longer the better (I like to let it sit in my turned-off oven, with just the light turned on- it’s warm and cozy in there).
2) Lay a piece of parchment on your counter, sprinkle it with flour. Pour/scoop the dough (which at this point will have risen and have tiny bubbles dotting the surface) onto the parchment, sprinkle with more flour and fold it onto itself a couple of times; let rest for 15 minutes.
3) Using enough flour to keep it from sticking to your hands and the parchment (guys- this part kinda stinks… it’s going to be as sticky as can be and will remain so, even when you get it into your round loaf shape) just keep adding enough flour so that you can work with the dough to get that god forsaken glue ball off of your hands and back onto the floured parchment paper.
4) Dust with more flour, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature another 90 min to 2 hours- the dough should double in size and spring back when you give it a little poke.
5) A half hour before baking, preheat oven to 450°F – put the pot you’ll be baking the bread in (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex, ceramic- something with a lid) on the middle rack to heat along with the oven. Plop dough into warmed pot (remove this from the oven carefully- it’s hotter than a mofo). This is also going to be messy- don’t worry. Scrape it off that parchment as best you can, keeping something of a round loaf shape if you can manage. If there’s dough shrapnel left behind (and there will be- it’s basically glue), just scrape it and add it to your loaf. OR! Plop the whole damn thing, paper and all into the pot. You heard me! Why don’t I do that always? Because the dough can kinda cook in an around the paper leaving creased bread once you peel it off. But honestly, it’s way easier- and who cares if there are creases in your bread bottom except for me (but I’m prrrrrrretty judgey).
6) Bake covered with a lid for 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake 15-30 minutes longer until a golden brown.
7) Remove and let cool completely before slicing and serving. Ha! Just try, I dare you. My husband gets angry at this step. Why oh why would I bake fresh bread and not cut into it immediately? Because it’s nearly impossible to cut when it’s so fresh and soft… just give it some time and guys I promise, it’s worth the wait.
~Wanna be a real jerk-wad? Make your own butter to go with this bread. If you have a food processor collecting dust on your counter, it’s just the easiest thing. Pour whipping cream (say 500 ml) into it with the steal blade attachment, turn it on and let it go. You’ll get to whipped cream- keep on going! This is when it gets sciencey and fun- the buttermilk is going to separate from the solid butter, the color will turn into a lovely light yellow, and that’s how you know you’re done! Scoop it out of the container and squeeze it between paper towels to get as much moisture out as you can. Season with salt as you like, or have fun and flavor it with fresh herbs, garlic, fruit preserves, whatever! It’s delicious. Try a sip of that leftover buttermilk and I dare you to not to drink it all, or use it to replace some water during your next no-knead bread session.