If you’re interested in baking your own bread, this is a great recipe for beginners.
It’s Jim Lahey’s ‘no-knead’ loaf, which means you simply mix up the dough and let it rest overnight. No stand mixer, no bread machine, no kneading- just 2 minutes of prep time. The bread is baked in a dutch oven and the result is to die for; golden, crusty bread with a soft & chewy interior.
Buckle up people- this is a loooooong tutorial…
1.) Make the dough- Clear away all kitchen clutter and find yourself a nice workspace. In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients and mix with water to combine. It will look something like this…
As it becomes difficult to stir, get in there with your hands and mush everything together. It will be wet and sticky, with a shaggy appearance…
2.) Let it rise- Transfer your dough to a lightly oiled container and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at room temperature (70 degrees) for 14 hours- overnight (Zzzz…Zzzz…)
Your dough is ready when it has puffed up in volume, about 1 1/2- 2 x the original size. You will also see lots of bubbles…
*Note: if your dough isn’t puffed and bubbly after the initial rise, place it in the microwave with the light on (keeping the door ajar). The warmth from the light will give the yeast a boost. My friend Celia gave me this tip and it works like a charm, especially in chilly kitchens!
3.) Shape the dough & let it rise again- Flour a sheet of parchment paper. Remove the dough from its container and place it on top. Fold it in half (like a book) and then fold it in half again. Don’t worry about the direction. You are doing this to release some air inside of the dough. Sorry, no photo for this one- my hands were too sticky!
When you are finished folding, add more flour to the parchment paper (be generous so that it doesn’t stick). Shape the dough into a ball by gently tucking the sides underneath itself. Place onto the paper (seam side down), like so…
Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap…
And let it rest again until puffy. It will start to spread out slightly as it rises- this is ok. The 2nd rise will not take as long as the first, but expect to wait about 30 minutes- 2 hours depending how warm your kitchen is (Zzzz…Zzzz). If you’re impatient like me, now is a good time to use that microwave tip!
4.) Get ready to bake- About 1/2 hour before your dough is ready, preheat your oven to 500 F. Place a dutch oven (with lid) inside for 20 minutes to heat up. *Don’t have a dutch oven? See recipe below for additional bakeware options. When it’s nice and hot, carefully slide your hand underneath the parchment paper and invert the dough into the pot. The seam will now be facing up. Take a look…
Place your bread into the oven, and immediately reduce the temperature from 500 to 400 F. Bake with the lid on for 40 minutes (this will trap the steam inside making the bread moist). Remove the lid, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the crust is a deep, golden brown.
*Note: To be sure that your bread is fully cooked, I highly recommend taking its temperature. Flip the bread on its side, and insert a thermometer into the bottom. It should read between 200-205 F. If not, leave it in a little longer (extra time in bread baking is a good thing). If you’re worried that the top will get too brown, put the lid back on. Better safe than sorry!
5.) Let it cool- When your bread is done, remove it from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. It should feel light and sound hollow when you knock on the bottom. You’ll also notice a wonderful crackling sound as it cools. Let it rest for at least 1 hour. Cutting it too soon might ruin the texture of the bread, resulting in a gummy crumb! Trust me, I speak from experience…
And there you have it- fabulous, no-knead artisan bread!
Are you still with me? Good! I’m almost done…
10 loaves ago (and 1 battle wound later), I had absolutely no clue how to bake bread. With practice, I’ve found that the ‘no-knead’ approach is great for beginners and has given me the confidence to take on more challenging recipes. To me, it’s truly a rewarding experience. Bake 1 loaf in your lifetime and you’ll see what I mean. And with the rising cost of bread, it is a great skill to have. This loaf cost less than $1 to make!
- 3 c. bread flour (not all-purpose) + more for dusting
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons sea salt
- 1½ c. water
- 6 quart dutch oven
- In a large bowl add the flour, yeast, salt and water. Stir until a rough dough forms.
- Transfer to an oiled container and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let dough rise for 14 hours- overnight, at room temperature (about 70 degrees). Your dough is ready when it has puffed up in volume, about 1½ -2x its original size. *See note below.
- Lightly flour a sheet of parchment paper and place the dough on top. Fold dough in half (like a book) and then fold it again (like a book). This helps to build the overall structure of the dough.
- Shape the dough into a ball by tucking the sides underneath itself, and place (seam side down) onto the paper. Cover and rest again until puffy but not fully risen, about 30 minutes- 2 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.
- Preheat your oven to 500 F. Put a (6 quart) dutch oven pot inside for 20 minutes. When ready to bake, remove pot from the oven. Place your hand underneath the parchment paper and invert the dough into the pot. The seam will be facing up.
- Place your bread into the oven, and immediately reduce the temperature from 500 to 400 F.Cover with the lid and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
- To make sure that the bread is completely cooked through, take its temperature. Carefully tip the bread onto its side and insert a thermometer into the bottom. It should read 200-205 F. If not, place it back into the oven until it is ready (extra time in bread baking is a good thing). If you're worried about the top getting too brown, put the lid back on.
- When your bread is ready, transfer to a wire rack to cool. It should feel light and make a hollow sound when you give it a knock underneath. Let it cool for at least 1 hour. Cutting it too soon might ruin the texture resulting in a gummy crumb!