October 22, 2012

The Best No-Knead, No-Fuss Artisan Bread


I've discovered that there's one single, proven way to know, without question, that You Have Arrived:

Bake your own bread.

You will know You Have Arrived when you realize you are no longer a slave to the $5 bakery boule.

You will know You Have Arrived when the intoxicating, yeasty aroma that can only belong to this ancient bedrock of life flows from your. very. own. kitchen. (YES, yours!)

You will know You Have Arrived when your family and friends dive wide-eyed into it like they've never seen real homemade bread in all their life.

The best part is, all this can be achieved with virtually no - and by that I mean nada - work. (This is my requirement for most recipes these days - while I do have big dreams of morphing into Mrs. Cleaver, the reality of my life says that cooking needs be fast and painless!)

In fact, the beauty of The Best No-Knead, No-Fuss Artisan Bread is that you don't even have to get your hands messy. (All our ancestors are rolling in their graves right now, aren't they?! I know, I know, it feels terribly close to cheating. But it's not. I promise.)

All you need to create this soft, airy bread in your very own home...


 ...is a dutch oven (or other large, heavy pot with an oven-safe lid).

Some flour and yeast helps, too. :)

Here's the recipe!

The Best No-Knead, No-Fuss Artisan Bread
  • 3 cups flour (can use AP, bread flour, or up to 50% whole wheat)
  • 1/4 tsp dry active or instant yeast
  • 1.5 tsp - 1 Tbsp salt (this really depends on your preferences...I find that I like just under a tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees is perfect)
1. In large bowl stir together flour, yeast and water until thoroughly combined. Dough will be wet and shaggy. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit somewhere at warm room temperature for anywhere between 12 to 20 hours (typically the longer the better - I just mix it up the evening before and then bake in the afternoon).

2. When you're ready to bake, place your dutch oven (lid on) in your cold oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Once the oven reaches 450, I wait at least another 15 min or so to make sure the pot is screaming hot.

3. Remove the lid carefully and dump/scrape your dough (which should be very bubbly and sticky) into the pot. It won't have any shape, in fact it will look like a big, unappetizing blob...but it's going to be fine. Simply place the lid quickly back on the pot and get it back in the oven. The magic is about to begin.

4. Bake, lid on, for 20 minutes. Now remove the lid and bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes more. Your bread should be a gorgeous brown. Carefully remove from the pot and place on a rack to cool for at least an hour before eating (warning: this is the hardest part of the entire process).

5. Serve, savor, and know that, why yes, you have indeed arrived!


Note: There are about one-thousand-and-one variations of this recipe, which is modeled after the famous NY Times/Mark Bittman/Jim Lahey method. After experimenting many times, this is the version that consistently gives me fabulous results - great flavor, open and airy crumb and that crackly crust - while also requiring very minimal effort. I hope you enjoy it just as much as we do at my home! 

3 comments:

  1. I am going to try this. I've tried many variations of this recipe and had awful results each time. Hoping this one works! :-)

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    Replies
    1. Oh dear! I hope it does work for you. My own experience says that it takes several tries before things start working right. My first loaf was just so-so..my second was awful (it scorched)...my third was decent...etc. I found that perhaps the most important factors were the freshness of the flour and yeast. :)

      Let me know how this next loaf turns out for you!

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  2. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures' Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

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