I’m a little behind on the no-knead bread trend. But I was also late on wearing boot cut jeans in the 90’s and things worked out all right. Mark Bittman (New York Times) first published his article and video on the no-knead phenomenon in November 2008. Bittman visits Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan and the two made flawless bakery bread with essentially no effort. After hearing about this supernatural bread, I quickly found the recipe/video and literally ran out to the store to get some yeast. I was set.
Bittman and Lahey talk about how a four-year-old can make this bread. They are not kidding. It is so simple and so basic that you almost feel guilty by the deliciousness of the final product. But you didn’t cheat. It’s just a little kitchen magic. And a four-year-old could make this, but I urge some supervision with the 500-degree oven portion of the experiment.
All you need is a Dutch oven, flour, water, salt, yeast, cornmeal, and a hot-as-heck oven. One of my favorite steps of the typical bread making is kneading, but when you have results like crusty, chewy, purely scrumptious bread, who needs to knead? Don’t be surprised if next time you come to my house, I’m serving this bread. This recipe (and hopefully creative variations) is soon to become a Shields staple, especially when I’m at home on maternity leave—making the dough.
No Knead Bread
adapted from New York Times
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups ++ water
cornmeal for dusting
Mix flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add water and mix with hand (dough should be sticky and gooey; more water might be necessary). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. Preheat oven with an empty Dutch oven inside-500 F. Meanwhile remove dough from bowl and make two folds, so that one side is smooth and one side has visible fold marks. Dust with cornmeal. Remove Dutch oven and place dough inside, fold side up. Cook for 30 minutes, covered and then another 15-20 uncovered or until golden. Cool.
*If you have a traditional phenolic knob on your dutch oven, you will want to remove it (the knob cannot withstand the high heat). You can replace it with a stainless knob. Like this one.