No-Knead Bread

I’ve been thinking about making this again: No-knead bread, created by Jim Lahey of New York City’s Sullivan Street Bakery, and posted by Mark Bittman in the New York Times about 10 years ago. It was very popular at the time:

The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work, New York Times, 8 November 2006

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

I’ve had better success with a higher oven temperature, something around 500. The hardest part was inverting and flopping that sloshy, dusty mess into a 500-degree pot. I noted in the comments that some people used parchment paper and just lowered it into the pot. Check. They also had success using half whole wheat and half white flour. Check.

Here are some New York Times’ related recipes:
Original No-Knead Bread
Speedy No-Knead Bread
Fast No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread

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