Making bread is one of the most basic and most useful cooking skills to have. You don’t need special skills or special equipment, but you do need a bit of patience and good timing. Learning to make a really hearty basic loaf of bread will be an awesome addition to your kitchen arsenal and I promise you this recipe will make dinners seem as if you’ve been making bread your entire life!
This bread recipe is phenomenal. You don’t need a stand mixer, and you don’t need to knead it! Hooray! You can whip this dough batter up in a few minutes. The trick is in letting it rise on its own for a longer period of time. For baking that day, I leave it for a good 4-6 hours, depending on what else I have on that day. But if you really wanted to accentuate the flavours and give it a sourdough like taste, then you can leave it for 24 hours outside, and an additional 48 hours in the fridge before baking.
It is also extremely versatile. If you want to add sliced jalapenos or make it into a pull apart type loaf with bacon and cheese, this recipe delivers. The crust is golden and crispy, and the entire loaf has a chewy, artisan consistency. Letting the gluten develop a little longer really does help form that beautiful texture.
It’s a magnificent recipe, and you may never buy bread again after trying this!
Here’s why it’s so easy:
- No knead, no stand mixer
- 3 minutes of active effort – you won’t even get your hands dirty
- Dutch oven for baking (cast iron pot) ideal but not necessary
- Incredibly forgiving dough, with rise times ranging from a minimum of 2 hours to 3 days (yes, really, you choose what works for you)
- Easy but yet no compromise on quality or taste of bread
What you need to make this amazing bread!
- Bread flour. I buy bulk bread flour from a local company called Basic Ingredients. Their bread flour is incredibly high quality and makes fantastic bread, whether you use a no knead or regular method.
- Yeast. I always have Active Dry yeast in the the pantry but you can use an Instant or Raid Rise Yeast. The only difference is the active dry yeast will need 5-10 minutes to bloom prior to mixing this together, so keep that in mind.
- A dutch oven with a lid. Some people may not have ventured into using cast iron pots and pans yet, so if you don’t have one its ok. You can use another oven safe dish, but I would say it would be best to use one bigger than your expected dough/loaf, and cover it for the first 30 minute bake with some foil. I personally have a dutch oven and always it for this recipe so have never attempted without it, but if you make a substitution in the baking vessel as 1:1 as best you can, you should still get the same results.
- Optional: Stand mixer. I use my stand mixer for everything, so its a bit of a no brainer. But the reason this recipe works is that you don’t need to have one to make this dough. Use the back end of a wooden spoon to help you do the first active mix. If you do decide to use your stand mixer, use your dough hook on low for 3 minutes for the same result.
Why this bread recipe is a winner – and some tips to help you in your bake off
- Loose, sticky dough – the creation of a loose sticky dough allows for better gas development and rise. Firmer dough will tend to be a denser rise.
- No kneading – this method produces a wet, batter like dough. It doesn’t need to be kneaded however, pulls together fantastically when you are getting it ready to bake as if you spent the time kneading it. It truly does live up to its name.
- Super forgiving dough – if you do happen to make an error, add a bit too much flour or water, then you can fix it by adding more of the water of flour back, incrementally of course. It is a no fuss bread recipe. If you decide you want to make the batter before an event, you can do so up to 3 days ahead. The benefit is a yeastier, sourdough tasting dough that will make your guests think they’re eating an old Italian starter that has trekked across the globe from a small Italian village and is 100 years old! I am not even kidding!
- Preheated dutch oven – using a preheated dutch oven will create a steamy environment to give the bread a rise boost before the crust sets (which stops the bread from rising). Professional bakeries are equipped with steam ovens – the cast iron pot is the home method to replicate this! The alternate method if you don’t have a cast iron pot is to add an oven safe dish at the bottom of your oven with water at the time of baking to create the same environment.
- Big holes in the crumb – loose dough from less flour, high oven temperatures and the preheated pot allows the yeast to give the bread a great rise boost, creating big air pockets. Also the use of bread flour rather than normal flour helps. It really does give the appearance and taste of an artisan bread!
- Bake immediately if it’s a bread emergency. You can pull this together in as little as 2.5 hours from start to baking end.
- Or make it sourdoughy – by leaving it for 12+ hours up to 72.
- Why refrigerating the dough creates a better tasting bread – because the fridge slows down the fermentation of the yeast which allows the enzymes in the yeast to do their work, transforming starch into sugar which creates a more flavourful bread. So we let the dough rise first, then refrigerate it.
No-knead country breadCourse: SidesCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Easy
This no-knead recipe is brilliant for new bakers or people intimidated by sourdough but really want to get into baking. Once you’ve practiced with this no-knead recipe, your confidence will soar and you will be baking bread all the time!
450g bread flour
2 tsp of yeast. if using active dry yeast, add 1 tsp of sugar to the yeast and water mix before making the bread to allow it time to bloom. 5-10 mins extra is all that’s needed for this step.
2 tsp Himalayan, sea or kosher salt.
375ml of warm tap water.
- If using active dry yeast: to your warm water, add yeast and sugar and mix. Leave to bloom for 5-10 minutes or until mix has formed a fluffy, yeasty beer like top.
- Otherwise: Mix flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add water, then use the handle of a wooden spoon to mix until all the flour is incorporated. The dough will be wet and sloppy – not kneadable, but not runny like cake batter.
- Cover with cling wrap or plate, and leave it on counter for 1.5-2 hours until it doubles in volume. It should be wobbly like jelly and the top gassy and bubbly. If it hasn’t reached this, leave it for another hour.
- Preheat oven – Put the dutch oven into the oven with the lid on. Preheat to 230°C for 30 minutes prior to baking.
- Shape dough – Sprinkle work surface with 1 tbsp flour, and scrape the dough out of the bowl. I usually shape mine on a piece of baking paper so the dough is easier to drop in and out of the hot dutch oven.
- Using a dough scraper or your hands, start shaping the dough by pulling the edges from underneath and into the centre. You need to pull out and over and in (I’ll make a video of this next time). If you’re adding jalapenos or bacon and cheese, this is the point where you’d add these items.
- Add a couple of slits or slices across the top of the dough. As it cooks in the dutch oven it will come up in the middle, so give it somewhere to release steam.
- Remove the hot dutch oven from your oven, using heat mittens. With the paper still underneath, slide the dough ball into the pot and place the lid back on. Put the entire pot back into the oven for baking!
- Bake 30 minutes covered, then 15 minutes uncovered or until deep golden and crispy.
- Cool on rack to room temperature for best results and for slicing. The bread can be eaten much sooner out of the oven, but it will have a much better slicing ability if left to cool a little longer.
- If you are concerned about your dough sticking to the plastic wrap, spray a little oil to make it easier to remove
- If you want it more sour, leave it to bulk rise a little longer. It is ok to even leave it overnight. I’ve had great success leaving it overnight.