I started a loaf of no-knead bread last night before I went to bed. I knew I could get up this morning, slap it around a bit, put the pot in the oven to preheat and we’d have wonderful crusty bread for breakfast. I wasn’t disappointed. This bread is not for the crowd that likes their bread pure white with the texture of Vaseline. If that sort of bread is what you love, keep on clicking. This is rustic bread with flavor that has developed slowly all night long.
Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York has made many of us re-think our approach to bread. I’m not sure about you but I grew up watching my grandmothers mix and knead and rise and punch and rise and then bake. I assumed that was how bread has been made for centuries. If you thought the same thing, then we’re both wrong.
You’ll find a recipe for no-knead bread in cookbooks dating back to 1897. It IS a much slower way to make bread and it does have a nice crust on it that many people aren’t used to. I love dipping this bread in good olive oil with a bit of really good balsamic vinegar and then a bit of dukkah. Food of the gods, I promise.
The bread has just a few ingredients and you mix the flour, salt, yeast and water in a bowl and then put the wettish dough into a bowl that’s been wiped with olive oil. Leave it in the bowl for 12 to 18 hours. Pour out the bread dough onto a floured surface and rest for 15 minutes. Then pull the edges to the center and turn upside down on a heavily floured towel.
Let rise for an hour to hour and a half. Flip the bread into a cast iron pot that’s been preheated in a 450°F 200°C oven and now the bottom is the top. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes covered and another 15 to 20 minutes uncovered. Simple, eh?