No-Knead Artisan Bread for Busy People
So…I like to bake bread. And kneading dough by hand is okay. But with this bread, there is no need to knead! Ha. Lame. Anyway, with this,you make the dough, pull off enough for the day’s loaf, and stick the rest in a container in the fridge.
Yields about 4 one-pound loaves
3 cups lukewarm water (about 100°F)
1 ½ Tbls yeast
1 Tbls kosher salt
6 ½ cups unsifted unbleached all-purpose white flour
Additional flour for shaping loaves
Also helpful to have: pizza/baking stone, cookie pan with 1-inch rim for steam-making, pizza peel for transferring bread in and out of the oven
- Combine the water, yeast, and salt in a 5-quart bowl or plastic food container with a lid. Stir to mix. Add all of the flour at once and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough is wet and sticky with no dry patches. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, but do not seal airtight. Let rise for about 2 hours at room temperature. If you aren’t using it immediately, refrigerate the dough, covered, for up to 2 weeks.
- To make a loaf, lightly sprinkle some flour onto the dough’s surface. Scoop up a handful the size of a grapefruit, and cut or tear it away from the remainder. Rub the dough with a layer of flour while gently stretching the top around to tuck the sides into the bottom to form a round, smooth loaf (This is the trickiest part, because your hands will get all gunky if they aren’t covered in flour). Put the loaf on a pizza peel or cutting board dusted with cornmeal to prevent sticking. Let it rise, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes or as long as 90 minutes. The loaf will plump but not change radically in size.
- About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a broiler tray or other metal pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Put the baking stone or cast iron skillet on the middle rack (I use my pizza stone).
- Dust the loaf liberally with flour (You could sprinkle herbs on top here if you wanted). Slash the top with a cross or three lines with a sharp knife and slide it onto the preheated baking surface (VERY tricky if it was not sitting on enough cornflour). Carefully pour about 1 cup of hot water into the pan underneath and close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the crust is browned and the loaf feels light and hollow. Cool to room temperature and enjoy!
Just a note: I usually make my dough into three loaves. The longer the dough sits in the fridge, the more it will taste like sourdough. But I wouldn’t wait more than five days to use up the last of the dough. Probably not healthy.