NYT No Knead Bread: The world may be covered in snow outside, but I’ve been living in a flour-dusted flat for more than a week, and I think you’ll be glad I did. What a blast it’s been creating this incredibly simple and wildly popular No Knead Bread.
The dish first appeared in Mark Bittman’s The Minimalist column in the New York Times in 2006. I tore the recipe from that publication and kept it for years in my office. I would occasionally glance at it and think to myself, “I should give it a try,” but I never did. It got lost in the shuffle when I moved last year, but I never forgot about it.
Baking bread in the early months of the year has been a long-standing habit of mine. It’s difficult to describe why, but it’s somewhere in my brain’s “monarch butterfly migration” section. Every January and February, I find myself reaching for yeast without thinking or planning. There’s no way to describe it; it just appears to happen.
NYT No Knead Bread Popular the world
I’ve spent a lot of time improving and experimenting with various methods and recipes over the years. Making a poolish first, which produces a beautiful, chewy bread with a crispy crust, has always been my favourite method. My only criticism is that it is a lengthy job that demands a lot of attention. It’s a terrific idea for a snowy weekend like this one, but it’s difficult to maintain as a regular routine for practical reasons. Last week, for some reason, the latent memory of this dish resurfaced, and I went on a search for it. Fortunately, it was not difficult to locate.
The only resemblance between the two processes is that no kneading recipe requires as many hours on the clock, but it’s almost humorous how little hands-on time is required. All you have to do to create this bread is measure out the ingredients, mix them with a SPOON, let it rest for 12-24 hours, shape it, and bake it! The outcome is a bread that is so beautiful and delicious that I caught myself sniggering while looking through the window of an artisanal bread bakery yesterday after I stopped laughing in joy. “Pfft!” I exclaimed, “I can handle that!” I’m sure it’s my fault, but it’s difficult not to get cocky!
This recipe is the creation of Sullivan Street Bakery’s Jim Lahey, who created it as a simple bread baking technique that anyone could master. The science is what gives this beauty its charm. The recipe employs very little yeast and has a high water content. Another significant difference is the lengthy and slow proofing process. The moisture of the dough, combined with the long rising time, appears to allow the gluten molecules to arrange themselves into long strands, resulting in elasticity, obviating the need for arduous kneading. By supplying steam from its own moisture throughout the baking process, the high moisture level also forms a gorgeous crackly crust.
The other distinction is that the bread is baked in a hot enamel pot inside the oven, which allows steam to circulate and form that crunchy crust. This stage is handled at professional bakeries with built-in steam jets, or some people have been known to sprinkle the bread with water during the baking process (raising hand), which is a little dangerous as the steam kicks back in your face and a lot of heat escapes the oven and into the kitchen. I’ve never been a big admirer of it.
I used a Le Creuset 5 Quart oval Dutch Oven, similar to this one, which I highly suggest. When dropping the dough into the pot, the oval form allows you to get your hands into the pot on the long ends of the oval. Others have mentioned using cast iron pans and even glass casseroles, which seem to work perfectly. If you have a round pot and are nervous about slipping the dough into the boiling water, you can use parchment paper as a handle when dropping the dough into the pot (as I have demonstrated in the photo below). This step can help you relax and move the dough more easily.
With two major exceptions, almost everything stays the same. First and foremost, when I roll out the dough, I do not use cornmeal on my board. I discovered that a light dusting of flour is sufficient. I’ve been making so much bread lately that I’ve invested in a bread-making pastry cloth. Because the flour has saturated the cloth, it will never stick. It is not necessary to wash it. When I’m not using it, I simply give it a good shake in the sink and keep it in a plastic bag.
The second change is that, as I previously indicated, I’ve started cutting cuts in the top of my bread, which helps it rise and looks great. Without the slices, I find that the bread gets a lot of cracks, which gives it a lovely rustic aesthetic that you might like. The slashes help with the “baking bump,” or rise during baking, which results in a rounder loaf. I found my dough to be a little too dense and moist without the lift. If you don’t want to create the cuts, a longer baking time will help to reduce some of the moisture (another 10-15 mins).
This week, I produced a lot of loaves to test and recheck my adjustments. After preparing only two plain loaves, I decided to add a few extra ingredients just for fun. A hefty handful of chopped black olives and rosemary adorned the bread top. Dried cranberries and pepitas were thrown into the bread below. Both worked out well, allowing us a plethora of different possibilities. I encourage you to try it out on your own. During the final strokes of mixing the dough, I just added the extras. It’s as simple as that.
I sincerely hope you will give this dish a try. If you haven’t already converted
I’m quite curious to see what you’ve done with this recipe. Please leave a remark and a link to your bread, as well as any thoughts you may have. I’m excited to hear and see what you’ve accomplished.
No-Knead Bread from the New York Times | NYT No Knead Bread
This recipe has been shared by many people, and there are numerous variants. I’ve made a lot of loaves this week, so I’m quite sure I know what I’m doing. Others have used gluten-free flours, which may work to some extent, but you won’t get the same chewiness or rise without the gluten. The original recipe can be found HERE.
3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour
.25 t yeast (instant)
1.5 teaspoons of salt
1.5 cup of water (warm or cold is fine)
Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large mixing basin. To combine, give it a brief stir.
Pour in the water and whisk with a spoon until thoroughly combined and all of the flour has been included. The dough will be shaggy and rough, almost like scone dough, and sticky. This process should take no more than one minute.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it out on the counter for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours before baking. I baked mine for around 14 hours. There’s no requirement for a “warm” location; room temperature would suffice. However, the faster the rise, the warmer your kitchen is.
When the surface is level and bubbling, the dough is ready | NYT No Knead Bread
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, with the enamel pot inside and the lid closed.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface while the oven heats up. The dough is going to be quite sticky and stringy. Fold the dough a few times over upon itself with a well-floured hand, then roll it into a ball. Other shapes, such as a longer loaf (rolls anyone?) work nicely as well.
It should only take a minute or two to shape the dough. There’s no need to knead the dough.
If using parchment, dust it first and then place the dough on top. Otherwise, let the dough rest for another 30 minutes on a well-floured surface. Wrap the plastic wrap around the dish.
Note that the oven will heat up long before the dough has risen, but you want the enamel pan to be extremely hot, so the extra time is ideal.
Make incisions about.75′′ deep into the top of the bread using a sharp or serrated knife about 20 minutes after you’ve shaped the dough. Then set aside for the remaining 10 minutes to rest.
When ready, open the oven and use a cloth or potholder to remove the pot’s lid. Lift the parchment paper out of the way, or carefully lift the dough into the saucepan with well-floured hands. The pan does not need to be greased. It is unquestionably not going to stay.
Replace the pan lid with the potholder and return the pot to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the bread is browned and gorgeous.
When the bread is done, I just remove it from the saucepan with a cloth and lay it on a wire rack to cool | NYT No Knead Bread
Because the pot is so heavy and hot, I just leave it in the oven and turn it off to let it cool. You can also carefully take the pot from the oven and set it aside to cool. Warning: After you’ve withdrawn the lid from the oven, it will hold heat for a long time, so use caution while handling it until you’re sure it’s completely cool.
It’s tempting to cut into the loaf as soon as it comes out of the oven, but it’s best to wait a few minutes. During that time, you can sit back and admire your job while listening to the crackling sounds of the crust.
Baking bread is a soul-satisfying experience, and I hope you can take the time to really appreciate it.