If you thought you’d never be able to make an artisan loaf of no knead bread at home with a crisp crust, soft center with big air pockets, and an amazing flavor, I’ve got good news – yes you can and it’s easier than you could imagine. In this recipe, we spend five minutes mixing the dough the day before baking and allow for a slow room temperature rise overnight. No kneading required! The next day, just form the loaf right in the Dutch oven you’re going to bake in, let it rise again, fold it over a few times, then into the oven it goes. An hour later you have a delicious loaf of no knead bread. If you aren’t an olive fan, just leave them out and you’ll be a happy camper.
This recipe is updated from my earlier endeavors, and I think you’ll be happy with the result. The baking technique is much easier and does away with the old method of baking the no knead bread in a Dutch oven that has been preheated to nearly 500 degrees – YIKES. Now the dough rises in the Dutch oven and when it’s ready to bake, just gets popped into a cold oven. Yes, you heard that right – unbelievable but true. What could be easier? The water in the dough has also been reduced to give a much better texture to your finished loaf. Happy baking everyone!!
Here’s how this all goes…. this no knead bread just requires measuring and stirring the ingredients together, giving it a drizzle of olive oil and letting it have a nice, slow rise for between 12-18 hours. I will admit to letting time get away from me a time or two and I’ve let this first rise go for 24 hours – no problem.
I’d made my original recipe No Knead Artisan Bread countless times before and loved it, however…. there were a couple of things that weren’t so lovable. The recipe required heating a Dutch oven to 475 degrees, taking it out of the oven and adding the dough to that screaming hot pot and carefully putting it back into the oven to bake. This was a whole lot on the scary side, especially for somebody as clumsy as I am. There had to be a better way!! I stumbled upon an article a few months ago that suggested you could not only skip preheating the Dutch oven, but you could also raise the dough in there, toss the thing into a COLD oven, and bake. I couldn’t believe it.
Here’s the new version: Line a 6 quart Dutch oven with parchment paper. Then gently scoop your risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over a few times before forming it into a ball. This folding business strengthens the gluten and gives your no knead loaf a better texture and nice big air pockets that look super cool. Let it rise in the Dutch oven for about 2 hours (although, once again I’ve let this part go for about 2 1/2 hours with zero problems), then cover the Dutch oven and pop it into a cold oven. Yes – you heard that right – a COLD oven. Crank up the heat to 425 for 30 minutes, remove the cover for an additional 20 minutes or so, and….
Look what you end up with!!
I also felt the need to fool around with the ratio of flour to water (meaning hydration ratio if you want to get all fancy about it) and tried reducing the amount of liquid in the dough for a better texture. My old recipe of No Knead Artisan Bread had always seemed a little too wet and sticky, so it sounded like a good idea to tackle that issue also. It took five loaves to get the hydration just right, but I think that was more due to me lacking prowess in the math and conversion of cups to grams than anything else. So here you have it. This is not to say that I did not eat the ‘failures’, because I did.
Check it out….nice big air pockets, a crust that is crispy and chewy and a with a soft, flavorful inside with plenty of flavor.
This bread is delicious all by itself, but who are we kidding here?? I, for one, love it drizzled (OK, drenched) with extra virgin olive oil.
And don’t get me started on the grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches.
I hope you get a chance to try this recipe. If you do, I’d love to hear how the recipe worked out for you. In fact, I’d love to hear from you with any comments, questions, or suggestions you might have. Just send me an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org I promise to answer each and every one.
Thanks so much for spending time with me and reading this today. Please stay safe and find joy under any rock you can. We are almost there!!!
- NOTE: If at all possible, it’s really important to weigh your ingredients rather than just measure. It all has to do with making sure the amount of flour to water is correct to ensure a good, light loaf of bread)
- 427 grams Bread flour (3 and ⅜ cups)
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 300 grams water (about 1-1/3 cups)
- About 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 200 grams roughly chopped olives (1 ½ cups) (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix. At this point I like to sprinkle a little olive oil on the bottom of the bowl and over the top of the dough to prevent it from drying out. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for a minimum of 12 hours and up to 18 hours. NOTE: Time has gotten away from me a time or two and I’ve let this first rise go for 24 hours – no problem.
- First of all, get your 6-quart Dutch oven ready. All this involves is tearing off a sheet of parchment paper big enough to be able to place into the bottom of the Dutch oven, pressing it against the bottom and sides. There should be enough parchment paper to come up the sides so you can grab them to pull the bread out when its finished baking.
- We are now going to embark on a technique that is known as ‘folding the dough’. This simple step allows for gluten development and will result in better texture and bigger air pockets in your finished loaf. This is all there is to it: Scoop dough gently onto a lightly floured cutting board. With lightly wet fingertips, grab a portion of the dough and stretch it upward and toward the middle. Give the dough a one-quarter turn and repeat: stretch the dough upward and fold it over toward the center, until you’ve accomplished this little maneuver four times.
- Turn the dough over, seam side down and try to form into a round shape as well as you can. This isn’t a beauty contest, so don’t fret over it if the dough is not very cooperative.
- Place the dough on the parchment paper in the middle of the Dutch oven.
- Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and lightly cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Allow to rise in a warm spot for between 1-2 hours. (Notes: I always let the dough rise for 2 hours and have even let it go for nearly 2 ½ hours with no problem. Here’s a hint: The inside of a Dutch oven can be really cold, so to jump start the rising process I run some hot water in the bottom of the sink, then lower the Dutch oven with dough inside down into the water with water coming up about halfway to the top of the Dutch oven. That makes for a nice, warm and toasty rising spot for your dough).
- After 2 hours, you’re ready to bake! Yippee!!! All you have to do is remove the plastic wrap/towel from the bread and put the lid on the Dutch oven. Place the Dutch oven in the oven, turn the oven on and set the temperature to 425 degrees. Set the timer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the lid from the Dutch oven and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 210 degrees.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes in the Dutch oven, then pull out your beautiful loaf of bread, using the sides of the parchment paper for handles.
- Place on a cooling rack, remove the parchment paper, and be patient for about 2 hours, or until the bread is completely cooled.
- I don’t need to tell you what you get to do next!! Enjoy!!