Monday, October 6, 2008

8 hour bread. (a no-knead recipe.)


Well, I went and did it again. When I first learned about no-knead bread, I went crazy, baking loaf after loaf. Then after I gained like 5 pounds I realized I should take it easy, so I forced myself to ease off. I couldn't help it, it's the easiest recipe in the world for some of the best bread I've ever tasted! But then, my husband came home from the grocery store clutching a small jar of Nutella. OH SWEET LORD JESUS, THANK YOU FOR NUTELLA. Can I admit something embarrassing? I think the first time I ever tried Nutella was last year sometime. I knew it existed but I never bothered to try it. WHAT WAS I THINKING? But this post is about bread, right? Anyway, my husband brought home some Nutella so we could make some frozen yogurt and I couldn't stop thinking about fresh bread smeared with a huge dollop of Nutella. It haunted me for hours and then, at around 11 o'clock, I had a stroke of genius. DUH! JUST START A LOAF OF NO-KNEAD! Except, in my experience- my best loaves of no-knead bread have usually taken around 18-20 hours from start to finish, and I had to work the next day. Then I remembered reading an article recently about speeding up the process by- get this, it's CRAZY- using more yeast. Okay, that's not crazy. It's kind of a no-brainer, in fact, the original no-knead recipe that I started with even suggests using more yeast to speed up the process.


So, I set about making an "experimental" loaf of no-knead bread. I halved the original recipe, and chose an arbitrary amount of yeast, basically guessing the amount that would make it rise in the amount of time I wanted it to. I got lucky, and my loaf was beautiful.



Wait! Before bother to make this, make sure you have a deep casserole dish with a lid, or a dutch oven, or a big oven-safe stainless steel stockpot (which is what I use) or something you can COVER and put in the oven.

1 1/2 cups all purpose (or bread) flour
2 1/4 tsp. (or more, or less!) active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water
a sprinkle of cornmeal

Whisk dry ingredients to combine, then stir in water. Dough should be shaggy and a little wet. Add a few more drops of water if necessary. Place in a large oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rest for 8-10 hours. (While you're asleep!)
When you wake up, dough should be dotted with tiny bubbles. Turn out onto a floured surface and try to form it into a ball. You'll need a fair amount of flour, it's sticky. Let rest for 15 minutes uncovered, then cover with a non-terrycloth towel and let rise for 2 more hours. (Moms- a cotton receiving blanket works great.) Half an hour before loaf needs to go in the oven, place your pot inside and preheat to 450ยบ. When preheated, remove pot from the oven, dust the bottom with some cornmeal, and place your loaf inside. Bake for about 25 minutes covered, then another 20 or so uncovered. Cool before slicing (or it will deflate). Makes one small (about 6" in diameter) loaf.


Okay, so it took a teeny bit longer than 8 hours. But you can experiment with the amount of yeast and cut down your rising time dramatically. I read a recipe that was double the ingredients as mine, that used a whole package of yeast, and apparently 4 hours was the trick. Luckily, I've developed enough patience to deal with it. By the time it was ready, my husband was practically begging me to slice it up and slather on some Nutella.


Learning how to bake no-knead bread was probably the biggest culinary revelation I've ever had. Seriously, I'm a big bread lover, and this is my FAVORITE bread. This afternoon I had a beautiful sandwich with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. I gave my son buttered slices of toast for breakfast. I could bake this bread every day of my life, it's so simple and so tasty.

A quick note, I hear a lot from people about not having dutch ovens or large pots to cover. I don't have a dutch oven, but I'm lucky to have a set of pots & pans that are oven-safe. This recipe makes a mini loaf, so it shouldn't be too hard to drag out something you can pop in the oven. Now go make bread.


Amber said...

I have tagged you as one of my favorite blogs to read...
Thanks for keeping it fun...

Take care and take a look...

VeggieGirl said...

Fabulous recipe!! And hooray for serving it with luscious Nutella :0) said...

Nutella will literally be emblazed in your memory the minute you taste it. It's hard to forget it! I made a nutella swirled challah bread last year and practically devoured the entire thing myself :) After that, I was like nutella needs to be an annual indulgence or else I will have to keep the nutella hidden under lock and key.

The Fabulous One said...

So, I never got a dutch oven.

And obviously you're forcing me to consider buying one, now.

It's all your fault!!!

redmenace said...

This is very exciting! I LOVE bread too. Wish I could scoff at starch like some people, but there is simply no way. Thanks!

Julia said...

HURRAY! Proof that this actually works :) Thank you for posting this today. It's the perfect weather for bread-making!

Jessie Cacciola said...

Oh my gosh--this post has everything I love about Italian food! :)

Ben and Missy said...

Hey, I'm an ex-pat living in Finland and tried out your bread. My picky husband said it was the best bread he had tried EVER! Huge compliment. Thanks for the pictures and easy instructions...I am sometimes very cooking impaired. I love your blog!

Miss Marie said...

Nutella and mozzarella and basil are two of them most wonderfully toppings in the world for bread. I could probably live on them forever. Love your blog! And your tattoos!

brandie said...

I love your blog! everything I've made has been delicious.

So I made the bread tonight, and I am worried that maybe my bread is not "shaggy" enough. Could you further define shaggy...better yet, could you take a photo of your shaggy bread? Mine was pretty wet, hardly able to roll into a ball. Limp probably better describes mine.
Help! Thanks!

Amanda said...


I was a bread virgin, until today. I have always wanted to make it, but never had. All I can say now, as I'm eating my umpteenth piece with a little Tillamook cheddar is YUMMM. I doubled the 8(ish) hours recipe, and just threw together another batch to bake in the morning!

jaybird said...

I love reading your blog. Can I say food porn here?

I made this today and my bread did not rise and look like yours. What have I done wrong?