Never thought myself as much of a bread maker but somehow my husband convinced me to buy a bread machine a year and a half ago and we haven’t bought bread from a store since. I loved our bread machine and couldn’t believe how easy it was to make our own bread. I would simply dump all the ingredients in the tray, set the timer and voila! Freshly baked bread was waiting for us when we would wake up in the morning! As wonderful as it was to have our trusty bread machine do all the work, I soon got curious about making bread by hand. I played around with a few different recipes and even created my own sourdough starter to make sourdough breads, amongst other sourdough goodies. I quickly fell in love with bread-making by hand. There’s just something special about the process of taking simple ingredients, creating a wondrous, living dough, attending to it with much love and care before transforming it into a beautiful loaf of fresh, warm bread. I was hooked! Having said that, making a loaf of bread, though not a laborious process, is quite time-consuming. It usually takes me the whole day to make bread, and requires that I keep an eye on the dough during each step to ensure proper proofing of the dough. As my schedule becomes more and more active, I’ve been finding it harder and harder to make bread by hand. That is, until I discovered recipes for no-knead breads!
No-knead breads are so easy to make, most of the work is done when you are sleeping! How great is that? I have tried with all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and a combination of the two, and each time all the breads have come out fluffy on the inside with a beautiful, crispy crust on the outside. I’m now trialing this method to make sourdough breads. So excited!! Will keep you posted on how I go. =)
My recipe is adapted from Jo Cooks No Knead Dutch Oven Crusty Bread
Amazing no-knead bread
- 1½ Cup whole wheat flour
- 1½ Cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp instant yeast
- 1½ Cup room temperature water
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and yeast
- Add in water and mix until it forms a coherent, shaggy mass
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature overnight (for 12 – 18 hours) – dough should double in size and will look puffy and bubbly. It will not resemble the dough from the night before, rather it will be a bit liquid-like, this is normal
- Place either a cast iron dutch oven or a La Cloche inside your oven and preheat to 475 degrees F (allow your dutch oven or La Cloche to heat for 30 mins to an hour once the oven has reached temperature before baking the bread)
- Flour a clean work surface. Using a plastic scraper, gently scrape the dough onto your floured work space.
- Perform a stretch and fold and allow it to rest for 10 mins (repeat this step once or twice more times if the dough is very wet – this should help firm up the dough)
- Flour your hands and gently shape the dough into a ball
- Allow the ball of dough to rest for around one hour in a prepared proofing basket or a mixing bowl lined with a well-floured towel
- Transfer the ball of dough into the preheated dutch oven or La Cloche, score the top of the dough, close the lid, and bake at 475 degrees F for 30 mins
- Turn the heat down to 425 degrees F, take the lid off the dutch oven or La Cloche and bake for an additional 15 mins until bread is golden brown
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 1 – 2 hours. You should be able to hear wonderful, crackling sounds of the crust while cooling.
Note: The stretch and fold technique shown in the link used an oiled surface rather than a floured surface. Apart from this difference, the method is the same. Also, the dough is quite wet and it may be a bit difficult to transfer from the proofing basket/mixing bowl to the dutch oven/La cloche. One trick I do, is to place a baking sheet lined with a piece of parchment paper on top of the proofing basket and then tip the basket upside down – the dough should fall onto the baking sheeting lined with parchment paper. I would then pick up the edges of the parchment paper and transfer the dough into my La cloche.