Food Friday: Impress Friends and Family with No-Knead Bread!

Posted by on April 20, 2012


Yum! Isn't it pretty?


This is the easiest and yummiest bread. I actually came across this recipe years ago and kept it in a file folder for about a year before I tried it. That’s because I read an article that said you needed a very high-quality (READ: EXPENSIVE) dutch oven to properly bake the bread. As I was already dreaming of buying an orange Le Creuset dutch oven, I figured I’d wait to try the bread until I had the fancy schmancy million dollar dutch oven to bake it in.

Meanwhile, one day I took the kids to the park and was chatting with my uber glamorous friend from France, who dang it all, knew what good bread was more than any other woman in Minneapolis, so I asked her if she had heard about the No-Knead Bread recipe.

Well, of course, she had. She made it all the time. She brought a fresh, hot loaf to dinner parties frequently to impress her friends and family. Then I asked her: “Um, do you make it in a Le Creuset?” (By the way, I’m pretty sure I had, and still have, no idea how to correctly pronounce Le Creuset.)

Her response? She laughed. “No, I make it in one of those, what do you call it? Corning ware casserole dishes I bought at the supermarket.”


Since then, I’ve baked the bread in my SUPER CHEAP dutch oven. In a corning ware casserole dish with a glass lid. In my small cast iron skillet with a cookie sheet as a makeshift lid.

Without further ado, here’s how to impress your family and friends. If you are smart, you will just offer to bring homemade bread to the dinner party and not let them know how easy it is to make.

No Knead Bread in Pictures (The complete NYT’s recipe, including ingredients, etc,  is below)

Day One:

Sprinkle yeast and salt onto flour in bowl. Pour water (I use 1 2/3 cup at about 170 degrees) over it and mix a bit.


Mix until it looks something like this (below) and then tightly cover top of bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit somewhere that isn’t too hot and isn’t too cold, for between 14 and 20 hours.

Day Two: Then the next day when you take the plastic off, it looks like this, it has risen and is a little bubbly!!





























Put it on a floured surface and flip it over once or twice. Using the piece of plastic you had over the bowl, cover it lightly and set the timer for 15 minutes:


Then gently, barely touching it, shape it into a ball. Put a little flour on the top:


Cover it with a flour sack towel and let sit for two to three hours.















This (below) is what it looks like after it has sat for a few hours. It is bigger and fluffier. Here it is ready to go in the oven. I heat the oven with the dutch oven or pan inside … and then I drip some olive oil in the bottom. Pick up the bread dough and flip it over into the pan. Put it in the oven, cover it and bake for 30 minutes. Then take off the lid and bake for 15 minutes more. You can see the final product above!







Here is the original recipe that ran in the New York Times:

November 8, 2006
Recipe: No-Knead Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

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5 Responses to Food Friday: Impress Friends and Family with No-Knead Bread!

  1. Kristi

    Seriously T, everything you write makes me laugh out loud. Good stuff. I can’t believe we lost touch for a couple years … all the missed opportunities for me to laugh and smile … And I’m sure W is a complete angel. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  2. Taloo

    But if I don’t knead the bread my son’s life will be in danger because I will have no outlet for all that pent up aggression. And think of the poor cats! Nonetheless, I will try this. Looks delicious!

  3. Kristi

    I would love to learn a baguette recipe that works as consistently.

  4. My French Corner

    I discovered this after my son left for college, when I was no longer shopping for two. What I love is that I can make several small boules, so I can still have fresh bread everyday. Though the texture is nothing like my favorite French baguettes, I love that the bread is fresh, and I’ve made it myself.

  5. Stephanie

    The bread looks great, much better then my boring loaf. I much prefer a round boule. I will definitely try this.