Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No Knead Bread

No Knead Bread, so simple a 4-year old can make it! Well, maybe so, if they have the correct ingredients. One of the recipes featured in the Cooking with Cast Iron class at Williams-Sonoma was Rosemary and Lemon No Knead Bread. My task was to make the bread ahead of time and serve during the class. After many failed attempts, I discovered the solution was simply in the selection of ingredients.

It all begins with the flour. All-purpose flour works, if you select a hard wheat all-purpose flour such as King Arthur or Pillsbury. I used Martha White, an excellent soft wheat flour commonly used for cakes, pastries and quick breads. Soft wheat flours don't contain enough gluten, an essential protein needed for the bread to rise. Bread flour has a high gluten content and will give you the best results.

Next is the yeast. The recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast. I bought Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast and it took an entire packet - 2 1/4 teaspoons - to create a decent loaf of bread. What you should buy is Fleischmann's Rapid Rise yeast. Just 1/4 teaspoon of the yeast will give you a light, delicious bread.

Now comes the equipment. You will need a cast iron Dutch oven. I used a 2 3/4 quart Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven. You must heat the pot in a 450 degree F. oven for at least 30 minutes before baking the bread. The Dutch oven acts as a mini oven and creates the perfect environment for baking this light, crusty bread. Give this recipe a try and it will become a favorite!

No Knead Bread

3 cups bread flour
1/4 teaspoon Fleischmann's Rapid Rise yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups warm water

Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the water and stir until the mixture forms a sticky ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. Allow to rise for 12 - 18 hours.

Remove the ball from bowl to a floured surface. Fold the dough over 2 times (shape should be a rectangle) and allow to rest for 15 minutes. With floured hands, fold the long ends into the center. Then take the other ends and fold to the middle and place, seam side down on a tea towel dusted with cornmeal. Place in a bowl and allow to rise for 2 hours in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a cast iron Dutch oven into the hot oven at least 30 minutes before baking the bread, Remove the Dutch oven from the oven, being very careful not to burn yourself. Move the bread from the bowl and place seam side up in the Dutch oven. Don't worry about extra flour or cornmeal on the bread, it will give the finished loaf rustic look.

Bake at 450 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove lid from the Dutch oven and cook for 15 - 25 minutes and the crust is browned. Cool on a wire rack.

The stiff dough before rising.
The dough after first rising.
Formed into ball for second rising.
Second rising.Success!


  1. I haven't made a lot of bread; however, 12-18 hours sounds like a long time to rise. Is this correct? Thanks! The bread looks delicious in the picture.

  2. 12 - 18 hours is correct. The long rising time takes the place of the kneading. I think you will enjoy the results.

  3. I scared....perhaps I should come watch the master!

  4. I would love for you to watch!

  5. I think you should make a video of this! I love your explanations because if I failed the first time I would have never tried to figure out the science behind it.

  6. Sally, from the looks of your videos, you are the one to create the video!

  7. Hi: I am your partner for Taste and Create. I don't suppose you would like to share the lemon/rosemary part?

  8. Laura, you can find the recipe at http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/recipedetail.cfm?objectid=3D454627-DD8E-4D0B-EE3171FF7FEA996D. This is my first Taste and Create and I am very excited to have you as my partner.