The smell of baking bread filling the house is one of my favourite scents!
On cold winter days, fresh bread with a hardy stew really hits the spot.
This no knead recipe turns out perfectly every time – the main challenge is the patience it takes!
In order to ditch kneading the bread, extra rise time is required.
18-24 hours of rise time, to be more specific.
I will usually start a batch Saturday morning so we have fresh bread for lunch on Sunday.
Aside from the rise time, this recipe requires very little of your time to prep and bake.
Oh! And did I mention that it only has 4 ingredients?!
Start with a large glass bowl and add 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water, then sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of yeast on top.
Allow the yeast to develop for about 5 minutes before adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 3 cups of flour (if you are in a rush, you can skip the 5 minutes and the loaf will still turn out fine).
Mix everything together until the flour is all incorporated; you shouldn’t have to work too hard and can add a bit more water if you find you still have dry flour.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place on the counter to rise for the next 18-24 hours.
Unlike many bread recipes, this loaf does not need to be in a particularly warm spot; during the winter months, my concrete counters can be quite cool and we usually keep the heat in the house fairly low.
The extra rise time is to thank again!
Fast-forward 24 hours… Now the dough is ready to bake!
Pre-heat the oven to 450º with your dutch oven inside the, um, “real” oven.
I have an old-school cast iron dutch oven that I scored at a garage sale years ago and it works great!
If you don’t have a dutch oven, you should seriously consider getting one. Some even have an enamel coating that helps eliminate seasoning the cast iron and makes cleanup much easier.
Once the oven and dutch oven are pre-heated, sprinkle some cornmeal in the bottom of the dutch oven to keep the dough from sticking to the bottom.
The cornmeal also gives the loaf a rustic, artisan feel.
Next, gently scoop the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface.
The dough will be quite sticky at this point, which is exactly what we want.
Try to disturb the dough as little as possible; this helps keep that nice, fluffy rise that we just waited 24 hours for.
Gently fold the dough from the right side into the middle, then from the left side into the middle. Repeat with the other 2 sides.
This helps shape the loaf into a nicely rounded ball.
Once you have shaped the loaf (remember, do not over-work the dough!), place it seam-side down in the dutch oven.
Bake with the lid on for 30 minutes. The moisture the lid holds in helps give the loaf the soft, chewy inside and the crusty, artisan exterior.
Remove the lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes so the loaf gets that nice, golden finish.
Once it has finished baking, remove your loaf from the dutch oven and place on a cooling rack; cover it with a towel to allow it to cool at a slow enough rate that it doesn’t get dried out.
When you cut into your fresh loaf of bread, the crust should be fairly hard and the inside should be moist and chewy with large air pockets.
Be sure that your bread knife is sharp so it cuts the loaf well, rather than crushing the bread before it cuts through.
This is by far my favourite one-loaf recipe because of how quick and easy it is! At least “quick” in the sense that I only spend about 5-10 minutes of my time total making it.
And, it turns out perfectly every time!
You can add different finishes to your crust; this is just the most basic, easiest method to get you started.
Some people will brush the crust with melted butter or an egg wash (before baking) for different effects.
You can also get creative with the ingredients; do you want jalapeño cheddar loaf? Just throw some diced jalapeños, shredded cheddar cheese, and some cayenne powder in when you mix up the dough!
Want a garlic rosemary loaf? Add some fresh rosemary leaves and a dash of garlic powder!
You get the idea… This is the building block for all kinds of different options.
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups flour
Sprinkle yeast into lukewarm water in a large, glass bowl.
Allow to develop for 5 minutes.
Add salt and flour.
Stir until incorporated.
Cover with plastic wrap and set on counter to rise for 18-24 hours.
Pre-heat oven & dutch oven to 450º
Sprinkle corn meal into bottom of dutch oven.
Scoop dough onto floured surface and fold all 4 sides into the middle to shape loaf. (DO NOT OVERWORK DOUGH)
Place loaf into dutch oven, seam-side down.
Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, then another 15-20 minutes without the lid.
Place loaf on a cooling rack and cover with a towel.
Allow to cool, then enjoy!