This classic no knead bread recipe from Jim Lahey is easy, requires minimal handling, and is a great recipe for beginner bread bakers.
Have you hopped on the no knead bread train yet?
After seeing it in countless places over the years, I finally dove in this week and gave it a try. With hardly any hands-on time and quite forgiving rise times, it seemed to be the perfect bread recipe for squeezing into bedtime and nap schedules.
When I first started researching no knead bread recipes, I found that “THE” recipe recommended by throngs of bakers is the version by Jim Lahey. It was published in the New York Times by Mark Bittman, and after reading through hundreds of comments with suggestions, modifications and variations, off I went!
Watch How to Make No Knead Bread:
This recipe requires two rise times, but the first is a very long one – the dough should rest for at least 12 hours, ideally up to 18 hours. I mixed together the dough (less than 10 minutes!) and started this rise around 7:30pm after the boys were in bed, and let it go until about 10:30am the next morning.
Ready to go after 15 hours:
Since there isn’t much hands-on work necessary with this recipe, all you do is turn the dough out onto a floured surface and fold it over itself a couple of times, let it rest for 15 minutes, then give it a quick shape into a ball, and let it go for its final rise.
The original recipe calls for placing the dough on a floured towel for its final rise, then kind of flipping it into the Dutch oven for baking.
(Sidenote: I adore any recipe that allows me to bust out one of my favorite kitchen vessels – my beloved Dutch oven!)
After reading through a ton of comments, I decided instead to line a bowl with parchment paper, let the dough do its final rise in there, and then simply lift it out and place it in the heated Dutch oven using the parchment paper to transfer it. So much easier and a decreased risk of getting burned in the process!
This was the dough ready to head into the Dutch oven for baking:
A gorgeous loaf of artisan-style bread that required about 15 minutes, MAX, of hands-on time. You absolutely, positively, cannot beat that!
While I have an all-time favorite recipe for sandwich bread (there is always a sliced loaf in our freezer), this no knead bread, with its crisp crust and soft, airy crumb, is the perfect bread for dunking in soup, stew or chili, or slathering with butter for an afternoon snack.
After waiting all of this time to make it, no knead bread officially has a spot on my short list of favorite bread recipes!
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the water and stir together with a wooden spoon until all of the flour is moistened (the dough will be quite shaggy). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at warm room temperature for 12 to 18 hours.
The dough will be ready when the surface is covered in small bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold the dough over onto itself twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes.
Using enough flour necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, quickly shape the dough into a ball. Place a sheet of parchment paper in a large bowl, and place the ball of dough onto the parchment paper. Dust the top of the bread with additional flour and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise until it has more than doubled in size and it does not immediately spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.
At least 30 minutes before the dough will be ready, place a large 6 to 8-quart Dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.
When the dough is ready, lift the edges of the parchment from the bowl and carefully transfer it into the heated Dutch oven. Cover with a lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to bake for an additional 15 to 30 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Cool on a wire rack; serve warm or at room temperature.
You can substitute bread flour for a denser, chewier loaf of bread.