The no-knead bread recipe shared in the New York Times a few years ago completely changed my bread-eating habits. It’s so easy and yummy that I sometimes make it more than once a week. My two favorite reviews:
My seven-year-old niece: “I like the special peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you bring.”
My friend Dave: “You make your own bread. You are practically Amish!”
But as usual, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I tinkered with the recipe to make it even easier. Here are the modifications I’ve made.
- I don’t have a fancy dutch oven. I started out using a 9×13 Pyrex and covered with foil. I have since gone upscale and graduated to a 2-quart oval-shaped Pyrex covered in foil.
- I increase all the ingredients to make a bigger loaf. (It still doesn’t always last me a week.) Here are the amounts:
- 4 cups flour
- 1/4 plus 1/12 tsp yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cups water, and up to 1/4 cup more to get all the flour wet.
- I use whole wheat flour. Five half-cups of whole wheat flour plus three half-cups of all-purpose flour make a very hearty loaf…use half and half for a lighter wheat loaf. (I’ve actually never made this bread with all white flour!)
- I find the dough way too sticky to put on a towel, so for that stage I just leave it in the bowl and cover it with a towel. Seems to work fine. In general, the dough is usually too goopy for my to do anything that really resembles “shaping” it.
- You can mix stuff in to make it yummier! Fold things in gently after the first rise. I’ve added cinnamon at the beginning, then walnuts and raisins after the first rise, and it’s yummy. I’ve wanted to add rosemary, cheese, and/or carmelized onions, but haven’t gotten around to trying other combos yet.
This no-knead recipe got me started on a path to more complex and labor-intensive breads, but it’s still the only one I make really regularly. Many thanks to creator of the recipe, Jim Lahey, and Mark Bittman for sharing it with the world. (And here’s the link again.)
Update: A friend asked how I manage the timing of this recipe. I usually start the dough right before bed, which means I can bake it in time for dinner. It’s a little tight on work nights (but possible) and works nicely on weekends.