I LOVE a good slice of bread. Make it a homemade loaf and I am in heaven! What I don’t like is having to keep a constant watch on a dough that needs kneading every few hours/minutes/whatever. At a recent family gathering my Aunt brought a delicious few loaves of what she called a “Speed, No-Knead” bread. I asked for the recipe and have made it 3 times since to rave reviews. It is easy, relatively fast, and delicious! So for anyone else who hates having to wait hours and hours and knead, only to wait and knead again in a seemingly endless gluten-filled process; I give you the quick and delightful recipe my Aunt passed on to me.
Recipe/Adventure: Speedy No-Knead Bread
Time: You’ll need 4 hours of “rest & rise” time in one block and then another 1 hour to prep and bake.
Yield: 1 big loaf
- 3 cups bread (or all purpose) flour
- 1 packet (1/4 oz.) instant yeast (I used non-instant with the same tasty results)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- Oil as needed
- Optional: 2 1/4 tsp Herbs de Provence OR 2 1/2 tsp Rosemary
Combine flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. (if you want to add any herbs de something, this is the time)
Add 1 1/2 cups warm water (check on wrist – not too hot, that would kill the yeast) and stir until blended: dough will be shaggy. Will it ever! It will also be kinda sticky. Be SURE to mix everything up well so that no clumps of powder mix or globs of wet are left over; they make the baked product a bit inconsistent.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap & let dough rest for 4 hours at room temperature about 70 degrees. (My house usually runs about 62-65 and it was fine so that whole “70” is just a ball-park)
Lightly oil a work surface. I used parchment paper the first two times and a plastic cutting board this time. I think the paper was actually easier.
Place dough on the oiled surface and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes more.
At least a half-hour before dough is ready (which means during the bread’s last 30 minutes of resting), heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. I didn’t have a cover so I just used tin foil to keep that heat in the dish.
When dough is ready, remove pan from oven. Carefully remove cover. Slide your hand under dough and put it into pan, seam side up.
Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. This is when I added a sprinkle of large-grain kosher salt because I was trying for a sort of fancy look. I’d recommend cutting the salt in the recipe if you do this though because the large grains give it a good taste of salt and also seem to make the crust “wilt” faster after the bread cools.
Re-cover with lid and bake 30 minutes.
Remove lid and bake until golden brown (depending on your oven this could be 3 to 10 minutes – but watch carefully). If, like me, you let your foil cover touch the dough; you might peel away a tiny nub of the bread with the foil.
Turn onto rack and cool. Then eat and enjoy!! Also, as my Aunt rightly pointed out when she sent the recipe to me, “This bread also make delicious toast if there’s any left!”