I enjoy making bread. Bread and bread products are one of my favorite things to make. I love to experiment and try new recipes. But I have a few favorites that I continue to go back to. This recipe is one of those.
I saw this on a Martha Stewart show over two years ago. I immediately wanted to try it. I was fascinated by the idea of being able to make a really good loaf of Artisan style bread. Now this is not sandwich style lunch bread. This is the type of bread that goes great with Italian food or even a steak dinner. It has a great crispy crust and a nice chewy center. Just the way my family likes it.
I still make the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes that I posted about last year, but I like this one as much if not more than that recipe. The Artisan Bread In Five recipe is easy and great to have on hand. But this recipe is the closest I have come to a really good bakery or restaurant style bread. It is worth the extra effort and is much cheaper than buying a loaf like this from a bakery or store.
A year or two after I first read tried this recipe; Cook’s Illustrated did a version. I combined some of the techniques of Cook’s Illustrated with the recipe and directions of the original to come up with bread we really like.
The main trick to this recipe is heating up the dish you bake the bread in. Do not skip that step with this recipe. The technique gives this bread the crust that makes it so good.
No Knead Bread
Makes one 1 1/2-pound loaf
- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for work surface
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ cups water
- Olive oil, as needed
- Cornmeal, as needed
In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Coat a second large bowl with olive oil. Transfer dough to oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, but preferably up to 18. When surface is dotted with bubbles, dough is ready.
Lightly flour work surface, place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice, kneading slightly. You do not want to knead this much, just a few times. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
Sprinkle just enough over work surface and your fingers to keep dough from sticking; quickly and gently shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with, cornmeal; place dough seam side down on towel and dust with more cornmeal. Cover with a second cotton towel and let rise until it has more than doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.
After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a 6- to 8-quart heavy oven safe covered pot, such as cast-iron or Pyrex, in oven as it heats. When dough has fully risen, carefully remove pot from oven. Remove top towel from dough and slide your hand under the bottom towel; turn dough over into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough looks unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking until browned, 5-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.