I love bread, it’s always been a comfort food and a daily essential for me. But despite being fairly confident in the kitchen – whether cooking or baking – I’ve never been confident about baking my own bread.
I think this has partly stemmed from the disappointment I’d feel if I put the time in to bake, and then didn’t get a result that was edible, and a lack of confidence in the technicalities – so many books and guides online jump straight into the deep end of kneading, proving and so on without explaining what they are, how you do them, or what they actually do.
So after collecting bread recipes and putting them in my forever ever pile of things I’d like to try for months I resolved to throw caution and flour into the wind and bake myself some bread. My long term ambition is to produce all the bread we eat myself, I’d like bread to be an event, rather than an (all to ready) snack – so I thought I’d try the simplest recipe first and work my way up, so I’m sharing with you today my no knead dutch oven loaf.
No Knead Bread
This bread just couldn’t be simpler: four ingredients mixed together with spoon which are then left, covered, for eighteen to twenty four hours in a warm place (I put mine in a microwave) to the yeast to do it’s thing.
Once your eighteen to twenty hours is up, it’s risen and you’re ready to bake pre-heat your oven and importantly your pot to four hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit, scoop up the dough into well floured hands and work it into a roughly smoothed ball on a well floured surface before adding to your pot with some additional flour on the base if you’re concerned it might stick.
Bake it for thirty minutes with the dutch oven’s lid on and an additional fifteen to twenty with the lid off to allow the crust to become golden.
Once baked the bread should come out of your pot without any trouble, but if you want to check you can rap your knuckles on the bottom of the loaf, if it sounds hollow, it’s done – if not return it for another five minutes – I’ve never found it takes any longer than 45 minutes, but ovens do vary – and importantly always be sure to let the loaf cool completely before you’re tempted to slice it.
I’ve tried this with white and wholemeal flour, both tasted lovely – the only differences I could see and taste were that the wholemeal flour gave a denser loaf, while the white flour rose slightly more and as a result had an airier texture.
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cups water room temperature
Photo Credit: Neil A. Evans © 2018
Photo Location: At Home, Bankside, London, England.