I’ve been making bread for years, there’s a real comfort that the smell of baking bread brings to a home. In my opinion nothing beats a slice of warm, fresh bread with a crisp crust and great chew. I’ve tried lots of ways of making bread, the traditional methods, using sour dough starters or fresh yeast and kneading, but lately I’ve settled on a technique which couldn’t be simpler. The technique of “no knead” bread was popularized by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery and brought to the world via the New York Times food writer Mark Bittman.
No knead bread has very little prep and you can have dough ready and waiting to bake anytime you want, Once I’ve got the dough in the ‘fridge I can bake a loaf in less time than it takes to get in the car, head to the store and buy a loaf.
Loaves of bread baked by this method are as close to artisan bread as you’re going to get, straight from your kitchen at a fraction of the cost, and you know what’s in it.
Here’s the video that took avid home bakers by storm a few years ago:
If you’re thinking of trying the no-knead bread recipe (and I hope you do) I’ve refined it a bit and here are my tips for success:
- get yourself a scale and measure ingredients by weight for consistent results
- I found my loaves always stuck to the pot with Jim Leahey’s method so I use a pizza stone and put a lid on the loaf once it’s on the stone
- If you don’t have a pizza stone, use an upside down cookie sheet and pre-heat it in the oven
- gently handle and shape the dough and put it on a piece of parchment paper which makes it easier to get in and out of the oven.
- a metal bowl or roasting pan lid make a great cover
- bake the bread covered for the first half of the time, remove the cover for the second half to crisp up the crust.
Here’s the fruit of my (minimal) labour.