“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”
― James Beard
Ahhh…Bread Week. The week to beat all weeks. But let’s be real…every week of my life is bread week. Who’s with me?
Just so we’re clear, baking bready things is not my forte. My most successful attempt at such was Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls, which turned out amazing, but my poor little kitchen became an unnecessary casualty of my flour, cinnamon, sugar, and melted butter slingin’. What I’m saying is, cakes, muffins, cupcakes I can do. Bread…nope.
A few weeks ago I came across a relatively uncomplicated “Grandma’s bread” kinda recipe and decided to give it a shot. Wow. I made three of the UGLIEST loaves of bread you’ve ever seen. The taste was just OK, but talk about dense! I think we ate about half of the smallest loaf and called it quits. I’m pretty sure the kneading is where everything headed south. In the spirit of full disclosure and keepin’ it real, I’ll even reveal my disastrous bread. I mean, we’re friends, right?
Through my failure I learned two things: One, spending 10 minutes kneading dough by hand rather than using my stand mixer does not make me more of a woman/wife/mother/baker/etc. And two, I can bypass the yeasty heartache with a no-knead bread. And so, I give you my new favorite no-knead crusty artisan bread recipe.
Odds are you already have these four (you read that right, FOUR! Am I the only one who thought good bread involved 28 ingredients?) in your pantry. Hopefully, you weren’t wanting bread within the next 12-18 hours, because this involves a lot of waiting time, but it’s sooo worth it.
Note: You will need a dutch oven for this bread. If you don’t have one, you should be able to use any lidded pot capable of withstanding high heat in the oven. Notice the should in bold, non-italics? That means don’t come hollering if you melt your pot. 🙂 Don’t forget about the top, handles, and knob.
Note #2: I love my dutch oven so much and get such great use out of, I’m pining after this Cuisinart beauty
to have another one around.
In a large bow, mix together flour, salt, and yeast. I usually just give it a few swirls around with a fork. Add the lukewarm water and stir until incorporated. The dough will be sticky and shaggy.
Flour your work surface and with well-floured hands turn out dough and work into a ball. Fold dough in half onto itself twice (but don’t knead-y’all know how I feel about that mess) and form into a ball. I just kind of tuck the sides under. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit while your pot heats up.
I still aspire to conquer a more sandwichy, everyday type bread, so I can’t wait to try Ashley’s daily bread recipe. I trust her with all things baking related so I know she won’t lead me astray. I better get crackin’ because my baking game is facing a huge challenge coming up. Baking at 11,000 feet after our move to Cusco next month is going to be a whole new ballgame!
- 3 cups flour
- 1 3/4 - 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, and yeast. Add water and stir with spatula or wooden spoon until incorporated. Dough will be "shaggy."
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit on counter for 12-18 hours.
- Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. After oven is heated, place dutch oven, with lid, into the oven for 30 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and with floured hands. Fold dough in half onto itself twice (don't knead) and form into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest while pot heats in oven.
- With floured hands, place dough into hot dutch oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes with lid on, remove lid and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool slightly before slicing.
- I have made this bread with 1 3/4 t. salt and 2 t., and also 1/2 t. and 1 t. active dry yeast. I personally prefer the slightly saltier, yeastier version, but they're both great and not entirely too different from each other. I think adding the 1 t. yeast makes it bake up a little nicer, also.
- A dutch oven or any oven-safe pot with lid is required for this recipe.