An adaptation of this recipe originally appeared in The New York Times‘ “Dining” section in 2006. Mark Bittman, who writes “The Minimalist” column, worked with famed Hell’s Kitchen chef Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery to create a recipe that seemed counter-intuitive. Bread without kneading? And it tastes great? No, this recipes makes fantastic-tasting bread. (Try mixing 1 cup whole-wheat or rye flour with 2 cups all-purpose flour, or adding walnuts, dried figs, or herbs.) The Times article received so many reprint requests that it prompted maestro baker Lahey to write his first cookbook, My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method (W.W. Norton, 2009). Here, we added a bit more salt to Jim’s original recipe.
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours (plus rising)
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf
- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus extra for surfaces
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Olive oil
- Wheat bran or cornmeal as needed (for dusting)
InstructionsIn a medium-size bowl, combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water, and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon 30 seconds to 1 minute, until blended. Coat the inside of a second medium-size bowl with olive oil; place dough in the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let rest 12 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
Remove dough and fold once or twice. Let it rest 15 minutes in the bowl or on a lightly-floured work surface. Then shape dough into a ball, Coat a cotton towel (not terrycloth) generously with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal. Place dough seam side down on the towel and durst with flour. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise 1 to 2 hours at room temperature, until doubled in volume.
At least 30 minutes before dough is ready, heat your oven to 450 degrees. Put a heavy 6- to 8- quart covered pot (cast iron, Pyrex glass, or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When dough is ready, remove the pot from the oven carefully and turn dough over into the pot, seam side up. Shake the pot once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes,. Cover with a lid and bake 30 minutes; then remove the lid and bake uncovered another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is browned. Cool on a rack.