Monday, January 7, 2013

Artisan Bread Recipe with NO KNEADING! - Really!

Artisan Italian Bread – No Kneading!

No Knead Artisan Italian Breads
These breads have a crispy crust, yet have a soft and flavorful crumb.


I have always loved hot baked breads.   It is something I have been passionate about for just about my entire life.   Baking breads has been something I have studied for over two decades.  Bread baking for me has evolved from kneading by hand, to bread machine, to finally getting a Kitchen Aid mixer.   I still use my bread machine and mixer, although I hardly ever knead by hand anymore.

So, the other day, I was looking on researching on YouTube, and I saw several people mention no knead bread.   I thought to myself, this has got to be a joke.   Everyone knows you have to knead the bread to develop the gluten, in order to get an amazing crust.    I have invested a small fortune in bread baking books to learn how to make bread.   And I do make really wonderful breads and pizzas…   But, no kneading?  That is just crazy talk!   …. Or is it?

So, I looked at a few recipes and saw what many had in common, which was the dough is mixed with a spoon until it is evenly mixed, but not kneaded.   In addition, the dough is wetter than usual.   So, I decided to do a little experiment.   I didn’t want to waste a lot of ingredients, so I didn’t go with one of the recipes I saw that requires a lot of flour, but I borrowed some of the guidelines, and adapted one of my own doughs…

The result was one of the best breads I ever baked!   I went from “This couldn’t possibly work” to “This is amazing and going to change everything.” You don't need anything but a large container or bowl, and a spoon!  With next to no effort, you can bake an amazing crusty bread!

So I am now going to share with you exactly what I did to bake my no-knead bread recipe.

This is what I used:


•    3 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour – I used King Arthur Organic Flour
•    1 ½ cups warm water
•    1 Tbsp organic sugar
•    1 Tbsp sea salt
•    1 packet of active dry yeast – I used SAF

That’s it!

So, what did I do? 


  • Put water in bowl and dissolve sugar in water
  • Add yeast to water and stir.
  • Add salt to water and stir.
  • Add flour and stir, until everything was evenly and thoroughly wet.   If flour wasn’t wet enough, I added a little water.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and wait for 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours, put in refrigerator overnight.

Next day, I baked the bread.

  • Dust top of wet dough with a little flour.
  • Grab with hand and take out about a large orange size of dough.    If you want to make several loaves, you can make as many as you want.   If you want to make only one, re-cover the unused dough and return it to the refrigerator.
  • Shape into a ball with as little handling as possible and place on a flour covered pan.
  • Let rest and rise for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Arrange the oven racks with one on the bottom and one in the middle.   You will bake on the middle rack.   Place an empty non-glass pan ( I used a pizza pan ) on the bottom rack and preheat the empty pan!
  • After the oven has pre-heated, slash the top of the bread a few times with a sharp knife.
  • Place bread in oven on the center rack.    Immediately pour a cup or so of hot water on the empty pan on the bottom rack.   This will create a lot of steam, so be careful.    The idea here is that you want the extra steam when you bake the bread.  This will make the crispy outer crust.
  • Close the oven door immediately to keep the steam from escaping the oven.
  • Bake for about a half hour to 40 minutes.
  • Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool.

That’s it!   From what I understand, you can use the dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.   The longer you let it age, the more it will develop character, and perhaps take on sour dough characteristic.

This is so easy an takes so little effort.   Imagine your friends and family’s amazement when they learn that you made your own bread!   And that it tastes this great!

No Knead Bread Recipes – This truly defies everything I ever learned in the past about bread baking.  Yet the results are fantastic.   From what I see, the folks on YouTube have referenced a book by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.   After my experiment, I am definitely going to buy that book and see what else I can learn.    Just goes to show you, you can always learn something new.

So, please give this one a try!   I hear from so many people, “You just can’t get good crusty bread out side of NY!”   Really?   I am not so sure.   I don’t see why this wouldn’t work for anyone, anywhere.   People say it is the water where they live.   If you think your water is bad for baking, try this with spring water.

And please, let me know about your results.   Post your comments here.    I will continue to share my experiences with this new style of baking and hope to bake a ciabatta next time.    Until next time, I hope you enjoy my Italian recipes.

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