Baking bread can certainly seem intimidating. I know it did for me at first. But after succeeding at my loaf, I was over the moon with delight. There really is nothing better than smelling a fresh loaf of bread baking in the oven and certainly, nothing tastes as good as that first, still-steamy bite of fresh-from-the-oven bread with melted butter oozing from its crevices. N-O-T-H-I-N-G!
But after my first success came a string of failures and I guessed my initial success was a fluke – beginner’s luck sort-to-speak. So back to the basics I went. And do you know what? The basics aren’t that bad. This Everything No-Knead Bread is, in fact, amazing! And the technique is pretty elementary so I invited my 5-year old to show us how it’s done!
Getting back to basics means that this bread is so easy that even my 5-year old can make it. And so she did. She helped measure and mix the ingredients. The dough is extremely wet and sticky just after the mixing phase and before it heads off to do it’s thing overnight. We oiled a piece of plastic wrap and covered our bowl. We put it up on the stove in a nice, warm area and headed off to bed. The following morning, our bread dough had doubled in size. It was a magnificent sight to behold. My daughter was amazed at the transformation.
We shaped and put our dough in a longer, oblong crock for it’s final rise, which resulted in a wider, somewhat flatter loaf than we would have had we allowed it to rise in a smaller, narrow bowl or crock. It still tastes the same, but looks different than the round loaves you might expect. The pot you chose to bake your bread in does not need to be fancy, but it does need to be able to withstand the heat of a very hot oven – 450°F. Use only a 5-qt or larger cast iron, ceramic, Pyrex, stainless steel or enamel pot – free of plastic handles. Round, oblong or square, it doesn’t matter at all. It should however be at least 4″ tall to accommodate the loaf. I chose my enameled, cast-iron dutch oven which does have a plastic knob but this particular plastic knob is made specifically for high oven temperatures and is able to handle the heat of a 450°F oven, however, not all plastic handles are created equally and that’s something you keep in mind when you select your baking vessel. I do also have a smaller, round dutch oven, but I was afraid the loaf would not fit but this is the pot I will try on my next foray into no-knead bread making for that perfect round loaf I desire.
After all the waiting, the bread was finally finished, my daughter and I cut into the loaf. It was a moment to be shared and treasured –and savored. As we stood at the cutting board next to the stove, serrated bread knife in hand, I cut into the loaf and we could see (and hear) the crispiness of the crust. We each slathered our slices of warm bread with pads of butter and dug in. It was a delicious slice of bread and as I stood there savoring our masterpiece, my daughter was already dancing around the kitchen, slice in hand, asking for a second slice. Yes, it was that good…
So, when a slice of bread is so good that it makes you want to dance, it must be shared and so we are sharing it here with you! Enjoy!
Everything No-Knead Bread
Yield 1 loaf
- 2 1/4 cups cool water
- 5 12 cups All-Purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp Everything Bagel and Bread Topping (Recipe Follows)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- For the crust topping
- 1 tbsp Everything Bagel and Bread Topping
- Mix the dough ingredients in a large (5qt) mixing bowl or pot. It will be a very sticky dough. If using a mixer, mix the dough for 3 minutes.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest overnight or for at least 8 hours or for up to 12 hours. The dough will bubble and rise, doubling in size overnight.
- After the rest period, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a loaf or round; about 14 inches long for an oblong loaf or 10 inches for a round.
- Lightly grease you baking vessel and place the formed dough inside, smooth side up.
- Cover the pan and allow the dough to rise again for another 2 hours or until an indention remains after you poke the dough.
- Just before baking, make several slices in the top of the loaf about 2 inches or so apart to allow for expansion of the dough. Lightly spritz or spray the dough with water and sprinkle on the topping. Place the lid on the pot.
- Place the pot inside a cold oven and turn it on to 450°F.
- Bake the bread, lid on, for 50 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake an additional 10 minutes.
- The bread will have a deep brown color and sound hollow when tapped. An instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf should read 205°F.
- Remove the bread from the oven and turn it out onto a wire rack to cool.
Since this bread has a high water content- the crust will not stay crisp for a long time. If you aren't eating the bread immediately, you can opt to re-crisp the crust simply by re-heating the loaf in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes just before serving. Store bread in an airtight container or freeze to prolong freshness. IF you freeze the bread, defrost it and simply follow the reheating instructions given here for crisping up the crust.
This recipe is one I found on King Arthur Flour. It originated in the New York times several years ago, I do not know the exact date.
The recipe for the Everything Bagel and Bread topping follows:
Everything Bagel and Bread Topping
Yield 3 tablespoons
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons dried garlic flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
- 1 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- Mix all ingredients together well in a small bowl.
- Use to liberally top breads and bagels.
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