No-knead artisan bread

When I was younger I was a champion sleeper. So much so that mum had to wake me up to take me to kindy (I’m pretty sure it started about 9.30am!). I was even such a sleeper that on holidays I would sleep through buffet breakfast. Can you believe it?

On a family holiday to Fiji when I was about 12, every morning my sister and I would pass on buffet breakfast and instead order it to our room when we decided to emerge from slumber. The order was the same every day.

‘One long stick bread please.’

What arrived at our door 20 minutes later was a warm, crusty loaf of the most delicious bread either of us has ever tasted. Each morning we polished off the whole thing spread with a little butter and Vegemite.

No-knead artisan bread

While my sleeping habits have changed a lot since then my love for a fresh loaf of bread has only grown and my love for homemade bread is still growing.

Entitled ‘amazing no-knead bread,’ this bread was screaming for me to make it from the second I laid eyes on it. It looked just like a loaf you’d get at a fancy bakery. During the whole process I was hesitant. I couldn’t believe that half a teaspoon of yeast in 6 cups of flour could amount to such deliciousness but that little bit of yeast really worked its magic!

It does take a while from start to finish but there is seriously little actual work involved.

I’ll do a little math for you:

– to eat it at 12 midday, start the bread at 4pm the day before

– to eat it at 9am, start the bread at 12 midday the day before

– to eat it at 7pm, start the bread before bed the night before

Step one – the dry ingredients

In a very big bowl, I used the bowl of my electric mixer, mix the flour, yeast and salt together.

Step two – add the water

Add the water and mix it in. I was a bit lazy so used the dough hook to bring it all together. You just have to mix it until there are no more dry bits. I added a bit more water than the original recipe (I’ve added it in my recipe below too) because it seemed too dry.

Step three – rest time

That’s it, that’s basically the hardest part. Now you just need to cover it with plastic wrap and walk away for 12-18 hours. I made mine at about 5 in the afternoon on Saturday.

After a big rest

The next day at about 8am this is what it looked liked. When it’s ready for the next step it will have doubled in size and be bubbly on top. It will also smell yeasty (in a good way). When you first make the dough it just smells like wet flour so you’ll notice the difference.

Shaped and ready for rest number two

Now you need a lot more flour. Sprinkle it out on top of a clean tea towel (a cotton one).

I just realised I made this step a lot more difficult. I didn’t read the part where it said to tip the dough out onto the towel. I thought I read to pick it up and use your hands to shape it. It was mighty tricky balancing all that dough in my hands but I somehow managed.

The easier way to do it is to turn the dough out onto the tea towel. Flour the top of the dough and your hands and then gently start tucking the dough under itself until it makes a smooth ball like the photo above. It should only take a minute or two. You’re not kneading, just shaping.

Dust the top of the dough with more flour and then wrap it up loosely with the tea towel or cover it with another one. Now it needs another rest for 2 hours.

Warming the pot

After 1.5 hours, it’s time to pre-heat the oven and the pot. I used a bit cast iron pot for my loaf. You need a pot with a lid that can withstand up to 210C.

Pre-heat the oven to 210C fan-forced with the pot inside.

One big ball of dough

After two hours the dough will have doubled in size again. Mine was enormous.

Ready for baking

This is the tricky part.

Take the pot out of the oven and place it on something heat-proof. It’s best not to do this on top of the stove because the flour does fly around a little and a bench top is easier to clean.

Get your hands under the tea towel and flip the dough out into the pot so it’s seam-side down. It doesn’t need to be pretty, just in the pot. Mine was quite unattractive but I think it made for a very pretty finished loaf.

Bake it for 40-50 minutes and then take the lid off and bake for another 5-10 to brown the top.

Testing for ‘doneness’

The recipe said that it’s done when it reaches 200 degrees. I assumed it meant 200C but the other temperatures are in Farenheit so I’m not so sure. Either way, mine was mighty hot inside when it was ready.

Ready

Isn’t it beautiful?

Cooling aka the longest 20 minutes of my life

Turn the bread out onto a wire rack to cool.

‘I can’t cut it until it stops talking.’ I said to Will. Without even looking up he said ‘oh ok.’ I think he must be rather used to my kitchen craziness by now. You have to listen to me too though. Do not cut the bread until it has cooled and stopped making noises or it will be tough and not tasty.

No-knead artisan bread

Admire your bread in all its glory.

No-knead artisan bread

When it has cooled, slice it up and devour it quickly. If you like warm bread you can indeed warm it up again or toast it, you just can’t eat it warm from the oven after its first baking.

I had my first slice with mushrooms and feta and was so eager to get into it I nearly forgot to get a photo. Apparently it lasts a few days. I wouldn’t know. Someone ate all mine within 24 hours. Enjoy!

What about you? Have you ever slept through breakfast? Do you like to make your own bread?

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No-knead artisan bread

No-knead artisan bread

Ingredients

  • 6 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting and the bench
  • 1/2 tsp dry yeast
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 3 cups cool water

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the flour, yeast and salt.
  2. Use the dough hook to mix it all together.
  3. Add the water and, with the dough hook, mix just until the water is incorporated.
  4. Take the bowl off the stand, cover it in plastic wrap and leave it to rest for 12-18 hours or until it has risen, darkened and started to bubble and smell yeasty (in a good way).
  5. Flour your hands and the bench.
  6. Tip the dough out onto the bench and fold it over itself twice then start tucking the sides under until it forms a ball shape.
  7. Lay a cotton tea towel out and flour it generously.
  8. Place the dough ball seam-side down on the towel and then sprinkle it with more flour.
  9. Lightly wrap it in the tea towel and leave it to rest for about 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
  10. After 1 1/2 hours, place a big, heavy, lidded pot in the oven and pre-heat it to 210C(410F) fan-forced.
  11. When the dough has risen, remove the pot from the oven.
  12. Lift the tea towel and carefully flip the dough into the pot so that it is seam-side up.
  13. Put the lid back on and put the dough in the oven for 40-50 minutes.
  14. Take the lid off and bake it for another 5-10 minutes or until the crust is golden (the internal temperature will be roughly 200C(392F)when it's cooked).
  15. Take the bread out of the pot and leave it to cool on a wire rack.
  16. Don't cut into it until it has cooled completely.
  17. To keep, wrap in a dry tea towel.

 

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