The Best Thing Before Sliced Bread

A crunchy crust and a chewy, hearty interior; homemade bread could not be easier.

I highly recommend this recipe – wherever I found it and wherever it originated from – especially for baking novices: you stir everything together, let it sit, and bake it in a hot pot in an even hotter oven. To be honest, I use this as a kitchen-sink recipe: have some herbs that are wilting? Toss them in. Have a savory spice mix taking up room in your pantry? Toss it in. Have a lone can of beer in the fridge? Use it in place of the water. This recipe is highly adaptable and wonderfully forgiving. It encourages experimentation, and that is something I can always get behind.

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Rustic No-Knead Bread

  • 3 cups bread flour (though all-purpose will work in a pinch)
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp highly active, rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Make a well in the center and add the water. Using a spatula, fold and stir together the dough until it becomes a shaggy, unmanageable mess (but do make sure the ingredients are mixed together well).

Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12-24 hours until doubled inside. An unused oven is a perfect spot, though remember to remove the dough before continuing with the recipe.

…12-24 hours later…

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached temperature, place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Don’t knead the dough; simply shape it into a ball. Place the ball of dough on a piece of parchment. The parchment will make transferring the dough and removing the finished bread very easy. Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.

Remove hot pot from the oven and transfer the dough and parchment to the dutch oven. If the parchment hangs outside the lid, that’s perfectly fine.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

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