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How to Make No-Knead Bread

Learn how to make no-knead bread in this bread making video from Howcast.


I'm going to show you how to mix and make a no-knead bread. The first thing that you need, you need only 4 ingredients. It's really simple, and it yields really beautiful results. The first thing is you need water that's at about 72 degrees, and we're going to scale 345 grams of water into a container. You could also scale this into a bowl; it's your preference. My preference is to use this container because then I can cover it with a lid. 430 grams of bread flour. Then you're going to use 1 gram of instant yeast. That's such a small amount to measure that I find the easiest way to get 1 gram is just to measure 1/4 teaspoon of yeast. You're going to measure a 1/4 teaspoon of yeast and sprinkle it right on top. Then you're going to measure out 11 grams of salt, and I like to use fine sea salt, and sprinkle that on the top.

Then you're going to stir it. You can use a spatula, or you can use your hand. I think I'm just going to use my hand. You just want to stir it to combine all of the ingredients. You don't have to worry about kneading it because the point of this recipe is to let time do the work, in terms of forming your gluten. Just stir it with your hand to hydrate everything. Then once you have a shaggy mess . . . let me clean my fingers off. Then you can either cover this with some plastic wrap, or I like to use a lid, and a lid is fine, too. There's still enough air in the container that putting a lid on this while its fermenting isn't going to inhibit it in any way. Then you're going to let this sit out at room temperature for about 12 to 18 hours. I really, really think that this recipe benefits from a little longer fermentation, so I like to try to let it go for about 18 hours.

This is the no-knead bread. It has been proofing for 18 hours. Ideally, it should proof between 12 and 18 hours. My preference is to let it proof as long as possible and to watch how it's proofing. You're watching how it's proofing; you're watching these gorgeous bubbles forming in the dough. You can see them really well in this container. What we do after the dough has fermented for its full 18 hours, is we're going to dump the dough out onto a floured surface. This is a really wet dough, so use a lot of flour. You can use your hand to scoop the dough very gently onto the surface. This dough really likes a gentle touch. You can see a very, very beautiful network of fermented dough.

What we're going to do, we're going to just get our board that we're going to proof the dough onto, and we're going to spread a really generous amount of wheat bran onto the board so that the bread doesn't stick on the board when it proofs. We're going to very gently shape this dough. To shape this dough, don't think of it as a traditional shaping; think of it as just a folding over. Fold once, fold twice, like you're folding a package. Then that's it. You take the dough up like this, and you put it onto the wheat bran-covered surface like that. Then you let it proof for about 1 to 2 hours. My preference is about 2 hours. So that the surface doesn't get dried out, we're going to cover it with a towel.

Our no-knead bread has been proofing for 1 1/2 hours, and it looks really ready to go into the oven, to me. The reason why I say that is I'm going to check the sides of it. I'm going to stick my finger in a bowl of flour, and then I'm going to push in. If you can see that indentation, it's still in the bread; it's not springing back right away, and that's a sign that the bread is proofed. We can do that on the top of the loaf, too. See? It does spring back on the top of the loaf, although it springs back more quickly than the sides, and that's a big sign that your bread is proofed and it's ready to go into the oven. We're going to put this no-knead bread into a 450-degree preheated oven. We've preheated the oven with the Dutch oven in it so that the Dutch oven is the same temperature as the oven.

The first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to take the lid off the Dutch oven. Then this is going to require a little bit of juggling. I'm going to sprinkle the top of the loaf with some wheat bran, and this is so that it doesn't stick. I'm going to take this all the way over to my oven. I'm just very gently going to use my hands and quickly transfer it to the Dutch oven. I'm going to get under the bread with my hands and I'm going to just gently drop it into the Dutch oven. I'm going to grab my hot pads and put the lid on the Dutch oven. This lid is going to help the bread steam, and you want the bread to steam for the first 20 minutes because that's what helps the bread open up and have a more open crumb structure.

My no-knead bread has been in the oven for 20 minutes. I'm going to take the lid off of the Dutch oven so that the steam can continue to evaporate off of the bread so that a crust can form. Cool. That will bake for another 20 minutes, and I'll set my timer for 20 minutes.

Our no-knead bread has been in the oven for 40 minutes, and we're going to check on it. Here we have our bread. It's lighter on the surface, but we're going to test it; we're going to tap on the bottom. That is a beautiful hollow sound. That's what we want. This bread is done. You can see it's just ever so slightly starting to scorch, so it's a perfect time to take it out of the oven. We're going to take it out of the oven and let it cool down.

That's how you make no-knead bread.

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