Game Changer: No Knead Bread

13 Oct

I just made the greatest loaf of bread ever. Okay, maybe not the greatest loaf of bread ever, but one that is so staggeringly delicious and seemingly professional that I can’t believe it came out of my kitchen. Click “more” for bread porn, and more on the recipe.

No Knead Bread3

No-Knead Bread is one of the Minimalist’s greatest hits, among Mark Bittman’s most popular recipes.  He got the recipe from Jim Lahey, but it wasn’t until Bittman ran the recipe in his Times column that it achieved its cult-like status.  The method appears in How to Cook Everything as Jim Lahey’s No-Work Bread.  “The word ‘recipe’ does not do this technique justice,” Bittman writes in the HTCE version, which is the one I used.*

In this exalted method of home bread baking, a wet, sticky dough rises for 18 hours, then rests for 15 minutes, rises for another 2 hours, and finally gets baked inside a preheated cast iron pot to mimic an industrial or commercial stove–the pot traps the steam, leading to an artisan quality loaf. You won’t believe the results: a crackly crust and great crumb structure makes the bread look like it came from a professional bakery. It’s not hard–all you need to do this is the foresight to mix the flour, salt, yeast and water about 24 hours before you want to eat the bread.

No Knead Bread6

In short, everything you’ve read about this incredible method is true. Go, make it.

*There’s also the recipe that ran in the original Times article, which is slightly different, and the variation published a couple years later where Bittman adapted the recipe to be faster and whole-wheatier. Finally, there’s a HTCE variation on No-Work Bread with a shorter 8-hour rise.

The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work [nytimes]
No-Knead Bread [nytimes video]
No-Knead Bread: Not Making Itself Yet, but a Lot Quicker [nytimes]
No-Knead Bread Revisited [nytimes video]

15 Responses to “Game Changer: No Knead Bread”