Hello everyone! It’s Roxy here.
I think it’s safe to say I’m a little excited (too excited, maybe?) to share this recipe with you all.
I’ve been working on this easy no knead bread for the past 4-5 months and it’s something I’m very, very proud to finally bring into the world!
I started this ‘no knead’ bread journey for a number of reasons:
- When our children grow up and think of home, I want them to remember the smell of freshly-baked bread in the morning!
- I’ve realised lots of bread you’ll find in the supermarkets is highly processed and can contain over 20 ingredients!
- Homemade bread always tastes the best!
- As a family, we rarely have any spare time so this easy no knead recipe ticks all the right boxes.
What equipment will I need?
- We use a 5.5 quart (4.2 litre) dutch oven with a 24cm (9.4”) diameter made by Le Creuset, which we’ve owned for as long as we can remember – and it will probably outlive us! If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can use a similar-sized oven-proof pot with an oven-proof lid, both of which must be able to reach temperatures of 220°C fan (475°F). It’s also important the lid fits securely to trap the steam inside the pot, which will create the amazing crust.
- The only other equipment you’ll need is a large mixing bowl, wooden spoon and a spatula.
Why didn’t my bread rise?
- The reason your bread didn’t rise is the yeast, which probably expired or it was exposed to too much heat and moisture. It’s important to always check the expiry date and store the packet of yeast in a cool dry cupboard.
Why do I need to ‘stretch and fold’ the dough?
- ‘Stretching’ and ‘folding’ the dough helps to strengthen the bread. It also traps more air in the dough, which will help the dough rise while it’s in the oven. The truth is, the more stretching and folding you do, the higher the dough might rise. But after months of testing, we’ve found that stretching just the 4 times (‘north’, ‘south’, ‘east’ and ‘west’) before the dough goes in the oven, creates just enough rise for a near-perfect bake.
- Fast action dried yeast will almost always work even if you use cold water. However, the reason we recommend using lukewarm water (approx 38°C / 100°F) is this will kickstart the yeast activity and, if necessary, you can check if the yeast is definitely working. If the bread hasn’t begun to rise after 1-2 hours, there’s a chance the yeast isn’t active.
- For this recipe, we prefer to measure our ingredients – including the water – in weight, not volume. This method is almost always more accurate, however we’ve also provided the measurements in volume (cups) if you prefer.
- ‘Fast action dried yeast’ is also called ‘quick rise’ and ‘instant’ yeast so they can all be used interchangeably. However – if you prefer to use ‘active dried yeast’, this will need to be activated first in the water as per the packet instructions.
- Plain flour is the same as all-purpose flour. Other types of flour, including gluten-free or wholemeal, will also work – but the results will be different and the bread will be slightly tougher.
Easy No Knead Bread
- 480 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 tsp fast action dried yeast, see notes
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 380 g lukewarm water, see notes
- Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and stir with a wooden spoon until fully combined. The dough should be rough and very sticky, so don’t panic if it feels quite hard to work with. Now cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave the dough to rest at room temperature for 12-18 hours (we leave ours overnight).
- The next day, preheat the oven to 220°C fan / 475°F. As soon as it has come to temperature, place the dutch oven with its lid on inside the oven for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile take a look at the dough, which should now be puffy with lots of bubbles. Generously flour a clean worktop, then use a spatula to gently ease the dough out onto the worktop. Dust both the dough and your fingers with more flour, then ‘stretch and fold’ the dough 4 times by pulling each edge up and over itself to form a ball of dough (think of the dough as having four sides ‘north’, ‘south’, ‘east’ and ‘west’ - and each side needs to be pulled/stretched, then folded over itself). Now turn the dough upside down, then gently rotate it with your hands to form a ball and until the top is smooth. Note: you can sprinkle the dough with a little more flour if it’s too sticky to work with.
- Carefully transfer the ball of dough onto a sheet of baking paper. Then, once the dutch oven is ready, carefully remove it from the oven and remove the lid. Using the baking paper, carefully drop the dough inside the dutch oven so it remains on the baking paper. Using scissors, cut a 5cm (2”) slit into the top of the dough and sprinkle the top with a little more flour. Cover with the lid, then bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes or until the crust is perfectly golden brown.
- Carefully remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a cooling rack. Leave to cool before slicing.