Thursday, October 22, 2009

No Fear - No Knead Bread

As long as I can remember I have had (what I admit to be) a completely unreasonable fear of yeast. I have avoided recipes that called for yeast like the plague. I can't really explain this fear, I know not from whence it came, but this past Monday night, at exactly 6pm, I finally conquered my fear of yeast.



I mean just look at it. Is that gorgeous or what? It rose out of my oven like a phoenix out of the ashes, like Athena sprung from the head of Zeus! It was pure magic people! Baking bread is like some kind of wizardly alchemy!!! I can't believe I've never done it till now! It came with a shattering crust and a delightfully tender and chewy crumb. It looked like a sourdough loaf, but tasted more like country bread. I can't even tell you how anxious I am to move on to sourdough, as soon as I get my starter. I'm new to this bread thing, but now I'm all gung-ho about it. Soft pretzels? On the list, cinnamon rolls? Oh baby, yes! Swedish Cardamom Bread? Abso-freakin-lutely. All will hopefully be making appearances on my counter soon. If only I can find the time.

Because here's the thing about bread-making. It takes a bit of time. It's not so much about the effort, there's really very little of that. What you'll need is a whole lot of patience. I started with Mark Bittman's recipe for quick No Knead Bread. Several sources had pointed me in that direction for it's short time requirement and it's relative ease. I couldn't have been happier with it. Such a painless process to get started with! I can't wait to try something more involved.

Seriously. You'll be so proud of yourself when you take this out of the oven. I've literally been showing off my sandwich slices to friends and co-workers, "See? See this? It may look like a loaf from the store, but it's not! I made this!"

I'm embarrassing myself.

I realize others might not share my fear of yeast (just one of many phobia's including flying and snakes (you can imagine how terrified I was when Snakes on a Plane came out)) and I'm happy to be able to strike this one off the list! But anyway, it's a great starter recipe if you're looking to make some bread and don't own a breadmaker. My handy 3.5 quart Le Creuset was the perfect fit for this recipe.


No Knead Bread
Mark Bittman - NY Times

3 cups bread flour
1 packet ( 1/4 ounce) instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 & 1/2 cups water
Oil as needed.

Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and set aside for at least 4 hours in a warm dry place, around 70 degrees. If it's not warm enough the dough will take longer to rise.

Once your dough has risen, llightly oil a work surface and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a dish towel and let it rest 30 minutes more.

Once the dough has been covered and set aside, immediately heat the oven to 450 degrees. Put a 3.5 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When the dough has rested for 30 minutes, remove the hot pot from the oven and place the dough inside. Shake the pot once or twice to let the dough settle at the bottom, it will settle even more as it bakes.

Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.


  1. maybe I'm just blind this morning, but did you post how much water to add? I don't see it in the list of measured ingredients :(

  2. Oops, you're right, I missed it! Updated! Thanks Allie!

  3. I LOVE yeast! And I love baking bread! And I want that Le Cruset! I usually use a glass Pyrex bread pan for bread, though I have also been known to use those throwaway ones from the grocery store. I have a few bread recipes that I want to try, but I never have the energy to do it. No-knead might be the way to go...

  4. It really is as easy as can be! I'm going to start an overnight dough tonight, we'll see how that one goes!

  5. You say that your handy 3.5 quart Le Creuset was the perfect fit for this recipe but then you say to put a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot in the oven. Which size is correct?


  6. Hi Shania,

    Typo on my part. I uesd my 3.5 quart the whole way through, worked perfectly!