My mom came across this recipe a year or two ago in a NY Times article and I have made it at least 50 times since. It ALWAYS gets rave reviews, and I just smirk because I know the truth. It’s 4 ingredients and it takes about 4 minutes to whip together and a 4 year old could make it with no problem at all. No one ever believes me when I say it’s this easy. They always say, “Yeah, right. You have your own food blog. You have no sense of what is ‘easy’ anymore!” Fine, I say. Don’t try it. I’ll just keep getting rave reviews on something that a pre-schooler could make.
The trick to this bread is simply remembering to start it 14-20 hours in advance (I prefer less to more – sometimes after the dough sits too long, it gets tired and falls flat). Typically for me that means just starting it late at night before I go to bed. If you can do that, then I promise – you can make this bread with no problems at all.
RECIPE UPDATE: I just bought this cast iron Dutch oven set to cook this bread in after reading a recommendation for it in the Tartine bread book. It’s AWESOME! You can use it to bake this bread, and when you’re not baking, you can use it for soups, roasts, and anything else you cook in a Dutch oven! Simply preheat the entire Dutch oven, invert your dough onto the lid portion, set the 5 quart Dutch oven on top and voila! Your own steam oven for only $35!
no knead bread
from The New York Times
3 cups of bread flour
1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups luke-warm tap water
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the water and stir until well mixed. Your dough will be VERY wet. Don’t stress. It’s supposed to be that way. Work the dough well to ensure that all the flour is absorbed. Chunks of raw flour in the middle of your bread are unsightly and gross.
Cover the dough with well greased plastic wrap. If your house is cold like mine, you can microwave a glass of water until it’s very hot and then put the bread in the microwave overnight. The heat from the steam will keep the microwave warmer than the ambient air. If your house is 70 degrees or more, just leave it on the counter and it will be fine. Let sit for 12-18 hours. (I have found 18 hours to be a little too long – I always aim for closer to 12 hours). Your dough should have risen substantially and be very bubbly.
Pour your dough out on a floured cutting board and fold in on itself a few times so that it’s less of a blob and more of a ball. Since the dough is so wet, I just use a rubber spatula to lift one edge and flop it into the center. Then I do the same in a circular motion.
Cover with a clean towel and let sit for 1 hour. The dough will probably flatten back out. Again, no stress folks. Remember – four year olds can make this!
After an hour, preheat your oven to 450 WITH THE POT INSIDE! That’s important enough to warrant all caps. Once it’s preheated, let your pot sit in there for another half hour. You want the pot to be so very hot that the dough will cook instantly when it touches the pot. Otherwise, the dough will stick to the pot and you’ll never get your loaf out in one piece. Been there, done that, and it’s not pretty. Very, very hot is the goal.
Working quickly, pull your pan out of the oven, sprinkle some flour on the bottom, and dump your wet dough into the pan. It’ll look ugly. That’s okay. Put the lid on it and put it back in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove lid, raise the oven temperature to 500, and cook for 20 more minutes or until dark golden brown.
Remove from oven and immediately remove bread from the pan. Let sit on a wire rack until cool.
Rip or slice into pieces and enjoy with butter or dip it in a homemade sauce. My personal favorite dipping sauce was created by my chef friend Dave Hutchings – simply mix olive oil, balsalmic vinegar, garlic, salt, and fresh orange zest for a stunning combination that will leave your guests asking what the secret ingredient is.