Bread aficionados, look away!
Making bread is daunting! I get it. many friends have asked me if it’s possible to make good tasting homemade bread without fancy tools, a starter, days of work, days of kneading or even a kitchen scale. Yes, people, yes it’s possible (but you should still get that kitchen scale). This recipe is a compilation of my favorite no-knead same-day low-key bread recipes, including Julia’s (also I require you all to watch her make bread), complete with some of my personal tweaks. What you’ll get is a beautiful round loaf with crusty outers and full-flavored, squishy inners in about 2 hours.
NOTE: You will need a dutch oven or a big oven-safe pot with a lid (~ 5 or 6-quart size will work). You can make this in a stand mixer or by hand. You may not need all of the flour in this recipe. for example, if your kitchen is cold or humid, you may need more or less than what’s called for. if this happens, just trust your gut!
Makes 1 loaf // 2 hours start to finish (mostly hands-off)
— 1.25 cups warm water (about 100°F)
— 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
— 2.25 teaspoons active dry yeast (a packet)
— 2 teaspoons kosher salt
— 2.5 cups all purpose flour (plus some extra for dusting)
1. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment), combine warm water, sugar and yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is foamy and the yeast is aliveeeeeee.
2. Add kosher salt and flour to the bowl, a bit at a time, and mix (on low speed if in a mixer) until the flour is incorporated and the dough begins to smooth out and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
3. Lightly flour all sides of the dough (to keep it from sticking, don’t mix it in) and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. let it rise on the counter in a warm spot for about 1 hour, or until it’s doubled in size.
4. Once the dough has risen, lightly flour a clean, dry surface and gently tip the dough out of the bowl onto the surface. *IMPORTANT: don’t punch the dough down! You want all the fluffiness you can get to ensure airy bread* Sprinkle a little flour as needed, then shape the dough into a round loaf (I pull the corners toward the center and then flip the dough over so it’s a clean circle). Flour a small bowl (or proofing basket!) and add your dough seam-side down. Cover with a kitchen towel again, and let rise 30 minutes more.
5. While your dough rises, place an empty dutch oven or large oven-proof pot with the lid on in your oven and heat to 450°F.
6. Once the dough has rested, carefully tip it out onto a piece of parchment paper. If you want to add a design, now’s your time: slash top with a serrated or very sharp knife a few times. Using the sides of the parchment paper, carefully lift and place the dough into the hot dutch oven. Close the lid, transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, covered.
7. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue to bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes more, or until the bread is deep golden brown in color and crusty. Let cool on a cooling rack for 20 minutes before slicing and serving!