The idea originated with Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC. In 2006, Mark Bittman, an iconic food writer with the NY Times, published it. A wet dough and slow fermentation take the place of kneading. It’s pure magic. You will love the cracking crust, open-holed crumb, light texture, and homemade flavor.
The only trick is remembering to mix the dough the night before you want it.
See ya, sourdough starters!
4 cups all-purpose flour OR
2 cups all-purpose and 2 cups whole wheat
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 cups water, room temperature
In a big bowl combine whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour, salt and yeast. Pour the water into the bowl and using a spatula or a wooden spoon, mix it until it's all incorporated. It will be sticky, so just mix until most of the flour is incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 18 hours.
Preheat oven to 475. Add your 5-6 court Dutch oven to the oven and heat it as well while you're prepping the dough.
Flour your hands really well and sprinkle plenty of flour over the dough in the bowl. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl, scraping at the sides first, adding more flour as needed and roughly shape it into a ball. Take the ball of dough and drop it directly into the pot or place it on a piece of parchment paper and grab the parchment paper with the dough and place it in the pot. Be careful not to burn yourself, the pot will be quite hot, so use oven mitts to handle it. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven.
Bake the bread for 30 minutes covered with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown and crusty.
Remove from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and let cool before slicing and serving.
You can make this bread with 4 cups of whole wheat flour as well. If using all whole wheat flour, you may need a bit more water.
Always check the expiration date on your yeast and make sure it hasn’t expired. All your yeast products whether it’s in a jar or a package should be stamped with a “Best if Used by” date. Always make sure you check this date, even when you purchase the yeast, who knows it could have been on the shelf past its expiry date.
To keep your yeast fresh and longer lasting, unopened yeast packages or jars should be stored in a cool or dry place such as your cupboard. However, you can also store your yeast in the fridge or freezer. If you do store it in the freezer and need to use yeast for your baking, make sure you take out the amount you need and let it sit at room temperature for at least half hour before using.
Do not refrigerate the dough as it rises. It will be safe on your counter for 18 hours.
If you want to add other ingredients such as seeds, herbs or cheese, add them in the beginning when combining all the ingredients.
The slow rise at room temperature is what gives no knead bread its power. The yeast needs time to perform its magic.
To prevent your bread from sticking to the pot, make sure you pot is hot enough before adding the dough, or use parchment as mentioned in instructions. If the pot is very hot at the bottom, you bread will instantly begin to cook, letting it rise smoothly. Another option is to sprinkle some cornmeal on the bottom of the pot.
To check if the bread is cooked through, tap the bottom. Take the bread out of the Dutch oven, turn it upside down and give the bottom a firm thump with your thumb, or a knock. If it sounds hollow, it’s done. You can also use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bread, when it reaches between 190 and 200 your bread is done.
This bread can dry out a little easily so it is best to store it tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container to preserve it longer. You can store it like this for about 3 to 4 days right on the counter.
If you want to save your bread for longer, or make this loaf in advance: bake as instructed, let cool, wrap tightly or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
-adapted from jocooks.com