Once I really got into cooking and baking on my own, one of the things on my to-try list was baking bread from scratch. I love a good loaf of hearty no-knead overnight rustic bread, the kind you can cut a thick slice of and smother with softened butter. To be able to recreate something like that with my own two hands would be amazing. The first loaf of bread I made was with my own two hands, including the close to 20 minutes of kneading time it took me. Kneading is tough work, especially if your hands are not used to the maneuver, or strong enough yet. It does make you feel accomplished, and with practice, it gets easier. I definitely recommend trying your hand at kneading and making bread from scratch.
Once you’ve tried it a few times, you can try this easy, no-knead recipe. This recipe and style of prep made the rounds a few years ago when it was featured in the New York Times. I’m glad I found it, because it makes heavenly dough while you sleep, and then you get to enjoy warm bread the next day. It also makes an amazing, rustic-style, crusty bread, perfect for slicing and eating with a smear of butter (and maybe some jelly). Yum.
Some notes: Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray! Be sure to use a heavy pot with a lid. I don’t yet have a dutch oven (but I’m yearning for this one), so I usually improvise and use a stainless steel pot that can go in the oven. I just cover it with foil. Also be sure to spray the pan with cooking spray, so the dough doesn’t stick (one time, I forgot to do this step, and the bread stuck to the bottom of the pan! I couldn’t get it unstuck cleanly, and had to resort to cutting it out, thereby losing a great deal of bread, oh the agony!)
No-knead Overnight Rustic Bread
No-knead Overnight Rustic Bread: the kind you can cut a thick slice of and smother with softened butter. You’ll have to work for this delicious treat.
Prep Time: 5 minutes, plus 12-18 hours overnight time, plus 2 hours rise time
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 20 hours, 45 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf of bread
- 3 cups bread flour (I like King Arthur flour best!)
- 1/4 teaspoon yeast
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
**You’ll also need a large covered pot that can go into the 450*F oven (cast iron or stainless steel)**
- The night before, mix together in a large bowl the flour, yeast, salt, and water. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until the dough just comes together. It will be sticky and shaggy.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature overnight, anywhere from 12-18 hours. The longer you let it sit, the more developed the flavor of the bread will be.
- When you come back the next day, the dough will be sticky and the surface dotted with bubbles. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface (clean cutting board or countertop).
- Wet your hands and shape the dough into a ball. Place the ball onto a large piece of parchment paper that you have sprayed with cooking spray.
- Place the parchment paper and the dough into a large bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours. The dough will double in size.
- When there is half an hour left for the rise, preheat the oven to 450*F and place the pot inside.
- When the 2 hours of rise are up, carefully remove the pot from the oven and spray the bottom and sides with cooking spray. Plop the dough into the pot.
- Cover the pot with lid (if you don’t have one, you can use aluminum foil) and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until crust is deeply brown. Remove pot from oven, and cool bread on a wire rack. Let it cool fully before cutting.
- Serve with butter and/or jam, and Enjoy!