This is not my first go at baking fresh bread. I’ve tried before but my bread has always turned out a little too tough or did not rise as well as I’d hope. But one of my coworkers, an avid baker, showed me this recipe for no-knead bread that was posted on the New York Times years ago. It’s been advertised as “so easy a four-year-old can do it!” That means I can do it too, right?
I had to give it a shot and put a spin of my own on it by adding a little roasted garlic, toppings, and extra salt. And it was a glorious success! Check out those beautiful air pockets!
The key to this bread is the high water to flour ratio and it’s long rising time. The wet dough uses time (hours and hours) to glutenize the flour instead of mechanically working the dough. The result is a crusty bread with a chewy center with barely any effort at all. Seriously, you touch the dough for maybe a total of 10 minutes.
The steps to this versatile recipe are simple: mix, cover, let it sit. Fold, cover, let it sit. Cover, bake, uncover, let it sit. I made a delicious grilled cheese sandwich with gouda, pesto, and a little stoneground mustard. Heaven in my mouth.
P.S. Due to the high water content the bread crust tends to lose its crunch after sitting overnight. But that’s alright. That’s what ovens and toasters are for.
No-Knead Roasted Garlic Bread
Adapted from SteamyKitchen , makes one 9-in round loaf
Total Time: 14-20 hours (Prep time: 15 min, Bake time: 40-50 min)
- 3 cups of bread flour (all-purpose could also be used, although I prefer bread flour)
- 1 1/2 cups of warm water
- 1 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 – 2 heads of garlic, roasted (in the loaf pictured, I used 1 head. Definitely should’ve used more!)
- 1/2 cup of various toppings (I used poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, fried onions, and sesame seeds for the top of the bread. Cornmeal for the bottom.)
- 1 large (6-qt) oven-safe pot with lid (use one that can withstand 450 degrees F and is at least 4 inches high)
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, water, salt, and yeast together with your hands until just combined. It won’t look pretty but that’s alright. The dough will also be quite sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for at least 8 hours (and up to 20 hours). I store it in the oven overnight.
- The dough is ready when it has expanded, and the top has little holes scattered over it. Dump the dough out on a floured surface using a spatula or your hands to pull the stringy, weblike dough away from the bowl. The dough should come together easily and feel pillowy and light.
- Gently flatten the dough slightly with your hands and place the roasted garlic cloves on top. Then fold the dough in half twice (along the imaginary vertical line and the horizontal line. Gently tuck in the edges of the dough so that it forms a nice round dome.
- On a large piece of parchment paper, dump the toppings on and spread it evenly on the paper. Place the round ball of dough onto the toppings (if you want to omit the toppings, use flour). Place the parchment paper with the dough in a large bowl. Cover with a towel and let the dough rest for about 2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.
- During the last 30 min of resting, place the covered pot into the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. When the oven and pot are ready, sprinkle the top of the dough with some cornmeal (this will be the bottom of the bread). Flip the blob of dough into the pot and shake the pot a few times to distribute the dough evenly in the pot. Cover the pot and bake for 30 min.
- Uncover the pot and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when you tap on it.
- Let the bread cool before cutting into it. It will crackle while it cools!
- Enjoy with a generous slab of butter! Or make a sandwich :)