If you haven’t tried no-knead bread yet, there’s no time like the present. With an active time of about 15 minutes and a method that allows inexperienced bread bakers to achieve astonishing results, it’s high time you get acquainted with this approach to bread.
You can more or less use whatever wheat flour you’ve got kicking around.
You do need a good proportion of gluten in the flour to make this recipe work, so you will want to stick to wheat flour for this, though. There are no-knead, gluten-free bread recipes out there, but they’re functionally very different, so that’s a series for another month. Our base recipe uses half bread flour and half white whole wheat flour, but these flour configurations also work:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (which is not as good for you, but has enough gluten and most folks have in their cupboards)
- 3 cups whole wheat flour + 1 Tbsp. vital gluten (which is better for you)
You cannot cheat the rising time.
When we say 12-15 hours, we mean “15 hours is better, but you can get away with 12.” We tested as low as 8, but because the method is dependent on a long, slow rise, you’ll end up with a flat, sticky ball that won’t hold its shape and which will flatten out in baking if you skimp on the initial rise.
Dutch ovens are ideal, but can be done without.
Baking in a Dutch oven (a large, heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pan with an oven-safe lid) helps keep the moisture trapped in, steaming the crust as it bakes for a gorgeous, crackly crust. If you don’t have one, however, you can bake your loaf at the same temperature on a pizza stone or baking sheet. For the best crust, DO NOT open the oven until you hit the end of the baking time.