Saturday, March 24, 2012

Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread Recipe

This bread recipe is all over the Internet so by reproducing it here I'm not really contributing anything new except for my thoughts and opinions about it. Lately I've been having a hard time with the sourdough so this is my fall-back favorite.

This is the recipe that sparked my interest in bread baking. The best features of this bread:
  • it's easy ("no-knead"). You really need know nothing about bread making whatsoever to make this recipe. It's perfect for a beginner.
  • the bread is crusty and rustic looking, with an airy, light crumb
  • good shape with many flexible applications: sandwiches, toasts, garlic bread
  • as a "prepare the dough one night, bake the next night" recipe, this works for people like me who work all day


  • it requires a 6-8 quart pot with a lid. The pot I use is slightly smaller--probably no more than 4 or 5 quarts. I had to buy this pot specially for making this bread. It was a great investment. By the way, I've made this bread in a ceramic casserole dish without a lid and I can safely say it makes a difference. The crust was wrong.

I had my daughter make this loaf, so the pictures below were taken of her.

Jim Lahey's No-Knead Recipe (as featured on his website and in his book, My Bread--but I just noticed that the recipe on his website is slightly different than the recipe that I copied by hand out of his book) Preparation time: about 15 minutes of actual work, 24 hours to make a loaf

*Note that my version of this recipe is slightly different from the original, namely in the proofing time. I go for a longer proofing time so I can bake during the work week, but I've also found that the longer proofing time makes for a lighter loaf.

3 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon active or instant dry yeast
1 1/3 cup cool water

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the water. Work ingredients with your hands to form a wet and somewhat sticky dough. This takes about 4 minutes. Once the dough has been mixed, place it back in the bowl and cover with a hand towel. I usually do this around 8PM at night. Let the dough sit someplace warmish for about 18 hours.
  2. Let the dough rise for around 15-21 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. I usually let it sit until 5PM the following night. The dough will be risen and there will be bubbles at the surface. Scrape the sides of the dough off the bowl and tuck the sides of the dough underneath so it forms a deflated, semi-loose ball.
  3. Let the dough sit in a warm place with a hand towel over the bowl. After an hour and a half, turn on the oven to 475 degrees and place the ceramic dish with lid inside.
  4. When the dough has been sitting for two hours, scrape the sides of the dough off the bowl and tuck the sides of the dough underneath so it forms a deflated, semi-loose ball. Lightly flour the surface of the dough.
  5. Put the dough in the ceramic pot, then bake at 475 for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn down the oven to 400 degrees and remove the lid. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
I actually have no wire rack so I cool my bread loaves on a plate and turn them upside down after 20-30 minutes. I make a point to be in the kitchen for the first 5 or 10 minutes after removing the loaf from the oven because this loaf, more than other loaves I have baked, sings:)

1 comment:

  1. i only have a dutch oven that goes up to 400 degrees... can this recipe work with that? thanks