I’ve always been a bit reluctant to make my own bread. Every person I’ve ever met who bought a bread maker has told me with zealous zeal how awesome and easy they were to use, followed by a look of sorrow as they admitted how much weight they gained. Add to that a small rental kitchen without enough space for a pots and pans let alone a bread maker and a rather wonky oven and I had my doubts. 

But I was intrigued to hear about the no knead bread method over at Gourmet Girlfriend’s blog and instagram account. The recipe originates from Mark Bittman and was reproduced in the New York Times and has been tried by zillions of people. I like that we’ve all made it a bit different and tried different variations. I like that by buying some bulk flour and yeast, I don’t need to go out and buy fancy bread. I can store it in a calico bag in the fridge instead of plastic wrapping. I can bake other things in the oven whilst baking the bread like pasta bakes and casseroles (negating the cost travel) and the house smells amazing. I know what’s in the bread and it’s preservative free. 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt.

Instructions

  1. Place flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Mix lightly until all ingredients are combined and sticky. 
  3. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and a rubber band (so it doesn’t blow away). I pop mine in the warm sun for a bit if I make it during the day but you don’t have to. It will bubble and expand and smell rather yeasty.

Leave covered for 12-18 hours. 

The next day:

  1. Flour a chopping board. 
  2. Remove the dough and pop onto the board.
  3. Fold it into itself so it becomes a bit more ball like.
  4. Cover slightly with plastic wrap or tea towel and leave for 15 mins. 
  5. Remove and dust top and bottom with flour. 
  6.  Heat your oven to it’s highest temperature (250C) 
  7. A little spray oil or olive oil to the bottom and sides of your baking pot
  8. Transfer the dough into the pot with a lid.
  9. Place in the oven for 30 mins. Be aware it will be VERY hot. Your oven mitts may not be thick enough so use layers to remove it at any stage
  10. Remove the lid (CAREFULLY) and place back in the oven for 15 mins. 
  11. Turn out (yes carefully onto a wire rack until cool.

*Don’t have one? Me neither. I’ve used a ceramic casserole dish with a lid and also a cake tin covered in foil and both have worked fine.

                                                         

Variations:

  • I tried using self raising flour rather than plain flour out of curiousity more than anything and it produces a more spongey, cakey bread a bit more like home made muffins. I think it would work well in making French toast.
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  • A couple of tablespoons of chopped herbs (I used parsley, rosemary, oregano and thyme) works well.
  • Similarily a tablespoon of pitted olives
  • Fancy a sweeter bread: add 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup dried fruit of choice, 1 tablespoon cinnamon to the original mix
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