I love bread. My mother told me about this No Knead Bread recipe she found online by Mark Bittman that I had to taste. She said it was easy to prepare, had great structure and a nice crust. She wasn’t wrong, as usual. I decided I had to give it a try.
I did a little experimentation with flour and flavors with excellent results.
First, I prepared the recipe exactly as printed. I made one loaf with bread flour and one using all-purpose flour.
The loaf prepared with bread flour had a lighter yet still meaty texture and a thin crisp crust. I like this version if you are planning to use it for sandwiches like a Muffuletta or other pressed or grilled sandwich.
The loaf shown in the photo above was prepared with all-purpose flour. I found the texture moist and dense with lots of nice air pockets and a thicker crust than its bread flour counterpart. This loaf would be fantastic for dipping in olive oil or pesto or enjoy with a hunk of cheese, Capicola, and a great wine.
This was a great start but I needed to experiment a little bit further.
My next attempt I prepared a double recipe with all-purpose flour and added roasted garlic, chopped kalamata olives and fresh chopped rosemary. Yum!
Sometimes when you double a recipe your don’t see great results, you need to tinker with the recipe a bit. Not with this recipe. It doubled perfectly. Instead of baking in a round cast iron pan I used a 9×13 cast iron pan. It turned out like the Niche loaf you get from Panera.
I added the flavoring at the step when I formed the dough into a ball for the second rise. I think next time I’ll add the flavoring when I prepare the dough for the first rise. I believe the flavoring will be more thoroughly integrated into the loaf if add as part of the ingredients and not added after the first rise.
Why not try it with Wheat Flour?
I followed the original recipe using organic whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose or bread flour.
The wheat flour loaves are good but needed a little improvement. In my opinion, I felt they were a bit dry and could have used another 1/4 teaspoon of yeast. The dough was much denser than its white flour counterpart. Possibly add a tablespoon of honey with water.
I hope you give this recipe a try and #PlayWithYourFood trying new and different flavor combinations to customize your loaf of bread. I’m thinking of adding chopped snickers for a sweet breakfast loaf.
- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1¼ salt
- 1⅝ cup warm water
- Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting
- Roasted Garlic, Kalamata, & Rosemary Flavoring
- ¼ cup roasted garlic cloves
- ¼ cup kalamata olives, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and stir until blended; you’ll have a shaggy, sticky dough (add a little more water if it seems dry). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or put the olive oil in a second large bowl, transfer the dough to that, turn to coat with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for about 18 hours at about 70°F. The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Rising time will be shorter at warmer temperatures, a bit longer if your kitchen is 60–65°F.
- Lightly flour a work surface, remove the dough, and fold once or twice; it will be soft but, once sprinkled with flour, not terribly sticky. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for about 15 minutes.
- Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton (not terry cloth) towel with cornmeal or wheat bran (or use a silicone baking mat); put the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel (or plastic wrap) and let rise for about 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will be more than doubled in size and won’t spring back readily when poked with your finger.
- At least a half hour before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 450°F. Put a 3- to 4-quart covered pot (with the cover)—it may be cast-iron, enamel, Pyrex, or ceramic—in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. (Slide your hand under the towel and just turn the dough over into the pot; it’s messy, and it probably won’t fall in artfully, but it will straighten out as it bakes.) Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. (If at any point the dough starts to smell scorched, lower the heat a bit.) Remove the bread with a spatula or tongs and cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Do not bake bread on the bottom shelf, it will burn the bottom of your bread.