If you follow me on Instagram Stories, you know how proud I am of my latest accomplishment: Baking my first loaf of bread! It was one of my goals for the year, and I snuck it in under the wire with only a few weeks to spare.
The only question was: Where do I start?
I did extensive research. A lot of the recipes I found were too hard for a first attempt, so I finally settled on this recipe from the New York Times and am so glad that I did. Literally, it came out perfectly after only two tries.
The only reason my first loaf wasn’t perfect is that I didn’t let it rise for long enough… Patience is key in bread-making, apparently. I’ve included that tip and more notes below for each step of the process based on my experience in italics.
No-Knead Bread Recipe from the New York Times
– 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting (I used King Arther Unbleached Organic All-Purpose Flour)
– ¼ tspn instant yeast
– ¼ tspn salt (I used ½ tspn)
– Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed (I just used more flour)
– In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt.
– Add 1 5/8 cups water (I just eyeballed between 1 3/4 and 2 cups in my glass measuring cup), and stir until blended. I used the Dough Hook attachment on my KitchenAid® Artisan® Stand Mixer.
– Dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
– Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. I suggest 18 hours if you can swing it!
– Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.
– Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Make sure there’s enough flour so dough doesn’t stick to the surface.
– Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
– Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. This step is a little tricky but you just have to go for it with no fear! It’s ok if the ball doesn’t look perfect.
– Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal.
– Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. On my first attempt, I let it rise for 1.5 hours and it wasn’t enough, the loaf was very thin. The second time, I let it rise for 3 hours and it was perfect.
– When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
– At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats.
– When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K.
– Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
– Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.
– Cool on a rack.
Photos by Courtney Ann Photography.