Imagine the pleasure of serving wholesome, homemade breads as often as you like without the fuss, mess, and time required to knead a traditional yeast-leavened loaf. Unlike most bread recipes, these tasty creations call for stirring the yeast in with all the dry ingredients. After that, the dough just sits on a counter and gradually kneads itself. As an added bonus, this unhurried rise boosts bread flavor and aroma. Less work. More flavor. Now that's a pleasure.
4 Easy Steps
1. Mix the Right Stuff Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients in large bowl. Always use rapid-rising yeast, aka fast-rise, instant, or bread machine yeast. (Regular active dry yeast doesn't dissolve well in ice water.) Opt for unbleached all-purpose flour, bread flour, or very fresh whole-wheat flour.
2. First Rise Let dough rise at room temperature (70°F) for 8 to 24 hours, depending on the recipe. The dough can be refrigerated for 3 to 8 more hours beforehand for richer flavor or convenience, but must have this slow first rise for kneading and flavor development.
3. Second Rise Add more flour to correct dough texture. (Even with careful measuring, the amount of water needed can vary due to differences in batches of flour.) Then let the dough rise 45 minutes to 2 1/2 hours.
4. Bake No-knead breads tend to brown more readily than traditional ones, so test with a skewer or bread thermometer. Err on the side of overbaking (it won't dry out breads) to ensure the interiors are done.
No-knead bread was how people made bread thousands of years agobefore they discovered that by pulling, beating, stretching, stirring, or otherwise "kneading" wheat doughs they could speed up the gluten-developing process. A number of bakers experimented with the no-knead approach in the early 20th century, and versions of no-knead breads have been circulating in the United States for decades. A renewed interest in the technique followed a no-knead bread recipe published in 2006 in The New York Times.
From Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads
Reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons