Baking bread from scratch is an accomplishment. Not because it’s necessarily difficult, although it can be. It’s an accomplishment because, with just flour, water, salt and yeast, you take part in a 30,000 year old baking tradition. It’s the same tradition your grandmother and her mother, and 100 mothers before her, have taken part in, and with the same meager ingredients. Also- it just tastes so much better.
However, not all of us have time, funds or space to make fresh bread every day, knead the dough, or buy fancy equipment. Some of us don’t even have an electric mixer! But don’t give up hope, there can still be homemade bread in your future. I’ve adapted a no-knead bread recipe that truly could not be easier. The yeast does nearly all the work for you, the dough keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks, and you don’t need any equipment you don’t already have. Plus, it tastes like the warmest, crispiest, fluffiest everything bagel you’ve ever had! Are you with me?
There are a couple things to keep in mind when making this recipe. This recipe yields a lot of dough. If you bake it all at once, you will have an enormous loaf. Enormous bread is awesome, but since this bread is homemade, it doesn’t have any icky preservatives, so it won’t stay soft as long as store bought bread. So, only bake what you can use in a few days, and keep the rest of the dough in the fridge until you need to bake more.
It’s also important to leave this loaf be while it rises. Seriously, just don’t touch it! When I say it’s no-knead, I really mean you shouldn’t knead it, since the yeast is busy making gas bubbles to lift and fluff-ify the bread. If you punch the dough down, knead it or squash those bubbles in some other way, you’ll end up with super dense, heavy bread rather than the happy, pillowy bread that you deserve! This bread wants you to relax while it takes care of the bubbles. Let the dough do its thing!
I hope you love this bread as much as I do! This recipe was adapted from a recipe for No-Knead 5-Minute Artisan Bread from Leite’s Culinaria.
3 cups water, slightly warmer than body temperature
20 ice cubes
1 tsp sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
1- 1 1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste
6 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus an extra 1/2 cup for dusting the loaf and the board
1-3 tablespoons Everything Bagel Seasoning- I found mine at Trader Joe’s, you can mix equal amounts of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, course salt, dried onion and dried garlic to make your own!
1 baking sheet
1 oven safe baking dish
1 large mixing bowl
Measuring cups and spoons
1 Sharp knife
- Dissolve 1 packet of active dry yeast, 1 tsp sugar, and 1-1 1/2 tsp salt into 3 cups of lukewarm water. Stir gently to dissolve and pour into a large mixing bowl.
- Measure 6 1/2 cups of flour by spooning the flour into the measuring cup and leveling off the top of the cup.
- Add the flour to the water and yeast mixture all at once and stir with a spoon until combined and there are no dry flour patches. Be careful not to over work the dough.
- Drape a towel or piece of parchment over the bowl and let it rise for two hours at room temperature. Don’t worry about it checking on it, just walk away for two hours and it’ll be ready when you come back.
- After two hours, cut the amount of dough you want to use and store the rest in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and dust the paper with flour.
- Place the dough on the baking sheet and roughly shape it into a ball by tucking the edges underneath. The shaping of the dough should only take 15-30 seconds to make sure the dough isn’t overworked.
- Let the dough rest on the baking sheet for about 20 minutes while the oven heats up. You want the oven to be at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for a little while before you bake the dough.
- While you wait for the oven to heat up, cover the top of the dough with the everything bagel spice and very gently press the spices into the top of the dough.
- Using a very sharp knife, cut an X into the top of the dough. This allows the dough to expand while baking.
- Bake the baking tray with the dough on the middle rack of the oven. Place an oven safe baking dish or another baking sheet with 10-20 ice cubes on the bottom rack. This will cause steam in the oven which allows the crust to stay soft in the first stages of baking so the loaf can expand freely while the yeast is still active.
- Bake the bread for about 25-35 minutes, until the crust is browned and firm.
- Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack before slicing for the best texture.