This no-knead bread needs just 6 ingredients, takes less than 5 minutes to combine, and 4 hours of proofing. Despite no-kneading, it has an amazing crust outside, yet light and airy texture on the inside. The best part is that it looks absolutely gorgeous and your guest won't believe you baked it.
Dry ingredients - In a bowl, combine flour and salt – and set aside.
Wet ingredients - In a measuring cup – measure the warm water, add olive oil, sugar, and yeast. Combine well.
Combine wet to dry ingredients - add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture.
Use a wooden spoon or spatula to combine it well making sure no dry flour is left on the bottom. This is a very wet dough, so don’t try touching it with your hand.Pro tip - the high hydration in the dough (water to flour ratio) is what gives us that crust on top and light and airy texture on the inside.
Cover with a clean kitchen cloth or plastic wrap. Leave on the countertop for an hour. Then, place in the fridge for 4 to 6 hours – up to 24 hours.Pro tip - the longer you proof artisan bread the more developed the flavor of the yeast. I would not recommend proofing longer than 24 hours.
Remove the dough from the fridge. Preheat the oven at 390°F / 200°C / Gas Mark 6
Place a 6-quarts cast-iron or Dutch oven with its lid in the oven for 30 minutes.Pro tip - I like to use my 4-quart dutch oven because I like a taller loaf of bread. You can also use ceramic if you don't have cast-iron
The dough will have become three times its size but still be very soft, sticky, and elastic with lots of air pockets.
Dust your work surface generously with flour. Remove the dough onto the floured work surface. It is best to use a dough scraper or spatula when working with this dough. Pro tip - flour is an absolute necessity when handling this dough otherwise it will stick to your hands and you will lose a lot of volume and quantity of bread.
Using a plastic scraper bring the dough together into a ball. Use flour on your hands and roll it around in the flour to prevent it from sticking to the work surface.
Take a parchment paper and scrunch it into a ball. Then open it. Lightly dust the parchment paper with flour. Place the ball of dough onto the parchment paper. Pro tip - crunching the paper makes it easier to slide the loaf into the hot pan later.
Place an inverted bowl over it while you wait for the cast-iron pan to heat up. Pro tip - dust a little flour on the top of the dough if you like a rustic loaf. Also, do not cover the dough with plastic wrap as it will stick to it.
Once 30 minutes are up – remove the cast-iron pan or dutch oven from the oven. Pick the dough by the parchment paper and lower it into the panPro tip - DO NOT TOUCH the pan as it is VERY hot. Wear your oven gloves at all times so you don't burn yourself.
Bake for 20 minutes covered then remove the lid and continue baking for another 20 minutes uncovered. Or until bursting and golden on top. Total about 40 to 45 minutes of cooking. Pro tip - The bread will have a burst effect on the top surface (that’s normal) and it should now have a lightly golden crust on top.
Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Lift the bread out by lifting the parchment paper. Transfer the bread on a wire rack – this will prevent the bread from getting soggy on the bottom.Pro tip - you do not want to keep the bread in the pan for long as the steam will cause the bread to become soft losing that crusty top and bottom.
Let cool for at least 20 minutes before you cut into the bread. Pro tip - never cut bread while it's hot, because steam escapes, and along with it all the moisture from the bread making it dry. Patience! 🧑🏻🍳
This dough is a high hydration bread, which means it has to be soft, wet, and sticky. Don't add more flour.
Flavor ideas - you can add so many ingredients to flavor this bread from chopped rosemary and thyme to olives, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, parmesan to cinnamon and pumpkin spice.
Do not try to knead it. Because it has too much water, and trying to knead it will be not just difficult but also not worth the effort.
Don't make haste with the proofing. We use less yeast in this bread so the proofing is slow. But it also helps develop flavor and structure. You can leave this in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
When baking, the top of the bread will have a burst effect because of steam trying to escape. If you do not like the burst effect you can score the bread on top before baking. Mark an X or just two slashes. This will direct steam to come out from those designated vents you created.
Pizza stone - The Dutch oven heats the bread at a very high temperature, which gives it that nice rise. While at the same time, because we use the lid, it creates steam inside the pan. This steam settles on top of the bread, which then, bakes into a nice hard crust. Alternatively, you can bake this without a Dutch oven directly on a pizza stone, and place a bowl of water at the back in the oven. This will give you a good crust, but the bread does spread giving you a shorter loaf similar to my no-knead beer bread.
Take the bread out of the tray as soon as it is out of the oven. This will prevent the bread from getting soggy on the bottom.
Do not cut the bread at least 20 minutes after it is out of the oven. This will prevent moisture in the form of steam from escaping from the bread resulting in dry bread.
Do not cover or wrap the bread while it is warm. The steam will soften the crust.
Do not store bread in the fridge as it will dry. Leave it on the counter at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
This is a great bread to freeze for up to 3 months and yet freeze slices instead of the whole bread.
Bread sunk at the bottom? - The pan in the oven must be very hot, which is why I asked you to let it heat for a minimum of 30 minutes. If the dough is put in a pan that's not hot enough, the dough will sink.
Dense dough? - The dough needs to be soft, wet, and sticky. The low yeast, high water content, and slow rise help gluten development. If you add too much flour the dough will be dense.
The dough did not rise after 6 hours? You must use warm water or room temperature water. Warm water will revive the yeast, while hot water will kill the yeast and the dough will not rise. If the water was the correct temperature then check the yeast, perhaps the yeast is past its expiration date.
Whole wheat bread - Unlike whole-wheat flour, white flour has gluten and it is what makes this bread light and airy. You can replace half the white flour with whole wheat as we did in our no-knead whole wheat olive bread. All whole wheat will need more yeast and will make a denser bread if not kneaded.
The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you