After deciding to stop buying bread earlier this year and start baking it instead, I’ve done a lot of experimenting with different recipes, flours, hydration percentages, proofing methods, and more. I’ve developed this recipe that suits my cool-ish Toronto kitchen and requires almost no kneading. A wrist injury in the summer left me unable to knead for more than a few minutes, but whatever your reasons for wanting a no-knead (or low-knead) bread, this recipe delivers.
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour
I often mix flours — 1 cup white, 2 cups whole wheat or rye; 2 cups white, 1 cup mixed-grain — but you can use any kind that you like, keeping in mind that whole grain flours might require a little more water content.
- Add yeast to water and stir. Leave for about 10 minutes until yeast has activated.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Once your yeast/water mixture has activated, add it to your flour/salt and combine well using your hands or a spoon, ensuring all flour is incorporated. Cover the bowl (I usually use a plate or beeswax wrap) and leave until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Scoop dough onto a surface generously sprinkled with flour and knead for about a minute, just until the dough is a bit less sticky. Make a ball by gently pulling from the edge and folding toward the centre, then place seam-down into a bowl lined with parchment paper or a very well-floured tea towel. Cover.
- Preheat your oven to 450 F, and place your baking vessel inside to allow it to warm (I use a Dutch oven, but a baking sheet accompanied by an oven-safe dish of water on a lower rack will suffice). Allow your dough to continue rising during this time, about 20-30 minutes, depending on how long your oven takes to heat.
- When your oven is hot, remove your baking vessel and place the dough inside, parchment paper and all (or carefully remove it from its tea towel nest — do not bake your tea towel). Sprinkle the dough with flour and score the top of your loaf as you please.
- Bake 30 minutes, covered (if using a Dutch oven, or with a dish of water if using a baking sheet), then remove lid or water dish and allow to bake 10 more minutes.
- Turn oven off, keeping bread inside as it cools, 15 more minutes, then remove bread from oven and cool completely on a baking rack.