Almost Knead-less Bread (Recipe)

no knead

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.

bready

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.

  1. Add yeast to water and stir. Leave for about 10 minutes until yeast has activated.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Turn oven off, keeping bread inside as it cools, 15 more minutes, then remove bread from oven and cool completely on a baking rack.

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