I've made several different no-knead breads in covered Dutch ovens and casseroles, but this was my first attempt at making one in an open loaf pan. I'm pretty happy with the results. It came out crusty and delicious, with lots of wonderful air holes.
I add a small amount of sugar to this bread, but that's a personal preference. It can be made with honey instead of sugar or no sweetener at all.
Another plus, it's a lean bread with no added fat.
The ingredients take less than 5 minutes to measure or weigh and mix, and the bread is shaped and deposited in the loaf pan in less than 2 minutes. This is a bread you could easily make several times a week with surprisingly little effort.
Use it for cold or grilled sandwiches, toast, or french toast.
Total hands on time: 7 to 10 minutes
Rising and baking time: 5 1/2 hours
- 3 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour, 15 ounces (425.3 g) (dip and sweep method)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.39 ml) instant yeast, or "rapid rise"
- 1 1/4 teaspoons (6.16 ml) kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons (9.86 m) sugar, optional
- 1 1/2 cups (354 ml) water, room temperature
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar, if using. With whisk or spoon, blend well.
- Stir in the water with a wooden spoon or hands until mixed and dry ingredients are moistened.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free place for 4 hours.
- Butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl and scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface. A silicone mat makes a good surface, or use parchment paper or cutting board.
- With floured hands coax the dough into a rough rectangle about 8 1/2- by 12-inches, while adding small amounts of flour, as needed, to keep it from sticking to the surface. Try to handle the dough gently so it won't deflate too much. You want lots of little air bubbles through the loaf.
- Gently fold the ends over each other to form a rough loaf shape. Drop into the prepared pan. Cover loosely with a clean, lightweight dish towel and set in a draft-free place for 1 hour, or until it is approximately double in size.
- Heat the oven to 425 F (218 C).
- With a sifter or fine-mesh sieve, dust the loaf with a little more flour.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until deep golden brown. The loaf will sound hollow when tapped.
- Remove from the oven and turn the bread out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing with a sharp serrated knife or electric knife.
Use the bread for toasting, for sandwiches, French toast, or serve it with soup or stew.
Note: You can refrigerate the dough overnight after the first rising, then bring to room temperature on baking day and proceed with step #4.
If you make bread frequently, you might want a rising container that will let you see the doubling of the dough with more accuracy. I use this Cambro container recommended by many bread bakers.
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