Monday, January 17, 2011

Easy No-Knead Crusty Bread

     Happy Monday! We finally had a weekend at home with no plans and it was really nice. My husband added some new lighting to the garage and I cooked and watched movies. On Saturday I made a savory stew that I will share with you for Foodie Friday. I thought it needed a crusty bread to go with it, so I sorted through my recipes and found one that I had jotted down sometime and had only called it "Easy Bread, No Kneading" For years I have made my breads using a bread maker to knead the dough, then removing it and doing the shaping myself. My breadmaker died several months ago and I haven't replaced it. It has been quite some time since I made bread without the help of a machine. This recipe was so simple anyone can do it and the best took very little effort.

Easy, No-Knead Bread

3 cups lukewarm water
2 envelopes yeast (not rapid rise)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

You will need to have out 2 baking sheets dusted with cornmeal to place the prepared loaves on to bake.


Mix the salt and yeast with the water in a large bowl.

     Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading. The dough will be sticky and ugly. It was difficult for me to stop at this stage because I'm used to seeing bread dough in a more smooth state. But, I left it like this and covered it with a towel and allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours.

     The dough does rise, although not as much as my white bread usually does. The dough can now be used or refrigerated and used for a few days. 

     At this point, divide the dough into quarters. Dust each piece with flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around the bottom on all four sides. Do not cut the slits into the bread yet! The loaves are small enough that you can place two of them on a standard baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.  Cover once again with a towel and allow to rest for 45 minutes. While the dough is rising, heat the oven to 450 degrees and place an empty metal baking pan on the lowest rack in the oven. When the bread has rested 45 minutes and the oven is hot, sprinkle the loaf with flour and make a few 1/4 inch deep slashes on the top using a serated knife. Place the baking sheet into the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the metal pan and close the oven and bake for about 35 minutes. The top should get a good hard crust and will be deeply browned. allow to cool on a cooling rack and brush off excess flour from the top of the loaf before slicing. 

     The bread turned out crusty on the outside and very tender on the inside. The four loaves are slightly larger than a "bread bowl" we often see used for soup. I may make it into 6 loaves next time and create my own bread bowls. I froze 2 loaves of the bread and I assume it will reheat well. This was so simple anyone can do it! It was also wonderful toasted for breakfast.

Note: My recipe said to put a casserole dish in the oven with the baking sheet and add hot tap water to it for when the bread was baking. I originally put in my Le Crueset casserole dish (which is good for 500 degrees) and added hot water to it when I was putting the bread in the oven. My Le Crueset immediately exploded. I have no idea why, it shouldn't have according to the information that comes with the pan. I then switched to another sided baking sheet and added the water to that. I don't want anyone else to lose a favorite pan, so I am recommending metal for the water.


Mosaic Magpie said...

I am off to the kitchen! Sorry about your pan. I have had several "Pyrex" dishes shatter lately. I even dropped one on to a rug only a few inches and it shattered. I gues they don't make 'em like they used to.

Flo @ Butterfly Quilting said...

This looks great! I have made buns before, but not bread, so will have to try this. I like the hardly any work part!
This may be a silly question, but would you not put water into the pan first, and then put it in the oven??

Sue said...

Flo-sent you a response, but decided to post it here too.

The recipe said to let the pan heat with the oven and add the water when you put the bread in. So, I did. I know that it is the same way with custards etc, but not at that high of a temp. I don't know, just know that I lost my expensive and almost new pan:(

DUTA said...

Thanks for the recipe. I'm a great lover of bread. I could eat nothing but bread. This one looks tasty and easy to make.

Kim @ Touch of Nostalgia said...

Oh my your pan. :( I make this no knead bread all the time (with just white flour) I use the bottom of my broiler pan in the oven for the water..for the steam. Really any metal pan would do. I posted my recipe I use and a small video over on my blog a while ago on making it. "Do you smell that?"

I'll have to try your recipe for this delicious bread. We just love it. I love how good it is but esp how easy it is. ;)

dee dee said...

Both Madison and I love bread, I guess you could say that we are carb-o-aholics at heart! We also love soup, so I just might plan on cooking with Madison to make bread bowls and homemade soup... now we just need a free weekend in which to make it! I'm so sorry about your pan, I'm wondering if you wrote to the company, if they might replace it. I once lost my 9x9 pamper chef stoneware when Wayne backed over it with the car! Have a great week!
Dee Dee

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Sorry about your pan. :( Thanks for sharing the recipe. I did a post about the pineapple angel food cake and linked back to your post for your instructions. Hope that is ok.
Have a great week.

Lynn said...

Hi Sue, I love no knead breads! Sorry about your pan, good advice for folks to use metal!

xinex said...

This looks wonderful, Sue. If you want to own April Cornell tab;e linens, you should get them now b/c her site is I think 40% off storewide. I just finished shopping using my gift certificate and beyond but I was surprised to see they were further discounted after they go in the cart....Christine

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Bless you my darling Sue! One of my New Year's resolutions is to master the art of making homemade bread. I am heading out to do my weekly grocery shopping and I am getting the flour I knead (ha-ha)!
YOur bread looks spectacular. I will make it tomorrow since I have the garage door opener man, the washer and dryer guy here and will be waiting for guests.

If I can make bread that looks like yours I would be thrilled! Fabulous post!
Thanks you!
xo Yvonne

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

I wanted to add, I am so sorry about you La Crueset! They are precious pans, for sure. The manufacturer certainly will replace it, or at least should.

I have a book called Kneadlessly Simple what uses that very same technique.
Thanks for the warning!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I am now officially starving! Why did you do this to me, Sue? WHY??? Now, I'm going to have to go forage for bread in the rain. It's raining here today, but we need it.

Warm hugs...


Sheila :-)

jules said...

That looks so easy. I make bread from frozen loafs. They actually are really good.

La said...

Wish I'd had a loaf of this to go with yesterday's stew. I made biscuits instead...ok the truth is I opened the can of biscuits and put them on a sheet pan and threw them in the oven. :o)

Sophie said...

Not the Le Crueset!

I think I just saw someone post this exact recipe on Gather and I asked if they were suitable for soup bowls.

bj said...

Oh, I am going to make this as soon as I can. It sounds wonderful and looks beautiful and we LOVE crusty bread with a passion. I am bad to just want to eat the bread and butter and forget the rest of the meal. Some places where we go to eat serves such delicious bread that I just order a salad and then fill up on bread.
*good grief
So sorry about your nice Le Crueset..they surely will replace it.

Don't worry, sweetie...we never EVER forget our moms and how much we love and miss them. It does get easier with time...but she will ALWAYS and FOREVER be right with you at all times.

Karen said...

OH NO! I ams sorry about your Le Creuset! I know how expensive those babies are - I just bought a new one with all my gift certificates I got for Christmas. Nothing cooks better! Hopefully they will replace it for you!

This bread looks fabulous. I just SOOOO don't do yeast. I tried some cinnamon rolls before Christmas and YUCK! they were like rocks, and I had VERY fresh ingredients. I think I have a phobia about yeast because I never have anything turn out! Makes me so mad!

Let us know if they replace your pan!

HAGD! Karen

Patrice said...

That looks so yummy. I should give you my breadmaker - I've had no luck with it!

Sue said...

First off- get in touch w/ Le Creuset and see if they'll compensate you for your exploding pan. Secondly- I don't bake bread but this sure seems manageable for me! The only thing I've ever made is Irish soda bread. Super easy.
I have a brand new breadmaker sitting in the closet. Bought it as a wedding gift and didn't give it away. Geez, I guess I should haul it out, huh?
~ Sue

Donnie said...

Those look delicious. Google reader ate my blog list so I just found out how to recover my followers.

Carey said...

This bread looks soooo good. Having an Italian hubby, I have learned about bread. It must be fresh and bought daily. There is no such thing as Wonder bread in this house. This bread would be perfect for him. Nice and crusty. I am going to try it. Thanks for sharing it with us. Also, are you going to try to return your pan? You should, this type of pan is very expensive and should have stood the heat. Have a great day.

The Charm of Home said...

So sorry for your Le Creuset. I agree with above comment, I would see about returning that pan. Revere Ware has a very good warranty and they replaced a lid that the top broke off of. Your bread looks fabulous! The whole family loves crusty bread like this. Great recipe.

Monica H said...

I love no knead bread- it's just so crusty.

Sorry to hear about your pan though. I wonder if it had anything to do with the water being added? I've never seen a recipe where you add water. I'veheard that if something happens to your Le Creuset the company will replace it for a nominal fee. You should contact them.

Rettabug said...

Hi Sue!
I made stew on Sat. too...GMTA, but I didn't do such tasty looking bread! Yummo!
Bummer on the pan exploding. Definitely contact the have nothing to lose by trying.
I've done the no-kneed method & pre-heated my heavy metal Le Creuset for it without problems, except it discolored a bit inside. I was warned to remove the plastic handle from the top & replace it with a stainless steel one, as the plastic will melt at those high temps.

Now, like Shelia, I'm hungry for some homemade bread! LOL

Shellbelle said...

This sounds so delicious! I'll have to try this the next time I make a stew in my pressure cooker, it would be so good served in bread bowls.

As for your Le Creuset dish, I am so sorry. Unfortunately, heating it and then adding water is what caused it to explode. Since we normally serve straight from these pretty dishes, most people don't know that they can't get them wet when they are hot. If you bake in them and remove the food immediately, you have to cool the dish a bit before washing. Also, they can't soak fully immersed, but you can fill them with soapy water and let them set for about 10 minutes or so to making cleaning easier.

Their casseroles are also not able to go directly from the freezer to a hot oven like some others are.

Just thought I'd share a few tips, hope they are useful.


Michaela said...

Yummy!! I love bread and basically live off of it (: This looks so great!