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The Practical Baker
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 • Posted May 6, 2009

No-Knead Bread (again!)

Back in August of last year I shared a recipe with you that is fast, simple, and really requires none of the kneading that people seem so concerned about. It’s a great loaf of bread, and it graces our table on a regular basis.

I just found a recipe for another “no-knead bread,” and just got through baking it and taste testing it. The upshot is that I think I’ve found a replacement for the original! It varies a bit from the original no-knead, and delivers a bread with great crust and crumb and a very nice texture. It also makes a much larger loaf, so it’s particularly good for those with large families or those who are expecting big crowds at the supper table. I found this recipe in a King Arthur Flour catalog, and strongly urge you to give it a try.

No-Knead Bread II

2 ¼ cups cool water

5 ½ cups All Purpose Flour

½ teaspoon instant yeast

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix the ingredients in a large bowl, creating a sticky dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 8 hours (the longer, the better!). The dough will form bubbles in it and rise quite a bit, so make sure you use a LARGE bowl.

After this initial rise, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a round loaf that will fit into a 9-10 inch baking crock. (The dough is still sticky and a bit messy to work with, but flour your hands and move quickly and it will work just fine.) Lightly coat the cooking pan with a cooking spray; make sure you spray the lid of the pan as well.

Cover the dough and let it rise another 2 hours or so. Just before baking, slash it a few times to allow for expansion. Spray or brush the surface of the dough with water and add sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or just about any other topping you’d like to have.

Put the top on the pan, place the dough in a cold oven and set the temperature to 450 degrees. Bake at this temperature for 50 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the loaf turns a dark brown and a thermometer inserted in the middle of the loave reads about 205 degrees.

Turn loaf out onto a cooling rack and let it cool at least 30 minutes before slicing. I realize that it’s hard to wait that long, but the bread will still be warm and will finish its baking and set during that time.

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