If you are looking for a recipe for authentic artisan no knead bread with a hearty, golden crust, then this recipe is for you.
You will get consistent results that are so good, your friends and family will think you bought this at a bakery.
Since this is no knead, you don’t have to do all of the manual work. The yeast does the work for you while you sleep. Can’t beat that.
So Simple A Child Can Make It
This bread recipe is from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery who says even a six year old can make a loaf like he does. He has generously shared his recipe for all to use.
This has to be the simplest homemade bread recipe around. It takes a few minutes to prepare the dough with only four ingredients flour, salt, yeast and water. There is no kneading or special equipment needed yet the technique produces an a loaf comparable to a professional bakery.
The hardest part about this recipe is waiting for the dough to rise. A process that takes from 12 to 24 hours at room temperature followed by an extra 2 hours for the second rise.
Jim says that the slow rise process using just 1/4 tsp of yeast makes a better loaf than adding more yeast in an attempt to rush. He should know, he has made about 30,000 loaves per day since the mid 90’s. He sells his fresh baked bread daily to over 200 restaurants.
Use a Dutch Oven For The Best Crust
To get the crust right, use a dutch oven or similar baking pot with a lid. The purpose is to create a mini steam oven at approximately 70% humidity.
Moisture in the dough creates steam as it cooks. After an initial steaming, remove the lid and continue baking for about 20 minutes so that the intense heat will produce a hearty crust.
It’s this two step baking process of steaming followed by browsing of the crust that works so well.
A typical price for a loaf of Artisan Bread is around $5. However, the cost of homemade bread is quite inexpensive. Here are the costs for the ingredients:
- All purpose four – $0.48/lb or $0.43/loaf
- Instant dry yeast – $7.91/lb or $0.01/loaf
- Kosher salt – $0.57/ounce or $0.14/loaf
- Energy use – 2.25 kWh or $0.32/loaf
This works out to a mere $0.90/loaf assuming $0.14/kWh. That’s a savings of over $4 per loaf. If your family eats a loaf every 2 days, the yearly savings accumulates to $748. Can you imagine saving over $700 on bread alone?
The savings will be even more if you bake 2 loaves or more per batch. Each additional loaf reduces the electrical costs per loaf.
Tips For Success
Use Parchment Paper for the second rise
I’ve made this many times by placing the dough on a floured towel for the second rise. One problem with this is that the dough tends to stick to the towel.
An alternative to this approach is to place the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper for the second rise. Parchment paper is safe with a non stick surface. You can bake with it without catching on fire or other kitchen disaster.
After the dough has risen, lift it up by the edges of the parchment paper and place directly into a hot dutch oven. Be very careful not to burn yourself by accidentally touching the hot pot.
Preheat The Dutch Oven
You might be tempted to place the dough in a cold dutch oven and then let it rise.
Don’t do this.
We want a hearty crust, so you want to place the dough into a piping hot dutch oven. That’s why you need either parchment paper or to let it rise on a floured towel.
The high heat of the dutch oven produces the best crust.
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- 3 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Instant dry yeast
- 1½ Cups lukewarm water
- Mix all dry ingredients together.
- Warm water up slightly to about body temperature.
- Add water to dry ingredients then mix.
- Cover and allow to rise for 12 to 18 hours at room temperature.
- Remove from bowl and place on a floured board.
- Sprinkle some flour on top and then form into a ball.
- Place on a floured cotton towel with seam side down.
- Sprinkle a very small amount of flour to prevent sticking to the towel.
- Fold the towel so that it covers the ball and let rise again for 1½ to 2 hours at room temperature.
- Preheat oven with the covered baking dish to 500 degrees. A dutch oven, or enameled dish with a lid works great.
- Remove preheated dish and place dough into the dish with the seam side of the dough up.
- Bake covered for 25 minutes, then remove lid.
- Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes uncovered until a deep colored crust has developed.
Make the first batch according to the recipe, then adjust the oven temperature based on your desired crust.
Near the end of the second stage baking process (lid removed) - remove from oven promptly when the crust is at the color you want.