world there is no aroma more inviting or
appetizing than that of baking bread.
Further, there is only one good type of
bread – and that is bread that is still warm
from the oven. Mmm… add a little cheese,
a good olive oil, and a few thin slices of
prosciutto and you have a true feast.
A few years ago, a
revolution began among the foodie community
with the popularizing of the so-called
“no-work” bread.Simply put, it allows anyone, even a
six year old, to create an out of this
world, thick crusted, open crumbed, artisan
loaf with practically zero effort and no
skill.In this short newsletter, we will get
you on your way to becoming a master baker
by having you bake your own loaf of bread by
following an easy recipe.Trust us, it’s worth it!The goal is to get you really
interested in baking bread and realize that
you can accomplish superb bread at home.In the next article (Bread 201),
we’re going to examine bread in more detail
and lay the foundation for bread mastery.
Googling “no-work bread”
yields over 96 million results! The recipe
we've laid out below comes from one of our
favourite authors, New York Times columnist Mark
Bittman, a.k.a. The Minimalist (we’ve been
selling his book called “How to Cook Everything”
for the last two years and highly recommend
getting your hands on a copy).
In 2006 Mr. Bittman documented the bread recipe of Jim Lahey,
owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York
City. Although the concept of "kneadless"
bread is thousands of years old, that article
kick-started the resurgence of this bread
technique. In 2009, Mr. Lahey
published his own book called “My Bread: The
Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method” and that
book goes into amazing detail how to achieve the
most out of the least. Below we’ve laid
out the basic recipe, or if you're not in the
mood to read, just watch the videos! Give
it a try, you won't be disappointed.
Let's do it...
4 cups of flour.
(Bread flour or “hard” flour is
preferred, but you can use all-purpose
flour as well)
½ teaspoon instant
yeast (you can substitute with “active dry” yeast,
but you'll need to proof the yeast before
mixing into the flour – instructions are
always printed on the package)
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 cups room
a little cornmeal or
a heavy pot,
preferably an enameled cast iron pot
like a 4.7L or 5.2L round Le Creuset. A traditional cast
iron dutch oven will work, so will a
pyrex pot, and so will any other heavy
Start the process anywhere
between 21 to 24 hours before you wish to serve
the wonderful warm bread.
In a large bowl mix
together the flour, yeast and salt - use
your hands or a spoon. Add the water
and mix; you'll end up with a sticky and
very wet dough (add a little water if it
seems dry). Cover with plastic wrap or foil. Let
the dough rest for about 18 hours at room
temperature. You can shorten this time
period to as little as 12 hours, so use this stage to make the
timing work for you. You'll know the
dough is ready when its dotted with bubbles.
Lightly flour a work surface,
then remove the dough and simply fold once or
twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and
wait 15 minutes.
Generously coat a cotton
towel with cornmeal or wheat bran then put the
dough seam side down on the towel. Try to
make it into a ball; depending on how moist your
mixture was and the type of flour, this may be
more difficult - don't worry! Sprinkle
flour on the dough then cover with another
cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours.
Like in the first stage, if you leave slightly
less or more time the difference is negligible -
the ultimate goal is that your bread comes out
of the oven 30 minutes before you wish to cut it
up to eat. The dough will double in size,
and when it's ready it won't spring back when
you poke it with your finger.
The most important step: At
least 30 minutes before the dough is ready,
place your heavy pot in the oven and turn the
oven on to 450F. What you are doing is
creating a mini oven that will trap the moisture
and help create the perfect crust.
Carefully remove the pot (remember, it's hot!)
and plop the dough into the pot. Bake for
30 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid
and bake for another 25 minutes. The bread
will easily fall out of the pot once done.
Let the bread rest on a cooling rack for 30
minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
Use 50% Ontario Red Fife
flour from C.I.P.M. (yum!), available at The
Or try other flours, keep in
mind that whole grain flours will not rise as
Add other ingredients, like
honey and raisins for a sweeter version.
Or just before baking, mix in cheese and bacon!
Watch Mark Bittman and Jim Lahey in New York
The original 2006
If you do not see the first
video, open this link in a web browser: