Super simple No Knead Crusty White Bread with detailed instructions and step-wise pictures. Bread baking made simple with this fail-proof white bread recipe.
A year that started with a lot of hope and positivity is turning into a huge black hole isn’t it? All of us are cooped up, locked up in our homes and our coping mechanisms are not the same. I have taken to my Instagram to talk about some of my day to day thoughts amidst this crisis. One of the things I keep repeating myself every day is this – It is enough if all of us survive this apocalypse. It is alright even if we don’t have to give our 100% to everything we do. It is not necessary to learn something new during this crisis. It is not expected of you to take up a new hobby. Above everything, don’t guilt trip yourself and go into a spiral of blaming yourself for not doing everything. Just be – that’s my mantra to keep up my sanity these days. Some of us have taken to cooking, baking, exercising, reading while managing work, family and kids. So we are all superheroes already! Anyway, I digress.
World over, stores are running out of baking supplies – baking is therapeutic, I agree. Bread baking and especially Sourdough has taken the world on a storm. As a food blogger, this makes me so happy. And how can I not join the bandwagon?! I started with my sourdough starter Budugu a week back and it has been an exciting journey so far. More on that later. Today, we are going to talk about the most basic bread recipe that requires absolutely zero effort but yields beautiful results. A year back, I saw this recipe on my favorite King Arthur Flour. I made it immediately and it was a huge hit. For those of us not brave enough to try sourdough, this No Knead Crusty White Bread the best one out there!
This recipe for No Knead Crusty White Bread uses just four basic ingredients – flour, yeast, water and salt. It turns out extremely delicious without use of any oil or butter. As this is made slowly over a few hours (and can be stored upto 7 days) it has a deep flavor profile too. It definitely is not sourdough bread but comes close to it flavor-wise. And as the name suggests, there is no kneading at all. All you need is a large bowl and a wooden spoon.
As a kitchen props hoarder, I own a lot of baking supplies and one of it is this Banneton basket that is also known as bread proofing basket, made out of bamboo for proofing sourdough. Although I have never made sourdough bread so far, I have successfully used it for making this beautiful shaped Artisan bread using this recipe.
You know what makes no knead bread loaves brilliant – a dutch oven! As it is cast iron and can retain heat and is closed, it retains the moisture there by making the bread get an extra oven spring. I don’t own a dutch oven (a pan) yet and I did my own makeshift one using two cast iron pans that perfectly fit each other. It is not easy, but I was amazed by the golden crust it yielded. If you are curious, I used my cast iron kadai and appam pan.
It didn’t have a flat bottom, but who cares as long it looks great! Right?!
Here is another simple tip I followed to retain the moisture of the bread. I set three bowls of water at the bottom of the oven and the steam helps the bread dough from drying out. Again, this is not ideal but given how most of Indian made OTGs are, this works best.
Follow along the below recipe and you will have a beautiful boule. Don’t be tempted to cut into it right away, patience is the key. The crumb is simply amazing and it can be made into open sandwiches, bruschetta or a simple garlic bread or cheese toast. Check out other bread recipes and baked goodies too!
How to make No Knead Crusty White Bread –
1 cup = 250ml, 1 tbsp = 15ml, 1 tsp = 5ml
Detailed step-wise picture recipe of making No Knead Crusty White Bread –
In a large mixing bowl add all purpose flour, salt, active instant dry yeast.
Add lukewarm water and mix it with a wooden spatula/spoon. There should be no lumps and the dough should come together. Scrap the edges of the bowl if required.
Cover the bowl with shower cap – it works better than cling film as it could be loosened up on top. But if you use large enough bowl, cling wrap should be fine too.
Leave this dough on the kitchen counter for about 2 hours until the dough has risen to double its original volume.
Put this bowl of dough in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours and up to a maximum of 7 days. The longer it stays, the better the flavor of the dough. When you try to pull the dough, it should form a web structure – that shows enough gluten formation, even though we dont knead this bread.
Before baking the bread, take the dough out of fridge. Sprinkle some flour on top to make it easier to grab it out.
This recipe makes two medium sized loaves. To make a loaf, take half of the dough and place it on kitchen counter sprinkled with flour.
Gently shape it into a circle by folding multiple times. It gets sticky, so it helps to use some flour. It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle.
If you have Banneton basket, dust it with enough rice flour (yes, it helps making the dough nonsticky) and place the shaped dough for proofing. I didn’t use the cotton cloth that came with the basket to get nice pattern on my bread. You can also place the shaped dough on parchment paper.
Sprinkle some flour on top. Let it come to room temperature and then rise double the volume. During colder months, I use my oven the generate the required warmth.
Meanwhile, prepare the cast iron dutch oven or get two equal sized pans. While the oven is preheating at 220°C, set these pans for heating up as well. Place the water cups at the bottom of the oven.
When the dough is ready to be baked, carefully transfer it to the hot pan.
Sprinkle some flour on top if required, splash/spray some water and stash the bread using sharp knife or blade.
Bake covered (with another cast iron pan or dutch oven lid) for 20-25 mins at 220°C and then remove the lid. Bake for another 20 mins until the bread is golden.
Let the bread cool down completely. It would be better to wait for a few hours before slicing it. This bread stores well at room temperature – stock it in an airlock container or zip-lock bag. On the other hand, storing it fridge might dry it out. You can make open veggie toasts, sandwiches or garlic bread. Apply olive oil on both sides and top off with veggies/garlic, chilli flakes and grated cheese. Toast until cheese is melty.
- To make a single loaf of bread, half this recipe. I also sometimes use 2 cups flour and the other measurements are like – 1 cup water, 1.5 tsp active instant dry yeast and 1 tsp salt.
- If you want to appreciate this bread, try it with good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar – heavenly combo.
- Flour to water ratio could differ depending on the brands. Adjust slightly if needed.
- Different ovens have different settings, keep an eye on the bread while it is baking for the first time.
- If you don’t have cast iron pans or dutch oven, this could be made on a tray with parchment paper or regular bread tin too.
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