basic no-knead bread

This one pot, no-knead bread recipe is from Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City. It’s the perfect way to ease the nervous baker into bread making.

3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant (or active dry) yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 5/8 cups water, at room temperature

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add water and stir until blended. Dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 12 hours (and up to 18 hours).

When surface of dough is dotted with bubbles, lightly flour a work surface. Coat hands well with flour and carefully transfer dough to surface, folding dough over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough (and your hands) from sticking to work surface, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Dust a cotton towel with a good bit of flour to coat it. Transfer dough to cloth, seam side down. Dust top with flour as well. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for 11/2 hours.

After 11/2 hours, preheat oven to 450°F. Place a 6-8 quart cast iron Dutch oven (with a lid) on bottom rack of oven while it preheats. Allow bread to continue to rise for another 1/2 hour while oven preheats. Dough will be ready when it has doubled in size and will not spring back when gently poked with a finger.

When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Place your hand under towel and carefully flip dough over into pot, seam side up. Cover pot with lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid from pot and continue to cook, uncovered, for another 15-20 minutes, until loaf is lightly browned. Remove from pan and transfer loaf to a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf.