No Need to Knead

It was our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple. It was back in our restaurant days, and I’d probably put in a 16-hour day. I was grumpy and tired. However, when I unlocked the car door, I saw a dozen roses and my first enamel-covered Dutch oven.

One of the first things I made in that pot was no-knead bread. This concept floored me. Bread I didn’t need to slave over? But it’s true. You can make chewy artisan bread with big yeasty holes perfect for sopping up sauce, quality olive oil, or your favorite cold-weather soup. You will fall in love, too.

No-Knead Bread

  • 2 cups all-purpose (a little extra for dusting)
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 13/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. In a big bowl, combine flours, yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil. Add 15/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be sticky. (Good thing you don’t have to knead it!) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 12 hours at a toasty room temperature. (So easy, right?)
  2. You know the dough is ready when you see tiny bubbles forming. Dust your work surface with flour, and then fold the dough onto itself a couple of times. Cover it loosely with the plastic wrap and give it a break for about 15 minutes. (See? Super easy!)
  3. Now shape the dough into a ball. Coat a cotton towel with flour and put the dough onto it, seam side down. Cover the ball with another flour-coated cotton towel, and let it rise for about two more hours. You will know its ready when it doubles in size. When you poke it, your finger will leave an indent. It’s showtime!
  4. Heat the oven to a hot 450 degrees with an empty 6- to 8-quart heavy pot inside. When you are ready, carefully remove that pot from the oven. Uncover the ball of dough and drop it inside the heated pot, seam side up. It may look like a hot mess, but it’s fine. I promise! It will straighten itself out as it bakes to pure brown perfection. Cover it with a lid at first, and bake 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned and crusty. Cool on a rack. Enjoy!
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