Wednesday, February 9, 2011

No Knead French Bread

This bread is amazing. It looks like I could have gotten it from a fancy bakery.  It's the easiest bread I've ever made and the yummiest by far. If you don't have a pizza stone, you can use a cast iron skillet or enameled dutch oven . Also, on the second rise, it took about 1 hour and 30 minutes until it got to the size I wanted. Do yourself and favor and make this bread- it's heavenly.

3 cups of lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, mix the water, yeast, and salt. Set aside for a few minutes. Add all of the flour at once and stir with a wooden spoon. You don't need to knead this, and it's not going to come together into a ball. Once the flour is incorporated, you're done. Cover mixing bowl with a dish towel and set aside for a few hours (I let it rise for 3 hours).

With floured hands, grab grapefruit sizes of dough (mine were more orange sized). The dough will be very sticky. Gently pull the sides of the dough toward the bottom, rotating the dough, until you get a roundish shape with a smooth surface. Do this with the remaining dough.

Set dough balls on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel or cutting board. Let rest for at least 40 minutes (I let it rise for 1 hr. 30 minutes), covered with a dish towel.

Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake, put a cast iron skillet or pizza stone in the middle rack of your oven, and put a broiler pan or cookie sheet in the bottom rack. Preheat over to 450 degrees. Dust flour on top of dough  and slash the top with a sharp knife, about 1/4 inch deep.

After 20 minutes of preheating, slide 2 (more or less depending on side of stone/skillet) onto the stone and quickly pour 1 cup (or a bit more) of very hot water (I heated mine in the microwave) onto the cookie sheet/broiler pan. Quickly shut the oven door to keep the steam inside.

Depending on size, bake for 30 to 40 minutes until you get a nice brown crust (mine took about 15 minutes). Remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Have any questions about this recipe? email me at

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