I used to think that homemade bread was overrated. Somehow I found it boring. The whole rising process requires so much waiting. I didn’t have the patience and couldn’t understand why anyone did. I had absolutely no interest in it.

Over winter break, this all changed. I was at my friend’s grandma’s apartment, and she was baking a loaf of bread. When it came out of the oven, it was perfect. Warm and crusty on the outside with a soft, doughy interior and I ate it with thick slices of hard white cheddar cheese. The combination between the hard texture of the cheese and the moist, soft bread made it more than just delicious, it turned into one of the most celestial experiences of my life.

bread 1

I decided it was time for me to get my hands on a recipe to make no-knead white bread, and after some serious searching, I found this recipe from the King Arthur Flour website. The bread will come out with a thick crust on the outside and soft, and chewy inside that literally melts in your mouth.

Making bread may sound a little daunting,  but actually the hands-on work only takes five to ten minutes. I usually mix the dough after dinner, and then let it rise outside. Then, after a couple of episodes of Law and Order UK (American version does not suffice), I stick it in the fridge. The next day, I pull out some dough when I get home from classes, do some readings or go for a run, and then bake it and have it for dinner with a nice bowl of soup or a block of cheese.

White No-Knead Bread

To make 3 or 4 loaves

 Ingredients:

  1. 6½-7½ cups all-purpose flour (if the weather is humid and warm, use the more flour measurement)
  2. 1 tablespoon salt
  3. 1½ tablespoon instant yeast
  4. 3 cups water (warm, 105-110 F)

Directions:

  1. Mix everything into sticky, rough dough.
  2. Let the dough rise in the bowl (you can grease the bowl with cooking spray or not) for 2 hours. Then refrigerate the dough from 2 hours to 7 days.
  3. When ready to make bread, sprinkle top bread with flour to make it easier to grab. Sprinkle a baking sheet (that is going to be used to bake the bread) with flour. Shape the dough, cover, and let it rise for 45-60 minutes on a baking sheet.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 F. Put a shallow, metal container (a lasagna pan works) at the bottom rack in the oven.
  5. Right before baking, slice the bread dough quickly with a serrated knife or really sharp knife. Sprinkle a bit more flour on top (you can dust off excess flour afterwards), and put in your dough for 25-35 minutes. Right after you slide in your baking sheet of bread dough, pour in some water into the shallow container.

To test whether or not your bread is done, you can either:

  1. Thump the bottom of the bread and see if it makes a hollow sound, which means it is done (this never works for me, the bottom of my bread is usually a bit damp).
  2. Invest in a food thermometer (I highly suggest this for a cooking/baking lover), and stick it from the bottom of the bread. The temperature should be at least 190F.

bread 2

 

Final notes:

  • Double the recipe! You can bake some of the dough and keep the rest in the fridge for up to 7 days, and the flavor of the bread actually gets better and deeper after more fermentation time in the fridge.
  • Please don’t feel put off by the waiting time. I swear that this crusty, warm bread is worth worth worth it.

-Veronica ’15