No-Knead Artisan Bread

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This is a super-easy way to always have a fresh loaf of bread ready for any occasion.

You are probably thinking how is this possible? How can you not knead a yeasted bread? Well, the short answer is: water and time.

Hydration (i.e. water)

When it comes to bread baking, you will always hear us talk about the hydration levels. Now that refers to the amount of water compared to the amount of flour we use in a recipe. A normal yeasted bread that you have to knead will be around 60% hydration. The more water we use, the sloppier the dough and that makes it impossible to knead by hand. Therefore we give high hydration dough’s, time to rest so that the gluten-strands can develop as if it was needed. There is only one method, called the stretch and fold method, that you will have to do before you let it rest overnight, which I will explain by means of videos.

To calculate the hydration levels of a bread recipe all you need to do is add all the flour together and all the water (and other liquid ingredients) together and get the percentage thereof: For example, If the recipe reads: 300g Bread Flour, 200g Cake Flour, 275g Water and 50g Oil, you will have a total of 500g flour and 325g oil. The hydration percentage will be 325 divided by 500 and multiplied by 100 and that equals a 65% hydration level. FOR SOURDOUGH BAKERS: remember to add the flour and water of the starter to the formula to calculate the hydration level.

Time

A high hydration (that is not kneaded) needs to proof longer (at cooler temperatures) than lower hydration breads so that the gluten-strands can develop by allowing the flour to absorb all the water. If you are using commercial yeast, you will have a bulk proof of about 2 – 3 hours at room temperature and then you will rest the dough in the fridge for a further 12 – 24 hours before use. Not only does this improve the gluten-strands but it also creates a beautiful “sourdough” taste. The longer it rests, the better it tastes. This type of dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. So if you make a large batch of this dough, you can simply cut a chunk off, shape it into a loaf. Let it rest on the prepared baking tray until doubled in size and then bake… As easy as A, B, C.

About the videos on this page

All videos used on this page to demonstrate the different methods and techniques were created with an 80% (super wet) hydration dough.

Video 1: Stretch and Fold Method

Video 2: Shaping the Loaf

Video 3: Ready to Bake

No-Knead Artisan Bread

Prep Time 1440 min Cook Time 40 min Total Time 24 hrs 40 mins Calories: 416.2 kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix and stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. Do not worry if it seems to lumpy. It is supposed to look like that. As long as the water is absorbed by the flour and you don't see any dry flour spots.

  2. Grease a large, clean bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside. Cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and allow to rest for 45 minutes.

  3. Stretch and fold the dough for about 30 seconds. Let it then rest for another 30 minutes and do another stretch and fold. See the attached video 1.

  4. Cover the dough and allow to proof for 2 - 3 hours at room temperature until doubled in size and very bubbly.

  5. Cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or for up to 7 days. Over the course of the first day or so, it will rise and then fall, don't worry it is supposed to do that.

  6. When you're ready to make the bread, tip the sticky dough onto a floured work surface, and stretch and fold to form a round ball or a longer log shape. Leave it to rest on the counter for 10 minutes. See attached video 2.

  7. Place the loaf on a baking tray that is lined with a piece of parchment and lightly dusted with flour. See attached video 3.

  8. Lightly coat the top of the loaf with flour. This will help keep the bread moist as it rests before baking. Let the loaf warm to room temperature and rise for about 60 minutes. It won't appear to rise upwards that much; rather, it'll seem to settle and expand.

  9. Place an empty roasting tray on the lowest oven rack and preheat the oven to 240°C. Boil water in your kettle and have it ready for when you put the loaf in the oven.

  10. When you're ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times, making a cut about 1cm deep.

  11. Place the bread in the oven and carefully pour 1 cup of hot water into the roasting tray on the rack beneath. This will help to create steam in the oven and produce a crispy crunchy crust.

  12. Bake the bread for 35 - 45 minutes, until it's a deep, golden brown colour.

  13. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1


Amount Per Serving
Calories 416.2
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1.99g4%
Saturated Fat 0.29g2%
Sodium 500.95mg21%
Total Carbohydrate 83.32g28%
Dietary Fiber 3.08g13%
Sugars 0.35g
Protein 14.18g29%

Calcium 2.08%
Iron 28.14%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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Lukas Coetzee

Lukas graduated from the Francois Ferreira Academy with distinctions in all his subjects and received a special "Top student in 14 years" award. He is currently Chef de Cuisine at Belle Vue Weddings and Functions. He is also a part-time lecturer at the Francois Ferreira Academy and teaches patisserie and cake decorating.

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