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.
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