I’ve been having so much fun lately baking bread. It’s literally one of the oldest culinary art forms and has really remained the same for centuries. However, I’ve been doing quite a bit of research around no knead bread and have mostly written it off until now. I was absolutely blown away by the ease, rising times, crustiness and over all tenderness of this no knead bread recipe that I made. Now I’m not saying that kneading bread is bad by any stretch, but maybe we’re over thinking it a bit, especially when it comes to simple artisan Italian loaves like this one. Just bear with me as I try and break this thing down for you…
First off no knead bread starts with a quality flour, like Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour. This flour is incredibly versatile making it perfect baking just about any bread out there, and because of that, kneading is not necessary in this recipe. Again, I want to emphasize that there is nothing proven out there that says that not kneading dough leads to a better bread, but I found it to be just as good if not better in this recipe. One of the most surprising aspects of this recipe is the lack of sugar. One of the first things you learn about when using yeast in bread making is that it needs to be dissolved into liquid temperatures of 110° to 115° while eating sugar or some form of glucose. I mean it’s just what you do when making bread that rises right? Well that whole concept got thrown out the window to in this no knead bread recipe. That’s right, I did not use 1 gram of sugar and still the dough rose well and it finished with a beautiful crust and tender light inside. One thing is for sure, if you do this recipe and it’s different from the bread making recipe that you’re used to, you too won’t believe just how good it is.
I know we’ve been talking a lot about not kneading the dough, but going a step further you only mix the ingredients until they are just mixed together. I did this in a large bowl with a spoon and stirred it for less than :30 seconds. You could probably do the same thing in a standing mixer with the hook attachment for like :10 seconds. Just when you thought it couldn’t get further away from everything you knew about bread making I went ahead and through another wrench in the process. However, if you step back and think about mixing bread and kneading it you can possibly understand how things could get messed up. The point of kneading bread is to create gluten so that it rises well when resting and baking, but kneading can create over-worked dough making it tough and overly dense. If you barely mix and don’t knead the bread simply rises without any opportunity to becomes any of those bad things in bread you don’t want. I can’t stress enough that there is nothing wrong with kneading since it has been a staple instruction throughout baking for centuries, I am just shocked at what not kneading and barely mixing results in.
Once the dough rises you want to separate it into 3 dough balls and gently flour it while pulling it underneath forming a very smooth surface. From there you let it rise for 20-30 minutes before dusting it with flour, scoring it and baking it in the oven on a pizza stone. I’m serious when I say this will be the easiest homemade bread recipe you’ve ever made. When baking it, I put the dough ball, and the parchment paper it was resting on, right onto the baking stone and it baked perfectly. One more trick to do is putting some water in a pan in the bottom of the oven. Putting moisture in the air can ensure your bread is moist with a delicious hard outer crust. Just do it, you’ll thank me later :-).
Lastly, don’t forget about the baked goat cheese and tomato sauce creation! This dipping sauce is literally 10 ingredients. That’s right a delicious tomato sauce with goat cheese and herbs that is under 10 ingredients! Check out the easy instructions below, and happy no knead baking!
- 3 cups of water, 112° to 115°
- 1 tablespoons of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of active yeast
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ½ cups of Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter
- 1 peeled and small diced yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon of light brown sugar
- 4 finely minced cloves of garlic
- 2 28-ounce cans of whole plum tomatoes in juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil
- 4 ounces of goat cheese
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven with a pizza stone to 450°.
- Bread: In a large bowl combine all the ingredients just until mixed together and cover with a towel or plastic wrap, but don’t make it air tight. Let rise for 2 hours.
- Next, divide the dough into 3 pieces and form into balls by lightly flouring each and pulling down underneath the bread until a soft smooth surface has been formed. Be careful not to over-due this process. Let rest for 30 more minutes.
- Dust the tops of the dough balls with more flour and score using a knife. Place the dough ball on a piece of parchment paper and then onto the baking stone or place the bread directly on the pizza stone. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the outside has formed a dark hard crust.
- Remove the bread and cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.
- Sauce: In a medium size pot over medium heat add in the butter and onions and cook until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar ½ way through the caramelization process.
- Next, add in the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes before adding in the tomatoes.
- Cook over low heat for 30 minutes before finishing with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
- To Plate: If you did not buy a log of goat cheese, form the crumbles together to form a bowl and place it in the center of a bowl. Pour the tomato sauce over top and garnish with fresh chopped herbs and sliced bread.