No-knead Bread (baked in a pot)

“What?? Is she going mad?” You are probably wondering. No, I haven’t lost my mind, my friends. In my recent bread-making frenzy, I have come across an ancient,wondrous recipe that will turn each one of you into an Artisan Baker. In Italy this bread used to go by the name of Pane Cafone, Boorish bread, but it was only in 2006 , when Jim Lahey shared his formula for this miraculous breadmaking technique, that something like 8  million food bloggers world wide have gone mad about it and have baked  it , and blogged about it incessantly. Honestly, this is so easy that I had my 4 year-old Raffi mix a loaf a few days ago. The end product looked like this:

Now that I have your attention…

The principle behind this recipe is that if you mix your ingredients just so they are amalgamated and you let the mixture prove for a very, and I mean very, long time, it will turn into a bubbly, light-as-a feather dough. Because you won’t knock the air out by kneading, those same bubbles will stay trapped in the dough resulting in a crusty loaf with a moist, soft and airy crumb. Genius, if you ask me. Because of the long proving required, I would suggest you make the mixture at night before you go to bed and bake the next day. I have adapted Jim Lahey’s recipe to suit my oven and my personal taste, and I proudly confess I have not bought a single loaf of bread for over a year now.

Ingredients (if using dry yeast)

450 g (3-3/4 cups) All purpose flour
350 ml (1 -1/4 cups) filtered water, at room temperature
1/2 scant teaspoon dry yeast
2 teaspoons  of salt

If using your own sourdough starter home-made-sourdough

400 gr (3 1/4 cups) All purpose flour
280 ml (3/4 cups) filtered water at room temperature
200 gr (7 oz)starter
2 teaspoons of salt

Semolina for dusting

How to 
1. Mix flour, water and yeast together with a wooden spoon until combined.

2. Add salt and mix again. Your mixture will look and feel quite sticky. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let it prove for 10/14 hours, or until it grown three times bigger and looks bubbly.

3. Dust your cooking bench  and your hands with flour and try to shape the sticky mix into a ball. Let it rest for 1 1/2 hours, wrapped in a kitchen towel generously dusted with semolina flour.

4. Turn the oven to 220C (430 F).

5. Put in a cast iron pot or a dutch oven, without the lid, to heat up  for about 40 minutes

6. Gently tip the risen dough in the  pre-heated pot, cover with the lid and bake for 25 minutes. Please, use oven mitts!

7. Take the lid off and bake for another 10/15 minutes or until it looks crusty and browned. Take the pot out of the oven and let the bread come to room temperature before you slice it.

ECCO!

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18 thoughts on “No-knead Bread (baked in a pot)

  1. Hello Silvia, loved the method of making this bread. Tried it today but it did not cook well. It was very doughy and heavy. What did I do wrong? I followed the instructions perfectly? Would love to bake it again, whats your tip. Thanks

    • Hi Donietta, I’m sorry it didn’t work!

      When I was fist testing the recipe, I’ve had a couple of failures due to:
      1. The dough was too wet, it rose well, but when I put into the heated pot, it deflated and flattened. If your dough is too wet, add a bit more flour to the mix. Your dough should be a little sticky, but still come away from the bowl easily with a spatula.

      2. The dough was too dry. In this case, add a teeny bit more water.

      3. In cold weather , you can let the dough prove for up to 18 hours. In hot climate, 3 hours should be enough.

      4. Always use filtered water at room temperature

      5. If you can find if use half plain “o” flour and half Manitoba, it will give the dough an upward lift.

      Let me know!!
      X
      Silvia

  2. Hello Silvia, I’ve made the bread twice this week and have my third loaf proving overnight now. It turned out beautifully and as you’ve mentioned to Donietta, I’ve adjusted ingredients as needed. Also found that leaving it in the pot until completely cooled was essential as I took it out almost straight away the second time and it was just slightly doughy, so I’m assuming it still ‘cooks’ a little while resting in the pot. Thanks, it’s my first attempt at bread and I love it. Also trying your lemon cake tomorrow. Thanks for some simple yet lovely recipes. Jenni.

  3. hi silvia, do you have to cook this in a iron pot or can you use something else. Also just checking the amount of yeast to use is just 1g (1/3rd teaspoon) am i correct, thank you very much, Charlotte.

    • HI Charlotte,
      yes I use a cast iron pot with a lid. You can use any pot with lid, just make sure there are no plastic parts! I know the quantity of yeast seems so little, but because you will prove the dough for such a long time, it will only require that much. Part of the rising agent is the fermentation caused by the long proving. It’s a beautiful bread. I hope you like it! Remember the texture of the dough should be a little sticky, but not too wet, so adjust the quantity of flour and water accordingly. Each flour is slightly different and I sometimes have to add a splash more water of a handful of flour to make it right.
      Have fun !

  4. I grew up in Germany..this is how the little “Brotchen” (little breads) were made..I remember walking in German friends houses and finding the little loaves “proving” on cabinet and dresser tops over night…

  5. I make this bread all the time but I use even less yeast – only quarter to half teaspoon – and it is great. I have been given a mother sourdough starter and it has taken over my life. So pleased to see your sourdough version of this easy delicious bread so I will now be able to use the starter. I am still not used to throwing part of it away when I refresh it…hate throwing any food away!!

  6. Have tried that method many times already and always I have troubles with removing the baked bread from the pot. Have got 3 recipes for it, yours is the forth. I baked it in various pots and trays, including cast iron, preheated it right according to the recipe and the result is always the same: terrible troubles with removing. Could you give me any advice?

  7. Just bought a dutch oven and am planning to make this this weekend. Have you ever added in anything like cheese, seeds, peppers or other seasonings?

    • Hi Brenda,
      yes, you heat up the pot, put the bread dough in, lid on and into a very hot oven for 30 minutes. Then take the lid of and continue baking for about 15 minutes or until golden and crusty. Good luck!

  8. I made it many times but I use about 1/3 of rye flour. It’s great! The only problem I had was I couldn’t remove the loaf from the pot as the it was stuck to the bottom. I asked many cooks for an advice and was told to heat up the oven properly. But even I did it, i had troubles. Then I found a blog by some American cook and he wrote so that the dough would be put on a square of baking parchment when you form a loaf and let it rise on it; then put it to the pot together with this paper. I tried it and it worked! So now I always use the parchment.

    • How bizarre! This has never happen to me and I never use parchment paper. I heat up the pot for a good 40 minutes, then dust the bottom with semolina, to make sure it’s non-stick. Did yo try this?

  9. I made it yesterday and was totally amazed! It was like the bread my grandmother used to make! So thrilled to have this recipe. For people who don’t have a dutch oven; can they make this bread on a pizza stone or do you have to have a pot with a lid?

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