Ever since The New York Times published the no-knead bread recipe from Sullivan Street Bakery’s Jim Lahey years ago, he inspired a host of people who otherwise avoid making bread to adapt his method. His recipe, and many others of its kind, need about 24 hours to complete. That is perfectly fine when you plan in advance, but there are times when you need to speed up the process. This no-knead bread happens in a fraction of time, about 6 hours with about the same amount of handling as the longer recipes. The secret is simple – it uses more yeast so the dough rises faster. I was inspired by a “poultry herb mix” sold in my grocery store, so I made mine with 2 teaspoons of thyme, 1 teaspoon of rosemary and 1 teaspoon of sage. Pick the combination that you like to add to a roast chicken or turkey, and you won’t go wrong. This recipe does just as well without the herbs as a simple crusty white loaf, FYI. It requires an enameled cast iron dutch oven with lid to properly form a crust. Any size from a 3.5-quart to a 6-quart will work, the loaf will just be much taller in a small pot like mine.
Makes 1 loaf
- 2 cups (473 grams) warm water (about 100 – 110˚F)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
- 4 cups (520 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme and rosemary
Make the Bread:
- In a measuring cup filled with the warm water, mix in the yeast and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to bloom.
- In a separate medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and herbs. Pour in the water/yeast mixture and with a spatula, mix to form a rough dough. (Dough will be sticky and shaggy looking.) Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours until about doubled in size.
- Uncover the dough, gently deflate and using floured hands or a spatula turn the sides of the dough in towards the center and flip the dough over in the bowl. Cover again with the towel and let rise again for 1 ½ hours.
- Uncover the dough, gently deflate and turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Shape the dough into a round loaf shape and then place on a parchment-lined sheet pan generously dusted with flour. Generously dust the top of the round with more flour, cover with the tea towel and let rise another hour.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 450˚F and place an empty dutch oven on the center rack to heat up for at least a half hour.
- When the dough is ready, carefully remove the dutch oven and slide the dough into the pot, gently shaking it into place if necessary. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the cover and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown or until internal temperature reaches 190˚F.
- Gently remove the bread from the pot and let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Bread tastes best the day it is baked but can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for another day.