No-Knead Dutch Oven Artisan Bread

No-Knead Dutch Oven Artisan Bread

Is there a better way to brighten your morning other than embracing the day with the fresh bread smell? ☀ ☀ Well, yes! Having that fresh bread smell in your own kitchen is much better than having that fresh bread smell in the busy bakery. 

At first, I was a little hold back when I thought about making my own bread since often the process of regular bread recipes take more than the few hours to make. Until I came across this recipe. 

This classic recipe is easy to prepare because there is no kneading require for this recipe! You prepare the dough a night before, and when you wake up for the next day, all you need to do is pop the dough into the oven and wait. For those busy cooks, you can even freshen up yourself while you wait for the bread to get ready.

The only thing you have to remember is that the bread taste best when it rests 18+ hours, so make sure to have enough time for it to rest. Also, Dutch oven plays a key role in this recipe. So let's take out your proud Dutch oven and bake some bread! 


Difficulty: Easy
Time: 19 hours

Ingredient:
3 cups of bread flour
1 1/4 tsp of dry active yeast
2 tsp of salt
1 tbs of sugar
1 1/2 cup of water that has been warm up to 115 degrees

Direction: 

1. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, the yeast and warm water, set aside until the yeast is foamy and activated; about 4 minutes.

 
 

2. In a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients including the water and yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon or a spatula to mix the ingredients. When the mixture started to get sticky, finishing mix the mixture with your hands. Mix until the flour is fully incorporated into the water.

 
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3. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and leave it somewhere undisturbed for at least 18 hours. Note: If your house temperature is lower, you can leave the mixture in a unheated microwave.

4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450F degrees, place a Dutch oven in the oven to preheat as well. 

5. Scrape the dough (which will be very thin and sticky) on a floured surface and just pull it together into a loose ball, add it in the hot Dutch oven. Dust the top of the dough with a little bit of flour. Put the lid on and place dutch oven in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for additional 10 minutes. 

**If you want a richer flavor of the bread, refrigerate the mature dough for a few days before baking


Since I am always interested in the story behind the recipe, I did some research on how No-Knead bread become what it is today.

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This recipe was known for introduced by New York baker Jim Lahey, as described in his cookbook: My Bread. The recipe became popular because of the ingredients are simple and the baking process takes no sweat at all. 

Although there are many who would criticize the dull flavor from the original recipe, as it is under-seasoned (as Lahey himself admitted) and has shorter fermentation period. However, it is still considered as a revolutionary recipe that became an instant hit among the home bakers. 

The science behind No-Knead Bread: 

Compare with kneaded bread, no-knead bread has lower yeast content and the dough is much moister. Unlike kneaded bread where you knead dough to form into sheet of gluten, un-kneaded bread requires a long period of fermentation (rising). The long waiting period is where the yeast doing the kneading for you. I know it sounds crazy, so let's break down the step by looking at the scientific way. 

In the original kneading process, the goal of kneading is to form into sheets of gluten by reorganized the proteins in a short period of time. In the no-kneading process, it is the enzyme in the ingredients that break down proteins through the process called autolysis. While leaving the dough in the room-temperature for a long period of time, the yeast does kneading like process instead of you. Plus, the salt in the dough inhibits autolysis, so it also gives a hand to the "kneading" process. What you are looking for perfect dough at the end of the day is a bubbly, thin, stretchy, flexible sheet of gluten. 

However, the real innovation for this particular recipe is the Dutch oven, it is what gives the bread a crispy, deeply color crust. 

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When making any kind of bread, the trick to airy bread is to get those bubbles to increase in size as rapidly as possible, giving them plenty of volumes before proteins have time to set. This is accomplished by transferring as much energy as possible as fast as possible to the dough. And that's where the Dutch oven comes in.

The energy that the Dutch oven absorbs from the oven temperature allows it becoming a type of radiation that can enhance the "growing" process of the bread. 

In addition, the Dutch oven can also store humidity where the moist air transfers heat much more efficiently than the dry air. Once again, it allows the increasing rate of transfer energy between the oven and the bread. Plus, moisture allows starches on the surface of the dough to gelatinize, a key step in producing that add crunch and texture to the bread.* Thus, it's essential to add an additional dust of flour on top the dough before baking, in order to achieve a better result. 

*Source: Serious Eats - The Food Lab: The Science of No-Knead Dough

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In my opinion, understanding the basic is the key to master the cooking. I hope you are as curious as I am on how the food is made.

As always,

Happy Cooking!

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