Almost No-Knead Bread

Published January 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.

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Why this recipe works:

For a no-knead bread recipe that would produce a loaf with a consistent shape, we strengthened the dough by lowering the hydration and giving it the bare minimum of kneading time (15 seconds). To give the bread more flavor than the standard no-knead recipe, we added acidic tang with vinegar,… read more

For a no-knead bread recipe that would produce a loaf with a consistent shape, we strengthened the dough by lowering the hydration and giving it the bare minimum of kneading time (15 seconds). To give the bread more flavor than the standard no-knead recipe, we added acidic tang with vinegar, and a shot of yeasty flavor with mild-flavored lager. When we started the baking process in an covered pot, the lid trapped released steam, creating a springy loaf. By finishing the baking with the loaf uncovered, we created a beautifully browned crust.

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Makes 1 large round loaf

Use a mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser (mild nonalcoholic lager also works). In step 3, start the 30-minute timer as soon as you put the bread in the cold oven. Do not wait until the oven has preheated to start your timer or the bread will burn. The bread is best eaten the day it is baked, but it can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool, dry place for up to two days.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons mild-flavored lager
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • Vegetable oil spray

Instructions

  1. 1. Whisk flour, salt, and yeast together in large bowl. Add water, lager, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 18 hours.

    2. Lay 18 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper on counter and spray with oil spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam side down, to center of parchment and spray surface of dough with oil spray. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover loosely with plastic and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

    3. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Remove plastic from pot. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Cover pot and place in oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bake bread for 30 minutes.

    4. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours.

Step-by-Step

Almost No-Knead Bread

1. MIX: Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a spatula.

2. REST: Leave the dough to rest for eight to 18 hours.

3. KNEAD: Knead the dough 10 to 15 times and shape it into a ball.

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