I’ve been in love with my bread machine for a while now. I don’t even use it to cook the bread, and I still love it.
I love that I can just dump the ingredients in, turn it on and walk away. I love that it does all the hard work of kneading and rising and making a perfect dough. I love that all I have to do is shape the dough, get a second rise, and cook it.
I was so in love that when the hoo-ha about ‘no knead’ bread happened a while back, I happily ignored it.
I don’t need to make bread dough a day in advance just so I can avoid kneading it, I just get my lovely bread machine to do that and all is fine.
Yes… I have slipped to the dark side and dabbled with ‘no knead’ bread… and I like it!
What made my dare to cheat on my beloved bread machine?
It was the revelation that I can make a BIG batch of no knead dough and leave it sitting in my fridge until I was ready to use it. So I could make dough once, on the weekend when I had plenty of time, and have bread dough ready to cook at any time during the week!
My bread making world was shaken!
There’s another little revelation to this bread making method too – not only is it ‘no-knead’ but it is also ‘cold fermented’ bread. Allowing your bread to ‘cold ferment’, gives the yeast more time to do it’s thing so it is better able to breakdown and change the glutens and your bread is easier to digest and, in theory (though I am not a nutritionist), it is better for you.
But mostly it is just easy.
It’s easy to make dough once, and then just bake bread whenever we need it. I don’t need to remember to make dough in the mornings, and I don’t need to find time to do that on a busy week day.
It’s an easy recipe, very forgiving, and you can adapt it easily, adding or changing it to suit your needs.
It is not the lightest and fluffiest of breads but it has a great taste and texture. It can get a strong yeasty flavour if you leave it for more than four days in the fridge, but that just makes it better!
It’s the perfect lazy bread.
- 3 cups warm water
- 1 1/2 tbs yeast
- 6 1/2 cups of flour
- salt to taste
- Dry additions: pepitas, almond meal, sesame seeds, bran, dried herbs etc.
- Wet additions: fresh herbs, olives, fruit etc
- Day one:
- In a jug measure out the water and add the yeast, leaving it to sit for a few minutes until it begins to form froth and bubbles. This way you know your yeast is alive.
- In a very large bowl or container combine the flour and salt.
- You may use any kind of flour you like but heavier flours like wholemeal will make a flatter denser loaf. Try 4 cups wholemeal and 2 1/2 plain white flour.
- Add around a cup of dry additions and mix it into the flour. Depending on your additions and how much you use you may need to add a little more water when mixing.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and pour in the yeast mix.
- Gentle incorporate the flour into the yeast mixture until there are not dry spots. Add a splash more water if needed until you have a slightly wet, heavy dough.
- Cover the container of dough and set it aside in a draft free position to rise for 2-3 hours.
- Once the dough has at least doubled in size put the container into the fridge.
- Day 2-6 :
- You can leave the dough in the fridge for several days. The longer you leave it the more the yeast will break down the glutens. There will be a strong yeasty smell after about day 4, but that is fine.
- To bake the bread grab 1/3 – 1/2 of the dough from the container, and with floured hands gently ease it into the shape you need, carefully folding in any wet ingredients as you go.
- To make bread rolls – roll round balls and set them close together in a small well greased tray with high sides and set them aside for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
- To make a loaf – gently ease the dough into a sausage shape and place in a well greased loaf tin. Set aside for 30- 45 minutes.
- Or gently form the dough into whatever shape you like, place on baking paper on a tray and set aside till it comes back to room temperature and rises a little.
- The dough won’t rise much this time, but that’s ok!
- Preheat your oven to 220 Celsius (approx 425 F) and bake your bread for 25- 30 minutes (slightly less for rolls or flatter loaves) until it is golden brown on the top and sounds hollow when you knock it.
This recipe uses Australian measurements and cooking temperatures, if you need to convert measurements or temperatures this website is useful.
I added chopped olives and rosemary to the loaf we made on the weekend… then all you need to do is add a bit of butter and you’ve got lunch!
Did you try out ‘no knead’ bread when it first hit the big time?
Or are you like me and a little slower to the party?