Do you avoid making your own bread because you don’t have the time OR don’t have the energy-slash-hands free (I’m looking at you mamas!)?
That used to be me. But that all changed when I came across a photo on instagram with the hashtag #ggbreadrevolution. I can’t remember who it was that actually posted the photo, but it was a beautiful loaf of bread, so I immediately clicked the hashtag and delved deeper.
What I found was a Melbourne Mum of five boys with a blog called Gourmet Girlfriend and her revolutionary adaptation of a NY Times no knead bread recipe. She promised it was easy peasy and every loaf would turn out perfectly. It made me curious, to say the least. OK, I’ll admit, I was damn right excited!
I followed her instructions that night and the next morning, voila!, a beautiful loaf sat on my kitchen bench. I was super impressed with myself, and I was hooked! No more supermarket bread for this family.
Today I’d like to show you my slightly adapted method in all its step by step glory and I strongly urge you to give it a try. It’s really sooo easy – even for a Mum of a 2.5 year old toddler and I’m also 30 weeks pregnant!
I’m so committed to this cause that I even went out and purchased a big 20kg sack of flour and a barrel to store it in last weekend. Without further ado – let’s get easy homemade bread making!
Place 3 cups (450g) of plain flour*, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon dried instant yeast and (optional) 3 tablespoons mixed seeds**.
*I used organic unbleached, but try to use the best you can find/afford, it really makes a difference to use good quality flour. **I used a mix of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and poppy seeds, but any are good. Or leave them out, up to you.
Note: I recommend using a glass bowl as I tried it in a plastic bowl and found the dough didn’t rise as well.
Pour in 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons (415ml) lukewarm water* and mix with the fingertips of one hand until messy and stringy and just combined. This should only take about 10 seconds.
*I find that the perfect temperature is 3/4 cup boiling water from the kettle and the rest cold water from the tap (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) mixed together then poured in works beautifully. Don’t pour the boiling water straight over the yeast, you’ll kill it, that’s why you mix it up first.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel (or clingfilm, but a tea towel is more environmentally friendly) and leave for 14-18 hours on the kitchen bench. This long time while it is left alone the yeast will do all the work for you – no kneading or mucking around to be had!
I usually do this at about 5pm in the afternoon so I can do the next steps the following morning at around 7.30am-8am.
This is what the dough will look like after about 14 hours. You’ll find it has increased in volume a lot and is still very wet and sticky, but don’t panic!
Throw a few handfuls of flour onto a clean bench and then remove the sticky dough from the bowl and slap it on there. Don’t bother shaping it or being fancy.
Cover lightly with a tea towel and leave for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes gather up some of the flour and pat it onto the sticky dough and roll it around to form a ball.
Dust a tea towel with flour* and place the dough ball inside and dust with a little more flour. Cover and leave for 2 hours. It will almost double in size during this time.
*I use the same tea towel as I covered the original bowl with – less washing up! – and I also scrounge around the bits of flour on the bench and use those for the tea towel so as to be really frugal. Feel free to get more flour from your pantry to do this part!
As soon as you’ve finished step 4, set a timer for 90 minutes. When it goes off, get a cast iron pot that has a lid and put it into the oven with the lid on. Set the oven to 250C.
After 30 minutes, remove the pot using oven mitts (careful, it will be really hot!) and take the lid off. Put the dough inside and put the lid back on. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid.
The bread will look something like this after 30 minutes. Put the pot back into the oven without the lid and bake for a further 10-15 minutes.
My fan forced oven only needs another 10 minutes, but just check yours to see how you go.
Isn’t this method of baking the bread just amazing? The heat of the cast iron pot creates the most fantastic crust. I think it is the most clever part of this recipe (apart from the no kneading bit!).
This will be your finished loaf! Give yourself a big pat on the back.
If you eat a lot of bread then get cracking again from step 1 right away so that you can bake another loaf for tomorrow.
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and it has inspired you to give it a try yourself. If you do, please let me know!
Lastly, another big thank you to Gourmet Girlfriend for posting this recipe, I am so grateful to have found it.
So, are you gonna do it? It’s easy, right?