First of all, something I truly adore about this particular bread recipe is that it only has four ingredients (and one of them is water)! Secondly, there is no kneading. I repeat, NO KNEADING! (No dough hooks, paddle attachments or mixers either!) Additionally, I love that the recipe for this bread on Simply So Good's blog offers several options for add-in ingredients to make different flavor combinations of this bread recipe. Think Orange, Cranberry and Nut Bread ... or, Lemon, Rosemary and Gruyere Bread. Or, you can just add in different types of shredded cheeses to make Cheese Bread.
I figured I would try the plain, original version first to test the waters. No sense getting too ambitious the first time! Baby steps, Angela, baby steps!
I was so impressed with both the bread and myself!
This recipe is soooo easy and sooo delicious that I know I will be experimenting with add-ins very soon! I highly urge you to make a batch of this. I know you'll be as hooked on it as I am! My kids said it tasted like bread from Panera Bread! It was perfect for dipping in the potato soup we had tonight for dinner!
Crusty Bread - No Need to Knead!
Recipe by Simply So Good
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus a little more for dusting surface later)
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water (or a little more if your dough is too dry ... I needed a few more tablespoons of water)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours. Overnight works great. (I let mine sit for just over 13 hours.)
Heat oven to 450 degrees. When the oven has reached 450 degrees, place a large cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. (Cast iron is suggested in the original recipe, but the author does offer that any large pot with a lid that can withstand 450 degree oven temperatures will work.)
Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. It will be extremely sticky. Use flour on your hands to manage and shape dough.
Cover with plastic wrap and let sit while the pot is heating. Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough. (Do this carefully as the pot will be extremely HOT!)
Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
NOTE: Next time I make this I will try brushing some of the excess flour off of the dough with a pastry brush. I didn't realize how much was actually on there prior to baking.