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No-Knead Artisan Bread

 
When it comes to Holiday cooking, we run into the same issues most people do; limited time, a full oven, counter covered in food and a sink full of dishes. I rarely have time for a meaningful conversation with family members let alone time to hand knead bread. 

(When I first wrote this recipe about 7 years ago, I didn't own a stand mixer. This year for Christmas, I bought myself one, Merry Christmas to me <3)

Don't get me wrong I love cooking and hosting dinners but every year it's the same scramble to get all the side dishes finished at the same time and I seem to always forget something. Two years ago I started to reevaluate my recipes looking for a more simple way to have a delicious, home cooked meal for everyone with less headaches. That's when I discovered, No - Knead Bread. I have since tweaked a few things turning it into my all time favorite bread recipe.

It has a nice thick crust but it's soft in the middle and the best part is that you don't need a mixer! Just place all the ingredients in a bowl the day before and let it "knead" itself! That's right, you let the yeast do all the hard work for you! It's also great because you can make it your own by adding different herbs, spices, cheese or sun dried tomatoes. I like to put a handful of dehydrated tomatoes in a food processor then add it to the dough after the first rise. You can also pair the dried tomatoes with basil to give it summer fresh flavor, the possibilities are endless!

 If you don't have dehydrated tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes, other options to add could be pesto, rosemary, parsley or my personal favorite, Parmesan cheese!

Start by adding the dry ingredients to a large bowl, 3 cups of AP Flour, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp active dry yeast, then add in 1 1/3 cup room temp water. Mix until well combined.

Cover with a clean towel and place on the counter for 12-18 hours. You will know it's done when the dough has doubled in size. 

 

Next you will want to place a towel down on your work space and a large piece of parchment paper down on top of the towel. Lightly dust the parchment paper with flour and roll out your dough ball on top of the paper. Fold the dough into itself a couple times and roll it onto the seem. Sprinkle more flour on the dough then lightly cover the dough with the parchment paper and towel. Let rise for another two hours.

When you're an hour and a half into your second rise, place or desired baking dish and top into the cold oven then begin preheating your oven to 450 degrees. When the two hours is up, carefully remove the hot baking dish and lid from the oven. Remove the lid using oven gloves. Pick up the dough using the parchment paper and place it into your baking dish or dutch oven.

Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack When to cut fresh bread is just as important as how long you cook it. I wait for my internal temperature to be between 90-110F. This makes a huge texture difference. Cutting bread when it's still hot can make the inside chewy and less fluffy. But that's it, enjoy!

 Ingredients:

 3 Cups of All Purpose Flour

1 1/3 cups Room Temp Water 

1/2 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast

1 teaspoon salt

Optional; 1/4 cup of Pesto, Sun dried tomatoes, Basil, Parsley, Parmesan Cheese, Rosemary or any of your favorite flavors. I just suggest the herbs be dried previously.

Directions:

1. Add dry ingredients and mix well, add water and stir until well combined. Take plastic wrap or a hand towel and cover the bowl, let the dough sit and rise for 18-20 hours. If your house is exceptionally cold like mine, put the bowl on top of the refrigerator. Make sure sure the bowl is big enough for the dough to expand at least 3 times the size. If using herbs, tomatoes or cheese I suggest waiting until after the first rise to incorporate them.

2. Flour your counter and turn the dough onto it, give it a light dusting and fold the dough into itself a few times to form a ball. Place the ball on one half of a lightly floured (clean) dish towel, sprinkle the dough ball with more flour and cover with the other half. Let it rise again for about 1 hour or until it has doubled again

3. After it has risen again, place a ceramic or cast iron deep dish with lid into the oven and preheat to 450. 

4. Once preheated pull your dish out using oven mitts. Carefully place the dough in dish, place the top on and return to the oven. After 25 minutes remove the lid and continue baking for an extra 10 - 15 minutes. Remove the bread and place on cooling rack until internal temperature reaches 90-110F before slicing. Then Enjoy!

Cooks Notes: If your dough never doubled in size after the first rise your yeast may have expired. It's important to store yeast in a cool dry place BEFORE it's open and in the refrigerator up to 6 months AFTER it's been opened.  

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