I know, man can not live on bread alone. So I’m a little obsessed with baking bread lately… humor me. There will be more “real food” soon, promise.
You may remember this video that I referenced in my very first no-knead bread recipe post. The recipe and technique in the video are a little different from the basic no-knead recipe. The dough is wetter, it ferments for 18 hours at room temperature and is shaped into a long, fairly flat, ciabatta shaped loaf.
Well, I’m glad I decided to give this one a try. For some reason it seems easier than the original no-knead and the result so much better. The inside is lighter and fluffier. The flavor is wonderful. The shape, although flat, is perfect for sandwiches. PERFECT.
After making this bread countless times, I now make a “half batch” loaf and usually use 100% all-purpose, rather than using some whole wheat (I like the texture better). The ingredient amounts listed below are for a half batch sized loaf.
If you can’t time the dough just right to ferment for 14-18 hours, you can actually slow the fermentation by putting it in the refrigerator for a few hours. When I need to leave it for about 24 hours, I pop it in the fridge over night (8 hours), then let it come to room temperature before continuing.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus some for dusting ($0.26)
- 1/8 tsp instant or “bread machine” yeast ($0.02)
- 3/4 tsp salt ($0.03)
- 1 cup water ($0.00)
- 1/2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.08)
- 2 Tbsp cornmeal ($0.03)
- In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Stir the dry ingredients well until they are evenly combined. Add the water and stir it until a wet, sticky ball of dough forms and no flour remains on the bottom of the bowl. Loosely cover and let sit at room temperature for 14-18 hours to ferment.
- After fermentation, the dough should be wet, sticky, very bubbly, and fluffy. Dust the top of the dough and your hands with flour. Carefully scrape the sticky dough from the bowl, adding a small amount of flour if needed to keep your hands from sticking.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and stretch it into a long, 12-16 inch loaf. It’s okay if the loaf is lumpy and uneven. The dough will be very soft and sticky, so don’t worry too much about the shape.
- Prepare a baking sheet by smearing olive oil over the surface and then sprinkling with cornmeal. Carefully pick up the loaf and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet, reshaping it as needed. Let the dough rise for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bake the loaf for 25 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Let the bread cool on a wire rack before slicing.
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Step By Step Photos
In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp instant or “bread machine” yeast. Stir until they’re well combined. Add one cup of water and stir until a soft, sticky ball of dough forms and no flour remains on the bottom of the bowl.
Loosely cover the dough and let it ferment for 14-16 hours. If you need to let it sit longer, it can be placed in the refrigerator for part of the fermentation to slow it down.
After fermentation, it should look like this. Big, fluffy, and full of bubbles. Oh yeah, it’s also sticky. Dust the dough and your hands with flour, then gently scrape it from the bowl. Turn it onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it roughly into a 12-16 inch rectangle.
Prepare a baking sheet by spreading 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over the surface, then sprinkling with a tablespoon or two of cornmeal. I added parchment to my baking sheet just to make cleanup a lot easier. Transfer the shaped dough to the baking sheet (it’s okay, good even, if it’s unevenly shaped).
Let the dough rise for two hours. This is where all the nice, big internal bubbles come from, so don’t skimp on this step! Begin preheating the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake the bread for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on the outside. Make sure the oven is fully preheated before the bread goes in, because it needs that sudden blast of hot air to really puff up.
Let the bread cool before slicing (I know, it’s hard to wait, but you’ll avoid crushing the bread that way).
This bread is perfect for sandwiches. Light and fluffy inside with a good crust. YES!
Oh, my other favorite thing about this bread is that it only uses 1/8 tsp of yeast – TOTAL. Now I can make great bread every week and my yeast will last for-ev-er.