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How To Make No-Knead Bread

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Chef Juergen Temme of The Culinary Institute of America demonstrates how easy it can be to make bread with no kneading whatsoever. The key is leaving yourself lots of time, because 15-plus hours are necessary to transform a mixture of 2 cups water, 4 cups of bread flour, 1 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon dry active yeast into a loaf of rustic bread. Instead of using your hands, you let time do the work.

First, he mixes together the dry ingredients and pours them into the bowl with the water. Chef Temme mixes the ingredients together with his hands, then, when he's got a wet, sticky dough, places the mixture in an oiled container with a lid. He lets the dough sit for 12 hours at room temperature, until the gluten has developed and the dough is proofed. He removes it from the container and forms it into a rough loaf, then places it on a kitchen towel that's been sprinkled with semolina flour. (He sprinkles the top of the loaf with the semolina, as well.) Another 2 1/2 hours of proofing and the bread is finally ready to bake. To achieve a good crust and moist interior crumb, he uses a cast-iron pot with a lid to create a mini-bread oven. He preheats the pot in a 500F oven, then carefully sets the dough inside and re-covers the pot. The bread is baked for 40 minutes at 500F. (Remove the top for the last 10 minutes so the moisture can escape and help the crust set.)

Remove the bread from the pot immediately, but wait for it to cool before slicing.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Jürgen Temme from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to make no-knead bread.

What we do with no-knead bread is let our dough develop just through time. It is very, very basic. What we have here is about two cups of water, and I have my flour: in this case I use about four cups of bread flour. I have my salt, one and three quarter teaspoons of salt, and I have one teaspoon of what is called instant active dry yeast. This yeast is developed to be blended with dry ingredients, not started in water. I stir my yeast, salt and flour together, just blend it up a little, and add this to my wet ingredients. The reason I added the water first is simply that the ingredients will mix together more easily.

There is no kneading involved. I'm just blending right now - and that is basically it. The only thing that needs to be done right now is that I wrap the dough up and leave it in the bowl, or in a container like I have right here. I've already pre-oiled the container, and I just place the dough in. That's it. The reason I put a lid on here is basically just to trap the flavor and aroma which will develop over time.

What we will do now is let the dough sit for about twelve hours at room temperature, and then we want to go over to the next step which is to take it out. Before we do this I just want to show you how this dough developed. Time is working in our favor; here we see the gluten development, as it pulls into a nice membrane which is very important in order to capture the aroma as well as the flavor.

So sprinkle a little bit of flour onto the table, and take the dough out. Right now we'll take the ends from all sides and fold it over on itself. We're doing that to give a little bit more strength to the dough. The next step is placing the dough onto a tray. I have a tray with an ordinary towel, and I sprinkle some semolina flour on here. So what is right now up, I will turn down - and place it onto the tray. I sprinkle a little more semolina flour over the top, before I go ahead and cover this. I'll leave this for about two and a half hours at room temperature and let it rise a little bit more.

Now it's time to bake off the dough. We have here a cast-iron pot that we've preheated at five hundred degrees. It's very vital and important that the pot is very hot. I have to be very careful; I'll place my hand on top of the dough and try to flip it right over, and I carefully drop it into the pot.

This is how it looks right now, and I just have to put the lid on, and I'll place it in the oven which is still at five hundred degrees. I will take the lid off for the last ten minutes to let the moisture basically escape; this will allow the crust to develop better. Now we want to place this in the oven at 500 degrees. We want to bake it for forty minutes.

So our last ten minutes elapsed, we have a wonderful loaf with a very rustic appearance. We want to take it out of the pot right away; otherwise moisture will build up, which will be not that good. So here we have our lovely bread - let it cool out completely, so you will enjoy the flavors and the aroma more. Bon appétit and happy baking.