PREP TIME 5 mins | COOK TIME 45 mins | TOTAL TIME 50 mins | SERVES 1
>>>UPDATED!! If you hate using a tea towel for the second rest, try a silicone baking mat instead! See below.
I straight-up love bread. It’s as close to a perfect food as I can imagine, and I can’t think of an application in which I don’t adore it. I love the way it has shaped the world we live in (yay, beer!) and its role in history (boo, war!).
I used to make bread in the usual way–with much kneading and careful shaping…and a touch of carpal tunnel syndrome to boot. The Lahey no-knead method changed everything, and now I hesitate to even call this “making bread” since it’s just too easy. Stir up a bowl of batter, let it sit on the counter for 12 to 36 hours, then whack it into the oven. My fingers barely even touch the batter!
So if you’ve got just five minutes, you can be making homemade bread!
The Lahey method has just one annoying step, the tea towel second rest. You’re meant to transfer the very wet dough to a tea towel to rest for an hour before baking it. This is all fine except the dough gets stuck to the tea towel and makes a heck of a mess. Depending on how quickly you can deal with the batter-ed tea towel, it’s likely that the towel shall be forever ruined.
I tried skipping that step and, alas!, the results were just not as glorious. It’s still good bread, it’s just not as beautifully domed as the one pictured above. So the solution is to flour the HECK out of that tea towel or use a non-stick baking mat (like Cookina).
Here’s the full how-to:
225 g all-purpose flour (1½ cups), plus more for dusting
175 g whole-wheat flour (1⅓ cups)
1 teaspoon table salt (or 1 tablespoon kosher)
¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
350 g water (1½ cups)
Stir the flours, salt and yeast together in a large bowl. Add the water and stir really well. Scrape down the sides, cover the bowl and leave it at room temperature for anywhere from 12 to 36 hours.
After that long rest, generously sprinkle both the counter and the top of the batter with flour. Sprinkle a flat-weave tea town with flour too (see above-- be generous!). You can also use a non-stick baking mat instead of a tea towel.
Use a plastic scraper or spatula to scrape the batter onto the floured counter. Fold the batter in on itself three to five times. Transfer the wobbly doughball onto the prepared tea towel or baking mat then gently cover it with the edges of the tea towel. Let it rest here for at least an hour and as much as three hours.
Place an 8- to 9-inch round casserole pot with a lid in the oven, then heat the oven to 450F. Once the oven is preheated, take the pot out of the oven and quickly scrape the batter into the pot (leaving the floury tea towel behind!). Clamp on the lid and pop the whole set-up back into the oven for 30 min. Take off the lid and bake for another 10 to 15 min. The bread should be gorgeously browned.
Transfer the bread out of the pot and onto a rack to cool. Don't slice into it for at least an hour. I know -- waiting is the hardest part of the whole recipe!
TIP: You can make this with 100% all-purpose flour, but I usually like to add up to ⅓ whole wheat for flavour and nutrition.
Click below for a printable version of this recipe.