If you’ve ever wanted to bake bread but were always too chicken to try, then please visit Jim Lahey’s article and give No Knead Bread a whirl. I’ve been baking bread this way for months and I swear it’s the best thing ever. Why? Because fresh homemade bread is like sliceable heaven. There is a certain beauty in its simplicity: water, salt, yeast and flour. That’s all it takes! This is whole, natural food, folks. No preservatives needed. All that hippy stuff aside, what really gets me baking are the flavor and the time. Jim Lahey’s recipe turns out a seriously delicious loaf of bread, and because there’s no kneading involved, it’s super quick to throw together (aside from the 18-hour rise time!).
Jim’s No Knead bread is perfect for whole wheat loaves because it turns out a light, moist loaf. That’s right, this is a whole wheat bread recipe that doesn’t turn out a dense, brick-like loaf more suitable as a doorstopper than something you’d actually eat.
Here is my version made with 100% whole wheat flour. I use Doves Farm Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour because I like the flavor, but feel free to experiment with different brands and different blends. There’s no reason you can do half whole wheat, half white, or get crazy with spelt, rye and malted grains.
100% Whole Wheat No Knead Bread
470g whole wheat four
1/4 tsp. yeast
- Combine all dry ingredients then add the water. Stir until the dough has the consistency of a shaggy ball, adding more water if necessary (chances are, you’ll have to add quite a bit more water so don’t be shy – it’s better to have a dough ball that’s too wet than too dry). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in a warm place for 12 – 24 hours (the longer you leave it, the lighter, more flavorful the result will be). The dough is ready when it’s about double in size and spotted with big bubbles.
- Give the counter top and your hands a generous sprinkle of flour. Turn the dough onto the counter. Pull the dough at either end to form a strip. Fold this strip into thirds (like a business letter). Give the dough a quarter turn and fold in thirds again. I’ll refer to these folds as “seams”, i.e., “right now your dough is on the counter, seam side up.” Cover with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
- Oil a large bowl with olive oil. If you like, sprinkle the bowl with seeds (this is not only tasty, but it also makes it easier to turn the dough out of the bowl when you’re ready to bake it). Put the dough ball into the bowl seam side down. Cover with the plastic wrap and let sit for 2-3 hours. The dough is ready when it has more than doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, remove the HOT pot and pour in a bit of olive oil. Swirl it around so that oil covers the entire inside of the pot. Now, take the bowl containing the dough and quickly turn it upside down over the pot so that the dough falls in seam side up. Cover the pot with a lid and bake for 40 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake another 5 or so minutes, until the loaf is browned. Cool on a rack at least 45 minutes before slicing.