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No-Knead Bread

It is not a loaf of Poilâne, I know that, but it’s damn fine bread. It’s flavorful and has a crust that actually crunches when you bite into it. And it’s really easy.

Easy as in you don’t do anything at all except mix up the flour, yeast, and water with your big wooden spoon. Then let it hang out for a while–I give it a full 24 hours instead of the suggested 12 to 18, simply because I usually think of doing this in the morning instead of the evening.

I’d read about this no-knead bread before — it’s a recipe by Jim Lahey with New York’s Sullivan Street Bakery and it’s been all over the internet– but in Paris, who’s gonna bother with making their own bread when it’s coming out warm from boulangerie ovens every day?

The great thing about this bread, aside from the fact it needs no babysitting — letting you tend to other important tasks of the day, like checking out what’s new on Pinterest.

No-Knead Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Adapted from a recipe by Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

1. Whisk or stir together the flour, salt and yeast. Add the water and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a wet and sticky dough — if it’s not sticky, add 1 to 3 more tablespoons of water. Put the dough in a bowl and loosely cover with a piece of plastic wrap and a dish towel on top of the overall bowl (the plastic wrap keeps the dough from getting crusty). Let the dough sit in a warmish spot for 12 to 18 hours (I usually leave mine out for 24), or until there are lots of bubbles on the surface and it has doubled in size. This super-slow rise (fermentation) is the key to the bread’s flavor.

2. Dust a work surface with flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto the surface — the dough will cling in long, sticky strands. Don’t add any more flour to the dough. Lightly dust your hands with flour and lift and pull the dough in pieces to the center in order to make a round shape. Dust a non-terrycloth dishtowel with wheat or at bran, cornmeal or additional flour. Now gently flip the dough over onto the dishtowel, seamed side down. Wrap the dough in the dishtowel and put in a warm place again to rise until it has doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

3. Preheat a Dutch oven in a 475°F oven for 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven, dust the bottom of the pot with wheat bran, oat bran or cornmeal and, put the dough inside, and cover. Cook for 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue baking for 15 to 30 more minutes. Let the bread cool on a rack for at least an hour before eating (ha! I usually last 30 minutes before I get out the butter). Store in a paper sack at room temperature.