Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Artisan Free-Form No-Knead Bread

I love bread. Any type of savory or sweet baked good is fine with me. A few years ago my dad found this recipe and shared it with me. It is seriously the easiest bread recipe ever. I love that I can customize the recipe to fit with the meal I'm serving, which I will discuss more below.

Master Recipe: Artisan Free-Form Loaf
makes 4 1-pound loaves

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast (1 1/2 pkgs)
1 1/2 tbsp coarse kosher or sea salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, AP white flour
cornmeal for pizza peel

dough resting 40min before baking
  • Heat the water to just a little warmer than body temp (100 degrees F)
  • Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5 qt bowl, or in a resealable container. Allow to yeast bloom.
  • Mix in the flour by gently scooping it up and leveling (don't sift). Mix with a wooden spoon or mixer with dough attachment. Don't knead! This yields a wet dough loose enough to conform to the container.
  • Cover loosely, and allow the mixture to rise at room temp until it begins to collapse (about 2 hours).
  • You can use a portion of the dough anytime after this point, but it is recommended to refrigerate dough for at least 3 hours before shaping the loaf.
    Baking Day:
  • Sprinkle a pizza peel (or cutting board, etc) liberally with cornmeal to prevent loaf from sticking.
  • Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 1 pound piece (equal to 1/4 of the total dough)
  • Gently stretch the surface of the dough around the bottom on four "sides", rotating a quarter turn, until the bottom is a collection of four bunched ends. The bottom of the loaf will flatten during resting and baking.
  • Place the ball on the pizza peel and rest uncovered for about 40 min.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees 20 minutes before baking with a baking stone on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on another shelf.
  • Dust the top of the loaf with flour and slash a 1-inch-deep cross, scallop or tick-tack-toe patten into the top.
  • Slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto the baking stone. 
  • Carefully pour a cup of hot water into the broiler tray for steam.
  • Bake for about 30 min, or until the crust is browned and firm to the touch.
  • Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
  • Refrigerate the remaining dough and use within two weeks.
  • sneaky toddler can't get enough of the bread either
  • The dough can also be portioned and frozen in an airtight container. Defrost the night before baking in the refrigerator.
What I love best, in addition to no-kneading, is that I can alter this recipe and still come out with good results. As you see in the photos above, I made some additions. I replaced 1/2c of flour with steel cut oats and ground flaxseed in the dough. Then, after rising & refrigerating for a day, I sprinkled regular oats on the outside of the dough while it was resting prior to baking. We've added oregano, garlic, & basil previously and it pairs very well with spaghetti, or use the dough as pizza crust.

Rather than baking the bread on a pizza stone (since we broke ours), I coat a pyrex bowl with oil & flour and bake the bread right in the bowl. It comes out just the same!

Our latest experiment was for a slightly sweet breakfast bread. The night before, I got the dough out and mixed in some cinnamon, chopped figs, brown sugar, and a little agave nectar. I folded the ingredients in, the popped the dough back in the fridge. The next morning, I followed the instructions starting at "Baking Day" and mixed in a little more cinnamon. Right before I put the dough in the oven, i sprinkled brown sugar & oatmeal on top. It came out of the oven smelling wonderful. We had to restrain ourselves to let it cool.
 The brown sugar on top gave it a nice crunch. You can use pretty much any ingredients you have on hand to change this bread to fit your meal. It goes well with honey, or dipped in a little olive oil with balsamic vinegar, or even plain.
 If you use this recipe and experiment with other add-ins, I would love to hear how it turns out for you!

Linking up at:


Cant Google Everything


  1. It looks so yummy . I wish I could bake :)
    Noor @ Noor's Place

    1. Thanks! I'm not that great of a baker most of the time. This recipe is seriously so easy (but a little messy) that it is hard for me to mess up!

  2. I've tried similar recipes for no-knead bread before and failed utterly. I pinned this one because I just cannot resist trying this recipe!


  3. Thanks for linking this up last week at SHOW IT OFF Wednesday. This week's party started this morning I would love for you to stop by.


  4. Looks so yummy & hearty! Perfect with soup! Thanks for sharing this at my Pin Me Party!

  5. Thanks so much for linking to Make the Scene Monday @ Alderberry Hill. You are being featured later today!
    I hope you enjoy your weekend, and join me Sunday evening for Make the Scene Monday #71!
    And don't forget to enter the Cannon Rebel T3 Camera Giveaway!

  6. Mmmmm! :) This looks yummy! I love the idea of it; I've been meaning to try bread for ages! Thank you so much for linking up with me this week at Tasty Tuesdays! I’ve pinned this & shared it with my followers!

    1. Its so easy! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do :-)


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