No-Knead Italian Bread

No-knead Italian bread that’s rustic, crusty, and easy as heck. Believe it.

No-Knead Italian Bread

This no-knead Italian bread is every bit as simple to make as the name suggests. Seriously. With only 10 minutes of effort, you can make a loaf of bread that easily rivals one you’d buy at your favorite artisan bakery with a chewy crust and a light crumb. The only catch? You have to remember to start it the night before.–Angie Zoobkoff

Why This No-Knead Italian Bread Recipe Works

The reason this recipe works despite being no-knead is that the bread isn’t kneaded but does have a long rising time of 12 to 18 hours to create a risen texture. The inspiration for this recipe was an article published in the New York Times several years ago that featured a revolutionary no-knead bread by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. In addition to making bread, you can use this recipe to make dough for pizza and focaccia.

No-Knead Italian Bread

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 1 H, 40 M
  • Makes a 1 1/2- pound (680-gram) loaf

Special Equipment: A 3-quart (2.8-liter) clay-covered, ceramic, or cast iron pot, or Dutch oven with lid (or a larger pot of the same kind)

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup semolina flour* (163 grams), plus more for dusting and coating
  • 1 cup 00 flour* (or substitute cake flour) (140 grams)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour* (120 grams), plus more if you are braiding the bread
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (6 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (1 gram)
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (300 ml)
  • Melted butter or lightly beaten egg white (optional)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Directions

  • 1. In a large bowl, stir together semolina flour, 00 flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and yeast. Add the lukewarm water and stir until the ingredients form into a slightly dry, shaggy dough, about 1 minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to keep in the moisture and let the dough rise at room temperature (between 65º and 75ºF or 18° to 24°C) for at least 12 hours and up to 18 hours. After this time, the surface of the dough should be covered with small bubbles and the dough should have risen significantly.
  • 2. If you’re making a round or rectangular loaf, gently run a spoon around the bowl to deflate the dough. Use the spoon to gently fold the dough over itself. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. If you’re making a braided loaf, flour a board or surface with 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and turn the dough out onto it. Deflate the dough by pressing and kneading the flour into the dough until the dough no longer feels quite as sticky. Roll the dough into a long loaf. Cut the loaf into 3 equal pieces and, using your hands, roll each piece evenly into a rope about 12 inches long. Place the ropes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Braid the bread starting in the middle of the ropes. Take the left rope and cross it over the middle piece. Take the right rope and cross it over the rope that is now in the middle. Repeat crossing left over center, followed by right over center until you reach the end, as if you’re braiding hair. Pinch the bottom ends together and tuck them under the loaf. Repeat for the other side. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.
  • 3. If you’re making a round or rectangular loaf, spread about 1/4 cup semolina flour onto a cotton dish towel. Take the dough out of the bowl and use your hands to shape the dough into a rectangle or ball, depending on the shape of your pot or Dutch oven. The dough will be sticky and shaggy. Fold the dough into thirds and place the dough seam-side down on the dishtowel. Sprinkle some more semolina on the bread. Bring the sides of the towel over the bread to cover loosely. Let the dough rise until double its original size, about 2 hours. If you’re making a braided loaf, move on to step 4.
  • 4. While the dough is rising, place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 450ºF (230°C).
  • 5. About 30 minutes before the dough is finished rising, place a heavy clay-covered, ceramic, or cast iron pot or Dutch oven with a minimum size of 3 quarts into the oven and heat the pot while the dough finishes rising.
  • 6. If desired, after the dough has risen, lightly brush it with melted butter or lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Remove the pot from the oven, gently lift the dough from the towel and place into the pot seam side up. Cover the pot and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the bread is brown on the outside, about 10 minutes longer. Remove the loaf from the pot and cool on a wire rack before slicing.

*NOTE

  • To simplify the recipe, you can substitute King Arthur brand bread flour in place of the semolina, 00, or all-purpose flour. You may need to adjust the rise time for the dough to double in size, so watch carefully.


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