The classic recipe for easy, crusty, no-knead Italian rosemary bread, adapted by Mark Bittman.
A slice of fresh, crusty bread is something I could devour any day of the week, and that’s where Mark Bittman’s No Knead Bread recipe (first published in the New York Times) comes in. The bread is remarkably easy to make.
What makes this recipe a standout is how much it resembles the bread I grew up eating; Italian bread baked in neighborhood bakeries in small batches, often with crusts so burnished and substantial you could chip a tooth (or two) if you bit in too eagerly.
Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery came up with the technique of mixing a wet dough comprising flour, water and a mere spot of yeast — barely laying a finger on it — before fermenting it slowly and plopping it into a “blazing hot” covered cast iron pot bake.
The resulting loaf looks like it should be sitting on a worn wooden table in a Tuscan farmhouse kitchen. How brilliant is he?
And the interior of the bread, the crumb, is to die for. Take a look at the open, airy holes in my no-knead bread:
The method is simple, but making this bread does require that you think ahead 24 hours ahead.
It also helps to have a bench scraper to help maneuver the sticky dough from bowl to counter, and a nice heavy pot (with a lid) for baking.
I have a few lovely Le Creuset vessels lying around, but you don’t need to use one. Baking the dough in something like a round Pyrex casserole will work too, according to Lahey.
rosemary lemon no-knead bread
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1 3/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tsp. chopped lemon zest
- Cornmeal or flour as needed
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, rosemary and zest. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at warm room temperature (about 70°F) until the surface is dotted with bubbles, 12 to 18 hours.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and fold the dough over onto itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel, preferably a flour sack towel (not terry cloth), with cornmeal. Put the dough, seam side down, on the towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise until the dough is more than double in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.
- At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready, put a 2 3/4-quart cast-iron pot in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over, seam side up, into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake the pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the loaf is browned, 15 to 30 minutes more.
- Transfer the pot to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Using oven mitts, turn the pot on its side and gently turn the bread; it will release easily.
Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
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