Great recipe, resulting in a crusty, professional looking, handmade Artisan No-Knead Country Bread. Do I like this type of bread? You bet I do, and with relatively little effort you can have this too. Just give it a try.
Many have tried this before me, making a no-knead bread, from Bread in 5, and this is not my first bread from one of their books either. You need to try this. Home-made bread is wonderful. You can slice your own thickness; it smells nice, it looks nice and you have an amazing crunchy crust. Flavor and crust are my main reasons to bake my own bread. Crusty bread is hard to find in my area. So far, I have only located one bakery who bakes bread that is fresh, crusty and tasteful. Oh wait, correction, ……………. there is now a second one …………. me. See in the picture above this text how crunchy the crust is, my mouth is warming up already.
The very first recipe in Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François’ book The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, is the Master Recipe for one or multiple boules (depending on how big you want your boule to be). I usually use the recommended all-purpose flour, but in this recipe I used Chef’s 00 Flour and I used a Dutch Oven instead of a baking stone, pizza-peel or baking sheet. I know the all-purpose flour works just great, just wanted to see the result of the Chefs 00 Flour. I used the Dutch oven and half of the recipe to keep the shape of the Artisan No-Knead Country Bread under control.
This is how I used the recipe:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Add active yeast to the (luke) warm water and add a pinch of sugar. I always add a tiny bit of sugar to wake-up the yeast and make them happy and hungry. A pinch of sugar will not influence the flavor, nor the nutritional value. Allow yeast to work its magic until the surface is frothy.
Add salt and flour and mix with a spoon until well-mixed. You can use a stand mixer of hand mixer. I don’t have a stand mixer, so I use a spoon and finish it with my hand (wet) to make sure all flour is incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise for approx. 2 hours. Prepare a Dutch oven by cutting a piece of parchment paper to cover the bottom of the pan and dust the bottom with cornmeal.
After the rise, it is time to shape the dough. Empty the bowl on a flour dusted surface. Start creating a boule by stretching the surface of the dough and tuck it around the ball onto the bottom. The bottom may look a little bit like a bundle of dough pieces together, but that will mostly disappear during baking. Once you have created a smooth cohesive ball, place it on top of the parchment paper in the Dutch oven. Dust the top with flour and cut the top of the loaf with a knife; make a cross or make a few cuts side by side.
Cover the Dutch Oven with the lid (if it is oven resistant) or alternatively with aluminum foil and bake the bread for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes. Take the Artisan No-Knead Country Bread out of the Dutch oven and place it on a baking sheet and bake 5 more minutes. Allow to cool before you cut it. Enjoy!