No-Knead Bread: Exact Version
I'm a "throw it in the bowl and see what happens cook" but I know that can lead to unexpected results. Although no-knead bread is incredible flexible and forgiving, I'm posting exact measurements and directions here for those who wish to start with specific instructions before they start to experiment.
How to Make No-Knead Bread: Exact Version
- In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, salt, yeast and 1 cup water. Stir until most lumps are gone.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place (e.g. an oven with the light on) for two hours to bubble and double in size. If you must rise in a cooler place, allow more time.
- Add the remaining 3 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups water, and olive oil. Stir until well mixed. Cover again and place back in the warm place for two hours or until it has at least doubled in size.
- Beat the dough down with a spoon. Line a large pan with parchment paper. (It will stick like concrete to anything else.) Flop the dough into it. Wet your hands to spread the dough out to the edges of the pan. Use scissors to cut 3 or 4 cross-wise slits into the dough.
- Leave uncovered. Put the dough back in the warm place and allow to rise back up, watching to make sure it doesn't escape the pan, 1 to 2 hours, until it is the size you want it to be when it's done.
- If you are using the oven as your warm place. Remove the bread from the oven before you preheat it. Preheat oven to 440 degrees F.
- Bake 20 minutes at 440 degrees F. Then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and cook another 40 minutes.
- Remove from pan and remove parchment paper. The bottom of the bread should give a hollow thump when you hit it. If the thump seems a bit sodden, place the bare loaf back in the turned off oven and let sit there while the oven cools.
- Cool the loaf on a rack. Slice and serve as you would any good white bread.