No Knead Bread

makes one loaf

500g

Gilchesters Organics Spelt Flour


375g

Water


2.5g

instant yeast or 5 g dry active yeast or 10 g fresh yeast


10g

salt


Method

If you are using fresh or instant yeast, measure everything into a bowl and give it a good stir with a spoon or with your hands to mix it all together. Scrape any bits off the side to produce one big pile of dough and cover the bowl with cling film. Let it sit on the counter for 12-18 hours. If you are using dry active yeast, measure the flour into a bowl and make a well in it. Add the yeast and pour over the water to fill the well. Let it sit for 5 minutes to dissolve the yeast.

Then add the rest of the water and the salt and give it a good stir with a spoon, spatula or with your hands to mix it all together. Scrape any bits off the side to produce one big pile of dough and cover the bowl with cling film. Let it sit on the counter for 12-18 hours.

Scrape it out of the bowl and onto a floury surface.Do your best to get the blob into a somewhat tighter ball shape, trying not to squeeze or push the air out of the dough. It’s hard to describe how to do this and I wish I could magic up a camera person for you, but I cannot so, here goes:

Push the scraper under the dough on one side and then gently hold the dough onto the scraper, pull it out from the main blob and fold it back over the remaining blob of dough – your blob is smaller and you have “stacked” the dough up a bit. Repeat this action all around the dough blob – pushing the scraper under, stretching and folding the dough on the scraper back onto the blob. Just go around once so the the dough has all been “folded” one time.

Now, push the scraper right underneath the dough and turn the whole thing over. Do not add any more flour.

Cup the edge of the dough furthest from you with both hands and pull it toward you. The flour that was on the counter will have stuck to the dough and now that you have flipped the dough over, the top and sides will be floury. Try not to get your hands trapped under the dough but see how the dough kind of wraps itself around itself as you pull it toward you. You need a non floury surface to do this or else your dough just slides on the counter and does not wrap itself around itself.

Pick up the dough, give the dough a 1/4 turn, move it away from you, and do it again.
Repeat the action until your dough is rolled up into a rather tight ball. Now, using the scraper again, transfer the dough to a large piece of non stick parchment, flour the top, cover it with a tea towel and wait.

TIP: with a measuring tape, measure your casserole from the top, down the side, along the bottom and up the other side. Make sure your paper is as big as the internal surface area of the dish. You don’t need paper at all, you can use some semolina or polenta on the bottom of the dish to prevent the dough from sticking but I found I could not get the dough into the casserole without burning myself unless I dropped it in from a high height, hence forcing all the air out!

Put the casserole in the oven and turn the oven on to 230C. It will take your oven ages to warm up with a huge iron casserole.

When your oven is up to temperature, remove the casserole dish and take off the lid. Pick up your dough ball, using the edges of the paper and gently lower it into the dish. Cover it and return it to the oven. Turn the oven down to 200C.

Bake the dough for 30 minutes and then remove the lid and test it. If you have a probe thermometer, stick it into your bread – when it is done, the thermometer will register 98 degrees C. If you don’t have a thermometer, remove the bread and tap the bottom. If it sounds hollow and the bottom crust feels “thin” it’s done. If not, pop it back in the oven (don’t bother putting it back in the casserole, just pop it right on the shelf, and bake it for another 5 – 10 minutes and test it again.

Let the loaf cool completely on a wire rack.

This recipe is courtesy of Jane Mason, author of Virtuous bread, and three cook books All You Knead is Bread, The Book of Buns and Mexico – The Cook Book.

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