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Endive Boats filled with a Mesclun, Gorgonzola, and Walnut Salad

Country Bread

Pear Tart

If you are a regular reader, you might recall seeing this bread on our menu many times.  Today I am finally sharing the recipe.  This recipe is from a New York Times article that created quite a buzz several years back.  It is the from the renowned bread baker,  Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City.  He eventually came out with his book, My Bread, with all his bread baking secrets.  

I tried the original as is and it was really good, but the one thing missing for me was the size.  I wanted a big rustic loaf.  One that not only I could use for the dinner table but for the rest of our weekday meals.  So, I doubled the amount of ingredients and added a bit more salt.  Baked in a 5-quart seasoned cast iron dutch oven, this loaf of bread is a thing of beauty.  It is 10-inches wide, about 4 1/2-5 inches tall at it's highest point, and weighs between 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds (that's today's weight).  

This is a simple bread to make; no kneading required, but it does take some advance prep and time.  Below I have included a few step by steps to help you with your bread dough skills.

*I highly recommend using gram measurements for best results*

First, mix the flour, salt, yeast, and water in a large bowl or gallon container until wet and sticky; flour should be completely incorporated.  If not, add a tablespoon or two of water.  Cover lightly with a towel, plastic wrap or a loose fitting lid and allow to rest in a warm, draft free spot to ferment, about 12 and up to 18 hours.  This long fermentation is the key to great flavor.

After the first rise, the dough should have doubled in size and bubbles should appear on the surface.  Generously dust a work surface with flour.  

Turn the dough out onto the floured surface in one sticky piece.

Using floured hands or a bowl scraper, gently lift the edges of the dough and fold in toward the center working around the entire dough.

Pinch the top of the dough to hold in place.

Generously dust a thin cotton tea towel or linen cloth with flour and wheat bran.

Place the dough seam side down on to the prepared towel.

Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour and wheat bran.

Lightly cover with the sides of the towel and say, "nighty-night" for another hour or two.

Preheat the oven and heavy pot or dutch oven with a lid in a 475º F oven.  Carefully invert the dough into the hot pot, cover, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and bake until deep golden brown.  

Carefully remove the hot bread to a baking rack to cool.  But don't leave the kitchen.  Wait a few moments and listen carefully.  The bread will begin to-- sing?!  That's right, as the hard crust contracts and cools, it sings!  Nothing like being serenaded by your food:)  Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.

Once cool, slice and enjoy warm for dinner, a slice toasted for breakfast, and anything in between.  Just look at all of those nooks and crannies just waiting to be slathered with butter or drizzled with olive oil--mmm!

No-Knead Country Bread
makes one large 10-inch round loaf

800 grams (about 5 1/2 cups) bread flour
15 grams (about 1 Tablespoon) kosher salt
2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) active dry yeast
600 grams (2 2/3 cups) cool water (55º to 65º F) 

Wheat bran and additional flour for dusting

In a large bowl or gallon container, stir together the flour, salt, and yeast.  Using a wooden spoon, add the water and mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds.  It should be very sticky to the touch and the flour should be completely incorporated; if not, mix in another tablespoon or two of water.  Lightly cover the bowl or container with a towel, plastic wrap, or by gently placing the lid on top without sealing.  Let sit at room temperature (about 72º F) out of direct sunlight until the surface is doubled in size with bubbles, about 12 and up to 18 hours.  

Generously dust a work surface with flour.  Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough into one mound on top of the floured surface.  It will be loose and sticky.  Using floured hands or a bowl scraper, lift the outside edges toward the center, working around the entire piece to make a smooth round.

Lay a thin cotton or linen tea towel (not terry cloth, which tends to stick) or a large cloth napkin on your work surface.  Generously sprinkle the surface of the towel with flour and wheat bran.  Using your hands or scraper, gently lift the dough on to the prepared towel and place seam side down.  Dust the top of the dough with more flour and wheat bran.  Cover the dough with the sides of the towel and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours.  The dough is ready when almost doubled in size.

Half an hour before the end of the second rise, place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 475º F and place a 5-quart heavy pot or cast iron dutch oven with a tight fitting lid in the center of the rack.

When the dough is ready to bake, carefully remove the HOT dutch oven from the oven using oven mitts; remove the lid.  Unfold the towel, gently slide your hand under the dough and quickly, but gently invert the dough into the hot pot.  If any dough clings to the top or sides unevenly, quickly run an off-set spatula or knife around the edges to even.  The dough will eventually even itself out while baking.  Using oven mitts, place the hot lid back on the pot and return to the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Using oven mitts, remove the hot lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep, golden brown, about 15-30 minutes more.  Remove from the oven.  Using a thin handle of a spatula, carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool completely before slicing, about 2 hours, preferably warm.  Slicing into the loaf too early will result in a gummy texture.  Rewarm and eat bread for dinner or toast for breakfast.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from My Bread, by Jim Lahey


  1. I've read about this bread SO many times but haven't tried it yet. Maybe this will be the month. You sure make it look tempting.

  2. great recipe btw! really easy and the bread came out nicely with a good crust and all.

  3. I was so hesitant to try this recipe (I am NOT a baker!)...I did my research and really appreciated the fact you incorporated weights vs actual measurements. This was incredibly easy to make, but the best part is the results are super impressive!

  4. KLF-
    Glad you enjoyed the recipe. It is one of my favorite breads to bake. I prefer the weighted measurements when baking (especially bread). They are more accurate.

  5. Hi Nicole

    How do you weigh water on a scale.

    1. I have an OXO Good Grips digital scale that can also measure in gram increments. I place an empty container on the zeroed out scale and pour in enough water to reach the desired weight.

  6. This was so much fun to make with that great "feeling" soft and silky. The final product was very impressive. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Leeanne BurdaOctober 21, 2012

    I don't have a heavy dutch oven. What do you recommend? I have a Calaphon Stock pot but besides basic bread pans I don't know what else I would use. Thanks!

    1. The one I use is a Lodge cast iron pot. With the high cooking temperature you need the heaviness of the pan. Check your local hardware store for Lodge dutch ovens (they are fairly inexpensive) . I don't recommend making this bread without it.

  8. Dear Galley Gourmet,

    I was one bread away from giving up on home-made goodness - then came You!
    This recipe is easy, fast (no expensive bread machines) and when it comes out of the oven; oooooo mee god! It is delicious and finally REAL bread. The crust is so crunchy, without having to put a pan of water underneath.
    You bakers, do not look any further, this is the real deal.
    Thank you!
    Happy cooking/baking, especially for the holidays,
    Sedona, AZ

    1. Thank you for such a kind comment, Trudy! I am so pleased you enjoy the bread recipe. Kindest regards to you as well.

  9. Hi Galley Gourmet!
    I'm Charlene from the "Galley Kitchen Gourmet" blog. Nice to meet you.
    I want to thank you for this recipe. I use Jim Lahey's basic recipe all the time, but usually make 2 loaves so I have enough. Thanks so much for making the bigger loaf and sharing it with us. I can't wait to try it, and now I can do it for family and company because I know it will work. Thanks again! Charlene

  10. Right here is the perfect blog for everyone who wants to find out about this topic.
    You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to...HaHa).
    You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic which has been discussed for years.
    Excellent stuff, just great!

  11. Greetings! I just baked my first loaf of bread (not counting beer bread or banana bread) ever, and it was awesome! I used this recipe as listed on the Smithey Ironware Co. site, except for one minor change- I used instant dry yeast because I didn’t know the difference. Whoops. But it worked perfectly! The hardest part was getting the dough into the dutch oven. I succeeded, but it was entirely without grace.

    I’d like to try a whole wheat and a rye; how can I adapt this recipe to that end? It’s important I don’t create a larger boulle, because I’m using a vintage 4.5qt dutch oven.


  12. I’d like to try this recipe for whole wheat and rye breads. How would I need to modify to make that happen, considering I need the loaves to stay the same size or smaller? I’m using a 4.5qt vintage no. 8 dutch oven and it’s pretty full as is! Fantastic results with the white bread, though I mistakenly used instant yeast.



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