Crusty, chewy and soft – this no-knead method of making bread is so easy with results that will rival a bakery.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (100–110 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 3/4 Tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 3 3/4 cups bread flour (or all purpose flour, plus more to sprinkle on the counter)
- 3/4 Tablespoons salt
- cornmeal (optional, to sprinkle on the bottom of the parchment paper)
- Pour the warm water into a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast into the water. Mix to combine. Add the olive oil.
- Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, adding salt along with the flour. (Bread flour is the best for this recipe, however, all purpose flour will work in a pinch.)
- Mix with a large wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Set aside to rise until double in size, 45 min – 1 1/2 hours, depending on how warm your house is.
- Place a piece of parchment on the counter and sprinkle the center with some cornmeal. The cornmeal is optional. It will give a nice crunch to the bottom of the bread.
- Generously sprinkle the counter with flour and transfer the risen dough onto the floured surface. Fold the bread in half and then again in half. Shape dough into ball. Sprinkle the top with more flour.
- Transfer the shaped loaf of dough and place it onto the center of the prepared, cornmeal sprinkled parchment paper.
- Cover loosely and allow to rise at room temperature until double in size, another 45 – 1 1/2 hours, depending on how warm it is in your home.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a dutch oven with the lid, a pizza stone or a large baking sheet into the oven to preheat along with the oven. I’ve used all of the above for this bread and they all work really well. I prefer the dutch oven, but you can use a pizza stone or baking sheet too. The bread will have the best shape and will have the most crunch if you use the dutch oven. The pizza stone is another great option that I often use for bread. It will also make the outside of the bread crunchy, but it will spread out a bit more. The baking sheet will also work, but the bread will not be as crunchy and will spread out more than when baked in the dutch oven.
- When the bread has doubled, use a sharp knife to slash an X or hashtag along the top of the dough. Slashing the dough will help the steam to escape so the loaf bakes evenly, without splits and cracks.
- Use the edges of the parchment paper to pick up the bread and lower it into the hot Dutch oven. Cover with the lid and return to the preheated oven. Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 5-7 minutes, until the crust is as golden brown as you like.
- Remove the bread from he Dutch oven using the edges of the parchment paper and allow to cool on a wire rack.