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Rustic No-Knead Bread
Prep Time
18 hrs
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
18 hrs 45 mins
Course: Special Equipment: One 4 1/2 - 5 1/2 quart heavy pot
Author: Mary Ann Dwyer
  • 3 cups bread flour plus additional flour for dusting
  • 1 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups cool water 55-65 degrees F
  1. Stir together flour, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. Add the water using a wooden spoon and mix for 30 seconds. It should be very sticky to the touch. If it isn't, add another tablespoon or two of water.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature (about 72 degrees) out of the sunlight, until the surface is bubbly and more than doubled in size, at least 12 hours, preferably 18. This is the key to the flavor, so don't rush it.
  3. After the first fermentation, dust a work surface with flour. Using a rubber spatula scrape the dough onto your prepared board in one piece. It will be very loose and sticky. Do not add more flour. Flour your hands and pull the edges of the dough into the center and make into a round.
  4. Place a linen tea towel (not terry cloth) dusted with flour on your work surface. Lift the dough, seam side down onto the towel. Lightly dust the top of the round with flour if dough is tacky.
  5. Loosely cover the dough with another tea towel. Place in warm, draft-free place for second rise, 1-2 hours.
  6. Dough is ready when size is doubled and holds impression when poked with your finger 1/4 inch deep.
  7. Place oven rack in lower third position. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees 30 minutes before the end of the second rise with a 4 1/2-5 1/2 quart cast iron pot in the center of the rack.
  8. Carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven. Remove lid. Unfold tea towel and lightly dust the dough with flour.
  9. Lift dough up on the towel or in your hand and invert quickly and carefully (the pot is extremely HOT) into the pot seam side up.
  10. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove the cover and continue to bake for 15 more minutes or until lightly browned.
  12. Using a heatproof spatula carefully remove bread from pot and place on wire rack to cool, about one hour.
  13. Use sharp knife to slice.