No-Knead Bread

no-knead bread (gluten-free)

Crusty, tender, yeast-perfumed bread. More than any other, that was the one item I missed dearly when I needed to eliminate gluten from my diet. As a stickler for texture, those gummy and brick–like (not to mention off-tasting) gluten-free loaves never cut it for me.

Eventually, I set out to create my idea of the ultimate loaf. The original no-knead bread recipe promised to yield a homemade artisan loaf complete with crisp crust, delicate crumb and fantastic flavor. Those characteristics were exactly what I craved, and what the recipe below produces.

Making bread from scratch is really quite simple; the most difficult part is all of the waiting involved. For me, it takes a lot of will power to resist cutting off a few slices before the loaf cools completely — hopefully, you have more patience and better self–control than I do. Please trust that all of the hours devoted to rising, baking and cooling are absolutely worth it in the end.

no-knead bread — a peek inside

No-Knead Bread

(heavily adapted The New York Times, November 8, 2006)
Active Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Preparation Time: 6 hours+
Baking Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 1 loaf (about 12 ounces after baking)

Ingredients

  • 54 grams (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons) millet flour, plus more for shaping loaf
  • 54 grams (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons) garbanzo fava flour
  • 72 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) potato starch
  • 32 grams (1/4 cup) arrowroot starch
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 4 grams (1 teaspoon) evaporated cane juice or granulated white sugar
  • 7 ounces (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons or 198 grams) room temperature water
  • 10 grams (2 teaspoons) cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornmeal

Instructions

Mix Dough:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together millet flour through evaporated cane juice. In a measuring cup with spout, combine the water and vinegar. Fit the mixer with paddle attachment and turn on to low speed. Pour water and vinegar into the dry ingredients and continue to mix on low speed until the flour is mostly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.

Shape Loaf:

It may take a little practice to get the shaping down, so I made a diagram and took pictures of the process to help out a little (see photos below). Turn the dough out onto a millet floured surface. Sprinkle the top with more millet flour, then roll the dough around a little, covering all sides with flour. Pat the dough into a disk, roughly 3/4-1″ thick (no need for perfection here!). Fold dough in thirds (like a piece of paper that you’re putting into an envelope). Fold in the two short sides so they meet in the middle, gently pinch the resulting seam together to seal. Flip the dough over and roll it around a little more to eliminate any remaining seams. Place the formed dough into a small bowl (about 1 liter in capacity), and drape a piece of plastic wrap gently over the dough—not just over the top of the bowl.

Allow Dough to Rise:

Let dough rest at least 6 hours at room temperature. Inside a microwave or on the top of the refrigerator are typically two good, draft-free spots.

Bake Bread:

At least 30 minutes before the dough is finished rising, place a 2-3 quart cast iron Dutch oven and its lid¹ on the center rack of the oven and pre-heat to 450°F.

When the dough is ready, carefully remove the hot pot from oven and set lid aside. Sprinkle cornmeal evenly over the bottom of the Dutch oven. Gently invert the dough into the pot (if it happens to touch the side and stick, shake the pan gently to get it centered and unstuck). With a sharp knife, make two intersecting slashes in the top of the dough (each about 1/2″ deep and 3″ long).

Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake, uncovered for 15 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Notes

¹ I use a Staub 2.25 Quart Round Cocotte — it’s heavier than most cast iron pots and also enameled (though it doesn’t look it), which requires less maintenance than a non-enameled pot. You may also bake it in a larger pot; it’s the bowl that the dough rises in that gives its shape, not the baking vessel.

sprinkled with millet flour coated on all sides patted into a disk first fold second fold third fold fourth fold (seam not pinched together) flipped rolled a little more into the bowl covered with plastic wrap risen
  • Anonymouse

    Hi there!

    Your bread is so beautiful I couldn’t wait to bake it. However, mine refused to rise (I let it set 12+ hours even, to no avail). Is 1/4 tsp of yeast really enough?

    I would love to recreate this bread. Perhaps my high altitude sullied the recipe?

    Either way I would love to hear back with any thoughts or advice as to what may have gone wrong.

    Thanks so much!!

    • http://ASageAmalgam.com/ Heather Sage

      So sorry to hear your loaf didn’t rise, I understand how frustrating that must be. At sea level at least, a quarter teaspoon of active dry yeast is plenty to achieve the pictured loaf (I have made this recipe dozens and dozens of times).

      The more likely culprit with high altitude baking is not enough water — from what I understand, liquid is usually increased and yeast amounts decreased (via King Arthur). In my initial trials with the recipe, low moisture definitely negatively affected the rise, so I suspect that’s the culprit. If you want to give it another go, try increasing the water by a tablespoon at a time during mixing — you’re looking for a very sticky, almost too wet to handle when shaping dough.

      I hope this helps!

      • Anonymouse

        Thank you so much for your reply, Heather!

        I did attempt the recipe once more with more water and the loaf was slightly larger this time. I can tell it is so, so close to perfection- it’s just a mini loaf.

        I, too, am familiar with the original no-knead recipe and liken the dough’s texture to chewed bubblegum, so I certainly know what you mean by difficult to handle.

        I think I’ll give it one more go with even more water this time.

        Thanks again, you’ve got some really excellent recipes.

        • http://ASageAmalgam.com/ Heather Sage

          Any time — I’m so glad that adding more water seems to be doing the trick! That is such a great analogy for the texture :). I really appreciate the kind words! Happy gluten-free baking!!!