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The Best Bread Recipe Ever

Ok, so first up apologies this recipe has no chillies in (yet!). I’ve been trying to find the time to experiment making chillie bread from this recipe but have simply been too busy over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been itching to post this bread recipe as it is incredibly easy, there is no kneading involved and the results are truly on a par with bread you might buy from an Italian deli.

best bread recipe

If you have ever tried to make bread at home before you’ll have either soon got bored of the hassle of doing it all by hand or have been disappointed with the results that domestic bread making machines produce. This recipe will change the way you make bread forever, it really is that good!

Bread Recipe Ingredients

Water: 1 1/3 cups of warm water
Strong Bread Flour: 400 grams (plain four works too)
Salt: 1 1 /4 teaspoons
Yeast:1/4 teaspoon of fast action dried yeast (the stuff in sachets)

How to Make No Knead Bread

Measure out the dry ingredients and mix together briefly in a bowl. Add the water and mix for about 1 minute until the ingredients come together to form a wet dough. To avoid making any mess i use a plastic spatula rather than my hands. Be sure to measure the ingredients exactly as it is easy to end up with quite different bread if the quantities change slightly. Now simply cover the bowl with cling film and place somewhere warm to allow the dough to rise.

After 12 hours it is time to take the dough out of the bowl. With the spatula simply fold the dough over on itself in each corner then gently tip it out of the bowl onto a dusted tea towel. The creases of the folds should now be on the bottom of the dough ball. Dust the top of the ball with flour, cover with the rest of the cotton towel and leave for a further 2 hours.

Update: I no longer tip it out onto a tea towel as the dough is quite moist and makes a mess. Instead I turn it over and leave it in the large mixing bowl (about 50cm diameter).

After 1 and a half hours put your dutch oven or casserole pot (I use a le creuset cast iron pot) in your oven and preheat 250 Celsius (as hot as your oven will go).

After a further 30 mins (once the 2 hours is up) remove the casserole dish from the oven, dust the inside with flour and place the dough in (folded side up) inside. Be careful as your casserole dish will be smoking hot! Put the lid on and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes is up go back and remove the lid and bake for a further 25 minutes.

Finally remove the bread from the pot and allow to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Then all that is left to do is marvel at the results.

What makes this bread recipe so good?

There are two keys to this bread recipe as far as I can see:

1) The long proofing time (12 hours) allows the yeast to do its thing and form good gluten, giving you a bread with a nice crumb structure and good chewy center.

2) Cooking the bread in the sealed casserole dish increases both the heat and humidity during the baking process. The increase humidity helps for the wonderful crust that you’ll get on the final loaf.

Update: I’ve found that be using either slightly more flour or slightly less water (maybe 415 grams of flour – not much extra!) the resulting dough is a bit drier and easier to handle when taking it out of the bowl for the final 2 hours of proofing. You may need to experiment a little depending on your oven and type of flower used.

Update II: After some more experimentation I found while the above recipe/method produces great bread with a wonderful crust it does sometimes taste a bit ‘crumpety’. If I want more of a ‘bready’ interior and regular loaf shape (both better for making sandwiches) I follow the same recipe but bake it on a baking tray. When taking the dough out and folding prior to the final 2 hour proofing I simply allow it to rest on a well floured baking tray, gently pushing/stretching it out into a ciabatta shaped loaf. I then allow to rise for the standard two hours then bake at about 220 celcius for 40 minutes.

Update III: I now always make two batches at a time whenever I make the bread. I cook one in the casserole pot and one ciabatta shaped just on a baking tray. It takes very little extra effort, you just need another large mixing bowl and you get an extra loaf for the freezer.

21 comments… add one
  • P. Milo November 18, 2011, 9:30 am

    Hi Chilli King
    Just made 2 batches of your no knead bread with the addition of chillis, black olives, sun dried toms, rosemary and olive oil. Guess what, tasted absolutely delicious. Just found it very slightly doughy in the centre ( Did not detract from the taste at all ). Do you think by dropping the temp to 200 celcius and increasing the baking time to 50 minutes that it would help to bake that little bit more in the centre? Considering my cooking resume was limited to beans on toast then I can safely say that absolutely anyone can follow this recipe with the greatest of ease. Next on the agenda, chilli oil…..

    Regards…..P. Milo……..

  • P. Milo October 27, 2011, 6:31 pm

    Hi Chilli King
    Just read you got a compost tumbler last year and was thinking of getting one myself. Have read mixed reviews on the which site. How long does it take to make a tumbler full? Can I then bag it and use when needed,next year say or does it deteriorate over time? Finally can you recommend a good one to buy, around 200 litre capacity. Told you I was a complete novice at this.

    Thanks for your patience…….P. Milo……

    • The Chilli King October 28, 2011, 11:47 am

      P. Milo – How long it takes to fill any of these composters depends on the size you buy and how much waste you generate! Sure, once the compost is finished just bag it up and store it as you would a regular bag of compost. I’ve added a link to the Parasene tumbler my friend has – I believe it is 175litres and comes highly recommended. Hope this helps?

  • P. Milo October 27, 2011, 2:13 pm

    Hi Chilli King
    Firstly, congrats on your marriage, plus also thanks for replies to my inquires. Will keep you informed of my success or failure.

    Cheers……P. Milo……

  • P. Milo October 25, 2011, 8:31 pm

    Hi Chilli King
    Only me again. Just another quickie. When you say 1 1/3 cup of warm water, what volume is that measuring wise. Not sure if you are still active on this site as I have posted a couple of comments on the recipe section and not received a reply yet. Hopefully you can get back me when you are able.

    Regards…….P. Milo……

    • The Chilli King October 27, 2011, 10:32 am

      P.Milo – Sorry for the delay – been mad busy lately…getting married! ‘Cups’ are an official measurement used here in the UK for baking. 1 cup of water is about 236grams i believe so 1 1/3 cups is equal to 315 grams. Hope this helps!

  • P. Milo October 23, 2011, 3:37 pm

    Hi Chilli King
    Just a quickie, are the temperature settings or baking times any different for a fan oven?
    Cheers………P. Milo…..

    • The Chilli King October 27, 2011, 10:25 am

      P.Milo – No, i use the temps above with a fan assisted oven.

  • Jim February 5, 2011, 1:09 pm

    This is such a great & simple recipe. A tip to the wise though, if you’re new to baking bread like I am, to avoid under cooking your loaf, turn ut upside down to tap on the bottom, if you get a hollow sound then it’s ready! I under cooked it on my first attempt and only discoverd so when I sliced it the next day, was still gueey and doughy, yet still tasted miles better than that muck supermarkets sell.

  • the king April 1, 2010, 1:20 pm

    Scott – Let us know how you get on! If you want to make pizzas try our pizza base and pizza sauce recipes!

  • Scott Hewitt April 1, 2010, 11:06 am

    nice job, I’ll be trying this out. Have you got another for pizza!

  • the king October 16, 2009, 6:05 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it!

    I’ll be getting a batch on as soon as i get home too!

  • Vik Kerr October 16, 2009, 5:27 pm

    Great bread, very rustic, it it only lasted a matter of minutes after coming out of the oven ! Next batch just been put together !

  • Vik Kerr October 10, 2009, 8:48 pm

    Just put it together in a matter of seconds ! Will let you know what the final result is like.

  • Chris Jagger October 5, 2009, 9:21 am

    I like the idea of it, but the timeframe puts me off. I make all my own bread and 2 hours start to finish gives me a perfect loaf. I found that needing in an electric mixer for 5 minutes then by hand for a further 5 gives a very good gluten. (Wash a piece of dough under a cold tap to remove the surplus flour should leave you with a piece of gluten which is like chewing gum) Then I prove the bread on the floor taking advantage of my underfloor heating!

    • the king October 5, 2009, 12:58 pm

      i like the under floor heating trick!

      i’d be interested to hear your thoughts once you have tried this recipe. i’ve made bread by hand with mixed results but this recipe really does work well. give it a go and let us know what you think!

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