What’s not to love about homemade bread? I mean, it’s cheap, it’s healthy, it’s versatile, it’s comfy and makes your house smell like heaven.
But, maybe you don’t like the mess it makes on your countertop while you’re kneading. Maybe you think it’s time-consuming and complicated. This recipe might change your mind. Jump right to the recipe or read on.
Learn the basics & break the rules
Back at school, when I was studying to become a chef, the most important book was called ‘Basic recipes’ with all the basic recipes of the French kitchen. I was delighted by the idea I only had to learn things once rather than having to remember a thousand dishes. It changed my view of cooking forever.
There are so many different recipes on the web, and so many perfectionist ways to bake it, it can be so overwhelming you’d might never start at all. But, with bread, it’s no different. You just have to know the basic ingredients, understand how they work together and you’re able to bake yourself delicious bread.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to lose myself in the details and give myself permission to be a perfectionist. Neither will I ever tell you instant yeast is better than a sourdough starter, but sometimes we lack time, ingredients or just don’t have the most optimal day. On those days I’d rather have a simple, fool-proof recipe that has never let me down than no bread at all.
I’ve baked this bread in so many different kitchens with different ovens, temperatures, utensils and ingredients I am confident you’re able to bake it as well. Let’s have a look at the ingredients.
Flour, yeast & water
Yep, that’s all. Flour, yeast and water. You’ll use roughly the same amount of flour and water. Some flours will absorb more water than others then you’ll need more. For example, in the video, I also used chickpea flour which absorbs much more water than just plain flour. Plain flour, on the other hand, will give you a nice light and fluffy texture. Whole wheat flour gives you a lot of flavor and gives you denser bread. I really love to bake spelt bread, but often use a mix of different flours depending on what I find in the cupboards.
Now we’ve sorted out flour let’s talk about yeast. Yeast got a bit of a bad name lately, but yeast is our friend. They’re living organisms and the ones that convert the flour into something much more nutritious for us. Whether you’re using instant (dry) yeast, fresh yeast or a sourdough starter, it’s the microbes doing the work for us. The longer you’ll leave your dough to ferment the tastier and healthier your bread will be and the less yeast you’ll need to add. They’ll multiply fast and will happily eat and fart away which creates lovely bubbles and makes your dough rise. Anything between 6 to 24 hours will do, so you can easily adjust this to any schedule.
One of the fun parts of baking your own bread is that you can bake any flavor you’d like. Salt is the obvious first flavor addition, how much is up to you. It also depends on the other ingredients you’re gonna use. For example, if you’re baking with seaweed (highly recommended) add a little less than usual. Which salt did you ask? Any package that states ‘Salt’ as the only ingredient is a good salt in my opinion. Here are some of my favorite flavor combinations:
- Almonds & dates
- Rosemary & olives
- Seaweed & poppy seeds
- Sundried tomatoes & sunflower seeds
- Walnut & raisins
One of the beauties of this recipe is that it doesn’t require you to knead your dough. There’s no chance for you to ‘over knead your bread’ and you don’t have to fold it in specific ways. Just mix everything in a bowl, let the yeast do its thing and transfer it to an oven-safe pot. Cast iron pots give the best results, but a normal pot will do as well.
Basic recipe for Dutch oven no-knead bread
The following recipe works well with a small 1.5-liter pot. Adjust the amounts according to the pot you’ll have at hand, making sure your dough will fill more or less half your pot.
- Oven-safe pot with lid — preferably a cast iron one
- Bowl — to mix your ingredients
- Scale — or just eyeball it once you get the hang of it
- Spoon — to mix and transfer your dough
- Oven — or fire pit
- 360 grams / 23/4 cups of flour(s) of your choice
- 360 grams / 1,5 cups lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon / 6 grams of salt
- 1 sachet / 7 grams instant (dry) yeast or 1 cube / 40 grams fresh yeast or 75 grams sourdough starter
- Extra ingredients of your choice
- Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl
- Add lukewarm water and mix until all the water is well absorbed
- Cover the bowl and set it aside at a nice warm spot. You can use a plastic bag, a cutting board or anything else you have at hand. It’s to make sure your dough won’t dry out.
- Wait, at least 6 hours
- Heat your oven up to 150 – 180 °C (300 – 350 °F) or start your fire pit
- Oil your pot and sprinkle some flour so your bread won’t stick
- Preheat your pot for 5 to 10 minutes
- Transfer your dough into the hot pot with a spoon. Sprinkle some flour on top of your dough so it won’t stick on your spoon
- Bake for 30 minutes with a lid. If you’re using a lower temperature or you’re baking a real large bread add 5 to 10 minutes
- Bake for 15 minutes without a lid. This will give you a nice crust
- Check if your bread is done by tapping on the bottom of your bread. It should make a nice hollow sound. If this is not the case, give your bread some extra time in the residual heat of the oven, or place it on top of the stove or next to the fire.
Enjoy the cosiness of your oven, the smell of your freshly baked bread and the satisfaction of baking your own bread. Enjoy it with some real butter, extra virgin olive oil or perhaps some honey. Dip it into your soup or stew or make a sandwich and take it on a hike.
Keep experimenting with new flours and flavors and make this bread truly your own. Let me know how it goes.
Till then lovelies!
5 thoughts on “A simple bread recipe”
Baking bread must be one of the most fascinating and comforting things we can do and your recipe is amazing, so simple and do-able. There is absolutely no comparison between home-baked and shop-bought bread! We bake all our own bread, usually sourdough but sometimes just fresh yeast, no two loaves are ever the same and it’s fun to play with flavourings and additions (I love a loaf packed with mixed seeds or a dark, malty pumpernickel). I’m definitely going to try your method in the Dutch oven over a fire!
I couldn’t agree more.
I’m not sure why, but it’s just so satisfying to take your bread out of the oven, tap, cut & taste it. I think it’s embedded in our genes as bread as been on our plates for ages. Also, seeing it from a linguist perspective, bread is always associated with something good.
Thanks for reading & Happy baking Lis!
Yes, I love that ‘companion’ comes from ‘sharing bread with . . .’ 😊
Oo, I didn’t know that. Same in Spanish I guess from “a-con-pan-yar” to “acompañar”. How lovely!