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Back to ‘Bake’sics: 4 Ingredient No-Knead Rustic Bread

Baker Bettie Back to Bake-sics, Baking Science, Breads, Savory, Yeast Breads 41 Comments

4 Ingredient No-Knead Bread

I feel like I have been away for ages. I don’t like that. It’s like missing a friend so terribly but then getting incredibly excited when you get to see them again. That is this. This blog, you readers, creating recipes… all of it. It feels good to be back. Even though I feel bumbly and out of practice.

To catch up for a minute, we are finally settled into our place in Philly. We got here on the 15th after two very long and stressful days of driving with cats crying in the backseat as if I was murdering them. I felt like a terrible cat mother because I could not sooth them. I was sure they would never let me force cuddle them again. But thankfully I was wrong.

kitties

The day after we got our moving truck cleared out and into our place I went on another long drive from Philly to Cape Cod for a fantastic bachelorette party for my bestie. I feel like I got my city driving feet wet quickly with my drive into New York City on the way to pick up a friend for the party. I also think I’m completely insane for doing that. But it worked out well and now I think it might be a dangerous thing to know that I could do it sort of easily. New York has a magnetic pull on me.

But I have finally had some time to get everything organized and functional in our place. Mainly the kitchen, which I LOVE! It is amazing. So open with tons of light from our huge windows and it just feels so good to cook in it. I feel happy in there. It is starting to feel like home. I have no doubt that it will be far more inspiring than my closed in little box from our last place.

IMG_4419 Before we left I was dreaming up a new series called “Back to Basics” focusing on standard baked goods. I wanted to simplify recipes and do some baking science to make baking feel very approachable. The second I started to tell my husband about the series he interrupted me and said, “That all sounds great. But I see one problem. You need to call it Back to ‘Bake’sics. Get it?…” So here we are.

It all started with that 5 Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I posted. I love the idea of a stripped down recipe. Down to just the basics. It helps understand baking science and then gives you a blank slate to get creative. So today we are doing a blank slate bread recipe. An extremely simple, no-knead, 4 ingredient bread recipe. It really can’t get much more simple. I have heard many people say that they are scared to use yeast or that they always kill it. But trust me, this is fool proof! No special baking skills or equipment required!

4 Ingredient No-Knead Bread The 4 basic ingredients when making bread are:

Yeast- For this simple and basic recipe you can really use any kind of active yeast. Active dry, rapid rise, or cake or fresh yeast (though this is very difficult to find). Just don’t use nutritional yeast! That is a whole other animal. If you buy bulk yeast, store it in the freezer to keep it fresh.

Water- Water wakes up and activates the yeast. Here is where people may be “killing” the yeast. You want warm water. Not hot! Just lukewarm. Somewhere between 100-110 degrees F. But here is the thing: If you don’t have a thermometer and are scared of killing the yeast, play it safe by going cooler. Cold water won’t ruin the recipe. It will just take it much longer to rise. Try for at least room temperature water.

Flour- Flour is the yeast’s food. Yeast feeds on sugar and will break down the starch in the flour to eat and grow or rise. Bread flour or all-purpose flour can be used. If all you have on hand is self-rising flour, that is fine, but leave out the other salt in the recipe. Salt is already in self-rising flour and too much salt can kill yeast.

Salt- Salt not only flavors the bread, but also slows down the yeast a bit. Dough without salt will rise much faster resulting in larger air pockets and an uneven crumb to the bread. Kosher salt is preferable because it has a bit of a course grain to it, but if you only have table salt you can use it. Just cut the amount of salt in the recipe in half.

That’s it. Yeast, water, flour, and salt! If you buy yeast in bulk like me, you probably always have all of these ingredients on hand. It is really nice to be able to whip up a loaf of bread on a lazy Sunday afternoon. And if you don’t want to sit around waiting for it to rise, store the dough in the fridge over night or even for a few days. It will slowly rise and will be ready for you when you want to make some bread!

4 Ingredient No-Knead Bread

This is a very rustic free form bread recipe. You can form it into two loafs or one big circle. I did a circular large loaf in my cast iron skillet because my baking sheets are all still in Kansas. I’m totally not sad about it. (That is a bold faced lie) You could also use an oven proof pot. But just don’t use a glass pan. This bread is a bit crusty and it will be difficult or impossible to get out of the pan.

You could also stir in some fresh herbs, garlic, nuts, or seeds when making the dough. It is a blank slate! Do with it as you wish. I just made it plain and then used it for breakfast sandwiches. I then made croutons for our salads and bread crumbs with some of the drier bits. I still have about half a loaf left and might make some bread pudding or a sweet strata later today. Aaaand my husband just woke up requesting french toast.

4 Ingredient No-Knead Bread

 

What baking questions do you have? Or do you have any requests for some simple recipes of a certain baked good? I love to make baking more approachable for people!

4 Ingredient No-Knead Rustic Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package active dry or rapid rise yeast (2¼ tsp yeast)
  • 2 cups luke warm water
  • 4⅓ cups flour (all-purpose, bread, or self-rising)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (if using self-rising flour, omit salt)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine the yeast and water.
  2. Add the flour and salt and stir until combined. The batter will be lumpy, but there should not be any visibly dry flour left.
  3. Cover with a towel or loose plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, about 2 hours. (this time will be shorter if using rapid rise yeast)
  4. Generously sprinkle flour over top of risen dough and cover hands with flour. Pick up the dough and pull down on the sides shaping into desired shape. Transfer onto baking sheet, skillet or pot.
  5. Let dough rise again for 45 mins-1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  7. Slash the top of the dough several times with a sharp knife.
  8. Bake for 45 mins-1 hour until the browned on top and cooked through.
  9. Let cool before slicing.
  10. If bread is left over, place sliced side down on a cutting board and leave and room temperature.
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Comments 41

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      Baker Bettie

      Thanks Jocelyn! Kneading bread can be very therapeutic, but sometimes it is nice for it to just be so easy!

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      Baker Bettie

      Thanks so much Jennie! I am obsessing over my kitchen. If you saw my last one, you would understand why!

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      Baker Bettie

      I’m not quite sure what you mean. You do pretty much nothing! You cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and just let it sit there and rise. After about 2 hours, sprinkle the flour on top of the dough and then shape it how you want it. Let it rise again, then bake it!

      Let me know if one of the steps in the recipe description isn’t clear. I will try to edit it to make it make more sense!

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      Baker Bettie

      Taylor, this comment made my heart sing! I’m so, so glad to be back. And am so, so glad that my readers want me back! <3

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      Baker Bettie

      Kayle! I really do want to do that! My husband and I are going back to Kansas next week for a wedding but maybe the week after or really just anytime before I start culinary school. I’m still looking for a job. Email me and we’ll find a time that works!

  1. Chrissi

    Alright girl this looks like something I can handle lol I love this “Back to Bake-ics” I am not the best in the kitchen (just ask my sister) :)

    This might be a silly question but can you use whole wheat flour or possibly even make this gluten free?? Or did I just make it 10x more difficult? ;)

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      Baker Bettie

      HAHA Chrissi, no. Those are great questions. Typically I don’t like the texture of bread when I use all whole wheat flour, so I would suggest using a combination of the two. I would say try 2 cups whole wheat and 2 cups white or 3 cups whole wheat and 1 cup white. (you want a little bit less flour if you are using wheat flour because it is heavier than white flour) I personally have not had a lot of luck making yeast bread gluten free, but I also haven’t tried a gluten free all-purpose mix. And one of my readers told me they tried my pretzels with a gluten-free all purpose mix and that it worked great so it might work with this too! Let me know if you do try it and if it works!

  2. Danny

    Glad to hear you all survived the big move! Your new kitchen looks great and more importantly, this bread looks amazing. So simple but beautiful and delicious! I can’t believe you drove into Manhattan :)

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      Baker Bettie

      He is pretty brilliant. He is so witty, I love it. I WILL keep them coming! I think brownies will be coming up next!

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      Baker Bettie

      Mine is 10 inch. But you can use a bigger one if that is what you have. It will just spread out. It may cook faster, so you might watch it.

  3. Bob

    I’ve been using a “mix ingredients and let rest for 18 hrs” recipe/ Tried yours and ,,oh yeah, it works too! I suggest 3 table spoons of caraway seed to the dough.

    Thanks for the cool recipe!

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      Baker Bettie

      If you want to keep it in the fridge until you are ready for it you can put it in there right after mixing the dough. Keep it wrapped but not completely airtight. Either put a lid on it not completely pressed down or wrap with plastic wrap loosely. The cold slows down the rise but it will slowly rise in there. When you are ready to use it pull it out and start at step 4 to continue making the bread.

  4. Ursula

    I am confused about the cup measurments, do you mean drinking cup like coffee or teacup? We/here use weights like ounces/pounds. Please clarify, I am so eager to try your recipe.

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      Baker Bettie

      A cup is a measuring tool we use to measure by volume. Like these: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/measuring-cups-set-of-7?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=CPC&utm_campaign=Shopping&utm_keyword=King+Arthur+Flour+Measuring+Cups+-+Set+of+7&gclid=CJSu87Wv_LoCFUjNOgodoBwA9A It is equivalent to 8 fluid ounces if you are measuring liquids. However, if you are measuring dry ingredients the weight varies depending on what you are measuring. For the purposes of this recipe you need 16 oz water (2 cups) and 19.5 ounces of flour (4 1/3 cup). Hope this helps!

  5. Mikaela

    Hi,
    I just recently found your recipes, I’m just learning how to bake and these basic recipes are easy to follow and so handy for a beginner just starting out who hasn’t got all the utensils for baking. So Thankyou I’m currently waiting for the two hours to finish, so I can put it in the oven. I can’t wait to taste it I’ve already made your pancakes and they were yummy!

  6. Dianne Brown-Morin

    I made this bread today for my family and we enjoyed it. This was the best easy bread recipe I came across. Thanks for sharing.

  7. John

    This looks/sounds awesome and easy but I actually prefer using just whole wheat flour, no white flour. I would like a rise comparable to a wheat/white mix, though. Would the addition of some vital wheat gluten accomplish this and if so, how much would you recommend?

  8. Deb

    This recipe is SO EASY and comes out DELICIOUS! I have always found bread difficult to make but this has made me a avid believer. I have made this bread three times. I put 1/3 c. corn meal in the first time, w/1 cup stone ground wheat and 3 cups white bread flour. I use rapid rise yeast and it really rises beautifully every time. Today I’m making it with just white bread flour and King Arthur stone ground wheat flour. My husband loves it this way. I’m looking forward to making it with all stone ground wheat to see what happens. I like rustic!
    btw/ baker Betty needs to put some clothes on!

  9. Dan

    I’m glad to see I am not the only one that makes no-knead bread. It kinda feels like cheating when I don’t knead the bread, but instead use a spoon to stir it! But really, those first few minutes of kneading is the worst: bread dough sticking to your fingers like glue. I’d rather use the spoon. The end result is good enough and family members don’t really notice the difference between kneaded and no-kneaded bread loaves.

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