I am so excited to share with you today a recipe from my new cookbook, Baker Bettie’s Better Baking Book! We are making the No-Knead Lean Dough Master Recipe. It is an incredibly easy yeast dough that can be used to make a rustic boule, easy focaccia, and an amazing pizza!

ball of No-Knead Lean Dough
Yield: 1 Boule, 2- 12-inch (30 cm) Pizzas, or a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) Focaccia

No-Knead Lean Dough Master Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes
Rising Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes

No-knead bread is no-fuss and this master recipe can be used for a wide variety of things. The most common things I use this dough for is a rustic boule (round loaf), pizza crust, and beautiful focaccia with very little effort.

Ingredients

  • 420 grams (3 ½ cups) unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour
  • 9 grams (1 ¾ teaspoon) kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon instant yeast or ¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 28 grams (2 tablespoons) olive oil, optional
  • 302 grams (1 ⅓ cup, 320 milliliters) water at about 120°F-130°F/49-54°C

Instructions

To Make the Dough

  1. In a large mixing bowl add all of the ingredients and stir to combine. Use your hands to squeeze and pinch the dough all over until all of the flour is fully hydrated.  
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or a shower cap works really well) and let bulk ferment at room temperature for 3 ½ hours. It is ready to be used once it is at least double in size and bubbly on top. 
  3. Shape, proof, and bake according to your desired use. Details follow.


To Make a Rustic Boule

Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Rising Time: 4 ½ Hours | Baking Time: 50 Minutes | Total Time: 5 Hours 40 Minutes

  1. Make the dough without the oil. Let bulk ferment. 
  2. Using a damp hand, scoop your hand underneath the dough, pulling up on a section, and fold it down over the top of the dough. 
  3. Continue doing this all the way around the bowl until the dough is formed into a tight ball. Pinch to seal the seam. 
  4. Dust a piece of parchment paper with cornmeal or flour. Dust the dough and your hands with flour. Transfer the dough, seam side down, to the parchment. Dust more flour over the top, cover with plastic wrap, and let proof for 45 minutes - 1 hour until puffy and full of air. 
  5. 30 minutes into the proofing time, position an oven rack in the center position and place a dutch oven or oven safe pot with a lid inside. Preheat to 450°F/230°C. 
  6. Carefully transfer the dough on the parchment into the preheated pot and cover with the lid. 
  7. Bake at 450°F/230°C covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 10-20 minutes until the crust of the bread reaches a deep golden brown. 
  8. Let cool on a cooling rack for at least 1 hour before slicing. 
  9. Store uneaten bread cut side down on a cutting board in the open air for up to 2 days. Then slice and transfer to the freezer for storing up to 3 months.


To Make Pizza

Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Rise Time: 4 Hours | Bake Time: 15 Minutes | Total Time: 4 Hours 45 Minutes

  1. Make the dough with the oil. Let bulk ferment. 
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into two equal pieces. Round each piece into a ball. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the oven. Place a baking stone or two sheet pans stacked together and turned upside down on the center rack. Preheat the oven to as high as your oven will allow. You want the surface to be as hot as possible when your pizza goes in. 
  4. Lightly flour the top of a piece of dough and press down on the dough with your finger tips to flatten it into a circular shape, leaving a small lip all around the edge for a crust. 
  5. Pick up the dough and use the backs of your hands and gravity to stretch the dough, turning it as you go. Focus on placing your hands in sections that are thicker to allow the dough to stretch evenly.  
  6. Once your dough is stretched to about 12-inch (30 cm) wide, transfer it to a cutting board or pizza peel that has been dusted liberally with cornmeal. Alternatively, you can use a specialty pizza pan that has vent holes in the bottom. 
  7. Top the dough with your desired sauce and toppings. Do not overload it or it won’t be easy to transfer into the oven. 
  8. Slide the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone or baking sheet (or keep it on the pizza pan) and let bake until the crust is a deep golden brown. This will take anywhere from 7-15 minutes, depending on your oven. Keep the oven door shut as much as possible and watch through the window to monitor doneness.


To Make Focaccia

Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Rising Time: 6 Hours 30 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 7 Hours 20 Minutes

  1. Make the dough with the oil in the recipe. Let bulk ferment.  
  2. After the dough is finished bulking, liberally oil a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) metal baking pan with olive oil- about 2 tablespoons. Place the dough in the pan and turn to coat. 
  3. Gently stretch the dough until it fills the pan as much as possible. It may not want to stretch all the way to the corners at this point. 
  4. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise for 2-3 hours until full of air. (Note: to make this bread fit my schedule I will often put it in the refrigerator right after bulk and then let it proof at room temperature the next day before baking.)  
  5. Use your fingertips to dimple the dough all over while also stretching it to fit the pan. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the top and sprinkle toppings over the dough like flaky salt, fresh herbs, olives, or cheese if desired. 
  6. Bake at 425°F/220°C for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. 
  7. Transfer the focaccia to a cutting board to cut and serve. 
  8. Store uneaten focaccia in a zip top bag at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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