Introduction: Easy Cheesy No Knead White Bread
King Arthur Flour Company's "No Knead White Bread" was named their Recipe of the Year last December. No kneading required to make a homemade yeast bread?! That sounded so easy, even I had to try it!
In the last seven months since I discovered this recipe, I've made this bread over and over again. It continues to be the simplest yeast bread I've ever baked.
In this recipe I've added a nutty, flavorful Swiss/Gruyere cheese blend to the recipe for an added flavor boost and cheesey-ness.
Ingredients for one free form roundish loaf:
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 1/4 cups to 4 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast (not quite a full packet)
1/4 cup Swiss/Gruyere cheese blend (or use sharp cheddar)
Step 1: Making the Dough
I measure flour by dipping the cup into the flour container and swiping off the excess flour with a knife (or my finger), so per the King Arthur recipe, I would use 3 and 1/4 cups of flour. If you measure the flour by putting spoonfuls into your measuring cup, you'd need 3 and 3/4 cups. You want to dough to be wet but not watery.
Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl with a fork. No need for an electric mixer on this recipe. Mix this all together to form a sticky, rough, wettish dough. I switch to a spatula to really get the dough all mixed together.
Note: The water should be warm, not scalding hot. The yeast should be fresh. If it's old yeast, the bread will not rise.
Step 2: Give It Some Time
Next let the dough rise. I cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in on the kitchen counter. You don't need to put the dough in a warm place. Just give it some time. The recipe says let it rest for 2 hours. By that time the yeast has done it's job and the dough has risen and you'll see lots of air bubbles.
Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or up to 7 days. The longer it sits in the fridge the tangier tasting it'll get (i.e.like sourdough). Through the day you'll see the bread rise and fall and that's ok; it's what it's supposed to do.
Step 3: Adding in the Cheese
When you're ready to make the bread, dump the dough onto a lightly floured wooden surface. Add the cheese to the dough and fold it in by hand (this takes a few turns of "kneading").
Step 4: Give It Some Time, Again
Place a piece of parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and sprinkle lightly with corn meal (this gives the bottom a crunchy crust).
Tuck the dough into itself to form a dough ball and place it onto the parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle a little flour on the top of the loaf (this keeps the bread moist as it rests).
Let the loaf come to room temperature and rise again. This usually about an hour. The bread doesn't rise as much as spread out (a lot). Use a sharp scissors to cut an x in the loaf.
(As I've said, I've made this bread numerous times and no two loaves are the same. I out the bread in the oven when it's grown and spread to about double it's size.)
Step 5: Bake and Enjoy!
Bake in a preheated 450 degrees F oven. While oven is heating, place an empty, shallow metal or cast iron pan on the lower oven rack. This will be filled with water once the bread is in the oven. That water will release steam and help crisp up the crust.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until bread is a deep, golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it with a wooden spoon.
Cool completely before slicing. This bread tastes great toasted and spread with butter.