Who doesn’t love a loaf of rustic, fresh baked bread? I sure do! A carb lover to the core, I am usually the first one at the table to rip up the loaf in the bread basket and lather on some butter, olive tapenade or take a dip in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar or even better, homemade soup.
There are loads of homemade bread recipes out there. About two years ago, I was determined to try to make some homemade bread as I was tired of all of the processed breads and too lazy to drive to my local bakery. So I had a gander online for the easiest DIY recipe I could fine. At first, it was overwhelming, sifting through the various methodologies for baking the perfect homemade kitchen creation.
So I rolled up my sleeves and got lots of flour everywhere, and after a few failed attempts, I finally landed on a winner! My Easy Overnight No Knead Bread Recipe was born! My method is a slightly altered version of the Girl vs Dough recipe. I am a huge fan of the Girl vs Dough and I found her recipe the easiest yet most flavourful yield. The best part? No bread machine or kneading is required! This is literally the easiest bread recipe you will ever make. No fuss and minimal mess, all you need is a large bowl, a Dutch oven, your ingredients and one night. Yes, while you sleep, this bread will magically do its thing!
What I love about this recipe is the minimal ingredients required, many of which you probably already have in your pantry right now. While yeast was a hot commodity early in the pandemic, it is much more readily available so you shouldn’t have a problem picking up some in your local grocery store baking aisle.
What you will need:
- A Dutch oven or cast iron casserole pot – a kitchen staple in my book!
- Flour – all purpose, bread flour and whole wheat flour work
- Active dry yeast – I use Fleischmann’s
- Sea salt and sugar – for some flavour and to kick start the yeast!
- Warm water – a kitchen or meat thermometer is useful to ensure you get the accurate temperature
- Overnight – so your dough can rise! Literally throw the ingredients in a bowl and let the magic happen
- That’s it – yes, you read that correctly. This is ALL YOU NEED TO MAKE HOMEMADE BREAD!
My absolute favourite part of making homemade bread? THE SMELL! While baking, the scent of fresh bread that will fill your house is amazing. Last New Year’s (pre-pandemic of course), I hosted a party with about 25 guests in my cramped kitchen and served homemade soup and bread. The compliments that I received on the aroma alone were so positive and plentiful that I knew this recipe was a winner. Every Christmas I bake about 10 loaves over the holidays – they are the perfect host gift and this year, they will be making their way to several porch drop offs!
What is a Dutch Oven? Never heard of a Dutch oven before? I personally wasn’t familiar with this piece of cookware until about four years ago when my Mom gifted me one for Christmas. According to Wayfair.com, “a Dutch oven is a large, heavy, usually cylindrical piece of cookware. Due to its incredible heat-retention capabilities, it can serve almost any stovetop or oven cooking function – from simmering soup to baking bread.” Usually made of cast iron coated in enamel, this heavy and versatile pot is clearly the unsung hero of my DIY bread recipe because it really does all the work. They key is pre-heating it enough so that it evenly and quickly bakes your dough. Don’t have a Dutch oven? You may want to consider investing in one. They don’t have to cost $350 either. Winners, Canadian Tire and Homesense are all great sources for good quality Dutch ovens (mine is a Cuisinart cast iron casserole dish). I use mine to make soups, weeknight pasta, for braising meats and more.
I also love how this easy homemade bread recipe is so versatile. You can get creative and modify the basic bread recipe to feature any flavour you want:
- Two tablespoons of olive oil adds flavour and depth to the bread
- Incorporate your favourite herbs like rosemary, oregano, thyme, etc. Sprinkle a few on the top of your dough before putting in the oven for an flavourful garnish
- Try adding chopped olives or sundried tomatoes to your dough
- A quarter of a cup of grated parmesan cheese and a tablespoon or dried, chopped basil will add some Italian flair
- A Pinch of Yum has a fabulous no-knead cheese bread that I need to try!
- All purpose, bread flour and whole wheat flour all work for this recipe. Please note that if you use whole wheat flour exclusively, your loaf will not rise as high and you may not get as many air pockets in the bread. This is because the whole wheat flour is heavier. I opt for 2 parts white flour and 1 part whole wheat to increase the fibre content and still get that decent rise (see my images), but you can go with all white flour too
My Easy Overnight No Knead Bread Recipe is also the perfect pairing with soup. It is preservative free, which means no added chemicals, however, it also means you need to eat it within 24 hours or freeze any leftovers. To be honest, this DIY no knead bread is so good, it probably won’t last very long in your kitchen! Give it a whirl over the holidays and be your very own bakery!
Easy Overnight No Knead Bread Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour, plus some more for shaping
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (between 43 and 45 degrees Celsius preferred)
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, salt, sugar and yeast until well mixed. Make sure your bowl has some extra space at the top for the dough to rise!
- Add your warm water. Use a wooden spoon to mix the flour and water until a shaggy, sticky dough forms. Add a few sprinkles of water to absorb all the flour (your dough should be a bit wet and very sticky!)
- Cover the bowl and dough tightly with some plastic wrap or aluminum foil and set it aside in a warm place for at least 8 hours, up to a maximum of 18 hours. Your dough should rise slightly, taking up additional volume of the bowl (you should see some bubbles on the top and it will have a flat appearance). I prep my bread just before bedtime so it is ready to go in the morning!
- Heat your oven to 450 degrees F. Once your oven is preheated, place your 6-quart Dutch oven or cast iron casserole dish, preferably enamel coated (with cover) in oven for 30 minutes
- While your Dutch oven is heating up, prepare your dough. With floured hands, punch down your dough and release some tension! Use your fingers to scrape the sides of the bowl, gathering the dough into the middle of the bowl and forming a loose ball (don’t worry; it won’t look beautiful…yet!)
- Toss some flour onto a large sheet of parchment paper and carefully transfer your dough onto it. Flour your hands again and shape your dough into a ball, or as close to a ball as you can! Mine often look more oval shaped
- Sprinkle some flour onto the top of your dough. Gently and loosely cover your dough with a sheet of plastic wrap and let it rest 30 minutes (I time this with my Dutch oven heating up)
- Once your Dutch oven is fully pre-heated (be careful, it will be very HOT), uncover your dough and carefully transfer it to the Dutch oven, with the parchment paper underneath (this prevents the dough sticking to the bottom of the pot)
- Cover your Dutch oven and return it to the oven and bake the dough for 35 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until you get that golden brown colour on top. The bread should be crusty and hard on top. Be careful not to overcook your loaf as the bottom crust can get very tough and chewy! Depending on your oven, you may need to experiment with the baking timings
- Behold your DIY homemade bread! Yes, you did that! Allow the loaf to cool slightly before slicing. Top with fresh butter, dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar – whatever floats your boat! Eat within 24 hours or freeze leftovers in an airtight container. One loaf feeds about 8-10 people and is approximately 115 calories per slice