No Nothin’ Rustic Bread

I often make a no knead bread which uses the stretch and fold technique and is delicious, has a good crumb, crust and air holes.

I saw this recipe in my Facebook feed and I was skeptical it could compete with my usual recipe/method.. After a trial bake it was every bit as good as my go-to recipe with NO stretch and fold or kneading. Prep time was about 10 minutes. Total “hands-on” time was about 15 minutes.

We all know you don’t need to knead (I love saying that) to create gluten. Gluten development starts on hydration of the dough. Thorough mixing equals good hydration which enables gluten formation.

I mixed the three ingredients (plus water) with my danish dough whisk assuring all the dry ingredients were well hydrated before covering and placing in the fridge overnight.

In the morning I let the dough warm to room temperature and rise for about 3 hours. I placed it on a well floured parchment paper, folded it into a round boule, flipped it over so the folded side is down. Before placing in the Dutch oven I cut a deep X in the top.

No Knead Bread – 3 Ingredient


  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 2/3 cups water (100 degrees F


  1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon or Dutch dough whisk blend warm water into the dry ingredients. This dough will be wet and shaggy, also very forgiving. Mix until
    no dry flour is seen. Cover with plastic wrap and put a towel on top to proof for 8-10 hours at room temperature or for several days in the fridge.
  2. If refrigerated, take the dough out and place on parchment before heating the oven so it gets to room temperature, then preheat the oven to 450 F with the covered Dutch oven inside.
  3. Dust a large square of parchment paper with flour and turn out the dough carefully. (It will be sticky but try to preserve the proof.) Dust the top with flour and using a dough scraper gently
    fold the dough over and create a round boule. Use the sharp edge of the scraper to score lines in the dough. Cover with the plastic wrap and let rest until pot and oven are up to temperature.
  4. Remove the pot from the oven. Place the parchment paper and dough into the Dutch oven and replace lid. Bake, covered, for 35 minutes. Then, anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes uncovered
    (this is a personal taste issue about the crispness of the crust). Let the bread rest 30 minutes. It will be hard, but you will wreck the loaf by cutting into it immediately.

The Baguette Challenge – #1

I was in Versailles, Fr last month and had what was undoubtedly the best baguette of my life. The crust had the exact right crunch and the interior was soft and light. Then and there I decided I needed to perfect my baguette baking to at least approach this level of perfection.

My go-to recipe is from King Arthur and it served me well. Upon returning home I searched for differences in recipe ingredients and methods keying on authors who tauted the bread qualities that I wanted.

From what I understand the hydration level, (this recipe is 72%) at least in part, determines the size of the holes in the bread. By using the stretch and fold technique with a long rest (45 min) between each helps develop the gluten. These two properties contribute to the characteristics I desire.

This is the first attempt of “perfecting” my baguette. Do you remember my five attempts at baking an acceptable rye bread? Well, here we go again,

Classic French Baguettes


• 500 g all purpose flour
• 360 g water
• 10 g salt
• 3 g instant yeast about 1 tsp
• 25 g honey about 1 Tbsp


  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Stretch and fold every 45 minutes and repeat at 3 times, flipping the dough upside down after each set. The rest time between stretch and folds is important.
  3. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight for about 12-14 hours.
  4. Turn the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 3 equal parts and gently shape into rectangles without knocking the air out of the dough. Cover and let rest for 45-60 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 500F, with a baking stone positioned in the upper half the oven. I like to use a small cast iron skillet with water to provide steam. Add the water below when the loaves are put into the oven.
  6. Stretch each dough rectangle slightly and fold into a cylinder, sealing the seams as you roll. Using your hands, roll the cylinders gently stretching them from the center towards the ends to desired length, about 14-15 inches.
  7. Place each loaf on a lightly floured couche, seam side up. Cover and proof at a room temperature for about 30-60 minutes, or until the dough has sufficiently proofed. Press dough with a finger. If it springs back slowly it is properly proofed. If it never springs back it is over proofed and if it springs back quickly it is under proofed.
  8. Transfer the baguettes to a piece of parchment paper, seam side down and dust off excess flour. I like to use a serrated break knife to make 5 scores on each baguette. Don’t cut straight across the loaf, but with a shallow long cut down the length. Each cut should be 4-5” longWhen scoring, use a swift and firm motion to ensure nice and clean cuts.
  9. Carefully open the oven, and slide the rack with the baking stone out. Slide the baguettes off the parchment paper and onto the baking stone. Add a cup of water to the cast iron skillet, close the oven and reduce temperature to 475F. Bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove the water pan, rotate the baguettes, drop the temperature to 450F and continue baking for another 10- 15 minutes, Check how brown the baguettes are after 10 minutes and every couple of minutes thereafter. They should be a nice dark brown, but not too dark. Over baking will make the crust and interior too hard. Experience will tell you when it is Goldilocks just right.

Rustic Italian Bread

I ran across a four ingredient, no knead, no stretch and fold, Italian bread. I am on my third bake of this bread, each with minor tweaks.

Version 1 was as presented. Version 2 was as presented but baked in a Dutch oven (my preferred baking method.) Version 3 included Cake and Bread Enhancer (fifth ingredient) and was baked flat on a baking stone.

Version 1 was excellent. Version 2 was excellent. Version 3 was excellent. All three had great, crispy crusts and a soft tender crumb on the inside.

My current favorite is (was) my high hydration honey no-knead bread, but this may be my new go to. It’s even easier than the honey no-knead. Simply mix everything together the let it ferment for 2 hours. Gently pour out, (I do mean pour, it is high hydration, slack and sticky,) minimally shape and bake. All done!

My goal is to create larger holes in the bread. Version 2 (center) and 3 (right) were the best. I overworked the fermented dough a little too much in Version 1. Try, try, and try again!

Rustic Italian Bread

• 380 g AP flour + more for dusting
• 20 g (3 Tbl) Bread Enhancer
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 350 g warm water
• 2 tsp active dry yeast


  1. Add the flour, enhancer, salt and yeast to your stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to mix and combine so no dry patches remain.
  2. Add the warm water and mix until everything is incorporated and a soft, wet dough forms. It will be a slack, sticky dough.
  3. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic and let the dough rise at room temperature (See tip below) for 2 to 3 hours or until doubled in size.
  4. Dust your kitchen counter with flour and scrape the very sticky dough out with a bowl scraper.
  5. With floured hands shape the dough into a ball (or batard,) deflating it as little as possible.
  6. Line a banneton with parchment paper. (See tip below)
  7. Place the ball of dough in the lined banneton smooth side up and let it rest while your oven heats up.
  8. Use a sharp knife or lame to lightly slash an X in the top of the loaf.
  9. Preheat your oven to 450 F with a dutch oven inside for about 45 minutes before baking the bread. Fill an oven proof bowl with 2 inches of water and place it on the bottom rack.
  10. Once hot, carefully transfer the bread loaf into the dutch oven using the parchment paper.
  11. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake another 5 minutes until golden brown on top. The internal temperature should be 205 F
  12. Remove the bread from the dutch oven and transfer to a cooling rack or it won’t stay crispy.


  1. Lining a round banneton: Crumple parchment paper starting from the edges. You should end up with a ball which will smooth out to fill the round banneton
  2. Room temperature proofing: I like to put the bowl in an “off” oven with the light on. In the winter my kitchen tends to be cool (62-65 F) My “off” oven with the light on is 78o F.

From King Arthur Baking’s Cake and Bread Enhancer: A “miracle” ingredient for your cakes!

(From KAB) Our bakers have called this the “miracle” ingredient for many reasons: it makes cakes and other baked goods softer, moister, and helps them stay fresher longer. Our blend contains vegetable fats that act as emulsifiers, allowing the fats and liquids in your favorite recipe to combine more easily. The enhancer also acts as a stabilizer and texture enhancer. Cake enhancers are commonly used in professional bakeries to keep breads fresh and soft, and help cakes stay light and fluffy. It’s especially great for making soft sandwich loaves.

Dede’s Bakery President’s Day Continued

While I was waiting for other items to mix/chill/rise/etc I made a few other items this morning.

We were nearly out of bread (amazing.) I made a loaf of my honey high-hydration no-knead bread. This may be the prettiest loaf I have made. The slashes on top were well defined and kept the bread from blowing out anywhere else.

Oh, by the way, there are three-berry scones in the background. I like to freeze them, then on golf days take them from the freezer and snack on them on the course. They don’t seem to help my game, but do make it more enjoyable.

This time, I made the scones bigger than usual. I used some frozen berries we had (ever frugal) and had trouble incorporating them into the dough. They ended up being delicious!

Pain de Cristal

I subscribe to King Arthur Baking’s newsletter and occasionally they distribute a new recipe, or technique that I cannot resist trying. Well, this is one of those times. They included a video that demonstrated the techniques required to handle very high hydration breads. This one is 100%, which means 1:1 water to flour ratio and I could never have made this bread without their technique, (which worked perfectly.)

QC says it’s like eating air.

Big holes and perfect crust. Pair with butter, honey, or oil and vinegar. Oh my!
This was my dessert tonight. Buttered Pain de Cristal and honey.

While KAF’s videos demonstrating the bowl and coil folds I decided to make my own. (Theirs are better quality, mine may be truer to life.)

Mix all ingredients then let rest 20 minutes
First fold with extremely slack dough. With wet hand stretch a portion of the dough up and into the middle of the dish. Repeat at least 12 times then rest, covered, 20 minutes
This is the second (or third, I forget) coil fold. With wet hands pick up the dough about 3/4ths of the way, stretch it up and let it fall back under the bulk of the dough. Repeat with the other end, then repeat the entire fold several times. Note the dough becomes easier to handle and less sticky with each coil fold. There are a total of 4 coil folds.
Tip the dough out onto a heavily floured surface. Cover top with more flour so there are no sticky spots. Use a bench knife to cut into four equal pieces and flour the edges where you cut.
Carefully, without deflating, shape the dough and place on parchment paper. Let rest for 2 hours.
Note the bubbles formed in the dough. For future bakes I would let the dough rest longer than 2 hours to develop more aeration, bubbles and holes in the final brea.


  • 500g water (80 F in warm weather, 100F if cold)
  • 500g Bread Flour
  • 2.5g (3/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 15g olive oil



  1. Pretty much see the captions in the above videos.