A quick version of the no-knead bread that requires minimum ingredients and effort and makes one delicious homemade bread loaf.
Make the dough:
Mix all no-knead bread ingredients with a spoon until a wet dough forms, cover and leave for about 3 hours to proof in a warm, draft-free place. Or preheat the oven to 250F for 2-3 minutes, then turn it off and place the dough in the oven with the oven light on. You do not want the oven temperature to rise above 100F or it will kill the yeast.
Tip: Leave the dough overnight in the fridge (8-12 hours) if the time allows for better development of flavor and texture. Otherwise, move to the next step.
Stretch and shape:
Pour the no-knead dough out onto a well-floured (!) surface. The dough will be very lose and sticky, so use flour to flour the bench scraper and your hands as you work with it.
Gently, trying not to deflate the air bubbles that have already formed in the dough stretch the dough by pulling the right side of the dough up until it stretches no more (do not tear it), then fold it over the dough. Do the same with the other 3 sides.
Turn the dough over, folded side down and using cupped hands and barely floured surface (this helps the dough "grip" to the surface and stretch) push the dough ball with one cupped hand towards yourself, while supporting the othere side with the other cupped hand. Rotate the dough 90° and do the same again. You can do this a couple more times until a ball forms.
Transfer the no knead dough ball to a large piece of parchment paper. The parchment paper will allow you to easily transfer the dough to the hot cast iron in the next step. Otherwise you can just leave it on a very well floured surface.
Tip: If the time allows, proof the shaped dough under a bowl or covered with a tea towel for 2-4 hours instead of baking right away. This will give you a fluffier and softer loaf of bread. Otherwise, move to the next step.
Preheat the oven to 500F° with a cast iron pot and lid inside the oven for about 30-60 minutes. Get oven safe mittens ready for handling the extremly hot cast iron pot.
Once the cast iron is preheated ,remove the lid and transfer the dough to the pot by lifting the corners of the parchment paper with the dough. You can use a cake lifter or a flat cookie sheet to do the same.
If not using the parchment paper, lift the dough with your hands trying to support it with well floured palms of your hands rather than the fingers. This will help to keep all the air bubles from bursting inside the dough, giving you a fluffier no-knead bread.
Be very careful around the extremely hot cast iron so that you do not burn yourself.
Slash the bread down the middle with a razor or a sharp serrate knife at a 45-degree angle and cover with the hot lid immediately. Turn down the heat to 450F immediately and bake the no-knead bread for 20 minutes. Then, remove the lid and bake for another 25 minutes or until the bread is deep golden in color.
Remove the bread from the cast iron and transfer to a cooling rack for at leat 30 minutes before cutting. Cutting the bread too soon will release all the steam, leaving your with gummy and possibly dry bread.
Note 1: Using all-purpose flour in place of bread flour is also fine in this recipe, but once again this will give you a loser dough which will be harder to work with.
Using the wheat bran helps the high hydration dough absorb more water. Replacing the wheat bran with regular flour will give you a loser dough that will be a little harder to work with.
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