My bread bakers have been busy! These are loaves they baked from my previous post for No-Knead…
I’ve converted the popular No-Knead Bread recipe by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery from active dry yeast to wild yeast water. Why did I convert to yeast water? Because long fermentation with yeast water amps the flavor and crumb to a more bakery style loaf –in my opinion, and I hope yours too when you try it!
Yeast water dough may take about 25% longer fermentation time compared to no-knead recipes made with dry yeast (it varies by room temperature). This longer fermentation may improve digestibility of the wheat for some people. I like the subtle flavor difference compared to dry yeast recipes, and, simply find it astonishing that kombucha-like yeast water can proof bread dough!
If you happen to also be a sourdough or levain baker, the winning difference with yeast water is that it’s always ready for baking without feeding between bakes. Yeast water keeps refrigerated for months, always ready to use. Just replenish the water according to my instructions.
There are many ways to ‘slice bread’, and many recipes to choose from. I hope this recipe helps you discover a best method that works for you! Send pictures of your bread or ask me questions along the way. I love to talk bread!
*I am not paid to mention my favorite enamel cast iron Dutch oven by Amazon Basics but I highly recommend it! To control temperature for faster or slower proofing, I use
Easiest Overnight No-Knead Yeast Water Bread
- cast iron Dutch Oven, 3.5-5 quart size
- parchment paper
- 420 grams all-purpose or bread flour (about 3cups) AP flour (bleached or unbleached), produces a softer crumb than higher protein bread flour.
- 90 grams whole wheat flour (about 3/4cup) or spelt or einkorn flour
- 10 grams kosher salt (1Tbsp) or table salt (2tsp)
- 300 grams/ml tap water (about 1-3/4c) If you are less experienced with bread doughs, try the first time with 275g water for a slightly firmer dough that's easier to shape.
- 100 grams/ml Yeast Water (scant 7 Tbsp) shake before measuring, add to the tap water and warm to 95-100F. See note for substituting dry yeast
For lemon-rosemary bread
- 1 tbsp lemon zest, appx zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp. very finely minced fresh rosemary
- Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add lemon zest and rosemary if using.
- Stir in warmed (95-100F) water and yeast water (if using instead of dry yeast) with a wooden spoon. Switch to a plastic scraper if you have one and continue mixing and turning just until dough is evenly moistened and pulls away from sides of the bowl. It’s not necessary to stir vigorously, just enough so the flour is mixed in.Note: warming the water and yeast water helps speed the proofing process but is not necessary.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap (a plastic shower cap works great!) and let stand 15-30 minutes. Now give the dough a slap and fold about 12 times until the dough gets smooth and feels a little taught. If you skip this step you'll still get a great loaf of bread. Folding helps stretch the gluten and improves the holes, or 'crumb'.
- Cover bowl with plastic and let stand at room temperature 18-24 hours until the dough is at least doubled in volume. It may get very bubbly.
- The dough will look like this at 1 hour. It needs time which will vary by room temp. For a warm space, try the oven with the light on –do not accidentally turn on the oven! My oven reached 70F in about 2 hours. I do not leave the light on longer than 3 hours as it can reach over 90F which is too warm.
- Keep the faith! Even at 6 hours it will have only risen slightly.
- When you wake up in the morning it may look like this! This photo is made with 400g total water so it is a looser dough.
- Or it may look like this when made with 375g total water. Either results will work.
- Leave dough in the bowl. Now gently stir dough down with scraper or spatula and fold over in 90 degree turns several times. Using hands or scraper, firmly push and tuck edges under to shape dough into a ball. with a taught surface. Cover the bowl and rest dough for 30-60 minutes. Look for small bubbles forming just beneath the dough surface which should feel soft to the touch and slightly risen.
- OPTIONAL final shaping: After the 30-60 minutes of rest, a final shaping can be done which can improve the interior crumb. (But leaving in the bowl means no messy counter and will still produce a good loaf). Place pre-shaped ball of dough on a lightly floured surface. Tuck a plastic or metal dough scraper under the ball of dough at approximately 4 o'clock (or 8 o'clock if left-handed) at 45-degree angle. Scoop around the dough to just past 12 o'clock while simultaneously pulling the dough towards you, using the opposite hand to help round into a ball. Do this 3-5 times until the dough surface feels more taught.
- To turn into baking dish: Cut angles into a piece of parchment paper to the circumference of the Dutch oven. NOTE: parchment is critical to preventing sticking with the cold bake method. If using the preheat bake method, parchment can be omitted and dusting the bottom of the dough with flour or rice flour is sufficient.
- Place the parchment paper over the bowl and a plate or rimless tray over the parchment.
- Flip over so the dough is now on top of the parchment on the tray or plate. Then slide into the preheated or cold Dutch oven and follow directions below.
Baking options: Preheat or Cold Bake – see note below about oven temps
- The theory on super-heating the baking pot is to provide an initial burst of steam heat to increase the dough's oven-spring. Managing the hot pot can be a little tricky. I have excellent results with the cold bake and like the electricity savings.
- PREHEAT BAKE METHOD: While dough is resting, preheat a heavy Dutch oven to 500°F (475°F convection). NOTE: The pan must be a glazed pan that can withstand 500°F or a cast iron Dutch oven or skillet. Do not place empty pan in preheated oven as it can craze enamel surface. Allow at least 30 minutes for pan and oven to super-heat. My oven takes 45 minutes.
- Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven, leaving a hot pad on the lid so as not to accidently grab with bare hand. Unwrap dough, quickly slide dough top side down into the preheated pan. Cover with lid or loosely cover container with foil. (This step can also be done by leaving pan on oven rack and pulling out.)
- Reduce oven to 475°F (450°F convection). Cover pan with lid or foil. Bake 25 minutes. Dough will rise and start to brown.Remove lid or foil and continue to bake until very dark brown; additional 15-20 minutes. Immediately remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack. If the crust doesn't feel crisp, return the loaf to the oven rack for 5-7 minutes.
- COLD BAKE METHOD: These directions are from Elaine Boddy https://foodbodsourdough.com/ to bake from cold start oven. Transfer dough on parchment paper to unheated Dutch oven. Place in cold oven. Set oven to 450°F (425°F convection). Bake bread covered for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake additional 10 minutes or until well browned. Turn out immediately onto cooling rack. I prefer a well-browned crust so sometimes I place the loaf on the oven rack to bake additional 5-7 minutes.
Recipe adaptation and photo by Rosemary Mark