Fear not the yeast! For so long, I was intimidated by baking with yeast and once I tackled it, I realized it wasn’t so bad after all. If you’re not comfortable working with yeast, perhaps this recipe for No Knead Parmesan & Herb Bread will help you ease into it. This happens to be the easiest yeast bread recipe I’ve ever worked with… and it’s foolproof every time! The best thing about this recipe is that you can customize to your tastes to make it with various herbs and seasonings…
The Almost No Knead Bread was what I made awhile back. This time around I incorporated some additional flavor with the use of Parmesan cheese and dried herbs (oregano and thyme.) I must say that it’s just as easy to impart some flavor but still is a great bread without. This bread does require some patience though, so don’t plan on having bread the same day you make it. If anything, allowing enough time for this bread to proof and rise is the most challenging… but your patience is definitely worth it.
What makes this recipe so easy? Well, it entails combining bread flour, yeast, salt and warm water. You can then add your choice of cheeses and dried herbs. Mix it up and let it rest… for 12-20 hours. After that, the dough is shaped and allowed to rest for another 2 hours. The last leg of the process is just firing up the oven and baking for 30 minutes. So tackle that yeast and get to baking!
recipe adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
3 cups bread flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 tablespoon of kosher salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
Combine all the above ingredients in a large bowl. The dough will be shaggy and messy, which is exactly what you want. Leave the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Keep on your counter for 12-20 hours.
The dough will now be wet, sticky and bubbly. With a wet spatula, dump the dough on a floured surface. Wet your hands and form the dough into a ball shape. Generously dust a cotton kitchen towel with flour. Set dough seam side down on top of towel. Fold towel over the dough. Let it nap for 2 hours.
*Alternatively, you can use your INSTANT POT to help proof the dough! Place a piece of parchment paper large enough to hold the dough inside your Instant Pot…. OR spray the inside of your Instant Pot with non-stick spray. If using parchment paper, press the parchment paper into the liner pot and spray with non-stick spray. Place your dough and gently shape into a ball size shape to fit inside your Instant Pot. Press the YOGURT button on the Instant Pot, then select the LOW temperature setiing. Once the Instant Pot beeps, cover with a clear Instant Pot lid or a (clear glass) plate that is big enough to cover the liner. If you don’t have a clear Instant Pot lid or glass plate, you can also cover tightly with plastic wrap.
*Alternatively, you can use your SLOW COOKER/CROCKPOT to help proof the dough! Fill your slow cooker halfway with water and set to the low setting (which will heat the water to about 200ºF). Put the lid on upside down, lay a dishtowel on top, then set your covered bowl of dough on top. The radiant heat from the hot water will help the bread to rise.
When you have 30 minutes left for your dough to nap, place a five-quart dutch oven into your oven and preheat to 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
After your oven has preheated for 30 minutes, the dough should have doubled in size. Remove the pot from oven. Holding the kitchen towel your dough was sitting on, turn over and dump the dough into pot. Shake the pot to even the dough out. Cover and bake the bread for 30 minutes. Uncover the bread and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is beautifully golden and middle of loaf is 210F.
Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool on a wired rack.