Seeded overnight no-knead loaf
Seeded overnight no-knead loafSubscribe to Sainsbury's magazine
It’s hard to believe that this no-knead, virtually hands-free loaf is really going to work, but rather like sourdough, it has a slightly tangy flavour, an open-crumbed texture and a wonderfully crisp crust. It's inspired by a legendary method popularised by food writer Mark Bittman in The New York Times
- 350g strong white bread flour, plus extra to dust
- 175g wholemeal bread flour
- 1⁄4 tsp fast action dried yeast
- ½ tbsp fine sea salt
- 75g mixed seeds
- 2 tbsp clear honey or maple syrup - if vegan, use maple syrup, not honey
- At least 12 hours before baking, combine the flours, yeast, salt and seeds in a large mixing bowl, making a well in the centre. Stir the honey or maple syrup into 350ml warm water in a jug, then pour this into the bowl. Use a wooden spoon to mix together into a slightly sticky, shaggy dough, without any loose flour left in the bowl. It will look decidedly unpromising at this stage, but don’t worry, just cover the bowl and leave overnight.
- Next day, the batter will look much wetter and slightly bubbly. Scrape the sticky, stringy dough out onto a floured surface and fold over once or twice. Turn the bowl over and use it to cover the dough (use a larger bowl if necessary). Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
- Dust a square of baking paper with flour. Shape the loaf into a round and lift onto the paper. Sprinkle with a little more flour and cover again with the upturned bowl, or a clean cloth. Leave to prove for 2 hours or until roughly doubled in size.
- About 30 minutes before the end of the proving time, put a ovenproof casserole (around 22cm base diameter) and its lid in the oven (or see tip below) and preheat to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas 7. When the 2 hours is up, score the top of the loaf with a crosshatch pattern, using a sharp knife. Use the paper to quickly lift the loaf into the hot casserole dish (keep the paper under the loaf); replace the lid (use oven gloves to handle the very hot lid).
- Bake for 30 minutes, covered, then remove the lid and bake for a further 15-20 minutes until the loaf is browned and really crisp, and sounds hollow when the base is tapped. Remove from the casserole and cool on a wire rack before slicing. Resist the temptation to cut into your loaf too soon, as this will affect the crumb texture, making it doughy.
Tip If you haven't got a casserole you can prove and bake the bread in a 900g loaf tin, or bake the round loaf on a preheated baking tray. Add a roasting tin of boiling water to the oven bottom to create steam, to help the bread crisp up.