It’s frustrating to think that for years we believed that bread that looked this good was something you’d find only in an artisanal bakery, and definitely not something you could make at home, let alone by someone with only a 5-minute attention span. And yet, there it is – simplicity sitting right under our noses. No need for kneading.
Jim Lahey, the owner and baker of Sullivan Street Bakery, produces breads for over 300 restaurants in New York and in 2006 the New York Times first published Jim’s method of making bread without kneading it – No Knead Bread. This went against centuries of tradition where kneading the bread dough was deemed critical to developing the gluten in flour, which in turn was necessary to create a bread that would rise beautifully and hold its shape while having the loose airy crumb of artisan bread loaves. Jim figured out that a slow rise of a relatively wet dough created a more flavorful loaf – similar to those loaves he had eaten in Italy – and that the extra moisture in the dough would evaporate into steam in the oven, helping the dough to rise and the crust to crisp.