Updated: May 15, 2020
Making amazing bread at home doesn't have to be difficult. Especially when you have a ceramic cloche to bake it in.
The best way to simulate a professional bread baking oven is to use a bread cloche.
Full steam ahead!
What makes bread from a bakery so great is that it is baked in a high humidity environment. The steam in the oven keeps the outside of the dough moist and pliable, allowing it to rise to its fullest potential before developing a crust that would inhibit its growth.
My new no-knead bread recipe
6 qt Cambro or large mixing bowl and plastic wrap
Digital Scale (or scales, I use an additional small one to measure the yeast and salt)
Banneton or medium bowl for second rise
Towel to cover
Parchment paper (optional)
70 Grams Whole Wheat Flour
360 Grams All Purpose flour
360 Grams Water
1.2 Grams dried yeast
12 Grams Salt
Place a 6qt cambro container, or a bowl on a scale and tare it out. Weigh out the whole wheat and all purpose flour.
Weigh the yeast and the salt and add
Mix all dry ingredients to incorporate
Weigh out the water and add to the cambro / bowl
Mix until the water is fully absorbed by the flour creating a loose and wet dough (you might look at it and think "I can't knead that!" Don't worry, you won't have to.
Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and set in a warm (70 degree) location to rise overnight (It should be left to rise for a minimum of 18 hours and up to 24)
At the end of the rise, open the lid and with a spatula or spoon, fold the dough down from the sides onto itself and let rest for 15 min.
Dump the dough onto a well floured surface (1/8 inch of flour spread out over about a 10 inch area
Imagine the dough was a square. Take one side of the dough and stretch it away from the center, lift it up and fold it over the center of the dough. Repeat with the opposite side and then with the two remaining "sides".
Repeat this with the four corners that were created. As you fold in these corners, pinch the dough together to help the corners stick to the dough forming a seam.
Flip the dough over. It should have a somewhat tightly formed surface from stretching and folding it. You can continue to shape this into a round, tucking the edges under and rotating as you go.
Generously flour the banneton or medium bowl and place the dough in it seam side down
Dust the dough with flour and loosely cover with towel
Set the dough on the counter to rise for a minimum of 2 hrs at room temperature (70 degrees) More if the room is cooler (up to 3 hours). Less if you live in Arizona or the south
At the same time place the bread cloche in the oven so that it has roughly equal space above and below it when put on the rack.
Set a timer for 1.5 hours (at the end of this time, turn the oven on and set it to 475 degrees)
To check if the dough has risen enough, gently poke a finger into it. If it leaves an impression that does not heal, it is ready. If it easily springs back leaving no evidence of poking, it needs to rise longer.
With oven mitts, carefully remove the cloche from the oven, placing it on your stove or a heatproof surface and remove the lid, setting aside on the same surface
Now you have two options
If you have parchment paper, tear a 10 inch sheet and place on a work surface. Gently remove the towel and with one hand on the dough, flip the banneton or bowl over and place it face down on the parchment. then lift the dough and parchment together and place gently on the base of the cloche
If you are not using parchment, uncover the banneton / bowl and with your hand on the dough, gently flip it over onto the HOT cloche base, being careful to not touch it.
With oven mitts, replace the cloche on the base and return it to the oven
Set a timer for 30 min
After 30 min, open the oven, slide the rack out slightly and with oven mitts, carefully remove the cloche, placing it on your stove, open end up. (Now if you want to make some soup you have a hot pot to start it in! Just be careful because the entire pot is hot)
Slide the rack back into the oven, close the door and set a timer for 15 min.
After 15 min, have a look at the bread. It should have a lovely chestnut color. Take a set of tongs or a long spoon or spatula and lift the dough up to look at the bottom. If the bottom is dark to very dark, take the loaf out of the oven. If the bottom is still light in color and the top is as well, set a timer for another 8 min and check again.
Remove the bread from the oven, turn it off, and place it on a wire rack to cool (I leave the cloche base in the oven so as to not have one more blazing hot thing to find a place for.)
Leave the bread to cool before cutting. (20-30 min) Yes, I know it is tempting but it will be worth the wait. In the meantime you can enjoy its singing (the crackling noise it makes while cooling)