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New York Pot Loaf

A fabulously easy way to to bake: great results every time,

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This recipe is inspired by a video we came across from the New York Times. It looked too good to be true, but we've tried it with fantastic results.

It involves no kneading, is baked in a pot and you've got to give it a go!


500gr white flour

350gr water

1/2 teaspoon of yeast

1 1/2 teasoons of sea salt


Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl, then add the water. Mix into a rough dough - this really is a "mix", one minute is plenty. Cover the bowl and leave to ferment until it has doubled in size, which should take 6-12 hours, depending on conditions.

Tip your dough out on to a well floured surface. Stretch and fold 2 or 3 times, then mould in to the rough shape of your pot. Put into a well floured proving basket, with the seems to the top, cover and leave for another 2 hours. (If you don't have a proving basket, put is on a very well floured linen towel instead.)

Put your empty pot in the over and heat to 225C.

New York pot loafLeaving the dough in the basket, flour the top of the dough. Make sure it's thoroughly covered, otherwise it will stick to your pot. The only tricky bit comes next, which is getting the dough into the pot - take the pot out of the over and tip the loaf in (if you can get it straight you're doing better than me!).

Put the lid on and put the pot back in the oven. After 30 minues, remove the lid, lower the temperature to 200C and bake for a further 15 mins.

Shake the loaf out of the pot and leave on a rack to cool.

I also tried this method with 50: 50 mix of white and wholemeal and got another excellent result.

Good luck and please let me know how you got on. For more thoughts and ideas on this process this article is worth a read - Focus on Bread: The Easiest Bread Ever.

Added by: webmaster

Tags: Pot loaf

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New York pot loaf
always works well for me even if the fermentation time can alter dramatically between summer/winter, make it regularly and you get used to this, I tend to mix odds and sods of flours in this and depending on how much wholemeal is in the mix I find a bit more water is needed in the initial mix. Never fails to impress friends - and I find I need to make 2 loaves most of the time as the first gets eaten before you know it!!

David Davis - drd_dandcdavis@btinternet.com 12 December 2012

What an amazing way to make fabulous bread! I have been using this recipe for a couple of weeks and it has never failed. I gave a loaf to a friend and she has now asked if I could make a loaf for her whenever I am baking for myself. She says that it is the best white bread that she has ever tasted and I agree with her! I use cast iron pans and double up the quantities to make a larger loaf. No I have never got it straight into the pan but it makes no difference to the finished result. This is revolutionary for me as I have always made my own bread and to be able to make such a delicious loaf with no kneading is a real time saver. Thank you!

Vivienne Dyer - viviennedyer@yahoo.com 12 November 2011

Helpful hints from Bob
Bob emailed us with the following: We have been making bread this way for 9 months so, and use no other method. We happened to be in New York when The Minimalist was leaving the Times. Our experience is: 1. We use a ceramic casserole. This will easily accept temperatures to 260C. (We bake at 250C.) Iron casseroles except Staub have an 'oven safe' limit of 375F. This was a great surprise to me but assure you it is fact. 2. We have never lined the inside of the casserole, and nothing has stuck. (Perhaps this is tempting fate.) 3. We let it rise for 18 hrs or so, but this does not seem critical. We do have a second rising for two hours - we follow the video on this. Best wishes. Bob

Web Master - webmaster 03 November 2011

tweak the method!
Just a tweak to the method, which make it even easier. Basically, get a rectangular non-stick silicone loaf tin. Put the dough in the loaf tin, then put the loaf tin inside a large pot with a tight fitting lid. We use an oval Le Crueset. You can even put some water in the botton of the pot before you put it in the oven to create a more steamy environment for the first part of the cooking process. Also, to make the loaf look nicer, sprinkle the top with seeds of your choice before you cook it. When the first part of the cooking process is complete, take the loaf tin out of the pot and continue cooking. This way, you don't need baking parchment, and you won't have any problems turning out the loaf when it is cooked!

- Stu 29 October 2011

RE: tweak the method!
Great idea - will definintely be giving it a go. Thanks

Web Master - webmaster 03 November 2011

I use rye in the proving basket and add poppy seeds before putting in the dough. Improves the looks and the taste.

Tony Ramsay - mail@tonyramsay.com 29 October 2011

Foraging for Poppy Seeds
What a great idea Tony. Did you know.......Contrary to popular belief, poppies in England do not contain opium. The seedheads are ready for picking when they are a grey-brown colour and have small holes just underneath the flat top. Put the whole seed heads into a paper bag and shake. Remove the heads; the seeds left in the bag can be used for sprinkling on bread, cakes and rolls.

Samantha Livy - Tortepane 05 September 2012

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