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No-knead Classic Crust


  • 1lb 10.5oz French T55 flour (or any bread flour)
  • 1oz ground dried butterbeans (try to make a flour out of them with coffee grinder or similar - you can sometimes buy bean flour... even better)
  • 1/2oz corn meal
  • 1lb tepid water
  • Dried active yeast (I use Fermipan Red)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt


  1. Day one: In the evening combine the butterbean flour, corn meal and 14.5oz of the T55 flour to make 1lb total. Mix a quarter of a teaspoon of the yeast with the tepid water and add to the dry mixture. Mix thoroughly into a cream, cover with film and leave overnight. This is your poolish pre-ferment.
  2. Next morning: put the bubbling pre-ferment into a mixer and add the rest of the T55 flour (12oz) and a level tablespoon of yeast. Using a dough hook mix on first speed to loosely combine. Once the mixture has very roughly combined stop the mixer, cover with a teatowel and leave for 20 mins (to autolyse). Then add the salt and mix on first setting again. As you do this add in some more water (a teaspoonful at a time) until the dough 'just' starts to stick to the base of the mixing bowl. It shouldn't be too stiff or too loose. Then mix on second speed for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Place the dough into a pre-warmed bowl and cover with a damp towel or film. Leave for one hour somewhere warmish (airing cupboard or similar).
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten slightly (don't knock too much air out of it). Fold the right edge into the centre. Fold the left edge into the centre. Fold the top edge into the centre then the bottom edge into the centre. Invert and return to the bowl smooth side up. Leave for another hour.
  5. Turn the dough out again with the previously folded side uppermost. Repeat step 4 and leave for another hour.
  6. Shape the dough into one giant loaf or two smaller ones. Place on a tray/s, dust with flour and cover with film (lightly, so it doesn't stick as the dough rises). Leave for an hour and 45 mins (or until doubled in size) somewhere warmish.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 220°c (450°f) and place a metal roasting pan on the oven floor. just before you put the loaves in, pour cold water into the pan to generate as much steam as possible.
  8. Take the film off the loaf/loaves and cut deepish slits into them with a razor blade ('lame' or 'grignette') - don't be shy about this, give them a good cut (a more shallow angle gives better 'ears'). The cuts allow the dough to rise quickly and retain the shape of the loaf instead of splitting down the side or growing lop-sided.
  9. Bake for 34 mins on the top shelf for a single loaf and about 26 mins for two - turn the loaf/loaves back-to-front after about 6-8 minutes and move to a lower shelf about halfway through the bake to prevent the crust from burning.
  10. Some experimentation/adjustment will be needed to get hydration right in your dough (some will make it too wet, others too dry) and baking time for your particular oven. You can also bake inside a dutch oven, this gives more spring and a better crust owing to the increased moisture retention inside the smaller area.


All my own work!