Fresh Ideas: Bake ‘beautiful bread’ at home with this no-knead method _lowres

Photo by Helana Brigman -- Easy Ciabatta Bread requires only four ingredients.

Perhaps I’m a purist, but there is such a thing as fresh, beautiful bread. No, not the industrial loaves packaged in sleeves at your local supermarket, but real bread with deeper flavors and crispier textures.

Part dense and part light, good bread conceals its fluffy white insides beneath a golden sturdy crust.

Slice into this kind of bread, and you will actually hear the crust crackle under your knife.

Fortunately, fresh bread is incredibly easy to make. Since 2008, I’ve been an avid believer in a baking trend called the no-knead method developed by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City. The Lahey method uses a no-knead, bread-in-a-pot technique consisting of four ingredients and a cast-iron pot such as a Dutch oven.

The trick is to prepare the bread dough with very little yeast, allowing time to do the work for you. Once the dough sets up, bake your bread inside a covered pot in a very hot 475 F oven.

Forty minutes later, the bread will be fresher than any loaf at your store (and well worth the wait).

While many bakers still propose more traditional baking methods that include natural starters, scales and specialized equipment, Lahey’s technique is a wonderful introduction to baking bread at home with a fraction of the effort.

The best part about easy, no-knead bread? Your bread has no preservatives, lost nutrition or lost time. The first step requires 60 seconds and the results are truly beautiful bread.

Helana Brigman is a food writer, photographer and cookbook author. She can be reached with daily recipes at or via email at