Though I like making kneaded bread the traditional way, it is handy to know how to make bread on the spur of the moment — especially one that doesn’t need a long kneading process to work up the gluten in the flour.
The following recipes all use the quick bread dough I have used for years. It is made to be eaten immediately. The first time I saw a no-knead bread dough was many years ago, when I was chef at the Metropole restaurant in Parnell and we hosted guest chef, Tony Papas from the Bayswater Brasserie in Sydney.
My clever friend Mark, however, gave me a more refined version which I have adopted. This is a sticky dough so you need to work with it on a well-floured surface. Like scones, handle it as little as possible and if it springs back when you try to roll it out, stop, wait and let it relax before proceeding.
The basic dough can be kept overnight or for a few days, covered, in the fridge and used after bringing back to room temperature.
You can use this dough simply pressed out evenly in a shallow tray, very well oiled with extra virgin olive oil, its top brushed with more oil and sprinkled with flaky sea salt. Bake in a 200C oven for about 40 minutes or until well cooked like foccacia.
It’s a great recipe to make on holiday — we make it at the beach when fresh bread can be a bit problematical.
Try it in the recipes on this page.
Mark's excellent bread dough: basic recipe
3 cups lukewarm water
1 Tbsp dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
- Put the water, yeast and sugar into a large bowl. Wait until the yeast melts, then stir and place in a draught-free warm place (a sunny deck works well) until the mixture is very frothy.
- Whisk in 2 cups of flour so you have a lump-free slurry. Set aside, covered, in a draught-free, warm place until doubled in bulk.
- Add the remaining flour and salt and mix well. Cover, put back in the warm place and allow to double in bulk.
Stuffed bread pie with butternut and feta
Here the dough is used like pastry for a flat round pie with a filling of pumpkin, fried onions, garlic, sage, and black olives. Get the recipe
Turkish-style lamb pies
In these, the dough is layered by rolling and folding itwith lemon zest, roasted almonds, butter and sugar and made into spiral rolls. The first time I saw this it was done by one of the chefs at the Metropole and he based the recipe on a traditional Breton yeast cake, Kouign-amann. Later I saw great baker, Julie le Clerc, refine it into rolls. Get the recipe