21 April, 2020
My First Bread: Kneadlessly Simple
Before I started my sourdough, I was making no-knead bread from Kneadlessly Simple, by Nancy Bagget. It’s really the closest thing to an absolutely foolproof bread recipe. After a few failed (read: I baked bread-flavored bricks) attempts at baking bread years ago, I wrote myself off as “not a baker” and didn’t even bother imagining trying again until the fairly recent no-knead bread trend.
I don’t remember exactly how I ended up trying Nancy Bagget’s Crusty White Pot Boule recipe first, but I’m glad I did. It was such a success, I bought her book and also baked multiple loaves of her buttermilk pot bread, and herbed potato bread recipes, before I wandered off in search of sourdough. I still make the herb-potato loaf sometimes when we have leftover mashed potatoes.
This book (and the Crusty White Pot Bread recipe in particular) are a perfect jumping-off point to the world of bread baking. They’re easy enough to be an incredible confidence builder. The only special things required are a covered baking pot (and if you don’t already own a cast-iron dutch oven, you’ll be doing yourself a favor getting one!), and instant yeast.
NOTE: Be sure you get instant (or quick-rise, or bread machine) yeast, not regular “Active Dry” yeast though. The photo on the left of the gallery above shows the difference between using Active vs Instant yeast, from loaf #1 to #2. It’s worth braving the inflated prices online, if you can’t find instant/quick-rise yeast at your local stores.
I made bread from Kneadlessly Simple exclusively for about 6 months, before I got brave enough to venture into sourdough, and I’m endlessly thankful to Nancy Bagget for helping me build my baking confidence so much. So if you’re absolutely convinced you just cannot bake bread, but you still wish you could, try starting here!