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No-Knead Bread—With Tips for Kids!

Adapted from The New York Times and the Sullivan Street Bakery—with tips from Little Sous.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • Cornmeal

Steps:

  1. Step 1

    Combine flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add 1⅝ cups water and stir until blended. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.

    Sous Tip:

    As you get this process started, talk your junior assistants through the phases that will make it all happen. After you have your shaggy dough ball under wraps, it needs to rest for 12 to 18 hours, at room temperature. Here’s your opportunity to talk about what yeast does and how it works, the role of live cultures in food, and how a good plan can make longer-term projects fun. If you’re a Google Home or Alexa household, consider having the kids instruct that friendly AI to set a long timer. (But not if it’s going to wake everyone up.)

  2. Step 2

    When the dough’s surface is dotted with bubbles, place it on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle with a small amount of flour, then fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes.

    Sous Tip:

    Now it’s evening (if you started bright and early) or the next day (more realistically). See what your kids think of this process so far. Does it remind them of nurturing a pet? Have they ever grown salt crystals or done another science-y overnight project? Here’s where you can reinforce the yeasty processes at work inside your dough ball.

  3. Step 3

    Use a little flour on your fingers and work surface, and quickly work the dough into a ball. Generously dust with cornmeal—the Times version calls for coating a cotton kitchen towel in the stuff, placing the dough ball on it, seam-side down, and dusting with more. Cover with another towel and let rise for 2 more hours.

    Sous Tip:

    Patience and planning, my young apprentice! The next key move actually comes before that 2-hour wait is up. About 90 minutes after you dust and cover the loaf, it’s time to preheat the oven to 450°F and put your heavy 6- to 8-quart pot in to sit as the oven heats. This is another great task for kids to help plan and execute. Set the timer, turn the knob!

  4. Step 4

    This is an adult step, for sure: Carefully take the heated pot out of the oven, and slide the dough ball into it, seam side up. Cover with the pot lid, return to the oven, bake for 30 minutes covered and 15-30 minutes uncovered until your loaf is nicely browned. Remove from oven and pot and cool.

    Sous Tip:

    Butter? Jam? Jelly? Proscuitto? Olive oil? What are we eating this thing with?