On an archaeological dig in central Greece (the same one where our cook Vasiliki made us that wonderful string bean stew), we also ate a lot of the Greek bread baked by the local bakeries in our village. Well, not really our village – Proskyna was too small to have a bakery, but the next village over, Theologos, had a bakery.
They baked this bread in round two-kilo loaves. The loaves had so much yeast in them that the area around the bakery smelled like a brewery. The bread was fantastic fresh, and hard as a rock three hours later. This bread is not as good, but you can make it yourself at home, and it will keep for a couple of days.
How to make no-knead bread:
Start at breakfast-time. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix three cups of flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of instant yeast. Then add 1 1/2 cups of warm water and mix with a wooden spoon. The dough will be shaggy and sticky and seem like it might have too much water in it. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave it to sit in a warm room while you’re at work all day. If you keep your house cold in winter like mine, put a pot of hot water in the oven and put the bread dough in the oven with it, and that will be warm enough.
When you get home from work, the surface of your dough should be dotted with bubbles from the yeast working and producing carbon dioxide. Turn out your dough on to a floured counter. Sprinkle the dough with flour pretty generously and fold it over once or twice. Grease a bread-pan and put the dough in the bread-pan. Cover the bread-pan with a dish-towel. Let the dough rise for two more hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Put the bread in and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it. Take it out of the oven and turn it out of the bread-pan to cool.
Vegetarian or vegan
Can I keep no-knead bread for later?
If you keep it wrapped in plastic, no-knead bread will last a couple of days before getting stale. You can freeze the loaves fresh, and thaw them out at room temperature.