Breakfast / Brunch
No-Knead Cinnamon-Raisin Bread
Man may not live by bread alone — but with artisan loaves this good and this easy to make, you might want to. This no-knead method, which is as easy as stir, rest, and bake, is based on the popular Sullivan Street Bakery’s technique. It takes about 24 hours to create a boule — one round loaf. It’s that long resting time, plus a couple of other factors, like baking in a Dutch oven, that produces a loaf that’s as good as any artisan bread. With a cinnamon-raisin swirl in the middle, there’s a slice — with amazing taste and texture — just waiting for you.
Test Kitchen Tip
You can use any raisins in this recipe, but if they’re not fresh, plump them in warm water, then dry them well.
No-Knead Bread Basics
While this is basically a fuss-free technique, there are a few things to keep in mind for success.
IN BALANCE: Bread recipes are based on a percentage (balance) of ingredients, such as flour and water. To achieve that balance, weigh your flour and water. And to maintain the right pH balance, for proper fermentation, be sure to use purified drinking water.
STICKY STUFF: Don’t be alarmed that the dough is wet and sticky — it’s supposed to be. The high water content in the dough actually creates the right humidity while baking, which results in the crackled crust (and is why professional bakers use steam-injected ovens to bake their bread).
TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE: Once the dough is mixed, let it ferment (rise) for 12–20 hours. The longer the fermentation, the better the taste and structure of the bread. And it’s that long fermentation, requiring very little yeast, that naturally accomplishes what kneading does — it brings the gluten molecules into side-byside alignment so they’re able to produce a strong, elastic framework.
SHAPE UP: Because it’s a sticky dough, use plenty of flour on your work surface and on your hands when shaping the dough.
ROCK & PAPER: To help form the dough (and avoid burning yourself later) transfer the dough to a 10-inch skillet lined with greased parchment paper (which you can then hold onto when transferring the dough to the preheated Dutch oven).
PLUS SCISSORS: Just before baking, cut the top of the dough with kitchen shears to degas it and improve the rise.
GOING DUTCH: Basically you can use any 5- to 7-qt. heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid that can withstand the intense heat required for preheating and baking. A cast-iron Dutch oven maintains the heat properly, but a heavy stainless pot works as well.
RUNNING HOT & COLD: To make sure the bread is completely baked (and not gummy), first temp it, so you know it’s done, then — and perhaps hardest of all — let it cool completely before slicing.
Whisk together flour, 1 Tbsp. sugar, salt, and yeast. Stir in water; transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Let dough rest in a draft-free area at room temperature (about 75°), out of direct sunlight, until surface is dotted with bubbles and dough doubles in size, 12–20 hours.
Arrange a 12×18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside a 10-inch skillet and coat with nonstick spray.
Transfer dough, with lightly floured hands, onto a generously floured work surface. (Dough will be loose, sticky, and will flatten and spread on surface.)
Combine 2 Tbsp. sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over flattened dough. Sprinkle raisins on top of cinnamon-sugar, then gently press into the dough.
Shape dough into a ball by pulling edges to middle and loosely pinching it closed.
Transfer dough, seam side down, to prepared skillet; loosely cover with plastic wrap coated with nonstick spray. Let dough rise at room temperature until it’s nearly doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked, 1½–2 hours.
Preheat oven to 475° with a 5- to 7-qt. covered Dutch oven or heavy pot inside, at least 30 minutes before dough is ready.
Meanwhile, lightly sprinkle cornmeal over top of dough to add texture and a rustic look. Cut an “X” or square pattern in top of dough with kitchen shears.
Carefully remove Dutch oven from oven and remove lid. Transfer dough with parchment paper to Dutch oven, allowing excess parchment to hang over edges.
Cover Dutch oven and return to oven; bake 35 minutes. Carefully remove lid and bake loaf until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 207–209°, about 10 minutes more.
Carefully remove bread from Dutch oven, discard parchment, and transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 2 hours.
Cinnamon can slow fermentation, so sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar on the dough just before shaping it.
To help keep the raisins from falling out when shaping the dough, gently push them into the dough.
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 220mg 9%
Carbs 25g 8%
Fiber 1g 4%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.