This delicious and gorgeous loaf is part recipe, part science experiment, and part fun family project when you're all stuck in the house together looking for things to do. Even though it takes many, many hours, the texture you get is just incredible. Spread with butter and jam, if desired.

Chef John
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Ingredients

12
Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place white bread flour, whole wheat bread flour, and yeast into a large mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon. Pour in cold water and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until a very wet, sticky dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Add the salt and mix another 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Cover with foil. Allow dough to rise at room temperature for 18 hours.

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  • Deflate the bubbly dough with a spatula by scraping down the sides of the bowl and folding the dough over itself, turning the bowl as you go around in a circular motion, about 12 times or so.

  • Scrape the dough onto a very well-floured surface with a spatula. Sprinkle the surface of dough generously with flour. Generously flour hands and then roll and fold dough on the table until you've formed a round or oval loaf shape that has a smooth surface, 1 to 2 minutes. The dough is very sticky, so add more flour if you need. The shape doesn't really matter, but a smooth surface is the goal.

  • Transfer to a Silpat®-lined baking sheet and let rise, uncovered, until doubled in size, about 2 hours. The dough will spread out more than rise up, but this is normal.

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

  • Make 1 shallow slash down the middle of the dough with a very sharp knife or razor, being careful not to deflate the dough too much; the slash is optional. Spray the surface of the loaf very lightly with plain water to help the crust form.

  • Bake in the center of the preheated oven until nicely browned, about 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack before cutting.

Chef's Notes:

Regular all-purpose flour can be used for white bread flour, and whole wheat flour can be used for sprouted spelt flour.

You can also use fine sea salt, or any other salt that doesn't have any additives.

If you don't have a Silpat(R) liner, you can sprinkle the baking pan with a bunch of cornmeal.

Nutrition Facts

143 calories; 0.8 g total fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 242 mg sodium. 28.9 g carbohydrates; 4.9 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (24)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
04/01/2020
I was a little hesitant as it was my first time making bread, but this was very easy. I used all-purpose flour and it worked out! Ten outta Ten, Delicious! Thanks, chef John from food wishes dot com Read More
(4)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
04/21/2020
Following the directions I wound up with a sticky mess. No amount of additional flour gives me a dough I can shape. What is a good room temperature for the dough to rise? For me it was about 65 degrees. Too cold? Read More
25 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 17
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
04/01/2020
I was a little hesitant as it was my first time making bread, but this was very easy. I used all-purpose flour and it worked out! Ten outta Ten, Delicious! Thanks, chef John from food wishes dot com Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
04/01/2020
I was a little hesitant as it was my first time making bread, but this was very easy. I used all-purpose flour and it worked out! Ten outta Ten, Delicious! Thanks, chef John from food wishes dot com Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
04/05/2020
I made this bread twice so far. First time it went exactly according to the recipe but second time after first rise dough was very wet, it felt almost like liquid so I had to use A LOT of flour, much more than the first time to make it more workable but in the end it was fine and it turned out beautifully. Read More
(2)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/06/2020
I ended up making 2 loaves out of this recipe because I put too much liquid in - it came out real thin but my husband LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it!!! This is a keeper recipe and I will make it again for sure! Thank you for your wonderful easy breezy recipes! They are appreciated! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
04/20/2020
Only bread I`ve ever baked before must have been back in the 90`s, like in the schoolkitchen. I followed the recipe after watching the always excellent Chef John video of it, ended up baking it in a preheated dutch oven. Heavenly crust and bread! My family thought so too, so now I`m making the fifth one in less than ten days. My toddler used to spit out bread and just eat the cold-cuts, bu this bread he eats happily. Thanks a bunch for this recipe! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
04/12/2020
I made it at 8400' altitude & it came out amazing!! I've never made this kind of bread before & only followed a few minor adjustments that I followed off the King Arthur's high altitude baking site..https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/resources/high-altitude-baking Thank you, Chef John! I use tons of your recipes & have yet to find a disappointing dish! Read More
(1)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/18/2020
I already wrote a review, but after reading about some of the trouble people were having I thought I might be able to help. I have had a really soupy dough after waiting 18+ hours and this is what has helped for me: use a little more flour on your surface than Chef John did, also, use a bench scraper or spatula. I learned this tip from watching another person make sticky bread. Using a bench scraper allows you to manipulate the dough without even touching it. You can lift up the dough with it and sprinkle some more flour underneath without making a horrible mess. I've probably added up to another cup of flour doing this, but I'm not doing any kneading. When I get to the point where I think I'm ready to transfer it on to the silicon, I put it in a 10 inch silicon cake pan. This way it doesn't spread out so much. You actually end up getting a highter loaf. You are going to be able to see that it was done in a pan with sides, but it does brown nicely on the bottom and more importantly you get wonderful bread! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
04/04/2020
Chef John, Every night before we go to bed my 6 years old daughter and I just pick one of your videos, watching it (sometimes she fall asleep durring). And making your recipes a few days later. I must say - we learned a lot and still learning. My 6 years old made it to the exact - and came out PERFECT! Thank you! :) Stay healthy and safe. Read More
Rating: 2 stars
04/21/2020
Following the directions I wound up with a sticky mess. No amount of additional flour gives me a dough I can shape. What is a good room temperature for the dough to rise? For me it was about 65 degrees. Too cold? Read More
Rating: 5 stars
05/16/2020
I have made this a couple of times. Turned out great each time and uses very little yeast. I think that it took me about 10 minutes of actual work with a lot of waiting (mix, 18 hour proof, fold, shape, 2 hour proof/rest, bake 20-30 minutes depending on shape). So good, cheap, and easy, but you have to plan ahead. This and an Irish soda bread are my go to recipes depending on how much time I have. Read More