Being a lazy baker pays off.
I’ve been testing different no knead recipes using white whole wheat flour. My recipe for this crusty whole wheat basil bread was adapted from King Arthur Flour. Their recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but gave adaptations for whole wheat. Challenged accepted, King Arthur Flour.
My mother loved a crusty, loaf of French bread from a local grocery store bakery. Looking back, the bread was Louisiana sized, so it’s probably closer to Italian loaf than a baguette. We smeared it with Laughing Cow cheese as a mid-afternoon snack. She toasted a loaf so we could rip off hunks and dip into her Vietnamese beef stew.
Crusty bread is perfect for flavorful sauces and stews. I made this basil bread with my coconut lemongrass mussels in mind (recipe tomorrow). Adding fresh basil into the dough makes the bread incredibly fragrant.
Before you start this recipe, keep in mind that it will take a bit of time. It’s a yeast bread that still needs two rises. The no fuss part is that the dough can sit in your fridge for a few days. All you need is about 2 hours for it to rise a second time and bake. Just roll it into a ball on a floured surface.
Give the down about 1 hour to 1.5 hours to rise. This dough will spread out wider, rather than rise up. That’s normal. Slash the dough with a sharp knife right before it goes in the oven. Your patience will be rewarded because the bread bakes quickly, about 30 minutes.
Then you’ll have a crusty loaf that’s good to dip into a stew or just slather with some butter. Or Laughing Cow cheese if you’re trying to re-live your childhood.
- 16 ounces white whole wheat flour (approx 3 cups)
- 1¾ cup warm water
- 1 T yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
- In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. The dough will be very sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The dough should keep in the fridge for 7 days.
- When you're ready to make the bread, lightly sprinkle your work surface with flour. Pour the dough onto the surface and roll it into a ball. It doesn't have to be a perfect ball.
- Place the ball smooth side up onto a piece of greased parchment set on a baking sheet. Allow the dough to rise at least 1 hour. The dough will spread out rather than rise up.
- Preheat your oven to 450F. Using a sharp knife, slash the dough 2-3 times, making a cut about ½" deep.
- Once your oven is hot, place the baking sheet on the middle rack. Bake for 25-300 minutes, until the bread is a deep, golden brown.
- Remove the bread and cool on a wire rack.