This recipe takes anything from 18 hours but requires very little contact time.


  • 500g flour (bread/strong flour is good but plain should be fine - I use this one)
  • 350g water
  • 1g dried yeast (yes a tiny amount, a quarter teaspoon)
  • 8g salt


  • Mix all ingredients with your hand, the handle of a wooden spoon or with the hook attachment of a food processor for a minute until well mixed. It will still be very shaggy.
  • Cover and leave on the counter for about an hour. The flour will become hydrated during this period. Now “stretch and fold” the dough in the bowl until it starts to firm up - around 10-20 times. Here’s a demonstration. Cover and leave on the counter again
  • Now do this stretching ad folding a few more times over the course of the next 2 hours, all within the bowl. Then cover the bowl with clingfilm or a wet towel and leave it “prove” for a minimum of 8 hours - overnight is ideal. You want the dough to double in size, but not over-prove or it will lose structure.
  • Do a final “stretch and fold” and hopefully you have a nice-feeling, tight and smooth boule. Dust this generously all over with flour.
  • For the final prove, put the dough into a bowl that can take double its volume and dust with even more flour. If you have a banneton, all the better (instructions).
  • Cover with clingfilm or put in a plastic bag and put into the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, and up to 24 hours (and longer probably wouldn’t hurt).
  • When you’re ready to cook, take it out of the fridge. Put a square of baking paper into an oven-proof dish (like a cast iron casserole) with a lid if you have one, and tip the dough upside down into the pot. Slash the top with a very sharp knife if you want then put into the oven (no need to pre-heat) for 55 minutes at 220C. (This step was a revelation to me - the prevailing wisdom is that you have to pre-heat the pot and oven for an hour.)
  • You’re supposed to wait for an hour to dig in…..

This recipe is closely related to this one which uses a sourdough starter and this which used to be my go-to and requires absolutely no attention.