Food - Drink
How No-Knead Bread Dough Actually Works
When the COVID-19 pandemic caused a nationwide lockdown in the United States, people began baking their own bread to pass the time and eliminate their need for the grocery store. No-knead bread is especially popular, and most recipes involve combining the ingredients, covering the dough, letting it rest for 18 hours, and baking it.
Kneading is vital to most "quick" bread recipes; it helps to develop and form a gluten network in the dough, which then traps bubbles created by yeast and makes the final loaf soft and airy. No-knead bread trades the kneading step for more moisture in the dough — making it wetter and stickier — plus a longer resting time.
Wetter dough produces a more airy bread crumb, and gluten molecules are more mobile in a wet environment, so extra moisture helps no-knead bread form gluten strands. A long rest allows these strands to align properly; kneading is just a way to speed up this process, which is why you can made bread without kneading — it just takes longer.