Look what I made! It was just an experiment but it turned out to be amazing! Anyone can make no knead bread without a Dutch oven. The secret is to create steam inside the oven just like it’s created inside a Dutch oven. And it’s easy. Steam is what makes a crispy crust and it’s really easy. What you do is put a small pan in the oven before you preheat it and then when it’s hot, you put in the bread to bake and pour some hot water into the small pan and it bursts into steam right away and fills up the oven. Then you quickly close the oven door to keep the steam inside and after 30 minutes, you will have an amazing loaf of ciabatta bread with a soft interior full of lovely holes and a beautiful golden crispy crust.
You can use a variety of pans to create the steam (do a google search for ideas if you like) but I find that process is not easy on the pan. I prefer this disposable foil pan because it’s small and fits right next to the baking pan in my oven. But if it does not fit on the same rack as your baking pan, just place it on a rack below. You may have to remove a rack to make room but whether beside the bread or on a rack below, keep it off to the side and don’t put it directly under the bread. Either way, place the muffin pan close to the front for easy access. Here is how I place mine and how you can place it below if your oven is smaller.
I pour about 3/4 cup of hot tap water into 3 or 4 of the muffin cups. It’s good to use an oven glove when you pour the hot water because it creates steam right away and be sure to close the oven door immediately so the steam can’t escape. You can re-use the muffin pan, although it will turn dark. So there it is. I hope my photos help and now everyone who does not have a Dutch oven will be able to make this fabulous no knead, easy, homemade crusty ciabatta bread. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones