A No Knead Bread recipe like this one means that you can up and move anywhere in the world, and still have the chewiest, most delicious loaf of bread you’ve ever tasted, anytime you want it. Kiss your favorite bakery bread goodbye! This freshly baked loaf, made by you, is better by a mile.
And nope, you don’t need to be good at baking, yeast breads, or even cooking to make it. Serve it with a big bowl of the Best Cabbage Soup, Cream of Asparagus Soup, or Chicken Quinoa Soup and you’ve made a good lunch even better. Or just carve off giant slices to eat with butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. You can count carbs later.
Jim Lahey from Sullivan Street Bakery created this bread recipe, which has been wildly famous for years in certain, bread-loving circles. It's only fair that this bread-loving circle be introduced to it.
It's a wonderful recipe for a rustic bread with a ton of character, and a dense, chewy interior. Plus, this bread comes out of the oven so show-stoppingly gorgeous, no one will believe you when you tell them you made it yourself. In fact, they might have to try another piece just to be convinced.
Do you need fancy flour to make this heavenly bread? No. What about sourdough starter? Nope. Is it really and truly no-knead? Yes. Should you make this today to enjoy tomorrow? Absolutely.
Even if you've never baked a thing in your life.
What you need to make No Knead Bread:
- Flour. All purpose flour is just fine. Bread flour is great, too.
- Salt. Kosher salt is best.
- Instant yeast. Also known as Rapid Rise, Bread Machine, SAF, QuickRise, Instant Active Dry, or Gourmet Perfect Rise. If you absolutely can’t find it, there’s an easy substitution down below using regular yeast.
- Water. Straight out of the tap.
- 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot. This can be Pyrex, ceramic, cast iron, or a fancy Dutch oven. It needs a lid for the first stage of the baking. Make sure the knob on your lid is safe for high-heat cooking temperatures.
- 2 clean cotton kitchen towels. Not terrycloth, just plain, woven cotton is best.
- Plastic wrap. For covering the dough during the fermentation and rising process.
- Mixing bowl and spoon.
- Parchment paper. Optional, but a square of parchment pressed into the bottom of the pot makes for easy removal of the loaf when finished baking.
How long does it take to make No Knead Bread?
- While this bread is quite possibly the easiest recipe out there, it is far from a quick no knead bread. It takes time for the yeast to work, and that shouldn't be rushed.
- The longer rise and the small amount of yeast results in a richer bread, but it does require patience and a bit of advance planning. In general, plan to start the bread roughly 24 hours before you need it.
- Although the mixing part takes almost no time at all, the first rise takes 12 to 18 hours.
- Then you need to shape the dough and let it rise for another 1 to 2 hours.
- After preheating the oven and the pot, you’ve got 30 minutes of covered baking, another 15 to 30 of uncovered baking, and almost an hour of cooling.
- So, all in all, if you’re serving this for dinner on Sunday, start the dough on Saturday early evening.
How to make No Knead Bread:
Don’t turn on the oven yet! This bread needs time to work its miraculous magic. Don't rush it, and you'll be rewarded with the best homemade bread you'll ever have.
- First, combine the flour, salt and instant yeast in a mixing bowl. Add the water and stir until blended. The dough will look shaggy and be very sticky. This is what you want. Yeast thrives in this moist dough.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm (70 degrees) place, away from direct sunlight, for 12-18 hours. Yes! This is a big window of time, but it is entirely dependent on the weather, how cool/warm it is in your house. Don't rush this step. 18 hours gives the richest loaf.
- The dough is ready when it is dotted on the surface with little air bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and scrape the dough out of the bowl onto it. Sprinkle on a small handful of flour and fold the dough over on itself a couple times. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
- Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to you, quickly shape the dough into a ball. Then generously (really generously!) coat a cotton kitchen towel (not terrycloth, please!) with flour and gently place dough, seam side down, on the towel. Dust generously with more flour. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 2 hours.
- The dough is ready when it has doubled in size and won’t spring back when poked with a finger.
- At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready to bake, you can preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot in the oven while it heats.
- When dough is ready, take the pot out of the oven. Everything is very, very hot, so please do this carefully. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the hot pot. This may look messy, but it will be alright! Give the pot a sturdy shake to evenly distribute.
- Cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes. This covered baking stage, combined with the wet bread dough, creates a dense, chewy crust that mimics steam ovens used in professional bakery kitchens.
- Then remove the lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until the loaf is gorgeous and brown.
- Finally, cool on a wire rack about 45 minutes to 1 hour before devouring.
Help! I can’t find instant yeast anywhere!
Instant yeast has a lot of nicknames: Rapid Rise, Bread Machine, SAF, QuickRise, Instant Active Dry, or Gourmet Perfect Rise, to name just a few. If you can’t find it, don't worry, you can use regular yeast-- just use less of it.
Just use 3/4 the amount of regular yeast: 1/3 teaspoon of regular yeast for this specific recipe.
Can I use a stainless steel pot to bake this bread?
If you absolutely must try this bread recipe but all you have is a stainless steel pot, just make sure it’s a heavy-bottomed one before trying. Also, a square of parchment paper pressed down into the pot might make the loaf release from the stainless easier than if you just put the dough in by itself. Write about how it went in the comments below!
How do I keep the bottom of the loaf from getting too burned?
Even if you're baking in a Dutch oven, sometimes the bottom gets dark before you're ready to take it out of the oven. After all, every oven is different, and some are more persnickety than others.
Here are a couple tips to try:
- Put a sheet pan between the heating element and the Dutch oven. The pan will take the direct heat instead.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to the size of the Dutch oven.
- Place cornmeal in the bottom of the pot before adding the parchment paper and the bread.
- Or, try a combination of these to get the system that works for you.
No Knead Bread Recipe
- 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for working
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and mix with a wooden spoon until you have a shaggy, sticky dough. This should take roughly 30 seconds. You want it to be really sticky, maybe even unusually wet looking.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 18 hours in a room temperature (70-72 degrees) space to ferment, out of direct sunlight. The dough will be ready when it's dotted with bubbles and appears a bit darkened.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle a little flour on the dough, fold it over on itself once or twice and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for about 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle a little more flour on the work surface and using your fingers or a pastry scraper, quickly shape dough into a ball.
- Generously coat a kitchen towel (not terrycloth) with flour. Place dough seam side down on the towel and dust dough with more flour. Cover dough with another towel and let dough rise for 2 hours. Dough is ready when it has more than doubled in size and will not spring back when poked with your finger.
- At least 30 minutes before dough is ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees and place a 4-quart heavy covered pot in the oven. This can be cast iron, Pyrex, enamel, or ceramic, just as long as it's oven-friendly at higher temperatures. (If you have an enamel Dutch oven with a phenolic knob, they're only safe for baking at lower temperatures; switch out your knob for a stainless steel one.)
- When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough into the pot, seam side up. The dough may look messy-that's okay! Give it a sturdy shake to evenly distribute dough. It will even out more during baking.
- Cover pot and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for 15-30 minutes, until the loaf is beautiful and browned. Remove from pot and allow to cool one hour on a wire rack.