No Knead Bread: so easy a 4-yr old can make it!

No Knead Bread Recipe

It’s been almost a year since NY Times unveiled the secret to the revolutionary No-Knead Bread. And while fads come and go, this certainly is a recipe that has transcended the fickleness of foodies. It’s time to revisit the bread…. as many of us have been brainwashed by this summer’s ice cream! We’ve made close to 60 loaves since last November and I’ve got to tell you, it is still one of our family’s favorite things to eat.

I firmly believe that every person should bake a loaf of bread at least once in their lifetime. Granted, it’s easy to just drive to your local bakery to pick up a loaf, but have you ever experienced the intense joy of smelling freshly baked bread coming from your very own oven?! Foodgasmic eyes-roll-to-back-of-head, soul softly moaning as you tug a piece of warm, pillowy mound gently with your teeth. In case you’ve not heard of No Knead Bread….let me tell you about it. Baking bread does sound intimidating…all that kneading and loaf-shaping business is best left to pros. But what if I told you that you don’t even have to knead or shape, that it is so easy my little son makes it.

No Knead Bread recipe so insanely brilliant – no sticky fingers, no doughy mess, no intricate measuring, no complicated kneading. Totally hands-off. The crust is thin, crisp and snaps as you cut into the loaf. The interior of the bread holey, chewy, airy and light. If bread could sing, this would be an angelic choir. In Dolby digital surround sound. Now, with that, how could you not try No Knead Bread? It only takes 3 minutes to mix and a wooden spoon. You can’t even boil spaghetti in 3 minutes!

So, without further blabbering, I’ve pimped out my son to demonstrate that baking No Knead Bread is so simple a 4-year old can do it.

No Knead Bread Recipe by a 4 year old chef

Of course I had to bribe him with 2 temporary tattoos. Cheap labor. 10 cents apiece. There is nothing that says, “I’m a kick-ass no knead bread baker” more than a tattoo of a killer whale. Move over Bourdain, here comes someone cuter…

So, let’s start. 3 cups of bread flour in a big bowl.

secret: I sometimes use 1/2c whole wheat flour + 2 1/2c bread flour

No Knead Bread Recipe by Chef Andrew

1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast:

Add yeast for the No Knead Bread

1 teaspoon of table salt

(secret: I use 3/4 tablespoon of kosher salt. Why the difference?)

Add Salt for the No Knead Bread Recipe

Add 1-1/2 cups of lukewarm water. Sorry no pic – he dumped water before I could pick up camera. But you know what “dumping water” looks like! Stir. Use those muscles, boy. Stir like a badass-baker with whale tattoos would stir!

No Knead Bread Recipe by Chef Andrew

See? This is what it is supposed to look like…a shaggy, goopy mess.

Bread dough mixture No Knead Bread Recipe

Wrap up the no knead bread dough

Wrap the Bread dough, No Knead Bread Recipe

Give it a kiss good night and let the no knead bread dough sleep for 12-20 hours on counter or in a nice, warm, cozy place.

Resting bread dough,  No Knead Bread Recipe

secret: I’ve let it sit for as little as 8 hours and it still tastes great! I did knead with wet hands just a little tiny bit to make up for the time OR you can add a touch more yeast.

After sleeping, the no knead bread dough should look like this: (better than what I look like in the morning.)

After resting,  No Knead Bread Recipe

Dump out on floured surface:

Dump out on floured surface, No Knead Bread Recipe

Wet your hands. This will prevent the very sticky dough from sticking to your hands. If you find dough sticking to your hands, wet again. Why not flour your hands? You could, but you want to keep the flour: water ratio pretty even. Since we are adding flour to the surface, I balance it out by wetting my hands. It is the high water content that makes this bread so deliciously light and the crust very crisp. With wet hands, grab the dough and fold over all ends towards the middle. Turn dough blob over so that you get a nice, smooth, tight surface. Try to tuck the dough ends under to get that taut surface.

Gently move dough onto a piece of parchment paper (I used a floured towel, but it can stick to the towel easily, so I recommend parchment.) Cover. Let nap for 2 hours. It should puff up nicely and double in size.

secret: When I run out of time, I sometimes let it sit only for 1 hour! If you let it nap in a tall, narrow bowl (pictured below), the dough rises nice and tall, about 6″ high. If you leave it out on the counter – that is fine too, the dough will rise up and also out….making a flatter No Knead Bread loaf, about 3″-4″ high.They will both taste the same, just looks a little different.

Nap before bake, No Knead Bread Recipe

A half hour before the nap ends, we will need to begin preheating your baking vessel. Slip a covered pot into the oven. Crank up the heat to 450F. Let it pre-heat for 30 minutes or longer.

The perfect pot for No Knead Bread

Let’s talk about the pot. So, you know you’re going to put the pot into a very very hot oven. Make sure that the pot can withstand 450F. Generally, if the pot is cheap, flimsy, has plastic handles and a remnant from your poor college days, it’s probably not going to be safe to use in that hot of an oven. Use a 5-qt or larger cast iron, ceramic, Pyrex, stainless steel or enamel pot.

Just check your pot collection – look for large, heavy, no plastic.

Round, oblong – doesn’t matter. Should be at least 4″ tall. I use my Le Creuset emameled cast-iron. Yes, my cover has a thick plastic knob – but I did call Le Creuset’s customer service and they said while their literature says safe to 400F, it is still fine at 450F. Now, I don’t know whether the gal who talked with me really had the authority to tell me such a thing….but after over 30 loaves, my pot is still unblemished. After pre-heating, remove the hot pot from oven.

Time to bake No Knead Bread


If you’re using parchment, just lift the entire parchment with dough and place into the pot with the parchment paper on bottom.

If you’re using a floured towel, place a piece of parchment paper at the bottom of your pot. This prevents the dough from sticking to the pot. Lift the towel, turn it over and just plop this wobbly dough into the hot pot. Doesn’t matter how it lands – actually, the messier it lands, the more “rustic” it looks. Shake pot a bit to even out the dough.

 No Knead Bread on Perfect Pot

“It looks like a belly button! ~Andrew

Cover and put back into the oven. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Photo below is peeking through oven door after 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake further for 15-20 minutes. To check – you can either tap the bread (should sound low, hollow, like a drum) or take its temperature (should be 210F in middle).

How to make no knead bread

Here is No Knead Bread just after baking. See? I told you that “messy” turns out “rustic!” Kids- don’t you DARE tell me that your toy room looks “rustic!!!” GO CLEAN YOUR ROOM!

Baked No Knead Bread

Remove and let cool. The No Knead Bread really does sing – the crust crackles as it cools. Listen to it!

secret: Because the bread has such high water content- the crust will not stay crisp forever. If you aren’t eating soon, you can re-crisp the crust by re-heating it in a 350F oven for 10 minutes.

Thats it! You will be rewarded with a thin, crunchy brown crust, large, open holes. The bread is slightly chewy, flavorful and perfect texture. Making your own bread is deeply soul satisfying, it makes me feel like I am so close to the earth. Eat with good butter – like Kerrygold or Lurpak – splurge on your butter for this loaf!

Cooldown before slicing No Knead Bread

Just a little story for you: The first time Andrew and I made this bread together, I let him mix all the ingredients together the night before. We watched it bake together. When it came out of the oven, Andrew wanted to cut into it immediately. But we had to wait until it cooled. Then it was time. As I placed the tip of my knife into the bread and moved down through the crust, the snap and crunch of the crust gave way to tender, spongy body. I knew even without tasting it, that it was the most perfect loaf of bread that I have ever made. Andrew and I slathered butter on our slices. We sat on the kitchen floor, my hands still with traces of flour, and had a wonderful moment of just enjoying bread that we made together. Just like his Po-Po, Andrew loves bread. Each time, he would come ask, More bread please with arms outstretched. I would place a warm buttered slice in his small hands – he cradled it so gently, carefully ran to the stairs, never taking his eyes off the prize. He sat on the third step and ate his bread, wiggling his toes between bites. Three times he did this. Yes, this is my son. Perhaps one day when he is older, he will read this recipe and story and remember how his Mommy taught him how to eat homemade bread – with lots of butter and with eyes closed, totally savoring every single bite.

Recommended Equipment for No Knead Bread

See the kids make German Oven Pancakes German oven pancakes

Also try: Bread and Dukah blend Dip bread in Olive Oil and Dukkah

Bagna Cauda Dip in Bagna Cauda

Cajun Shrimp Recipe Sop up juices in Killer Cajun Shrimp


No Knead Bread Recipe

Servings: One 1-pound loaf Prep Time: Cook Time:
No Knead Bread Recipe

No Knead Bread Recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman of NY Times who got it from Sullivan Street Bakery. When the recipe first came out, it was the blogging community who took the bread to new heights, especially Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of The Bread Bible. I followed Rose's experiments through the weeks and learned from her recipe adjustments and the why's of how this bread works.


3 cups bread flour (I like Harvest King bread flour)
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine table salt (or 3/4 tablespoon of kosher salt)
1 1/2 cups warm water

Covered pot (five-quart or larger cast iron, Pyrex, ceramic, enamel...something that can go into a 450F oven.)


1. Mix dough: The night before, combine all ingredients in a big bowl with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together. It will be a shaggy, doughy mess. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-20 hours on countertop.

2. Shape & preheat: The dough will now be wet, sticky and bubbly. With a wet spatula, dump the dough on a floured surface. Fold ends of dough over a few times with the spatula and nudge it into a ball shape. You can use your hands if you like, just keep your hands wet so that the dough does not stick. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on counter. Plop your dough onto parchment paper. Lift parchment paper up with dough and place into a large bowl. Cover bowl with a towel. Let it nap for 2 hours. When you've got about a half hour left, slip your covered pot into the oven and preheat to 450F.

3. Bake: Your dough should have doubled in size. Remove pot from oven. Grab the ends of the parchment paper and lift entire wobbly dough blob out of bowl into pot. Doesn't matter which way it lands. Shake to even dough out. Cover. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover, bake another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is beautifully golden and middle of loaf is 210F. Remove and let cool on wired rack. If not eating right away, you can re-crisp crust in 350F oven for 10 minutes. Best way to eat it? Smear a warm slice with some good butter (Kerrygold and Lurpac are both found in your grocery stores, usually on top shelf)

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Comments 1,440

  1. Wen

    Just made this for the first time and it’s delicious! My son is 13 months old and I can’t wait for him to get older so we can make this together! πŸ™‚

  2. S

    this is not a recipe for the impatient. From when I made the dough last night until it was baked all I heard was “is it ready yet”. It taste good, and was really easy. It was half gone in a matter of minutes, and they want another.

  3. Victor

    Haha, that little dude has some sweet temporary tattoos. Also, if this little guy can make it, I should be able to pull this off without breaking the kitchen. Thanks for the recipe, hello awesome homemade bread!

  4. nothy lane

    Thanks! The recipe and the pics of the chef making this have really inspired me!

  5. J

    Your story at the end of the photo instructions (Andrew savoring his efforts) brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing ; beautiful memories for you both!

  6. EuniceLee

    does it need to be warm/summer to do this? It’s winter her and about 10degrees most of the day especially at night. Will it still work if I leave overnight?

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  7. Caroline


    On your pictures, I see that you are actually baking the bread in your pot, with no parchment paper. I tried to do the same thing today, but the bread was stuck to my pot πŸ™ Any recommendations to avoid this again? I did put flour at the bottom of my pan… Thanks!

    1. Post

      Hi Caroline – The bread doesn’t stick to my pot (my pot is very well seasoned) but I recommend in the recipe as well as in the post to use parchment paper!

    2. JT

      Dust liberally with cornmeal to prevent sticking. Parchment paper can burn at high temperatures.

  8. yi xuan

    Hi I think the recipe is great! But can I know why the bread has to be baked using a cast iron pot? Can it be bake in a cake pan and cover with the aluminium foil?

    1. Post

      Yes, you can! The cast iron or enamaled cast iron retains heat better, so it cooks more evenly. But you can use any pot.

    1. Post

      Hi Vanessa – I wouldn’t do this in a nonstick pot. The temperature in oven gets too high for nonstick to be safe.

  9. Elaine

    I always put mine to rise in the oven with just the light on . Takes about 5-6 hours, give or take.

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  10. April

    This was super easy to make, however my end product had a seriously hard bottom crust. Any suggestions on why? (This is also my first time making bread)

  11. kay

    your son is infinitisimally more cuter than Bourdain!! i come back to this page every so often such as today after using Breadtopia’s no knead sourdough (just as easy, sub 1/4 c sourdough starter for 1/4 t yeast) recipe cuz their page had so many variables i decided to look you up again! Anyway, always wanted to tell you how much confidence your picture story with your son making this bread gave me to ‘just do it’! i’m sure your son is almost grown up by now! thanks again.

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  12. Barbara

    We had that problem, too. Turns out the oven rack was too low, too close to the bottom of the oven.

    1. GG

      I have a similar problem – Crust is too tough and inner core a bit more wet and dense.

      How far the rack needs to be from bottom? Or are there any other suggestions?

      1. Post

        Hi there – middle of oven is best. Check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer. If the temp is spot on, try lowering the temperature by 10 degrees and use 10% less water than in the recipe.

  13. lis

    i made this in a large toaster oven using a rectangular pyrex dish with foil for a cover.
    also halved the dough and made two loaves.
    still turned out great!

  14. Emma

    Hi! So I made this at 9am. I’m trying to figure out if I should start the second step at 7pm or at 7am…. I don’t really want to be baking bread in the middle of the night so it’s either before or after bed time… πŸ™‚ If I waited till the next day the bread would have been sitting for 22 hours… is that too long? (It’s winter and my kitchen is quite cold…)

    1. Post

      Your bread will be just fine! You can warm up your bread again when ready to eat – heat oven to 300F, wrap bread in tin foil and warm bread for 10 minutes. Sometimes I’ll do this with half loaf in my toaster oven if we are only planning to eat a few slices.

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    2. Emma

      I have made her recipe with 2 cups of white and one cup of whole wheat and it was delicious!!!

  15. Hilly

    Hello there,
    Just found you by accident for the first time and will definitely try this recipe! What sort of width pot do you use to bake the bread in please?
    Are you in Cork, Ireland?
    Hilly in Norfolk, England.

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  16. B

    I bake in a cake pan, lightly oiled with olive oil, which adds to the taste and crispiness. I bake with it fully uncovered and the secret of the crust is moisture. I place a metal pan in the oven beneath the bread and put in a litre of water. Some use ice, but I have found that if I put the water in when I heat theoven, then by the time the bread goes in it is very steamy. That does the trick. My cat iron pot sits idle since I found out that this works as well.

  17. Susan

    I have tried this recipe twice with ordinary flour and found that it is sticky but does not rise to twice its size so remains like a flatter loaf – I have followed every other step of the process and just saw on your recipe that bread flour is preferred – do you think that ordinary flour made my bread not rise substantially?

  18. Leslie

    My family loved the bread. I let my my dough rise for 15 hrs. I did wish I had paid closer attention to the bread after I took the lid off b/c 15 min. was too long and my crust was a bit too hard and dark but the inside was perfect and tasty. I’ll make again soon.

  19. Greg

    Love it! Can you follow up to the recipe with additional ingredients ideas, techniques? Roasted garlic, olives, cheeses, herbs, etc. Can you just fold them in when initially mixing?

    1. Post

      Hi Greg – yes, you can all fun ingredients. Here’s the recipe – for No Knead Baguette, topped with tomatoes, olives or garlic.

  20. Gordon Smith

    Have just made no kneed loaf, crust perfect, inside the loaf very stodgy and felt wet, any help appreciated

  21. Magda Cockerline

    Consider putting dough bowl in a cabinet with under cabinet lighting. I notice our dishes are slightly warm in those areas.

  22. Sue

    You said to cover the pot while the bread is baking inside. What exactly am I using as a cover? Thanks!

    1. Post
  23. Cathy Esparza

    What does heating the pot first do? My first loaf is in the oven now.. Smells wonderful.

  24. ameerah

    Cute I might try this with my 9year old shes been wanting to learn how to bake. and thank for the idea of using a regular pan i never thought of that. Were I was wasting money on baking pans.

  25. Karen

    I love the taste of this bread!! Thank you for sharing. I have made this loaf 4 times now and run into the same problem every time.
    When I initially stir the ingredients together, the dough looks perfect. After letting it sit overnight and I dump it on a well floured surface the dough it very wet with water sitting in the bottom of the bowl. Any suggestions??

    1. amanda

      My dough turned out the same way…very wet. I live in a really hot and humid climate so I was wondering if it’s because of the humidity and temperature that’s causing the dough to be this way.

      Can someone help?

      1. Post

        Hi Amanda – you can add more flour to adjust for your climate and flour. After making the dough, have a 1/4 cup of flour nearby. Dust the surface of the dough on all sides, just enough to help you handle the dough. Wet hands will help you shape and prevent sticking. The dough should be sticky and a bit saggy – it’s ok!

  26. Mark E. Mitchell

    Thank you so much, both for the recipe and your words. We loved the bread, and my wife actually started crying when I read what her what you wrote about savoring the bread with your precious Andrew. Thank you so much.

  27. Chris

    Don’t forget that you can make up a bunch of this dough and keep it in the fridge in a sealed bucket or air tight container. I make a triple batch, right in the container and then we add fresh garlic, Parmesan, and herbs. It’s sits overnight on the counter nothing different, but when I’m ready around 9 am, I take out a softball shape to have for lunch. The rest go into the fridge, it’s as simple as that, it can stay for two weeks. After the week and 5 days it lasts in my home I mix up a new batch with whatever little bits are left. The dough is again made into the same container and has a bit deeper flavor, a bit like sourdough. You can clean out the container if you want to in between every new batch, I’ve only ever cleaned the container I use every 3 months I find it keeps very clean and I just quickly scrape everything out into another bowl to wash with soap every three months or just rinse if I can tell it really doesn’t need it. The remaining dough goes back in before I make more. I know some people may just toss the old, but it’s usually a baseball size or less and I’d rather fold it in to the new.

    1. Simone

      Hi! Does that mean that you make rolls from the recipe? I wanted to try that but thought it might not be a good idea because of the crust being so crispy.

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