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

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

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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 1,441

  1. Joanna

    Bill, you may have to adjust the flour/water ratio based on the humidity and water content of your flour. I live outside Portland OR and I routinely cut my water by 10% or more because of our humidity. You should be shooting for a consistency of a very soft dough. I also left mine in the refrigerator overnight and on the counter all the next day.

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  3. sadie

    I was looking for a very simple bread recipe when I came across this site. Needless to say, I had all the basic ingredients, but like many, I have the active dry yeast and not the instant…. so, I added just a tad bit more of the yeast. Right now it’s covered and resting for its 20 hour slumber….I can’t wait until tomorrow after work for me to bake this bread. Both my fiance and doggy can’t wait either. (^_^) I’ll keep you all! Aloha….

  4. Bernie McCarey

    Hi Jaden
    GREAT set of photographs and text. I have been baking bread with the no knead method for several years. My problem was the dough sticking to the cloth after the second rise. Also, the dough would spread out too much in the baking pot. You have suggested a solution to my second problem by rising the dough on the cloth in a restricting container. I like the idea. My solution to both problems has been to decrease the water to flour ratio. You use 3 cups flour with 1.5 cups of water. I have been using 3.5 cups flour with 1.25 cups water. I love thinking of the technical issues of bread baking. Any thoughts on decreasing the hydration of the flour.

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  6. Kelly

    YUP – New fav way of making bread! Though I didn’t have an adorable kid to “model” for me! Instead of a covered pot.. I just used a cookie sheet and placed a loaf pan 1/2 full of water on lower rack. YUM YUM

  7. Christina

    Bread and I haven’t gotten along in ages. Every time I try to get yeast to do it’s business; I lose. I cannot wait to make this! I’m hitting the store tomorrow. I do have on question though: Can you use mutli-grain/whole wheat type flours or do you have to adjust for their “heft”?

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  10. Her

    I ended up with a very runny dough, TWICE! Cant even lift it up. Don’t know what went wrong.. So frustrating. But that doesn’t stop me to keep on trying. I’m gonna try again later today, fingers crossed. ; )

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  13. Photoblogged

    Hi! I just started my very FIRST batch of homemade bread with this recipe! I am so excited. The only question I have is, do I need to cook this bread in a covered pot? I don’t have anything that would go into the oven at 450 degrees and I can’t really go out and get one right now. Would it be okay if I cooked it on a parchment covered cookie sheet and covered the entire thing in a loose aluminum foil? If not, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the bread dough tomorrow when it is ready. Any help you can give will be GREATLY APPRECIATED!! Thanks so much, LOVE YOUR SITE!

  14. Julie

    Can’t wait to make this bread! In your Dukkah post, you mention that you divided the dough in half and put the rest in the freezer. What is the process to bake a frozen loaf (from when to freeze through finished product)? Thank you!!!

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  16. Liz

    This is the best recipe! this is my 3rd time making it and it has turned out perfect every time. Its so easy and with my busy schedule, its perfect! Thanks!!

  17. Barbra Donachy

    Super cute model! I’m convinced this is so easy I can make it…I mean a 4-year old could make it. Thanks for making me smile and sharing a terrific recipe.
    Greetings from north of the Arctic Circle.

  18. Richard Boudreau, Vicenza, Italy

    I Tried it, liked it, and it has become a regular part of my weekly bread baking experience in Vicenza, Italy

  19. Pingback: Making Naan on a Griddle | Perpetual Tea Party

  20. ChrisK

    Talk about coincidences! I jus watched French Food at Home and Laura Calder did this very recipes. Now I’m itching to get my hands flour covered trying this, looked good

  21. metta

    I tried this recipe with no bread experience whatsoever, other than loving to eat it. It turned out so well that I’ve started making it for friends and relatives. People have told me their family fights over the last piece! I’ve since delved into making the French bread too. It is so satisfying to bake bread, and I’m so happy you introduced me to it. I’m actually baking some right now, so I gotta go.

  22. Carol

    I tried it using 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 bread flour, plus about 1/4 cup oatmeal. It makes the loaf a little more dense, but still VERY successful and delicious!

  23. Meleasa

    Yay! I can’t wait to make this.. I have been itching to make home made bread.. Can things be added to the bread, like, olives or garlic cloves or whole wheat flour? It’s not that important, just wondering.. Thanks for posting!

  24. Stephanie

    I’ve made this bread several times & I must say- I adore it!
    As a student I need all the extra time I can get- this is SO EASY! I’ve even got my family hooked on it πŸ˜€ My last batch was done with Jalapenos, finely chopped (white)onion & some cheese. Yum! A spicy Mexican treat!

    I’m the only one eating the bread I sometimes can’t finish it all before it goes bad. I noticed a few homeless people hanging out down the street from my church. I’d love to bake a bit of extra bread and share it with them. I’m looking for a [cheap] way to raise the calorie content for them [if I can]- can I add [unsalted] butter? Or will this change the consistency of the bread too much? What else can I add?

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  26. Jerri

    I would like to make 6 x 3 loafs (or around that size). Can I put in the small load pans or just put on a baking sheet? Do I need to cover? What suggested adjustments to time? Thanks.

  27. Fred steadman

    The only thing that you did was stray from the procedure a little bit. You do not have to let it rise in a bowl.

    After 12+ hours just fold it and toss it in the pot.. done.
    I have never let it rise like traditional bread and it has always turned out perfectly.

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  29. Allison

    First time making this load and it came out beautifully. Only problem was I had a lot of trouble getting it out of my enamel pot in one piece. Any suggestions?


  30. momamma

    can’t wait to try it! I wish you had pinterest embedded in your site so I could pin it!

  31. Chance

    This recipe is basically a sourdough bread. I love having healthful and helpful organisms dominating the micro-ecology of my kitchen, particularly in my fridge – so I keep a mother soughdough; make a fresh batch of yoghurt every day or two (and drink the whey); and brew three or four batches of beer and/or ginger beer each year. I use vinegar in water to clean around the kitchen and inside the fridge and to rinse hot-washed utensils for ‘sufficient’ sterilization.

    I reckon that disease-causing pathogens can’t compete in a thriving micro-environment of healthy biota. Also, it stimulates and develops the human immune system, minimizing allergy reactions, asthma, irritable bowel, acid stomach and many other manifestations of an unhealthy gut. Remember, your kitchen is an extension of your digestive system and, just like your gut, it needs a healthy micro-biosphere for you to flourish.

    With this no-knead bread recipe, instead of using all of the dough at once I just use however much I need, add some more flour and water to the bowl, cover it with a cloth bound with an elastic band and leave it on the bench for a while. Later I put it back in the fridge. This slows down the yeast growth but it still bubbles happily along – forever. It’s a soughdough yeast plant.

    I just pull off bits of dough whenever I want a pizza base, or tortilla or naan or flatbread or whatever you call your local pan-cooked bread. I work the bit of dough between the thumb and first two fingers of each hand, sort of stretching it and slapping it back together. I use a bit of wholemeal flour, or fine cornmeal or oatmeal on the board as I work and stretch the dough ball into shape (sorry, that’s kneading isn’t it?) These flours keep the dough from sticking, adjust the texture, and add different tastes and textures. You can also work in herbs or seeds (dill, fennel, sesame etc) at this time.

    Then I slap the round sheet of dough onto a pre-heated griddle. It’s not so hot that I can’t still do a bit of stretching and shaping of the dough with my fingers before it sets. I use my 9 inch cast iron frypan to cook the bread, it’s well-used and never scoured, so it’s kinda ‘non-stick’ minus the pseudo-estrogens.

    I set the heat according to the thickness of the bread I am making – not so hot with longer cooking time for thicker, rising breads, hot and quick for the really thin ones – just so long as you don’t scorch or burn the bread before it’s cooked through. Thin breads only take like 30 seconds or a minute each side.

    This is fresh food that is quick and easy once it is preped and practiced at a little. It makes people happy and it keeps you healthy.

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  33. Diane Hill

    About 20 minutes. I have made this recipe two times now and love it. I have used this dough for pizza crust and cooked mini rolls in cupcake tins. Thanks for sharing. You have changed my life!

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  35. heidi

    Great pics and insx for this recipe, and your son’s first time eating bread…oh so sweet. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!!!

  36. Tony

    Hi from across the pond, I would love to try this recipe but we work in metric (grams) or imperial lbs and ozs, would I be right in assuming that a cup of flour is 115 grams and a cup of water is 275 ml, there seems to be a lot of variation from one
    conversion chart to the next.
    Thank you in anticipation of your advice.

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  38. Debbie

    I made this today and it turned out fabulous! I really liked the texture of the bread and the crust was perfect. I tried the digital thermometer with the probe and the bread did not go above 202, but I baked it for the 30 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered and it was spot on. I have tried several different recipes and had my friends and family try each of them. They liked this recipe the best. I did not do the floured towel but did the parchment paper for the 2nd rise, then transferred the parchment paper with the dough directly into the preheated cast iron pot.

  39. Steve


    I just measured:

    1 cup all-purpose flour = 145g
    1 cup water = 8 fl oz = 250ml

    good luck!

  40. Cactus Wren

    It is rising as I speak: I’ll let you know how it turns out. (I couldn’t find anything labeled “instant yeast” so I used Fleischmann’s yeast from a jar.)

  41. Cactus Wren

    Thank you for this recipe — it came out great! I used a loaf pan so baked it uncovered. The crust is delicious and crisp and chewy and the inside is wonderful. The only drawback is that the recipe makes only one loaf! Does it double?

  42. Shannon

    You think like I do. I haven’t been able to set up my kitchen entirely like yours, but I do more than most people and even though it drives my husband a little nutty, he always appreciates and loves everything I make. Question to you, at what point, exactly, do you add in herbs/seeds/additions to your breads? Also, any suggestions for additional reading on cooking in this more ‘homegrown’ science-like fashion? I’ve cultured yogurt as well and am currently trying to figure out how to properly make kombucha, but haven’t been successful yet. I’m curious as to your thoughts. Thank you in advance πŸ™‚

  43. Bonnie

    I just made it this morning. It was way too wet…couldn’t do much except sprinkle some more flour on it and try to maneuver it. I plopped it on the floured towel but had a horrible time getting it into the SS pot. I baked the required time. Is the inside of the bread supposed to be real moist? Can I just put it in a bread pan to rise the 2nd time and then bake rather than doing the towel thing? I’m soaking it in cold water to get the goop off. The bread tastes wonderful in spite of the mess but is not very high due to spreading out in the 5 qt SS pot I used. I’m pleasantly surprised that the crust isn’t super hard, either. Would like to try again if I can use a bread pan, instead. Please let me know!!

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  45. ellie

    Is it possible to add extras? I just had the most amazing raisin & walnut bread that my father bought for me at a farmer’s market. Could I add raisins and walnuts to this bread and still follow the rest of the instructions as printed?

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  47. Kathryn

    I’ve made this a few times now – outstanding! I raise my bread in a warm oven since my kitchen is rarely warm here in the Pacific NW. Hazards of doing this – my partner was cooking dinner last night and forgot the bread was in the oven – he turned on the broiler. The melted plastic was easily to remove while still warm. I started over. Now I put a note on top of the stove – BREAD IN OVEN!! πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to make this with my grandson, he’ll love it!

  48. Bernice Coulton

    Hello there! I came along this website really looking for an easy bread recipe that I could not mess up. I have to be honest and say that when I read about the 12-20hour wait to rise I kind of felt like moving on to another recipe, but THANK GOODNESS I did not!! I made the dough last night, it did not even take 3 minutes to get it done. We baked the dough today and it was a GREAT success!!! This made my whole family very happy, as the bread came out EXACTLY the same as the national bread from our native country Malta (in the middle of the Meditterranean sea). Needless to say I will be doing this again! And from the bottom of my heart, Thank you for helping me bring a little of HOME to our new “Home’ in the USA. Thanks.

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