No Knead Bread Recipe

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

No Knead Bread, so easy a 4-year old can make it! ~ http://steamykitchen.com

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.

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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.

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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)

Comments 1,324

  1. Shoneez

    Hello, I am absolutely fascinated by this recipe and can’t wait to try it out. I don’t bake and have never even considered trying to, till now. Thanks for sharing, the South African bakeries will now have a new brand of bread to compete with, the homemade no-knead-bread.

  2. Barbara Caspero

    I found your website when I was looking for an easy bread recipe. I wasn’t sure how well it would turn out, so I made it in advance before serving to company. WOW I cant believe first of all how few ingredients it required and then how easy it was. I made it before I went to bed and honestly it took all of 2 minutes and then when I got home from work I finished it.
    The crust is beautiful and the bread is so soft inside. This will become my go to recipe always. I even passed it along to my family members and I am sure they will love it as much as I did. Thank you!

  3. spike

    I finally made this bread after all the rage about. It looked beautful but absolutely had no flavor (probably because of the minimal about of yeast). People are sheep.

  4. Evette

    Thank you for sharing this recipe with us. I made this bread yesterday, and I am making one today. I think there is nothing else to say but thank you.

  5. janie

    I have been making this bread for a few week now, and to the other comment about yeast – i use 3/4 of a teaspoon and more salt… i also use part whole wheat flour… I’ve also throw in wheat bran, oat bran, quinoa, and for tonight – 1 1/2 cups of kalamata olives (no salt then), or raisin and pecans another night. delicious!!

  6. Jen D.

    This is a little late, but I have one answer for you, Sandi.

    I bake our bread every day during the week. The actual work involved is minimal (10 minutes of kneading by hand) but it requires that I be home in time to knead, to fold, then shape, then get it in the oven. The recipe we prefer takes about 3.5 hours from start to finish. I can do this because I currently stay at home with my toddler. If I was working outside the home there is no way I could have the 3+ hours of wait time for our regular bread and feed my family at a decent hour. Not to mention hanging around or near the house all morning is not feasible on the weekends; we like to go out and do things. A recipe that allows me to have an entire day out of the house and STILL have fresh baked bread is awesome. So maybe instead of getting down on the people who eat “dreck” you could share some tips for getting other bread recipes in the oven for the folks who are not home at ALL during the day.

  7. Natalie

    Oh my goodness – this is so delicious!!! I made mine in a Romertopf Clay Pot… perfect. Thank you!

  8. Jon

    Spike: The amount of yeast used has nothing to do with the flavour of the loaf. The very small amount used replicates over the much longer fermenting period than is usual these days in bread making. By the time it goes in the oven, there will be as much yeast in the dough as there is in a dough made with more yeast but left to ferment for less time.

    Are you used to eating sourdough bread, perhaps? If so, any non-sourdough loaf will seem bland to you. Get a sourdough starter and experiment with using that instead of instant yeast.

    But maybe you just have a jaded palate from eating highly spiced foods all the time or smoking tobacco. Please consider the possibility that it’s you who’s having the problem, not everyone else being ‘sheep’.

  9. adriana

    I found somewhere else this recipe, I made the dough yesterday, only that it said to use all purpose flour and to keep the dough in the fridge over night!.I hope it will turn out ok, now I am getting worried. I will repost later today and tell you how bread came out.

  10. sticky

    Every time I make this bread (and my friends and family rave, btw) the dough sticks horribly to the towel during the second rise regardless of what I do! It’s ruining my towels! Tips?

  11. Rolf

    My boy and I skipped the floured towel step, and just dumped the bread into a buttered cast iron pot. We also accidentally let it rise for 48 hours instead of 20, and we didn’t remember to cover the pot while it was in the oven. The bread was very forgiving of these “errors” and delicious, full of air holes. Because it came out so well despite these deviations from the above recipe, I am no trying to do it EXACTLY as described above to see what the differences might be.

    Science I like. Cleaning up flour and washing counters and bowls, I don’t like. This should be interesting.

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  15. GaylaT

    I was directed here by Karen the blogger of The Art Of Doing Stuff. If it’s good enough for Karen, it’s good enough for me. I’m going to mix up a batch before going to bed so we can have it for lunch tomorrow. I love that you did this with your son. Hey, it worked for Paula Dean…..maybe we’ll see you on TV soon. You might want to be working on a cute southern accent……or maybe not. LOL I’ll be doing what mixing is necessary with my Kitchen Aid as I have fibromyalgia and it’s just too painful to try to stir with a spoon if a batter is thick. I hope that doesn’t ruin it although it seems from the comments that you have a lot of leeway on the prep. I’m excited as my last no knead bread recipe was not good at all. It seemed like it needed more salt. Thanks for posting this one.

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  18. Tanya

    What about using freshly milled flour? I’ve got soft white & hard red or white. What combo of which wheat do you think would turn out best?
    Tks!

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  20. Rolf

    OK,

    For the truly truly lazy, or wise, depending on your take on it, I am happy to report that you can skip the bowl completely. If you let the dough rise in the cook pot that you are going to bake it in, it never looses any of its fluffiness, ie it does not deflate the way it does when you try to transfer from the bowl to the pan. Just butter the pan well before you put the flour, yeast, etc into the cook pan, stir it up, cover it, and vola get ZERO cleaning and fluffier bread.

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  22. kelley arndt

    I bake bread at least 3-4 times a week and I have always been intrigued by the no knead recipes. Well, I decided to try this one and I really do not think it tastes very good at all. Also, I just do not “get” what is so darn difficult about kneading bread and I find that the kneading is just so therapeutic and satisfying that to take out this step completely takes away the pleasure of making bread. Gordon Ramsey says something similar in one of his cookbooks and I completely agree that kneading your bread dough is what makes it so special.

    But anyway… this bread is lacking in depth and character notes – SALT!!! It tastes flat and just would not past muster in a Paris bakery. But then again we are not in Paris, are we?

    I find that making a simple poolish the night before and incorporating it in your dough and allowing the dough to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before you continue the kneading process allows for awesome gluten formation, and enables you to knead your dough properly with less flour so your finished loaf has a wonderful texture and chewy crust without being “gummy” and too dense. Crispiness in the crust can be obtained by simply tossing a cup of water into your oven a few times during the baking process or putting ice cubes on your oven floor.

    I do not mean to sound negative about this recipe but I really cannot believe that anyone thinks this tastes very good, unless they just have not tasted really great bread before. IMO.

  23. kelley arndt

    or better yet, how about just strolling down to your corner bakery to buy a loaf? You might as well it will certainly taste better.

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  25. Jean | Delightful Repast

    Jaden, last Friday I finally posted my version of no-knead bread that I came up with several years ago. Today I got the idea of googling the bread and seeing what other bloggers have done with it. Love your photos (AND your little sous chef)! The first change I made to the original recipe was getting rid of the messy floury towel thing (I see you did too) and the second was to increase the size from the tiny 3-cups-of-flour loaf of the original recipe. Of course, if you’re not a breadaholic like me, the regular size is probably fine!

    In response to commenters who say ‘why not knead’–I agree that kneading is easy, and I love kneading, it’s very therapeutic. I make kneaded breads all the time. The reason I make this bread is not so that I don’t have to knead but because it produces an entirely different kind of loaf. Sometimes I want this rustic bread.

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  29. neinad

    Im pleased u have so much time kelly , but like most people we have to work to pay the taxes & this is a fantastic recipie for time deprived people. A little more yeast and a little more salt works for me . They r lined up now waiting for it to come out of the oven. Love no knead bread. SOUNDS LIKE A SLOGAN DONT IT.YEastHA.

  30. sara

    For the last few years I’ve been trying to make some decent bread. Every single time, it comes out too dense, and I get mad and vow to never try again. I’m so glad I tried again! This recipe is amazing! The bread tastes (and smells!) incredible, and the crust is perfect. I can’t believe it’s possible to make something this awesome with zero effort. THANK YOU!

  31. Jason

    I never thought a bread recipe would make me all verklempt, but reading about you and your boy did it for me.

  32. Camilla

    I’ve made this a couple of times now and love it, however, my bread is always kinda dense inside, any suggestions why? I have tried less liquid but it didn’t make a difference, do I need to leave it rest longer? Help cause I love this recipe, it’s so easy.

  33. jennifer

    My 12 year old daughter asked me yesterday if she could make bread. She found your website, found the ingredients and with no help from anyone else, made a delicious loaf of bread. She was very proud. I really enjoyed your story about your son enjoying the bread. Ah, the simple pleasures in life.

  34. lana

    Hi Janie,
    I want to make the one with olives….. when do you add 1 1/2 cups of olives: in the initial mixing (before the 12-20hour rise) or after (before the 2 hour rise)???
    Thank you. Lana

  35. Pearl

    Hi Jaden, I read the book: Professional blogging for Dummies by Get Good. She mentioned you in her book as a successful bloger. So I come to your site and like to say Hi. I am fairly new to bloging. I still have a lot of room for improvement.
    Once I am here and you guys are talking about no-knead bread. I have posted a blog of no-knead parmesan olive bread. Please check it out at http://www.saigoncook.com and let me know what you think.
    Your pictures are very beautiful.

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  37. Laura

    It came out of the oven an hour ago, and half the loaf is already gone! It’s WONDERFUL, and I’ve already been told in no uncertain terms that this recipe is “a keeper!”

  38. norma

    I’m intrigued. Do you still need to form the loaf after the first rise, by tucking the ends under and back into the pot?

    Thanks

  39. Elizabeth frin Kentucky

    I made this today. I made it with wheat and it was wonderful. It was very easy and my son loves it.

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  41. Guest

    The flavor should have developed in the 12-20 hrs that you left it fermenting on the counter. The yeast grows inside the bread by consuming the starches in the bread. This means that they divide and multiply. The amount of yeast you put into the bread in the beginning is not what you end up with before you bake the bread. I love this recipe not only because it is super easy and time saving but also because it produces bread with very complex, delicate, very “breaddy” like flavor that grocery store bread (even those “baked fresh” from grocery bakeries) cannot even hope to compete with. I would advise you to try again and use a scale to weigh out all of your ingredients.

  42. Steven

    Spyke, why the attitude and negative feedback? Don’t be so critical and envious of others that are positive, willing to share and above all, happy.

    It’s easier to be positive than negative. You can do it, just relax and enjoy.

  43. Courtney

    Spike: As with any recipe, you must tweak the recipe to suit your personal taste. It’s clear that you are not familiar with bread baking as the amount of yeast does not affect the flavor. In fact, the long fermentation adds quite a bit of yeasty flavor. What I suggest is looking up variations on no knead bread which include adding whole wheat flour or grains, fresh herbs, nuts, dried fruit, etc. Personally, I have adjusted the recipe to add 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of fine sea salt. Yes, that is almost double of the recipe here but I find the additional salt helps the flavor of the bread immensely. Sometimes I also coat the outside of the dough with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil during it’s second rise, before I plop it into the hot pot. The olive oil gives the crust a distinctly different flavor and chewier texture. The point of this no knead bread recipe is not to please the masses with the flavor, but to teach you how to successfully make a beautiful and easy basic bread which you can then adjust to your own taste… like any other recipe. To call others “sheep” because they appreciate the recipe and are able to use it successfully is ignorant. Don’t insult others just because you can’t make it work for you.

  44. Shimah

    Hi. I live in the tropics with room temperature ranging from 84-86 F. Does this affect the amount of time the dough is required to rest? After 12 hours the dough doesn’t have the bubbly look like yours. Going to go ahead anyway but appreciate your feedback.

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  46. Lori

    I am happy that I just found this recipe because I might finally have a bread that is easy to make, requires few ingredients, has no kneading, and looks and tastes great. I will make this when it gets a little cooler outside. Right now, we’re still having days in the 80s.

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