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

no-knead-bread-revisited

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.

How to make bread

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

Add flour

1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast:

Add yeast

1 teaspoon of table salt

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

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!

Stir

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

Bread dough mixture

Wrap up the no knead bread dough

bread dough

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

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.)

No knead bread

Dump out on floured surface:

Bread dough

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.

bread dough

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.

Easy bread recipe

“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!

No knead bread recipe

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!

Homemade 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.

Print

No Knead Bread Recipe

Servings: One 1-pound loaf Prep Time: Cook Time:
no-knead-bread-revisited

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)

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


Comments 1,312

  1. Pingback: Fresh Bread | Turn A New Leaf

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  3. larry williams

    awesome! at last a recipie for easy bread that actually works. Deeply appreciate you sharing this

    1. michael cather

      I folLowed your recipe, let it sleep 12 hours, dumped it out and folded it up per the recipe, placed in a bowl with a tea towel and waited 2 hours and nothing happened…it never puffed up or rose?? I used Saf-Instant brand yeast. I am going to try again with regular yeast that I have to proof. I also had to add extra water, maybe a 1/4c to get it into a ball….any advise?????

    2. Mechef145

      Wow! Amazing sight of the bread, looks delicious. I regularly bake at home using my MEC pure clay pot and every time it’s just perfect. It’s never been dry; it’s always moist and tastes fantastic. I have been looking for this one for some time now and is definitely going in my recipe book. Oh the pure clay pots are definitely an added benefit to bake these breads. I got mine from mecware.US (online)

    1. SteamyKitchen

      Hi! For pizza there is a slightly different ratio of flour and water. Do a search for no knead pizza dough recipe and you’ll find so many!

    2. Kathryn

      Yes it can! I will be doing that tomorrow, making two pizzas with dough I start today, and then freezing them for Sunday and doing the final baking on Sunday (Saturday I will be busy all day).

      I’ll bake the crust for about 10 minutes (until its firm but not brown), then putting on the toppings, then freeze it. They will transport better that way and be defrosted by the time they arrive at their destination, for a quick bake on site (another 10-15 minutes – we like our crust crisp, so I err on the side of overcooked rather than undercooked). Just like the bread, this recipe makes the best pizza crust ever as well. All that slow rising develops the flavor and texture — mmm.

  4. Julie

    My friend made this the other night and it was delish. Now, I want to make , but only have rapid rise yeast..wondering if it would come out as good?

  5. Angela

    This sounds so easy, I just might attempt my first bread ever! However, I don’t own a covered pot that can go in the oven. I do have a large cast iron skillet, and a couple deep dish stoneware pieces, any suggestions for a lid?? Can I just cover with foil?

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. mrsdmk

      angela,
      did u try this in your cast iron skillet yet? I am in the same boat..and dont own a covered pot but do own a cast iron skillet ( which I have never used cause this is the first recipe I have gotten & am unfamiliar with how to use it) and want to know if the bread came out good in it.

  6. Pingback: My attempt at No Knead Bread | adrienne in_365

  7. Kayla

    Hello!

    This might be a silly question, but can the ‘combining of ingredients’ be done with one of those electric mix masters? :)

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  9. Josey

    Love your description of your son making this bread. I know how important those tattoos are in blackmailing! Love it, and am defenitely going to make this bread, and what better way to eat it, with lots of real butter!

  10. DD

    Love this bread. I bought active dry yeast instead by a mistake so had to convert it a little bit. I ussualy double the recipe to make it easier it is about .75 tsp of active dry yeast for a doubled recipe. I use up to a cup of whole wheat and add a bit of extra water. I really love that this is bread in stages so i can do things like attend to the needs of my two active toddlers and still have fabulous bread. I just use the pot from my slow cook croc pot and another corning wear lid from one of my other dishes and it works out great. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Pingback: Life Advice: What can I start doing now that will help me a lot in about five years? | Eddy's blog

  12. Jo

    I made this bread yesterday – it tasted great BUT the bread stuck to the parchment paper and I couldn’t remove it. My question is – how to I avoid it sticking to the paper as its a pain? Was it due to not enough flour coating the base? Can I oil the paper a little?

    Otherwise it taste fantastic.

    Jo

      1. angel

        Could i just spray the oil in the bottom of the pan? Is the parchment paper required?

          1. angel

            Dont want to waste any of my bread lol so ill use the parchment, thanks

  13. Michelle

    You can also wet your hands with olive oil. and you can put the dough in regular bread pans or for a more interesting shape, clay flour pots.: I have made this recipe for over 30 years with my sons, it is really really great, you can make a large batch and freeze it to take it camping, and it also makes great pizza dough with more flour. great crust for sure.

  14. Misty

    This was so easy and it is so yummy! I will definitely be making this on a regular basis! Thank you :)

  15. Valerie Angell

    Hi! I found this recipe last night and decided to make this with my 5yo. We loved making it and I will say this about the bread itself: DELICIOUS!!! We tweaked the salt and yeast (we love salty bread!) and dressed it up with an egg wash + sesame seeds + more salt in the final baking phase (again, love salt! and kiddos love sesame seeds!) and the final product looked and tasted amazing — we couldn’t be happier! Thank you very much for sharing this recipe. :)

    Valerie Angell

  16. Pingback: No Knead Bread: so easy a 4-yr old can make it! | Sylvia Lin.

  17. Michael

    Jaden! I have loved all of your recipes that I have tried, however, this bread recipe turned into a big flop for me! Following the recipe to the T, the dough was so tacky after letting it rise that the bread dough stuck to my work surface, even with a heavy dusting of flour. I ended up adding at least another 1/2 cup. Even after that, the dough absorbed through the heavily floured towel and stuck to hit horribly. I finally got it in the oven on the parchment paper, but after baking, it was basically glued to the parchment paper. I admit bread has never been my foray and I was hoping so much that this recipe would change that, but after this experience, I guess I will retire my bread hat and go back to store bought :(

  18. Liliah

    I did it and it WORKED! It is delicious. And I am not the greatest in the kitchen, so if I did it anyone can. LOVE this bread.

  19. jaaltobelli

    followed it closely
    used 1.5 cup water
    it came out so wet i could not form it, stuck to everything.
    baked it anyway and came out flat brick-like,
    please advise

  20. allison

    Thanks! I made this bread while writing a paper and it worked great!

  21. Kristen

    Love this recipe and made it a couple times… thanks so much!

    I started a batch yesterday and went to the ‘dump out on a floured surface step’ but there was a problem: there was basically a floating island of the yeast and flour across the top of the bowl, but when I scooped it up there was standing water beneath. It smelled quite “yeasty” as well. Just curious if anybody knows what I did? I waited too long… in my head I thought the wait time was 12 – 24 hours, and now I see it is 12 – 20. I’m usually pushing to jam it in the oven asap, but it was busy this weekend and that stuff waited at least 24 hours. Was that stuff fermenting in there?

    Thanks for any education I can get :o)

  22. Robert

    I just pulled my first attempt out of the oven and it’s perfect! This will be a daily thing for me from now on. I’m a stay at home Dad always looking for fun stuff like this for my family. I’m going to make a BLT for lunch :)

    Thank you!

  23. bill

    hi jaden- i had tried this no knead bread before but was on the compact side, but this round it came out “picture perfect” as in yours, tastes wonderful. my one negative is the difficulty in slicing this bread as with other two tries. i have a very sharp serrated bread knife and find it hard too slice-i was thinking of taking it to one of the local pastry shop here in cyprus and asking if they would slice it for me on their bread slicing machine but they slice too thin for me. for my level of energy which is low it is almost a work-out for me, there is a website for maltese bread which is similar(a little oil and sugar) but i have not been able to reproduce-much more open grain and holes-since my visit to malta. thanks for the receipe and pictures. bill

  24. helen

    Hello from the netherlands..just mixed the dough – using spelt flour – and the dough is really wet :( I used 300 ml of water. I it supposed to be slushy?

      1. Kathy Pritchard

        I used all purpose flour and bread flour, now I prefer the bread flour.

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  26. Therese Cook

    Thank you for this recipe- and photos. I love the title- it gave me the courage that I can do it!!

  27. Ivy

    Hi hi!

    I tried the recipe twice but it turned out chewy. First time round I splashed too much water thus I reduced it the second time. It still turn out too chewy.

    Could you advice what have possibly gone wrong?

    I used Bruggeman instant yeast. Do I have to put in water?

    I live in Singapore and room temp is 34 degrees celsius, is our room temp too hot?

  28. Kathy Pritchard

    I have made several loaves and am practically addicted to making bread now. I am ready to try flavored breads. Have you tried adding any flavors to the bread? cheese, olives, basil leaves, garlic etc??? How has it worked? Do you know any websites where I can get ideas for flavored breads, I haven’t found much on the internet.

    1. Joanna

      I tried olives and the bread was wonderful. Onion bits also work, as do herbs.
      I think experimenting is great; I don’t think you can go wrong.
      Joanna

  29. Luisa

    Hi! I just mixed the dough … but … the pot … it HAS to bem a covered pot? I dont have one … and usually I bake my breads in a normal baking sheet…

  30. grammie14/Margaret Durry

    I have made several no knead recipes and this one is the best. I would love to put this on Pinterest. Do you have a connection to Pinterest? This bread is awesome!!!!!

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  32. Miles

    Can I use a bread stone for this, or does it have to be a pot?

  33. Dips

    Hi,
    Thanks for the recipe. It was my first time baking a bread. It was huge success. I let my 4 yrs old son make the dough. He had fun but it was very hard for him to wait for almost 12 hrs. Finally when bread came out of the oven, we could not wait to let it cool down. 😊 Me and my son ate half of it at the same time. 😳 I also made the Egyptian dip with slight changes. It tastes wonderful with this bread.
    I did not have bread flour so I used regular all purpose flour. But I really liked the taste.
    Thanks very much for such an easy and wonderful recipe.

    1. SteamyKitchen

      Fantastic! Next time, try bread flour, I think you and your son be even more delighted with the results :-) Tell your son that I said “Hi! I’m so proud of you for helping your Mom make bread!”

  34. Sticky Bottom!

    Hi, I have tried this recipe multiple times with great results, except for one thing… The bottom of the bread has gotten stuck to whatever’s underneath it every time! A pre-heated flour pot has resulted in a bottom-less bread because it is burnt and adhered to the bottom of the pot. Floured parchment paper and cheese cloth stick to the bread and cook into it! I suspect my not cast iron pot is the problem but it’s stainless steel and should work. Very much appreciate this recipe but I am confounded!

      1. Ngaire

        I have never had trouble with the bread sticking to the pot. I do use a lot of flour to coat the loaf when its sitting in the tea towel, maybe this helps it to stop sticking, or maybe its the quality of the pot? I use Le cruset type ones(the cheaper version).

  35. Hilda

    Could you give weight of flour used and amount of water as in England we don’t use cups for measuring would be most grateful for this info thank you for sharing

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  37. Adam

    Hello!
    I tried your “no knead” recipe with my daughter and we love it! but I tried something a little different. I didn’t use yeast, I just added a little bit of sourdough starter (flour, water, a little salt, and let the natural yeast develop) which i usually make with wheat flour, and went 1 part wheat 2 parts white flour for the recipe. literally less than 1/2 a cup of starter. let it sit for 20 hrs. it turned out exactly as described in your article. I also didn’t have any parchment paper, ( the last batch of cookies got handed out on it) so I just floured the bottom of my Lodge enamel coated dutch oven, and it popped free with no issues. need to add just a bit more salt to the recipe next time for personal taste, and I think I am gonna try a cheese loaf out of it! great bread, and super easy!

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  39. Mia

    What an easy way to make such yummy bread! Once it’s done, slather it with butter and you’re good to go! Thank you for sharing!

    1. John F

      Kerry’s gold is the best to use… umm…. salted of course. lol

  40. Ngaire

    This is one of my favourite breads recipes that I use ALL the time. I usually do a sped up version of this bread as I don’t usually realise I need fresh baked bread until its too late to make the 12 hr version. I use 4 Cups flour and 2tsp yeast….this works great and is usually ready to bake within 1 1/2 – 2hrs. (Depending on the temp of the environment) It looks and tastes just as fabulous as the original version:)

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  42. Paul

    This is an awesome and THE BEST recipe i’ve ever used for bakin bread. It tastes just like the bread you buy at a local small town bakery in france!!.. thanks alot

  43. Heather Graef

    Last year I found the NY Times recipe and made this bread several times. I told my relatives about it but they would never give try. Finally I decided to just show them. So we found your post and ejoyed reading it as much as we making the bread! There was a lot of “it’s so easy a 4-year old can do it!” going on before, during and after… of course it came out perfect, and of course they are now belivers. The only problem was we should have made two loaves because between the six of us it was enhaled within 15 minutes!

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  45. John F

    I know this might be a silly question but when you put the dough in the pot do you use the parchment paper to cook with or are you letting it drop from the paper into the pot? I hope that made sense and i’ve baked this bread both ways and its fine… just different look and somewhat texture. thank you and this is a terrific recipe my family enjoys. My roots are lower Manhattan so this hits home sometimes.

  46. Barbara

    Aw, dang it. You made me cry. Reading that made me miss my little boys. My three sons are all grown up with their own kids. One is over 50, the youngest nearly 40, and I miss the children they were. I miss being a mom. Being a grandmother is second best; I don’t have much access to them, and when they come we can’t do things like this together. I miss those days so much.

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