Easiest Ever No-Knead Artisan Bread


UPDATE: For a speedy version, with 3-4 hours rise vs 12-18hrs, use hot water (115-120F) and add 1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar, per directions in video by Mark Bittman.  See my my post HERE

For the past couple months I’ve been baking crusty, country-style breads to rave reviews from friends and family. Then I did a baking class for friends who are now teaching their friends. A grass-roots viral recipe chain!  No one can believe how simple it is – just measure, stir, rise overnight, then bake. No kneading!
I became hooked when a colleague, Penni Wisner aka The Kitchen Coach, brought her amazing bread to dinner meetings. She fashioned the recipe from the famed Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC, whose no-knead formula created a stir in 2006 when Mark Bittman wrote about it in the NY Times.  Key to success is a glazed ceramic pan* (4.3 qt-size ) or covered casserole that can withstand 500°F, or use an iron skillet and aluminum foil to cover. With Penni’s tips I’ve not had a failure yet, and as far as I know, none of my students has either. And most had never baked bread before. I’ve refined the recipe further with suggestions from my ‘students’ like: turning and flouring the dough in the bowl so there’s no flour mess!  Send me pictures of your bread. I promise, it’s simple!
*I am not paid to mention Amazon Basics but it is my favorite pan for baking bread.

Please click here or in our Kitchen Essentials page for step-by-step instructions with photos, tips, and two recipe variations. 

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No-Knead Country Wheat Bread

Prep time: 5 minutes
Rise time: 18-24 hours plus 30 minutes just before baking
Bake time:  45 minutes
Makes 1 loaf

A gram weight kitchen scale measures quickly and accurately, if you have one.

420 g     3    cups White bread flour (such as King Arthur brand or bulk)
  90 g  3/4    cup Whole wheat flour
  30 g  1/4    cup Oat bran, optional
    8 g  1-1/2 tsp Table salt
 1/4     tsp Rapid rise yeast (I use a generous 1/4 tsp.)
  70 g     1     cup Chopped walnuts, optional
  14 fl oz  1-3/4 cup Water (cold tap water)

1.  Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add walnuts and/or soaked grains if making multi-grain recipe. (See link for multi-grain recipe.)

2.  Stir in water with a wooden spoon. Switch to a plastic scraper if you have one, and continue mixing and turning just until dough is evenly moistened and pulls away from sides of the bowl. It’s not necessary to stir vigorously, just enough so the flour is mixed in.

3.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap (a plastic shower cap works great!) and let stand 30 minutes. Turn dough with the scraper or spoon, giving it about 4 folds. (If you skip this step it won’t harm the bread.)

4.  Cover bowl with plastic and let stand at room temperature 18-24 hours. The dough will rise and be very bubbly.

5.  Gently stir dough down with scraper or spatula and fold over in 90 degree turns several times. Dust top of dough lightly with flour. Cover the bowl and let rest 15 minutes.

6. Dust a towel with oats, cornmeal, wheat bran or a little flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the towel and shape roughly into a ball. Wrap in the towel and leave at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. OR – leave bread in bowl, sprinkle top with oats, cornmeal, bran or flour, then scrape around edge of bowl to slightly deflate dough. Let stand covered while oven heats, then turn directly into hot pan. 

7.   While dough is resting, place ungreased pan with lid if it has one, in the oven. Turn oven on and preheat to 500°F. NOTE: The pan must be a glazed ceramic that can withstand 500°F or an iron skillet. Allow at least 30 minutes for pan and oven to super-heat. It is necessary to preheat the pan so the bread will instantly create steam when it goes in, and the bread won’t stick to the pan.

8.  Unwrap dough, shake excess grain off the towel. Place the dough in the towel within reach of the oven. Open oven and pull rack forward. Lift lid (if using) and quickly slide dough into pan. Cover with lid or loosely cover container with foil. (This step can also be done by removing pan from the oven.)

9.  Reduce oven to 450°F. Cover pan with lid or foil. Bake covered 25 minutes. Dough will rise and start to brown.

10. Remove lid or foil and continue to bake until very dark brown, another 20-25 minutes.  Immediately remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Recipe adaption and photo by Rosemary Mark

14 thoughts on “Easiest Ever No-Knead Artisan Bread”

  • I am going to try this technique; it looks most interesting!
    Do I really need to let the dough rest for 18 hours? can it be less, like 12 hours?
    And does Active yeast work? Or , do I need to go buy rapid rise yeast?

    • I’ve found it needs minimum of 12 hours to get bubbly and for the yeast to work the gluten — of course my kitchen has been extra cold this winter, so maybe in a warm kitchen 12 could be ok. I’ve sometimes placed in very low heat warming drawere but not for the entire time, just to speed it up a little. Inversely, my sister did 20 hours once and the bread was denser and did not rise with a nice split top.
      Active yeast is slwoer than rapid-rise and definitely needs the 12 hours or more.
      Looking forward to seeing or hearing about your results!

  • One more request: can you share your breading making schedule to achieve a loaf coming out of the oven for dinnertime? for example: start dough at x time to have it ready for the oven at 5:30pm. thanks!

    • Good question Betsy. There is actually about 6 hours flexibility in the rise time. Working backwards on timing: I like to let the bread cool at least 30 minutes before slicing, so adding that to the bake time is about 2 hours. This includes 30-45 minutes preheat + 45 minutes bake time. It’s often convenient for me to stir up the dough around 9 or 10pm then it’s ready to bake at 3 or 4pm (18 hour rise), for dinner at 5:30. Could also stir together at 5 or 6am (12-13 hour rise) and start the bake process at 6 pm for a late dinner which works nicely on a work day.

  • I just made a greatly modified loaf – Im house-sitting so away from proper equipment and ingredients; but this recipe is generously forgiving. As I had to have a quicker rise, I used more yeast; but it turned out great.
    So here s the recipe:

    Sourdough Bread with Feta Cheese
    ¼ Cup warm water
    ¼ tsp dry yeast, for overnight rise; for quicker rise add 2¼ tsp yeast (1 pkg),
    sprinkle in warm water with a pinch of sugar
    mix with:
    1 Cup Sourdough starter
    then add:
    3½ cups flour: which I substituted:
    1½ Cups bread flour, ½ Cup Whole Wheat flour & ½C Oats, ¼C All Bran
    Mix in
    ⅓ Cup eggwhites
    mix well, add water until fairly sticky dough [I also added liquid from Kalamata olives]
    Add 1 cup Feta cheese, or other cheeses, mix well.

    Add liquid or flour to make a loose stiicky dough, then fold in ½ Cup pitted olives.
    Cover bowl, I use an inverted plastic bag.
    Allow to rise til at least doubled.
    Remove dough to lightly floured surface, knead in more flour if too sticky to handle, shape into loaf and cover to allow final rise.

    Preheat bread baker in 400C – 500C oven for at least 20 minutes, or until very hot.

    before placing dough in baker, you might sprinkle seeds, or corn meal, herbs, salt… I like rosemary, anise, sesame and poppy seeds, I also throw corn meal in bottom of baker,
    then put loaf in baker. Slash top of loaf to allow steam to escape.
    Bake in oven 25 minutes, remove cover and bake till brown and hollow sound when tapped, probably another 20 minutes.

    • Joyce – I love your adventurous baking! I agree once you get the feel for mixing the dough and how it should look, there are many variations you can create. I purposely didn’t use sourdough starter because most people wouldn’t have it and may not have patience to feed it regularly (I often don’t). But I know it makes great bread. Love the idea of the feta, I’ve not tried cheese yet but now I will! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  • Rosemary,

    I couldn’t get the link offered in
    1. Mix dry ingredients in (See link for multi-grain recipe.)
    I would very much like to see the multi-grain recipe.

          • So glad to hear your bread turned out, inspite of your various kitchen challenges! I’ve found the bread is very forgiving. Like you found, it works fine with sour dough starter and no yeast — about 1 ounce starter can replace 1/4 teaspoon yeast. There is a good recipe for starter at http://www.kingarthurflour.com or you can order starter from King Arthur.
            I’ve also let the dough rise for 24 hours, even 36 hours if the kitchen isn’t too warm. This can give it a super hole-y texture which I love.

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