It’s not that I don’t like baking, but the urge to bake often strikes randomly, with little time to plan for ingredients. This easy no-knead bread recipe has become a weekend favorite in our house. It’s practically on repeat every Sunday, and usually feeds us throughout the entire day.
The best part is how effortless it is. All ingredients – 4, if you include tap water – are dry. The preparation time altogether is less than 15 minutes. And the result is, as Pablo says, “Godlike”. It has a thick, crispy crust that makes you think you picked it up from an artisan bakery and forgot about it in a sudden case of selective amnesia. Its texture is slightly chewy and rich. Enough said…
The secret to the no-knead bread is two-fold: the dough which is rich in moisture, and the dutch oven which it’s baked in. I wouldn’t dare to make this without a dutch oven. By keeping the proportions of water relatively high to dry ingredients (which eliminates the kneading-part as well), the dough has sufficient moisture to release inside the dutch over, where the resulting steam enables the crust to form.
It’s practically idiot-proof, and while I’ve had great results throwing this together in a time pinch with more dry yeast to accommodate only 1-2 hours of rising time, it’s best left overnight for a longer, slow rise which is how I usually prepare it Saturday before bed.
Ingredients For Easy No-Knead Bread Recipe
For a large loaf, I use the following quantities. As long as the proportions are kept, my experience is that the result is good for smaller or larger sizes.
- 4 cups of flour. I used 3 cups wholegrain and 1 cup wheat for this loaf.
- 2 cups of water, lukewarm (not hot)
- 10 gr of sea salt (ca. 1 tbsp)
- 2 gr of dry yeast (ca. 1 tsp)
Step-by-step Recipe For Easy No-Knead Bread
(Simplified text version minus dog-details at the bottom) Dissolve the salt and dry yeast in the lukewarm water – it shouldn’t be hotter than body temperature as it will kill the yeast and diminish the rise. Once dissolved, add the flour.
Once you’ve added the flour, start mixing it in only to be disturbed briefly by Mozie who wants some of your attention. Once you’ve taken this crucial step, return to the mixing. There’s no need to overdo it, the dough just needs to be mixed in. Takes a minute. Afterwards, you cover it with a dish cloth and go back to watching true crime. Maybe you have a glass of wine. Even if you don’t, the bread will still turn out great.
Now, you can go to bed knowing fresh bread will await you in the morning, but before you dig your teeth through that artisanal crust, there are a few steps to take.
Your no-knead bread will look like a bowl of dried random when you revisit it. Not to worry. Generously flour a sheet of parchment paper and scoop it out with a spoon. It should have a good elasticity by now. Once it’s out, be even more generous with the flour and sprinkle some on top.
Now you directly shape it. I normally use the spoon to gather it inwards towards the center until it’s no longer so sticky I can’t handle it. Again, don’t knead it, just get it shaped into a ball in the fastest way possible with no fucks given.
Don’t mind tiny dried bits of dough; it won’t impact the result. That’s right, minimal attention to detail is required. If you had too much wine last night while watching true crime, this will be a great relief.
That relief will end when you realize Mozie has stolen your headphones. Retrieve them as soon as possible before he chews them up. You need them for listening to your podcasts later. Bad boy.
Where were we? Oh yes, we have maneuvered the dough into a loaf shape, and now we give it a good sprinkling of – you guessed it, flour. Afterwards, cover with a tea towel for a short second rise, and turn on the oven at max temperature. Place the empty dutch oven incl. lid inside the oven to preheat. Now you can make coffee and go back to bed for 20 mins while your Russian nesting doll system of ovens is getting ready.
Once the oven is hot, take the empty dutch oven out, remove the lid, and lift the parchment paper containing the loaf into the dutch oven. Put the lid back on – this is important – and put the whole thing into the oven. Be careful not to burn yourself.
After 35 mins, remove the lid from the dutch oven and let it finish baking the last 10-15 mins without lid for an even better crust.
Finally, once out of the oven, grab the corners of the parchment paper and use it to place the bread on a wire rack for cooling. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes before you slice it. Enjoy!
My Easy No-Knead Bread Recipe in Steps
1. Dissolve the salt and dry yeast in the lukewarm water – it shouldn’t be hotter than body temperature as it will kill the yeast and diminish the rise.
2. Once dissolved, add the flour, and start mixing it in. There’s no need to overdo it, the dough just needs to be mixed in. Takes a minute.
3. Cover it with a dish cloth for the night to rise.
4. Next morning, generously flour a sheet of parchment paper and scoop the dough out with a spoon. It should have a good elasticity by now. Once it’s out, be even more generous with the flour and sprinkle some on top.
5. Now you directly shape the dough into a loaf shape. I normally use the spoon to gather it inwards towards the center until it’s no longer so sticky I can’t handle it for a short amount of time.
6. Sprinkle with flour and cover with tea towel for a short second rise while the oven preheats to maximum heat with the dutch oven inside. (20-30 mins normally)
7. Place entire loaf on parchment paper inside dutch oven, and put the dutch oven in the oven.
8. Bake with lid for 35 mins, remove lid for last 10-15 mins.
9. Cool bread on wire rack before slicing. Voila. Easy no-knead bread ready to go.