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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Monday, September 10, 2007

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.

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




1,309 Responses to “No Knead Bread: so easy a 4-yr old can make it!”

  1. Lovisa — 9/10/12 @ 9:54 am

    Wow it really looks amazing! I haven’t heard about it before and can’t wait to try it out! :D
    Just gotta transform the cups to dl (hehe, yeah we will see how it goes xD )

    Such a sweet memory at the end! <3
    Hope you all are in best of health :)

    /Lollo

  2. Jeanne — 9/10/12 @ 2:34 pm

    Let me say that I am not a baker. This is my second time to attempt baking bread. What temp is used for the water? Also, I used parchment paper and had a difficult time getting dough unstuck to put in my pot……any other suggestions? The bread smells amazing baking. Thanks for your time and the recipe.

    • SteamyKitchen — 9/11/12 @ 9:06 am

      The water is just regular cool tap water.
      I’m surprised that parchment stuck to the pot – It shouldn’t stick at all! Next time, try 2 layers of parchment in the pot.

  3. Anita — 9/13/12 @ 9:08 am

    I think I know what Jeanne means. It is not the parchment paper sticking to the pot, it is the dough sticking to the parchment paper in this step:
    “Gently move dough onto a floured towel or parchment paper (recommended).”
    I am trying this recipe now for the first time (the bread is in the oven now) and had the same problem. I am guessing that the above instruction probably should say:
    “Gently move dough onto a floured towel or FLOURED parchment paper (recommended).”
    My bread is going to come out in a sad misshapen blob now but hopefully it will still taste great!

  4. Anita — 9/13/12 @ 10:07 am

    Update: Shape notwithstanding (and even that was not as bad as I feared it would be), the bread is delicious! Thank you!

  5. Gina — 9/17/12 @ 1:46 pm

    Ladies,

    Dust your parchment paper with a little flour, cornmeal or wheat germ, before you put the dough on it. Now it will be easy to remove.

  6. Mickey_NDY — 9/19/12 @ 2:56 pm

    I’m wondering if I can bake this in my bread maker instead of an oven? (My oven doesn’t work properly and I haven’t used it in years) I’m going to try it following the directions all the way up to the baking part and see if it will bake in the machine.

  7. Lori — 9/20/12 @ 12:43 am

    Love the little story. have been looking for a good bread recipe. Now I just need to go buy a cast iron pot $$$$ I’ll hit marshalls first Can’t wait to make this!!!

  8. Stephen — 9/25/12 @ 7:21 pm

    This was the best discovery I have had on the web to date.
    & to think I almost passed by it. I am a Chef and never thought to use a quickie bread because of pure arrogance. My mistake. Thought I would try it and its a hit with everyone here at the house. Now its time to play with it add some whole grains some raisins pumpkin seeds the skys the limit. So good with butter!

  9. David — 10/1/12 @ 11:45 pm

    This worked great! I’ve been trying to make bread like this for years. The one thing I did different was to leave the dough on the parchment as I moved it from second rise to pot. This made it easier to get in and out of the super-hot pot. Next I’m going to try half whole-wheat. Thanks for posting this!

  10. Laura — 10/3/12 @ 7:32 am

    Hi-
    I was wondering if you could tell me how to cut this receipt down to make in the 3 quart dutch oven that I have? Looks amazing!
    Thanks
    Laura

  11. Colleen — 10/3/12 @ 7:56 am

    I’ve been making this bread for years, and love it to death. I am also a chef, and this was slways a top seller at my restaurant.
    i have mixed this up with different fruit and veg purée. You can add anything to it….seeds, nuts, herbs,fruit, veg ( one of my favs is caramelized onions and rosemary!)
    Making a pumpkin purée batch right now…just remember if added more liquid like add ins, to adjust the water to flour ratio. Another good tip…if adding ‘heat spices’ like chile, garlic, etc wait until after the first rise.
    Mmmmm!

  12. Blima — 10/3/12 @ 12:26 pm

    HOLY MOOLEY!!!! This is delicious. What a gorgeous crust. This has fantastic flavor as well.

  13. cenessia — 10/4/12 @ 8:36 am

    hi I was wondering can I use a cast aluminum pot/pan?

  14. Joanna — 10/5/12 @ 4:29 pm

    This is a wonderful recipe! I burnt the first breads I made (though they were still edible) and had to lower the oven temperature to 415 approximately and lower the baking time to 20 minutes. Also parchment at the bottom of the pot made a big difference to cleaning up afterwards – it makes it much easier! I have experimented with adding herbs to the bread and it’s always delicious. I do knead the dough a little before putting it in the bowl with a cloth. It doesn’t stick so much to the cloth if it has a little more flour added into the mix..

  15. joan maella — 10/11/12 @ 12:58 am

    Have made this often-got it on line from NYTimes. Your adaptations make it even easier. My friends still don’t beleive it’s really no kneed. I’ll send them this site with the adorable boy and his wondrous “tatooes”. Many thanks.

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  19. Jessica Czajkowski — 10/17/12 @ 11:05 pm

    I love this bread! I recently bought the 5-minute-a-day bread cookbook, liking the idea of mixing the dough once a week or so and just pulling a bit out of the fridge to bake every day. But after my first loaf with that recipe,, I really like the taste of this recipe better for some reason. Is it possible to make a lot of this recipe at once and then refrigerate the unbaked portion until I’m ready to bake? I’m assuming I would still let it sit out first and I would probably let the loaf sit a while after taking it out of the fridge before baking. Any thoughts?

    • SteamyKitchen — 10/18/12 @ 10:35 am

      You can refrigerate the dough at any point (generally I will refrigerate after its long nap), and yes, you need to let it sit out for second rise before baking.

  20. Becca — 10/29/12 @ 8:22 pm

    Can’t wait to try!

  21. Elena — 10/31/12 @ 12:03 am

    Jeanne, grease the parchment so the dough doesn’t stick to it.
    You don’t need to transfer the dough from parchment to pot, just grab the paper with dough inside and plop it into the dutch oven (or whatever pot you use). Hope this helps.

  22. Mikie — 10/31/12 @ 9:53 am

    Wow! I just tried this recipe Monday and Tuesday riding out Hurricane Sandy. Made the dough on Monday and baked on Tuesday. I used 2 cups of white whole wheat and 1 cup of all purpose flour because that’s all I had on hand. Followed the directions and this is the best bread I have ever made! I used an old Graniteware roaster (small one) in a Black and Decker tabletop convection oven. I did use parchment paper with some flour on it, that made transferring it from the 2 hour rest period into the pot very easy.

    The bread tasted great and looked like bread you would purchase from a good bakery! Thanks for this information, I’ll be doing this again soon…maybe today!

  23. Kim — 11/1/12 @ 5:28 pm

    Wow! It’s addictingly wonderful!!! Make sure you have someone around to share it with because it will mysteriously disappear!!!

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  25. monica — 11/3/12 @ 9:37 am

    Everything went well until I tried to transfer the dough into a hot pot. It was a big sticky mass, I ended up baking it with bits and pieces of parchment paper in it. Next time, I am going to flour and grease the parchment paper.

    • SteamyKitchen — 11/3/12 @ 2:18 pm

      Next time, just hold the parchment paper and place the dough + parchment into the pot (parchment on bottom) – then bake. The parchment will peel off the baked bread.

  26. deepclay — 11/3/12 @ 11:00 pm

    Does no knead work with other flours? Rye? Whole wheat? sprouted grains mixed in?

  27. Jody — 11/6/12 @ 3:31 pm

    You could also just plop the whole thing into the pot, parchment paper and all. I’ve done this and it makes a great loaf!

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  29. Junko — 11/9/12 @ 6:13 pm

    I agree with other people, that this recipe is a bit better somehow than other no-kneed ones. Thank you for sharing this! And I really love the little story at the end….. so cute!

  30. M. — 11/10/12 @ 1:05 am

    Wow, this bread was phenomenal. I made it last week and did as you suggested, subbing 1/2 cup white flour for whole wheat. I also sprinkled cornmeal on the bottom of my dutch oven before baking. It was amazing. Tastes as good, if not better, than the bread I’ve gotten at fancy artisan bread shops around town! I have another batch of dough sitting in a warm spot to be made tomorrow. It’s definitely going to become a weekly thing!

    PS, I also tried a different no knead recipe before trying this one. Major failure. Then a friend sent me yours and, wow. Just, wow. So easy!!

  31. Great recipe! Might have to have my son do it too!

  32. Martin - Scotland — 11/11/12 @ 12:58 pm

    i’ve tried this for the first time and I’m overjoyed at how good it was. Going to make a bigger batch of dough and experiment with freezing some and refrigerating some. Any guidance on how long the dough will be good for in the fridge after the first rise?

    Martin

  33. Arlene — 11/11/12 @ 5:05 pm

    So glad I stumbled across this last night. I immediately made a batch and baked it this morning….Amazing! I sprinkled the top with a Kosher salt mixed with some herbs and spritzed it with water when I took off the lid. Enjoyed it with Kerrygold butter and Natures Hollow raspberry jam this morning and just had a late lunch and made a meatloaf sandwich with melted cheddar/mozzarella. This is my new Go To bread! Thank you.

    I also found on another blog grain mixtures to use with this recipe:

    Whole Wheat Bread

    2 cups bread flour
    2 cups whole wheat flour
    2 tsp salt
    3 Tbsp honey
    1/2 tsp yeast
    2 cups water

    Rye Bread

    2 cups bread flour
    2 cups rye flour
    2 tsp salt
    1 Tbsp caraway seeds
    1/2 tsp yeast
    2 cups water

    Pumpernickel Bread

    2 cups bread flour
    2 cups rye flour
    2 tsp salt
    3 Tbsp cocoa
    3 Tbsp molasses
    1/2 tsp yeast
    2 cups water

    • SteamyKitchen — 11/12/12 @ 9:59 am

      Thanks so much for sharing the other recipes, Arlene. Your breakfast and lunch sound so good!

  34. Ellen — 11/12/12 @ 1:47 am

    This is amazing!! Would this recipe work in a crockpot??

  35. Sara — 11/12/12 @ 8:02 pm

    I do not have a lid for my pan, is that an absolute requirement?

  36. Kori S — 11/14/12 @ 6:20 pm

    Try craigslist. I”ve seen brand new pots for $50. Also, try Goodwill or Salvation Army.

  37. Kori S — 11/15/12 @ 12:44 pm

    Arlene, have you made the pumpernickel with this NO KNEAD recipe? My grandmother is coming for a visit soon and I’d love to make her some homemade pumpernickel.

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  40. Fawn — 11/18/12 @ 9:21 pm

    Thanks for posting this recipe. Will definitely try it, maybe even for Thanksgiving. I love your wonderful sense of humor as I read the step-by-step post.

  41. Barbara S — 11/20/12 @ 11:51 pm

    Do not try to remove parchment paper from uncooked dough. Place the parchment paper with dough on it into the cast iron pot. Parchment paper is designed to release only with heat.

    I have modified this recipe using 1 cup rye to 2 cups white and add 1 tbs caraway seeds and I love the flavor.

  42. Angela — 11/24/12 @ 9:31 am

    It’s 930 and I am at the 2hr rising step. Can I let it sit until dinner?

  43. gail — 11/26/12 @ 8:12 am

    can I use King arthur flour or does it have to be bread flour

  44. Joanna — 11/26/12 @ 8:40 am

    In my experience, it can wait another hour.
    I use King Arthur organic bread flour and love it.
    Joanna

  45. Stephanie — 11/27/12 @ 7:30 pm

    Yum! I can’t wait to make this!

    Jaden, do you have a recipe where it uses active yeast packets instead of instant yeast?

  46. Kori S — 11/28/12 @ 7:44 am

    Stephanie, I used Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Highly Active Yeast, in the little envelope. Bread came out perfect. Hope that helps.

  47. Gail — 11/28/12 @ 8:03 am

    Can you use regular yeast or does it have to be instant?

  48. Kees — 11/29/12 @ 3:24 am

    Tried a variety of ‘no knead’ recipes without much success and sadly this was teh same: I get stuck with a shapeless blob of dough that in no way can be shaped in any form that looks only remote to a ball. It even sticks to the parchment paper. Too much water?? I followed the recupe to a T.

    Well I guess I will just drop it a pan as described and see what I get.
    Definitely not: “so easy even a four year old can make it”

  49. Kees — 11/29/12 @ 3:26 am

    how about just taking half of all the prescrined ingredients?

    • Kees — 11/29/12 @ 3:27 am

      that was a reply to Laura

  50. Kees — 11/29/12 @ 7:46 am

    Taste was good though. Trying a new batch with 1.25 cups of water

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