Welcome to Steamy Kitchen!

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




1,267 Responses to “No Knead Bread: so easy a 4-yr old can make it!”

  1. sarah — 1/24/13 @ 4:52 pm

    did you cover the bread when you made it with the cookie sheet? since in directions it does state to leave the top on for 30 minutes. thanks

  2. Pingback: My first no-knead | oxjox's blog

  3. Bryan — 1/25/13 @ 10:48 am

    Hello Sarah how did it turn out for you, at this moment I have mine in the oven to cook. Will be nice to hear from you.Thank You. Bryan Mcnamara

  4. sarah — 1/25/13 @ 8:19 pm

    HEY BRIAN!,

  5. Pingback: No Knead Bread

  6. DOCROBIN — 1/30/13 @ 1:34 pm

    MADE MY FIRST LOAF……..IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND DELICIOUS! HOWEVER, I THINK THE CRUST IS TOO CHRUNCHY FOR ANYONE WITH DENTURES! MAYBE AFTER IT COOLS SOME MORE….. I USED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR AND IT HARDLY ROSE AT ALL; NOT NEARLY DOUBLE IN SIZE. SHOULD I DOUBLE OR TRIPLE THE YEAST? THANKS FOR THE KEEPER RECEIPE! WE EXPECT TO START ANOTHER LOAF THIS AFTERNOON.

  7. Arpita — 2/2/13 @ 8:45 am

    Will this recipe work with all purpose flour or is there a modification required ?

  8. DOCROBIN — 2/2/13 @ 9:01 am

    OH YES, ALL PURPOSE FLOUR PRODUCES A BEAUTIFUL,ALTHOUGH SMALL (8″ ROUND AND 3″ TALL) LOAF, WITH A VERY NICE CRISPY CRUST AND LIGHT BUBBLEY INSIDE. LAST TIME I USED A FULL TEASPOON OF YEAST AND THE RESULT WAS THE SAME AS THE 1/4 TEASPOON VERSION.

  9. Kelly Kipfer — 2/3/13 @ 10:20 am

    Lol I can’t believe a post about making bread made me cry! That story about your son enjoying the bread was super sweet and I can totally relate! Can’t wait to try this :)

  10. Cassie — 2/3/13 @ 2:34 pm

    I tried making a couple loaves, and I think it was all purpose flour…they are sitting on the warm stove and didn’t rise a bit. I tested the water with a thermometer and did everything else…will they still be worth baking?

  11. Lauren — 2/3/13 @ 10:36 pm

    Hey!!

    I followed the directions and the recipe- all went fantastically!

    Until I came to get it out of my pot – it was so stuck I had to pull it apart to get it out.

    It tasted amazing but half of it was left in the pot and I had to soak it overnight to get the rest of the bread out!!

    Help! What did I do wrong or what can I do to stop this happening again?

  12. Joanna — 2/4/13 @ 9:53 am

    Parchment works beautifully – never a sticky moment and the pot cleans up in no time.

  13. Pingback: First Bread | D'NALI

  14. Jessica — 2/11/13 @ 12:55 pm

    I made this recipe last weekend and it turned out great!

  15. rose — 2/11/13 @ 1:18 pm

    wow! I try to always make my bread at home,this recipe amazed me,and the bread I made with this,made me jumping ups and down and dancing with song that the bread singing..thanks a lot a lot for sharing this..

  16. Pingback: Sopa de Ajo con Huevos | hungry sofia

  17. Leigh — 2/20/13 @ 11:23 am

    I love this bread! The very first time I made it was the first time I have ever made bread successfully! (and I have a bread machine! :-P ) Mine did not rise much- I used active dry yeast. It was still about 4 inches high and beautiful. Delicious and easy. The ceramic coated cast iron pot was the way to go- I never would have thought of making bread in it. Thanks so much for sharing! Your sons are gorgeous.

  18. mira — 2/25/13 @ 8:25 pm

    my first loaf is in the oven. smells heavenly (i added some fresh chopped rosemary) the nap was strange, i wasnt sure what to cover it with, so i floured the bowl it slept in overnight and flipped it upside down over the napping loaf. it didnt rise, at all. but what the heck, i threw it in the crock pot insert and covered it with a glass lid and popped it in the oven anyways. i pretty much love ALL bread, so even if it isn’t as rustically beautiful as yours, i’m sure it will taste divine. thanks for the recipe, my 4yo will be trying it this weekend.

  19. Pingback: No Knead Bread: Round 1 | Xanaxnation's Blog

  20. Emma — 2/27/13 @ 6:28 am

    Hi how long would this bread keep?
    Thanks, Em.

  21. Joanna — 2/27/13 @ 1:47 pm

    I find it keeps up to a week but is by far the best on day 1. After that the crust is a little less crunchy.

  22. john — 3/7/13 @ 8:28 pm

    what can I say.? I have been trying for years off and on to make bread as good as the baker my mother used to send me to for his perfect., still slightly warm bread, she is now gone bless her as is the bakery but the desire for those shared moments has lingered… Just a crusty shard like crust as you cut into it and aereted perfect bread beneath, if you haven’t tried this recipie you must! Thank you, I never knew whether it was my kneeding, my mixture, my yeast or my oven… If like me, you wonder about no sugar, put your doubts aside, it just works!

  23. Val — 3/10/13 @ 2:50 pm

    I have made this bread twice now, it is great so easy to do. I do have one question tho – I would like to make this bread out at the lake in the summer and don’t have a oven. Can it be done on a BBQ? If it can what temp would you keep the BBQ on – or would you do it on indirect heat (one side on – put the bread on the side that is off). Has anyone tried this? It would be great to make my own bread out there. Thanks

  24. Pingback: No need to knead with no-knead bagels! at Bunchland

  25. Jillian — 3/14/13 @ 12:20 pm

    Hi do you have this wonderful bread recipe with grams as I am unsure of weights we don’t use cups in England so hope you can help I would hate to make a mess of it.
    Thanks. Jill

  26. Tony B — 3/14/13 @ 3:54 pm

    Hi Jillian

    I too am from the UK side of the pond, I usually use cup measures for US recipes, but this evening I weighed the flour and water,

    The weights are as follows

    406 grams of flour
    375 grams flour

    I hope this helps

    If you would like to let me know how this recipe turns out for
    you I would be interested to hear from you on my website email address tonysfoodblog.mail.com

    Regards Tony B

  27. Jillian — 3/14/13 @ 5:50 pm

    Hi thanks for this Tony
    406 grams of flour and ? 375 grams of water not mls? Never thought of weighing water always measure by volume that’s why American recipes always seem difficult.
    Thanks. Jillian

  28. TonyB — 3/15/13 @ 5:01 am

    Hi Jillian

    Yes 375 grams is equal to 375 mls approx
    Sorry if it seemed a bit confusing

    Regards

    TonyB

  29. Shauna Koppang — 3/21/13 @ 11:54 am

    I have made this three times now. I could not find “Instant Yeast”. What brand is it? Tried the Red Star Active Yeast and twice it made a nice dense crusty rustic bread. I did try the Fleishchmanns’s Rapid Rise (exp Sep 04 13) which in 2 stores that is all they had, and it did not rise as much as the Red Star. We live near Sea Level in the Palm Desert, CA area. Should I add more yeast, which one, and is there anything else I can do to help it rise more to give us a less dense loaf? Thanks! (P.S. NOT a baker so this is my 1st try baking bread).

    • Shauna Koppang — 3/21/13 @ 11:56 am

      Also using Bob’s Red Mill Organically Grown & Certified unbormated Unbleached White Flour which says Superb for Bread Baking by Hand or Machine on the label)

  30. fashion Blogs — 3/25/13 @ 4:04 am

    I do agree with all the ideas you have introduced to your post.

    They’re really convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for novices. Could you please prolong them a little from next time? Thank you for the post.

  31. Pingback: The no knead bread | rainbow28

  32. George Fane — 3/26/13 @ 7:34 pm

    Thanks for the recipe and it tasted good, but I didn’t understand the bit about ‘it will double in size’ after folding, shaping into a ball and putting on parchment. It’s already been left 12 hours or more, so why would folding it make it double in size? Mine certainly didn’t double in size on the parchment. Or do you mean it will double in size between the very start when the dough is first mixed and when it goes in the oven?

  33. Miri — 3/29/13 @ 1:26 pm

    When you move the dough into the le Creuset does it go flat ? Do you bake it with the parchment paper? If the dough goes flat will it rise up when baking? Why not let it raise in the Le creuset and than bake it? I use a cast iron skillet and let the dough raise in there because when i move the dough it goes down being so fluffy and delicate. Please advice, thanks

  34. Joanna — 3/29/13 @ 2:24 pm

    If the dough rises in the pot then how do you warm your pot for the half hour before baking?
    Yes to parchment being left in the pot. It comes off easily after baking.

  35. SteamyKitchen — 3/29/13 @ 2:43 pm

    I let dough rise in a bowl, not in the pot that Im baking in

  36. SteamyKitchen — 3/29/13 @ 2:45 pm

    Hi Miri- When I move the dough, some of the trapped gas does escape, so yes, but not much.

    Yes, bake with parchment.

    Yes, it will rise in the oven.

    You cannot let it rise in the Le Creuset pot – the pot needs to preheat in the oven.

  37. Kathryn — 3/29/13 @ 3:09 pm

    I use a Pyrex casserole with a Pyrex lid to bake my bread. One of my very few less than exceptional results I’ve gotten when making this bread is when I forgot to preheat the baking dish and lid. The result was that the bread stuck to the dish horribly.

    I flour a cutting board and let the dough rise on that, covered with a piece of plastic. When it is time to move it into the preheated dish, I wet my hands as recommended. It’s stickier when I flour them, and I also like how moist the finished bread is.

    When it’s time to put the bread in the bowl, I don’t use parchment. I work my wet fingers around the edge of the dough until I can lift it off the board. At this point I move very quickly. I lift the dough and plop it into the dish as fast as I can so I don’t either lose my grip or end up with it sticking to my hands.

    “Plopping” means that it’s sloppy but it evens out a bit in the baking process. Any “wonkiness” gives it character, as Jade says. And nothing detracts from the deliciousness of the result.

    I also usually just tip the bowl and the baked bread slides on out. Occasionally I have to loosen up a place where it stuck with a bread knife. And rarely does more than half a load make it to “completely cooled”, so forget about all that “cool completely before you slice” that so many bread recipes include as sage advice. It can be carefully sliced with a sharp bread knife while still warm. :) At last I’m a successful bread maker every time!

  38. wendy gardner — 4/2/13 @ 12:31 pm

    Everyone a Dutch oven works perfectly for this bread! Get one at Walmart for $35, just the basic cast iron one made by the Lodge Company always Made in the USA hooray! Makes an absolutely perfect loaf, when cooled somewhat I dump it out, peel off the parchment paper and put it right back in the pot. With the lid on it keeps perfectly for the 48 hours max it takes this family to scarf it down.

  39. Pingback: No need to knead with no-knead bagels! at Bunch Family

  40. Paula — 4/5/13 @ 7:26 am

    Thanks, this was delicious! Can the dough be cut into dinner rolls? How should I adjust the baking time?

  41. Pingback: What can I start doing now that will help me a lot in about five years? | qcwalker

  42. Pingback: No-Knead Bread

  43. Laura — 4/10/13 @ 11:44 am

    Please note that my LC knob popped at 450. So 450F is not safe unless you have Stainless Steel

  44. Patricia — 4/11/13 @ 1:41 pm

    When the bread is on the floured surface, are you tucking the edges up towards the middle facing you (what I did) or down towards the floured surface? Then, when you transfer the bread to the “napping pot,” do you put it with the smooth surface facing up, or the more uneven surface with all the edges from the tucking facing up?

  45. Pingback: The love of my life: Bread! | Craft Thrift Wed

  46. Ann in NJ — 4/16/13 @ 10:42 pm

    I baked mine in a Le Creuset casserole as well, but I unscrewed the knob because of the 400 deg issue. It was a little challenging to remove the hot lid without the knob, but pot holders on both hands worked fine. @Laura, your knob may have popped because your oven is slightly different in temperature. If it runs hot, it may be too much, where someone else’s runs a little cool and can survive.

    My husband couldn’t believe that I made a perfect bakery style loaf. “Really?”

  47. Ayse — 4/19/13 @ 11:58 pm

    I will buy a pot tomorrow – just for your recipe, and bake this bread with my 13 year old daughter; for 2 reasons:
    -I love the smell and taste of fresh baked bread,
    -And I loved the way you wrote how you baked it with your son, and especially the story of how he ate it the first time you baked it with him – I could almost see the little toes wiggling. As a mother of 3 who is absolutely addicted to her kids, I thank you for sharing such a sweet story :)

  48. Laure — 4/20/13 @ 7:38 pm

    Question! After the 12 hours my dough rises a lot, but after I do the folding, it flattens (even though I am being gentle). In the end the bread tastes good and it does rise but nIs the folding phase required? Or can I just transfer my dough to the preheated pan without folding it? Thanks for your help!

  49. MS — 4/21/13 @ 7:37 pm

    Finish baking my first loaf of this recipe today – came out perfectly!Thank you so much!

  50. Katia — 4/21/13 @ 10:18 pm

    This was absolutely delicious… thanks so much. This was my first time making any type of bread. I’ll be making more.

Leave a Comment