Simple No-Knead Artisan Bread

I know it’s Halloween and all, and most of you are probably out roaming the streets dressed like witches and ghosts and chubby pumpkins, but I have bread on the brain. And in my world, bread wins out over candy any day (except for the dark chocolate kitkats that may make it home in my kids’ loot, of course), so today I want to chat just for a minute about bread.

Like, the best, most delicious bread ever. That kind of bread.

Years and years ago in another place and lifetime (i.e. the first month I ever blogged), I posted about the famous no-knead bread that was taking the world by storm (from Jim Lahey published by the New York Times). It’s a fabulous recipe and I hope every single one of you have experienced it. But if not, now’s the time, methinks.

The crusty, artisan, extremely simple bread has been made countless times in our house since then. But I have to admit, I’ve started cutting corners over the years. The original recipe is easy as can be, but I didn’t like the mess of splatting the bread onto a flour-dusted towel or counter (the last thing I need is extra laundry or more sweeping).

And the whole “flip the bread upside down in the pot” totally stressed me out. Even though the bread turned out, I realized for my emotional health and well-being I needed to stop flinging the dough around like a madwoman.

Simple No-Knead Artisan Bread

Enter one of my favorite kitchen tools: parchment paper. (And in the interest of full disclosure, I never would have thought of this except that my really smart Aunt Marilyn tipped me off.)

Instead of transferring the dough and using flour or cornmeal or anything else prone to ending up on the floor, the entire shaping and rising and baking process happens on an unassuming sheet of parchment paper and it has revolutionized an already revolutionary recipe (along with measuring my flour a little differently so the dough is waaaay less sticky and maddening to work with).

I am not exaggerating when I say I make this bread several times a month because it hardly requires any brain cells and yet manages to be so amazingly delicious.Β And because I can’t leave you totally hanging, I included a step-by-step picture tutorial below the recipe. Just to ease any lingering fears (seriously, fears be gone…you need to make this).

This recipe is best baked in one of those enamel cast iron pots (I have a pretty old Mario Batali version which works great; Le Creuset is another obvious, popular brand) but there are lots of tips online for using other types of pots. I’ve given a few tips in the notes of the recipe – but please, please, please, for all that is good and breakable, make sure that whatever you use is heatproof to 450 degrees. Ok? Thanks.

Oh, and one last note. This bread is fabulous with a variety of add-ins: asiago cheese, rosemary and cranberries, herbs and lemon zest, on and on. Options = endless. It’s straight out of the bread basket at a fancy-shmancy restaurant, except that it’s coming from your kitchen.

Simple No-Knead Artisan Bread

One Year Ago: Black Bean and Butternut Enchilada Skillet
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies
Three Years Ago: Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Frosting

Crusty Artisan No-Knead Bread

Yield: Makes 1 loaf of bread

Crusty Artisan No-Knead Bread

This recipe is easily doubled (or probably tripled if you have enough pots and oven space). If you don't have a heavy enamel cast iron pot, you should totally get one (kidding, kind of) - or you can try using other items. My aunt uses her sturdy crockpot insert (covered with tin foil not the crockpot lid) and my cousin has used a glass Pyrex bowl. Just make sure that anything you use can withstand a 450 degree oven.

This bread recipe works great if you want to use any add-ins. Some of my favorites are shredded or cubed Asiago cheese, cranberries and fresh rosemary, herbs and lemon zest...the options really are endless. You can add them into the dough before you scrape it out of the bowl.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (about 17 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups room temperature water

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix until the dough is combined and has a shaggy, sticky texture (it's easiest to just get in there with your hands and do the job).
  2. Cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 12-18 hours. It will get puffy and bubble.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the dough and let it gentle deflate. Turn it out onto a lightly greased piece of parchment paper and using your hands (lightly grease them if the dough is sticking too much) pat it into a thick oblong shape.
  4. Fold one of the long edges to the middle. Fold the other long edge over the top, forming a thick log. Take one short end and fold it in toward the middle and repeat with the other short end - basically like folding up a blanket or towel.
  5. Carefully and quickly flip the mound of dough over so the seams are on the bottom. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until puffy and doubled, about 2 hours.
  6. About 30-45 minutes before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a 6- to 8-quart heavy cast iron pot (like the popular enamel covered ones) in the oven as it heats and let it stay there for 30-45 minutes.
  7. When the dough is ready, remove the pot from the oven and take off the lid. Lift up the corners of the parchment paper and set the bread and parchment paper right into the pot. Cover with the lid and return to the oven to bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid from the pot and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the top of the loaf is browned and lovely.
  9. Carefully grab the corners of the parchment paper and remove the bread to a wire rack to cool completely.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/crusty-artisan-bread/

Recipe Source: adapted from one I posted in January 2008 from the famous Jim Lahey recipe
Simple No-Knead Artisan Bread

70 Responses to Crusty Artisan No-Knead Bread {Made Even Easier + Step-by-Step Tutorial}

  1. Janine says:

    I really want to make this bread sometime soon and I love your add-in ideas. Have you ever done this particular bread recipe with whole wheat flour?

  2. I’m in love with artisan breads. I’ve just recently made bread in a Dutch oven for the first time. So fun! And simple too…. Looks amazing!

    Have a beautiful weekend!

  3. Liz says:

    I had been using a 3 qt enamel dutch oven and it worked (still works in my motorhome!) great, but I wanted something a bit deeper for the occasional frying. This Lodge 5 quart DO is all of $32.37 on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00063RWYI/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    One of my favorite variations is a multi-grain mix – same method as above including parchment!

    60 grams KA Med Rye (about 1/2 cup)
    80 grams WheatMT WWW (about 3/4 cups)
    260 grams MTWheat (about 2 cups white)
    1/4 cup steel cut oats
    3/4 tsp salt (I use celtic gray salt)
    1 yeast (SAF instant)
    1 1/2 – 1/3/4 cup warm water

  4. Love the tip about using Parchment! I’ve realized it’s great for so many things, like lining a cookie sheet if you don’t have a Silpat.
    Anyways, this bread looks amazing- definitely restaurant quality!

  5. Ellen Bacon says:

    I have a cast iron Dutch oven without the enamel. Anyone know if this will work?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ellen, that should work just fine (does it have a lid?).

    • Liz says:

      I use a Lodge Cast iron…WITH lid πŸ™‚ ! (see link in my comment above) The nice thing about the cast iron is the lid handle is cast iron also. Some “enamel” DO’s lid handles are not rated for high temps. I had to replace my enamel DO lid handle with a Le Crueset lid handle.

  6. Pamela says:

    I’ve been eyeing an awesome dutch oven at Sams for weeks. I keep telling I NEED it, I just don’t know what I need it for. Well here ya go. Now I have a reason to get it LOL I love making rustic bread so anything to make it faster is a bonus.

  7. I’ve always used parchment paper for this recipe, too! Way too scary trying to plop wet dough into my smallish Le Creuset. Just say no to burns. πŸ™‚

  8. Kim in MD says:

    Mel- your bread recipes ROCK! Your tutorials are awesome, too. Happy Halloween!

  9. Sharon says:

    Wondering if I can use my old corning ware pot (it has a lid)? Does the bread need a deep pot? Looks really terrific and I want to try it.

    • Mel says:

      How deep is your pot, Sharon? I’d say give it a try! The bread probably needs a good 8-inches and even if the pot is more shallow, the bread will still bake well, it just might be flatter on top if it reaches the top of the pot while baking.

  10. Debbie Kaiser says:

    Thank you so much for the step-by-step photos! They really help. And I definitely
    plan to try the parchment paper trick.

  11. Faith Srader says:

    I have an aluminum dutch oven and a good stainless steel ( Wolfgang Puck) stockpot that is the same width around as a dutch oven but taller. Would either one of these work and which one?

    • Mel says:

      Hmmm, good question, Faith. I’ve never tried an aluminum or stainless pan and I’m not sure how the thinner sides and bottom will do. As long as the pots are heatproof to 450 degrees, it’s definitely worth a try. I’d probably go for the stainless pot but check the bread often as it might burn more easily.

  12. Marilyn M says:

    Using parchment paper is genius! Thanks for sharing this recipe with your photos – makes it so much easier to visualize the process!

  13. Julie T says:

    I wonder…what would happen if you just baked it on a preheated pizza stone?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Julie – good question; I haven’t tried it but this bread dough is pretty sticky and soft and I’m not sure it would hold it’s shape on a pizza stone like other freeform bread loaves. I think it would probably spread out and bake up very unloaf-like.

    • Alice E says:

      It might work, I think. However, if you are nervous, or curious, check out the book “Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day” at your local library. Or, google it and you should find the authors’ website. I have the book and really liked the results when I tried the sandwich bread. Their method mixes the dough and either bakes it or stores it in the frig. They use a pizza stone for baking and don’t cover the bread as it bakes. Obviously, the 5 minutes doesn’t include rising or baking time. But they do include lots of pictures and instructions. They also have lots of variations.

  14. Tanya M. says:

    We have been making this crusty bread in my family for a long time. Love it! We just ate it last week with a yummy pot of potato soup. My kids love the crunchy crust! I use my dutch oven with a lid and it works great.
    **Just a note to those who don’t like the high temps… my mom doesn’t like to put her dough into a burning hot pan, so after it has mostly raised, she puts it into the pan and into the cold oven and turns it on and lets it heat up and start baking together. It takes longer to bake, obviously. She said it turns out just as good. Just thought I’d share.
    Thanks for the awesome recipes, Mel!! I love parchment paper for this bread and homemade pizza.. a life-saver!!!

  15. Laurel says:

    I’m giving you a big squeezing hug right now! You have saved me from an entire day of making rolls for a soup dinner tomorrow night. Crusty bread and soup, the perfect combo! Thank you for the best recipes ever! You’re going to make me a rock star tomorrow night!

  16. Jen says:

    I, too, use parchment paper for this recipe, as well as the extra flour. So much easier! Instead of using plastic wrap to cover the dough, I turn the large bowl that it was mixed in over on top of the dough after it is shaped on the parchment paper. Works great and don’t have to waste/mess with greased plastic wrap!
    Mel, a quick question for you: Which bread do you prefer for fondue – the rustic crusty bread listed in the fondue recipe or this one? I’ve never made the rustic crusty bread but will definitely make it if you think it is a better fondue bread! (I’ve never made fondue, either, but thanks to you I am going to give it a try.)

    • Mel says:

      Love the tip about the bowl, Jen – thanks for sharing that! And for fondue I prefer the Rustic Crusty Bread – this bread tends to not hold up so well on a fondue fork thanks to all the airy (beautiful) little holes.

  17. I’ve always wanted to make this version of no knead bread but haven’t yet, due to not having one of those cast iron pots! The slow cooker insert is a great idea, I may have to finally try it!

  18. Michelle says:

    This prompted me to finally order a replacement knob for my dutch oven. Mine just came with a plastic one, and I’ve been meaning to order a stainless one so I could try out these artisan bread recipes. I’ll be trying out this recipe ASAP! πŸ™‚

  19. Mel says:

    For anyone interested in more of a whole wheat version, my Aunt Marilyn just chimed in with this tip: for whole wheat, replace one cup of the white flour with whole wheat flour + 2 tablespoons honey and add to the water before mixing (along with the yeast and salt).

  20. Kim says:

    My mom makes this with almost all whole wheat and no honey and loves it. We love the all white version. I have quadrupled this batch and baked it in my 12 quart cast iron Dutch oven for a large crowd and it works beautifully. Just be aware it is. HEAVY and the legs on the Dutch oven make getting it in and out of the oven a bit tricky with the oven rack but be careful and pay attention and it works perfectly. And was a huge crowd pleaser.

  21. sweetpea says:

    Hi, Mel. Thanks for your tips. Can you tell me if the difference between all purpose and
    unbleached flour is just cosmetic? Would they be interchangeable here?

  22. Paris says:

    Does anyone know if this bread freezes well after it’s made? I love the idea of how little work goes into this while still getting something great, but my main goal is to find recipes that can be froze and stored for later.

  23. Katie Groneman says:

    Just made this today (well, started last night), and it got a 10 on the bread score according to my husband (and me). Best bread we’ve had in a long time! I look forward to trying the whole wheat version.

  24. Stacey says:

    I just mixed up the dough — which has me wondering about the flour — do you go by weight or measurement? I hedged and went in between the two. Can’t wait to try it tomorrow! The ingredients are VERY similar to my pizza dough which sits out rising all day.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Stacey – I always use weight measurements if they are given in the recipe. The weight measure and cup measure shouldn’t be that far off (at least based on how I measure the flour which is to fluff it first, then scoop in the cup and level it off). Hope the bread works out well!

  25. Michelle says:

    Mel, I have a problem. πŸ™ I’ve wanted to try this type of bread for years, and seeing it here made me finally try it. I even bought a replacement metal knob for my Lodge dutch oven so I could do it. The bread looks gorgeous, and I’m sure tastes great (it’s cooling now)- but it ruined my pot. After heating the empty pot for 30 minutes, I took it out of the oven, and the enamel had chipped off the underside of the lid in multiple spots. I’m so sad, and I don’t know if Lodge will replace it, since apparently their instructions say to not heat the pot empty (I didn’t know that). A Google search told me that with Lodge enamel-coated dutch ovens in particular, you can’t preheat them empty or this will happen! Too late now. I’m going to keep researching this, but I thought maybe there should be a note in your post to help prevent this for others. Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Michelle! Thanks for commenting so that others can know this might happen. I know that other brands (Le Creuset and the brand I have, M Batali) can be heated empty; I wasn’t aware other brands were different. I’ll make a note in the recipe.

  26. Jill says:

    We made this to have with soup for dinner, and it was really wonderful bread..just takes some planning (I.e., start it the night before). Thank you for such a great recipe!

  27. Amy C. says:

    Hi Mel. I tried this bread and it was fantastic. We ate it with soup and made sandwiches from it. My kids loved it. However, I have a cheaper enamel coated dutch oven and the preheating process discolored the inside of it. It didn’t seem to affect it’s performance however, because I used it to make soup in last night. Maybe it’s time for a dutch oven upgrade!

  28. Lisa says:

    I made this bread today (and it turned out DELICIOUS!) along with your Summer Garden Vegetable Soup (one of our faves, we make it all year round because we love it too much to only have it during the summer!). During dinner, my husband and I were discussing our favorite meals, and I discovered that over 80% of the meals I make regularly came from you! We make it a point to try at least one new recipe every week (and have for over 3 years–we were both victims of our mothers only having ~7 dinner recipes as kids and didn’t get to try many new foods, and we keep discovering all these new things we love!) and so it’s definitely saying something that such a high percentage of the ones we kept come from you. Thank you so much for all the amazing recipes!!

  29. Rachel w says:

    Is it ok to let the dough rise even longer? I’m a total yeast newbie, and want to make the dough today for baking tomorrow after work (roughly 24 hours after, not the 12-16 you suggest). Any help or ideas would be great! Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t tried it but I’m pretty sure this dough can be refrigerated for up to five or six days (I think I read that in the Artisan Bread 5-Minutes a Day).

  30. Jared says:

    Just took two of these babies out of the oven and they turned out so perfectly! Thanks again for another no-fail recipe. Also, I got an email saying that zip-list will no longer have a recipe saving function, which is a total bummer. Do you have any recommendations for a similar service?

    • Mel says:

      Hey Jared – I know, it’s a bummer about Ziplist. I’ve heard there’s a new service called Whisk that I’m looking into. I’ll keep everyone updated. Also, there’s a mobile app called Paprika others have recommended (that’s not something I install on my end, it would be individual). I heard that if you create an account over at epicurious.com you’ll still be able to access your recipes, FYI.

  31. Kel says:

    thank you for reposting with the great pictures! I look forward to making it soon.

  32. Alicia says:

    I just had to report that after getting a new enamel-clad cast iron pot for Christmas, I made two loaves to take to dinner with friends last night. 1 was plain, and to the other I added parmesan, fresh rosemary, and garlic bread seasoning (dry). Both were awesome, but the parmesan-herb was the favorite. The crispiness of the crust and the chew-factor were fab, and the perfect compliment to soup. Thanks for the detailed pics and descriptions!

  33. Valerie says:

    I have a question about yeast. I bought the Active Dry Yeast instead of the Instant Yeast, which I could not find in my grocery store. Can I change the Instant Yeast called for in the recipe for the Active Dry Yeast I already have and if so, how much should I use. And is it true in the directions that if you use the Instant Yeast you only use 1/4 tsp for a whole loaf of bread? I am SO anxious to try this bread, it looks delicious.

    • Mel says:

      Usually active dry yeast needs to be proofed in a bit of water until it’s bubbly and foamy before using, as opposed to instant yeast which can be thrown in with all the ingredients. So you could try proofing the yeast in the water (you’ll want to use slightly warmer water probably) before adding the flour and salt. And yes, the yeast amount is correct. Good luck if you try it!

  34. Jocelyn says:

    This bread is super! My dough wouldn’t hold a nice shape for the rise, so I picked up the parchment paper and set it into a medium sized saucepan instead. This way I ended up with a nice, circular loaf. Also, I was nervous about putting my new Lodge Dutch oven into the oven with nothing in it. So, I took another reader’s advice and placed the bread dough into the Dutch oven, then put the duo into the oven and started the preheat. It worked great!

    I served the bread with cheese fondue for our New Year’s Eve dinner. Everyone loved it. Thanks so much!

  35. Jocelyn says:

    Mel, I forgot to ask a question in my comments above. The crust on my bread was not crispy at all. Could that be because I didn’t preheat my Dutch oven? The texture of the bread was otherwise fabulous, and I don’t think anyone cared about the top, but I’m still curious. Thanks for your help.

  36. Mary P says:

    I made 2 loaves of this bread over Christmas. I followed directions exactly, and the first loaf looked perfect but was burned black on the bottom. So I turned the temp down 50 degrees for the second loaf and it was the same way. They were still delicious, but I had to slice the burnt bottom off both loaves. My oven is not abnormally hot, and it wasn’t on the bottom rack. My Dutch oven is a food network brand. Any idea what I could be doing wrong?

    • Mel says:

      Hmmm, I’m not sure, Mary. I’ve never had that happen – I’m not familiar with that brand of Dutch oven but I’m wondering if it has a thinner base than other models.

  37. Kim says:

    Finally got brave and tried this bread out tonight with some chicken soup. Oh my goodness, it was delightful! My dough was super sticky and it looked nothing like your pictures during the folding on the parchment steps, but it turned out fantastic after being cooked in my trusty Lodge Dutch oven (size 12 – you know the kind with legs that you usually cook with outside on charcoal – worked great). Love your blog! Thanks for all the great food you’ve introduced me and my family to!

  38. Val says:

    I made the bread yesterday. Family loved!!! The only concern is that I can’t take the paper from the bottom of the bread. I think I will need to grease the paper a little moe next time. Overall it is a perfect bread. Thank you!

  39. myrtle says:

    Thanks so much for your tutorial pictures. I have been making a slight variation of this bread–it’s the same except I do not let it rise the next day, just scoop it out of the bowl onto a floured surface and let it rest while the oven and baking pan are heating (30 min, 450 degF), and it turns out great. I also use a Pyrex loaf pan, because I want loaf-shaped bread, and another loaf pan inverted as the lid (the “lid” is metal, but I doubt that matters). The loaf rises above the level of the loaf pan while baking, which is why I use an inverted loaf pan for the lid to give it room. So… I was wondering if there is an advantage to letting it rise again? My bread always comes out with a nice crust and stretchy with holes on the inside, much like what your picture looks like. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      I like that second rise for the light texture but if you are already enjoying the result the way you make it, no need to change!

  40. Allie Thyer says:

    Just stumbled upon your website a few days ago and am loving it! I have made the flat-bread and I plan on trying the french bread rolls. I made this crusty artisan bread today and it turned out great! I am new to bread baking and have tried many recipes, but not much success with no-knead recipes until this one. My husband says this is the best bread I have made so far! The dough is very sticky though and I can hardly fold it. After I folded it I had to use the parchment paper to flip the dough onto another piece of parchment paper so the seams were down since it was way too sticky/soft to pick up with my hands to flip it over. While the folded dough was rising I had to put a “barrier” around it so it would rise up and not outward. Is this normal? Also, have you tried a whole wheat version?

    • Mel says:

      It is a pretty sticky dough so I think that’s pretty normal. You might try adding just a couple more tablespoons of flour if it’s a nightmare to work with. I have made a whole wheat version (subbing white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose) and it’s delicious but not quite as light in texture as the all white flour recipe.

      • Allie says:

        I’ll have to try that! Also, I want to make this around my work schedule. I know you can refrigerate dough, but at what point would you suggest I refrigerate, after the 12-18 hour rise, or after mixing it up and letting it rise a couple of hours? And when I’m ready to shape it, should I warm it up in the counter a bit before I shape it or go ahead and shape the cold dough? Like I said, I’m new at this, so any advice is appreciated πŸ™‚

        • Mel says:

          You can refrigerate it after it’s rested at room temp for 12-18 hours (gently deflate it and then refrigerate). It can be refrigerated for several days. It will need a longer rising time out of the refrigerator after it’s shaped into a round shape since it will be chilled but otherwise, it should work great.

  41. Marek Steed says:

    Thank you. I have been hesitant to try these types of breads due to my own self-inflicted fear of them. But SUCCESS! Thank you so much for the step by step pictures. I feel like you virtually hold my hand on those things I’m eager but fearful of trying…and then I make it through successfully due to your amazingness and I feel like a rockstar in the kitchen. My family thinks I’m a rockstar now, too!

  42. Erin says:

    Hey there, can’t wait to try this recipe! If I double it, do I then take half of the dough at a time after the first rise to bake? Or can I just bake it all together? And would the bake time change?

    • Mel says:

      I would suggest making two loaves if you double the recipe – just based on the size of the loaves.

      • Erin Monk says:

        Thank you so much for responding! I have the dough prepared in a double batch and will be baking tomorrow, so this is perfect timing πŸ™‚ Love your blog. I have made your yellow cake three times and I have made countless batches of your Aunt Marilyn’s quinoa muffins πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to taste this bread!

      • Erin says:

        Thank you so much for responding, and so quickly! I have the dough prepared in a double batch and will be baking tomorrow, so your response is very helpful πŸ™‚ Love your site. I have made your yellow cake three times and I have made countless batches of your Aunt Marilyn’s quinoa muffins, all with wonderful success! Can’t wait to taste this bread πŸ™‚

  43. Kris says:

    I always use 2-1/4 tsp instant yeast for this recipe, as we love a yeasty bread flavor. Turns out perfect every time. Thanks!

  44. Carolyn Millat says:

    I am new to bread baking. Loved your crusty bread recipe. I was wondering what are measurements for garlic, thyme, cheddar cheese etc. Those ingredients sound so good in bread. It seems maybe 1 teaspoon each?

    • Mel says:

      It’s really up to personal preference but that would be a good place to start (with maybe a cup or two of small cubed or shredded cheese).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *