This easy no-knead peasant bread is a game changer! Incredibly simple to make, it is soft, fluffy, and so delicious. We can’t stop making it!

I have been so excited to get this bread recipe in front of you. I’m not even exaggerating, not one little bit, when I say it has revolutionized homemade bread around here.

I’ve made it (easily) at least ten times in the last month. I’ve served it to company. Brought it to friends. Made it just because I wanted to eat homemade bread at 1:28 p.m. It is amazing.

loaf of no-knead peasant bread on wood cutting board with three slices cut

No-Knead Bread is Not New

The no-knead bread trend is not new by any means. Wet, loose doughs formed into shaggy loaves and baked (most often) in a Dutch oven have been around a long time.

I have several recipes like that on my website already, like this artisan no-knead bread and this fantastic rustic crusty bread.

But this peasant bread is different and amazing enough to occupy its own spot here on the blog. For starters:

  • it’s easier and a bit more straightforward than other no-knead bread recipes
  • you don’t need a Dutch oven or baking stone for baking
  • it can be baked in a variety of every day baking pans
  • it doesn’t need long rising times

The crumb is soft and fluffy, and the crust is golden with just the perfect amount of bite and crustiness without cutting up the roof of your mouth.

spreading butter on half slice of no-knead peasant bread with butter knife

How to Make Peasant Bread

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add the water, and stir until no dry streaks remain.

It’s going to form a shaggy mass, and it’s going to be sticky. That’s exactly how you want it! Resist the urge to add more flour.

mixing dry ingredients and water in glass bowl for peasant bread

Grabbing a pinch of dough will leave a fair amount of sticky dough residue on your fingers.

Keeping the dough on the wet side of things is what allows us to skip any kneading and still end up with soft, fluffy bread.

sticky dough residue on fingers

Leave the dough right there in the bowl, cover the bowl, and let rise until doubled.

Once it is super puffy, grab a rubber spatula and start scraping the risen dough away from the sides of the bowl to form a messy ball in the center of the bowl.

mixing wet dough for no-knead peasant bread
peasant bread dough being scraped away from sides of glass bowl with rubber spatula

How to Shape Soft Sticky Dough

Now for the fun part.

It can be a bit messy trying to shape soft, sticky dough like this into a loaf shape. A few tips:

  • remember that it’s supposed to be kind of rustic, so ditch the idea of a perfectly shaped loaf
  • grease your hands (cooking spray or oil); it makes a world of difference
  • handle the dough quickly and efficiently – manhandling the dough will result in an epic dough bomb and lots of frustration

Here’s a quick video of how I shape this dough into a circle. I’m just lifting, rolling, and tucking a few times until it forms a pretty decent round shape.

Notice that my hands still end up with a bit of dough on them at the end. Feel free to use more cooking spray or oil, if needed. But don’t stress! It’s all part of the journey.

Best Pans to Use for Peasant Bread

The original peasant bread recipe calls for baking in oven-safe bowls (like Pyrex or others). Based on a traumatic experience in my past when my Pyrex bowls shattered coming out of the oven, I was determined to find a non-bowl solution for baking this bread.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t use a bowl for baking, I’m just letting you know I’ve come up with several fantastic alternatives that you probably already have in your kitchen.

After baking this bread in a Dutch oven, on a baking stone, in a round cake pan, and several other pan types, I’ve settled on the baking pan that works amazingly well and produces a loaf that is PERFECT.

A 9-inch pie plate.

peasant bread dough rising in greased pie plate

The sides of the pie plate help stabilize the shape of the loaf as it rises and helps prevent the dough from spreading out and flattening.

The peasant bread bakes up beautifully in a 9-inch pie plate! It’s what I use 99% of the time when I bake this bread. And in case I haven’t made it abundantly clear: I have made this bread so.many.times. Like, you can really trust me on this one.

baked loaf of peasant bread in glass pie plate

A metal pie plate works just fine, too. In fact, it actually gives a crustier exterior to the bread than a glass pie plate.

And, this bread bakes very well in a loaf pan, too. When shaping, go for more of a rectangle shape (but don’t over think it). Plop the loaf in a greased loaf pan, and get ready for some of the best bread of your life.

peasant bread rising in pie plate, baked in pie plate; peasant bread rising in loaf pan, baked in loaf pan

Best Bread Ever

I cannot overstate how amazing this easy, no knead peasant bread is. I want to beg, plead, bribe, force you to make it right this minute!

You’ll get all the rock star points for homemade bread with hardly any work. And you aren’t sacrificing anything in the name of it being an ultra-easy recipe. It is straight up some of the most delicious homemade bread ever.

I find myself turning to this bread recipe constantly now that I know it exists. It’s become our go-to bread for just about everything. Perfect for beginner and expert bread makers alike, please promise me you’ll make it soon!

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spreading butter on half slice of peasant bread with butter knife

Easy No-Knead Peasant Bread

4.94 stars (90 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (568 g) all-purpose flour (see note)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast (see note)
  • 2 cups warm water

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, add the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Whisk to combine. Add the water and mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the ingredients form a shaggy, sticky ball and no dry streaks remain.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Generously grease a 9-inch pie plate or 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. (See note for other pan sizes/options.)
  • Scrape the dough away from the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, forming a rough ball in the center of the bowl. Lightly grease your hands with cooking spray or oil and shape the dough into a circle loaf shape (or a rectangle loaf shape if using a loaf pan), tucking edges under. Place in the prepared pan. The loaf will not be completely smooth and may look a bit rough in shape, that's ok!
  • Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes until slightly puffy.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.

Notes

Flour: I have not tried this recipe with bread flour. I have tried it with 50% whole wheat flour, and it works great. I’ve used white wheat flour and also einkhorn wheat flour (other varieties of wheat flour may make the bread more dense/heavy).
Salt: I use table salt for this recipe. If using coarse, kosher salt, increase the salt to 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons.
Yeast: I have not tried this recipe with active dry yeast, but it should work – dissolve 1 tablespoon active dry yeast in 1/4 cup warm water until foamy and bubbling and decrease the water in the recipe by 1/4 cup – use the yeast mixture in the recipe when adding the rest of the water. 
Baking Pans: I prefer baking the dough in one loaf. However, the dough can be split into two pieces and baked in smaller bowls or pans (about 1 quart in size). Many people bake this dough in greased pyrex bowls, but I prefer pie plates or loaf pans for a better shape. 
Doubling: I frequently double this recipe and bake two loaves. 
Follow @MelsKitchenCafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from a recipe, Katherine B., a longtime reader sent me (thanks, Kat!) – originally from this recipe at Food52 and adding a link to Alexandra Stafford’s blog with lots of variations (I adapted it to use a pie plate or loaf pan for baking, and increased the flour and yeast amounts slightly)