On this page, you will find both the short and long version videos of a basic no knead bread baking technique. See these variations of no knead recipe too.

Before we get started, I wanted to share an email I received from Leanna who says more for the benefits of the no knead method than I could ever convey. She says…

Love This Method

I’ve been baking bread for 40 years and this method has turned my bread baking upside down. I even had kneading down to an art. My dough had to feel just right. My ingredients had to be the best. Now I just throw these four items into a bowl and with no effort on my part, I end up with perfection. I take care of a lady with handicaps and bake it for her too. She has a gas oven and mine at home is electric. I have had no problems with this method. I used to have a sourdough starter but several moves ago, I discarded it. Now with your starter I am back in business. I can hardly wait for my first loaf of NK sourdough bread.

6 min. 40 sec.

12 min. long

Ingredients for basic yeasted No Knead Method:

3 cups bread flour (the above video used 1 cup (5 oz.) whole wheat flour and 2 cups (10 1/2 oz.) white bread flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups purified or spring water

  • Mix together the dry ingredients.
  • Mix in water until the water is incorporated.
  • Cover with plastic and let sit 12-18 hours.
  • Follow video instruction for folding.
  • Cover loosely with plastic and rest for 15 minutes.
  • Transfer to well floured towel or proofing basket. Cover with towel and let rise about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Bake in covered La Cloche or Dutch oven preheated to 500 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Remove cover; reduce heat to 450 degrees and bake an additional 15 minutes.
  • Let cool completely on rack.
  • Consume bread, be happy.

Note: Regarding the 15 minute rest after the long proofing period; it’s a habit of mine from working with “regular” dough where it helps to have the dough rest after folding in order to relax it so it’s easier to shape for the final rise. With the wet no knead dough recipes, I’ve been skipping it and haven’t noticed any difference in the results.

No Knead Revisited – A Three Year Check Up

The original New York Times no knead bread recipe was published in 2006, about the same time Breadtopia was born. By far the most common difficulty people write or call in about is with the dough being too wet to handle at the end of the long first proofing period and also when it’s time to place the dough into a covered vessel to bake at the end of the second rise.

When you run into this, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it other than attempt to follow through on the instructions and ultimately wrest the dough into your heated baker and into the oven. Your “mistake” may turn out better than you expected and if nothing else, you’ll learn from it. The next time around you can do one or a combination of a couple things differently.

  • Add more flour and/or use less water than you did the first time. Dough has a way of getting more slack as it sits for many hours so if you start off with the dough being a little stiffer than you think it should be, that’s fine and maybe it’ll be easier to handle later.
  • Consider reducing the long proofing time by several hours. Don’t get stuck on the idea of 18 hours. Depending on your room temperature and humidity, 18 hours may result in over proofing. When dough proofs too long, the gluten breaks down, the yeast looses some oomph and it can just get downright soupy. Most of the time, I find 12-14 hours to be about right (and sometimes even 9-10 hours during very warm weather). If you want or need to prolong the proofing time, but don’t want to risk over proofing, stick the dough in the fridge for several hours or overnight. That will slow things down a lot. Then resume proofing at room temp until it’s ready to bake.

The same principle holds true on the second rise. While 1-2 hours is the suggested range, I’m almost always at about 60 to 75 minutes.

Another concern we hear a lot is about the dough not rising much during that second short proofing period. I don’t see mine rise much then either and it doesn’t matter so long as you see a good rise during the first several minutes that the dough is in the oven. That’s called oven spring and it’s a very good thing. By keeping your proofing periods on the shorter side, you’re more likely to get good oven spring from the still vigorous yeast or sourdough starter.

Of course all of the above is assuming your yeast or sourdough starter is fresh and viable to start with.

In summary, most problems can be helped or solved by stiffening the dough a little and/or shortening the rising times.

If you’re new to bread baking, don’t think from reading this that it’s difficult or tricky to get great results. Most people find it a breeze and enjoy success right out of the blocks. Others may find it takes a few tries. It’s important to have fun with it and don’t worry about bombing. There’s no significant downside to bread baking but the upside can be fabulous. Enjoy!

This method of baking is quite forgiving if you alter the ingredients and proportions. One of the great things about a bread recipe that is so easy and involves just one loaf at a time is you don’t feel like you’re risking a lot if your experimenting goes awry.

Try using different flours and/or different proportions of flour and play around with the water measurement a little.

We’d would love to hear from anyone with their experiences using this technique, both successful and otherwise. Please share your experiences below.

Note: Here are some great dough handling tips from Breadtopia reader Mark Liptak. Also, check out these no knead baking techniques by Margaret Ball.

1,672 thoughts on “No Knead Bread Baking Method

  1. Scott H

    I’ve made at least one loaf of this per week for about 5 weeks now and it’s perfect every time! I’ve never made bread other than in a bread machine and in never had a good crust and didn’t have that nice yeasty smell or taste. This bread is amazing

    WARNING: A dutch oven at 480 or 500 degrees is AMAZINGLY hot. On my first attempt I put the lid on the stove as I was getting ready to put the bread in. It’s so rare to put a pot lid in the oven (for me) that I completely forgot it was hot and grabbed the lid with no potholder. Man did that hurt. Be careful!

    Next, I really wanted a good caraway seed rye bread and my first attempt was to substitute half of the flour (1-1/2 cups) with rye flour. It tasted fine but was too dense. It doesn’t rise much so you don’t get good size slices for sandwiches. The next time I substituted only a 1/2 cup with rye flour and it was GREAT! I’m not sure what the flavor would be like with that little rye flour and no caraway seeds but with the seeds, it was fantastic!

  2. Stuart The Baker

    I nearly gave up on the no knead method after several attempts and alterations, but I stumbled on Eric’s recipe and this has exceeded my expectations. I used better quality stone ground local wheat (this has more protein in it and gives bigger bubbles) and left the dough overnight as suggested. I tried all different ways and them putting it the fridge as described by Jeff Hertzberg but I never got the big bubbles, lighter bread. This recipe worked out perfect!

    I added my pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds for the perfect loaf, it was nearly gone in the first sitting :)

  3. Dee

    I have been working on perfecting the no-knead recipe and processes for my kitchen. Every kitchen has its own set of conditions that make a difference in how the dough reacts: climate of the day (a big influence!), oven (temps can vary. convection makes a difference, etc.), ingredients (brands are slightly different); even utensils, tools, bowls, pots, and the baker’s own perceptions make a difference.

    You have to learn how to work your own set of conditions du jour to create your own individual, best processes for the moment (each day is different). Concisely said, you must learn how the dough “feels” and looks to make the best bread at any given time and tweak-adjust it as you go. The artistry of bread making is in the bread-maker’s own senses and savvy. Each day is different; learn to sense the differences and make appropriate adjustments.

    That said, here is a tip that I learned during my last few bread sessions — I have abandoned all dough-mixing tools: wooden spoons, dough whisks, mixer, etc. I just use my clean, bare hand. It has wonderful mechanical versatility, and I can “feel” what is happening with the dough. I get a thorough, even mix, and it is far easier than trying to stroke any other tool around in the stiffness of incorporating flour and water together. I know exactly when the gluten strands have formed, which is what is important.

    I don’t mind washing my gooey hand. You have wash any tool you use. And, . . . wasn’t making mud pies fun because you got your hands into it?

    Ultimately, bread-making is powerful magic, and fantastic, creative fun. Above all, HAVE FUN!

  4. Dan

    I learned to bake bread a few years ago by following a basic no-knead recipe. Over the years I have slightly modified it until it resembles the following:
    -7 cups of brown bread flour
    -10g instant yeast
    -2 tsp. table salt
    -750ml lukewarm water
    I mix the dry ingredients and the water with a big spoon and then pour it into a baking pan. I cover the baking pan with a plastic bag and let the dough rise in a warm place until it is almost double in size, or reaches the rim of the pan. I then bake it in a preheated electric oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 60 minutes. My bread won’t win any prizes, but its fairly quick to make and tastes better than the bread available at the local supermarket. I see that your recipe has a much, much longer proofing time and a higher oven temperature. This probably results in a better texture as well as taste. My bread loaf usually has a coarse texture.

  5. Kaleb

    Ok I’m am brand spanking new to this and I know I’m an idiot for asking this but when do I use the starter in the recipe?

  6. Gary from Wisconsin

    Friday baking.

  7. Antonella

    Hi! I have done this a few times and always with the same result: great taste, great crust (depending on whether I used a dutch oven or not) but the inside stayed a bit sticky, with small bubbles. What am I doing wrong? I am all for the keep trying approach, but there are a lot of variables and I would love some help on where to start adjusting first. Thanks!!
    Antonella

    • Stuart The Baker

      I had exactly the same problem until I used local, higher quality stone ground wheat, now I get perfect bubbles. Try fresh yeast as well for better quality rises :)

  8. Lori

    I was curious if you could make a regular dough in the bread machine and then continue to do the rise and bake technique used with the No Knead recipe? I know it won’t taste as good and I LOVE the No Knead recipe, however sometimes it’s just faster to use my machine. Just wondering if anyone has done this? Thanks!

    • Lori
      You posted a recipe several years ago which included white wine vinegar and old dough.
      My family absolutely loved it but I didn’t save the recipe. Could you post it to me please as I would love to make it again as it was so good.
      Many thanks
      Marian Hale

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