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. Erin

    First time making no-knead bread. Love it and it turned out just as I hoped and expected! However, I’ve come to the conclusion that I like softer crust. Is it possible to make a softer crust with this recipe? Call me a baby, but my jaw hurts from chewing.

  2. Peggy Wang

    guys, and Eric,

    I bought the round cloche from Breadtopia and I remember reading about in order to protect your cloche from cracking, you don’t want to have a cold cloche go in a very hot oven and that’s why I never dare preheat w/o the cloche in the oven.

    I guess I must be very stubborn, and since I have the cloche, I want to use it and not want to have other “accessories” like parchment, other types of cover, to “temper” with the process. I must be too much of a purist to be a good baker! But I will try checking oven temp. first, like Wil suggested.

    Thank you for your suggestions. They all sound like something I can try.

  3. Fred C

    i agree with sugars, and sweets in particular. if im using raisins or drried fruit, will often blacken if on the surface. i worry about that but have had serious sticking problems on side or bottom if the fruit sticks or burns. since i almost always add some type of nuts and dry fruti, parchment paper or even foil have become a way of live.
    as to temperature, i even preheat the oven and pot(s) at 525 then bake at 500 before uncovering and lowering temperature. the top crust usualyl light until i remove the lid for final baking. i dont get any burning on the top but once the lid is off, i keep an eye on it cause can darken pretty quickly.

  4. Wil

    Hi Peggy, I would take the earlier suggestion and use a oven thermometer to see what is going on with your temperatures and oven cycling. Another would be the type of recipe you are using. If you are using the basic flour, salt, yeast and water, NK rustic bread method, high heat is what it’s all about. You should have no problems with the temps recommended. If you are using a enriched bread recipe with sugars, eggs, milk, fruits and such, then lower temps are usually used. I am sure you will find out what is going on. It almost sounds to me as if your oven is not behaving and you should rule that out first by checking it.

    Wil

  5. Why don’t you forget the preheating of the pot, cloche, etc, allow the bread to rise in the bottom of the Cloche with a towel covering, slash, place the cool cover on, and bake? I’ve done it both ways, heated and not heated, and find the only difference is the convenience of not dealing with hot pots. No reason at all to heat up the pot first. Preheat the oven but not the pot. You can also do the rise on a parchment covered cookie sheet, cover with a towel, slash, cover with a pot upside down, and bake. No transferring of dough so no deflating.

  6. Peggy Wang

    hi Wil and Fred,

    thank you for writing to help me solve my burnt top problem. Wil, the strange thing is the last two NK’s I baked in the same cloche, at some position, same level, same temp., one came out perfect and the last one burned after 20 min! The only difference I can think of, is the first time once the pre-heat temp reached 500 I put the dough in but for the second time I was busy with other things so the oven continued to pre-heat after it had reached 500 degree. I don’t know if what Fred mentioned was causing my problem but I will just have to try again and put the dough in as soon as oven reaches desired temp. and see if that makes a difference. Hate to have to throw away a loaf after so much time and anticipation.

  7. Fred C

    some ovens have the top element on in a preheat phase or other special functioning. mine is gas and heats bottom only. However, i also had some burning on top until i kept lowering the shelf as experiment. . now I’m 3rd slot from bottom and so far so good.

  8. Fred C

    some ovens have the top element on in a preheat phase or other special functioning. mine is gas and heats bottom only. However, i also had some burning on top until i kept lowering the shelf as experiment. . now I’m 3rd slot from bottom and so far so goo.

  9. Wil

    P.S. To Peggy,
    I often bake my bread on a baking stone, with no cover, in the oven at 500 and 450 degrees with no burning. I don’t think the cause of your burned tops is a loose fitting cover.

  10. Wil

    Peggy, be sure you are not baking on a rack too close to the top of the oven. Use a rack in the middle of the oven, or lower if oven is not very high inside. The top of your baker may be too close to the heating elements, thus overheating, thus burned top. This is especially true at these high temperatures. Just a guess. Good luck!

    Wil

  11. Peggy Wang

    hi Eric,
    Thank you for your response.

    I have checked my oven and the temp. is fairly accurate and consistent.
    I suspected that since it’s the top that got burnt, it could be caused by too much hot air inside the cloche and that lead me to suspect the lid may not seal the same all around. I put the cloche up on countertop and checked for contact with the bottom, and sure enough, at certain position, the lid doesn’t make good contact with the bottom and leaves enough opening for hot air to get in. I think that’s why the bread doesn’t always get burned. Yesterday was just another one of those unlucky days when the lid happened to be at that position, again.

    I am going to make a mark on both the bottom and the lid of the cloche so when I close the lid I just need to align the marks to make sure the lid sits right on the bottom. Hope this will solve the problem.

    Peggy

  12. Hi Peggy,

    I really don’t know. When people report burning issues, it’s almost always the bottom of the loaf. Your case is all the more perplexing in that sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. Have you checked (with an oven thermometer) that your oven is heating to the desired temp on a consistent basis?

  13. Peggy Wang

    SOS!!

    I made the cranberry-pecan no knead in round cloche today but was horrified to see charred crust on top when I open the lid after 20 min. because I smelled the burn! Sometimes this happens but other times I get good result. What went wrong??

    Please help, someone…

  14. Joe Detrano

    Amanda,
    i am far from an expert but probably your oven is not as hot as you’d like. Mine is that way also. I leave my bread covered for 40-45 minutes, not 30. then uncovered for 10-15. For the second phase, i use a Taylor thermometer on a wire so the probe is in the bread the last 10-15 minutes.
    A variation of those numbers hopefully will solve your problem.
    Joe

  15. Amanda

    I am having some difficulties… I have tried no knead bread twice, and both times the bread seems wet inside. The second time I took the temperature, and it was about 200 degrees F inside. I am just not sure what to try to improve the results. Any advice? Thanks in advance for the help!

  16. Jeff

    I’ve been making the No-Knead Breads for a while now, usually to the tune of 4 to 6 loaves/week. In my small oven I can get a Dutch Oven, a Romertopf and Long Superstone in it at one time. I use the convection setting at 500 degrees for the first 30 minutes. I found convection provides me with better heat distribution around the three cooking vessels. I have never had a problem with parchment paper and always do my second rise with the doogh on the parchment paper that I’ll eventually cook on. I am not sure what I am doing different – but I don’t know how one could have this happen. I like the variations you have posted. Here are a couple of variations I keep cooking – Brie: I add 5 to 6 oz. of 3/4″ Brie chunks at the initial mixing (delicious). Cheddar/Peperoni add 5 to 6 oz. of Cheddar and 4 oz of thinly sliced pepperoni at original mixing – cut salt in ~ half. Five Grain Seeded: I replace 1 C of bread flour with whole wheat, add 3/4 cup of five grain mix, 2 oz pumpkin seeds, 2 oz sunflower seeds, an additional 1/4 cup of water and increase my yeast by 50%. (I use 1/3 cup of sourdough starter or 1/3 tsp of yeast).

    Happy Baking!

  17. joe………..oooooh, can’t wait to try that.

  18. Joe

    i tried using parchment paper quite a while ago and had the same problem. The paper created folds in the dough and when baked, the bread had paper stuck to it.
    This weekend i tried something different. After the second rise using the parchment paper, when the pot was heating in the oven, i lifted the dough, on the parchment paper, out of the bowl and put it on the kitchen counter. The paper slowly removed itself from the sides of the dough.
    then, when the pot was hot, i simply lifted the paper and dough and put it in the pot. The bread came out higher than any i ever baked. So high in fact it hit the lid on the pot.
    joe

  19. Abruze

    I haven’t had the opportunity yet to cradle the dough into a dutch oven with parchment paper. My question concerns the paper sticking to the finished loaf. How do you prevent that? I have used the no-knead method, and the bread was good, but the finished shape of the loaf left something to be desired.

  20. KXJ

    I tried using the parchment paper in the proofing basket but am having a big problem with it sticking to the bread after cooking. Yesterday I spent about 10 minutes peeling it off bit by bit and even had to scrape some off with a knife? Help!

  21. irwin

    I recall reading about vital wheat gluten somewhere in the Breadtopia web site but I can no longer find it using the search mode. Can you help? thanks, Irwin

  22. Don

    Proofing the dough that last time in a basket lined with parchment paper makes a world of difference… I just lower the dough into the dutch oven via the parchment paper and get no deflation. Wonderful results since.

  23. Kate

    My husband made your no-knead steel cut oat bread for a Father/Son camp out dutch oven cook off and had great success. I am gluten free and wanted in on the action and I am so excited to report that it turned out AWESOME! I weighed my flours using the below substitution, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly.
    In replace of wheat I used:
    (3 oz.) almond flour
    (3 oz.) gluten free steel cut oats
    (10 oz.) gluten free flour blend (1.5 part sorghum flour/1.5 part potato starch/1 part tapioca starch)
    And added:
    1 tsp guar gum

    Gluten Free dough doesn’t hold it’s shape and so after proofing for 18 hours placed dough to rise in a 6″ spring form pan for 90 minutes and then baked the bread per the instructions, leaving the dough in the pan.
    I was dubious about the small amount of yeast, but it worked just fine. Now I just need to start some gluten free sour dough starter and I am off.

  24. Hi Don,

    Using a smaller Dutch oven is definitely a great way to go. My favorite size is a 4 qt. One of the reasons I’m getting better oven spring, using the round cloche, than you might expect from a no knead dough is because I tend towards a stiffer dough than most people. It’s still no knead but not as wet as most. You could experiment with that.

    It also helps that the sourdough starter I use is always super potent. It’s not the variety of starter so much as the fact that I use it (and therefor refresh it) so often that it’s always optimally strong. Sourdough starter is like a muscle that way – – the more you use it the stronger it gets to a point. When I use instant yeast, it’s SAF and even easier to get a good rise than with starter. And finally, getting the timing of when you put your dough in the hot oven just right, really helps too. There’s a time when you hit it just right, the oven spring is maximum. Too short a rise and the yeast hasn’t had time to fully do its thing and too long (most common “mistake”) and the yeast is starting to poop out.

    I don’t mean to make it sound like it’s a miracle to hit all variables just right. Obviously lots of people get great results routinely, I just want to point out some of the factors that contribute to the end result.

  25. don…….just my two cents! I found that using a smaller vessel to bake it in makes the loaf go up as opposed to out………….I finally found a 2 qt dutch oven on ebay……..works great. keep experimenting…..and have fun.

  26. Don

    Thanks Mitch & Irwin. Eric’s videos show him using a round La Cloche that looks similar in diameter to my dutch oven. His loaves do not appear to expand to the diameter of the La Cloche, yet he is getting considerably greater “oven spring” than am I. Eric does not have to drop the dough from nearly as high above the bottom as I do due to the relatively short sides of the La Cloche compared to my dutch oven, so I am assuming that is a key issue. I will try lowering the loaf into the dutch oven using parchment paper as a starting point.

  27. Mitch

    Don,

    I hate to have to tell you this but the diameter of your dutch oven is much too big, whether you use parchment or not, for the amount of dough going into that pot. The dough is fairly wet and it is going to flatten into a pancake. You need to either get a smaller baker or make a much bigger batch of dough. I use a terra cotta baker having an 8″ diameter and a batch of dough totaling 600 grams of flour plus another 100 grams of steel cut oats — and I get a beautiful loaf, but it’s still wider than it is high (and I do use parchment paper) because the dough spreads itself out to the diameter of the baker when I insert it. There’s just no way to get around that.

  28. irwin

    Message for Don. Put you dough on a piece of parchment paper and lower it into your dutch oven. The paper will not burn nor will your hands.

  29. Don

    I have tried this twice. Taste is excellent, but presentation leaves something to be desired. I have a 12″ cast iron dutch oven (Lodge, 7 quart). I invert the proofing basket to dump the dough into the D.O., but I have to do this from a considerably higher height than shown in the videos. The result is a spat of the dough, which causes it to spread out/flatten. I get very little “oven spring”. Any suggestions to get more height and less diameter??

  30. Lucy

    I’ve been getting great results baking in a stainless steel casserole pot, but I was bought an oblong romertopf pane (no lid) for christmas. Would this work for no-knead bread? I get the feeling that the cover is important.

    Any insight would be much appreciated!

  31. Mitch

    Hi Barbara,

    Some experts say that once you go over about 17% rye flour (which is where I’m at) things could start to get tricky, and even Jim Lehey holds the rye flour at 25% — so if you’re going to use 50% rye flour next time please post your results because I’m curious how it will turn out.

    Thanks.

    Mitch

  32. Barbara

    Today I got my Romertopf, heated it to 500 deg F, dumped into it a bit too soft dough made of red montana wheat (grains included, no bran) and Kamut flour + salt, yeast and water (after 12 hours of rising) and it all worked like a dream. The most beautiful and tasty loaf ever. I like good bread as I was born and lived in Europe so I wasn’t raised on supermarket junk and I really know how good bread is supposed to taste. Forget Panera, Whole Foods and anything like that. This bread is a winner. Next time it is going to be 50% rye. This is a splendid way of making bread. Thank you Breadtopia !!!

  33. Tony

    Re: difficulty putting soft dough into the hot dutch oven

    I have found that using a Silpat rather than a towel greatly simplifies this process. You can literally pick-up the risen dough and with a slight fold, dump it into the dutch oven.

  34. Dan

    Hello,
    I have had great success with the no knead method using instant yeast. The addition of a baking stone solved my scorched crust problem and everything else has been a breeze! I’m even thinking of making my own sourdough starter.

    I’m 98% percent happy with how my bread has been turning out with one minor issue. The taste and smell of my bread has a slight burnt character to it. The crust is golden brown, flaky, and perfect so the issue is not a burnt crust. The crumb is soft, chewy and spongy with large holes. It just seems to have a slightly burnt characteristic. I compared the taste to my favorite Italian bakery and its bread was almost identical in texture, yet it did not have the burnt flavor characteristic. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    I’m using all purpose King Aurthur Flour and the same SAF instant yeast on the breadtopia store.

  35. irwin

    Questons re how to Part-Bake, then freeeze, later complete baking.
    I am using the NK Method.
    I know bread is done when internal central temp is 200 def F.
    At what temp will part-bake be completed? Then I will let bread cool completely and freeze in air tight bag.
    What is a proper technique to complete baking? thanks

    • Hi Irwin,

      Panera bakery and some others do something like this. I think they call it par baking where they bake it about 80% then rapid cool and freeze it. I just did a Google search and found this eHow article on how to do it at home: http://www.ehow.com/how_5040663_par-bake-bread.html. If you try it and it works please let us know.

  36. Tricia

    Watched the video…bought the tools…copied off the recipe…now eating the most tender, divine bread ever to come out of my kitchen. And way sweet crispy crust: not too thin, not too thick! I’ve baked bread with my late dad (a French chef) since I was a kid, and this darn near beats his. It also perfectly solved the steam issue, a real vex for the home baker (unwilling to buy a steam oven!). Many thanks for all the wonderful tips, too, really helped! Sourdough next!! :D

  37. Can someone explain to me how “oven spring works” Sometimes I achive it ans sometimes not. Very frustrating. Thanks

  38. Fantastic recipe! This method is quite simple, and the result was wonderful! Just pulled it out of the oven, and can’t wait to cut into this loaf. Used my new cast-iron dutch oven for baking.

  39. sabrina

    Hi, Eric:
    I have been making no-knead bread for a while. So far, all of my bread had very thick crust, I never had crust like the one bought in stores. I use the following ingredients:
    1 1/2C WWF
    1 1/2C -3TBSP Bread flour
    3TBSP vital gluten
    sometimes a dash of ginger
    1tsp salt
    1/3tsp active dry yeast

    Can you help me figure out why my crust is not thin? Thanks

    Oh, I usually wait for 18hours (my place is about ~60F), then 2 hr second rise. 450F oven for 30 minutes, then 10 minutes without lid. I use cast iron pot

    Thanks

    Sabrina

  40. Tim

    I’m on a low sodium diet. Does anyone know if you can substitute light salt (part sodium chloride, part potassium chloride) or all potassium chloride for the salt used in this recipe?

  41. Rita

    Sorry,just now I saw the video with the Danish Dough Whisk that was that I was searching.
    Thank you again.
    Bye
    Rita

  42. Rita

    Sorry ,I’m Italian so I don’t speak well English.
    I want ask you where can I buy the pastry blender that you use in the first video .And which is its correct name?
    Thank you and compliment for your site.
    Rita

  43. Steve K in California

    @Shannon: Truth is Shannon, the method/recipe is incredibly flexible. And for giving. TWO things are essential: right amount of salt, be sure interior is 200°F. Invest in a good thermometer: http://www.breadtopia.com/store/instant-read-thermometer-swivel-head.html. My rule of thumb is 1.5t salt/4 cups of flour. But if you add salty stuff like diced salami, go easy.

    Soon you can try sourdough.

    Picture of today’s loaf included.

  44. Shannon

    I just made my first loaf of NK bread. Since we are having spaghetti tonight I decided to add some seasonings as indicated in other posts. I was afraid to overseason so I just sprinkled a little of what I wanted (oregano, thyme, basil, granulated garlic and onion powder) into the dry ingredients. I also did not have a La Cloche and our dutch oven is inaccessible. Based on some other readings I used my pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal and then covered it with a 10.5 inch terra cotta azalea pot (it’s shorter than most terra cotta pots) and plugged the hole with aluminum foil. After 20 minutes at 500 degrees I removed the pot and reduced the temp to 450 for the remaining 25 minutes. Let me just say – WONDERFUL, MARVELOUS, AMAZING. It came out with a nice, crunchy crust but a surprisingly soft, slightly chewy, texture inside and lots of open holes which I have not been able to achieve in any of the other breads I’ve tried recently. Thanks for this site!

    • That’s awesome, Shannon. Great story.

  45. Steve K in California

    Tips & Alerts:

    Look for and use Reynolds non-stick aluminum foil. I use it to line the the dough in the proofing basket. I don’t bother to tip the loaf as it goes into the clay baker cuz I am klutzy on occasion and don’t want the dough to fall. So I lift the dough out using the foil as handles and plop it into the clay baker. Easy to reuse the foil too.

  46. Jack Hibler

    I have Your Claybaker & verias other supplys from You,
    the Bread comes out good, but I have trouble finding
    Caraway seeds here locally ……….Please advice……..
    Thanks

  47. Cathy

    Sandy – I know you didn’t mean oil in the recipe, I have seen recipes that use oil instead of flour for the outside of the dough. I have tried that, but didn’t like that the bread had a greasy feel plus when I put them in brown paper bags before giving them away, the paper gets greasy. I just think it’s unnecessary. No health issues just looking for less grease in food in general. Plus, I don’t think I should be greasing the cloche… Thank you so much anyway.

  48. mitch…………actually it does sizzle for a few seconds, but no harm is done. I actually have been useing the spray can of olive oil just before I drop the dough in. and I use a cast iron pot and it works wonderfully for me. try it, you might like it.

  49. cathy………….I didn’t mean oil in the recipe. I meant oil or butter your baking vessel………….your baked loaf then falls right out. it is a minimal amount if you are concerned with any health issues???

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