A Clever Variation of an “Old” Theme

My hat is off to CooksIllustrated.com for formulating a worthy variation to the now famous New York Times no knead recipe. They call it their “Almost No Knead” bread since it involves a bit of light kneading, but another key step in the process is streamlined so overall their recipe is still a cinch to make.

If you’re already familiar with the “traditional” no knead recipe, I think you will find the final results of this one significantly different in almost all respects. This crust has a nice crunch to it but is much thinner and easier to chew and the interior crumb is tighter (smaller holes) and softer. I wouldn’t classify this bread as “rustic” like I would the NYT version.

But what really sets this recipe apart is its flavor. The addition of a few ounces of beer and a tablespoon of white vinegar creates a unique and pleasing flavor all its own.

In these videos I cover the Cooks Illustrated plain white flour and whole wheat flour versions.

This recipe also converts extremely well to sandwich loaf bread. In the third video below, I do just that.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of this bread – please leave your comments below.

Update: See Virginia’s comment post of 8/22/08. She made a few changes to get great results with a rye version (click link) of this recipe.

Cook’s Illustrated Almost No Knead Bread
Cook’s Illustrated Almost No Knead Bread

If you’re familiar with the “traditional” no knead recipe, I think you will find the results of this significantly different. This crust has a nice crunch to it but is much thinner and easier to chew and the interior crumb is tighter (smaller holes) and softer.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 18 hours

Yield: 1 Loaf


    White Flour Recipe
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) all purpose or bread flour
  • 1/4 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (7 ounces) water at room temp
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (3 ounces) mild flavored lager
  • 1 Tbs. white vinegar
  • Whole Wheat Recipe
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose or bread flour
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. honey (I used 2 Tbs. raw sugar)
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (7 ounces) water at room temp
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. (3 ounces) mild flavored lager
  • 1 Tbs. white vinegar


Follow directions in videos.

Baking Instructions: For both these recipes, preheat your oven with Dutch oven or Cloche inside to 500 degrees. Reduce temperature to 425 when the bread dough goes in and bake covered for 30 minutes. Then remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the internal bread temperature reaches about 200 degrees.


The beer can be non-alcoholic. Also, regarding the use of sugar and the ratio of white to whole wheat flour in the ‘Whole Wheat’ recipe, see the post from Beatrix below. She used 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 of white and it still came out light.



Almost No Knead Sandwich Loaf Recipe

The thinner crust and softer, tighter crumb of the Almost No Knead recipe, combined with its subtle flavors, makes it a nice candidate for a sandwich loaf. Here’s a video of the process with the the adjusted ingredient quantities.

18 ounces (~3 2/3 cups) flour. Use all white or a combination of white and up to 6 ounces whole wheat.
1 3/4 tsp salt
3/8 tsp. instant yeast

1 cup (8 ounces) water
1/2 cup (4 ounces) beer

1 1/4 Tbs white vinegar
2 1/2 Tbs honey
(I use raw sugar instead). The honey is suggested only when baking the whole wheat version of this recipe.

Baking Instructions: Preheat oven to 425. Place bread pan with risen dough in oven and reduce temperature to 350. Bake for 55 minutes or until internal bread temperature is about 200 degrees. Note that in the video I’m using a Pyrex bread pan. A metal bread pan would probably bake a few minutes faster.

Note: some have reported an issue with the loaf sticking to the bread pan. After buttering/oiling the baking pans, cornmeal can be sprinkled liberally on the insides and bottom of the pans. This eliminates the bread sticking to the sides while baking. Thanks to Tom & Melody DeGraziano for this tip.

Cook’s Illustrated Almost No Knead Bread

Comments from our Forum

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  1. alipaige says:

    I'm excited to try the sandwich version of this! One question- I'm concerned about how long this bread will keep as it will take my family a couple of days to get through a loaf. I have added ascorbic acid to bread in the past as a preservative- do you think that will alter the results? I may just try it and see what happens, but I thought I would ask first : )

  2. Eric says:

    A couple days seems pretty quick (to go through a loaf of bread) to me. Have you had issues with some breads going south on you in that short a time? I think this particular bread should hold up just fine for a few days. However, your idea of adding some ascorbic acid sounds like a good one as a precaution. I've heard of people adding ascorbic acid to bread anyway to give the bread a little sourdough like tang. So it might be doubly worthwhile.

    Please let us know if you try it and it helps out.

Earlier Comments

647 thoughts on “Cook’s Illustrated Almost No Knead Bread

  1. Jason

    I made the white sandwich version today in a 9″ pullman “pain de mie” pan. I added 4 oz. mashed potatoes and used 1 cup whole milk as part of the liquid. It rose so well I had to throw out some of the dough before baking and resulted in a super soft tasty loaf that I am able to cut razor thin.
    Pullman pans are available in the store here by the way, and are soooo worth the cost. They tighten the crumb which is great for sandwich bread and make it very sliceable and perfectly square with almost zero crust. I love lots of crust on my rustic loaves but for sandwiches this pan is da bomb 🙂 Making a sourdough rye version of pain de mie next. Love this site!

  2. Shanda

    I bake bread daily and have recently started making no-knead bread. I’ve never had a problem with no-knead dough before, but for some reason my batch of no-knead sandwich loaf dough seemed to be a sticky and almost liquidy mess when I went to shape it this afternoon. I live in a warmer climate and I let the dough rise for 18 hrs as suggested. I followed the recipe and measurements exactly but this dough gave me trouble for some reason…I was in despair, all I could do was add more flour until I could form a loaf, otherwise it was a goopey mess! I thought about just throwing out the dough, but my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to bake it. After incorporating more flour, lightly kneading it and letting the dough rest in an oiled bowl I was able to finally shape it and put it in a bread pan. I let it rest, scored the top and to my delight it came out great (although it did tear along the side when it rose, even though I scored it), it tastes wonderful!

    But I am wondering what I can do next time so I don’t have so much trouble with this dough? Should I not let it sit out so long since its so warm where I live? Normally I refrigerate my no-knead dough until I need it, then I cut off a chunk and shape it and bake it. This was the first no-knead recipe where I let the dough sit out overnight, could the warm temperature be my problem? Should I add more flour next time? I’m really confused because I’ve never had a dough problem quite like this before. Any helpful tips will be greatly appreciated!

    • Dan

      The video says 8-18 hours and I don’t remember if it said how to decide within the range. Somehow, I believe the big range is meant to accomodate the different ambient temperature in people’s kitchen. I suspect 18 hours for a warm climate is too long for this dough. I live in an area where the indoor temperature in October is around 65F to 70F if the heat is not on. 10-12 hours works quite well for me, although I use sour dough starter instead of instant yeast and count the starter as part of the liquid for the recipe, although I will add enough additional water to thoroughly wet the dough.

      Over time, I find out that after 6-8 hours of the first proofing, the dough stop rising, and would shrink down if left alone. Since I started making this bread using starter last winter, I found out that when the dough stops rising (which depends on room temperature), it’s time to stretch and fold for the 2nd proofing (60-90 minutes). In short, I think it may help if you shorten the first proofing, starting with 8 hours, and see how it goes.

      • Shanda

        Thank you, I’m going to try a shorter proofing period and see if that helps. I definitely think I left it too long, especially with this warm climate (I live in the south of Brazil). I haven’t used a sourdough starter before, but that’s next on my list! Thank you for your response, I greatly appreciate it!

  3. I have used this method several times for in my le creuset and it has worked great (whole wheat, rye, white, and various experimental versions; sourdough and with yeast). But I finally tried the sandwich bread (2 cups bread flour, 1 cup rye flour) and the side of the bread cracked oddly during the oven spring. Why?

    • Did you score the top of the loaf?

      • Yes, but the bread barely expanded where I scored it.

        • Besides possibly scoring deeper, I don’t know what else might help. Did you increase the amount of yeast called for in the recipe? Increase the amount of flour?

          • Not exactly. Instead of the yeast, I used 1/4 cup of my fairly wet sourdough starter.

            I tried the sandwich load recipe once more and scored much deeper and the bread still broke on the side like that.

            • Somebody probably knows what the issue is. The only other thought that comes to mind is to maybe let it proof longer so there’s not so much oven spring. It seems funny to say this since the advice is almost always the opposite.

          • Also, my sourdough starter is a fair amount more active and faster than most (I cultured it under a plum tree in Berkeley, CA), so 12 hours is usually plenty when I have successfully baked boules of this recipe in a le creuset dutch oven. When I go 18 hours, the dough is obviously over-proofed and the bread comes out flat and dense. So I never go longer than 12 hours (aside from the 14 hours I sometimes give it in the fridge to get extra sour). In the case of the loaf you see here, I gave it 24 hours in the fridge before an 8 or 10-hour room temperature rise, and a 90-minute proof.

            I have received similar results from a plain 10-hour fermentation followed by the standard 2-hour proof and deeper scoring.

  4. Bette

    I love this bread but would like it to have a touch of sweetness. Can I add sugar to the white flour recipe and still retain the texture? How much sugar would you recommend?

    • Grace

      Hi Bette, judging from the amount of salt, you could add about up to 3 Tablespoons of sugar. I’ve successfully done that with the regular white flour recipe. You may notice your loaf staying soft and moist a little longer than without the sugar since the sugar helps retain moisture.

  5. Dana

    Also I wanted to ask if you would recommend any recipes or books for making bread by using flour milled at home. I started to make bread because I wanted to use ingredients by getting max nutritional value for the bread.
    Thank you again!
    I feel like a good mom when our toddler says:
    -Mom, can I have piece of your bread?

    • Any book that has whole grain recipes in it. Other than the home milled flour being fresher and more nutritious, I don’t think it performs significantly differently in recipes compared to store bought.

  6. Dana

    Thank you for running breadtopia. This recepie was the first I made for no-kneed. I only started to make bread recently. This recepie worked best, I tried with steel cut oats and seeded no kneed but it did not work as well. I succesfully changed flour proportions in this recepie, by including about 12-13 oz of whole grain flours that I mill myself (hard wheat, red wheat, spelt, barley, rye, kamut, quinoa in various proportios). Also changed white vinegar to apple cider. Last step I want to do, I want to change yeast into my own starter, but have no idea which flour I should use for the starter. Should I stick with whole wheat that I grind myself? What amount of starter you would recommend in this recepie? This bread mixing tool that you use, it is an incredible invention!!!! I also did get bread proofing basket but had no success with that. I was making your seeded no-kneed and dough really sticks to the basket so it is nearly impossible to get it out w/o ruining the loaf, I use dutch oven. Any advice on that? Thank you again for terrific website!

    • Hi Dana,

      You can use practically any flour to make starter. It’s easier to see when the starter is working when using flour with gluten since they trap the bubbles better. As for how much starter to use, that’s a guess. It changes the recipe quite a bit so use whatever quantity you want and see how it goes and adjust if necessary for the next time. I only use a about 1/4 cup of starter but really the options are huge.

      With wet doughs, you almost have to use a well floured liner in the basket to prevent sticking.

      • Dana

        Thank you so much for prompt response to all of my questions. What can I use with for a basket liner? Just linen towel or something else?

        • Some people use parchment paper and then just lift the paper with the dough in it and lower it all into the baking vessel.

  7. Wendy K

    Hi everyone! I just found your wonderful website and I know I will be returning to it again and again. I’ve tried the Cooks Illustrated AKN recipe several times with good results. I especially like the rye variation but am underwhelmed with the flavor of the whole wheat. I use an enameled Tramontino Dutch oven. My only problem has been that when I leave it in long enough to reach the proper internal temperature, the bottom of the bread always burns. Any suggestions for preventing this?

    Also, since I don’t like beer to drink, I’m always left with unused beer when I make this recipe. Does anyone know if I can save the unused beer in the refrigerator and use it for bread later on? If so, how long is it usable?


    • TOM

      I just put the remaining beer in the can or bottle loosely covered and have used it for up to 2 weeks without any problem.

      An extra layer of cooking paper might help to prevent the bottom from burning. If you have a wire rack that fits the pan I would give that a try also.


      • Wendy K

        I do actually have a round wire rack that should fit and will give it a try next time I bake. Thanks for the tip and the beer info!

  8. Sandy Grogg

    I have made…..and loved…..the sandwich bread…..

    Now, I want to try the other one, but have no cast iron dutch oven. I do have the inside of a crockpot, and a stainless steel Dutch oven, though. Can these be used…..and, can they safely be pre-heated?

    What if I shaped the dough, and baked it on a parchment covered cookie sheet? Would I have to cover it with something…..a pot, or aluminum foil pan maybe?


  9. Margie

    How can I make this without beer? Know it has yeast. Is there a way to substitute apple juice and yeast?

    • Just replace all the liquid (beer, vinegar, and water) with cultured buttermilk. The crumb will be slightly more tender, and the flavor is MUCH better than when using beer and vinegar.

      Alternatively, use 1/4 cup of sourdough starter instead of yeast and then replace all the liquid incregients with water. Let the freshly-mixed dough sit covered in the refrigerator for 12-48 hours before your 12-18 hr rise to make it extra sour.

      • Rhonda

        Hi Schuyler, how do you make cultured buttermilk?

        • Jay J. Schneiderman

          To make really great buttermilk, find yourself a store bought buttermilk you like best. I like “Kates” brand, but be that as it may, get a few one quart ball jars, clean them well. Put half a cup of your store bought buttermilk in each ball jar, then fill each jar all the way up to the neck with regular milk. put the lids on the jars, shake well, and bring to room temp, I use a large pot filled with slowly runing water adjusted to 90 F.
          After bring the jars to 90F, let sit at room temperature for 24hrs. shake well, and refrigerate. yummy yummy.
          oh yes, you may use your buttermilk as the “mother”, to make more buttermilk!!!

        • Just go to the grocery store and buy it from the dairy section. You can use “old fashioned” “low fat” or even “Bulgarian” if you want, but make sure it says “cultured” on it – otherwise it is just milk and an acid. Conversely you can do what is mentioned below and make your own from regular milk – but this seems overly difficult to me in my one-bedroom downtown apartment.

          • Susan

            Oh, this sounds great! Have you ever used the dry powdered cultured buttermilk that you reconstitute with water? I’m going to try it.

  10. Sandy Grogg

    Eric…. I love all of your videos…. You are so low key, and your love of bread making shines right through…… And I love that you don’t edit mistakes out…..after all, we all make them.

    I made the ANK sandwich loaf last night…. It made a beautiful loaf…. Had a thick slice for toast this morning….with butter, crunchy peanut butter, and honey….and it was wonderful. I will be making this bread again. Next time I night add some golden milled flaxseed and maybe somewhat germ…just to see how it tastes.

    One of the reasons I like the ANK recipe is that it makes ONE loaf… Not a huge batch….. Can it be doubled for two loaves?

    Sandy from Cincinnati

    • Hi Sandy. Thanks for the nice comments. Good idea on adding flax etc. I do that frequently since it’s so easy to add great flavors and added nutrition.

      Yes on the doubling question. No problem there. Just double all the ingredients.

      • Jeffrey

        Just a thought – sometimes adding extra dried ingredients like seeds and nuts can suck water out of the dough and dry it out. I usually soak seeds and nuts for several hours before adding them to bread dough.

  11. Dan

    I liked the ease of the Cook’s Almost No-knead sourdough bread loaf recipe, even with sourdough starter. My wife and I both liked the taste of fresh bread and the convenience so much we now eat home-baked bread exclusively. From reading the various comments on this site, I developed techniques and recipe changes to minimize the impact to the kitchen and minimize the energy cost from our electric oven. We did buy: a new scale Oxo food scale, a comfortable dough cutter-scooper and a bread cloth that I use only when baking bread with a Dutch oven in the regular oven. No major additional storage needs.

    I use 5-6 oz of white whole wheat bread flour as Eric does in his recipe, and I usually add 1/3 cup of toasted walnut bits and 1/3 cup of craisins.

    1. When baking one loaf, I use our Delonghi combination rotisserie, roaster and toaster oven with its fan. It’s saves us from moving stuff off the top of the stove and keeps our kitchen cooler in warm weather.
    2. Instead of using 3/4 teaspoon of instant, I use about 2 cups of sourdough starter that is thin enough to pour out of the jar without a spoon. I keep a 24-oz glass jar (that store-bought pickled herring came in; takes less refrigerator space then 24-on Mason jar) about 1/3 full with my sourdough starter culture. The night before I start making the dough, I take the started out of the fridge and feed it 1 cup of flour plus water. When it looks ready to be fed again the next morning, I feed it only 1/4 cup of dough. Within a couple of hours, and a room temperature of about 72F-75F, the jar is almost filled again. I would just pour about 2/3 of the jar into the recipe. I generally feed the remaining started 1/2 cup of flour, stir and put it back into the fridge for the next time.
    2. I do the second proofing inside a greased 9″x5″ CorningWare loaf pan, and preheat the toaster oven 20 minutes ahead, with a cup of water inside.
    3. Before I put the loaf pan inside the oven, I cover the pan with a piece of aluminum foil large enough to leave room for the bread to expand 35% over the rim. By crimping the foil around the side edge and around the handle, it’s enough to trap the moisture from the dough.
    4. I preheat the toaster oven to 410F (15-20 minutes), put the dough in, reduce the temperature to 350F and set a timer for 50 minutes.
    5. After 50-55 minutes, I remove the aluminum foil from the pale-looking bread, insert the probe of my meat thermometer and set the alarm for 198F. The thermometer takes away the guesswork of when the bread is fully cooked inside. However, the crust get hard again if left uncovered for much over 15 minutes.
    6. When the thermometer’s alarm goes off, I take the loaf pan out and pour the bread out on a cooling rack. The crust is usually only about 1/10″ thick all around. The inside is soft and full of medium size holes. The bread stays soft and I can still slice it easily after 3 days using a non-serrated bread knife.
    7. Adding 1.5-2 Tbps cooking oil to the bread dough helps keep the bread pliable and not break when sliced and making sendwiches after 3 days.

    I adapted a pumpernickle bread recipe for bread-maker to this technique and needed to add so much flour to maintain proper dough consistency that while the bread come out well, we had such a large loaf it took us a whole week to finish!

    This is my attempt at paying back to the community here. Hope this is helpful to newbies.

    • Sue Tang

      Hi Dan, when you use sour dough starter for this ANK loaf, do you still follow the recipe with beer and vinegar in it? Thanks for sharing.

      • Dan

        The purpose for the beer and vinegar is to simulate the sour taste of the sourdough starter. Since I substituted the instant yeast with my own sourdough, I don’t use beer or vinegar. Like it’s been explained in this website, the sourdough starter has a rich set of good bacteria in it that gives it the unique sourdough flavor. I use organic pineapple juice (Whole Foods seems to be best source) to make my starter. I use a 16-oz mason jar to hold the yeast; pour about 2/3 into the 18-oz of flour mix (Loaf recipe). So, I probably use m ore like 1.4 cups. As to the water, I use as much as it takes to get the dough to be moist and slightly sticky.

        Since I make 2 loafs a week, the acetic acid from the pineapple juice gets diluted if I kept adding water according to Tom’s procedure for maintaining my starter. So I substitute a cup of filtered water for pineapple juice once a week in my attempt at maintaining the best environment for the starter.

        Instead of using white bread flour for my starter, I’ve switched to Organic Spelt flour (bought bulk from Whole Foods). My wife tells me it taste more sour. I feel I am loosing my ability to tell what a good San Francisco sourdough bread taste like anymore. Can’t find them at Whole Food when we get there on weekends after lunch.

        As I develop a feel for this thing, I gauge the amount of starter and water by the flour I use. Loaf still look more rustic rather than nice and smooth as in the pictures posted here.

  12. Codog

    Howdy from Dallas,
    Just made my first loaf. Attempted, and quite successfully I believe, the Almost No Nead version with a blend of wheat/white flour with the added Vinegar and Beer for a Sourdough taste. Baked 55 min on a stone and the results were just great! Ready for my next challenge, which might be true Sourdough from starter.

  13. Jeffrey

    I’ve used my La Cloche bakers (I have the bell and the oblong) for years. I know I followed the instructions that came with it, so I assume that if it called for initial seasoning, I did so, but have never seasoned since. The only thing I’ve used to keep the bread from sticking is corn meal, either just dusting the base and leaving is, or sometimes rubbing it into the surface and discarding the remnants of the meal before placing the bread into the base.

    I always let the shaped loaf have a final rise after I’ve put it into an unheated La Cloche, then place the covered and unheated La Cloche into a preheated 475 degree F. oven, let it bake for 15 minutes at that temperature, then reduce the heat to 400, and cook covered for another 20 minutes, followed by final uncovering baking for 10-15 minutes. I recall that this is what the instructions said to do, but am not sure about the exact temperatures. (Times are shorter for the oblong baker, as there’s not as much dough in it.) These times are shorter than what Eric suggests, but it works well for me.

    For larger loaves, I sometimes use my bell-shaped La Cloche upside-down, letting the handle on top slip between the wires of the oven shelf, and using the base as the lid. Produces and interesting shaped roundish loaf.

    I didn’t know about breadtopia.com at the time I bought my La Cloche, and got it for more money at Williams Sonoma. Here’s what they have to say about use and care of it:

    “”Also known as an instant brick oven, this bread baker consists of a stoneware bell or dome that fits over a wide, shallow dish with 2-inch-high sides. It is one of the most successful implements developed for home baking.”—Chuck Williams”

    “Compared to other bread-baking mediums, the La Cloche stoneware baker bakes larger, lighter loaves. When bread is baked on a sheet pan or preheated baking stone, the yeast in the dough is shocked by the intense heat and dies quickly. This limits the rise of the bread. In a stoneware baker, the dough is protected from the shock of the heat, allowing the yeast to live longer and increasing the volume of the dough.”

    “Prepare your favorite bread recipe and shape the dough into a rectangular loaf (or into a ball, if you have a round baker). Generously dust the shallow dish of the La Cloche baker with cornmeal and place the dough, seam side down, in the base. Cover with the lid and let the dough rise.”

    “When the dough has doubled in volume, place the baker in the lower part of a preheated oven. As the baker absorbs heat, the dough will continue to rise and moisture will be released. Hot steam will form inside the domed lid, helping the bread rise and creating a singularly crisp, thin and crackly crust. The loaf will look and taste as though it had been baked in an old-fashioned brick-lined oven.”

    • Jeffrey

      Also at the Williams Sonoma website:

      “Tip: For thick-crusted bread, remove the lid about 15 minutes before taking the bread out of the oven.”

      I guess if you leave the lid on for the entire baking time, the crust will be thinner. This was not part of the original instructions, which said to remove the lid for the last 10-15 minutes. I’ve always removed the lid for the last 15 minutes. But then, I like thick crust.

  14. Excellent bread. I made the white version with 100% all purpose flour. But instead of adding vinegar and beer, I subbed in 3 ounces of old fashioned cultured buttermilk. It has a wonderful mild sourdough-like flavor, with the best-tasting moist crumb and slightly buttery crust… just really excellent bread. I don’t ever plan on baking it with beer, on account of my distaste for hoppy bread. Buttermilk works great in this recipe.

  15. TOM

    New post in Cooks illustrated APIRL, 2012 states you can put covered pots w/bread into COLD oven, heat to 425 and then WHEN TEMPERATURE IS REACHED,reduce temp to 350 AND START TIMING for 30 min then with top off for another 20 to 30 min to brown. Good energy saving tip and less fuss.

    • Dan

      Thanks for the excellent tip. I’ve used this technique for my last four loaves of ANK sourdough bread and it worked great. I had (it died and got replaced) a countertop convection oven that supposedly could reach 470F but managed lower than advertised actual temperature. To compensate, I inserted an alarm-equipped meat temperature probe into the bread when I remove the cover from my Corning bakeware. With my oven, the last phase took 30-35 minutes. Helps in keeping the house cool in the summer.

  16. Sheryl

    let’s try this again. Pic. of rye Almost No Need recipe sandwich bread

  17. Sheryl

    Finally pic’s of ANK starter sandwich rye bread.

  18. nom

    Hi. I’m having fun in the world of no knead bread but am currently wrestljng over the size of my pot. I’m also sufferring anxiety over the rise of my bread! 🙂

    I was wondering what is the diameter and height of your round white loaf and what is the internal diameter and depth of your pot?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Nom, I find the best size pot is 4 quarts. About 10″ diameter and 4″ deep. (25 cm x 10 cm).

  19. Sheryl

    I have made the almost no need sandwich bread in white and whole wheat as well as rye. They all turned out great but everyone really love the rye loaf the best. I use my starter in all of them I use 1/4 cup of tarter and use 2 1/2 t bs sugar and 6 ounces of rye flour. I then follow everything else the same in the directions.

  20. Sheryl

    I made the white almost no knead bread and my husband loved it. I am making the whole wheat loaf bread will tell you if it works out.

  21. Greg

    Thank you for making these very easy to follow videos. I am just wondering in the loaf pan version you say use a standard pan I have searched the internet and there are various different sizes designated as “Standard”, which size should I use for this recipe?


    • We use loaf pans that are 9 x 4.5. They look pretty standard to me. Something close to that would certainly work.

    • Rhonda

      Hi Greg, if this helps, I have been using the Pullman style loaf pan with metal cover, made in the USA, for a year now. This pan is wonderful! It is 13 inches long. I knead the dough after the first rise, shaping it into a long loaf as I knead, spray the inside of the pan lightly with an EVOO cooking spray, put the dough into this pan, slide the cover on, and let the dough do it’s proofing right in the pan. I pre-heat the oven after 2 hours, pop the pan right into the oven and bake. Perfect sandwich loaf every time! This pan is so easy care, I love it! Costs around 25 but it is built for a lifetime of use. Hope this helps!

      • David

        Rhonda I have to agree with you!! I have the same pan! This thing is great!! I have to admit I don’t use the lid very often as I just let it raise up as high as it wants. But the pan is so easy to clean, just a little hot water and its done! Built to work for ever!!

  22. Noel

    I am a novice at bread but am very happy with the results and ease of no or almost no knead. I have followed a similar method in the Tampa Times this week. It calls for 2-1/4 t dried yeast and 4-12 hrs of the first rise. It was great, now with beer! I am in no rush, is the extra yeast for the reduced rise time?

  23. Sandi M

    I just love this recipe and video. It really helped me become more comfortable making bread over the last couple of years. Here is a photo of the flour monogram that I put on it once. Thank you!

  24. I love a crispy crust but mine seem to be just HARD. The interior of the bread is great (CIANKB) but I wonder what I might be doing wrong to get this kind of crust? This WW bread was baked in a cast iron vessel with the top on until the last ten minutes. ANY TIPS??

    • Jeffrey

      Take the lid off sooner – like the last 15 minutes instead of the last 10.

  25. Jeff B.

    A tip for crispy crust lovers. Bread is sort of like hot glass in that the moist inside cools at a different rate than the outer more brittle crust. If you just take a hot loaf out of the oven, often the moisture still inside the bread will seep out through the crust while it cools, and you get a soft crust. Here are two simple things you can do to get great crisp crusts:

    1. When the bread has finished its last ten minutes of cooking outside your baking vessel, shut off the oven, and prop the door open 2 inches or so, use a block if necessary. And then let the loaf cool right on the over rack. This anneals the bread crust by letting the whole loaf slowly come down in temp with the cooling oven, rather than at different internal and external rates in the much cooler room air. If you really want to get fancy, you can prop the door, and turn the oven down to 150 and let it cool for 30 minutes in the lesser heat, and then shut off the oven and let it cool all the way down.

    2. About 15 minutes before you are ready to eat the bread, place it in a pre-heated 200 degree oven. This will crisp up the crust nicely. But this is best done for fresh, recently bakes loaves that are uncut and still have a lot of internal moisture.


  26. Rhonda Thibault

    I have a question about the CIANKB sandwich loaf recipe above. I like the bread but my husband objects to the beery taste. What else can I use? Would all water still work? Would I need to use more yeast? Thank you!

    • Karil

      Hello Rhonda,
      As I understand it, the beer and vinegar serve to flavor the loaf in the direction of “sourdough”, without comitting you to the challenges of maintaining a sourdough. It doesn’t matter whether the beer is alcohol-free or even flat. I’ve even used apple cider and cider vinegar, which was delicious. One day, I’ll try using white wine and white wine vinegar in a loaf with dried fruits and nuts.
      So, I suggest that you simply experiment. Try making a loaf with only water and take it from there.
      Unfortunately, my bread-making activities have been cut short for awhile. I stupidly fell off a ladder about ten days ago and broke my knee at the tibia joint. I am not permitted to put any weight on my leg, or to drive, for at least three months! If it had to happen, I’m so happy it did so in the winter!
      May all your yeasties keep smiling!

  27. Hi,
    I have a question about the CIANKB … If I am going to be gone when I would normally shape the dough, is it OK to knock down the dough and let it rise slowly again before shaping? Or will it overdevelop the yeast and gluten structure?

  28. My trail and error solution is to use a home miller that has a sifting device. (Komo Wolfgang). At first I thought that the sifter would remove all the bran but it just didn’t happen. What I ended up with was a lightened whole wheat flour. This works well and is of course very fresh.

    I found that if you try to mill too fine it just makes the bran pieces smaller and harder to get out by sifting. I now mill at just less than half way coarse/medium and sift once using the medium gauze in the sifter. I think this gets out between 50 and 70% of the bran. If you want, you can use the bran for flour on the loaves (Which adds fibre) or add it to muesli or porridge oats.

  29. Kathy

    I am trying to avoid white flour in favor of whole grains (for health reasons). Can something else be substituted for the white flour in this recipe? I have soft wheat berries that I use in making cookies and muffins etc. – would that work?

    • Jeffrey

      I’m not sure I understand the question. Whole wheat flour is white flour from which the bran and germ has not been removed. So, are you asking for a recipe which uses all whole wheat instead of mixing whole wheat with bread flour?

      HeartlandMills.com sells something called “Golden Buffalo”, which is whole wheat which has gone through one gross sifting to remove the largest bran pieces, so it’s kind of a hybrid. It’s expensive because it’s unbleached organic and costs a bundle to ship, so I don’t buy it very often, but it has a finer quality than mixing whole wheat with bread flower.

      Or are you asking for something else, some sort of substitute for wheat flour?

      • Kathy

        I am asking if I can use either all whole wheat or is there another whole grain flour (spelt, kamut, rye, etc) that could be used in place of the white flour to still achieve a similar texture/taste?

        • Jeffrey

          Using different flours always changes the taste and texture. It all depends on how much difference you’re willing to tolerate. Everyone’s taste is different, so “similar” is pretty hard to quantify. In some instances, like using rye flour, it’s going to taste really different and the texture will be extremely different.

          Using all whole wheat will give a more dense bread with a “rougher” texture, since you’ll have a lot more bran in it. Most other whole grains (like rye) have very little gluten in them, so they will produce dense breads that are more crumbly (more like cornbread than regular bread).

          I’ve never used Kamut, but it seems to be related to Durham flour, which I have used (in it’s white form) with success. It just tastes different – similar to regular white bread, but with a curious flavor I’m not fond of. Not a bad flavor, but just not my cup of tea.

          For some facts on different types of flours, see:

          Spelt and most other flours are low in gluten, so I expect it will produce a dense bread.

          This probably hasn’t been all that helpful, but it does give some general guidelines: less gluten = more dense, less airy bread with smaller holes; also, less gluten, the less you can handle the bread without it collapsing. Many whole rye breads look great after they’ve risen, but then they collapse in the oven and you end up with a really dense bread.

          More bran/germ = more dense bread with different taste/texture. You usually have to use more liquid with whole grains because the bran absorbs more water.

          Different flours will naturally produce different tastes, which is a matter of personal preference. One person might think Kamut bread tastes really close to an Italian bread, while other might find it very foreign.

  30. Alfonso

    I have a question, what’s the best way to store most breads? A paper bag? Plastic bag? Perforated plastic bag? Where does one get these bags? (Long enough for loafs or baguettes.) My bread like most others I’m sure doesn’t stay around long enough to go bad, but I have made some breads on occasion that are fantastic for dinner and then hard as a rock the next day! What can I do about this besides making french toast or bread pudding? Thanks!

    • Madelyn

      When I got into bread making we were not big fans of bread. We were lo-carb people. I bake a lot of bread now – blame it all on Breadtopia. All my breads, as soon as they are cool, get sliced up, put in a zip-lock bag and into the freezer. When we want a slice we will pop it in the toaster. For sandwiches or bread and cheese we just put it on low – just enough to defrost it and not toast it. We use wax paper between slices to keep the slices from freezing together so we can easily pull out a single slice. I don’t like days old bread nor would we every eat a loaf in a few days so this is our method to enjoy ‘fresh’ bread, but don’t feel you have to gobble it up while it is still fresh.

    • Madelyn

      P.S. even before I started making bread I used to do this with French baguettes. I would slice them up and keep the slices in the freezer for when we wanted a little cheese, but don’t need an entire baguette. This was our lo-carb technique for controlling carb intake! For these I didn’t even have to put in toaster. They can be left on the counter to defrost (not too long else they will dry out!)

      • Jeffrey

        I use basically the same technique as Madelyn for storing bread, except I don’t use waxed paper – I just slice the bread and stick it in the freezer in a plastic bag. Slices that stick together can easily be separated by placing an ordinary dinner knife at the separation point and lightly tapping the whole thing, bread and knife together, down on a hard surface, like a counter top. This always works, unless the bread has been squished or deformed by an overcrowded freezer.

        Unless I’m planning on toasting it, I microwave the frozen bread to defrost and freshen it up, usually about 15-25 seconds per slice, depending on the size of the slice.

        Another trick: for getting thin slices from really moist breads or those with lots of holes or with large holes (like ciabatta) that tend to collapse when sliced, I refrigerate the bread in a bag or wrapped in aluminum foil, then unbag or unwrap it before slicing. This firms up the bread so that it holds together better and enables much thinner slices. Then it goes into the freezer. For bread with really gigantic holes, like some ciabattas, the bread can be almost frozen to do this, but still yield very thin slides that would otherwise be impossible to obtain.

        Wheatfields bakery in Lawrence, Kansas, produces a very nice authentic ciabatta with huge holes, but they will not run it through their motorized bread-slicing machine because it gums up the works. By using the refrigeration techniques, I’m able to slice their bread into sizes thinner than normal sandwich bread.

    • Jeff B.

      So, my way of handling that is to run about 1500 miles a year so I can gobble up as much bread as possible. It’s a lot of work, but this bread is that good!

  31. Neal

    Just tried the sandwich loaf version of the Almost No-Knead bread. I made a couple of changes to the recipe…well alterations really. I used 14 oz. of bread flour and 4 oz. of Kamut. I have been on a Kamut thing since I tried to match my wife’s favorite commercial bread (it was close, but not quite there). I also substituted malt syrup for the sugar/honey. I wish I had pictures. I used a Bohemian Pilsner (my own brew) for the beer. The bread was beautiful!!!! Very delicate in texture and very moist. The taste was very beer-y. I loved it. I don’t know what contributed to what, but this bread is a keeper! Thanks for the recipe and the videos on making it.

    • Sounds great, Neal.

  32. Alfonso

    Okay, So I’ve used your site before and made the rye bread recipe last year and it tasted great but didn;t rise too well after baking. I recently picked a Romertopf at the thrift store for a steal at $5 and it looks like its been used once and not even with any fatty food! Needless to say I’m back in the saddle at trying to bake breads again. I’ve started a starter that’s going really well right now. Can I use a starter for this recipe? How would I sub it into this recipe? Please let me know if there’s a good rule of thumb so I can use the starter in as many recipes as I can! Thanks!

    • Hi Alfonso,

      I’m not sure about a rule of thumb that works in all situations but in this case I would simply substitute 1/4 cup of stiff starter for the yeast and follow the rest of the recipe as is.

  33. Karil

    Hi! Another alternative to a paper bag for storing artisan bread is a linen bag or a linen tea towel (linen dish towel or linen napkin). In Switzerland, there are plastic bags that are perforated in such a way that they almost seem to be woven. They are excellent for storing bread and can be re-used numerous times. It is essential that the bread is stored in the bags or cloth only after the loaf is thoroughly cool.

  34. Ellen

    This bread came out picture perfect inside and out! The crust made that gorgeous crackling sound when sliced into and the holes in the bread looked professional! The taste was excellent. I do have a question regarding the storage of the loaf: I put mine in a zip lock bag, and although it kept the bread fresh, it compromised the texture of the crust, making it softer than the original crackling one. How should crusty bread be stored?

    • Jeff B.

      Ellen, I found the same thing. So I reasoned that’s why all of the artisan bakers ship their bread in paper bags. So, I store my loaves in a paper bag, or in a bread box instead of plastic bags. Especially for the first day or two after it has been baked when there is still a lot of moisture present. I also let mine sit out on the wire rack overnight after baking to let as much heat as possible dissipate before bagging. Lastly, I often do an annealing much like a glass blower would, where I leave the bread in the oven after it bakes, but with the over shut off and the door slightly ajar. This lets the interior of the loaf cool, but with the crust still in a relatively hot, low humidity environ so that it does not cool too fast and stays crispy. You must be like me, I love a crunchy, crispy crust.

  35. Rhonda

    Hi all,

    Thank you so much for this phenomenal website and for all the member feedback. I never thought I would be so interested in making all my own bread at this stage in my life, but I am only sorry I was too intimidated to try it before! I am in my second week of full on bread making, with half a dozen wonderful loaves under my belt and only one failure.

    What I am looking for now is a good recipe for the Portuguese sweet bread I remember getting at Easter time. I’m sure it will be a different kind of bread recipe than the no-knead and almost no-knead recipes I’ve been using, but I now feel up to the challenge of trying.

    Thanks again for the most wonderful new skills and the delicious recipes!


    • So glad you’re having fun (and success!) with your bread baking. This Portuguese sweet bread recipe from King Arthur Flour looks like it could be a good one. The instructions are detailed and the feedback is positive.

    • Gingin

      RHONDA-This recipe for Portuguese Sweet Bread is more authentic and very forgiving AND you can use the ‘rest/chill/rest’ method….
      ‘Maria Carreiro’s Massa Souvada’.
      Go to the website for the instructions… ‘
      6 ½ cups unbleached white flour
      1 ½ cups sugar
      6 eggs beaten, until frothy
      1 T yeast
      ¼ lb + 2T unsalted butter
      1 cup warm milk
      1/4 cup warm water
      1 tsp kosher salt
      Additional milk for brushing top of loaf
      I guarantee you will love how this bread turns out.

  36. David

    Well I made the version for the loaf pan and I just used the whole 12 ounces of beer instead of water. I didn’t have any raw sugar so I used some brown sugar instead (I always screw with a recipe anyway!). I have to say that the flavor is incredible!! It is great toasted! It has a bit of a sourdough taste to it but not real strong. I think that the next time I make it I may add some oats and sunflower seeds to it. (I may even flatten it out and add cinnamon and raisins). Just a nice easy and very tasty bread!

  37. Rebecca Edwards

    Thank you so much Eric, for sharing these Almost-No-Knead-Bread videos. I read many articles and blogs about no knead bread. I am so interested in trying it out but I don’t have a Dutch oven. I like the sourdough bread taste but really don’t want to mess with the sourdough, and don’t like the hard-to-chew crust of it either. These ANKB recipes seem perfect to my needs. I will try it soon with my regular 9×5 loaf pan. You make the bread making look so easy. That’s definitely give me more confidence on my 1st attempt.  Thanks again!

    • Ron

      These sound raelly good-I never thought of using sweet and condensed milk in a muffin. Thanks for sharing! flourtrader.blogspot.com

  38. Sara

    I have what I think is a healthy starter after about a week. So my question is when is it usable? When can I bake bread with it? And thank you so much for this wealth of bread baking information! It is truly fabulous!

    • Jeffrey

      Depends on how old the starter is – that is, how long it’s been since you last fed it or refreshed it. If you bake almost every day or every 2 or 3 days, I think that you can just use the starter and replenish your saved starter at that time. If so, you’d only need to add enough water and flour to double the amount of left-over starter (perhaps discarding a bit of the old starter before doing so, so you don’t end up with vast quantities of starter.) For example, if you use 3 oz. of fully active starter in our bread, you could keep 6 oz. of starter on-hand for bread-making. When you take out the 3 oz for your bread, you’re left with 3 oz of starter. You add 1.5 oz water and 1.5 flour to feed the remaining 3 oz. of starter, so that next time you’ll have 6 oz. of starter to begin with.

      I don’t bake that often, and I keep my starter in small amounts (about 4 oz.) in the refrigerator. If it’s been less than a week since I last refreshed it, then I refresh it once – using about 1 oz of starter mixed with 3 oz flour and 3 oz water (giving me 7 oz. of refreshed starter) let it sit for 8 – 12 hours or so, maybe stir it down once during that time period. This activates the yeast to full power. Once I see that the refreshed starter is doing OK, I toss the 3 oz. of old starter.

      I use about 3 oz of the refreshed starter to make bread, and save the remaining 4 oz in the fridge.

      If the starter is older than a week, then I refresh it twice before using it, but the first time making a smaller batch, say adding .75 oz old starter to 1.5 oz flour and 1.5 oz water, let it sit for 8-12 hours, then use 1 oz. of that with 3 oz flour and 3 oz water and let sit for another 8-12 hours. If it’s not acting right, or if it’s been a really long time since I refreshed the starter (like a couple months – I have more than one kind of starter, so that happens sometimes) I may refresh it a 3rd time, or even a 4th time.

      Seems like a lot of trouble, but it works for me, and the small amounts of refreshing ingredients keeps the waste low. Many commercial bakers refresh their starters every 8 hours, or at least once a day, according to what I’ve read about it.

      I’d be interested in hearing how others keep their starters going.

      • Karil

        I’ve read about drying out the starter and then breaking it into piece .that are stored in a linen bag and placed in a dustfree place. (When you are certain that ithe pieces are ABSOLUTELY dehydrated, they can be stored in a glass jar, protected from mealy bugs). You then rehydrate a piece, when you need it, and then begin to feed it, etc. It is certainly worth a try!

  39. Hi Danny,

    Sure, you can make bread from all whole grains. It will be denser than bread made with some white flour, but that’s kinda the tradeoff.

  40. Hi, I’m a beginner from europe. I love your site and have ordered what you call a Wolfgang grain mill. I plan to mill a hard white wheat from a local farmer. Is it possible to make bread from all wheat flour that I mill myself or do I need to blend it with white flour? I’m hoping to make bread from only grain that I have freshly milled.

    Thanks for the great videos. I’ve learnt a lot already.

  41. Ty

    Just finished making the sandwich bread for a bake-off in the bread category.

    • Cool. Good luck. Let us know how it goes. Send pics maybe.

  42. Jeff B.

    I’ve been making the sandwich loaf for several weeks now in my bread machine. It works great and is good for when you don’t have the time for the full labor of the no knead bread with the thick crusts.

    My bread machine is a Williams Sonoma machine with programmable cycles. I picked the first program and set it up just for kneading with no rising or baking. I simply mix the no knead sandwich loaf dry ingredients well, then poor in the water-beer-vinegar and start the cycle. Four minutes of slow knead, 3 minutes of fast need. Then I scrape down the sides to get all the dough together in the center of the pan. Then I take the pan out of the bread machine, wrap it in a plastic bag and set it aside to ferment for 12 hours.

    When I come back, I put the pan back in the machine, and turn on my second program. In the second program, I punch down for 10 seconds. Then I let it rise for 2 1/2 hours. Then it bakes for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

    You can even leave the dough in the machine and do the whole second part automatically. My machine has a delayed start function that lets me add time to the second program so I can add the twelve hour fermenting time in.

    By using these two programs, I can use the bread machine, single pan and very little other utensils for mixing. It’s not quite as great as the perfect hand crafted no knead loaf, but it is much better than the typical bread machine bread, and still makes good use of the machine for automation.

  43. tom

    Vinegar really help with the wheat and sourdough flavor. Combo is great and most of my friends who try it for the first time remark about the “sourdough” taste. Have tried balsamic and cider vinegar but prefer the white vinegar.

    Best bread I have ever baked in over 40 years of bread baking – even beats the bread my mother used to make.

  44. Madelyn

    I’ve been making this bread for a year. I make a rye variation instead of whole wheat. I started out using the vinegar but as my starter aged, found I don’t need it. I bake for a friend, too, and the vinegar was just too much for her tastes which is why I eliminated it. I think its a matter of taste. I suggest trying the original recipe then experiment to find how you like it.

  45. Jim

    The beer and vinegar seems like an odd mix, but if it gives a sour dough taste then I bet this is a winner. Can anyone give a their opinion of the affect the beer and vinegar have on the taste?

    David, thanks for sharing your great videos. Can’t wait to try this out and compare to Jim Lahey’s methods.

  46. Beautiful, Peter. Love the dark crust.

  47. Peter Cook

    Hi Just made two of these loaves last night Just perfect,added some rye flour they tasted fantastic best home made bread yet.

  48. t

    I’m no expert but I would try it once using the whole recipe and cooking longer, it might make any interesting puffier shape. I tried cooking in iron pot in pyrex loaf pan and put the remainder in a second loaf pan in the oven with a cup of water and cooked at the same time and found very little difference.

  49. Sandy G

    I have a 3.5 qt le creuset dutch oven. Can I cut the recipe in half and just cook it less? Any suggestions on how long it would be? Guess I’d see how it looks after 15 min covered + then uncover to brown.
    Or could I make the recipe as is and only use half the dough and put the rest in the fridge to use a few days later?

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