no-knead bread

While I know I’m not the first food blogger to post about the magical, no-knead bread of Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery fame in the five whole days since The New York Times published the recipe, since I am the only one to do it one-handed, I believe I should win. (Also, please tell me you know I am joking.) But really, we all win because… Look, just make this bread, okay? It’s dense and chewy, but unbelievably moist. The crust is crisp but not leathery, you don’t need to gnash your teeth and injure your gums to get through it. The loaf rivals even the most exciting results of my fifteen hours of bread-baking classes, and aside from the part where Alex will be furious because I didn’t wait for him to get home and endangered myself lifting a 19-lb 450 degree pot out of the oven, it can totally be done one-handed.

holes like swiss cheese!

This is why the bread is so vastly superior to other loaves: one, it has a very wet, sticky dough. Yeast loves this; it’s the ideal environment for it to invade and multiply. But, breads this wet are nearly impossible to knead – it’s more like smearing dough across the counter, doable, but not very pleasant. Two, it uses very little yeast and less is always more in bread-making. Sure, a bread that requires nearly a tablespoon of yeast is super-speedy to make, but it doesn’t have as much time to develop all of the rich flavor and texture in a long-tenured rise. Finally, as Bittman notes in the article, the bread is a dream-come-true because that crazy step at the end – baking it in a covered Dutch oven, or a casserole dish if you don’t have one – creates a misty, humid environment like the one introduced in the early stages in a professional bread oven. This moisture keeps the bread chewy and delightful, and allows for a dreamy crust to form.

no-knead bread

And this is the part where I show you a way around the ingredient New York City ran out of faster than pumpkin puree the day before Thanksgiving: instant yeast. I had none, Fresh Direct had none, and rather than sending my already-overworked husband on a wild goose chase through our neighborhood grocery stores for it, I did a little Googling, finding none other that Rose Levy Berenbaum explaining what the big instant brouhaha is all about.

Instant yeast is also known as Rapid Rise, Bread Machine, SAF, QuickRise, Instant Active Dry, and Gourmet Perfect Rise. The process by which the instant yeast is dried and put into dormancy results in more live yeast cells when the yeast is activated, which means that you use only 3/4 the volume of active dry yeast. The goal here is reliability and ease, not speed. The yeast came about with the advent of bread machines, as proofing yeast in warm water would have been an extra step, and with a bread machine most people want to put everything in it at once and walk away, or even leave it overnight to wake up to freshly baked bread the next morning.

Did you catch that part about the3/4-volume? A little math, and we determined that 1/3 of a teaspoon of the active dry yeast we had in the fridge would be an ideal exchange — even better, it worked — so fret not if your store, too, is out of this suddenly-vaunted ingredient.

so darn good

“No-knead” bread, glorified elsewhere:

No-Knead Bread
Adapted from Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery via Mark Bittman at New York Times

Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450°F. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

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222 comments on no-knead bread

  1. ahhh

    question: I have a coverd Le Creuset deep dish baker.. would heating this pan empty in the oven be ok and would putting the room temp dough in crack it?

    I havnt used this pan yet, im a huge fan of their line of cast iron but am leary on the stoneware. I know it can be tempermental.

    Ask me anything on cake/cookie baking but when it comes to bread and pans, oy, forget it.

  2. Sharon

    Wow this is too funny…I had printed up this recipe from the website last week and was itching to try it…glad to hear that it is actually good!!!

      1. N

        I also have this question!!! I’ve been trying to look it up online and it sounds like it’s not the preferred vessel (feel free to weigh in on this if you know anything!) but what I really want to know is whether it’s safe.

        1. deb

          If it’s oven-safe, probably. But it might be done sooner, I definitely don’t think it needs the long preheating. It might even be safer at 25 degrees less.

  3. I knew you wouldn´t be able to resist, broken clavicle and all ;) And yep, even though you won´t win any awards for making bread with just one hand, you might win an award for a stubborness that isn´t that far away from good old lunacy :P

    I´ve given in to the temptation and disregarded my concerns about temperature (summer has arrived so it´s around 78°F at night), and I´ve just prepared the dough, I´m crossing my fingers for everything to turn out fine, since this recipe is quite unusual in many ways.

  4. tammy

    the “h” has serious bread issues. the man can make and cook anything, except bread – it’s awful. i see the hope in his eyes to be later filled with saddness when he takes a bite of the bread and i can hear it drop to the bottom of his stomach like a hugh rock in water… oh the bread issues i’ve had to hear about… i will pass this along, thank you!

  5. Wonderful research on the yeast! But drats, I didn’t know I wanted that book too!
    This bread is amazing and stunning AND it’s really good to eat. I’m starting another batch to day for soup tomorrow.
    Thanks for the mention, I’m adding you to my list of Global No-Kneaders.

  6. Jenifer from Memphis

    I looked at those pics and instantly wanted to cut off a slice, dunk it in an egg/cinnamon mixture and fry it up for french toast.

  7. Your bread looks darker, like you used a whole wheat or rye mix… Is that just an photo-illusion? I love the top picture, where you can see the flip of dough over the top of the loaf. Lovely! And done one-handed: you’re a star.

  8. I have been thinking about that article since I read it aloud to my husband on the road this weekend. Actually, first I described the article — especially the part about creating that miraculous crust sans squirtgun — then I had to read it again for his benefit. It looks absolutely amazing; I cannot believe you did it one-handed. You’ve got some crazy skillz, clearly.

  9. RA

    This bread strikes me as a weekend-type activity. It’s the only time I can think about time in terms of 12 or 18 hours! This bread is definitely on my to-do list for Friday/Saturday, and I hope mine comes out as well. I’m glad to hear that this recipe is right up there with those other yummy ones you baked in your class, too.

  10. Mel

    Your bread looks ‘prettier’ than mine turned out and I’m 2 handed!!
    Thanks for a great site with wonderful recipes & pictures.
    I’m making the Stout cake for my birthday this week :)
    And I agree with a pp that your bread looks like you used whole wheat flour.
    I’ve got my second batch currently raising. It’s challenging to make in a cold climate. Our house temp is 60F. I have it in the oven with the light on.

  11. Delurking to write:

    Oooh, goody. Glad to see that this recipe works in the real world. Now, I must ask: did you make a whole wheat version of this bread (Bittman writes that one can do so), and if so, how did you calculate the proportion of wheat flour to bread flour?

  12. PennyZ

    Wow! Don’t know how I missed this, but now I’ll have to try it.

    On yeast: I’ve been baking bread for over 40 years and have never used instant yeast when it’s called for–why have two kinds of yeast hanging around. I’ve always been in the “cool rise camp” though, so maybe that has something to do with it working for me.

    (Having said that about two kinds of yeast, I do love using cakes of fresh yeast when I can find it. I think it’s just a nostalgia thing–the wonderful aroma when I’m squishing it up in the water reminds me of helping my grandmother bake bread when I was a kid. I don’t think it really makes a difference in the finished product.)

  13. Yvo

    Mm, you make me almost willing to try baking bread!!! That looks delicious, chewy and crispy all at the same time- the way bread is meant to be. Sigh! With some really good olive oil and you may find me at your door, “Please sir (ma’am), may I have some more?” :)

  14. deb

    Jessie – And this is even better than typical fresh bread. I love it.

    Cupcakes – I’m so afraid to answer because I’d hate to be the cause of a busted dish, but the dough is really not cold after sitting out for a day, it’s even on the warm side, so I don’t see why it would crack the dish. I’d say it’s safe, but I also kind of hope someone else answers, too.

    Sharon – Make it! It’s so good.

    Marce – I hope you like it.

    Tammy – This recipe can cure anyone. Not that you asked, but often overly-hard or dense breads, if the yeast is fine, have just been over-proofed. Like way over-proofed. But, again, have him try this. You’ll love this.

    Tanna – Thanks!

    Jenifer – You’re brilliant. Maybe I should do that tomorrow… hmm.

    Luisa – Good call! You’re absolutely right. All this one-handed posting is causing me to miss steps! I have this stuff called Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour. It’s apparently made from “the natural protein found in the endosperm of the wheat berry” blah blah. Basically, you use one tablespoon of it for every cup of all-purpose or whole grain flour, and it helps add a wonderful springiness to the dough. It also makes it a little bit more beige.

    I bought this bag (super-inexpensively) at the Garden of Eden on 23rd Street, but I know there are a lot of other “bread helpers” out there. Great stuff to have around if, like me, you can never find bread flour anywhere.

    Tammi – Let us know how it goes.

    Nancy – Skillz? Perhaps. Madness? Certainly. It was fun, though. I admit. ;)

    RA – I agree with the weekend thing, or perhaps if you were forced to work from home for a week or two, ahem. I mean, if it was a clean 24 hours, you could start it at 6 p.m. one day, and finish it the next after work. But, 12-18? Always puts you during work hours if you start it the night before. That said, it’s almost no work. You don’t have to watch it or do anything more than mix it, fold it once or twice, and then dump it in the oven, unceremoniously. Have fun!

    Mel – The appearance is dumb luck. Literally – it stuck to the towel and having no way to pry it off while I tried to dump it into the oven, I just let it peel and peel, finally plopping and tucking over like a beak. Quack!

    Colleen – Whenever you use whole wheat flour, it’s always safest never to go over 50% of the total flour amount, at least until you’ve tried the recipe first that way. I didn’t use wheat flour, but a flour additive I mentioned in my comment above to Luisa. If you can find that, it’s really great stuff for working with whole wheat flour. Otherwise, at 50/50, I’m sure you can’t go wrong.

    PennyZ – I love cake yeast, but I rarely buy it because I’m always warned it goes bad so fast. But check this out: this place where I get lunch by my office makes their own bread, and their starter is now two years old! The guys say I can have some, whenever I want to try it out. Cool, huh?

    Yvo – I keep thinking I’ll dip it in olive oil, but it’s so good, it doesn’t even need it. Now you must try it!

    1. Rachel

      Deb!!! Are you serious with this comment from over a decade ago?! -RA – I agree with the weekend thing, or perhaps if you were forced to work from home for a week or two, ahem.

      Right now I am seeing no knead recipes left and right with everyone working from home! I have three bowls of dough proofing in my kitchen right now! Would love to know if you have any favorite updates or tweaks this time around!

      1. LeslieAnn

        Let me add that I’d love a recipe/technique for a rustic, non-sourdough-starter-based bread–no-knead or otherwise–that doesn’t have to be baked in that mythical 8 qt, lidded Le Creuset pot. I do not have such a pot (and couldn’t lift it if I did). Is there such a thing? Thanks!

  15. OK, about Step 3: Seriously? Form the dough into a ball? because it was almost as much of a bubbly liquid mess as it was in Step 2, after 18 hours of fermenting or whatever it does.

    I plastered it with flour, which made it like working with over-watered grout, and poured it into the sacking, and am now hoping for the best during its final 2-hour rise.

    I also documented this with my camera phone. I’ll be inflicting photos on the Internet at some point.

  16. deb

    I saw you were baking this! Fear not – mine did NOT come into a ball either. In fact, no matter how much I floured the towel, it still stuck. But, it baked up like a charm. I’m sure yours will too.

    1. Noreen

      Hi Deb, instead of a towel for the second rise, I use a big piece of parchment, put a little flour on it first, then plop the risen dough, parchment and all, in the dish when ready to bake. No mess or sticking. Bakes beautifully!

    2. Katie

      Just made this, and I’m super pleased with the result!
      Mine seems a tad under-seasoned, but that might be because I used kosher salt instead of table salt.
      The crust is amazing, and I’ll definitely be trying this again!

  17. Jim M

    I used this recipe, but did not bake in the cast iron/stoneware. (I didn’t have a large enough vessel.)
    Baked in a silcone loaf pan, the result was still outstanding!
    I used a lid on the loaf pan for the first ten minutes, and then baked until it looked ready.
    The crust did not have the “artisan bread” crunch, but was close.
    I’d post a picture, but my wife made short work of the loaf :-).

  18. Deb, you goddess of the kitchen blog, that bread is addictive! It turned out perfectly. We made one loaf in a Crueset, and two others (we made two batches, and cut the second in half) in two smaller Pyrex bowls with lids – and they turned out two of the most perfect tiny campagne-like loaves I’ve ever seen, the perfect amount for dinner. Thank you!

    You know, I bet it would make great French toast. We had oxtail soup for dinner and cut up a couple slices to act as croutons. Oh my GOD it was good.

  19. john

    i’m going to make this bread this weekend and still have a question about the yeast.

    so if i get fleishmann’s yeast, i should use the “rapid rise” and not the “active dry” yeast–correct?

  20. JoAnn

    I have made several batches of this great bread. It always looks beautiful, has a marvelous crust and everyone loves it, but— I don’t like the crumb. It is quite gooey. It doesn’t seem to be done. I tried turning the oven down and cooking it longer, but I don’t notice any difference. Does anyone else dislike the internal texture of the bread? Has anyone been able to get the texture that you find in good German bread? I have tried rye and whole wheat and they are all marvelous. The crust is the best I have ever tasted, everything is great except this rather wet interior. Please, help!

  21. That is a great looking bread for sure! I love the colour of the crumb on yours, but as JoAnn here, I have a bit of a problem with the interior, too gummy for my taste. Haven’t had the time to try a fourth batch with all the Christmas baking going on…
    Thanks for the mention!

  22. Dan

    Out of ignorance, I used active yeast instead of instant yeast. It was a cool day in the Georgia mountains, and even with a fire the warmest spot in the cabin was about 63 degrees F. Maybe that’w why it worked? Even after 18 hours rising, my dough was much wetter than Leahy’s in the Bittman video. But it came out perfectly after 30 min covered and 15 min uncovered at 450. My center did not come out gooey at all. Maybe it was the Le Cruset enameled iron pot I cooked it in.

  23. Pandora

    I Am an italian woman and I have tried to do this wonderful bread.
    It came out good but with very very little holes.
    The fact is I have add some flour because I have found very difficult to put the liquid dough on the cloth.
    How can I do?
    How do you do to put the liquid dough on the cloth?
    Thank you if you can answer me.

  24. I’ve baked two loaves of no-knead bread, in a pot borrowed from a friend. Now I need (no pun intended) one of my own. I decided that an amorphous blob of dough on a towel would be difficult to handle. My technique, which works like a charm – put a Silpat mat on a cookie sheet. Dust with flour. Flop the dough on the mat for it’s final rise, covered with a floured towel. Very easy to carry cookie sheet from here to there, then “pour” dough in hot pot.

    Also, being a belt-and-suspender person, I periodically (every couple of weeks) check oven temperature with a Taylor thermometer, rather than relying on where I twist the oven temperature knob to as being accurate. Gave my daughter an oven thermometer after getting tired of her complaints about how bad her DCS range was for baking. Smart mommy – her oven was off by 50° Fahrenheit.

    I’ve been baking the loaves at 450° Fahrenheit for 30 minutes covered, an additional 20 minutes uncovered. No issue with gummy / soggy center.

    Happy, tasty new year.

  25. Mike

    After baking a dozen or so of these loaves I have decided to push the envelope of laziness (in the spirit of the article in ReadyMade Blog that refers to this recipe as “Lazy Bread”).

    First, I tried cutting down the first rise time from the recommended 12-18 hours to as little as 8 hours. I placed the bowl in a warm oven (warmed only by the oven light which maintains a ~85 deg F. temperature). After baking a few of these “reduced time” loaves I found absolutely no difference.

    Next, I decided to do something about the sticky towel syndrome. About half the time I found that the dough would stick to the towel so I decided to get rid of the towel. I replaced it with plenty of flour and cornmeal placed in the bottom of the rising bowl (a large stainless steel variety with about 6″ of flat bottom and curving edges). After placing the dough in for the second rising, I sprinkle plenty of flour around the edges of the bowl so it will adhere to the rising mass and thus prevent the sticking. When I am ready to deposit the second rise in the cast iron pot, I gently pull the dough from the edge of the bowl and let it roll into the pot with no sticking problems.

    With these adaptations, I have had perfect results – plus no cleanup of messy towels! I’ve also been baking the loaves at 450° Fahrenheit for 30 minutes covered, an additional 15 minutes uncovered. No issue with gummy centers either.

  26. kathy

    I’ve tried this recipe with my La Crueset round casserole and had good results. Now I want to try a larger, oblong shaped loaf, more like Italian bread. The problem is finding the right pot to cook it in. I was given a beautiful Emile Henry oval casserole and it is exactly the right size, and heavy to boot. However, I am terrified that dropping the cool, wet loaf into the hot casserole will create too much thermal stress and crack the casserole. Has anyone tried this kind of ceramic pot?

  27. Jon McClellan

    For all you people with the sticky cloth problems, spend $23.00 and purchase a Fiberlux Non-Stick Baking Mat-works great!!

  28. Amy

    I’m having a very hard time finding inactive yeast (I have looked everywhere and very much want to try this bread). Any advice?

  29. I made this for for the first time for a party, and invited people with intimidatingly good taste. After one bite, I was asked if it was purchased at the fancy pants grocery store down the street. I wanted to throw my arms in the air and dance around Rocky-style in the kitchen. “Nope. I made that.”

  30. deb

    Hi Amy – Are you speaking of Instant Yeast? If so, I had success replacing it with 1/3 of a teaspoon of Active Dry Yeast. Or can you only find cake yeast? If so, let me know. I’m digging around for an exchange on it, but haven’t found a solid one yet.

    Good job, WendyP!

  31. kerry blake

    kerry, sydney oz.
    we had this recipe in SMH on New years day. what a great start to 2007.
    I have made organic, rye, spelt, and even added olive, rosemary and red onion, at ‘countdown’ rise, eg last 2 hrs. fantastic, thanks Jim!

  32. John Saunders

    Great recipe. Thanks. Have baked six loaves. My question is this:
    What is best safe temperature for the water? Is it 120 degrees F
    or does some other temperature work best? Tepid is a broad term.
    Does hot water work? I have used cast iron pot and a
    Corningware pot. Corningware hotline said 450 degrees is o.k. if
    you allow container to cool slowly in hot oven that is turned off.
    Thanks. John Saunders, College Station, Texas

  33. Stacy

    I have one quick question. I am brand new to the whole bread baking idea, but I really wanted to try your recipe. In your answer to luisa, you had mentioned vital wheat gluten flour. When did you put that in? In place of the regular flour or at the same time, and what ratio.

    Thanks, I’m excited to try this


  34. deb

    John — Tepid, in bread-making, means 110 degrees. The first time you do this, you might want to check the temperature, so you can remember how it feels in the future. However, warm-but-not-hot is a good guideline. Super-hot, like steaming or boiling, would kill the yeast, on the cool side won’t really keep it from working. Hope that helps!

    Stacy — What I had used is simply an additive, something you use in addition to your flour to better the texture, chew and richness of a bread, but is in no way a necessity. I just had it on hand. It is especially useful when using whole wheat flour, as it adds glutens, making up for the lower gluten level in whole grain flours. For the brand I have, you add 1 tablespoon per cup of flour. This bread is wonderful with or without it.

  35. Lou

    Tried this recipe for the first time today, and wow! I used generic rapid rise yeast, 2/3 all purpose and 1/3 bread flour. I baked it 30 and 15. It reached 200 degrees but the crumb was still a little too moist for my taste. I will start to play, but will definitely make it again and again.

  36. christine

    Deb, you are my new favorite cookbook. Everything I’ve made from your site has been awesome. I am not a baker (somehow I manage to screw up Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies), but I dared to try this bread since everyone made it sound so easy. And surprisingly, it really was. I used the Fleishman’s Rapid Rise yeast because that’s all I could find, which seemed to work okay. Also, I do not have a heavy oven-proof pot. I decided to just use a baking pan, and covered the bread loosely with tin foil. The bread came out fantastically crunchy on the outside, and soft and yummy on the inside. If anyone uses the baking pan method, just make sure that the foil is not touching the top of the dough, or else you will lose some of the crust when you pull it off.

  37. Carrie

    I made the bread last week for a dinner party, it went over so well, that I’m making it again this weekend. Thanks for the helpfull instructions! I have a question though….can I make the dough and freeze it for later? Thanks!

  38. Grace

    Love the blog, it has rapidly become one of my favorite must-reads!

    Tried the bread tonight for the first time. I also saw this in the NYT first, and was very pleased to see it here and linked to other foodie blogs. I didn’t think I had anything that would work to bake it in, but then inspiration hit me. I used the crockery insert to my crock pot, and used foil for the lid as the regular lid has a plastic handle. I left it rising for 26 hours because of my schedule. I did fill a pan with hot water on the lower rack and the crust was perfect – crunchy but not like iron.

    I can’t imagine what anyone at home uses to bake in when they are making a full recipe; this batch made a giant loaf – enough that 3 hungry boys/man and a bread glutton mom only made it through half a loaf.

  39. Peter

    My most recent version used 1.5 cups of water instead of 1 5/8 cups and that seemed to work better. It handled easier and came out better than the previous versions. I also used .5 cup of wheat flour and 2.5 cups of bread flour, 1/3 teaspoon of active dry yeast.

  40. treeverte

    I have made some perfect loaves this way. Pot-Buy a cast iron dutch oven by Lodge on Amazon
    under $29.00 and comes preseasoned-cheaper than Calphalon, so you could get two and bake
    two loaves! Okay I used 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour andthen for you whole grainers, add 1/2 cup of Bob’s Red Mill mix-they have from 6-10 grain cereal mixes. Forget using them for cereal, use em for bread! Mine has whole wheat rye, spelt, flax and other good stuff. (Barry Farms on Amazon has a ten grain mix that is cheap and bags of vital wheat gluten.) I have been using just over 1 1/2 cups of water…to be honest I eye this as I find each dogu batch may need a little more or less…start with 1 1/2 and add until its fairly mushy(practice makes perfect…but it’s really a no brainer!) Add to the flour the following 2 tsps salt,2 tsps sugar,1/4 tsp Saf Yeast (active works too with warm water!), mix this up then add a dash of drizzled olive oil and the water (warmish).
    I have tried 12-18 hours all work…do the folding thing. Preheat the oven and the pot to 500 degrees,use the time for preheating for the second rise! Plop your dough into the pot, make a couple slashes on top of bread dough for artisanal look and bake 30 minutes covered, 15-30 minutes uncovered!
    Regarding vital wheat gluten my box from whole foods says add 1 1/2 tsps to each cup of flour
    that is whole grain, the purpose to add more protein, and better structure. I have tried a couple loves this way but have not seen a substantial difference. Not really needed as the bread comes out so well as is!

  41. Mary

    Would the bread be ruined if sugar or cinnamin were added? If not, how much should be added to make it taste more like cinnamin bread. I believe I read that raisins could be added also.

  42. LyB

    I hope I’m not out of line here in answering Mary’s comment…

    I made a few loaves with different things added to the dough during the 2 hour resting period and they’ve turned out great. I made one with chopped up dried cranberries and orange zest with a tiny bit of sugar. I also made a multigrain bread using 1 1/4 cups of whole wheat to 1 3/4 cups of white flour, then I added wheat bran, oats, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and raisins (a few tbsps of each). Both turned out wonderful, so I’m sure raisins and a cinnamon/sugar mixture would make a wonderful combination. It’s just a great recipe to have fun with!

  43. thankful

    amazingly, this works! I kind of bungled through it. Didn’t bother with the whole cloth thing, just tossed it in a big pot and baked it. turned out BEAUTIFUL. I was really quite blown away. what a success!

  44. This has got to be the MOST forgiving bread recipe ever… I also didn’t have instant yeast on hand so I had to attempt it with active-dry like you did. I don’t know if you had this problem, but the main fallback I had was that during the 2 hour rising period mine did not rise at ALL! But I had devoted so much time to it, I figured I’d go ahead and toss it in the oven anyway and just see what came out. And you know what- it was amazing! My family (of 4) ate ALL of it with dinner last night. Thank you so much for posting this recipe!

  45. Neesha

    hey there!
    I have made 4 loaves of this bread. the first one was a little wet. the second looked so much better. the third and fourth ones were really good and my family devoured it. but i keep getting the bottoms of the bread burnt. not just dark brown but black. i am baking it at 500 covered for 30 minutes and another 30 minutes without the cover. the top is not as dark looking as the ones i’ve seen online but it’s crispy. even if i put it in the fridge and then toast the following day it’s still crispy! i will definitely add sugar next time and maybe raisins or cheese! :)

    so i hope i can get an answer as to how i keep the bottom from getting burnt. also it doesn’t come out as big as the ones i’ve seen in pictures.

  46. Sharon

    I didn’t have an ovenproof dish large enough to do this bread in. I have a Rival 8 quart roaster oven that goes up to 450 degrees and I used it. As long as I don’t open the lid before the time is up – perfection!! Plug that sucker in on the countertop, heat it up screaming hot, throw in the weird gooey bread dough – set it and forget it.

  47. I finally, FINALLY, made the no-knead bread. After months of being hampered/deterred by the “450degree maximum” warning that came with my Le Creuset black plastic knob, I finally found the Le Creuset “just see if you can try and break this” stainless knob! Thank you, Internet. Used half regular and half white whole wheat flour. Perhaps why we didn’t just devour the entire loaf like everyone else? (I am not one to feign disinterest in or lack of ability to consume copious quantities of fresh bread.) Bread was delicious, though I coated it in wheat germ, which blackened. Cooked 30 min covered in the Le Creuset, 15 min uncovered, and the bread tested at 207degrees. Any pointers for flour ratios? Is anyone coating with other things? Cornmeal, oatmeal, wheat bran? Thanks for the fabulous blog, Deb! Can’t wait to try that Leek & Chard Quiche!

  48. joylynn

    My kids had off school today, so we started the bread last evening. I had Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten, so I used that along with regular white flour. My daughter stirred it together last evening & 12 hours later, it was just as expected. I used foil to cover my Calphalon 5 Qt. pot because I was worried that the glass lid would break. I baked it at 450 for 30 min., covered & about 12 min. uncovered. It worked perfectly and the bread is soo yummy. Perfect for a dreary winter day! We have already eaten 1/2 of the loaf and plan to start another this evening.

    Our only complaint is “why didn’t we try this recipe sooner?”. Thanks for the recipe Deb.

  49. RachDminor

    I’ve made this many times now, using Jim Lahey’s recipe (thank you .. wow!!), Cooks Illustrated’s variation, and just subbing 1 T. white vinegar for 1 T. water (my favorite). Too lazy to dig out either my Dutch oven or La Cloche from years ago, I thought about what the La Cloche is and simulated it with less than $5 worth of gardening pottery. It works GREAT! I use a 10″ unglazed terra cotta saucer with a 10″ terra cotta bowl over it. What forms the crispy crust is the cover for the moist heat from the extra wet dough which, along with long fermentation, creates the holes). It doesn’t matter what it’s in as long as it’s food-safe and safe at 500 degrees. A Dutch oven, cast iron, stainless steel, Pyrex, ceramic, terra cotta, pizza stone with bowl over it .. they’ll all work (mine’s done sooner).

    I skip the towel, too, and after using a round silicone mat for awhile for the second rise, I just put the folded dough in a floured Rubbermaid 6.25 cup Take Alongs disposable bowl, then pour it onto the hot saucer (or into pan).

    Curious about getting a higher loaf with such wet dough, I just baked one in a 3 qt. Farberware stainless steel saucepan (said oven safe to 500) and it worked, too (stuck a little but worked it free with a sharp knife around the sides). With high hydration, covered HIGH heat, baking to 205-210 degrees inside, and letting it cool (slicing hot = wet and/or gummy crumb), this is pretty foolproof and AMAZING! I’ll be stuck on this bread for a long time to come .. I can just tell! I’ve longed to make bread like this for many years! Oh, I use 1 c. white whole wheat and 2 c. bread flour. Someone worked out all whole wheat (Google) and I’ll be trying that as soon as I’ve used my pre-measured bags of flour, yeast and salt (only takes a couple minutes to make then). (The dough makes yummy pizza, too!)

  50. lauren

    I’ve been making a variation of this bread, using a sourdough starter, for about a year now. I mix it and let it rise overnight in a covered bowl, then pour it out onto a well-floured board and sprinkle it with more flour. I poke and stretch it roughly into a rectangle and, using a dough-scraper, fold it in thirds in both directions. I pick it up, shape it loosely into a ball by gathering the edges and squeezing them together, and the put it seam-side down into a lightly-greased and floured pot (I use a large chinese clay pot). I put the lid on the pot, let it rise (4-5 more hours for sourdough), put the pot in a cold oven, turn the oven to 450° and bake it covered for an hour and ten minutes. I have never had so consistently excellent results. I made a great olive and rosemary loaf–just mixed in well-drained kalamata olives and chopped fresh rosemary (and I may have cut the salt back just slightly). I also made a walnut blue cheese loaf that was a bit denser than I’d have liked but which tasted pretty wonderful.

  51. Hi, I am from South Africa and picked up the recipe on Youtube and have been baking loaves for months, they always turn out fantastically, what I have been doing lately is to put the dough in a cold pot and then into a 500f oven, leave the lid on for 40 minutes then take it out, I find the crust is not as jaw breaking as when you take the lid off for 15 minutes! the bread also rises a bit more as the pot heats up.

  52. I just baked this bread referring to the original site of Times!

    After the initial rising, I punched it down, sprayed a bit of oil on the bottom of the pan, put the dough back again to rise second time, didn’t shape or use floured towel etc. When my Le Crueset was ready, plopped the dough into it (oil releases it quickly)and baked! Perfect bread!:)

  53. I realize I’m late to this party and don’t know if anybody kn the know will see this, but … My dough started out doing well but then didn’t rise during the final stage. I think my yeast was old. And boy-howdy did it stick to the towel when I threw it out. I’m going to pick up some fresh yeast and try again, but my question is … how do you measure 1/3 teaspoon?? I’m going to look for instant yeast this time, but in case I want to try with regular active yeast again, how do you get an accurate measurement? For this batch I threw away, I used 3 heaping 1/8-tsp. measures.

  54. Jan

    I’ve made this bread about 2 dozen times now. I found that rather than dusting the towel w/ flour, just spray it with Pam. You won’t get any sticking that way and it doesn’t seem to affect the bread at all. Still comes out great. The only problem I encounter once in a while is that the dough doesn’t rise very much and I get a flatter loaf. I don’t understand that because I usually make 4 loaves at a time using all the same ingredients.

  55. Peter

    I have made seven loaves with this recipe now and there is no end in sight. It is truly a wonderful recipe. For me, making bread was always about getting the rise temperture right. My house was always too hot or too cold. To get around this, I rigged a 40W bulb and a replacement lamp socket with a cord that I can place in my oven. When my room temperature is in the 60’s (most of the time fall-winter-spring), this contraption keeps the oven at a steady 80F with the door cracked about 1/4-1/2″ (I slip a dish towel over the top of the door to hold it open). If your oven is well insulated and the temperature gets too hot, just use a lower wattage bulb, i.e. a 20 or 25 watt bulb. I tried different rising temperatures and found that 75-80F for 16-18 hrs works best. 85 is ok, but 90+ results in an alcoholic dough. Good bread can be had at 12 hrs, texture and airiness are fine, but the flavor is superior at 18 hrs. I’ve baked it in a cast iron dutch oven and a enameled Le Creuset oven. I find the former produces a nicer crust; I think the physicists would tell me the black iron radiates better! A smaller pot, less than 5 qt, produces a taller loaf which I prefer.

  56. I finally made this bread…I was one of those who was always scared to try to make bread. And, it was damn good! I had my doubts as I pulled it off the towel while trying to corral it into the pot, but after reading all the comments and watching the video on NY Times website, I was hopeful. We had tortellini soup, saladand the bread last night, and it was a simple, healthy, comforting and happy meal. I’m so proud of myself.

  57. Jen

    I also finally just made this bread. It’s amazing! It’s definitely the best bread I’ve ever made. I usually feel like such a failure with bread, but not this time!

  58. Debra

    This is my 3rd time trying this recipe (I haven’t had much luck yet) and i thought all was well until I noticed the dough isn’t rising any more during the 2nd rise. Could this be a yeast thing, or a temperature thing? It’s pretty chilly in here so I have the dough next to heater, which worked like a charm for the first rise.

  59. chrissy

    I *heart* Smitten Kitchen! Just had to say it…
    So, my mom swears by this bread – she’s been baking breads of many varieties for maybe 40 years, and LOVES this one. She doubles the recipe (but NOT the yeast) and bakes it in a 6 qt cast iron dutch oven. She also uses half white whole wheat flour, and half unbleached white – my sister does all white whole wheat, and her 3 kids LOVE it. I tried it for the first time last week (and just stirred up some dough to bake tomorrow), and baked it in a 3 qt. stainless all-clad pot – I didn’t pre-heat the lid – and it worked great I would think a 6-8 qt pot would make a pretty flat loaf, and I wanted a taller one, so…. About the final 2 hour proof – I used to have a brotform (German-made coiled willow basket), and wonder if this loose dough would hold the pretty pattern? I hope to try it someday… anyway, I do love this bread, and am so glad that you’ve posted it, and to have finally tried it for myself!

  60. Elsabae

    Love this bread! I have learned that whenever I take it to a gathering I can save myself time by just bringing copies of the recipe with me. That way I don’t have to email it to everyone later! It is always such a hit.

  61. Leigh

    I am adding my two cents in here. I found the No-Knead recipe along with everyone else, but waited a year to try it. My first attempt was actually something (from The Kitchn or elsewhere) called “Quicker” No-Knead bread, using regular yeast, about two weeks ago. I tried it and it turned out beautifully. Now to the No-Knead. I made the dough at 11:00 am yesterday morning. It started to rise and by 10:00 pm last night when I went to bed it had filled the top of the bowl it was rising in. When I woke up this morning, it had sunken down and become a gooey mess. I tried to pour it on to the counter…ew.

    Did I let it rise too long? Was it too warm? The dough was very warm to the touch…

  62. Deb,

    You saved the day with your explanation of how to substitute using active dry yeast. Thank you for the serious algebraic info, I’ve made the bread two days in a row. Now, I have a loaf baking to give as a birthday gift. Because, really, who wouldn’t want this instead of a cake?

    Thank you for your wealth of delicious, descriptive recipes.


  63. Susan

    Okay..I’ve been making this bread off and on for the past 4 months. It is really delicious. It’s as good as any Artisian bread from any bakery. It’s a flexable recipe too. I crossed this recipe with the speedier version because I liked what the 1/8 tsp of red wine vinegar does to the flavor. No tastes more like sourdough bread..or is it my imagination? Nah! Anyway, I just used 1/4 tsp of the regular yeast and also added 1 tsp sugar and I used bread flour for half of the flour called for, just for strength, and followed the longer rising recipe. It was beautiful!

    The best thing I discovered this last time is I was tiring of losing a fist full of dough as it stuck to the towel: I let it do it’s second rise in my 2 1/2 qt stainless sauce pan instead of using the towel. It was Sooo much easier to plop into the hot baking pot..and I got ALL of the dough this time by using my silicon spatula to push the dough out. It didn’t lose much of it’s loft either. I love this recipe now more than ever!

  64. JC

    I’m making my second loaf of this bread as we speak. I made this bread last weekend and it was BEAUTIFUL. I mean, I usually place a special overnight order of artisan breads directly to my home, and I won’t be doing THAT any longer. It was as beautiful as any farm loaf that I’ve paid $16 for. I followed two recommendations in these comments, and both were incredibly helpful.

    1. I did the second rise on a well floured Silpat mat, which made for easy “pouring” of the dough into it’s cooking vessel.

    2. I used my croc pot insert and glass lid to bake the bread.

    Gorgeous, gorgeous results. The problem is, as usual, now my husband and kids are regularly clamoring for “that bread”. I can’t say that I blame them, either!!

  65. Celina Dean

    Well… I read, I researched, and still I was skeptical as to whether I could pull this recipe off or not. Turns out, try as I might to screw it up… it worked! Missteps along the way? 1) I didn’t let it rise the full two hours during the second rise, 2) I didn’t use bread flour, 3) my 1/3 of a tsp of yeast measurement was eyeballed rather than perfect, and 4) I lost a bit of dough to my tea towel and still the recipe prevailed. Correcting all of my mistakes would most likely result in a bit more of a rise, but I am delighted by the completely respectable loaf of bread that I baked, and I can’t wait to make it again. Thank you for all of the comments and suggestions everyone- so incredibly helpful. I am thrilled!

  66. I am so proud of my bread! This is my second attempt at bread (the first one ending in tears) and now my faith is restored in my baking potential. And the bread looks oh-so-pretty, even in pictures. Thank you!

  67. Lin

    The first loaf of brad i ever baked (10 years ago) was so hard I thought it would crack the tiles when it fell on the floor. I’ve been eyeing this recipe ever since I started following (stalking) SmittenKitchen about 6 months ago, and last night I finally tried it. The loaf is baking right now, I used bread flour and just over 1 1/2 cups of water. Was a bit worried since it was nowhere near a “ball” when I POURED it into the cast iron pot, and it’s looking a bit shaggy. After reading how successful everyone else has been, and how “forgiving” this recipe is, my hopes have been restored. We’ll see in about 10 min! Tks again Deb!

  68. Agatha

    I’ve made this bread perhaps a dozen times or more. I prefer to make it less wet and with more yeast. The resulting bread isn’t nearly as anemic looking. It rises tall and round. Though the holes inside the loaf aren’t quite as big. I use a full teaspoon of the instant yeast versus the 1/4 teaspoon called for in NYT. I usually use 2 cups of bread flour and 1 cup of Prairie Gold white wheat. As for the amount of water, I don’t pay that much attention. I start with 1 1/3 cups and add until the dough holds together well if you pick it up, and is a bit too sticky to want to knead, but not really sloppy. Then I put the bowl in a plastic shopping bag and put that inside my camping cooler, just to keep an even temp., and let it sit overnight. In the a.m. I turn the dough out onto a floured board, do a few fold-over type kneads (perhaps for a minute), gather it into a ball, then set it on parchment paper for the final rise. Spray with pam and cover with a dish towel. At the conclusion of the rise, I slit the top with a razor and lower the parchment into my heated enameled cast iron pot. No flopping a soggy loaf into the pan. Bake covered at 450 for 30 minutes. Take the lid off and bake for perhaps 15 more. I much prefer this to the result I had the one time I followed the NYT recipe.

    I’ve made this with sourdough starter as well but its been a long time. I used a full cup of starter rather than the 1/4 cup I’ve see recommended some places, but I don’t remember how much flour and other liquid. I ruined my starter by leaving it out of the fridge for too long. I tried several times to get it back to its old self, but I never managed and I never started over. I had made my starter from scratch and watching it come to life was a tremendous experience. It’s nice to know it can be done, but I’m not really eager to do it again.

  69. I ran into the problem of not having the instant yeast as well–I could have just run out and bought some, but I like to know whether a substitute is feasable or not, so I subbed whatever is in our fridge (I don’t remember exactly what it is, it’s in a smallish jar) in a slightly larger quantity (a heaping 1/4 teaspoon) and a generous pinch of sugar. I did a 12-hour rise instead of the full 24 hours (what can I say? Patience is not one of my virtues, and the dough looked exactly like it was supposed to, and lots of what I read about this bread said that 12 hours of rise time was just fine.

    It all worked fine–beautifully, in fact. It’s the best loaf of bread I’ve ever baked. It is maybe a hair salty for me; I might step the salt back to 1 1/8 teaspoons. Texture, flavor, appearance are all a revolution in bread-baking for me. Overall, it’s a triumph of the meritorious. Next time I’ll probably try a longer rise time, as I’m really a fan of what this relatively long, slow rise did for the flavor of this bread.

    I am new to your site, but I admit to having a bit of a foodie crush on you. Congrats on the baby news; I’m pregnant at the moment as well, with my second. A warning: farther along, standing in the kitchen for long amounts of time will lose some of its appeal. You’ll come to really appreciate things you don’t knead, stir, chop, or have a lot of lengthy prep time for. Also, things you can convince your husband to cook. :)

  70. KatyBelle

    I’ve been hearing about No-Knead bread for ages now, and I FINALLY tried making it, the last couple days.

    I’m never buying a loaf of “fancy artisanal” bread ever again. This is SO much better, and it’s fresh out of my oven.

    I just sat down and ate my first slice spread with some nice salted butter, and it is amazing.

    Thank you SO much, Deb!!!

  71. Paula

    OMG! This bread is awesome. I must confess that I made two loaves this weekend directly from the NYT website without checking here first. My husband was in charge of buying the yeast and he came home with Active Dry, not instant. So I used the full amount not your suggested conversion. Oh well. For the first loaf, I used 2 cups of unbleached organic white and 1 cup of white whole wheat flour. The crust was ready before the inside was, so we ended up slicing it and toasting in the oven. It worked and it was yummy, with a nutty taste. The second loaf was all white, and it tasted like an artisan bread you can get at a bakery. Unbelievable!

  72. Carolyn

    Hey Deb!!!

    I just finished making this no-knead bread, and let me say, I’m in love. I wasn’t entirely confident in myself throughout the process, but as soon as I took a peak at the little baking beauty in it’s final stages in the oven, I was overwhelmed with joy. Eight minutes never felt so long. When that timer beeped, I was nearly jumping out of my pants. The first bite was nothing short of magical. There is nothing like making your own bread (this is only my third loaf, ever) and I love the experience.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this recipe with us! I am relatively new to your site, as I have only been following for a few months, but I am on here every day (honestly) because I absolutely love what you do, how you write, all the photos you take, EVERYTHING!

    Thanks again!!

    Yours truly,

  73. Amanda

    Made this for the first time last night for my cooking club. It was my first attempt at a dough that needed to rise and it has made a bread maker out of me. I’m already planning to make it again later this week.

    Two big notes
    1) Thanks to whomever posted this on here or one of the numerous other blogs I read while afraid it would fail. I put the dough for the last proof on a heavily floured silpat on a cooking sheet. It still stuck to the incredibly heavily floured towel but it wasn’t so bad and you could pour it into the casserole dish
    2) I used my big Anolon stock pot since it called for such a big pot. I would use my 3qt ceramic casserole next time. Don’t know why you would need such a big surface to put it on and I’d like it a little taller next time.

    It made a wonderful chewy crust and yummy bubbly inside.

    I put sesame seeds (barely knew they were there) and fennel seeds (loved them and will do it again) on the floured silpat before adding the dough.

  74. I am never buying a loaf of bread again! I tried the white flour no-knead recipe for the first time after seeing Jim Lahey on Martha Stewart. I followed the recipe to a T and it turned out perfectly. It looks just like the picture on the cover of Jim’s cookbook. I am obsessed with this bread! I’m making it daily and giving it to others to try because I love it so much. I made tomato, mozzarella and pesto panninis with it today for lunch and omg! I’m trying his baguettte recipe next.

  75. judy

    I just finished tasting my no knead bread for the first time. The crust is fantastic but like others the middle a little doughy. I unfortunately used active dry yeast instead of the rapid rise that was also in my cabinet. Next time, today after
    3 p.m., I will lower the oven temp to 450 and use my le creuset white enamaled pot instead of the black interior. ?? Can I use milk as my liquid?

  76. Keely

    Hi Deb,

    I made this and its wonderful, of course. But, I want to give it something more, do you think a few chuncks of roasted garlic or olives would be ok? if so, when do I add it in?



  77. KimP

    I’m so proud of myself. I am a “cooker” – not a “baker” – I’d given up on bread long ago after mediocre results with baguette. But after reading the great results here, I thought I’d give it a try. Maybe it was beginners luck – but my dough looked like it should each step along the way. I followed the recipe exactly and used the instant yeast. I ended up with a beautiful loaf that would definitely rival any of our local bakeries – and it was EASY. Just requires quite a bit of forethought! I whipped up another batch of dough as soon as I turned out the one I’d started yesterday – so I can have another loaf tomorrow!

  78. Jessie

    Oh my goodness I made this bread yesterday and it is hands down the most beautiful and delicious thing I’ve ever baked! I live in a dorm and love baking bread and will definitely be making this from now on for my residents!

  79. Lindsay

    Wow, I made this guy’s no-knead bread with the 1c whole wheat flour and 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (didn’t know there was a difference until I read “no-knead dough is too wet” pages today) and it is pretty awful. I let it rise in my oven with the light turned on, since it’s about 62 in my house at night and I read that it likes 70-75 rise temperatures. It was incredibly wet all throughout the process, even with the extra 1/4 cup of flour. Now it’s a ciabatta-looking brick stuck to the bottom of my pot. It’s kindof gummy and spongy at the same time, with a respectable top. Yet I am still eating the hot carby-ness with a spatula. *sigh* I will give this another try, although the sourdough version, and with 1/3 tsp yeast.

  80. Karla

    Love your site and have been spreading the word.
    But readers beware. I just finished cleaning up a mass of gloppy dough and broken glass. I used a Pyrex bowl and as the dough was falling into place the bowl shattered.
    I’m not defeated just disapppointed after reading all the success stories and waiting 21 hours for my beautiful loaf. Will give it another go next weekend

  81. This is the loaf I’ve been trying to make for 30+ years!! Couldn’t be happier with the recipe. Does anyone know how best to keep it? Will it keep in the refrigerator?
    Most bread freezes very well, but I’m a little afraid to try, it’s so very good fresh.

  82. Elise

    Dagnabit!! Could old flour cause this recipe to fail? I’ve made it twice — first time I followed the recipe exactly — second time after reading above comments, I added 1T of Bob’s Vital Wheat Gluten, a little sugar and a tad extra yeast. Both times the dough didn’t show bubbles after 18 hours, rose very little during the following 2 hours and looked beautiful but was very heavy and dense — no wonderful air pockets. I used a never opened bag of AP flour but it had been in my pantry for about 2 years. Does flour go bad?

  83. deb
    any tips on making this in Florida? Have made many times up north, but can not get a rise down south. Have tried 2 different yeast one which was in a jar, thinking the humidity in the envelopes would be the issue.
    Thanks much

    1. deb

      Hi Leisa — I briefly Googled and found a page that said in hot, humid weather the dough absorbs more flour. Does that sound like it could be part of the problem? Also, hm, since you live in an environment that’s almost too ideal for yeast growth, you might need less time than suggested to get the dough where you need it. It’s tough with this recipe because you go by times more than appearance (in most recipes the turning points in doughs are “when bubbling” or “when doubled” or “when almost doubled again” etc.) so it would be hard to say how much less time. Anyway, this is just me free-associating … see if you can find any boards online from avid bread bakers; surely someone lives in your area and can share your frustration.

  84. Joy in DC

    Hi there. I made this bread and it was puffy golden brown and tasty. I let mine do the first rise about 19-20ish hours, and that didn’t seem to hurt the outcome. My only thought is the cooling time. Both your version and Mark Bittman’s doesn’t note an amount of time to cool, while Jim Lahey’s version in his book (I flipped through it at the bookstore) says cool for an hour. I mention this because I felt like my bread was *slightly* gummy when cutting into it probably less than 20-30min after coming out of the oven. Granted, this bread was still awesome, but next time I make this, I’ll *try* to keep my fingers off the bread for an hour and report back. A half wheat version is also in my future. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. deb

      Hi Joy — I always let bread cool completely. I try to avoid cutting into it until it is nearly room temperature and all of the ingredients are “settled”. But everyone around me who can smell the freshly-baked bread but are denied immediate access to it hate me for it. Understandably.

  85. Dancer who eats

    Made this, FINALLY!! I served it with a baked goat cheese and tomato dip. I didn’t do all that towel and cornmeal stuff. Instead of of fifteen minute wait, I kneaded it for thirty seconds and let it rest two hours. So I crossed the no-knead bread with the almost no-knead bread from ATK. It was awesome except the temperature hovered at 208 degrees in the center of the bread and I wanted 210. But this concept has changed my life. Thanks!

  86. Rae

    I’ve made this bread a few times now and have learned a little bit about how to adjust it to high-altitude baking. (I live in Denver, altitude here is 5280). I thought I would share in case there are other mountain-dwellers wanting to make this bread.

    First, because water evaporates faster at higher altitudes, you will need more of it. 1 3/4 c. seems to work well here.

    Second, yeast rises more (and faster) here because there is less air pressure, so you need to do something to retard the rise…cooler temperatures, slightly less yeast, slightly more salt, and/or creating more “pressure” on the dough during the second rise by using a damp towel are all potential answers.

    Third, gluten is very important at altitude because it adds more structure to the bread and makes it less likely to over-rise and then fall flat. Don’t substitute all-purpose flour if you are making this bread at high altitude.

    Finally, dry air plus increased evaporation tends to make the bread extra crusty, so if you don’t want to hurt your mouth, leave the lid on until the last 5-10 minutes of baking.

    I hope that if there are any other mountain-dwellers contemplating this recipe, they find this information helpful. :)

  87. Joy in DC

    I finally tried a wheat version, using 1.5c whole wheat flour and 1.5 white bread flour. The dough didn’t seem quite sticky enough upon mixing, so I added 1/8c to 1/4c more water to the mix (I was eyeballing it). Because of the day’s plans, the second rise was more like 3-4hrs (versus the 2hrs). The dough seemed harder to shape into a ball versus my previous white version (but I’ll have to try the white version again to pique my memory). While the bread wasn’t as light and airy on the inside as the white version, the crust was just as crispy. The wheat version works nicely as a sandwich bread, and has a fairly “wheaty” taste (which I like but many folks don’t).

    I’d also be interested to try the America’s Test Kitchen version that uses beer to enhance flavor, perhaps even a darker beer. That may create a richer flavored wheat bread.

  88. Emily

    Oh. my. fudge. cakes. Just made this and had a religious experience. My future now includes a whole lot of no-knead bread. Thank you.

  89. TuscanyCook

    My husband is from Puglia, IT and he swears that this is exactly like the bread he grew up with. This is so easy that it is embarrassing because everyone who eats it thinks you are a genius. I make this bread 2 to 3 times per week. I like to use 1 cup of whole wheat, rye, or other cereal grain and 2 cups bread flour. One final tip: the pot is not necessary! I used to use a cast iron pot but had to give it up when I moved to Italy. I make the dough a little more wet than the recipe calls for, do the 2nd rise in a parchment paper lined cake pan, let rise until doubled, dust top with flour and pop the cake pan in the oven. If you are using the pot, I highly recommend doing the 2nd rise on parchment and just transferring the parchment to the pot. This allows you to use wetter dough and you don’t risk disturbing the bubbles in the dough when you drop it in the pot.

  90. Ingrid Wyss

    The proliferation of no-knead bread recipes is super, however, that everyone gives the credit to Jim Lahey just makes my blood boil. I have been making a great no- knead from a French cookbook by Julia Child, published in either 1969 or 1970! This really is nothing new and his recipe is pretty much lifted directly from hers.

  91. Hi there…I have to agree with Ingrid, this is “classic French bread” that I’ve been making for some time. I don’t mess with a pot at all…for the final rise, after I’ve plucked maybe a pound and a half off my refrigerated stash, I just tear off a piece of parchment and put it on my peel, let it rise there for an hour or so (it’s gonna rise in the oven any way you look at it) and then slide it of my peel (parchment too) onto my stone which has been preheated to 475…grab my spray bottle and spray, spray, spray my oven interior and the loaf. By the time I close the oven door, the oven temperature has gone down to more like 450, which is what I want anyway. I immediately turn the temperature knob to 450 and set my timer for 25 minutes. I wait a few minutes and spray, spray, spray again, then in a few more minutes I do it one more time, then leave it alone until I hear the timer some 25-30 minutes later. If I’m not sure after tapping it and listening for the hollow sound, then I’ll take it’s temperature, looking for between 201-206 before taking it out. I can’t stress too much to let it cool completely to room temperature. My point here, though, is who needs to worry about a pan…you can make a round ball loaf or sometimes I make it into a longer football or roll, roll, roll it into a 15″ snake for a baguette. One thing I want to stress about pouring water into a vessel on the bottom shelf or floor of your oven. If you have any glass on your oven door, be very careful not to accidentally pour any amount of water on it, because that glass door will crack. If you spray, spray, spray, instead, you won’t be spilling any amount on the door! I don’t know if this is appropriate or not, but when baking, the better quality ingredients you use the better your masterpiece will be, and I have been relying on King Arthur Flour’s flour and ingredients from their website (their flours are available in many,many grocery stores too). They have a fantastic recipe base on line too and even invite you to call for help with your questions when you are stuck. Oh well, I just wanted to pass on a great resource, in my opinion…and nope I don’t have any connection…just happy as can be with having come across them. Oh, lastly, another interesting website…blog to follow is

  92. G

    Just eating this a fine olive oil. Delicious! The whole process is so different from anything else I’ve ever made, it made me extremely unsure of doing the right thing until I cut into the bread!

  93. Gabby

    I am verrrrrryyy impressed(:
    It ended up being three days between when I made the dough adn when I cooked it ( I left it out all that time)
    and its still delicous!!!!!!!

  94. Paige

    I have yet to make this bread, but I am very confused by step number 4….is the bread baked in water?…and if so at what point is the bread taken out to get a crispy crust? help!

  95. Ada

    You should put the conversion between instant and active dry yeast on your tips page; it’s useful, but it took me a while to find this page.

    And to Paige, above: you bake it in a heavy pot like a Le Creuset to develop the crust; there’s no water in the pot, just dough!

  96. Erin

    I finally made this recipe, Deb and I’m sad I waited so long! Every blog I read has gushed about it. Delicious and perfect warm out of the oven! Thank you for the instant to active dry yeast conversion too, as I only had the latter!

  97. Heather

    I’ve made this bread two times now, one original and one(double batch) with raisins, pecans, and cinnamon. Both were amazing, but, the original one stuck to the tea towel and the raisins in the second one stuck to the dutch oven. My solution was parchment paper…I let my dough do it’s second rise on some parchment and picked up the whole thing and baked it, no transfering the sticky dough at all!

    Thanks for all the great recipes and tips Deb!

  98. I can never leave a recipe alone… I substituted 3/4 c ground oatmeal and 1/4 c cornmeal for 1 cup of the flour in your recipe. I increased the yeast by 50%. Let rise per your instructions. Rolled in wheat bran. Baked 48 minutes. I’ve been cooking/baking for 29 years and this is the best bread I’ve ever made! My complaint about homemade bread has always been the inability to slice it thinly. This bread develops the gluten needed to hold together well. Thank you so much. I will be making this weekly and will no longer have to search out all natural bread.

  99. Katie

    This sounds amazing. I would love to make this but would like to make 2 loaves. 1 for me and 1 for a friend. Is it okay to raise both loaves at the same time? (since it takes so long) and then have 1 sitting while the other bakes? I don’t know if this extra sitting time while 1 bakes would be bad for the waiting dough. I don’t have much experience with this so I just don’t know! Thank you & I LOVE your blog and cannot wait for your cookbook!!!

  100. Brenda-Sue

    De-freaking-LISH! I’ve been meaning to make this for years, and I finally did it tonight. WHY did I wait so long?! It couldn’t have possibly been any easier, it looked like something that belonged on the front page of Better Homes and Gardens, and it’s the BEST artisan bread I’ve ever baked. Never again will I pay four dollars for a loaf of artisan bread at the grocery store.

    I bake kneaded bread on a regular basis, and I love it, but this had a different flavor to it, I imagine from the slow rise… a very very mild sourdough flavor that I haven’t been able to achieve with any other bread baking method.

    Next I’m going to play with the recipe by substituting semolina for part of the flour and covering it in toasted sesame seeds. (my fav artisan bread in the bakery is Sesame Semolina bread.)

  101. What an amazingly flexible recipe! I subbed regular yeast (it was all I had) and used the quick-rise version of the recipe per Mark Bittman (since I didn’t have 12 hrs.). Used a full packet of regular yeast, allowed to rise for only 4 hours, second rise for slightly less than 1 hour, baked at same time and temp. Perfect! Also, I subbed in a scant one cup of white whole wheat flour (again, it was all I had) – and got plenty of rise and holey-ness. Thanks for inspiring me to make this bread, I felt like I needed some home and hearth on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11.

  102. Liz

    I am a hard-core whole wheat baker. Whole wheat has just as much gluten ad white, it just takes longer to develop the gluten and you must use high gluten wheat (the same stuff they sue for white bread flour) If you ever really want to make fabulous whole wheat bread with no gluten flour or dough enhancers, Laurel’s Kitchen is the essential cookbook. I have not found anyone else who can produce a light fluffy loaf everyone will swear has white flour in it from pure whole wheat.

    For low gluten one must grind soft white wheat or use whole wheat pastry flour. To know which to use I have a 1930’s edition of Joy of Cooking which specifies separate measurements for bread flour and pastry flour and specifies which to use if only one will do. The recipes were made before the blended all-purpose flour existed and it is a fabulous resource.

    For those who grind their wheat, I find hard red wheat to have higher gluten than hard white. Durum wheat is used for pasta and is super-high in gluten. Freshly ground wheat flour gives superior results as the purchased whole wheat flour is often rancid. Rancidity is indicated by a cardboard taste.

    I am planning to try this recipe today to eat tomorrow. It looks very tasty.

  103. Jill

    I love this bread & so does my family. I added a bunch of fresh herbs to the dough and it came out amazing. I was thinking of trying a garlic version…do you think just stuffing a bunch of garlic cloves in the dough would work? Do they roast and get soft while the bread cooks? I’m hoping someone has tried this. Love your blog – I recommend it all the time for cooking inspiration.

  104. Alex

    I just made this today and it came out beautifully! Next time I’m going to add some herbs and perhaps some roasted garlic.

    It was really delicious dipped in some good olive oil. I’ll never buy store bought loaves again!

  105. Boomdog02

    I admit it…I cannot bake anything! Not a cookie, a muffin, or a cake. So I was a bit frightened of this recipe.

    I have made it 3 times and my family always wants more. It’s easy if you can read. Comes out crusty outside, chewey inside, like ciabatta..great for almost anything (especially for dunking in morning coffee!)

  106. Daniel

    Have you tried the boule dough from the ABin5 book? I have and I also did try Bittman’s in a le creuset.

    The ABin5 boule needed less time to prepare, and the bread tasted just as good.

  107. donna glashan

    This bread made helped me to get over my yeast heebie-jeebies. I had the same problem as so many others–the lack of a proper pot. One day at our local thrift store I found an old pressure cooker for $8. Took off the seals, and the rubber thingies on the top and covered the holes in foil. I have an old cake pan in the bottom of the pressure cooker pot, lined with parchment. I do the last rise on parchment paper as well, and dump the whole mess into the cake pan. The loaf stays rounder and rises higher because it’s confined to the cake pan. Works for me, and no nasty towels. Also, for those interested in add-ins etc, there’s many many threads on CHOW devoted to this subject.

  108. NCCookin’

    OK…I REALLY want to try this for Thanksgiving…but I don’t have 6-8 qt. heavy pot…I do have a big stock pot…but think it might be too big. I also have a Pampered Chef 11 inch deep dish pie plate that is clay/stonware that has a big matching bowl. I was thinking I could bake the bread in either of these, using the other piece for the lid. Is it OK to preheat something like this, I’ve never used these pieces before. Any other ideas on what I can bake this in? Thanks to any with suggestions!

  109. I made this recipe today and it was SO GOOD. Mine doesn’t look quite as neat as yours, but it came out crusty and chewy and delicious. I am definitely going to make this again! Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes! I have yet to try a recipe from this site that has not been amazing!

  110. Annie

    This bread is incredible- easy enough for a novice (like me), tasty and functional enough to merit making weekly, and impressive enough to serve for guests. Everyone is always shocked that I made it myself from scratch, and they’re even more blown away when I tell them how easy it is! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe (and all the others- big fan!)!

  111. Kathy

    So ready to make this. I have one quick question though–what kind of oven mitts do you use? Just the thickest ones you have available? Silicon? The idea of hauling a 450 degree dutch oven from the oven is a little intimidating. Thank you for the post! :)

    1. deb

      Hi Kathy — I usually have thick woven ones with silicon grids on them. However, the very most important thing is to keep them dry — not a splash of water. Any water on a potholder water turns instantly to steam and burns right through the fabric whenever I use them in the oven.

  112. k paquette

    I’ve made this bread many times before (but not recently) following the recipe exactly and always had perfect results…but this time was different. I turned out the dough after about 16 hours; it had lots of the required bubbles. As usual, it was very wet. I did the floured towel method and this time the dough stuck despite having a lot of flour on the towel. But I wasn’t worried – this dough is very forgiving, I thought maybe I’d lose some bubbles inside or it wouldn’t rise as much but it would still taste fine. When I took the lid off after 30 minutes, I was surprised to see that the loaf was already quite brown. As in, done. But I thought, surely the inside can’t be done after 30 minutes….so I left it in for 7 more. After 7 more minutes I took it out because it was getting reallllly dark, esp. near the bottom.
    I just cut it open and it still tastes delicious – lots of big holes and it is cooked all the way through. The bottom is a tad overdone but not burned. I did check my oven temp (with gauge and thermometer inside and it was 450.) Could it be because this time I used my large le creuset dutch oven? That’s the only thing I did differently (that I know of. ha.)

  113. Keith

    After making this bread a few times, my wife declared our family liberated from either lousy quality supermarket or high quality, but inconvenient and pricey “artisan” bread.

    One key thing that others have picked up on is that turning out the dough on cloth can result in a pretty damned sticky towel. After one try with this method, I started using a floured woven plastic place mat covered with a little plastic wrap. The dough comes off of the place mat easily enough and it even gives it a nifty pattern. The mat is easily cleaned as well.

  114. Keith

    For those who care – a small clarification: I put the dough directly on the place mat, which has been covered with flour. After dusting the top of the dough with flour, I place a little plastic wrap.

  115. susan

    Questions / Comments:
    2. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.

    There is no way to fold it over once or twice with only a LIGHTLY floured surface! The dough was so wet!

    3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.

    Just enough flour to keep from sticking, would be A LOT of flour! The choice was leave it as wet as it was and not make a ball OR add a couple of cups of flour and make the ball. Based on comments made here, I chose to leave it wet and not make the ball. Did I choose correctly?

    The bread came out good, maybe not as many air pockets as yours, but that was probably because my apartment was a little cool during the 2 hour rise. What I was wondering is, if the dough is so wet that it can’t be handled, can we just change the directions to: Proof 12-18 hours, stir dough with wooden spoon and then let proof for 2 hours in warm spot. Pour into preheated pot.
    Or is the handling, as sticky and as difficult as it is, important to the bread making process?

  116. Brenda

    Hey Susan! The first few times I tried making this bread I had the same problems as you. My worst attempt came out looking like pancake better and I threw it away. My best fail came out so wet it was too heavy to rise and baked flat like focaccia.

    I’ve fixed those problems simply by weighing my flour and water. I weigh out 400g flour and 300g water, then put my 1/4 tsp of yeast and 1 1/4 tsp of salt. The preciseness of the measurements makes sure I don’t overwater or underflour my bread and it comes out beatifully every time. Still sticky and shaggy and irritating, but you can handle it with floured hands and some patience. It has some form to it.

    On another note, I know a lot of people are running out buying le creuset pots for this, and god knows I envy you for your purchase, but don’t buy one just for this. I’m a college student living on scholarships and loans. I have an enameled cast iron dutch oven, but I’m scared to heat it empty because if I ruin it, I don’t have money for another one. I bake this bread in an old hand-me-down square Corningware ceramic casserole dish. It likes to stick so I made a little insert out of parchment that I reuse again and again. Bakes beautifully and works like a charm. I don’t know many kitchens that don’t have a casserole dish banging around somewhere.

    One more tip. During fall and spring, before and after my landlady turns on and shuts off my furnace, it can get very chilly in my apartment, too chilly to be condusive to bread rising. I fix that by turning on my oven light and letting the dough rise in there. The lightbulb heats the inside of your oven to a comfortable, (leaning on the warm side) temp and my bread always rises beautifully. This goes for all bread recipes.

  117. Trinity

    Seriously. I don’t bake. I can count on one hand the number of “from scratch” baked goods I’ve made in the last 41 years. And today, you ask? I pulled out of the oven the most beautiful loaf of bread ever known to man. I know. I’ve eaten more than my share. It is cooling now, and that gorgeous, crispy crust is crackling away with hairline fractures developing, adding to its crunchy perfection. I think I’m a goddess. Here’s the best part. Didn’t have a Le Crueset. My cast iron Dutch oven smells rancid and needs to be reseasoned before I use it again. So, what did I do? I plopped that smooshy blob of dough down on my baking stone and covered it with an inverted 5 qt stainless steel pot. It worked perfectly. I can hardly believe it myself. I think I’m going to run for president now. Thanks for the great blog and recipe!

  118. Well done! I have tried this in the past and didn’t have much success. This one, right off the bat, was excellent. Crust was singing, super crispy and chewy on the inside. I can’t say enough good things about this recipe. I’m going to experiment with different shapes and cuts, like baguettes and rolls. Again, most impressive. I’m a decent cook, but never have I attempted bread from scratch. Now, I’ll never buy bread from a store again.

  119. Wendee Smith

    heard you on NPR and was intrigued…first tried out the chicken meatballs and my boyfriends eyes rolled back in his head…he said what great cook i am, but gave you all the credit…thank you for sharing your gift!

  120. Lilly

    Just made this awesome bread. I didn’t have any non-terry towels on hand so I improvised with a couple of plain clean t-shirts. Magic! None of the sticking-to the towel that other people have commented about. Highly suggested…
    Thanks for all the amazing recipes!!

  121. Kate

    I just made this bread and it is fantastic. Thick, crackly crust and light and airy interior. The dough did stick to the towel a bit so next time I make it I will be sure to flour it very generously, or maybe I’ll borrow an idea from the commenter above me and use a clean t-shirt. Thank you for posting this recipe!

  122. Sonja

    I have been making a version of this bread for about a year, and it is wonderful. Given we live in an area that does not have good bakeries… it is absolutely perfect for our circumstances. This is the kind of bread you pay at least $5 for in a decent bakery.. crusty, chewy, rustic and earthy. Yet, it is **stupidly** easy. What is there not to like?
    I just noticed the comments about the towels and Tshirts vs the stickiness of the dough, so thought I’d post my solution. When the dough is ready for its brief second rising I turn it onto a piece of parchment paper. Once it has risen for the last time, I lift the entire thing by the edges into the waiting hot pot. This does not seem to affect the quality of the bottom crust or the bread itself. Best of all, there is no sticky mass of dough (or gooey towels!) to deal with, and by not handling the dough after that second rise you don’t run the risk of it deflating.

  123. Sonja


    By “brief second rising” I actually mean the final rising, which is indeed quite short when compared to the preceding 18 hours :)

  124. Sherald Friend

    This is the most intriguing and tasting bread I,have ever made. I love the crackling crust as it rests on the wire rack to cool. Just a note: for those having a difficult time with dough that is too wet, play with the amount of water. Here in Colorado, I find that 1 3/4 cups of water is perfect. I purchased some cotton dish towels from WalMart for pennies that work great. My huge cast iron Dutch Oven is perfect. This bread also gave me an excuse to revitalise this pot after being used with dry ice for years at Halloween. Thanks for all the good stuff. I love it!!!

  125. Ellie

    I saw a picture of this bread and it looked so good I decided to make it. I love homemade bread, but kneading can be a bit of a hassle. I am doubling the recipe because my family can never have enough homemade bread, but I wasn’t sure how long it needed to bake in the oven. Deb, or anyone?

    1. deb

      Ellie — The last line of the recipe has the cooking time. (“Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.”)

  126. Katelinlee

    I can’t believe I waited so long to make this bread. So good, and delicious with the equally easy raspberry freezer jam I made yesterday. I too used parchment paper, which was fine.

  127. Liz

    Hi Deb I found a better way to do this bread. First I make the dough as usual, then before it has proofed too much, about 10 hours later, I form loaves sort of and proof the dough again in a bowl with baking paper underneath and no flour or corn meal. While shaping the sticky ball, just wet hands well and they will not stick. Re-wet hands as needed. To slow the process or move it over a few days, do the first proof in the refrigerator and the second on the counter. As I usually make 100% whole wheat bread I messed around until I could make it work. The key is that the whole wheat will absorb much more water so the dough is really just a batter at first. Liquid will separate out and I just mix it back in when I form the loaves. This extra wetness did not work well with the flour and the bread did stick, thus my transition to baking paper. Recently I needed to speed the process up so I mixed the dough in my mixer very wet with a bit more yeast, then treated it the same way. I did develop the gluten because I knew I did not have time to let it develop on its own. It came out fantastic. Yes, I know, I don’t measure and am a seat of pants cook, but hope this will help someone. This bread is saving me from the expensive Whole Foods artisanal loaves. I use my grandmother’s old corningware casseroles to bake the bread. For anyone on a budget these often show up at second hand shops.

  128. Beth

    I just made this bread for the first time, and am eagerly waiting for it to cool down enough to cut! It looks delicious. I have one question. I took several people’s suggestions and did the second rise on parchment paper. But then I was worried that I would have lots of excess paper bunching up inside my covered bowl, so before I transferred the dough to the paper (and before I preheated my dutch oven) I cut the paper into a circle to fit the bottom of the dutch oven. Of course, that meant that as the bread was doing its second rise it tended to spread out beyond the perimeter of the parchment paper, and I didn’t have a convenient sling to lift the dough into the hot pan. It worked OK–I had set the paper and dough on a cookie sheet, so I sort of slid it into the dutch oven like off of a pizza peel. I’m wondering how other people have handled the parchment paper, though. Thanks!

  129. Juliana

    I FINALLY made this and I’m so glad I did.

    I had been eyeing the recipe for ages, and couldn’t bring myself to do it. But today was the day. It was a snow day. I wanted my traditional grilled cheese and tomato soup for snow days. And I was willing to take the time to let the dough rise while I sat around in my PJs and drank hot cocoa.

    Based on the some suggestions from commenters on other sites, I was careful with my Le Creuset handle and simply unscrewed mine and fashioned a little aluminum foil pulley with which I could take off the lid when the time was right.

    But this bread is simply perfect. Perhaps not the most flavorful on its own, but the crust is perfect, the crumb is beautiful, and it made killer, crunchy grilled cheese sandwiches to go along with your roasted tomato soup.

    Hooray! There will be many snow days and weekend days and other lazy times filled with this in the near future…

  130. Eli

    Hi Deb,

    I’ve made this bread a few times, and it’s far and away the best load I’ve ever made, and damn near the best I’ve ever eaten! I can never get it to look quite as good as your photos, but the taste more than makes up for it! I’ve got my first go using whole meal risings as I type.

    Do you think you could add he metric measures to the post? I know it’s a very forgiving recipe, I’m just curious to see how your quantities for flour match up to what I’ve been using.


  131. Cari

    I have mastered this recipe! Two notes: First,if it’s really humid out, you won’t need all the water, so add it slowly. Second, put the dough on asilicone cookie sheet liner instead of a towel when letting it rise. It’ll come off beautifully and be easier to clean. I use my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker, which makes a nice loaf shape, perfect for sandwiches.

  132. Rachael P.

    Hi Deb,

    I’ve been making sourdough bread with a starter and everything is great except the bottom nearly always gets burnt. I use a Lodge cast iron dutch oven and Chad Robertson’s tartine sourdough recipe. Is this really just an issue of finally forcing myself to buy a baking stone to place under the dutch oven? Or do you think it could be a matter of temperature/time adjustment?

    Also, I’d like to start making stews/braises in the same dutch oven that I use for baking bread but am worried that any residual flavors from the cooked meals will be imparted onto the bread. Is it necessary to reserve one vessel for bread and another for cooking or can I use one dutch oven for both uses?

    Love yor blog!

    1. deb

      Rachael — You might try baking the bread at 25 degrees less; not sure whether it’s your oven or just what your pan wants to do, but generally, lowering the temp will reduce scorchiness (not actually a word, I know) before the bread is done baking. Re, Lodge… hmmm. It’s hard to say. I use an enameled cast iron (Staub, but Le Creuset are the same) so nothing really absorbs but with an cast iron finish like Lodge has, it’s more prone to absorption. That said, I have a few cast iron skillets and I use them interchangeable for savory things as well as pancakes and crepes. It’s rare that smell carries over, unless what I made previously was very saucy and fragrant (uh, stinky) — maybe fajitas or an Indian dish, certainly not pan-roasted chicken or pan-broiled steak. You could just try it and see; it may not be an issue.

  133. renee

    Since you seem to still be responding to comments on this ancient post (bless you!) I just wondered if you’d tried a chocolate version (and if not, why not?) I’ve been making this bread for about a year now (my standard is now 2c white and 1c white whole wheat; just under 1/2 tsp active dry yeast [mainly because I don’t have a 1/3 tsp measure]; 1/2 c water) and I’m ready to experiment. The most similar chocolate recipe I’ve found calls for somewhat less yeast and says you have to proof it first. Hmm. Would the addition of cocoa and sugar (1/3c each) change the yeast requirement? I’m tempted to just do it my way and see how it goes–in my experience, you cannot screw this up.

  134. eukaable

    I made this bread for the first time, and even though it rose high and collapsed, it still baked up totally delicious! I didn’t want to do the tea towel thing because I worry about sticky dough gumming up my washer .. so I dumped the very wet dough out onto parchment with a bit of flour on it, shaped my “ball”, dumped the excess flour and let it rise in the parchment sitting in a bowl. When my Le Creueset was hot I just picked up the whole deal, parchment and all like a little sling, plunked it in and baked.. perfect! No clean up either!

  135. Lise

    I’ve been making this bread for a few years, both white and wholemeal. I watched the original Jim Lahey, Mark Btitmen video, where there was no second rising of the dough, just 19 hours, so no tea-towel stage at all. Seems to work fine. Everyone loves this bread. Just want to ask, if anyone has cooked it with 100% wholemeal spelt flour and how it turns out. Thanks.

  136. Hannah

    Hi Deb,

    I’ve been making this bread on a weekly basis these past few months and it consistently comes out of the oven looking beautiful and tasting delicious. I’ve made it with sesame seeds, and with rosemary, and plan to experiment with walnuts and dried sour cherries. I was wondering, though, how much leeway we have to tweak the duration of the second two-hour rise. I’ve left it out for almost three hours and it still came out delicious. Would you recommend not going past a certain limit?


  137. Deb, you are definitely my kitchen goddess. But advice, please, since I cook but don’t usually bake: cab I sprinkle sesame seeds on top like a bagel? Or poppy seeds? What about an egg wash?

    1. deb

      Cheffzilla — They’ll glue on the best with an egg wash, but not all bakers bother. Sometimes just brushing the top with water before sprinkling them on is enough.

  138. Kiki

    Ok people. I used 1.5 cups all purpose king arthur. 1.5 cups Bob’s organic whole wheat pastry flour and added 3 tblsp of that wheat glutten stuff Deb talked about as I happened to be at whole foods yesterday and thought of it. I added 1/3 tsp of yeast I think as I eyeballed it. the stated water was added. 15 hours of rise, then flopped it around and two more hours on parchment. I was going to plop it in with the parchment but when I went to get my le cruset, it was still in the fridge with lentil soup, so I had to use the other one that’s oval and the paper was all crinkly blah blah so I poured it into the pot but lost a layer on the bottom stuck to the parchment (didn’t grease since I figured I was going to throw it into the pot). It looks great and it’s cooling on the counter now after 30 min in the pot, then lid off and another 15 min with a thermometer that reads 220! I realize that’s high but it was too pasty colored when I took off the lid. The crust is crunchy and medium dark-honey-maple-syrupy looking shade. The house smells awesome and the kids are freaking out for me to cut it now. I’m holding out another 15 or so for it to cool off. It didn’t make as big a loaf as I would have liked. I’m so excited I had to post now. I’ll let you know how it tastes and look inside.

  139. Kiki

    report #2- it had good flavor, beautiful inside, looks more or less just as holey as the pic in the blog, same internal color as the blog pic because of the wheat glutten additive, bottom crust was excellent, top crust not as thick nor as crusty as it cooled off but the kids ate the entire thing with butter and dipped in Kalamata olive oil. It’s completely gone. I used the flours I had on hand. I will totally try it again re-read all the blogs about it to see if I can get it a bit crusty-er. Hurray for warmish bread and butter and olive oil on a grey and fake snowy day in Chicago!!

  140. Tom

    I use half water, half beer…. 1 Tbls vinegar also…
    Put the whole shebang in a room temp dutch oven then into a room temp oven…set her to 450F… let er bake covered for 50 mins, then uncovered for 10-12 mins till she’s about 195-200F internal…. no nasty hot pots to drop dough into and no preheating the oven….

    : >)

  141. Rosette

    I just discovered no-knead breads, a decade (or more!) late! They were smash successes using 100% whole wheat or spelt flours. However, I’m supposed to avoid those two grains, and use more rye. In order to get the same texture as the wheat, I added way too much water to the batter. It took forever to bake, ended up wet inside and overly crusty outside. Can anyone tell me how much liquid to use? Ideally, I’d like to use 100% (whole grain) rye, but even a lower percentage, like 2/3, is better than nothing. When I made the wheat/spelt versions, I used a regular loaf pan and parchment paper crumpled in it, so the crust wasn’t “crackling,” but it was crustier than standard bakery bread, so it made the cut anyways. The paper peeled off easily but I don’t think I could re-use it.

  142. Dana

    Mine stuck like glue on the bottom – user error? Was I supposed to grease it? It’s delicious, but I epically destroyed the loaf by trying to remove it. Tips?

    1. deb

      This hasn’t happened to me, I think the high heat and the flour on it was enough to keep it from sticking but I don’t think there’s any harm in, say, coating the pot with nonstick spray before getting it really hot or doing it right before dropping the dough in to make sure it doesn’t next time.

      1. Dana Gentry

        Thanks for getting back with me! My dough was VERY sticky – so next time I will try coating it more thoroughly with flour for the last rise along with a little spray and see what happens. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my question (and for sharing the recipe)!

        1. deb

          Btw, sticky is just fine and good. I feel like the very high heat of the pot often creates a barrier too, kind of the way pizza stones don’t need a whole lot to prevent pizzas from sticking. However, again, a little oiling first will never harm.

        2. lp

          I’ve found that shaking the pan around the time that I remove the lid helps a lot. If I shake it a bunch, I’m usually able to unstick it. I also often flip the loaf over during the last 10-20 minutes to prevent burning. Maybe try a different pan next time? When I don’t have an ideal pan, I’ve used a metal or Pyrex bowl with a cake pan inverted over it.

  143. I recently rediscovered this recipe in Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year and learned something that solves the 12-18 hours conundrum. She describes in the book how a snowstorm took out the power at her house just around the time she was supposed to bake the bread, and she had to wait another day until she had power again. At first she thought of throwing the dough out, but then she tried to bake it anyway and realised that it tasted even better with multiple long rises. In short, this recipe is much more flexible than the initial instructions have you believe. Since I read that, I’ve been making this bread by doing the next step whenever I happen to have time for it (it’s ranged from 24 to 36 hours) and the results are still magnificent!

  144. Morgan

    I made this yesterday/today &it was delightful. I started it last night around 10:30 pm & started the 2nd rise today after work around 4 pm (so it can be done during the week!) I, like many commenters before me, executed the 2nd rise on a silicone mat with a towel over it. I’ve made a few loaves prior but have never had ssuch a great crust come from an at-home bake- thanks for another winner!

  145. Himalayan Chef

    Maybe this yeast became more popular after machines became common; but I was using it long before bread machines were available.

  146. Would you happen to know how I could convert this recipe to use
    sour dough starter instead of the instant yeast?
    I think that my husband would really like this
    but I do not use instant yeast as it is reported
    to cause inflammation and we are trying to cut
    back on inflammatory foods. Thanks.

    1. LeslieAnn

      I don’t have the heavy lidded pot of the right size for this recipe. Is there any way you can get a good result with a regular bread pan or a flat, uncovered surface?
      Or, better yet, I’d love to be able to do this in my instant pot!

    1. I have made this with whole wheat flour. You may not need the extra water depending on how humid it is, and the bubbles will be smaller. You may also want to double the yeast, as Jim Lahey recommends for his pizza dough, which is very similar to this recipe.

  147. Mrs. P

    Here’s something I learned from one of the zillion comments on this bread on one of the websites that present the recipe: you can skip that tricky handling of a very hot vessel by starting the bread in a cold — yes, as in unheated — oven. This lets you skip the tricky transfer of the wet dough to that hot pot. And it really works. Let the bread rise in the baking vessel — bowl w/cover; dutch oven, whatever — and when it’s ready, put it in the oven, turn the control to 450 degrees and bake for about 55 minutes covered. Uncover it and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Voila — a bread as gorgeous and delicious as one baked in a preheated oven and pot.

    1. Andy in Vancouver

      Thank you Mrs P – the cold oven start is brilliant!

      Made a fantastic loaf today, 3rd time we’ve made this recipe, all three were rustic, outstanding, and exactly as Deb describes.

      Cold oven start makes it an even easier go-to on the weekend (wat dat), 5 minutes to prep the ingredients Saturday at 6pm, work it at noon Sunday, and by 3pm it’s in the oven. Or something.

      If this were to somehow become known as, “1/4 teaspoon yeast no-knead bread”, but less clunky sounding, there would be more attention paid perhaps?

      Great work, all!

  148. Rachel Diem

    I used my well-seasoned Dutch oven, and leaving it in while the oven preheated made my kitchen smokey. I won’t do it this way again . . . I don’t mind kneading!

  149. cindy cooksey

    I tried it. In the time of Corona Virus, I find myself baking bread! All I had was a Corelle casserole dish. It turned out great in all ways, except that it stuck badly to the bottom of the dish. Was I supposed to grease it? It didn’t say to anywhere. There was some cornmeal, but not enough?

    1. deb

      I think it’s less likely to stick to a Dutch oven — maybe grease it lightly next time before adding the cornmeal. I’m glad it was a hit otherwise!

  150. I started making this again since we’ve been social distancing, and both times the loaf has already been quite brown on top when I remove the lid. I’m baking in a gas convection oven in a stoneware pot. Should I reduce the baking time or reduce the temperature?

    1. deb

      If it doesn’t taste overbaked, no. If it does, you could try a lower temperature, or putting a little foil over the dark areas as it finishes baking.

  151. addie1

    I made this today and used the very good advice of the NYT commenters–instead of letting the second rise happen on a tea towel, I put the dough on a well-floured piece of parchment paper and put it in a bowl. When my oven and pot were ready, I transferred the dough, parchment paper and all, into the pot. No sticking! And much easier than dealing with wet dough on a towel.

    1. wendy

      I made this yesterday and also did the last rise on floured parchment. I also shortened it a bit (isn’t timing the hardest part of every meal?!) and it was just as delicious as the other times I’ve made it according to the recipe.

  152. Xara
    If anyone has a heavy old Guardian aluminum roasting pan like this around, it works great for making this bread. I had one with the domed glass lid pictured, and have baked this bread in it many times. I eventually got nervous about the glass being heated that high, and bought the metal lid/tray pictured on the right to use instead. Somewhere along the line I starter using my old Romertopf roaster (which I’d received as a wedding gift 43 years ago and had used almost not at all until this bread came on the scene). I’m not the most analytical baker, and am unable to say which vessel produces the best bread; it’s all fabulous.

    Happy baking….this bread is SO good! (Quite a few years ago I took some to a friend who grew up in Switzerland. She was wild about it. Turns out she misses two things about her native country: being able to walk everywhere, and the bread, which she says this very closely approximates. She and her husband have been baking it ever since.)

  153. Stacey

    Made this for the first time in my new dutch oven and it was amazing!

    Used parchment paper instead of a towel and just transferred it into the dutch oven on the paper. Super easy.

    Question: ever tried adding herbs or anything to enhance or change the flavor?


  154. Chris

    Alternatively, you can bake on a preheated baking stone with a cake pan if boiling water on the shelf below the bread. Acts as a steam oven and don’t have to maneuver a hot baking dish

  155. I tried this yesterday. It was a big sticky mess trying to roll the dough into a loaf, but the bread came out absolutely perfect! This recipe is definitely a “keeper!”

  156. Debbie

    You can easily skip the whole dump onto a towel part. I just leave in my large Pyrex bowl and stir down as it rises. When ready to bake, just stir into a ball and dump into your baking pan.

  157. Rachel M

    So, I just had to comment. I’ve been making your lazy pizza dough for years Deb and everyone always rave about it (especially with new Ooni oven!). Been thinking about making this bread for a long time but I had no idea that you had posted about it when the recipe first came out. Tried it a few weeks ago when we were in lockdown here in Bermuda and I’ve been making it regularly ever since… it’s so good. Cannot believe I could have been making it for over 10 years!! Trying not to think about all those loaves I’ve missed… been happily reading through the comments. Deb you’ve transformed my cooking and in doing so, my life. Thank you and happy summer. Off to check out your rhubarb recipes now – the ones I haven’t made yet that is!

  158. Deb, every I time I make the no knead bread it comes out pretty flat. It is more like ciabatta them a normal loaf. Is that the result you get too? I follow your directions exactly. Wondering if it is too wet….what are your thoughts>


    1. deb

      This is higher hydration than other no-knead bread recipes. This leads to that chewy texture and great crust. But you can feel safe bumping up the flour slightly for more height; I’ve definitely tinkered with it.

  159. Denise

    Deb, Thanks for recipe, was my 1st no knead bread. Brought me right back to the Italian bakery on 13th Ave. Brooklyn NY where I grew up. Too chewy real calisthenics for the teeth, needs to be dryer in center, very very sticky dough, let it rise about 19 hr
    My ingredients– 3 c flour
    2 tbsp gluten
    1/8 tsp ACTIVE dry yeast
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    1 1/2 c water
    Any thoughts? Should I drop the gluten? Maybe cut back on the water?