No Knead Bread Baking Method

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

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

Love This Method

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

6 min. 40 sec.

12 min. long

Ingredients for basic yeasted No Knead Method:

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

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

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

No Knead Revisited – A Three Year Check Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

{ 1649 comments… read them below or add one }

Phillip October 6, 2014 at 10:38 pm

I’m a beginner trying to find a recipe for no-knead 100% white whole wheat flour pizza and also for bread (no bread flour or white flour). I realize that some adjustments might need to be made such as adding more water and additional wheat gluten.
Any suggestions for a tried and true recipe would be appreciated.
An unrelated question: I’m thinking of buying a stand mixer to make
bread but I found a lot of negative reviews for most of the mixers,
especially for the models in the last few years. Any suggestions?


Breadtopia October 13, 2014 at 5:28 am

Hi Phillip,

No tried and true recipes jump to mind but on the mixer question, either the Bosch Universal Plus or Ankarsrum mixers have solid reviews.


Ulf October 15, 2014 at 1:48 am

I have so far had my Ankersrum Assistent for four years, using it more than once a week. It is still going strong, and chugs through even the toughest sourdough rye recipes without hesitation. It’s relatively easy to clean and looks cool to boot.

Since discovering no-knead bread, it’s seeing less use, but I still break it out for Dalar or Øland wheat recipes, which requires some serious kneading.


Shawna September 8, 2014 at 1:27 am

I was out of flour and yeast and bought some, intending to make this bread. By accident I bought regular yeast instead of instant. Can I use it or do I need to go get instant instead?


Breadtopia October 13, 2014 at 5:20 am

Sorry for the late reply. If the regular yeast you are asking about is the kind you need to active in warm water first, yes you can use it. You’ll just need to do the activation thing first.


Tatjana September 2, 2014 at 9:25 am

i am new at making no knead bread, and i was wondering is it possible to bake this kind of bread just in the oven, without any kind of dish with a lid?
Also, i tried some of your recipes, and they are great.
Thanks forward!


Charlene Moore October 18, 2014 at 7:58 am

the lid keeps in the moisture for the first portion of baking, which gives that nice, chewy crust


Charlene Moore October 18, 2014 at 8:07 am

I’ve found that adding 2 tablespoons of gluten really makes a nice, chewy loaf – I also use bread flour instead of the all-purpose.


Charlene Moore August 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm

I wanted a much larger loaf, because my cast iron pan could handle it, so I altered the measures to these: 4 1/2 c. BREAD flour, 1-1/4 t. salt, 1- 1/4 t dry yeast, 1- 5/8 c water. I let it rise overnight, punch it down and let rise another 2 hours. This is the BEST bread Ive ever had…excellent chewy crust, lovely center.. Ive played with the recipe for about a year now and just love it!!


Charlene Moore August 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm

I bake it at 450 F (lid on) for 36 mins then 15 mins with the lid off. Have also discovered that you get a nice, chewy crust which is much easier to slice if, after removing from pan, place onto cooling rack and cover top with wet paper towels – excess water squeezed but not wrung out. Its delicious!!


chris August 8, 2014 at 2:24 pm

hello,could you please tell me how to convert fahrenheit in celcius?thank you


Gary from Wisconsin August 8, 2014 at 2:48 pm

(F – 32) x 5/9 = C

So water boils at 212 degrees F.

(212-32) x 5/9 = 100 degrees C

212-32 = 180
180 x 5 = 900
900 / 9 = 100 degrees C


frank gaipa July 29, 2014 at 1:58 pm

I’ve seen the pictures, of course, here and elsewhere, and seen my own efforts, but, clock aside, how can one judge visually or otherwise that the 9 to 18 hour rise is finished? I’ve seen the soupiness of over-risen. What does the sweet point just before that look like? Using sourdough, not yeast, in Oakland where summer days only occasionally climb much past seventy, my first rise looks nearly doubled in as little as three hours. I can trial-and-error, refrigerate-and-not, but I’d really prefer to be able to eyeball first rise readiness.



Breadtopia July 30, 2014 at 6:55 am

Hi Frank,

If you’re dough is doubling that quickly, you might want to consider cutting the amount of sourdough you’re using way back in order to prolong the proofing time. See if the flavor increases if you can get the long rise up to at least 10 hours.

As for identifying the sweet spot, there is the poke test where you depress the dough a bit with your figure tip and if it doesn’t spring back all the way, it’s ready. But really, the best thing is just keep baking. You just get so you can tell by the way the dough jiggles, how much it’s risen, how long it’s been compared to previous similar loaves, poking it. You can’t beat experience and it doesn’t take that long to get it.


Peggy July 24, 2014 at 6:24 am

I haven’t read all the comments so someone may have already posted on the subject. I picked up most of these ideas from the No Knead Bread with Steve You Tube series. First proofing. Use a plate or a lidded bowl to cover your bread instead of plastic wrap. . .save money and the planet. Stir your bread with the handle of a spoon. . so much easier to incorporate all the flour. King Arthur Flour has some great addatives such as whole grain bread improver. . check them out. Use a silicon matt to pat out your dough for the second proofing. I tried a pastry cloth/counter top/and dough board before my discovery and all were disasters in one way or another. Clean up flour spills with a dry microfiber cloth–the flour clings and makes cleaning a breeze. After the patting and scooping/shaping process–I bought an oxo good grips dough scraper that I could not survive without for this step–place the dough in a bowl that you have sprayed with non-stick spray [steve uses a skillet--anything that will shape the dough the way you wish will work] I use a tea towel to cover at this point and I usually let the dough rise 2 hours instead of the 1 hour recommendation] When it’s time to place the dough into your pre-heated dutch oven all you have to do is tip the dough in. . .ever-so-much easier than my first attempts using a tea towel. . .I’m a total novice in bread baking, and I’m now baking at least one loaf sometimes two each week. . .so happy to have discovered “No-knead Bread”. Some loaves are better than others, but I can truly say I have never yet had a complete failure. Once in a while I think this one will be the first failure [really wet or a bit dry or whatever] but to date they’ve all been good if not great.


Barbara July 22, 2014 at 8:06 pm

We are having a lot of people for dinner, and one loaf of no-knead won’t be enough. I have a round 5 quart DO I use all the time for this bread, and a rectangular covered clay baker that I use for other breads.

I would like to bake two loaves of no-knead at the same time using these two differently shaped bakers.

Will the baking time be the same for both breads, or will the rectangular loaf bake in less time than the round one? If the latter, would the time spent covered be the same for both (with the cover of the rectangular one pulled off earlier), or would the whole covered/uncovered timing be different between the two? I’d hate to ruin a loaf by trying to wing it if someone has first hand experience.


Kristine Nickel July 23, 2014 at 6:48 am

Hi Barbara,

For dinner parties, I double the NK recipe and use mini loaf pans to form the rolls ( See Video ). The little pans are great, just wipe with a paper towel. Bake ahead and re-heat in a hot oven until crispy . They are a big hit with family and guests. While your oven is hot, bake several batches and freeze. The pans are available at Amazon. Click link for DEMO.


Kristine Nickel July 23, 2014 at 7:33 am

To make sure that both loaves are baked through, measure the temps close to the end of your desired baking time. ( 98 F to 200 F ) I keep my vessels covered the entire baking time. Either way, you should get a nice thick crust. For rolls, I use mini loaf pans on a large cookie sheet. You can also shape them free-form on a pizza peel and bake on a pre-heated pizza stone.


Barbara July 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Thank you very much for this information! The video was informative.


Sol July 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm

I feed a pre-ferment during the day, mix my main dough in the evening, fill my largest aluminum bowl with tap water, and float the lightly covered glass bowl holding the rising dough overnight. That way, during the summer, I can run my oven only during the coolest part of the day.


Susan July 11, 2014 at 12:01 pm

As many times as I have made no knead bread, I am pretty sure I have let it rise anywhere inside the house. Would it be OK to put it outdoors (80 degrees or so) in the sun for a few hours? Would that make it rise too fast?


Breadtopia July 14, 2014 at 6:05 am

It would certainly rise quite a bit faster. Aside from having to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t over proof, I don’t see any huge reason not to give it a try if you want. Longer fermentation can help develop more flavor, so you might lose a little with a speedy proofing.


Shabnam July 14, 2014 at 11:16 am

It does rise a LOT faster, and in my opinion tends to make it tart in taste as well – quite unpleasant. Keep it in the kitchen, in a warmish spot(say in the oven while you’re cooking stuff on the stovetop, or with the light on) besides, extended time improves flavour. I’ve often used the fridge to slow it all down in the 90-100 deg F it reaches here.


Susan July 14, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Thank you both! I ended up NOT putting it outside and just kept it nice and cozy inside with a big blanket over it. It turned out beautifully and quite tasty as well! I will know in the future to just keep doing the same old thing…it works, why mess with it?!


Paula July 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm

I am just curious. Why do these types of no-knead breads not use any kind of fat or sugar in them? What would happen if I added a tablespoon or two of oil and a tablespoon of sugar? Thanks.


Breadtopia July 1, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Hi Paula,

Sugar will speed up the rising times (and of course add sweetness) and oil will soften the bread. You can do either or both. It’s all a matter of personal preference.


Justin Shnieder June 21, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Justin from London.
See the photo attached which is my attempt at baking a no knead loaf using wholemeal bread flour. The bread is no more than 2 inches high! Why did it not rise during baking? I used heavy casserole dish with a lid on. Does the size of the container influence the size of the loaf?
I did have a lot of issues with a very wet unmanageable dough, but I note that there is some information on your website on how to solve this problem.
Many thanks ,



irwin June 21, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Justin, Is your wholemeal bread flour rye or whole wheat or ??
Also did not see your photo, but not that important. Irwin


Justin Shnieder June 22, 2014 at 12:44 pm

I used wholemeal bread flour. For the record I have attached a photo of my failed loaf. Only 2 inches high!!


irwin June 22, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Justin, if your flour is all or largely rye it does not have as much gluten as wheat flour. Thus cannot hold gas and produce a lighter bread. You might want to incorporate a tablespoon or two or Vital Wheat Gluten and/or add a high protein wheat bread flour. Additionally I suggest you look at Ken Forkish’s book, ” Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast”. Lots of additional useful information and illustrations of the “stretch and fold” which may also help your bread. Hope this helps. Let me know. Irwin


Justin Shnieder June 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Irwin, my flour was wholemeal bread flour, what we in England call “strong ” bread flour. Not rye.
Could the pancake loaf be due to the size of the casserole dish I was using?


irwin June 22, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Is your casserole dish a dutch oven with a cover?

Justin Shnieder June 23, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Hello Irwin,

The container is a very heavy casserole dish with a lid, I believe it is cast iron, so, I’m sure it would pass as a “dutch oven”
A picture of the bread is on the webpage. It just didn’t rise!



irwin June 23, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Justin, I’m tapped out of ideas. Hopefully one of the other bakers will reply. Good luck, Irwin

Peggy July 24, 2014 at 6:38 am

The shape of the baking dish does make a difference. . I started with a 5 quart dutch oven and my dough just splatted out. . .my second dutch oven was an emil henry 3.5 quart—that was too big as well. I finally purchased an emil henry 2.5 quart that is perfect. The container you use for your second proofing ought to be about the same size. Also check out King Arthur Flour’s whole grain bread improver. It’s amazing. Another tip I learned is to start with bread flour for about a third of the flour . You can then add other ‘flour flavors’ . . .some recipes start with 2/3rd bread flour, but I’ve found that if I use flour improver I can get away with the former . . I usually make a 3 cup loaf.

Bubba June 17, 2014 at 6:10 pm

instead of “rasslin'” the wet dough into anything…place it on lightly floured parchment paper cover an’ let it rest…preheat oven AND DUTCHOVEN…
put dough AND parchment paper into HOT dutch oven an’ cook ‘er as recommended


prachi June 17, 2014 at 12:07 am

I’m trying the basic no-knead after a long time. I added fresh yeast, using a conversion from instant yeast a friend suggested, and I find the dough has risen madly and is all bubbly only 4 hours after I mixed it!!! It is 90 degrees here, but I expected at least 8 hours. I put it in the fridge while I determine what I should do. Can I just shape it now and let it rise the second time? Or it is a bust? Is there anyway I can use part of it for a fresh dough and freeze the rest of it – something like a sourdough starter? Please help! I don’t want it to go waste.


Shabnam June 17, 2014 at 2:28 am

Nah, its not a bust. Just leave it in the refrigerator for the duration. Longer proofing betters the taste. I’ve even frozen after punching down, and used it later. Yup, temperatures here often reach a 100 and beyond!


frank gaipa June 5, 2014 at 11:50 am

No knead works great with my sourdough starter. I’m getting a much better rise than I had been with kneaded variations. I do though like to coat my loaves liberally with a mix of olive oil, lime juice and various seeds. Would the drip off mess with the floor of my new baking cloche?


Breadtopia June 5, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Hi Frank,

Your cloche will discolor significantly with use over time no matter what you do. Oil dripping on the base may cause smoking, but perhaps not enough to be bothersome. I suppose there’s a chance you might have to be a bit cautious about dripping lime juice on the base if the base is hot and the juice is cold. Could be a thermal shock issue. I’m just taking a worst case scenario position. I’m doubtful you’ll experience any real problems.


Stebbi baker June 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

1 1/2 cups of water to 3 cups of flour.. that would be what, roughly 60 or70% hydration?


Pat June 4, 2014 at 6:22 pm

It would be difficult to determine this by the way you are describing the amounts. This bread seems to work better if you weigh the flour rather than measure by the cup measure. Flour can weigh differently depending how much you pack a measuring cup. Weighing it guarantees that it is exactly what is called for in the recipe. Certain flours absorb more water than others.

I tend to use the original recipe that mixes 5oz wheat and 10.5oz white. I carefully measure 1.5 cups of water too.

It can also depend on the time of year (it is really dry or humid in your kitchen?)

I have an old postal scale that I use but I think you can get scales pretty cheap. I use a small brown paper bag to put the flour on the scale. Once you have made this a few times you will be able to figure out if you need to alter the ounces of flour and water.


Mike June 3, 2014 at 10:31 am

I have made several loafs now and the only concern is that the crumb seems a bit too moist, is this normal with the no knead method? If not does anyone have any possible solutions?


Jimmy June 1, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Thanks for sharing.
Is it a must to use La Cloche or Dutch oven ? What is the reason for using it?





Breadtopia June 2, 2014 at 5:25 am

They’re not a must, but a covered baker will help keep the steam from the baking dough close to the bread which helps develop a nicer crust. Plus a properly sized Dutch oven (about 4 quarts) or the oblong cloche will shore up the wet no knead dough and force an upward rise and so a better shape. Otherwise the wet dough tends to pancake out during baking.


Chris in NM June 2, 2014 at 8:24 am

The other reason for using a Dutch oven (or similar) is because of the “oven” part of the pan. You preheat the thick cast iron or ceramic walls to that 450-500° (F) temperature and this “thermal mass” holds it there, radiating close to the bread. Thermal mass is what a friend of mine calls a “thermal flywheel,” that is, the energy (heat) applied to the outside may change but the heat inside remains constant because it takes a long time for the cast iron to change temperature (just like a flywheel that keeps rotational motion constant).

As an aside, this is also how we heat our house in the winter: Thick adobe walls behind glass (“Trombe walls”) absorb sunlight in the day and release it at night. Hey! I’m living inside a Dutch oven!


jimmy June 2, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Thanks for the reply!

I shall try with a glass ware (since this is what i have)


jimmy June 8, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Hi all,

I did not try with glass ware.

But i use a thin wall metal bowl.

Any reason for thick and not so crispy crust?

Thanks in advance


irwin May 25, 2014 at 6:03 pm

I use 3 Tablespoons of olive oil added to my 600 gms of bread flour, 75% hydration, 12 grams salt and 3/8th teaspoons of Red Star yeast and rosemary. My dough rises times 3 overnight and proofs in an hour. The resulting loaf is great, both crumb and crust. The dough remains very wet in all stages and is a bit of a challenge to get into my heated dutch oven. I make a cradle of parchment paper to safely transfer the dough into the DO. I wonder if the addition of olive oil is an additive factor in keeping my dough so wet? thanks, Iriwn


connie May 25, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I made my first loaf today and it came out pretty good, however how can I make it a little less doughy?


Luiza May 14, 2014 at 4:57 am


Could anyone tell me the reason to use plastic over the bowl while the bread is rising? I am trying to reduce the use of plastic and wonder if a cloth/ tea towel would do?
Many thanks!


Cathy May 14, 2014 at 7:35 am

Luiza, it’s to keep the moisture in so that when you put it in the oven you get that wonderful crust. Can’t you use a plastic bag that you can re use every time? I use a covered corning ware baking dish with a glass lid.
Hope this helps.


Luiza May 14, 2014 at 9:15 am

Many thanks! Now I know the reason, I’ll make sure I have a plastic bag handy that I can re-use again.


Rassayana July 26, 2014 at 10:20 am

I’ve had decent luck with a shower cap over top of my bowls. It allows the gasses to escape, but doesn’t really allow the airflow that would otherwise dry out your dough. And as a bonus, it fits a variety of bowl sizes.


Judy May 11, 2014 at 9:11 am

I couldn’t deal with the too sticky/wet dough for the shaping process so I skipped that. I do a long 12 hour proof (sometimes less but I live in hot and humid Singapore so the temperature is hot all year round and probably helps with quicker proofing) and then I stir it down and proof for another 1.5-2 hours (with plastic over bowl). Then I pour the dough into a pre-heated Dutch oven which immediately sears the base so I don’t have to oil my DO and the cooked bread pops out easily. The only time it doesn’t is when it hasn’t been pre-heated enough then it’s a nightmare and you lose a third of your bread stuck to the base :( But so far, this method has worked fine for me and the bread is always good.


Forrest May 8, 2014 at 5:32 pm

I’ve tried the no-knead recipe a few times and my loaves still come out dense and not as flavorful as I was hoping. The initial rise is great, they rise okay the second time, and then don’t have much oven spring (using warmed La Cloche). I’m wondering if I am letting it rise too long the first time, or perhaps not long enough. It’s a bit hard to tell from the videos: do you wait until the dough is all gluteny and has begun to sink back on itself before folding and doing a second rise, or should you try to catch it before that happens?

I’m starting a sourdough starter to see if that helps with the flavoring.


Lynn March 31, 2014 at 3:05 am

Well, I have made my first starter using this method and my first ‘No Kneed Bread’ and it was a big success. I was afraid to try any bread baking because I do not have the ‘equipment’ and feel that I live in Italy where some of the best bread in the world is made so why try? Glad I did. No need for lots of expensive extras I just used my Italian terracotta tegame as my cloche and it came out beautifully. So note to any who may be a bit timid – go for it, you will be so happy. Thank you Harvey for these videos and posts.


ptw March 28, 2014 at 8:26 am

8 years I’ve been baking bread – all types, including sourdough with my own starters – and today I attempted this no-knead thingy. Well goodness me; 1st class, and the best bread I’ve made to date. Scrumptious. Thank you from Scotland…


Susan Ottwell March 16, 2014 at 1:31 am

Just a general note about flours and bread. Bread flour is made from hard (winter) wheat, while pastry or cake flour is made from soft (spring) wheat. All-purpose flour is a blend of the two. The softer the flour, the less liquid it needs; hard bread flour will absorb more water. Whole-grain flour will also absorb more water. This difference in the characteristics of the different types of flour could account for dough that is too wet and sticky. If you are using all-purpose flour, and little or no whole-grain flour, try with 1/4 cup less water for 3-4 cups of flour.


Eva February 17, 2014 at 9:22 am

I bake mine in the la cloche and get great crumb and taste. The only problem I have is: my crust is perfect when it comes out of the oven but softens up as it is cooling down. How do I keep my crust from softening up? Please help!


Harvey Cohen February 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Put the loaf on the oven rack, prop open the oven door an inch or two, and leave it alone until the oven and bread cool down. Crust will stay crisp for a day or so. Past that, slice and toast, or slice and panini press, or re-warm the loaf in the oven.


Eva Holmes February 18, 2014 at 10:42 am

Thank you-Harvey! Your timing was perfect as I was just putting a loaf of whole wheat sourdough in the oven. I did try your method and it helped a great deal. The loaf did soften up just a tad but did have crunch to the crust at dinner time. THANK YOU! One more question- I noticed in the blog below you say you bake at 450 instead of 500 for 30 min. I bake at 500 in my la cloche for 30 min and take the lid off for 5 min and bake at 450. Should I bake the whole time at 450?


Harvey Cohen February 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Ovens and recipes vary so much that 450 versus 500 may be just a religious argument. I’m trying to balance crust burning versus center of loaf doneness, and 500 preheat + 450 bake works for me. YMMV.
I’m glad the oven cool-down works for you.


Fred Melnick February 19, 2014 at 7:39 am

450 or 500 isn’t critical at all, but 5 minutes with the lid off is not nearly enough. I bake my boules in a pot for 30 minutes with the lid on and 20 minutes with the lid off.


Lisa February 4, 2014 at 5:41 pm

I would like to try the no knead bread in my clay pot instead of the cast iron. The clay pot instructions for bread say to soak the pot (normal for all uses) but then to put the bread in (after it rises) then turn on the oven. The no knead instructions call for putting the dough in a hot pot. So which method should I use? I do not want to break the clay pot.


Harvey S. Cohen February 4, 2014 at 8:41 pm

I normally bake bread in my La Cloche clay bakers (round and rectangular). I can’t see any reason to soak, and you want the pot at oven temp for oven spring. I proof the loaf in a parchment paper lined brotform, but IMHO any container that matches the shape of the baker would be OK. For no-knead, preheat oven and baker to 500 F for an hour (so the baker is at full temp), then dust the loaf with flour, slash, and transfer it *in the parchment* to the baker. Cover the baker and reduce temp to 450 F. Uncover after about 30 minutes.
Here’s a pic of a kneaded beer rye I made in the rectangular baker at 350 F for one hour. Great oven spring, and super crust.


Maxina February 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Harvey. Interesting addition to this technique. I do my no-knead bread fairly close to the breadtopia technique with my own tweaks. Your idea of using the parchment paper is very cool. I love parchment paper – use it for a ton of other things. So am I correct in understanding that you bake it IN the parchment paper? Does this ease up on the need for flour? I make my dough so wet it’s difficult to handle but that’s what gives me the results I like best. Your idea of parchment could really help if I’m understanding correctly.


Fred February 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm

I put two strips of parchment paper, each about 4 inches wide, crossways in the bowl where I will be proofing the dough. I place the dough in the bowl on top of the parchment paper and when it is time to put it in the oven, I lift the dough by holding the ends of the parchment paper and place it, paper and all into the baking dish, pot, or whatever I am using. Parchment paper has a tendency to curl up, so I gently crumple it and then it lays flat when I lay it in the bowl.


Maxina February 4, 2014 at 11:32 pm

That won’t work for me. My proofed dough is too floppy for that; not with gaps…. I’ve got it where I get great bubbles, but its got to be well hydrated…. But thank you.


Shabnam Akram February 5, 2014 at 5:44 am

I use parchment paper to line… It really helps as the bread just slides out, no need for spraying and /or dusting. The other advantage(for some totally unknown reason) is that I get an even and prettier crust colour.

Harvey S. Cohen February 5, 2014 at 8:32 am

Maxina, I just use enough parchment paper to completely support the dough and give me a few inches to grip. A single sheet of 15-inch-width paper usually works fine. When I put the dough in the baker, I bend the top edges of the paper outward so that the cover traps it and keeps in off the top of the dough. I don’t flour or grease the paper or the baker, but I may flour the dough for shaping more than you do. YMMV.


Sue Clamp February 5, 2014 at 12:50 am

I use a clay pot (Roemertopf). At first I used to saok the pot but then tried it dry. It made little difference to the result so now I use it dry. As stated, it needs to be very hot before you put the dough in. I always use baking parchment to line it, which also acts as a means of lowering the dough into the pot without burning me!


Lisa February 6, 2014 at 9:55 am

Thanks Everyone! This is very helpful. I had planned on using parchment paper. I have used parchment to get flat bread to my baking steel at 500 deg. The bread bakes just fine on the parchment.


Pat January 21, 2014 at 4:52 pm

I have used both this method as well as the traditional method. I’ve been baking bread now for about 4 years. I used to use just a rounded loaf on a silpat sheet on a baking sheet popped onto a pizza stone. I recently got tired of loaves spread out too flat and purchased a rounded aluminum pan with teflon interior and enamel exterior. (Imusa) The loaves were perfect and the pans released great (I did spray with a cooking spray inside), NO burnt crusts. I bake at 400 degrees for 10 min and then reduce to 375 degrees for the last 30 to 35 min. I bake by temperature to 210 degrees interior temp. I love making San Francisco Sourdough with fresh Rosemary inside and coarse salt on the exterior.


freddc1 January 21, 2014 at 8:23 pm

rosemary is a nice flavor. i bake much higher at 475 both covered and uncovered. i’ll get sticking, so i use sprayed parchment liner on the cooking container. i make a wet loaf plus some sugars such as barley syrup or dried fruit. i don’t want the surface covered in flour or grains, etc to serve as the release agent.. the parchment works well but is a chore. i saw the pots you refer but am looking for smaller, eg. think giant baked potato size!!


Freddc1 January 19, 2014 at 12:56 pm

i have been using the lacloches (round and loaf) and tend to make large breads with some fruit and nuts, or onion and chive, etc. i can fit 2 or 3 in the oven but now looking for vessels to make smaller loaves, say half pound or so and perhaps 4 or 5 mini-breads. I’m wondering how others are handling this, and, how are you covering them, i.e., individually or with some type of large dome device like inverted ss salad bowl, etc. any suggestion would be appreciated. thank you


David January 19, 2014 at 5:21 pm

I use a pizza stone, and prefer it over a do…………….but then, I dom’t do no knead anymore as I would rather do it the old fashion way since I do biga’s etc………….


Loan January 13, 2014 at 12:45 am

I love this easy and tasty bread. For garlic bread, I add a head of garlic, toss with olive oil and Italian seasoning and zap this in the microwave for one minute, then spinkle this mixture just before folding.

I use a kitchen scale and tare/zero out the dry ingredients and pour 12 oz. of water. It seems simpler than measuring 1.5 cups of water.


Ellen January 2, 2014 at 7:01 am

Lauren you can bake this in a variety of vessels as long as they have a lid. I have used corning-ware, clay pot(Römer-topf), glass-ware, cast-iron pot even stainless steel frying pan with lid. All different size and shapes producing from oblong to square and high to round and flatter bread. The crust varies a little in denseness but the taste of the bread remains fabulous. I have decr the oven temp to 450F or 200c as esp with the cast iron the crust often burnt a bit on the bottom and also became too shatteringly hard. I find the bread is great for 2-3 days, excellent toasted. Great for croutons or in a bread soup or panzanella salad. Have a double recipe proofing right now!


Sally December 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I have made this recipe several times, and the bottom of my bread ends up tough and overdone, any suggestions? I have used my Grandmother’s, Eternity Ware Hammered Aluminum Dutch Oven.


David December 28, 2013 at 9:02 am

One, make sure that you do not overcook it. If using sourdough starter, the internal temp needs to be no higher than 190, yeast between 200-205. Second, don’t put the dutch oven on a lower shelf or heat it up prior to putting in the dough. Thirdly, and I do this with this recipe as well as others, cook it on a cookie sheet that is not heated and add a heated pan with ice cubes in it at the beginning to generate steam, which will allow the crust to be softer, maybe not the bottom so much. Personally, I’ve given up cooking in a DO all the time, and now use a pizza stone more with or without the steam, depending on how I want the crust.


Joy February 25, 2014 at 7:42 pm

I put a baking tray/sheet under the the Dutch oven to stop the bottom burning and it works for me.


Susan December 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Have a 3qt. cast iron pot with lid, 4 1/4″ tall, 8″ across at the top. Will a 1/2 recipe of no-knead dough work in this pot? Do I need to alter the cook time or temp?


David December 17, 2013 at 7:28 pm

I would think so. You might have to cook a tad less so I would check the internal temp five minutes or so before the suggested time, which is close for me in a cast iron dutch, but depending on where I place it, it might cook the bottom crust too much………you might have to try a few times to get what is right for your DO and oven……… matter, I’m sure it will be good…


Susan Finlay December 5, 2013 at 11:22 am

I’ve enjoyed this no knead bread making to no end and my husband and I buy next to no bread now. I use 2 cups of spelt and 1 cup unbleached white flour. It’s nice and brown and slightly nutty tasting:) Sue.


Aeesha December 5, 2013 at 10:00 am

Well done


Matoca December 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm

In case you are having trouble with getting the correct temperature for the 12-18 hr rising, here is what has worked for years for me.

Bring water to a boil in two glass corning pots. Place inside the oven in the back. Place a regular room thermometer inside. Turn your oven light on. Place the bowl with dough covered with plastic wrap inside.

It will maintain a steady 70-72 degrees for at least 12 hours. No peaking, just set the therm near the window where you can see it. If it does drop, just pull out one pot and heat it up.


David November 12, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Seems I can only do one at a time so here.s the final product. I might also add that you mentioned that one could use corning ware to cook in if one did not have a dutch over. The company says not to go that high, especially with the newer stuff…


David November 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm

I did this no knead for the first time today. First off, I used sourdough starter and left it in the fridge for about 21 hours before removing to a warmer spot. After about 10 hours it was fully risen, but due to circumstances I could not bake it then, so I put it back into the fridge to retard. Took it out the following morning before going to the gym so that it would be back at room temp to proof.

It had stayed at the same general area of level where it had risen after the night in the fridge and rose a bit more at room temp. So the whole process started on a Sat. and ended on Tuesday. My goal was to get more flavor into the bread. It was a bit on the soupy side but I managed to proof it and then into my iron dutch oven at 500 degree’s for 30 and then without top for 15, dropping down to 450. It came out looking really great and had a nice oven spring,…..wife felt she was back in France…..though I’m not sure she ever saw a loaf like this when we visited France this past summer.

Taste wise, it was good, but not as good as I had hoped. Years ago, I used to bake plain old white flour bread in a tin, and it smelled so good and tasted so good when hot and buttered. This loaf did not have that great smell. However, it was good. In fact, I buttered some and then toasted in the counter top over and ate it with a nice plate of Bolognese and it was even better.

One technical problem I found was that the crust separated from the loaf in a few places and had some nice open holes throughout the bread. I remember reading that if the crust separates from the loaf than one needs to knead the bread for a bit before the second I will give that a try next time..

I will try to upload a few pictures in the oven at the 30 minute mark, the end, and one after cutting.


Gary (the other one) November 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm

There is a tall, covered loaf pan…. pain de mie, or pullman loaf pan. The Pullman loaf pan is constructed of commercial, heavy weight aluminized steel with a sliding cover. Not sure if it right for this type of baking, though… Anyone ever try…?


Julie November 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Can this method be used to make a “loaf” of bread? If so, how would it be baked?


Chris November 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I think “loafing” it would be difficult, as it’s the thermal mass of heavy-duty cast iron or dense crockery that makes this work so well. But if there’s such a thing as a covered, cast iron loaf pan out there it might work.

You might be able to shape the raw dough into a loaf-like shape before putting it in an iron crockery pot but that could be difficult. Good luck!


Lauren November 6, 2013 at 11:25 pm

I don’t have a cast iron dutch oven or a la cloche, but I have a stoneware pot. Would that work?


David November 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm

I saw a utube of this and he just put it on a cookie sheet and cooked it…..looked fine.


Denise October 8, 2014 at 12:56 am

I have used a cockpot crock with a glass lid with success. After the initial rise my formed loaf does it’s second rise in a parchment lined round cake pan…when the crock is heated I lift the loaf out of the cake pan and lower it into the crock. The bread bakes surrounded by the parchment paper. If the lid has a plastic handle it needs to be replaced with a metal one. You can find older crockpot liners at thrift stores with full glass lids for very little.


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