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.

{ 1652 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauri November 19, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Can this recipe be doubled???


kobold December 1, 2012 at 12:04 am

yes, but you will need a bigger casserole.


Gary from Wisconsin November 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm

In today’s add from Aldi there is a 6-Quart Dutch Oven on sale for $29.99. The add says it is availble in Red or Blue Porcelain Enameled Cast Iron. I can not tell what the handle is made out of.


Gary from Wisconsin November 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm

In today’s ad (not add).


Fred November 7, 2012 at 11:13 am

A local baker told me that he discovered that using cracked flax seeds (soaked overnight) in his dough significantly increased his oven spring. I experimented with and without the flax seeds and found that adding them really makes a difference in the oven spring. I tried cracking flax seeds in my coffee grinder, which gave me flax powder, so I use a tablespoon of whole flax seeds, soaked overnight.


Claire November 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Using the basic no knead receipe I find the 500 degree oven temp produces a burned bottom. I am using an iron skillet with a cover. Should I reduce the temp? What can I do to produce a loaf that isn’t burned on the bottom?


Breadtopia November 5, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Hi Claire,

Lowering the temp should help. So might placing a cookie sheet under the skillet. Some people have had success with that.


Shabnam November 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Claire, If your loaf is other wise exactly how you like it, simply place a piece of aluminium foil slightly larger than your skillet, under the skillet, shiny side down. I bake in cake tins, and this method just works fine.


Fred November 7, 2012 at 11:04 am

Claire, I put two pieces of parchment paper, each about 4 inches wide, crossways in the proofing pan. It gives me two pieces of paper under the dough. When it comes time to put the dough in the hot pan it is simple to use the parchment paper to lift it and put it in the pan. I have never had a burned crust since I started using this. I would also check the temperature of the oven. Mine runs hot so I bake where the dial says 450.


Chas October 25, 2012 at 11:31 am

Way too complicated. You will get the same result if you follow the video until the folding part. Try just turning it out on a floured surface, drop it in a mixing bowl with a towel draped over it and sprinkled with corn meal, let it rest a half hour, plop it in the heated dutch oven for 1/2 hour and a followup 10-15 minutes with lid off and you come up with exactly the same loaf of bread


kirk October 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Could I do the chart house bread recipes in the same way as the New Your no knead is done? And if not this was make for a bread maker what would I do different to make my hand?


1 1/4 cup Warm water
2 tablespoons Molasses
1/2 teaspoon Caramel coloring * — optional
1 1/2 teaspoon Malted barley flour **
2 cups Bread flour
1/2 cup Whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Unprocessed bran — or Wheat bran
1/4 cup Dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon Oat bran
1 1/2 tablespoon Rolled oats
2 teaspoons Granola
1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 1/2 teaspoons Yeast

Oil and/or butter are not missing. They are not needed.

* Caramel coloring was only used to give the bread an almost pumpernickel color. I found it in a cake decorating store which was also a bakery

** The malted barley flour is also known as diastatic malt powder.

In a bowl combine bread flour, whole wheat flour, unprocessed bran, dark brown sugar, oat bran, rolled oats, granola, malted barley flour and salt. In bread pan add water, molasses, and caramel coloring. Add flour mixture; top with yeast and select dark bread setting.

NOTE: Raisins could be added if desired. If you do, eliminate the caramel coloring and liquify the water, 1/4 cup raisins, molasses and brown sugar before adding to the machine.

This recipe for Chart House Squaw Bread serves/makes 3


kirk October 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm

New York…….by hand…thank you for your reply


Kathy King October 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I have been absent for a long time because we just moved from California to New Hampshire! Selling, packing…you know.
I have a question. I have been using my bread stone that I bought on this site and today I bought a Le Crusett knock-off. It will be easier because I don’t need to worry about steaming. However, I read the directions for the pot, and it said it isn’t designed for “dry cooking.” So, am I supposed to heat it to 450, then put the dough in? or, am I supposed to grease the dough before I proof? Help! I don’t want to mess up the casserole, or the bread!


Sonja September 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Hello! Inspired by your video, I just made this bread yesterday, and it is AMAZING. I am a capable cook and I’m growing progressively competent at baking, but this is the kind of bread Nirvana that home baker’s could only dream of achieving prior to the surfacing of the no-knead method.

Now, I have known about this method for quite some time, but my previous attempts were met with complete failure, despite following the instructions to the absolute letter. I’d end up with a hard, unrisen brick that I would have to garbage. After watching your video I began to suspect my problem had something to do with the water vs flour ratio, because when I had prepared the initial ingredients the result was always *extremely* dry rather than the damp, glue-like mix your video shows. Suffice to say that I am perplexed, because I had always followed the recipe exactly without success, and to boot, I’m on the West Coast where the air should theoretically be more humid. Anyway, after viewing your video I decided to try this again and this time I ended up throwing in somewhere between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup additional water, basically I kept adding water a little at a time until my mixture resembled yours. And voila! In the end I was rewarded with a gorgeous, crackling, perfect artisan loaf.

Do you have any idea why I’d need so much extra water? I generally know what I’m doing in the kitchen, and if I’m not being creative, I can definitely follow a recipe.. and I’m stumped. The only thing I can come up with is that it could have something to do with our house resting on a concrete slab, since concrete, I’ve read, absorbs moisture from the air. I doubt it has anything to do with my geographic location, because a local friend has made this recipe with a 100% success rate since the beginning.



Cathy September 3, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Did you weigh the bread on a scale or use cup measurements?
There can be a huge difference in amount of flour with cup measuring, I couldn’t get it right until I purchased a scale.


Sonja September 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Hmm… I used cup measurements since I don’t have a scale, and I wouldn’t doubt that this could make a difference. The thing is, my friend also used cup measurements and we used exactly the same flour (
So… it doesn’t seem to make much sense.


Karil September 4, 2012 at 12:14 am

My guess is thatit is the Flour:Water ratio. After viewing the video, you were able to compare the consistency of your dough, and you needed to add considerably more water. Your friend’s measuring cups may be slightly different than yours (surprisingly, standardized measuring spoons and cups are not all that “standardized”). Or, you and your friend may measure out the flour differently (spooning vs. dip & sweep, etc.). And yet another possibility is that one of you may be using a dry measuring cup for the water, while the other may be using a liquid measuring cup. There are so many variables. I advise that you purchase a good scale. A scale makes such difference in all baking, and you save on washup, too. In addition, with a scale you can rescale your recipes very easily, especially with a gram scale. There are scales that measure in both grams and ounces.


Sonja September 4, 2012 at 9:45 am

Some very good points here, and perhaps in addition to using tap water my measurements were also playing a role. I do have a measuring beaker that I believe is intended to denote liquid cups, I’ll try that instead of the dry cup measure I’ve been using. I’ve always loved cooking, but I’ve often been less confident with baking, in part precisely because there is more exact measurement involved..when I cook I almost always just go by intuition and it works well for me. So it’s also a matter of adjusting my methods :D
As to the scale, I will look around and see if I can pick up anything good, but I’m somewhat reluctant to bulk up on items like that right now because I may be moving (hopefully across the world) in the next few months. So… if I see a decent quality scale that is well-priced I’ll consider it, but if not I’ll continue to experiment with different cups and, water purity and water vs flour ratio.


Sheila October 17, 2012 at 11:52 am

Weather is always a factor when proofing bread. Temperature, humidity, inside and outside your home can effect results. Even variances in batches of flour. Even though you used the same brand of flour, it is very unlikely that both your bag and your friend’s bag came from the same exact batch. I have learned that measurements will not always be exactly the same each time. Do as you did, and adjust the water and flour ratio for dough consistency. I also suggest a scale as a cup isn’t necessarily always a cup. An ounce of weight is always an ounce of weight

Shabnam September 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Sonja, I wonder if the proofing was going right? Was your yeast working at all? Did the dough rise? Because if it did, then how come you got a hard unrisen brick? I used to use water as directed, but still got a decent loaf. Once I coincidently put too much water and the loaf came out soft and the kids loved it, so I use a little extra water generally and lots extra when I want to make buns for sloppy joes(buns have higher surface area=more evaporation). I use Roti bread aata in its whole wheat format and Maida(equivalent of unbleached flour though tastier) mixed. Works out great. Mind you I work in temperatures ranging from 42 deg C and 2 deg C in my kitchen. Humidity ranges from 15% to 98%…


Sonja September 3, 2012 at 11:05 pm

My failures were over a year ago, so my memory may not be 100% accurate. However, from what I recall nothing much happened at all with those flour and water mixtures, so I’d say that proofing did not occur. At the time I also wondered if it was the yeast (which had just been purchased, incidentally), so I tried it in some regular bread in which it worked fine.

Given that I seem to have gotten the recipe to finally work ( a second batch is rising and bubbling beautifully as I write), I’m not stressing out about it at this point. But, I am very puzzled at the need for so much extra water… I wondered if it might be that I used regular tap water rather than purified (I plan to pick some of that up for next time), but when I asked my friend about it, he reported using tap water as well. Given that we live in the same area, and we are using identical ingredients, I can only assume it is something directly related to my house… but science has never been my forte, so it’s also entirely possible I’m overlooking something..


Shabnam September 3, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Possibly, it was the water. You might have a higher chlorination in your tap water, which would effectively kill the yeast. Tap water is best used after storing in an open pot for about 24 hrs (the chorine evaporates). It might have been higher for some random reason just when you tried it last, which is why its working now and wasn’t then, and was working for your friend. :) Good to know you have it working now.


Sonja September 4, 2012 at 9:36 am

It makes sense to me that the chlorination can potentially kill yeast. I know municipalities need to treat water but I hate chlorine, I wish there was a better method… chlorine also does nasty things to my skin if I swim in it. But those are totally different topics :D
Based on the fact that chlorine dries my skin, perhaps it also absorbs significantly more flour than it should? I’ll try your tip for evaporating tap water the next time if I haven’t managed to acquire bottled water by that point (I live in a semi-rural area with poor bus routes and schedules,and am without vehicle transport).


prachi September 29, 2012 at 2:34 am

Hi Shabnam,
Am trying this recipe out in Kolkata, where it is furiously hot and humid even now! I used 1.5 cups water, mixed the active dry yeast directly into the flour, and the dough was very sticky. I let it sit overnight, about 12 hours. It was way too sticky to shape despite using a lot of dry flour, and even though it rose after that, it didn’t rise very much – I thought I’d just bake it anyway and it’s a nice, squat, dense loaf :-). My sense is that I should use only 1 cup water , activate the yeast in water before mixing with flour, and reduce the initial proofing stage. Does this sound about right for these conditions (which you sound familiar with!)? I also used half-maida half-atta, but would eventually like to ditch the maida altogether. Thanks for any inputs!


Shabnam September 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Hi Prachi
Few things to take into consideration:
1. While baking with Aata and Maida, the best I have been able to manage is a ratio where Maida was 25%. Lower than that the bread doesn’t really work because you need the Maida for the gluten that holds the air in bubbles. I add one or more of the following: flax seeds, honey, Olives, Sun dried tomatoes, sesame(toasted), brown sugar, oregano, ajwain, and even methi leaves for variety.
2. Temperature varies across the country, around the year. You will need to adjust both water and time to have nice loaf. Less when the temperatures are lower or higher humidity, higher in dry and/or hot weather. I have been baking my bread after a mere 3-4 hours, because its been warm enough to rise despite the fact that I use a quarter teaspoon of instant yeast to a kilo of maida-aata mix!
3. Use the Fridge to give your mix a longer proofing – improves the taste. What I found interesting was that freezing the mix is great(the first time I had to rush out with out knowing for sure when I would be back). You get a really nice loaf when you let it defrost on the kitchen shelf, and then bake it.
4. Use your baking dish to create the shape, don’t expect the dough to hold its shape(tends to flatten out). I often use a cake tin to bake my bread. The dough will rise nicely on top and give a pretty rounded crust.
5. Activate the yeast first if you are using active dry yeast. But if you plan on baking bread regularly (I do) then invest in a pack of instant yeast. I get it in half kilo packs and it lasts me the year round. I store it in my freezer to ensure yeast viability. Its cheaper and you can just mix it in with all the ingredients – no separate activation required- though you may need to hunt it down.
That said, experiment till you get your groove! If you can hunt me down on face book, will let you know my number and you could call me!


prachi September 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm

You are awesome!! Thanks so much for the detailed reply, this is very helpful. I also used a simple round cake tin with a lid because I have a small square oven, glad to know this low-tech device works! Will try putting the dough in the fridge for the initial rise. Am going to try a full maida version tonight first, then will play around with atta-maida ratios. Thanks again, have learned a lot from your comments here! The ajwain suggestion is great.


prachi October 1, 2012 at 4:53 am

Also, I just realized that flax seeds are what we call ‘javasa’ in Marathi, which I have a good stock of! Will try that too tonight.
Also, I’m not on Facebook anymore, but I’ll probably bug you here with more questions.


Shabnam October 1, 2012 at 5:53 am

Try toasting the flax seeds before adding. Gives a nice, nutty flavour. For that matter melon seeds, pumpkin seeds, Dhaniya leaves… The variety is endless and only limited by your imagination.
Now what I really need is kala masala recipe!

Sheryl October 2, 2012 at 5:59 am

Shabnam, I have been struggling for a few months now with a 100% whole wheat bread using the no knead method. I think I finally have a very respectable artisan style bread with a nice crisp crust and a light crumb. The crumb doesn’t have huge holes like it might with Maida but it is definitely acceptable.
I live in India too and it’s taken a lot of loaves to achieve this :)


Shabnam October 2, 2012 at 7:01 am

Wow, Sheryl! Now that’s some achievement! Do tell. Would love to get rid of maida, but my all aata bread turns out fairly brittle and feels dry. I would happily work with smaller holes, its the brittleness – which messes with my sandwiches that I don’t like. Especially since I use this to make buns(I have a very nice bun tray, lucky me) and make burgers for the kids tiffin. I’ve tried adding egg, long rise times, honey, veg oil/olive oil. I offset the use of maida by adding flax seed while getting the aata ground at my local mill.
Waiting for the update. By the way, where in India are you? Would love to come and see you in action!

Sheryl October 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Shabnam, I would be happy to share my findings with you. I’ve actually combined the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes along with the baking technique of No Knead method. I’m happy to share the recipe and my method with you if you like.
I live in Ahmedabad and its hot here! I look forward to sharing bread baking with you.

Shabnam October 3, 2012 at 2:07 am

Tried to look you up on facebook and came across:
Sheryl Christian
Sheryl Kurien
Sheryl Menezes
Sheryl Shiju Sam
and Sheryl Sharma
Please do connect up with me: Shabnam Akram in Delhi
Or share your recipe here!

prachi October 9, 2012 at 11:31 am

Hi Shabnam,
I’ve been rooting around for a good kala masala recipe – here is a reliable one:
There is often confusion about whether kala and goda masala are the same. Some folks call the one with onion and garlic ‘kala’ and the non-onion one ‘goda’, but lots of folks also use them interchangeably. The link above is to one without onion or garlic. Let me know if you want one with these ingredients, will try to find a good recipe.
BTW, I found fresh yeast this evening, and am itching to try another loaf very soon!


Shabnam October 15, 2012 at 6:00 am

Thanks a lot, Prachi. Will try it out though am a little concerned about Nagkesar and Dagadphool.

Renate August 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I have a problem with finding the right pot to bake the bread in. I have a German Roemertopf, it is a oval clay pot, I wonder if I could use that, and should I soak it in water or would it work just dry.


Mitch August 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm

It’s perfect if you have the cover. No, don’t soak it. Have fun.


Renate August 27, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Yes, I do have the cover for it. Thanks, I’ll try it soon.


Shabnam August 27, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Renate, I use my loose bottom cake tin, my bread tins, a ceramic bowl… Really, Pretty much every type, and it turns out fine. Just shield from direct heat with some Aluminium foil!


Tries November 18, 2012 at 8:31 am

I have two pots to bake my bread. One is a cast iron Dutch oven, when using that one, I use a round cake pan to do the second rising, the other is a romer topf, don’t soak it, just put it in the oven. For the romer topf I use a loaf pan for the second rising, because the shape fits in a lot easier. Also, in both cases I preheat the lid next to the pot in the oven because for me, it makes things a lot easier to handle and I can close the oven a lot faster after opening the oven door. I found out my oven tends to burn the downside of my bread, if I keep myself to the given temperatures, so I took the challenge to lower the temperature a bit, works fine for me. Ending the baking time without removing the lid, seemed to work as well, that was just a coincidence, doing three things at the same time.


Theresa August 7, 2012 at 7:58 am

Love this recipe! My question is I would like to add some things to the bread such as herbs, or cheese, but at what point would I add this? My concern is if I add some type of protein (asiago cheese) to the dough in the beginning and it sits there for 18 hours, would it be safe to eat? Have you or has anyone added a protein of some type to bread, and if so at what point?


Theresa August 2, 2012 at 8:36 am

I’ve made this loaf once successfully already, but my question is…how do you know that it is ready and proofed enough? I’ve made other breads, pizza dough, etc. but this slow rising, kind of throws me. I’ve only let it rise for 12 hours due to time constraints, but don’t know if I should let it rise for the full 18. I know that you have mentioned that it can be overproofed, but how do you tell By the 12 hour mark, the dough is nicely risen and bubbly looking as I think it should be, but would letting it go longer be better? How do you tell if it’s gone too long?


Breadtopia August 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Hi Theresa,

Good questions. Your sense is right – when “the dough is nicely risen and bubbly looking” as you think it should be, then it’s ready. Go by this rather than the clock as proofing times can vary a lot. Letting it go longer is not better for good oven spring.


Theresa August 3, 2012 at 6:17 am

Thanks for your response. As I stated below, it looks ready at 8 hours which is 10 hours short of the 18 recommended, which seems like so much time difference. Will this affect the taste since a slower rise contributes to more flavor? Am I doing something wrong that it is ready way ahead of schedule or is that just the nature of yeast? Sorry for all the quesitons, I do keep it in my laundry room where it is much warmer, and humid…away from air conditioning, etc.


Shabnam August 2, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Theresa, I live in New Delhi, India. Temperatures in my kitchen range from 2 deg C to 42 deg C. So, depending the temperature – my proofing times vary from 3 hrs to 24. I’ve even put the dough in the fridge to retard the pace. When it looks right, its right.


Theresa August 3, 2012 at 6:12 am

Thank you! I’m proofing now since 11pm last night and it’s 7:00 in the morning now, and it looks good, but then I was hesitant to do anything because it’s only been 8 hours….that’s 10 hours short of the 18 recommended. It has doubled and is bubbly, so I may give it a try and go ahead and get it ready for it’s second rise. Thanks for your input, I appreciate it!


Shabnam August 3, 2012 at 7:25 am

A longer rise time improves the flavour. however, if the dough has already risen, bake it now before it over proofs. Would suggest you either keep the dough in a cooler place next time(the fridge, a cooler portion of the house?).


Theresa August 7, 2012 at 7:50 am

Thanks Shabnam, will do!


Fred August 3, 2012 at 6:32 am

Why don’t you make two loaves, one each way, and see which you prefer? If they’re the same, make it in the way that’s most convenient. If one is better, you have your answer.


Theresa August 7, 2012 at 7:49 am

Good idea Fred, I will give it a try!


Gary from Wisconsin June 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Double Loaf made for our street’s Friday night Happy Hour. Happy June 1st everyone.


Breadtopia June 1, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I love it.


Gary from Wisconsin June 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Double loaf made for our streets Friday night Happy Hour.


Albert May 24, 2012 at 6:36 am

I use a 125% hydration starter and end up with a dough of 70% hydration. I tried a different starter of the same hydration and was surprised to get a vastly slacker dough – looked more like 80-85%. Anyone encounter this? Could I have a starter with an unususal level of proteolytic enzymes????

Did it twice to be certain I didn’t make a dumb weighing error.


helen vessey May 12, 2012 at 6:02 am

Have just made my first attempt and pretty happy, except that the loaf lost all its shape when transferring from the colander where it had its last prove (in a flour covered tea towel, as suggested on this site) to the receptacle it was cooked in. It was too floppy to hold its shape for this journey! Should the dough have been kinda heavy enough to support itself at this stage, and if so, how can I do this without sacrificing the wonderful aeration I had achieved?


Mike May 13, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Helen, try doing what I did, let the loaf rise in the final vessel (cast iron, Pyrex or other) then transfer the “wonderful aerated loaf” intact directly into the 500 degree oven. In order to avoid the dough sticking to the final vessel I line it with parchment paper, and the loaf just pops right out when baked, no cleaning necessary, a perfect shaped and crusted loaf every time.


Mike May 16, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Here it is, with proving in the cooking iron pot, no transfer needed.


helen vessey May 17, 2012 at 3:50 am

Thanks for your replies! Will give your method a go next time. All the websites over here in the UK say to cook the loaf just on a baking sheet you see and I went with that despite following this website’s actual recipe – We don’t have these Dutch thingies here!! I shall try it with my Le Creuset casserole dish lined with the paper, though judging by the amount mine rose last time I don’t think I will be able to use the lid. Do you think this will matter?


helen vessey May 21, 2012 at 7:56 am

Tried your method of second rise in a cooking pot lined with cooking paper. All well. Loaf nicely risen and cooked to perfection. But goddam it, now the paper is stuck to the finished loaf. Won’t peel off.


Shabnam May 21, 2012 at 8:01 am

Helen, I have been doing the second rise in my baking vessel. I just lightly coat with a veg oil/butter and sprinkle dry bran/flour before dumping the wet dough. Comes out cleanly and no wastage at all – the bran adds a nice touch(besides being healthy). Many others here are using cornmeal.


Mike June 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Helen, I have been using parchment paper for years, never a problem. Are you using parchment paper? Try sprinkling a little flour on the bottom bafore placing the dough. Good Luck.


Mike May 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm

As an engineer I am always trying to improve and simplify methods. I had a hard time moving the mass of dough to the final hot cast-iron container, so I put the dough after the first rise into the final container with parchment paper and let it proof there at room temperature, then transferred it in the iron pot to the 500 degree oven. I got a wonderful loaf, NO NEED TO PRE-HEAT THE CAST-IRON CONTAINER, only the oven.


Jack April 25, 2012 at 10:54 am

What causes the bread to have heavy spots, almost like under cooked. My bread had a nice thick crust but when I sliced off a piece it had these mushy spots.


Jim April 2, 2012 at 11:12 am

I am pretty new to the art of making bread and my bread falls while it is cooling. What am I doing wrong? please help
Thank you


Breadtopia April 4, 2012 at 6:21 am

Hi Jim,

The most common cause of that is over proofing. You could try cutting back on the length of your proofing times.


Richard March 31, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Just had a slightly warm, crusty delicious slice of bread from my 1st NKB loaf. It was about the easiest thing I have ever baked. It was not without some adventure. I sprayed the cast iron with olive oil and used corn meal in the pot. I started seeing some smoke and knew that the meal was burning. I dropped the dough in and just let it cook. 30 Mins
at 500 and 15 mins at 450 and it was done. Big cracks in the crust, lots of loft. I did cheat a little, I bloomed some regular yeast in the warm water and used that because I didnt want to go buy some instant yeast (I have like a pound of the active yeast). Lovely flavor, crumb and great crust. Thanks for the recipe!


Corinna March 27, 2012 at 10:50 am

I have made this bread many times now from a recipe I got elsewhere, though same ingredients. I also add lots of seeds and diastatic malt powder and some spices. My recipe calls for the mixture to sit up to 20 hours. With the help of floured hands and surface folded over in 3rds, then in halves (no kneading) and then right into the covered baker. 500°F 30 minutes with lid, 20 minutes without. Bliss! I am happy that I found this recipe now in a larger version than what I had (3 cups flour instead of 5).


Corinna March 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm

How surreal to answer my own post…lol. I just realized that this recipe is for the same small loaf that I have. I want to make larger loaves and want to know if there is some kind of formula to calculate the baking time, if I were to – let’s say – double the recipe? I wouldn’t double the baking time, certainly. Can someone help me? Thanks!


Breadtopia March 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Hi Corinna,

I’d be surprised if there was a formula that would be any more reliable than taking a good guess and tapping the bottom of the loaf for a hollow sound when you think it might be done baking. Or better yet, take a temperature reading with an instant read thermometer and take it out when it reaches 200-210 on the inside.


Corinna March 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Great! Thank you so much! I will try that tomorrow. :-)


Zandra Grattan-Lynch March 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I also had trouble with the second rise in the cloth. I now lightly oil (using good olive oil) a basin, put the dough in that for the second rise, and then tip (usually with a bit of a ‘plop’) the dough into the hot pot. works every time!


Laura March 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm

The only real problem I have been having is during the last rising period on the tea towel, no matter how much flour I dust the towel with, the dough ends up sticking to it terribly. Any suggestions?


Joe Detrano March 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm


I use parchment paper instead of the tea towel. And i lift the second rise into the pot including the parchment paper. saves cleaning the pot and the dough does not deflate!!



Laura March 20, 2012 at 7:26 pm

This is brilliant! At that high temperature, the parchment paper doesn’t burn?


Joe Detrano March 21, 2012 at 6:41 am


i would advise you start at 450. i have gone as high as 500 degrees but my oven may run cool.

the paper that sticks outside the pot does get very dark. but it doesn’t burn. i but the cheap brand of parchment paper i have found no difference between that and the name brand.

here’s a picture, if i do this right, of the loaf already baked, in the oven.

one side note, i have to move up to a higher pot because by using the parchment paper, the dough, when put in the hot pot, didn’t collapse at all. so the bread got higher. notice the top is burned a little. that’s from hitting the top of the pot.



Susie September 3, 2012 at 9:51 am

What has worked the best for me is placing the dough for the final rise, on a piece of floured heavy duty foil, then covering it
with towel or even waxed paper. I find it quite easy to transfer.


Gary (the other one) March 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

That prospect always frightened me… so I’ve never tried it. I use an oblong LaCloche, so I do the last rise in an oblong proofing basket bought on this website.

I spray it with cooking spray and coat it with bran. Works like a charm every time…! Wasn’t sure about the bran on the finished product, but I rather like it…


Gary from Wisconsin March 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Laura, I posted a method a few month ago on this site, where I don’t even wait for a 2nd rise. After the 1st rise I turn the dough over in the bowl with a spatula 10 or 12 time and dump into a Cold Dutch Oven and cook. Look for the full description in my earlier post if you are interested. Some other people tried and seemed to like it. I like it because it skips the mess you talked about and the putting the dough into the HOT Dutch Oven was a challenge and safety risk in my opinion.


Gary from Wisconsin March 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Laura, my recipe/method for how I make my bread was posted on Dec 2, 2011 if you want to scroll back to see it. If you need me to re-post it let me know.


Tries November 18, 2012 at 8:38 am

I do the second rise in a cake tin, loaf tin, coated with alive oil and then I dust it with cornflour. I put the tin in a plastic bag, taking care the dough won’t touch the plastic bag. When my pan is hot, I just turn the dough upside down above the hot pot, never gives me a problem. The tea towel thing didn’t make sense to me, because of the sticky stories….


kass schwin March 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I have been using this method for several years and love the results. But, forty years ago I stopped using white flour. Instead, I use 100% whole grains. So much tastier and healthier! Two cups of whole wheat flour (actually Vital Vittles freshly milled flour) 1/2 cup of coarse cornmeal, and 1/2 cup of whole oats, sesame seeds, millet, buckwheat flour, rye flour, whatever. You may have to vary the quantities a little, but it’s worth the effort. Try it!


Lin March 12, 2012 at 7:09 am

Making my first loaf was utterly shambolic. 93F here in the tropics, so things looked risen after just 7 hours. Put it in the fridge for 20 hours.. Got a good second rise, heated the oven. Dough still quite wet, but managed to get it into the cooking pot. Dropped the hot lid on the floor. Dropped the oven mitts into the dough. While extracting the mitts, spread dough over half the kitchen. Bread looking smaller. Got it into the oven. Found dough in my hair. Put oven mitts in the compost bin. My bread is undersized and oddly shaped, but tastes great.


Shabnam March 12, 2012 at 8:03 am

Lin… Good to know you tried it the hard way. The easy way is to use cold baking dishes. I just dust the pan with flour after wiping with a little vegetable oil and dump the dough in for the second rise. Then a bung the whole into a hot oven and get great bread, every time.


Lin March 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I’ll try that. What time and temp?


Shabnam March 12, 2012 at 8:21 pm

The temperature remains the same, just add a few minutes(3-5) extra to compensate for the cold dish.
I have had to temporise on the timing as, here in New Delhi, the ambient temperature varies a lot – from 2deg C to 45 deg centigrade, as does the humidity. Yesterday it was so dry, my lips were cracking, today its raining. I take out the bread once the bread leaves the pan from the sides and the top has a nice colour. I’ve also added to the water as I use stone ground whole wheat flour with Flax seeds ground in along with to bake a healthier bread(my husband’s cholesterol is a problem). I find the Flax seeds add a nice nutty flavour and don’t get stuck in the teeth.
Cheers, have some fun!


Scozza March 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm


You should have made a video.


Lin March 16, 2012 at 5:59 am

Mmmm – most of my moves have already been covered by the three stooges. I’m going to try the cold pan technique this weekend.


Tries November 18, 2012 at 8:40 am

Thanks for making me laugh out loud, we could have been sisters………


Natasa March 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm

This recipe is fantastic! Instead of whole wheat flour, I used rye flour. I don’t have kitchen scale, so I measured ingredients with cup. I would say that I needed little bit more water and that was probably because I didn’t use scale. You explained it nicely in your second video.

Thank you for your instructions!


Karil March 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I just came across this French Site that might interest breadmakers who read French. It explains some aspects and classifications of flours that are not usually differentiated in most of the descriptions I have read.


Sonja from Ireland March 2, 2012 at 8:03 am

Has anyone experience with soaking the clay baker in water before putting it into the cold oven?

What effect has it on the bread?



jean February 18, 2012 at 2:49 am

Hi–I know this is basically a no-knead bread site, but I wonder if anyone can help me with a yeast coffee cake. Each year I make stollen and poppy seed(filling)breads(coffee cakes) to give as gifts,, using a basic sweet dough recipe that calls for 25-30 minutes in a 350-375 degree oven. But for 2 years now, I’ve had the same problem. They either come out underdone on the bottom or a bit burned & dry. I’ve tried every heat & time combination, used cookie sheet, foil, parchment paper, or Silpat. Oven temp seems to be ok.
But I can’t get a handle on it. Even when it comes out right, there seems to be no explanation for it. Does anyone have any ideas?


Kristine Nickel February 18, 2012 at 8:27 am

Good Morning Jean, Please contact me via e-mail. I have a recipe for stollen and have had excellent results producing several awesome loaves, which in the past was not the always the case. Had to give up even trying. Being a German immigrant, it is almost sac-religious not to bake stollen for Christmas.
The recipe is very long, but I will scan it for you. I will ask Eric to send you my email address. I prefer not to publish it here. P.S. My husband, Hans, actually likes it better than his mother’s; that says a lot. LOL! Till later, Kris


Col February 16, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Clay baker question; I recently read a post on this site regarding placing dough in cold clay baker and baking from there instead of the”traditional way of preheating the baker.
If any one has tried this method I would like to hear from them; I assume the the baking time would have to be adjusted and would like details.


kobold February 15, 2012 at 8:10 am

hi all! i am new to the site. i made three nk breads recently, two with 1/3 rye and one 100% all purpose flour. they all turned out perfect. it was hot today so i let the last one proofing for 8+1 hours only (with rye) and it’s still a success. i started my starter a day before yesterday and can’t wait to use it. that brings me to a question: how much starter should i use for a loaf? i figured about a cup.. but how will that modify the original no-knead recipe which uses yeast only?

i am using prex casserole dishes.


kobold February 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm

i just found the sd nkb page, so now i know how to do it. this site has it all! :-)


Neal February 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm

I have not tried this method, yet. I do not have an oven safe pot or cloche. I do have a pyrex 3 quart casserole (with cover). I am concerned the pyrex can take the 500 degrees. Any one know if this will work?


Cathy February 10, 2012 at 10:00 am

Neal, the pyrex can totally take the heat (unless it is made in China?), it is what I used when I started and actually made the best bread! The loaf would rise almost to the lid because there was nowhere to go to but up! It starts in a cold oven, also, if you have trouble removing it, place the dough on parchment paper and set it in. Good luck!


Brooke February 10, 2012 at 10:14 am

I too just tried this method:
cut off a chunk of dough right out of the fridge;
let it rise on parchment paper for about an hour;
plop it gently in a Corning Ware tall-sided casserole still on the parchment paper and untouched;
cover with glass top;
put it in the oven;
turn to 450 and bake until starting to brown–about 20 minutes;
remove top for about 10 minutes;
easily lift out and let cool on rack on paper.
NO clean up.
Simply amazing; amazingly simple.


Cathy February 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

Actually, my apologies, it’s a Corning Ware white fluted pot with glass top 2.5 liter. But, that said, I would think with proper usage you should have the same results with the pyrex.


Neal February 10, 2012 at 11:23 am

Brooke and Cathy,

Thanks for sharing your experience. I will try it out this weekend. :)



kobold February 14, 2012 at 11:45 pm

i have two for two breads at the same time – both are serving well. here is some info on pyrex:


Shabnam March 12, 2012 at 8:28 pm

After my nicely shaped corning ware dish split into two, I was in a fix. One day, I just thought, what the hell, and used my cake tin. Just put a piece of foil under it. Am happy with the results and have never used the pizza stone, pyrex/corningware dishes since then. I even use my donut-without-a-hole pan to bake buns that work just great for making some brilliant buns for burgers and sandwiches… My kids no longer hanker for subways!


Robert February 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I have been making this bread for several months now and have had the same problem. I turn the dough out onto a floured sheet of parchment paper and flatten it out with a dough scraper, then using the same scraper I refold the bread and place it still on the parchment paper into a bowl and let it rise again for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Then when my oven and pot are preheated I sprinkle the tops of the bead with sesame seeds and drop the dough still on the paper into the hot pot and put the lid on and bake. Problem solved. I never touch the dough with my hands or turn it over after foldong. The bread comes out great! The only problem I ever had with this recipe is using bleached flour. DO NOT USE BLEACHED FLOUR.


Arnold February 7, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Thanks for this suggestion. I tried it and it worked perfectly! I used Reynolds parchment paper, claimed to withstand up to 420 F, but I used 450 F and it worked fine, although the paper became quite brittle. A nice bonus is that you don’t need to clean the Dutch oven afterwards.


jean January 28, 2012 at 12:50 am

I did the 1st dough at 1:40 PM yesterday, let it sit till about 5or 6Pm, then put it in the refrigerator. Took it out around 10 AM today, but then some emergency dr’s visits made me put it back at around 1PM, and I didn’t get home till now(almost 9PM). Is it a lost cause? Should I just throw it out and try again another day? (Have never made this bread before). Will appreciate some guidance. Thanks–Jean


Cathy January 28, 2012 at 9:14 am

I think you will be fine! I would certainly give it a try. I have been making french bread from Peter Reinhart’s “Artisan Breads Every Day” for the past 3 weeks, and loving the fact that I can make the dough and then put it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days! It’s called cold fermenting and I believe adds more flavor, since the yeast is still working it’s magic and maturing. It should have risen a bit in the refrigerator, bring it out and let it come to room temp, and it should rise some more. And then do your thing while the oven is heating. Good luck, bread is a little more flexible than we think (as long as we haven’t exhausted the yeasty fellows). ;)


jean January 29, 2012 at 2:28 am

Cathy–thanks–I’ll try it tomorrow. Jean


jean February 2, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Cathy–I tried your suggestion–and it worked! Thanks a lot.


Cathy February 3, 2012 at 10:08 am

Oh YAY! I was just thinking about you and wondering how it worked out. Thank you so much for letting me know!


Chich January 24, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Eric, I’ve been baking your no knead bread for a couple of years now and although delicious, the crust is always thick and crunchy. Is there a way I can produce this bread with a thin and crunchy crust. I suppose similar to a french baguette or a pugliese with a thin and blistered crust.
I currently use cast iron Dutch Oven. I love reading all the comments on your site. I also want to thank you for your contribution and dedication to the art of bread baking. You are an inspiration to everyone that writes to you and a multitude more that just read your site.


mizelaineous February 2, 2012 at 5:20 pm

On Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 4:14 PM, ELAINE COOPER wrote:

Hi Chich

Try taking off your lid as soon as the crust is light brown..and the bread has a spring. I start mine off aat 500 and lower the heat to 450 when the lid has been removed. I use an oven thermometer and I bake thebread until the internal temp is 212 then I remove the bread from the oven and let ot cool slowly



jean February 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Hi–I’m dying to know if the the suggestion to Chich worked–and if that would work to make an actual French baguette.


Chich February 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Hi mizelaineous

i’ll try your suggestion as soon i get back in town.

thank you, Chich


Brooke January 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Of late, I’ve been making the no-knead bread using the Hertzberg-Francois recipe (mixing it all together, letting it sit 2 hours, refrigerating it until wanted, cutting off a hunk, letting it rest while the oven and vessel preheat, and then throwing it in and baking, removing the top near the end). It couldn’t be much easier or more delicious, and, as you can tell, it’s fast! Each loaf I’ve made comes out perfectly. I’m baking in a smallish All-Clad saucepan (about 5″ diameter), and a loaf disappears between two of us in about two days time. Slice off another hunk and bake some more! Question is, what is the advantage to your method (which I think is more akin to the Lahey style)? Also, the Lahey book has you bake on a stone or sheet versus in a pot, no? Advantages to this? I plan next to put the loaf in the pot with the piece of parchment paper it’s been resting on, saving myself yet another step!? Would love to hear others’ thoughts on this…


Christian January 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Question for anyone who is willing to answer (and probably a stupid question at that) what would kneading in a mixer do to this? I am just starting out with bread making and realize that no knead seems to be the popular method at this point but curious what the benefit or detriment to kneading would be. I have both a stand mixer and a bosch mixer so I’m totally fine letting one of those do the kneading. Thanks in advance!


Karil May 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Hi Christian,
The greater hydration (wetter dough) and the long proofing allows the gluten to develop without kneading. There is less oxidation in the No-Knead method, which increases flavor and preserves nutrition. If I am home, I sometimes simply fold my dough twice (like a sheet of paper) every few hours during the first rise, even if I am retarding it in the fridge. I’ve read that this helps to redistribute the gases and nutrients for the yeast.


Rosalie January 14, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Is it possible to make this bread without the use of a cloche or Dutch oven? If not, are there any other sufficiently simple recipes that do not require them? Thank you!


Shabnam akram January 15, 2012 at 12:45 am

I don’t own either, and here in India, would be too expensive to invest in one. So I make do without, and still get a whole load of compliments for my bread. I use a regular loaf pan, keeping foil under it… some times I cover, often I dont. I still get great bread. My kids no longer like store bought bread. I use upto 75% whole wheat flour(atta/roti flour) which has flax seeds(10%) added and is stone ground. Delicious breads. I love to add greens like fresh fenugreek leaves or garlic chives… about the most versatile and forgiving method for making bread.


Shabnam akram January 15, 2012 at 12:47 am

Oh! and I forget to mention that I use a pan that came with a donut set which does not have the hole detail to make buns with this recipe. They are easy to make burger sandwiches and great for packing lunch for school and work…


Linda January 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I saw a video on -line when I was learning how to bake noknead bread. I showed using a glass oven safe bowl and a glass pie plate as a lid. I am a big thrift store shopper and know you could find them there. I bought my 19 20’s No.8 Oval Griswold Dutch oven for $12 at an auction here in Ontario Canada. I bake a double loaf in it.


Nick Prat January 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Thank you! This is perfect. Exactly what I had looking for for years. And it worked the first time. A life-saver for a French guy living in the US.


Diane January 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I’m just curious, is there a specific reason for scoring the top of the loaves or is it just for looks?
Thanks, Diane


Bill January 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm

scoring is for looks, Diane. If you don’t score, it will probably burst along a seam somewhere, which is fine for me. I find scoring difficult, even with a razor. Seems to “drag” rather than cut. So, my loaves burst!


Diane January 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Thanks Bill ! I am still learning about baking breads and have not yet found the perfect baked loaf. Seems my gas oven bakes hotter than what i need because my bread is too dark and crust is too hard actually almost burned. I’m trying to perfect a good sourdough loaf.


Bill January 9, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Diane, I don’t even take the lid off anymore. My wife likes the crust lighter than I, so the lid stays on and it seems to make little difference.


Diane January 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Bill, Ok will i prefer the crust a little lighter as well…So maybe i will try keeping the lid on next time! Do you make sourdough, whole wheat or any other types of flour? I am working on perfecting a sourdough bread that i will enjoy making over and over. I would appreciate any recipe, oven temps and helpful hints that could help to perfect my goal of a perfect sourdough bread !
Thanks, Diane


Bill January 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm

I make sourdough, Diane. I use 500g flour (sometimes 350g white/150g wwheat, sometimes all white, sometimes add some spelt in place of white), ~ 365g water (more ww flour, a couple grams more water), 10g salt and 1/4c starter.

Mix ingredients in bowl, cover and set aside for … hours… depends on room temp, etc., but about 14-15 hours for me. Next day stretch, fold, shape into ball, place in well-floured shaping basket. Let rise about another 2.5-3 hours. Place in 500º pre-heated la cloche that has been sprinkled with cornmeal, cover and cook for 40-45 min.

45 minutes yields a pretty dark crust.

Experiment with different temps and times. You’ll find the perfect one.

My starter is a Lavain (available on-line) that I’ve had going for years. I feed it weekly at about a 45% hydration (4oz water, 3.9oz flour).

Linda January 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

This is question and a comment. When I took the lid off for the last 15 min the bread already had a nice golden crust. can I take it out then? is it finished baking?


Breadtopia January 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Hi Linda,

Your bread is done baking when the internal temp is about 200-210F or when it makes a hollow sound when you tap the bottom.

Fred January 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Scoring allows the bread to expand more and to to expand evenly. It certainly looks better but the bread gets lighter also.


Diane January 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Thanks Fred! I think i will try scoring my next loaf. Do you bake with a lid or without?


Fred January 9, 2012 at 8:02 pm


Both. With a boule I cover the loaf with a pot upside down for about 30 minutes, then uncover for 20.
For Baguettes, I cover them with an aluminum disposable baking pan upside down for about the same, then uncover them about the same.


Diane January 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Ok, Thanks for the info Fred. I’m learning as i go and appreciate all the info i receive on this site.


Callie January 8, 2012 at 11:35 am

Tried the cold oven method, not sure if it was using a cast iron dutch oven, a problem with my oven or too much Pam (the top looked almost oily) but my bread didn’t rise much and the bottom is really close to burnt. Again, really possible that it’s a problem with me, but have people had success with cast iron & this method?


Nancy January 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I use an enamel coated cast iron pot and have had no trouble with the bottom burning and have had a great rise. The first time I tried Gary’s cold oven method my bread stuck to the pan but once I used a bit more Pam and some cornmeal it has been great. I cook it on 500* until the preheat light goes off and then turn it to 450*. I cook it a total of 40-45 min with the cover on and the last 10 min or so with it off to the crisp the top. Good luck with your next one.


Bill January 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Cast iron worked good for me, but I did place it on top of a pizza stone. Kind of had the feeling that it would burn the bottom otherwise.


Mr murray.Podro January 7, 2012 at 11:14 am

I live in the U.K. and I am going to try your method and Will let you
Know how it Goes Regards Mutray.Podro


Frank December 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I think I tried more or less everything, but for some reason my bread does not rise as much as I expected. The last bread I did was 2/3 white and 1/3 spelt (photo attached), and it was too dense. I tried several recipes, like:
– 1 or 2 cups white flour and the rest spelt/whole wheat/rye.
– 1.5 cups + 1 tbsp. warm water.
– 1/4 or 1/2 tsp. rapid rise yeast.
– 1.5 tbsp. salt
What can be the reasons for dense bread? whatever I try, I still get a heavy bread, I checked the over temperature, I’m using a scale for measuring flour. I’m not sure about the yeast, does it matter which rapid rise yeast I’m using?
Any tips will be appreciated.
Thanks, Frank.


Gary from Wisconsin December 27, 2011 at 11:53 pm


Your bread looks good to me in the picture. But if you still want more rise, I would try this.
– 100% All Purpose or Bread flour
– Buy new rapid rise yeast, just to make sure. I buy the little three packet sleeves. Maybe add a little more yeast too.
– After that try changing the first rise time. Try hours less once and hours more the next time.


Frank December 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Thanks Gary,
I’m trying not to use 100% white flour, but I guess I should try it at least once, just to see if I get good results.
I didn’t think about the rise time, I’ll also try that and buy new yeast.


Mitch December 29, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Before you spend money on new yeast you should consider proofing a tiny amount of your existing yeast. Rather than my trying to explain how to do that I’m sure you can find out what to do by searching the Internet.

I too have had problems with a rise when using a mixture of bread and whole-wheat flour so I tried baking a bread using just bread flour, and it rose beautifully. So, I suggest you do give that a try so that you can convince yourself that you can do it.

And even if it is 100% bread flour it smells and tastes soooooo good. :-)

Good luck.


Frank January 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm

It’s the yeast! I tested my old yest and they were OK, so I bought the SAF instant recommended here and the result was surely better. I know the pictures look about the same but the bread is lighter now. Thanks! I didn’t try the 100% white flour but I added vital wheat gluten, which should help.


Bill January 9, 2012 at 11:31 pm

that looks good to me, too!


Robin January 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm

see The Minimalist’s (NYTIMES) video on you tube. The second video “No Knead – Revisited” discusses exactly your issue and how to solve it.

Good luck!

BTW, I’m trying the 1/4 tsp red wine vinegar to shorten the rise time. hope it works! :)


Joe Detrano December 23, 2011 at 10:56 am

To All,

Thank you for your responses about adding garlic and onion to the bread. I have a feeling the safe course is too add either after the first rise.

To everyone, a great Holiday!!!

And keep baking that bread!!!!



Joe Detrano December 21, 2011 at 8:37 am

I have looked all over for the answer to a simple question and can not find the answer.

Can i put diced real onions in no knead bread at the start of the first rise?

i have read i can not put garlic in the dough and let it sit for 18 hours because that can cause botulism. But nowhere have a seen anything about diced fresh onion. Does anyone make an onion bread with ffesh onions.

Thanks in advance and a Merry Christmas to all!



Breadtopia December 21, 2011 at 9:55 am

I’ve heard of a lot of people mixing onions and garlic in at the beginning. But come to think of it, I haven’t heard from them since. So I guess they all died of botulism.

Seriously though, wouldn’t baking bread at 450-500 degrees for 40 minutes or whatever, kill anything potentially harmful in the dough?


Jon December 21, 2011 at 6:15 pm

I have never heard of bread dough being contaminated in such a way, if something truly were contaminated with botulism, the heat would kill the bacteria but only true sterilization, i.e; heat combined with pressure such as in an autoclave or pressure cooker, would kill the toxin. Again, I don’t think that is anything one has to worry about here but its good to know. If you ever have any doubts concerning caned goods, through them out. Bringing the contents to boil will not eliminate toxins, only the bacteria which caused it. This is how I remember learning about canning a long time ago anyhow.


Orenthal October 4, 2012 at 11:01 pm

The bacterium in question, Clostridium botulinum grows in oxygen-poor environments such as moist soil and yeast dough. It’s important not to leave garlic (which often contains dormant botulism spores) in oxygen-poor, low-acid food for a length of time.

Although the oven will probably kill all the C. botulinum bacteria, it won’t kill the botulism toxin which is a metabolic byproduct of the bacteria’s growth cycle. This neurotoxin is dangerous.

Rising bread dough, with it’s low levels of sugar, oxygen, and acidity, it’s high moisture content, and it’s moderate temperature, is a perfect growth medium for C. botulinum.

Cook the garlic first.


Kristine Nickel December 21, 2011 at 10:23 am

Good Morning Joe,
Baking the bread to the recommended temp of 200 F , will kill any bacteria that causes food born illnesses. Click on link:
My Recipe for Onion Bread.
This part is done after the first overnight rise.
Part of this recipe is from the book, ” Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”.
After the first overnight rise:
Saute thinly sliced onions in olive oil until brown. Set aside.
You may have to incorporate additional flour by dusting the ball of dough, turning it in your hands and stretching the surface of the ball to the bottom. Avoid using too much extra flour, just enough to keep it from sticking to your hands. ( Eric has a video demonstrating this technique ). Stretch or roll out the dough into a half inch oval.
Spread the surface of the flattened loaf with a thin layer of the cooled browned onions.
Then roll up the dough from the short end like a jelly roll, forming a log. Allow to rest and rise for about an hour in a well oiled and floured* proofing vessel or basket. I use a clay baker lined with parchment paper and simply lift the proofed loaf into my other pre-heated Roemertopf for a perfect fit. This method works best for me. Proceed as usual for NKB. Good Luck and a Merry Breadtopian Christmas.
( * Rice flour, corn meal or wheat bran )


Melissa December 21, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Hi, Joe!

I regularly put garlic and onion, plus other herbs in my sourdough. It can go in prior to the first rise. But, to be honest, I don’t like the way they get after being in the bread for 18-24 hours (In the cool, damp climate of Monterey, a 24 hour first rise is perfect). The bacteria starts to eat away at the additions (whether they be herbs, honey, sugar,etc). So, I like to add things, whether they be garlic, onions, or perhaps I’m going for a sweet bread with cinnamon, raisins and sugar, after the first rise. I just fold them into the dough, and let it rise a second time before baking. Voila! So easy!


Jon December 21, 2011 at 7:15 pm

At work our bakers usually parcook or saute the additions first and toss with flour before adding. I am not sure if this is truly beneficial or just needless additional steps, but it can’t hurt. I think the flour toss is just to keep from clumping together but precooking additions may reduce their moisture content and help them keep longer. I suppose I could just ask.


Gary from Wisconsin December 17, 2011 at 8:59 pm

There is an interesting article in the Dec issue of Smithsonian Magazine about wheat. I learned something I never knew before. Check it out at the link above.

Artisanal Wheat On the Rise
Giving factory flour the heave-ho, small farmers from New England to the Northwest are growing long-forgotten varieties of wheat


Breadtopia December 18, 2011 at 10:28 am

Thanks for sharing the link. Great article.

I love the line “As an economic proposition, raising wheat to save money on flour makes about as much sense as raising children to help with the dishes.”


Fred December 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm

So what’s “Gary’s Cold Oven” method I keep reading about? Where can I find it?


Bill December 17, 2011 at 11:28 am

Fred, Gary’s method was posted earlier in this thread. Simply scan back about one page using the “previous comments” link at the beginning or end of the comments section.


Bill December 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm

I tried Gary’s cold oven method this past weekend. It sure does take work out of a process that’s already pretty easy! And it’s safer.

I couldn’t believe the structure of the bread! Really big holes on the loaf, meaning the second rise which took place in the oven while it was heating, and the normal “oven spring” one gets from the hot method, were combined and results were great!

The crust was softer – good for some (my wife), but I prefer the harder crust on the hot-oven method.

Lastly, mine needed an extra 5 minutes from Gary’s original 50 minute time. I took the lid off for those last 5 minutes, but didn’t like how brown the crust was getting, so put it back on after only a minute.

Overall, great method.


Bill December 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I should have mentioned that I used starter rather than yeast.


Abruze December 10, 2011 at 7:58 am

Tried the cold start baking method this morning. Almost perfect loaf, absolutely delicious. Crunchy crust, chewy center. I started the timer *AFTER* the oven had reached 500°. Drpped the temp to the recommended 450° and the 50 minutes. Used a meat thermometer to check the interior temp which was about 190° instead of the recommended 200°, so added an additional ten minutes with the cover off. Nicely browned ! Next time I will add an additional teaspoon of salt because the flavor was slightly bland. But this seems to be the best way to go. Couldn’t wait to let the bread cool till I buttered a slice and gobbled iot. Should have taken a pic.


KXJ December 10, 2011 at 11:23 am

This was my next question exactly – how was the flavor. Usually the long fermentation period is to develop the flavor, esp. in the case of sourdoughs. Please let us know if the salt makes a difference. thanks.


Nancy Conway December 9, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I tried Gary’s method today and loved it!! I took the cover off after about 45 min and the crust was crisp. My only problem was that the sides stuck to the pan. I had a terrible time getting it out. I’ve never had that problem before but, then again, I have never done a double loaf with 6 c. of flour or started with a cold pan and oven. (I use a 7 quart enameled cast iron pan) Has this happened to anyone else and if so what did you do to stop it?


Gary from Wisconsin December 10, 2011 at 12:29 am

Nancy, I spray the bottom and side of my dutch oven with Pam. I also sprinkle corn meal on the bottom. I tried to get corn meal on the side too, but that did not work. The corn meal just fell to the bottom. I had the same sticking problem the two times I forgot to spray the pot.


Bill December 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I’ve been wanting to try Gary’s method since I read it here. I’m going to give it a go this weekend. I’m considering adding just one variation to it… letting it rise indie the dutch oven for just a little bit before turning the oven on. What do you think? In any case, I’ll let you know by Monday.


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