This no knead bread is the classic dutch oven version. It has a special twist to help ensure you get large holes in the bread! This bread has a golden and crispy crust with a soft and billowy inside. No dutch oven? You also have the option to make this recipe with a baking sheet!
No knead to worry! 😉 This no knead bread involves a quarter of the effort of regular bread, but with equally amazing flavor and texture (if not better)!
This is one of my favorite fall bread recipes! Because not much beats a loaf of freshly baked bread on a cool fall day.
This post is going to cover making a classic no knead bread, my favorite secret (not so secret) ingredient, and ample puns using the word "knead". So read on for more!
What is no knead bread?
No knead bread is more or less just a basic bread dough made up of flour, salt, water, and yeast. What sets it apart from other conventional breads is that it's covered and left in a warm place for hours ... and I mean hours ... for it to rise and develop its flavor, with no need to knead the dough. Try saying "No need to knead" 5 times fast.
knead need to let this dough sit and do its thing for around 12 to 18 hours. When you knead bread, it helps it develop strings of gluten, which is ultimately prime real estate for CO2 to release and create pockets in your bread. Without kneading, your bread can end up dense and heavy. Leaving the dough to sit for hours allows it to form those strings of gluten all on its own, while we sit back and watch!
No knead bread is also generally a wetter dough than regular bread. So don't be tempted to add flour when you find it wet. That's completely normal, and it's important for getting the right texture! After it hits the oven, the steam from the waterier dough helps create air pockets in the center. And as the outside dries out, it creates a crispy crust.
Two other differences in no knead bread and a regular yeast dough is the fact that there's much less yeast used and we use cold water as opposed to warm water. While warm water and a healthy spoonful of yeast help regular breads rise more quickly, that's not what we need here! The dough will be sitting aside for a long time, so using warm water or too much yeast can cause over-rising.
How to get pockets in your no knead bread:
I've tried out a lot of different strategies when it comes to getting the large, bakery style holes that are so distinctive in a store bought loaf of bread. After a lot of trial and error, I have an ingredient that really helps get those holes: frozen butter!
A lot like what it does in croissants and puff pastry, when cold butter hits the hot oven, it melts and creates steam inside your loaf, giving you air pockets! Now this is entirely optional! And the bread still tastes and looks amazing without it. But it is a nice addition for more dramatic air pockets.
All it takes is a ¼ cup of butter. Place in the freezer for about an hour to freeze. Grate with the large side of a box grater and fold it into your bread after it sits for the 12 to 18 hours.
No Dutch Oven ... No Problem!
You do NOT need a dutch oven to make outrageously delicious no knead bread! This recipe can be made with a metal baking sheet instead. Like with the dutch oven, place the baking sheet in your oven as it preheats. Preheat the baking sheet in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Carefully transfer your dough onto the hot baking sheet. You can do this with a pizza peel, a flat baking sheet, a cutting board, or really any flat surface. Transfer the dough to any flat surface and carefully slide it onto the baking sheet (with the parchment paper on the bottom).
Since it won't be covered (like when using a dutch oven) the bake time will be shorter to prevent burning: bake for about 15 to 20 minutes total, or until golden brown on top.
If you like this recipe, check out some of these other bread recipes!
Dutch Oven No Knead Bread Recipe
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 & ½ cups cool water
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, frozen and grated (optional) * see notes
- In a large bowl, combine your flour, salt, yeast, and water. Stir together until you get a thick, sticky dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place to rise for 12 to 18 hours, or overnight. The dough will have more than doubled in size after it's done.
- Uncover the dough and use a spoon to push the dough down to release some air. Grate cold butter into the dough and fold it in, leaving large pieces within the dough (optional). Turn the dough onto a very well floured piece of parchment paper. Flour the top of the dough generously. Using a well oiled flat utensil (bench scraper, large knife, or spatula) or your hands (well floured), shape the dough into a circle by tucking the edges under itself. Cover the dough again. Set aside in a warm place for another 30 minutes, or until just under doubled in size. Place a dutch oven or metal baking sheet in the center of your oven. With the baking dish inside, preheat your oven to 425°F. Leave the dutch oven / baking sheet in the hot oven for 20 to 30 minutes to heat. ** see notes
- Take the dutch oven out of the oven. Working quickly but carefully(!), uncover your dough, and lift it up with the parchment paper. Carefully lower the dough into your hot dutch oven with the parchment paper on the bottom. Cover the dutch oven with its lid, and return to the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes covered. Carefully remove the lid and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until a deep golden brown on top.
- Take the dutch oven out of the oven. Allow the bread to cool for about 10 minutes in the pot. Using a spatula or long handled utensil, carefully transfer the bread to a cooling rack. Cool for another 15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle safely. Slice and serve!