No-Knead Bread

This no-knead bread recipe will make any novice baker look like a pro! 5 minutes of work yield a crusty, golden loaf with a perfect soft interior.

No Knead Bread

If you’re curious about bread-making, no-knead bread is a fantastic place to start. This method was made famous by Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York. It’s wildly popular, and for good reason. Unlike many bread recipes, it requires no special equipment (aside from a Dutch oven) or finicky ingredients, and it takes just a few minutes of hands-on prep. Still, thanks to a long, slow rise, the bread comes out perfect every time, with a gorgeous golden brown crust and chewy interior.

I make a few tweaks to Jim’s recipe, swapping bread flour for all-purpose and amping up the flavor with lemon zest and rosemary. It’s bright, aromatic, and soft, the perfect accompaniment to a hot bowl of soup or a delicious snack all on its own. Next time you’re in the mood for bakery-quality bread, skip a trip to the store, and bake this bread instead. It’ll be more fun, less expensive, and just as good (if not better). Trust me, this classic recipe isn’t one you want to miss.

No Knead Bread Recipe Ingredients

No-Knead Bread Recipe Ingredients

You only need 6 basic ingredients to make a mind-blowing loaf of no-knead bread:

  • Flour – Jim Lahey’s original recipe calls for all-purpose flour, and if it’s what you keep on hand, it will work in this recipe. However, Jack and I prefer to make this recipe with bread flour. The bread comes out slightly less dense, with a lighter, chewier texture that we can’t get enough of.
  • Active dry yeast – This no-knead bread couldn’t rise without it!
  • Lemon zest – I typically grate lemon zest when I’m cooking, but for this recipe, I dice it into small squares for a more intense lemon flavor. The whole loaf is lemony, but the bites with zest are extra-bright and fresh.
  • Fresh rosemary – Its cozy flavor makes this loaf comforting and homey. Fresh thyme would be lovely here as well.
  • Sea salt – It makes the bright, aromatic flavor of the lemon and rosemary pop.

Just add water, and you’re good to go!

Mixing bread dough

How to Make No-Knead Bread

It’d be impossible to find an easier, more reliable bread recipe than this one. Here’s how you make it:

First, combine the flour, yeast, salt, lemon zest, and rosemary in a large bowl. Then, add the water and stir to form a very sticky dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rest in a warm spot for 12 to 24 hours, until the surface is dotted with bubbles.

Rising dough in a bowl

When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and fold it over onto itself once or twice. Cover it loosely and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Kneading dough Shaping dough into a ball

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface and quickly shape the dough into a ball.

Then, sprinkle cornmeal onto a flour sack type kitchen towel and place the dough, seam side down, onto the towel. Dust the top of the dough with more cornmeal.

No knead bread dough with cornmeal

Cover with another towel and let rise until the dough is more than double in size, about 2 hours.

30 minutes before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 450°F and place a 4-quart covered Dutch oven in the oven as it heats.

Ball of bread dough

When the dough has finished rising, carefully remove the pot from the oven (it will be hot!). Turn the dough over, into the pot, so that it’s seam side up. If it looks messy, that’s ok! Use a sharp knife to cut three shallow slits on top of the dough. Then, cover it, transfer it to the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake until the bread is golden brown on top.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out the bread. Slice, and enjoy!

No knead bread dough in a Dutch oven

No-Knead Bread Recipe Tips

  • Let the dough rise somewhere warm. Because yeast responds to warmth, letting your dough rise in a warm place will yield the best results. We like to put ours on a sunny windowsill!
  • Time the first rise based on your schedule. This bread turns out well after an initial rise of anywhere from 12-24 hours. That’s a big range! You might notice slight differences in the final loaf depending on how long the rise is (it’ll be puffier the longer it goes), but really, this range is just to give you flexibility. As long as the dough is dotted with bubbles when you move on to the next step, let it rise for as long as is convenient for you.
  • Be gentle. When no-knead bread comes out well, it’s dotted with air bubbles, and it has a light, soft texture. To achieve this, be gentle with the dough. After the initial rise, turn the dough out of the bowl carefully, taking care to preserve as much volume as you can while you work with it. Whatever you do, don’t punch it down!
  • Not sure if your dough is ready to bake? Poke it! To make sure your dough is ready to bake after its 2 hour rise, poke it with your finger. If it springs back right away, let it rise a bit longer. It’s ready to bake when it slowly bounces back.

Sliced no knead bread

Serving Suggestions

Crusty and flavorful, this no-knead bread is delicious on its own with a pat of butter or drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy it as a snack or light breakfast, or pair it with any soup, salad, or pasta recipe.

We like to eat it fresh the first day with whatever we’re having for dinner. Then, I slice and freeze whatever’s left. Later, I pop frozen slices directly in the toaster to make avocado toast or to serve with a larger meal. If you don’t want to freeze your bread, store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.

Sliced loaf of no knead bread

If you love this no-knead bread recipe, try our homemade focaccia next!

No-Knead Bread

rate this recipe:
4.93 from 14 votes
Prep Time: 1 d
Cook Time: 45 mins
Serves 8
This easy no-knead bread recipe will make any novice baker look like a pro! It has a perfect golden brown crust and soft, chewy interior.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon diced lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon minced rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup Cornmeal

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, lemon, and rosemary. Add the water and stir until blended. It will be very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm spot (75° is ideal) for 12 to 24 hours, until the surface is dotted with bubbles.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface then sprinkle with a bit more flour. Turn the dough over onto itself once or twice. The dough will be very wet and sticky - that's ok - just don't knead the dough. Cover loosely and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface. Lightly flour your hands and gently shape the dough into a ball without kneading it. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a flour sack type kitchen towel and place the dough, seam side down, onto the towel. Dust the top of the dough with more cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise until the dough is more than double in size, about 2 hours.
  • 30 minutes before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 450°F and place a 4-quart covered Dutch oven in the oven as it heats.
  • Use oven mitts to carefully remove the pot from the oven. Turn the dough over into the pot so that it’s seam-side up. If necessary, shake the pan a bit to evenly distribute the dough. Use a sharp knife to cut three shallow slits on top of the dough. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 to 30 minutes more, until golden brown on top.
  • Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from the pot.

Adapted from Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread recipe, via Mark Bittman and the New York Times.

47 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Susan
    02.21.2021

    Can I make this bread Gluten Free?
    Maybe using Bob’s 1:1 GF?
    Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.22.2021

      Hi Susan, we haven’t had success with GF 1:1 flours in yeasted bread recipes like this.

  2. Juju
    01.15.2021

    Oh my, we LOVED This bread!! My friend said, oh this is just like you’d get in a restaurant .. crunchy in the outside and soft in the middle, drool! And at altitude! We love it and are looking at maybe switching up some of the spices for cinnamon and raisins … thoughts??

    I’ve been using your recipes for everything the last few months. Sooo good!

  3. Phuong
    01.04.2021

    Hi! How can I adjust the recipe for a 5.5 qt dutch oven?

  4. Farid Healey
    12.25.2020

    5 stars
    Omgosh… My husband I just pulled this baby out if the oven and it taste and looks delicious!

    Thank you so much for this!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.25.2020

      I’m so glad you both loved it!

  5. Courtney Havrilla
    10.20.2020

    I think I under baked mine because I was afraid it was getting too brown on top. It already had your finished color when I took the lid off. Should I keep the lid on to finish cooking? Or put foil on top?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.20.2020

      Hi Courtney, I’d let it keep going with the lid on to keep it from browning any more. Hope that helps!

  6. H
    09.11.2020

    5 stars
    This is so delicious, just made it. Thank you for sharing!! My only comment is that the crust was SO crusty. Like, worried about my teeth when I chew it – crusty. Maybe that means I cooked it too long, ?? not sure. But it’s great.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.12.2020

      Hi Holly, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’d try baking it less or turning down your oven temp for the second half of the baking (once you uncover it). It might get less crusty at 425?

  7. Desiree
    07.24.2020

    Hi I cannot find flour sack towels is there an alternative? I have everything else that’s needed.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.24.2020

      Hi Desiree, any clean kitchen towel is fine – I’d say just avoid one that has large fibers that could stick to the sticky dough too much.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.