Easy No Knead Overnight Artisan Bread

CATEGORIES: Bread Loaves

Recently on Instagram I asked my followers what types of things they (you) would liked to learn how to do this year.  Things in the kitchen you’ve always wanted to try but never had.  There were so many great comments and ideas on there and one that popped up quite a bit was artisan bread.  I knew that we definitely needed to start with this recipe for Easy No Knead Overnight Artisan bread because, PEOPLE.  Listen up.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A BREAD MASTER TO MAKE THIS. 

Hands Down the Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make

It is quite simply, the easiest, and possibly the most delicious, bread in the world and it requires zero bread making skills.  This takes literally 90 seconds to prepare.  It only requires 3 ingredients, 1 bowl and a wooden spoon.  There is no kneading.  You literally dump 3 ingredients in a bowl and the next day have an insanely gorgeous artisan bread loaf with a crazy crackly crust and tender chewy insides and you will just sit there staring at it telling everyone in a 50-foot radius, “I MADE THAT.”  

Equipment needed for No-Knead Bread

The one special thing you will need for this recipe is a heavy enamel coated Dutch oven.  If you don’t have one of these, you can try it in any heavy oven-safe pot with a lid you can find, but I’m telling you right now a heavy Dutch oven is a great investment.   It’s a workhorse in the kitchen and you’ll get so much use out of it. It’s the perfect pot for braising Pot Roast, making dishes like my Oven Braised Chicken, Honey Balsamic Drumsticks, cooking soups on the stovetop and more. 

There’s no need to spend over $300 on a Le Creuset (I mean, unless you want to?)  You can order a Lodge brand  for $60 and free Prime shipping.  Amazon Basics actually makes one as well now for just over $40.  I ordered one to compare and I’ve only used mine once but it seems like a great option.  I did notice my Amazon pot said oven safe to 400 (whereas the lodge is safe up to 500 and this particular recipe cooks at 450, just FYI) They both come in a rainbow of gorgeous colors. When recipes refer to cooking in a “Dutch Oven” this is what they’re talking about.  Click here to grab a Lodge Brand, and Here to check out Amazon’s brand

How to make No-Knead Dough

So let me show you in just a few steps how we’re making this bread.  It starts with all purpose flour, warm water and yeast.  Okay and a little salt, so I guess technically 4 ingredients. 

You will stir these ingredients with a spoon to mix them up and that’s it!  Done. 

I do want to say something about the flour, here.  I think this recipe does count on people over measuring their flour.  When I actual weigh my flour to get an exact weight for the 3 cups, this dough is extremely wet and loose.  Like, I can’t form it into a ball, it’s more of a thick liquid.  And the bread turns out amazing and soft and beautiful.  When I scoop my flour with the measuring cup (something we are constantly telling you not to do,) the dough is still on the wet-sticky side, but it looks more like most people’s photos of this dough, and you can actually form it into a  ball. And it turns out delicious.  So what I’m saying is, this dough is extremely flexible.  Try it a few times and see what you like, but don’t ever get worried it’s not going to work because it always works!  Just don’t add tons more flour because you think it should be the consistency of playdough.  Because it shouldn’t.  Overall your dough should be quite loose and sticky, but feel free to just dunk your measuring cup in your flour bag and haphazardly scoop.  This is one instance where that totally works!

Let the Dough Rest

Once that’s all mixed up, just cover with plastic, leave on your counter, and come back and visit it tomorrow. It needs to sit for anywhere from 8-18 hours.  I always just mix up the dough the day before, but technically you could do it early in the morning and have it for dinner as well.  Just know the longer it sits, the better the texture will be so I recommend at least 12 hours. 

At this point you’ll just scrape it all out onto a generously floured surface- I put it directly onto a piece of parchment paper. Remember your dough will be REALLY sticky so sprinkle flour all over it where you’ll be touching it and handle it gently so it doesn’t get all over you.  Fold it on top of itself a couple times (remember no kneading) and form it into a round-ish shape.  Let it sit for 30 minutes.  During that 30 minutes you will place your empty, covered dutch oven in your oven preheated to a screaming hot 450 degrees.  We’re creating our own little bread oven here.  

Baking No-Knead Bread

When it’s preheated you will CAREFULLY (can’t stress that enough) remove your crazy hot pan from the oven, transfer your bread into it, and place the lid on.  DON’T FORGET YOUR LID IS PIPING HOT.  I always keep a towel over the handle while it’s on my counter just to be safe.  Pop that pot back into the oven to bake.  You can see I just lift my whole parchment paper that my bread was sitting on and put it into the pot. 

about 40 minutes later your house will smell like a straight-up European bakery. 

This bread has a super crispy crust and a chewy soft inside. It’s the kind of bread you rip off in chunks and slather with butter while it’s still warm, or dunk in a bowl of soup, or dip in olive oil.  It’s amazing. 

It’s so crazy easy you can literally make it every day.  This fact is both useful and dangerous. 

This is one of my favorite things to gift new neighbors or a friend who needs dinner.  Pair it with a pot of soup, or a bottle of our olive oil for a sweet gift!

Print

Easy No Knead Overnight Artisan Bread

  • Author: Based off the original recipe from Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC

Description

Amazingly simple artisan bread that requires no kneading.  You can see Jim Lahey’s Original recipe, here.  


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast*
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees, like warm (not hot) bath water)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy, sticky, and quite loose. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at room temperature.
  2. Dough will be dotted with bubbles. Flour a work surface- I recommend parchment paper to make this process really simple, but you can also work on a cutting board or silicone mat and then transfer your dough to a piece of parchment before baking- and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and very gently fold it over on itself once or twice. If your dough is super loose here, like so loose you can’t even form it into a ball, it’s more of a blob, you can generously flour so it doesn’t stick to your hands.   Let rest about 30 minutes.
  3. While dough is resting, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put a covered 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Pick up parchment paper with dough (blow off excess flour sitting on parchment if you need to) and place directly in pot.  Cover with lid and bake 35-40 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 10-15 minutes, until loaf is golden and browned. 

Notes

Jim Lahey’s original recipe (featured in the NY Times, here) only uses 1/4 teaspoon yeast, whereas recipes dotting the internet often use up to a full teaspoon . I tested batches at 1/2 teaspoon all the way up to 1 teaspoon and did not find much difference in the finished loaves.  So I usually use 1/2 teaspoon. 

Jim’s original recipe also involves a second rise of 2 hours . I’ve found, along with the rest of the internet, that the quick 30 minute rest featured here works just fine, and I actually had better results with the 30 min rise than I did with the 2 hour one!  But you can certainly make this a few times and play around with it- it’s a very flexible recipe. 

You can also try add-ins like a handful of parmesan and some snipped herbs, etc. 

90 comments

  1. Hi. You mentioned that you once weighed your dough and that it was wetter, you could not form into a ball, but that it baked out softer. I just got a scale myself. Can you tell me the weight that you used? I’ve made this general recipe twice, with various ingredients and they came out great. I’d be interested in trying your weighted/wetter variation. Thanks so much.

  2. I’ve always wanted to try this and now I think I’m brave enough to go for it!! (Side note: why does kneading have to be so intimidating??)

  3. I found a tip long ago that if you add 1/8 tsp red wine vinegar, you can start the whole dough right after lunch time and it speeds up the process for the yeast! I add it most of the time because I forget to start the dough early enough!

  4. I’ve made this for years and have simplified the process. After it has set for 12-18 hours, I simply pick it up out of bowl, form into round loaf, put it back in same bowl to rise for 2 hours. Then I pick it up and put it directly into my cast iron pot and bake it. Turns out wonderful.

  5. Would adding spices ruin the recipe at all? Like rosemary and garlic? Would you suggest adding it in the night before when you mix it all together? Or the next day when you fold the dough?
    Thank you! SO excited to try this!

  6. I’ve been making this bread for a few years now, and you are right, it is so easy! I sometimes add kalamata olives and sun dried tomatoes. Also put Italian seasoning in the dough. Have added cranberries and walnuts. The add ins are endless, and the dough always works! I love using a banneton proofing basket for the rise. It truly makes my bread look like it comes from a bakery, with the gorgeous pattern on it.

    1. You could use active dry yeast, but I’d probably dissolve it in the water first (you can add a pinch of sugar if you like) and then after it bubbles, add the flour.

  7. I have a cast iron Dutch oven but it isn’t ceramic coated. It will work fine, right? Especially if I just put my dough in with the parchment?

  8. I don’t have a dutch oven? but I really want to try this! I have a 2.5 quart Corning Ware dish with a lid, do you think that will work? My other option is a big oval roasting pot with lid.

  9. I make a bread similar to this all the time, and I love it! I also love drizzling some honey over a toasted slice (or right out of the oven). I could eat this every day!

  10. I made this today (started the dough late last night) and it’s delicious! I don’t have the pan you used so I put it on a parchment lined sheet. I also put a large metal pan on the shelf below the cookie sheet and let it heat up for the last few minutes before I put the bread in. I boiled 4 cups of water and put that in the pan. So the bread goes in first, then the water into the pan below (stand back as much as you can as it will sputter and steam up) and then shut the door. In 30 min. it was definitely done. I will try it without the steam next time.

  11. Excellent bread! I found this wonderfully easy recipe last night browsing around for an “overnight loaf” because I was feeling far too lazy to take my bread machine down from the top of the fridge. I made the dough last night, and finished the recipe at lunch time. On a whim I added 1 Tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten for chewiness, then panicked and upped the yeast to 1 tsp (I use SAF Insatant). It turned out beautifully! Perfectly crisp on the outside and super soft on the inside. Next time I’ll try ½ tsp yeast because why use more if you don’t need to. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Discovering this recipe is almost as dangerous as the time I found a recipe that makes exactly one giant chocolate chip cookie in the toaster oven. I will definitely be making this bread again. Most likely far too often.

    Thanks so much!

  12. I’ve used a similar method: Shape loaf and place on ungreased baking sheet that has been sprinkled with corn meal. Use sharp knife to score the top of the loaf a few times. Then I put an upside-down disposable foil pan over the top of the loaf, removing it with a pair of tongs for the last ten minutes of baking.

  13. I can’t wait to make this! Is there much of a difference if you score the dough before baking or not? Does it split really weird?
    Also let’s just all agree that watching Paul Hollywood knead bread is so incredibly soothing.

  14. Why have I been forming loaves of bread all this time? I had no idea bread-making could be so easy! This artisan bread turned out beautifully – definitely gift-worthy. Thank you!

  15. I’m feeling like a ROCKSTAR! This bread is the easiest thing in the WORLD and my teenage daughter, who is quite reserved with her compliments, said “Mom, it tastes just like a restaurant – so good!” Thanks, Our Best Bites

  16. Made this recipe today for the first time and I’m hooked! Took a loaf and some chicken noodle soup to my sick in-laws and had my teenager bake the other loaf while I ran to their house and back. Easy and delicious!

  17. This recipe is great! It literally is the easiest bread I’ve ever made and is so delicious! I made two loaves, one right after the other in the oven — one to give to my sick in-laws with some homemade chicken noodle soup and one for us. So. Good.

  18. Instructions with my Lodge Dutch oven say not to heat an empty pot . So instead, I put the dough in the covered dutch oven, into a cold oven. I turn the heat to 450 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. I remove the lid until the loaf is golden and an internal temperature reaches 205 degrees. Have had great results!

  19. Although I do own a Le Creuset Dutch oven, I wonder if a non-coated Lodge cast iron Dutch oven would work as well. I believe my Le Creuset has a handle on the lid that may not be rated for 450 degrees, so the handle would need to be replaced with a metal one.

  20. This is definitely a recipe I want to try! I have a dumb question…when you say to fold the dough over on itself once or twice but not to knead it, what exactly does that mean? I’m trying to picture that in my head. I wish I could peek into your kitchen sometime and see how you do these amazing things! 😉 I’m definitely more of a visual learner.

  21. I made this tonight and wow, wow, wow! Everything you said was true. So easy. Crunchy on the outside, chewy inside. I started it late so it only had time to rise for nine hours. It was still perfect! My family couldn’t believe I made this! Thank you!

  22. I used these measurements and my dough wasn’t very “wet”. Does altitude make a difference? I live at about 4500 feet in SLC.
    I haven’t baked it yet and I’m sure it will taste amazing but I was just wondering.

  23. I made this yesterday. It was pretty but….crust was hard as a rock and the inside was like rubber. Can’t imagine what happened. I have made lots of yeast bread but never artisan. When I was ready to bake it the dough was so runny.

  24. I have the same lodge enamel Dutch oven, but the instructions say not to heat it empty in the oven. Google told me the enamel may crack. Have you had that problem?

  25. I have made this twice since I stumbled across the receipe last week. I’m not sure why but both times the dough came out very dry while I was mixing it so that I ended up using closer to 2 cups of water to make it moist enough. The first time I just scooped the flour and the second time I measured the flour and both times it was drier than play dough until I added an extra 1/2 cup of water. Any idea what I am doing wrong???

    The bread came out nicely in the end both times though it is quite dense…

  26. This bread makes me so happy! I was a missionary in France so a good crusty loaf is close to my heart and this one was amazing! Better than any I’ve bought anywhere and crustier than any I’ve made. I made it for the first time today and my family just DEVOURED it. It was so fast and easy I’m going to teach my kids to make it. Thank you!

    1. You can use foil but you probably won’t get a crust that is as developed. The hot lid not only traps heat but projects it. I’m sure it will still be delicious though!

  27. This recipe blows me away! I’ve been making bread for years, but never dreamed I’d be able to compete with a professional bakery’s crusty artisan bread. It was so easy to make and equally as good. I used my Le Creuset Dutch Oven and seemed to have no trouble with its black lid handle. Should I be concerned? Should I give the enamel parts of body and lid a good rub down with olive oil before heating empty at 450 degrees?

  28. I am about to toddle on off to the kitchen to make this.
    My Dutch oven can’t go in the oven at that high a temperature. Can I bake it uncovered in a cast iron pan? Hoping so….

  29. I LOVE this recipe. Made it many times. For people who don’t want to buy a Dutch oven, I’ve also had success using my crockpot removable ceramic insert, heating that bad boy up just like you would a Dutch oven, and then stretching foil across the top to make a “lid” and trap the steam.

  30. I just made this bread and it turned out a little chewy inside. I only have a 3qt. dutch oven and am wondering if there was not enough room for it to rise and cook fully. Should I halve the recipe and try again, or is there something else I should try?

    1. It’s definitely a chewy bread by nature- I’m not sure what to tell you without actually seeing your loaf, but you can definitely experiment with a smaller batch!

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