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.

No-knead artisan bread

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!

baked artisan bread in pot

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.

bread dough rising in bowl

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.

Overnight Artisan Bread Rising

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

baked artisan bread in pot

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.

Center of Artisan Bread

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

No Knead Artisan Bread Chunks

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!

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Description

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


Ingredients

  • 3 cups (425g) all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast* 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (340g) 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 and much looser/wetter than it was the day before.  This is normal! Generously 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.

146 comments

  1. If I didn’t want to leave the parchment on to bake, would I generously oil the pot with olive oil and bake away?

  2. 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!

  3. Question, I’m trying to print the recipe but it is too light to read. Has anyone mentioned this? I changed from color to b&w but that was only an itsy bitsy bit darker.

  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. 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!

  6. 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??)

  7. Easy lol. Very good , taste good ! Whole lot cheaper than store bought ! Easy to make ! Better than a white bread
    I make loaf every other day ! & Gave one to mail girl ?

  8. 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.

      1. Looks like I’m making a big loaf today guys! I used 8oz per “cup” before reading your comment of 120g per cup. lol. All is good, more bread, more better!

      2. I have a Wolf steam oven that is wonderful for making bread but I’m not sure how to adapt the recipe. There’s a setting for auto steam bake so maybe I don’t need the lid on my Le Crueset Dutch oven? Any ideas?

        1. I have one as well…one of the reasons I bought it was for artisan bread…if I would have known about these kinds of simple recipes before, maybe I would have spent the money elsewhere, ha! I only have two dutch ovens, so when I am making three loaves of this recipe, I use those two in the convection oven and just put the third on parchment paper and then directly on the pan, and it ends up almost identical to the other two. For the sake of science, maybe I’ll try the steam oven/dutch oven-without-the-lid combo and see if it makes a difference or not. 🙂

          1. Heidi, do you bake three at once? I was thinking I’d prep a few loaves of dough, but bake them one at a time. I have a cast iron Dutch oven and a ceramic lidded round casserole I might try.

    1. I figured out why my dough was way too wet, gooy and didn’t rise enough. The water I used was not lukewarm warm, it was too warm.
      All has been fine since I allowed it to be cooler. All good now! 🙂

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