A New Notch in My Culinary Gunbelt: No-knead Bread

Years ago, I bookmarked a bread recipe I saw on The Smitten Kitchen . It seemed easy enough, and it only called for a few ingredients. Unfortunately, it did call for time, a Dutch oven or other large baking vessel, and effort, so it went the way of many of my recipe bookmarks.

The recipe probably would have stayed in the tombs with its many, many friends if not for two things:
1) It kept popping up on Pinterest, like almost every time I used it.
2) I found out my parents had a 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven they weren’t using.

With the heat wave providing the summer equivalent of snow days, I decided there was no time like the present to give this recipe a try.

I’m not going to detail the recipe steps, which you can find on the NY Times website, but here are the ingredients:

3 cups flour, plus extra for dusting (and messing up your just-scrubbed kitchen floor)
1/4 tsp. instant yeast (or 1/3 tsp regular yeast, per The Smitten Kitchen )
1-1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1-1/2 c warm water.

Process Summary:
You mix the dry ingredients and then stir in the water. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter for 12-18 hours.

Here I must pause to advise that the dough will appear “shaggy”, a term I wouldn’t normally use to describe anything other than my hair, but judging from the Pinterest links I read, it’s a required part of any post. (This is especially funny when the blogger appears to be trying to pass off a recipe with these exact ingredients and instructions as her own.)

When the dough is ready, you move it to a flour-coated linen or pastry cloth and let it rise again for a couple hours. See the NY Times link for the exact steps.

About 30 minutes before the final rise is complete, you put the empty pot with cover into the oven and preheat to 450°. Then you have to transport the dough into that hot &%#*#=@, so be careful!

Bake covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.

My results?

bread before


I did not get a very good rise either time, which I attribute to a) User Error (mis-measurement of water due to last minute realization that measuring cup was otherwise occupied), and 2) expired yeast. I decided to go ahead and bake it, just to see what would happen.

bread during


The lack of adequate rising did not affect the smell. This was heavenly!



Not bad for a first effort! It might be a bit too brown for some, but it’s perfect for me.

bread cut


This is a delightfully crusty bread. My attempt is a bit too dense on the inside, but I have since purchased fresh yeast and an extra liquid measuring cup, so I think I’ll resolve that problem on the next loaf. The most important thing is that it tastes great!

I used unbleached all-purpose white flour, as suggested, but with so few ingredients, it’s incredibly satisfying in small portions. It might have been made with white flour, but this is NOT Wonder Bread.

Once I have this recipe down pat, I’ll experiment with different flours and additional ingredients (cheese! olives! herbs!). I’ll also experiment with smaller loaves and the freezability of a loaf. That’s very important to me, as you know.

Stay tuned for future explorations. At $1/loaf, or less, this is something on which I can afford to experiment!

Or, if you’d like to place an order now, the line forms at the left. :) (I broke a tooth today–NOT while eating my homemade bread!–and am probably going to need an income boost.)

Do you bake bread? Any suggestions for add-ins?

16 thoughts on “A New Notch in My Culinary Gunbelt: No-knead Bread

  1. Pingback: Recommended: 07/22/2012 | | SerentipitySerentipity

  2. I do bake bread, but since I’m no longer eating it, haven’t baked in a long time. I use my bread machine and had finally gotten the recipe down so I was making a pretty good 100% whole wheat loaf. Your recipe looks yummy though – the smell would kill me!

  3. Homemade bread is one of the great pleasures in life. Yummy. I don’t bake or indulge (much) anymore but if you need a money making scheme, figure out how to turn that baking bread smell into perfume! Talk about the law of attraction!

  4. OMG I LOVE BREAD & fresh out of the oven!!! My sis sent me a book ages ago to make easy bread like that. I ate too much of it so had to stop – fresh out of oven – too hard to portion for me! :-)

  5. That is QUITE tempting!!! I used to bake bread in my breadmaker, but I always had to buy the package mix for it to turn out right. I really would like to master a recipe from scratch. My favorite mix-ins were lemon peel and rosemary. Yumm.

  6. Bravo! I love the no-knead bread. There really is nothing like warm bread out of the oven with some butter and jam!

  7. I NEED no-knead bread! LOL Actually, I think it was one of my first Pinterest pins. Haven’t made it yet, though, I’m waiting for cold weather. And lots of people around to help me eat it.

  8. My sister tried this an couldn’t get it outof the pot! So you are way ahead. I am not eating bread (sob) and don’t have a dutch oven – so I will follow your experiements safely and from afar.

  9. Your loaf looks yummy and I love that it is vegan.

    I just discovered your blog and am so inspired by your weight loss and health! Your writing rocks. I am just getting back to getting healthy and losing weight (have probably lost 1000 pounds over the years and continuously gained it all back) but this time I am determined to figure it out. I just started my own blog to document my journey to lose about 150 pounds. One step a time, right?

    • Thanks for stopping by and letting me know where to find you, Lolly! I have a feeling I’m going to be lots of cheering for you! :)

Comments are closed.