No-knead bread: the crunchiest-crackliest-chewiest-lightest-EASIEST bread you'll ever bake.

What do you need to make no-knead bread?

King Arthur Flour.

Water.

SAF yeast.

Salt.

That’s all it takes to make the crackly-crusted, chewy, light-textured, DELICIOUS bread pictured above.

Just stir up a bucket of dough, and stick it in the fridge. That’s right, stir; no need to knead.

Want some bread? Grab a handful of chilled dough, plop it onto a piece of parchment. Let it rise. Bake it to golden perfection.

All with this easy recipe for No-Knead Crusty White Bread.

Which we print here courtesy of Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, authors of the runaway best-seller Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Let’s get stirring!

1. Mix everything together.

Combine the following in a large mixing bowl, or food-safe plastic bucket (at least 6 quarts):

3 cups lukewarm water
32 ounces (6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast

Wait a minute – exactly how much flour do I use, 6 1/2 cups or 7 1/2 cups?

You want to use 32 ounces, so if you have a scale – or a 2-pound bag of King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour – you’re golden.

If you don’t  have a scale, the amount your use depends on how you measure flour. If you measure it the way we do here at King Arthur – the method all of our recipes are written for – you’ll use 7 1/2 cups.

If you measure via the “dip and sweep” method – that is, you dip your cup into the flour canister, tapping the cup to kinda tamp it down, then sweeping off the excess – use 6 1/2 cups.

Why? Because flour you dip out of the canister can weigh about 25% more than flour you measure by the King Arthur “sprinkle and sweep” method. So by volume, you use less of it to achieve the target weight of 32 ounces.

Note to eagle-eyed scale-users: Assuming a weight of 4 1/4 ounces per cup of King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 7 1/2 cups will weigh 31 5/8 ounces. If you’re using a 2-lb. bag of flour – CLOSE ENOUGH!

How to make no-knead bread via @kingarthurflour

Mix and stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with the beater blade for 30 to 60 seconds.

If you don’t have a mixer, just stir-stir-stir with a big spoon or dough whisk till everything is combined.

2. Let the dough rise.

Next, you’re going to let the dough rise. If you’ve made the dough in a plastic bucket, you’re all set – just let it stay there, covering the bucket with a lid or plastic wrap; a shower cap actually works well here.

If you’ve made the dough in a bowl that’s not at least 6-quart capacity, transfer it to a large bowl; it’s going to rise a lot. There’s no need to grease the bowl, though you can if you like; it makes it a bit easier to get the dough out when it’s time to bake bread.

How to make no-knead bread via @kingarthurflour

Cover the bowl or bucket, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours. It’ll rise quite vigorously.

3. Chill the dough.

Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to about 7 days. (If you’re pressed for time, you can skip the initial room-temperature rise, and stick it right into the fridge).

Over the course of the first day or so in the fridge, it’ll rise, then fall. That’s OK; that’s what it’s supposed to do. The longer you keep the dough chilled, the tangier it’ll get; if you chill it for 7 days, it will taste like sourdough.

How to make no-knead bread via @kingarthurflour

When you’re ready to bake, take the dough out of the refrigerator.

How to make no-knead bread via @kingarthurflour

Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour; this will make it easier to grab a hunk.

4. Ready to bake? Shape a loaf.

Grease your hands, and pull off about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough — a 14-ounce to 19-ounce piece, if you have a scale. It’ll be about the size of a softball, or a large grapefruit.

How to make no-knead bread via @kingarthurflour

Will you look at that gluten?! Gluten, a combination of liquid-activated proteins in flour, is the stretchy matrix that makes it possible for yeast bread to rise.

Plop the sticky dough onto a floured work surface, and round it into a ball, or a longer log. Don’t fuss around trying to make it perfect; just do the best you can.

Place the dough on a piece of parchment (if you’re going to bake on a hot pizza stone); or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sift a light coating of flour over the top; this will help keep the dough moist as it rests before baking.

How to make no-knead bread via @kingarthurflour

You don’t have to make a ball. Make a longer, baguette-type loaf, if you like.

5. Let the loaf rise.

Let the dough rise for about 45 to 60 minutes. It won’t appear to rise upwards that much; rather, it’ll seem to settle and expand.

Preheat your oven (and pizza stone, if you’re using one) to 450°F while the dough rests. Place a shallow pan on the lowest oven rack, with another rack right above it. Have 1 cup of hot water ready to go.

How to make no-knead bread via @kingarthurflour

When you’re ready to bake, dust the loaves with flour. Then take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times, making a cut about 1/2” deep.

How to make no-knead bread via @kingarthurflour

The bread may deflate a bit. That’s OK, it’ll pick right up in the hot oven.

6. Bake your no-knead bread.

Place the bread directly on the pizza stone (complete with parchment), or place the pan on the rack above the lower rack.

No baking stone? No worries. While a stone does give a slightly chewier bottom crust, a baking sheet gives just as much pop.

Carefully pour the 1 cup hot water into the shallow pan on the lowest oven rack. It’ll bubble and steam; close the oven door quickly.

So what’s with the steam? It settles on the bread’s crust, making it soft and flexible enough to rise as high as possible during those first few crucial minutes of baking.

Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it’s a deep, golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and place it on a rack to cool.

No-Knead Bread via @kingarthurflour

7. Enjoy!

This loaf is pretty, but I’d call it a bit under-baked; it should really be darker, to ensure the interior is the optimum consistency.

No-Knead Bread via @kingarthurflour

I’d say this interior is pretty optimum, wouldn’t you?

Now, how about making bread made from dough that’s been in the fridge for 9 days. WHOOPS! Will it still work?

You betcha! My nine-day-old made a great loaf – perhaps my best yet. It was unbelievably chewy/crusty, and full of those big, irregular holes I’d been seeking earlier.

When it was fully baked, I left it on the stone, turned off the oven, and cracked the door open a few inches with a folded potholder. Cooling it in the oven made its crust wonderfully crunchy/crackly.

Well, here we are at the bottom line. And what do we all conclude, bakers?

Even if this is your very first encounter with yeast, you can make wonderful, artisan-style bread.

All it takes is this:

King Arthur Flour.

Water.

SAF yeast.

Salt.

And your new favorite recipe: No-Knead Crusty White Bread.

Read, rate, and review (please!) No-Knead Crusty White Bread.

For great no-knead recipes using whole grains and healthy ingredients, check out Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François’ Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

And, if you’re someone who likes to “bake metric” – Jeff and Zoë’s original best-seller, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, is now available in a British version, featuring metric measurements. Look for it at Amazon.co.uk.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Amy, we do recommend keeping it covered so that it doesn’t lose too much moisture in the fridge. Happy baking! Kat@KAF

  1. Sarah

    The crust on my bread isn’t crusty – it seems more chewy. I weighed all the ingredients for a half-loaf and used the cold dutch oven method. I had forgotten that my oven darkens the bottom of the loaf a bit (I usually use a sheet pan under the pot), so I took the pot out after 30 minutes and then put the loaf on the rack for two more. I cooled it on the counter, but after reading this, next time I’ll cool it in the oven.

    Is there anything else that might be making the crust soft instead of crisp? I live in southern Arizona, so our humidity isn’t really an issue.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Sarah! We might suggest taking the lid off the pot halfway through baking to release any built up steam which does help to create a crispy crust at the beginning of the bake, but too much can make your crust a little soft and more so chewy like you mentioned. Also, if you can pre-heat your Dutch oven empty we’d suggest trying out technique from our article, Bread baking in a Dutch oven. We hope this helps and happy baking! Morgan@KAF

  2. Debbie T.

    The recipe says EITHER instant OR active dry yeast but the same amount–??? Is that because of the long refrigerated rise?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Debbie! Instant and active dry yeast can be used interchangeably in equal amounts for any recipe. The two are manufactured in the same way these days, the only difference being that in a traditional recipe (one that isn’t no-knead or has a long cold fermentation) the rise time might be slightly longer when using active-dry yeast in place of the instant. We hope this helps and happy baking! Morgan@KAF

  3. Debbie T.

    Hi,
    My dough did not rise at all during the initial two hours. Although my yeast tested active, I just ordered a fresh package. The water was about 100ºF. I mixed with a dough whisk and covered the bowl. Besides the yeast, any other possible reason for no rise?

    Also, I am making half the recipe (there are just two of us). If I bake in a 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″loaf pan, how much raw dough should I use in a pan? I can always bake the remaining dough as a few rolls (baked for how long)? THANK YOU.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for reaching out, Debbie! Other reasons why a bread wouldn’t rise if the yeast is good would be too much flour or a chilly room. If the dough was rising in a cool area, it’s quite possible that it simply needed more time. The cooler the temperature, the slower the rise. Since flour likes to pack itself down so much (especially in measuring cups) too much flour is the most common reason for a lack of rise. To ensure you’re using the right amount, we recommend checking out the “Recipe Success Guide,” link next to the ingredients header on the recipe. You’ll see that either measuring your flour by weight using a scale, or fluffing and sprinkling the flour into your measuring cup are the most accurate ways to measure flour. Using one of these methods should give you the correct ratio of flour to water so you get a good rise. Annabelle@KAF

    2. Debbie T.

      Actually I DID weigh all my ingredients in grams.

      And to my other question: I am making half the recipe (there are just two of us). If I bake in a 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″loaf pan, how much raw dough should I use in a pan–all of it or a portion by weight?

    3. Susan Reid

      Hi, Debbie. By eye, once the dough is in the pan, it should fill it about halfway. With the scale, weigh out 1 pound of dough. Susan

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