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. Pingback: No-Knead Bread | The Reluctant Hippie

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Heike, we actually wrote a whole article on our blog about using this fantastic recipe to make sandwich rolls! Check out the full instructions, which includes the amount of dough you’ll want to use to make specific roll sizes. (A 4- to 4 1/2-ounce piece of dough (about the size of an Italian sausage) makes a nice, crusty 5″ to 6″ sub roll.) Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Evie, since this is a large recipe, you can safely add about 2-3 tablespoons of instant sourdough flavor in with the flour to give your dough some tang. Feel free to adjust the amount to meet your taste preferences. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  2. Jeff M

    I just made this and had a good tasting result, but the bread rose unevenly. The top was large air pockets to the point where the crust over browned and got glass plate hard. The middle was good with small holes and the bottom of the loaf was dense with little to no holes at all, too dense. Any idea what would cause this uneven rising? I’ve encountered it several times before.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jeff, it sounds like a few different things could be happening here. First and foremost, your shaped dough may need to proof for a little longer before you put it into the oven to bake. This will allow the dough to rise more completely and make for a more even crumb structure. If you aren’t already, you might also consider adding steam to your bake as suggested in the recipe–this should help to make for a crispier, rather than hard, crust. Lastly, you might consider baking at a slightly lower temp and/or slightly lower down in your oven to help combat the dark, hard crust. For additional help troubleshooting, feel free to give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE. One of our bakers would be happy to chat! Mollie@KAF

  3. Gene Dunn

    So here’s the story. A few nights ago I went to bed around 9 o’clock and got up at midnight for a bladder break. I thought I’d check my iPhone to see if a predicted storm was still coming and I noticed I had a few new emails. I saw that one of them was from the KAF site which I had recently discovered and I “accidentally” opened it. It was about your no-knead crusty white bread recipe of the year. I had never looked into no-knead bread before thinking it used some special kind of flour or gimmick and couldn’t be very good. But I thought l’d quickly check your blog about it and get back to sleep. When I finally looked at the clock it was 4:12 AM. I had been reading your blog for four hours! It’s like trying to put down a good book, you just can’t stop reading. Convinced that I should try this I put together half a batch yesterday following the recipe and stuffed it into my refrigerator. Today I baked 15oz of the dough and it turned out beautifully at 6450 feet in Sant Fe. When It was cool enough I sliced off a piece, put on some butter, took a bite, chewed, shouted “oh my God” and danced around the kitchen. (I’m a 76-year-old man so it probably wasn’t a very pretty sight.) I have been trying to learn how to make this type bread for several years. It is absolutely wonderful and superior in every way and is exactly what I wanted for soups, stews, garlic bread, sandwiches and just plain eating for starters. I am now ordering your 6 quart bucket and cleaning out my fridge (way past due) to make room for it. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just baked the rest of the dough tonight so I could take a loaf to my girlfriend who is sick and staying with her daughter in Albuquerque. I wish I had discovered your site several years ago instead of several days ago. What a wonderful friendly company, website and blog. I love you folks even if you are causing me to lose sleep and put on weight! 😀👍🏼

    Reply
    1. Barbara Alpern

      What a wonderful story, Gene! We apologize for the sleep deprivation and weight gain, but trust these will be temporary results of your new found no-knead baking success! We’re so glad to be your companion in baking, and hope to bring you lots of baking happiness in the future! Barb@KAF

  4. Mary Secor

    I have baked two out of three loaves so far. It is delicious bread. This is a very handy recipe to have on hand. I jumped the gun on the 1st load and did not let it rise enough so it was dense but tasty. The 2nd loaf was perfect. I did the whole wheat version. I highly recommend this recipe

    Reply
  5. Tina

    Irene@KAF says to freeze the dough after the initial rise. PJH of the blog says to not let the dough rise before freezing. Which is correct/best?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Tina, either method works. I like to freeze before rising, as I feel there’s less yeast damage. But Irene’s method is traditional and tried and true so, as I say, either way is fine. PJH

  6. Camila

    HI! I want to try this recipe soon and have a fresh bread for breakfast. This question may sound obvious, but in order to assure it will rise well after taking it out of fridge, and considering my kitchen can be very cold in the morning, is it ok to let it rise in the oven with the function proof (80F)? I find it efficient with other breads that require kneading. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Camila,
      You can use your oven as a proofing box if you think your kitchen might be too cold. Just be sure it isn’t too warm — this dough will rise well between 78°F and 80°F. You’ll want to watch it closely to monitor how fast it’s rising. When the dough becomes slightly puffy and when you poke the dough with your finger and the indent no longer springs back, you can move on to the next step: baking! Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  7. Timothy Bondy

    Can this recipe be adapted to the use of wild yeast as opposed to packaged commercial yeast? If so what are those changes? I use classic sourdough starter for baking bread and want to avoid the instant rise yeasts.

    Reply
  8. Leanne

    I have made this bread at home and we love it. I was wondering, is it possible to make it in a convection oven? We would love to make this wonderful bread in my daughter’s Bakery, but she only have convection ovens.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Home convection ovens tend to dry out baked goods, while commercial or bakery convection ovens are necessary for bakery or larger scale production. Watch the breads carefully in the commercial oven as they may take less time to bake. Enjoy the baking journey! Irene@KAF

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