No-Knead Crusty White Bread: our 2016 recipe of the year

As the New Year dawns, we’re excited to announce our 2016 Recipe of the Year:

No-Knead Crusty White Bread

There are all kinds of no-knead bread recipes out there – from white to rye, and pourable-batter breads to long-rise stir-together loaves.

But we all agree, this particular recipe – inspired by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, whose book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day re-creates the seminal New York City no-knead artisan bread that started it all over a decade ago – deserves its championship status.

Let’s make some and find out why.

Note: I’m providing just the basic steps here; for more details, see the recipe, No-Knead Crusty White Bread; or its accompanying blog post, The Crunchiest-Crackliest-Chewiest-Lightest-EASIEST Bread You’ll Ever Bake.

No Knead Crusty White Bread via @kingarthurflour

1. Start with the simplest of ingredients.

All-purpose flour, water, yeast, and salt. End of story.

No Knead Crusty White Bread via @kingarthurflour

2. Stir everything together.

Mix the ingredients together. Let the soft dough rise at room temperature (in a container with enough room for expansion), then refrigerate for up to 7 days. This time in the fridge develops the dough’s gluten (which is why you don’t have to knead it); and enhances its flavor, as well.

See? No special skills, tools, or knowledge required.

No Knead Crusty White Bread via @kingarthurflour

3. Shape the dough as you like.

Shape the dough into balls, or stretch it into longer loaves. Don’t worry about making perfectly round loaves or ruler-straight baguettes; I never do.

Want to make skinny bread sticks, or pizza crust? Go for it.

Place on a pan. Cover and let rise until puffy (see the recipe for details). Spray with water and slash.

No Knead Crusty White Bread via @kingarthurflour

4. Bake until golden brown.

Twenty-five minutes in a 450°F oven is all it takes.

No Knead Crusty White Bread via @kingarthurflour

5. Enjoy crusty loaves with superior flavor and wonderful texture.

Crusty/crackly outside. Soft/chewy inside. Packed with flavor, thanks to the dough’s substantial fridge-time. That’s our 2016 Recipe of the Year.

No Knead Crusty White Bread via @kingarthurflour

Anyone can – and everyone should – make this bread.

Flavor, texture, and simplicity, all wrapped up in one enticing loaf, make this bread absolutely perfect for the first-time bread baker. Looking for success right out of the gate? You’ll find it here: No-Knead Crusty White Bread (the recipe), and The Crunchiest-Crackliest-Chewiest-Lightest-EASIEST Bread You’ll Ever Bake (the blog post).

Even those of us who’ve been baking bread for decades sometimes tire of intricately crafted sourdough boules and multiple-ingredient whole-grain loaves.

We crave a straightforward loaf, hot from the oven, a corner torn off and dipped in a robust, peppery olive oil. Bread that brings us home again – back to our baking roots, when we first learned to embrace the joy of yeast.

Perfect for bread beginners. Ideal for bread experts.

All-inclusive no-knead bread: it’s bread for success.

No Knead Crusty White Bread via @kingarthurflour

And sandwiches, of course!

Since I know you’ll ask: this is a cheddar, red onion, fried egg, roasted artichoke heart, and Frank’s hot sauce sandwich – courtesy of my grown son, to whom I taught this no-knead concept back when he was a college kid.

He’s carried the recipe with him ever since. We hope you will, too.

Read the bread recipe details: No-Knead Crusty White Bread.

PJ Hamel

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!


  1. Yen

    What did I do wrong? My first attempt with this recipe was a success. On my second time, I sub 1/4 of AP with WW and 1T of gluten. Before the second rise, I folded in sun flour seeds. The dough rose beautifully in the oven but deflated while cooling. Also, the taste was awful. I used a ceramic baking dish both times. Thank you.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for reaching out, Yen! The change in flavor (other than the additional flavor of sunflower seeds we’re assuming,) is concerning, and we’d like to help troubleshoot but need some additional details and to talk through the recipe. Please give us a call at 855-371-BAKE (2253) or chat with our bakers online so we can help. Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Isa! Instant yeast is just fine, it’s interchangeable with active dry yeast. The one you want to avoid is rapid-rise. Annabelle@KAF

  2. Rosamunde Cashen

    I couldn’t get this to work properly. I weighed the flour as suggested but of course it wasn’t your flour, and the dough was too soft and wouldn’t hold a shape. After baking it in a round tin it looked ok but the crust was tough. I will try again but since I’m not sure what to do differently I have to think about it a while.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sorry to hear you had some trouble with this recipe, Rosamunde. The most common reasons why bakers can’t get this dough to hold its shape is either using flour with a low protein content (try using King Arthur All-Purpose Flour for best results if you’re not already doing so); or the dough needs to shaped properly. It helps to fold the dough over onto itself a few times once you take it out of the fridge. This helps organize the gluten structure and also builds strength. You can also use the shaping technique of rolling the dough into a ball, developing surface tension as shown in this video here. We hope this helps you make perfect loaves with your next attempt. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  3. Margot Bradford

    My question is about the shelf life of your ‘baker’s special dry milk’ … it is in your air-tight plastic canister … can I tell by tasting it? Thanks for your help … I enjoy reading this column … Margot

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Margot, the best by date for the Baker’s Special Dry Milk comes printed on the bottom of the bag. If you like to pour your dry milk into the container, we recommend writing on a piece of tape or sticky note the best by date and attaching it to the container so it’s easy to keep track of as you use it. Typically, there is at least about a 3 to 6 month shelf life on the products that we send from our Warehouse. If you’re not sure if your Baker’s Special Dry Milk is still good, we recommend discarding it and starting fresh. It’s a shame to bake with this ingredient only to find out it has gone by; it can make your baked goods taste rancid. It’s sometimes worth it to start fresh! Kye@KAF

  4. Hilda Epperson Hansen

    I made baked this bread today for the umpteenth time, with absolutely perfect results. The last couple of times I made it, it wasn’t quite right and I put that down to measuring instead of weighing the flour. My scale quit working, and I just replaced it yesterday. I’m a weigher forever after this unintend experiment in comparing results bretween weighing and measuring.

    1. Babybear Baker

      This bread was soooo good! I made a half batch (1 loaf) yesterday, measuring by weight. I’m high altitude (5,000 ft.) so usually bread recipes call for more flour than needed for where I live. So, I was a little leery about the required flour to water ratio. No worries! I followed the recipe exactly with no adjustments other than halfing it, and it turned out perfect! I just purchased a Le Creuset 5 1/2 qt. dutch oven and am going to try it again in the dutch oven. After reading the KAF blog post on bread baking in a Dutch oven, I do have a couple of questions. The blog post uses a full recipe in the dutch oven. With my particular size and type of dutch oven, my first question is — is there any reason I can’t still do a half recipe in the dutch oven? I’m probably overthinking it, but I’m not sure if too much steam or too little steam is an issue. With a half recipe in a 5 1/2 qt space there is going to be more volume available for steam??? Which brings me to my second question — what does the steam do for the bread and why is that needed? –Linda

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      We think it will be OK, Linda! Steam gives bread a crispy, crackly crust. A smaller loaf in the Dutch oven should be just fine, it will just be shorter because of the large surface area inside the pan. If you have any other questions, our free and friendly Baker’s Hotline is available at 855-371-BAKE (2253) or through chat and email on our website so always feel free to reach out. Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sure thing, Barbara. After the first 2 hours of rising at room temperature, put your dough in an airtight container and store in the freezer for 2-3 weeks. If it will be longer than 1 week, increase the yeast be 20% to make up for potential yeast death in the freezer. Allow the loaf to defrost in the fridge overnight, still in an airtight container. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  5. Cindy Mc.


    I’m having a terrible time trying to figure out what is wrong! I have trying to make a decent sourdough bread for months!! My starters are doing great! After I feed them they rise two to three times their pre-fed height usually. They are always bubbly and ready to go. So, I don’t think that’s the problem. I made a loaf today and the bread came out very soft but without ANY flavor! 😞 I feed my starters with different flours. One I made with whole wheat, one with bread flour and the last one with all-purpose. I have used my starters at different times of day trying to figure out what’s going on. Can it be that the natural yeast in my area are just like that? If that can be true, is there anything I can do to make my bread more flavorful?

    If I am forgetting anything, I hope you can help.

    I really appreciate your reading about my problem!!


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’ve got some ideas, Cindy! One is to make sure that every time you’re feeding, you discarding down to a small amount and feeding it with equal parts of water and flour by weight. This allows for maximum feeding which leads to maximum flavor. The second thing to try is to let your loaves proof overnight in the fridge. The cool temperatures bring out the acidic flavors very nicely. The third thing to try is to give our friendly Baker’s Hotline staff a call at 855-371-BAKE (2253) because they are chock full of sourdough ideas! Annabelle@KAF

  6. Ellen

    I have a bucket of this dough about to go into the refrigerator. I’d like to use it to make rolls for Thanksgiving. About how big (by weight) a piece of dough would you recommend for dinner-type rolls? And how long would they need for the final rise and how long to bake? Thanks for your help.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Ellen, the weight of each piece of dough depends on how large you want the rolls to be. For large dinner rolls, each piece should weigh about 75 grams. If you want to make smaller, more traditional-sized dinner rolls, each piece should weigh closer to 50 grams. The amount of time they’ll take to rise depends on the temperature of your rising environment. Give them about an hour at room temperature to see if they become a bit puffy, but give them extra time if they haven’t changed much. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Sadie, we like using a container (like this Dough-Rising Bucket) that has a cover to store to dough to ensure it doesn’t dry out. However, if this isn’t an option for you, a stainless steel bowl will be just fine if you make sure 1.) it’s large enough (it’ll need to be a really big bowl!); and 2.) it’s well covered. You don’t want a skin to form on the top of the dough, so wrap it well in plastic. Good luck! Kye@KAF

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