No-knead bread three ways: savory (and sweet) add-ins

No-Knead Crusty White Bread, our 2016 Recipe of the Year, is one of the most popular recipes on our website. And with good reason: I daresay millions of bakers around the country have made bread using this simple technique since it first popped up on the culinary landscape over 10 years ago.

If you’re a devoté of no-knead bread, and haven’t yet branched out into other interesting iterations – it’s time to start. Prepare your dough as usual. Then, just before shaping, think how you might tweak the flavor with add-ins – and let your imagination run wild.

Do you love the cranberry-pecan bread at your local artisan bakery? Work those two simple ingredients into your plain dough. How about toasted walnuts and a handful of crumbled Maytag blue? Or bake up a take on pizza, with diced pepperoni and cubed mozzarella.

Need some inspiration for personalizing your own loaves? Check out our no-knead bread three ways.

No-Knead Bread Variations via @kingarthurflour

Here’s our basic dough: mixed, risen, refrigerated, and ready to scoop and shape.

No-Knead Bread Variations via @kingarthurflour

Cheddar and Jalapeño No-Knead Bread

 

1. Scoop out a handful of dough.

You’ll use about 1/3 of the dough (about 19 ounces) for each loaf you’re making.

Look at those absolutely beautiful strands of gluten! And this is strictly from a short mix, and long, slow rise in the fridge.

I mean, it’s like instead of cleaning up your kitchen at the end of the day, you cast some magic spell at night, go to bed, and next day – presto, your kitchen is a picture-perfect magazine spread of neatness. (Would that it were so…)

No-Knead Bread Variations via @kingarthurflour

2. Prepare your add-ins.

I’m using 4 ounces diced cheddar cheese, and one small (3″) jalapeño pepper, seeded and sliced.

BTW, have you tried Cabot’s new cheddars? Oh, my… SO good. And, here’s something I didn’t know: like all Cabot cheddars, they’re lactose-free – perfect for those with lactose intolerance.

No-Knead Bread Variations via @kingarthurflour

3. Knead everything into the sticky dough.

Oil or flour your work surface to keep sticking to a minimum.

No-Knead Bread Variations via @kingarthurflour

4. Shape the dough into a log.

Flour the top of the dough; this will help keep it moist as it rises, and make a pretty crust.

No-Knead Bread Variations via @kingarthurflour

5. Let the dough rise.

Let the dough warm up and rise for 1 to 2 hours; there’s no need to cover it. It won’t so much rise as expand and settle. Which is fine; it’ll “pick up” when it hits the hot oven.

Preheat your oven to 450°F while the loaf rises. If you’re using a baking stone – which will help give your bread super-crisp crust and light texture – position it on a middle rack while the oven preheats.

Place a shallow metal or cast iron pan (not glass, Pyrex, or ceramic) on the lowest oven rack, and have 1 cup of hot water ready to go. You’re going to use the hot water to create steam in the oven, which will give the bread’s crust a pretty sheen, as well as increase its crackly crustiness.

No-Knead Bread Variations via @kingarthurflour

6. Make 2 or 3 diagonal slashes in the top of the loaf.

Don’t hold back: be quick and bold with that sharp knife (or lame)! Your bread will appear to deflate a bit; instead of wringing your hands, quickly shove it into the hot oven – onto the baking stone, if you’re using one, or simply onto a middle rack, if it’s on a pan.

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

No-Knead Bread Variations via @kingarthurflour

7. Bake.

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

That’s it. Enjoy!

Check out the other variations I made –

No-Knead Bread Variations via @kingarthurflour

Greek Olive and Feta No-Knead Bread

Here’s a loaf with mixed (pitted) Greek-style olives and feta cheese – about 1 1/2 cups total, your choice as to the amount of each. Kalamata or oil-cured black olives are both good; don’t use anything too juicy.

No-Knead Bread Variations via @kingarthurflour

Cinnamon-Raisin No-Knead Bread

How do you get the swirl in this bread? Knead in 3/4 cup golden raisins, then sprinkle your work surface heavily with cinnamon sugar. Place the dough atop the cinnamon sugar and give it a few quick kneads and turns. It’ll pick up a very faint swirl in the middle, and be fairly heavily coated with cinnamon sugar on the outside.

No-Knead Bread Variations via @kingarthurflour

At the end of the day, here’s what became of our bucket of no-knead dough (l to r): olive and feta; cinnamon swirl-golden raisin, and cheddar jalapeño loaves.

Now go forth and create!

Have you experimented with tweaking your no-knead bread recipe? Share your innovations in “comments,” below.

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

      Hi Alex, we have just what you’re looking for! Here’s a link to a video on Youtube that shows how to make this no-knead bread three different ways, including how to incorporate the mix-ins. (They get gently folded into the dough after it has risen once, before the final rise.) Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  1. Lois Lyons

    I’m intrigued about the cheese you used. You said it was Cabot’s cheddar and that it’s lactose-free, adding that all Cabot’s cheeses are lactose-free. Does that mean they are made without milk and are therefore not actual cheeses? Or is there some process that removes the lactose? Or are they made with lactose-free milk? Like you, I have never jeard of lactose free cheese before.

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Lois. Cabot cheddar is made with regular milk; it’s helpful to know that the process of cheesemaking removes some of the lactose to begin with. When milk is curdled, the whey drops out, leaving cheese curds that are aged. Most of the lactose in milk is in the whey, but you can read more about it on Cabot’s website, here. It’s pretty cool. Susan

  2. Aless White

    Is it possible to ‘bake’ this bread in a large hooded gas barbeque oven (e.g. Webber)?
    I haven’t used it this way yet, but would like to try. Mine is advertised to cook pizzas in, so I’m guessing bread would work too. I have pizza stones, so could use them,or would a metal tray be better?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It is possible to do this successfully, but there are a few pieces of equipment that will make this process much easier. The first is a cast iron Dutch oven; a heavy-duty enameled one like this should work too. You’ll also want an instant read thermometer, which will help you ensure the loaf has finished baking. Let the grill get very hot— you’re looking for about 450-500°F. Put the Dutch oven onto the grill as it heats up (make sure you can preheat your pot empty before doing so). Once the pot and grill have both has time to preheat, you can gently place your risen loaf into the pot. Leave the lid off the Dutch oven off and close the grill. The bread will take about 35-40 minutes to bake if it’s at 450°F. Try not to check too early as it will let out any steam that has built up, but use your hand thermometer to take the temperature once it looks nicely golden brown. Good luck! Kye@KAF

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