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. Jim lahey

    I regret sending the snarky response. You need to let your dough ferment further.Suggestion: You ought to try mixing the dough less. Yes it would be an honor to do something with you for the blog when the new book arrives. Have a happy summer!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      No worries at all, Jim — honestly, I’m just so pleased to hear from you, after having read about your bakery and no-knead bread long ago, and more recently your pizza restaurant, and pizza book. It’s a pleasure to see your name here. Now, as for letting the dough ferment further — what do you suggest as the optimum for both flavor and texture? Assuming refrigeration. Or do you just retard at, say, 78°F or so, for a shorter amount of time than the overnight to 7 days we suggest in the fridge? I need to go back and re-read your original instructions, for sure. Going forward, I look forward to being in touch about your new book. Cheers! PJH

  2. Jim lahey

    Thank you PJ for the lack of acknowledgement. I truly do not believe that the recipe “popped up ” like a mushroom after a long and heavy rainfall, but rather the process has been oft overlooked due to our mental programming. We are alas all children of the post Industrial Age!
    I came up with this method and it was named “noknead” by Mark Bittman NYT columnist in 2006. You see PJ the method for making bread is arguably the oldest and might explain why humans and breadmeking became so wide spread some 6000 plus years ago.
    Anyhow if any of your readers wish to know I’ve a new book on the subject that will be published in November through Norton titled “The Sullivan Street Bakery cookbook” and in this book the emphasis is the use of natural leavening (sourdough) applied to making “no knead breads” I truly believe your readers will love it. I also have a couple of suggestions regarding the recipes you published that your readers may find helpful. Loaves and quiches
    Jim

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Jim, first of all, I’m honored that you found and read this post. I remember visiting your bakery in NYC with Frank and Brinna Sands (former King Arthur Flour owners) many, many years ago, and we’ve been fans of your work ever since. (I never did get a piece of that long pizza, though I hope to if I ever visit the bakery again.) Fortunately for many happy bread bakers, though unfortunately for those who were there at the beginning of its mainstream popularity (namely, you), no-knead bread has become so ubiquitous that the technique is no longer always linked specifically to its original source. Certainly I meant no disrespect to you when I didn’t expand on the technique’s origins in the intro to this post. We’ve readily credited you in connection with no-knead bread in the past, citing you (and usually Mark) in 11 other blog posts on our site; it’s just that in this particular post I took more of a broad overview, using less detail. I’m really happy to hear about your book, and look forward to seeing it (and baking from it). I’ll be on the lookout in November. Maybe you’d even enjoy working with us to promote it via this blog — a guest post from the “father” of no-knead bread would be truly exciting for King Arthur Flour and all of our readers! Thanks for adding your comments here, and we look forward to (hopefully) hearing from you again. PJH

  3. Amanda

    I’m so glad you are encouraging add ins! I love loooove this recipe and have found it very forgiving once recognizing the correct consistency. I use a rye flour starter and add wheat germ to them all. So versatile, just a nasty bowl to clean, worth it!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You sure can, Joan! As we mention in a “tip from our bakers” on the original recipe, “you can absolutely make up to half of the total flour whole wheat, either our Premium or white whole wheat flours. Add an additional 2 teaspoons water per cup of whole wheat flour to prevent the dough from being too dry.” Mollie@KAF

  4. Linda

    I have been making no-knead bread most every week since before it was a thing (40 years). Started with an oatmeal bread recipe from an antique cookbook in college that did not require kneading and took it from there.
    Over the years I have settled on a mixture I like best. All of mine have 1 1/2 cup high gluten flour, 1 cup white whole wheat and either 1/2 cup whole wheat or rye. They all have 1/4 cup bran and 3/4 cup oats,1 scant tbsp salt and 1/4 tsp yeast or 1/4 cup sourdough starter. This ratio stays the same no matter what I add. I add all the dry ingredients including add-ins during the initial mix. The liquids are 2 cups total with 1/3 being ale and 1 tbsp. cider vinegar. Of course I tweak that with more water when I see the consistency of the dough. I usually do an eighteen hour initial rise. A 1 1/2 hour second rise and bake in clay cloches at 500 degrees for 10 minutes, 425 covered for 20 and right on the stone out of the cloche for 10 more.
    My husband’s favorite is a molasses, toasted pecan, golden raisin mix. Mine is a seeded bread with 1 tbsp each of black and white sesame seeds, fennel seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds, chia seeds and sunflower seeds with toasted pepitas. I worked hard on a pumpernickel recipe and it is both of our favorite but has many, many ingredients.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      That is no-knead bread many, many ways, Linda! Thanks for sharing your process with us. Mollie@KAF

  5. Lisa

    When I am in a rush and I don’t feel like cutting mix-ins I add Lighthouse freeze-dried herbs. They are wonderful, chives, green onions, guacamole mix (my favorite), dill, red onions. dill, garlic, basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro (I am looking at my jars) , poultry seasoning (I like for the thyme and sage). Just mix them in your dough, that’s all.

    Reply
  6. LINDA BUBLICK

    This no knead bread is wonderful! I let mine stay in frig for three days–it was tangy. Made two circular loaves and scored the top in a design and sprinkled coarse salt and a little four and popped in the oven with a steaming pan of hot water—-Baked 21 minutes and the aroma was divine!!!!!!

    The loaves looked like perfection and tasted heavenly——–The remaining dough will be cinnamon bread—-This recipe is fab!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!-

    Reply
  7. Karen

    My first go with this bread and I don’t know whether to jump for joy or cry and curl up in a ball . Two loaves just out of oven , all directions followed to the letter right down to measuring the flour by weighing it with my long-awaited scale. I weighed each ball of dough ( !lb. each) and baked for 30 min. Problem : the initial rise looked like P.J.’s. I was over the moon ! Then overnight in the fridge and yes it deflated as the recipe said it would . Time to bake (24hrs. +) and it didn’t budge in my 78 degree kitchen. Out to the 85 degree garage covered with enough flour and plastic wrap was no problem . 2 1/2 hr rising and I had to bake so in they went . Only issue : knife slashes not great . A lame is in the works . Baked following all directions and even sprayed 3x in first 10-15 min. They measure 10&11 1/2″ long and about2 1/2″ high. Are they the right size ?? Your loaves all look huge compared to mine . BTW had plenty of steam in the oven using your pan and cup of hot water plus I sprayed extra . What could I have done wrong ? OR , are they perfect and I’m too dumb to know it LOL ? Any answers are appreciated ! What would I ever do without King Arthur and my alter ego , PJ ? Does she know how many BFFs she has ? THOUSANDS !!! ((Hugs)) K.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’ve got good news, Karen. It sounds like your loaves are close to perfect! The loaves don’t tend to rise too much during the second rise–that’s okay. One thing you may want to try next time to get better structure is shaping your loaves a little tighter. We have a great video on our website that shows how to achieve the perfect boule with this dough. Make sure you’re using this technique too, and then you’ll know you’re right on track! And we’ll be sure to let PJ know where to find her alter ego if she ever finds herself searching. 🙂 Kye@KAF

  8. JoAnn Treslar

    I have made quite a few variations with the no-knead bread and not a loser in the bunch – some just needed some tweaking.
    Everything Bagel Bread – scant 1/4 cup of KAF everything bagel seasoning to one third of dough batch – not: 1/3 cup – that was too much seasoning
    Olive Bread – to one third of dough batch – using dough hook, add 20 jarred marinated Kalamata olives cut up in slices and 1/4 cup King Arthur olive artisan bread flavor – leave hook on for about 25 — 30 seconds. Tried with green ripe olives, it was OK but not special like the marinated Kalamata olives are.
    Pumpernickel Bread – to one third of dough batch – using dough hook, add 1/4 cup King Arthur pumpernickel artisan brad flavoring and approx 1 rounded teaspoon of caraway seeds crushed in a mortar and pestle – need to use dough hook – leave dough hook on for about 1 – 2 minutes. Make a beautiful variegated bread dough
    Rye Bread – First time made it used scant 1 T seasoning of KAF flavoring – needs a little bit less and add 1 teaspoon caraway seeds.
    Onion Bread – to one third of dough batch – using dough hook, add little over 1/2 cup of crushed French’s French fried onions and a ½ teaspoon onion powder.
    Pizza or Focaccia Bread – use 1/8 cup of Pizza seasoning – using any more (like ¼ cup) makes the bread way too salty and had to be discarded. Can’t reduce the salt in the basis dough recipe since the whole recipes is separated into three parts. Put a little bit of olive oil on surface of dough before last rising.
    Pistachio – not made as yet, but a possibility
    I make the basic dough, divide it into thirds and add whatever version that my husband wants that day.
    I have also made pull apart dinner rolls with this dough-
    Used a measured 3 ounce each piece of dough – divided into three parts – rounded in palms and placed together to make a clover leaf roll. Slashed with a knife once on each of the three round parts (optional). Just place the rolls on a baking sheet which has been covered in parchment paper. When served each of the three portions of the roll comes apart easily and makes it a pleasure to eat. Baked rolls at 450 degrees for 14 minutes. Using hot water in bottom of oven as directed.
    For plain rolls – spray each roll lightly with baking spray and top with King Arthur Everything Bagel Topping.
    For olive rolls – chopped some plain Kalamata olives and added a little bit of olive juice, add to dough.
    For onion rolls – crush some French’s French onions and add to dough.
    For a sweet roll – add some plumped dried golden raisins and some ground cinnamon to the dough. Note: to make it into a real sweet roll could add some icing to the top of it.
    Note: on 9/5/15 when baking 6 onion rolls took 16 minutes at 450 degrees.

    Reply
  9. Tom Swedenburg

    I was wondering why the loaf was covered with flour before it proofed. It seems it would be easier to simply cover with plastic. Any reason not to use a loose or tented plastic wrap?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Tom,
      You’re more than welcome to use plastic wrap to cover the rising dough, but this is a sticky dough so you’ll want to grease the plastic wrap well. Even taking this step, it still might stick. It’s very sad when dough deflates at the very end of proofing, so it’s best to at least use a light sprinkle of flour on the top of the dough. Plus, it gives your loaves a nice artisan look! Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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