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No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread

This No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread – with its soft, chewy interior and wonderfully crispy crust – is quite possibly the easiest, most delicious homemade bread you will ever bake!

Have you always wanted to make homemade bread but maybe were a little intimidated by the whole process? If so, then this is the recipe you want and need to try.

You don’t need a mixer. There’s no kneading. Just stir, rest, and bake.

The catch? You just have to plan ahead!

Even if you’re an experienced baker and are not afraid of all that kneading and resting and shaping and resting, you should still try this bread because it’s in a class all its own!

First, let me give credit where credit is due. The original version of this super popular recipe was published in the New York Times in 2006 by Mark Bittman and was created by Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City. It’s been a thing ever since – and rightly so.

It’s amazing! And it’s easy, easy, easy! I just had to share it!

Now let’s talk about that planning ahead part. After the five minutes or less that it takes to stir together the dough, you have to let it sit for 20 hours before you bake it. So you have to make the dough the day before you want to eat the bread.

No biggie, right? It only takes a few minutes!

whole round loaf of no knead dutch oven bread

WHAT’S A DUTCH OVEN, AND WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ONE?

A Dutch oven is just a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Most often, you’ll see them made out of cast iron or enameled cast iron, although they can be made from other material like stainless steel, aluminum or ceramic. I prefer cast iron or enameled cast iron because it holds heat really well.

blue dutch oven

If you don’t already own a Dutch oven, it is a great pot to have in your kitchen and is definitely worth the investment. You can use it for so many things: soups, stews, braising, boiling pasta, cooking beans…and, of course, this bread!

For this recipe, I recommend using a 3½ to 6-quart Dutch oven so you end up with a more round loaf (I use a 3½-quart). The larger the diameter of the pot you use, the more wide and flat the finished loaf will be.

If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can use any 3½ to 6-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid. Just make sure that the pot, lid, and handles can all be safely put in a 450°F oven.

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Yeast (active dry or quick/rapid rise/bread machine)
  • Water

EQUIPMENT NEEDED:

  • 3½ to 6-quart Dutch oven (or other pot with a tight-fitting lid that can safely be put in a 450°F oven). I use a 3½-quart pot.
  • Parchment paper

HERE’S A QUICK LOOK AT HOW TO MAKE NO-KNEAD DUTCH OVEN BREAD:

three images showing steps to make no-knead dutch oven bread
three images showing steps to make no-knead dutch oven bread
three images showing steps to make no-knead dutch oven bread
three images showing how to make no-knead dutch oven bread
three images showing how to make no-knead dutch oven bread

TIPS & TIDBITS:

  • Make sure your yeast has not expired! Dead yeast = no rise.
  • This dough is not like normal bread dough, and it should be sticky and somewhat loose.
  • Let the dough rise at room temperature. Since it’s rising for such a long time, you don’t need or want to put it in a super warm place like you might with other bread, as it might over-rise.
  • It may be tempting to shorten the rise time, but don’t! There are some serious flavors and textures developing during that time. Your patience will be rewarded.
  • Pet owners: Since you are going to have this dough sitting around for quite some time – maybe while you’re sleeping, maybe while you’re at work or out – please keep it out of reach of your dogs and cats (or any other pets). They can become seriously sick if they eat yeast dough!
  • Be super careful with that hot pot! When you take the pot out of the oven and take the lid off to put the dough in, I recommend immediately putting an oven mitt or pot holder on the lid so you will not forget to use it when you put the lid back on the pot. I learned this the hard way. No burns, please!
  • This bread and its wonderfully crispy crust is at its absolute best right after and up to a few hours after baking, so I recommend enjoying it as soon as possible. The crust will get softer as it sits, especially once wrapped.
  • Sadly, freshly baked bread doesn’t last very long. Store leftover bread wrapped in plastic wrap or in a plastic bag for 2 to 3 days at room temperature. To preserve the fresh-from-the-oven flavor and texture even better, I recommend freezing any uneaten bread as soon as possible rather than letting it sit at room temperature.
  • If your leftover bread gets a little stale…use it to make Homemade Croutons!
sliced loaf of no knead dutch oven bread

The smell of this bread baking is heavenly. The only thing better is a slice that’s still slightly warm from the oven slathered with butter. You’ll definitely go back for seconds. Just you wait and see!

Get ready for bread making greatness!

I hope you try this recipe for No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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a loaf of no knead-Dutch oven bread in a Dutch oven with parchment paper

No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread

This No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread – with its soft, chewy interior and wonderfully crispy crust – is quite possibly the easiest, most delicious homemade bread you will ever bake!
5 from 2 votes
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Dough Rise Time: 20 hours
Total Time: 20 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 1 Loaf (about 8 slices)
Estimated Calories: 151

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for shaping the dough
  • teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon active dry yeast, quick/rapid rise/bread machine yeast can also be used
  • cups cool water

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, yeast, and water. The dough should be sticky and somewhat loose. If it is too dry, add more water, a little bit at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. Unless it is really soupy, don't add more flour.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough sit at room temperature for 18 hours. Because of the long rise time, room temperature is what you want here (not a warmer place like with other bread dough, which could make is rise too much). After the 18 hours, the dough will have risen and spread out in the bowl and will have bubbles on the top. It will still be very sticky and loose.
  • Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and sprinkle it with flour.
  • Sprinkle the dough in the bowl with a tablespoon of flour. Lightly flour your hands and go around the bowl once or twice, pulling the edges of the dough away from the bowl and in towards the center, folding the dough in on itself and gently making a ball shape. Remember, this is a no-knead dough, so do this quickly and don't work the dough too much. Also, the dough is going to still be sticky and pretty loose at this point, so it's not really going to hold a ball shape all that well, but that is totally okay. Don't add more flour.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the parchment paper. Then place the parchment paper and the dough into another large bowl (or you can wash out the bowl you used for the dough and just put it back in there if you don't want to dirty another bowl).
  • Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 2 hours.
  • After 1½ hours, when you have about 30 minutes left in your rise time, place a Dutch oven with the lid on in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. I use a 3½-quart Dutch oven (see notes below).
  • Carefully remove the Dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid. I recommend putting an oven mitt or pot holder on top of the lid to remind you that it is hot.
  • Lift the parchment paper and dough out of the bowl and place it into the hot pot. Put the lid back on the pot and return the pot to the oven.
  • Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, then carefully remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes with the lid off or until the bread is golden brown and crisp.
  • Remove the bread from the pot. Allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Notes

  • I use a 3½-quart Dutch oven for this recipe. To get a more round-shaped loaf, I suggest using a pot in the 3½ to 6-quart range. The larger the diameter of your pot, the more wide and flat your loaf will be.  
  • This bread and its wonderfully crispy crust is at its absolute best right after and up to a few hours after baking, so I recommend enjoying it as soon as possible. The crust will get softer as it sits, especially once wrapped.
  • Due to the lack of preservatives, freshly baked bread doesn’t last very long. Store leftover bread wrapped in plastic wrap or in a plastic bag for 2 to 3 days at room temperature. To preserve the fresh-from-the-oven flavor and texture even better, I recommend freezing any uneaten bread as soon as possible rather than letting it sit at room temperature.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!
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Recipe Rating




Jane Roseblade

Wednesday 17th of June 2020

I have made this recipe and my family loves it. It will be passed on to all my friends who are home now because of co-vid 19. I have made homemade aprict-peach freezer jam. The two are amazing together, so I gift my friends with both. Jane

Michelle

Thursday 18th of June 2020

Hi, Jane! I am so happy that your family loves the bread! Your homemade apricot-peach jam sounds delicious (wish I had some to try!). I think it's awesome that you are sharing the bread and your jam with your friends. I think sharing/gifting food is one of the best ways to show you care! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Kristyn

Saturday 18th of April 2020

This was amazing! I was able to make a few loaves of this at once because it was so easy. I put a few loaves in the freezer.....they froze wonderfully. So delicious. I feel great about making bread without preservatives. Thanks for sharing!!

Michelle

Saturday 18th of April 2020

Hey, Kristyn! I'm so happy you enjoyed the bread! It's awesome making extra and stocking the freezer. Thank you for taking the time to comment and rate the recipe!

Mare

Monday 13th of April 2020

I made the bread! It came out perfectly from the Dutch oven. Delicious with butter and my homemade peach jam.

Michelle

Monday 13th of April 2020

Hi, Mare! I'm so happy that you made the bread and enjoyed it! That homemade peach jam sounds fabulous! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and rate the recipe!