Classic artisan recipe for no-knead bread that is crazy easy. The perfect recipe for beginner bakers, minimal work involved, and tastes great every time! You can use all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or einkorn flour!
I live in a tourist town and one of our “things” is clam chowder. (Not to be confused with corn and potato chowder.)
There’s this one particular spot where 12 restaurants cram their store-fronts onto an old fishing wharf and every one of those restaurants has a stand out in front where employees shout,
“Clam chowder? Would you like to try some clam chowder?”
Well, who wouldn’t?
So on my first visit to this spot, I sampled one. And then two. And then three and four and the next thing you know, I’m entirely stuffed on multiple one tablespoon servings of clam chowder.
Pitiful, I know. But then I turn around to see the holy grail of clam chowder – served in a bread bowl.
Hold.The.Phone. Did I just see clam chowder in a bread bowl?!
As if the best (and free) clam chowder in the country wasn’t enough, you can get it via sourdough-like vessels that not only eliminates a dish (mom’s dream come true) but is edible and tastes GOOD?!
Someone pinch me.
Why Make Homemade No-Knead Bread?
Like my town has a “thing” for clam chowder, the Crumbs family has a “thing” for bread. We like it. A lot.
Homemade bread doesn’t last very long in our house, and since my schedule has been a bit too busy to squeeze in several hours together, Mr. Crumbs has recently taken it upon himself to dig through the Crumbs archives and learn how to bake bread.
Really truly though, we’ve been baking our own bread for a few years now for three main reasons:
- It’s really, really good (WAAAY better than store-bought).
- It’s really, really cheap (as little as 25¢/loaf cheap).
- And it’s really, really easy.
Ok, so #3 hasn’t always been true. There was a time when I was terrified of yeast and wanted nothing to do with it.
I would purposely go out of my way to make bread that DIDN’T need yeast, just to avoid it. Which you know will only get you so far in the yeast-bread-making world.
Then one day I got over my fear (at the request of Mr. Crumbs) and made bread.
*cue singing angels*
Yes, it really is that amazing.
But I get that you might have the same fear of yeast that I once had. Yeast kinda sorta has a mind of its own, but I feel so strongly about homemade bread that I don’t think yeast should stand in your way.
How to Make No-Knead Bread
The second common fear of homemade bread is the kneading. If you don’t have a stand mixer (like this one), kneading can be a bit daunting! But that is where this super amazing no-knead bread comes into play.
- There is no kneading. In fact, kneading ruins the bread. Awesome news for the soon-to-be yeast-loving crowd.
- The first rise is overnight. While you sleep. High five for schedule-friendly.
- Each recipe makes just one small loaf, which is technically what the “artisan” movement is. Buh-bye mass-produced rectangle loaves. Hello, beautiful round loaves of deliciousness.
- This recipe calls for using a dutch oven (I have this one), but you don’t have to have one specifically. A large pot with an ovenproof lid will work.
- With one minor change, these loaves can become bread bowls. Awesomesauce. (See below!)
No-Knead Bread Ingredients
I must say, I think this is the easiest no-knead bread. Not only are you able to make delicious artisan loaves that you don’t have to knead. You only need a few ingredients to make it! Easy on the budget and easy on time!
- Water. Every bread recipe needs liquid. Water is the best for this recipe.
- Yeast. You may not be used to working with yeast (yet), but you will find that it isn’t so scary after all!
- Salt. A little bit of salt goes a long way when it comes to pulling out the flavor in bread. You really don’t want to skip this.
- Flour. The base ingredient of all bread. I must let you in on a secret, though. I use all-purpose flour for this recipe.
Now, before a revolution ensues and my real foodie card is stripped away, I’m a firm believer in using whole wheat flour whenever possible. I’m known to sneak it into things like pastry crusts and cookies – foods that ordinarily call for all-purpose flour because of taste and texture.
But, I’m also a firm believer that it’s not the end of the world to use all-purpose flour sometimes. Although I will say that in our house, we make a valiant effort to make sure the all-purpose flour we do buy is:
- whole grain (my reasons why)
- NOT enriched (my reasons why)
- NOT bleached (my reasons why)
- and NOT bromated (my reasons why)
And let me tell you, this is no easy feat!
The Best Flour Out There
Searching for flour that fits the criteria above can be challenging. I’ve found a few brands that I like that fit and are easy to find at local grocery stores. Here are my favorites:
- Hodgson Mill has a great all-purpose flour and whole wheat that I like. You can find it on Amazon here.
- Bob’s Red Mill is another good one I’ve seen on Amazon and Thrive Market (use this link and get 25% off and a free 30-Day membership!).
- Jovial Foods offers einkorn flour in both whole wheat and all-purpose. (Use coupon code CRUMBS10 on their website to get 10% off and free shipping!) Or buy from Amazon.
Einkorn is an ancient grain with less gluten than modern wheat. It works great for my family members with gluten sensitivity! You can read more about it here.
What happens if you knead no-knead bread?
You CAN knead no-knead bread. But it will change the texture. Some say it makes it fluffier and some say it makes it denser.
Maybe it depends on where you live and the altitude. I’m not sure.
However, I do know that you don’t have to knead the no-knead dough and it is super delicious.
When your dough sits overnight, the yeast eats the sugars from the wheat. This makes it grow and start to emit carbon dioxide (this is good!).
Once you add heat to the dough (in the oven) it speeds up the process of yeast growth. The carbon dioxide gets trapped in little gluten strands creating a complex nest of bubbles. These bubbles are the light airy texture of the bread!
You can read more details about this process in this article. (Call on your inner-nerd and enjoy!) I find it fascinating.
How long can you let no-knead bread rise?
The first rise on no-knead bread should be at least 8 hours long and up to 18 hours. The yeast needs long enough to ferment naturally but will cap out after so long. The heat from baking will finish out the rise on the bread.
How to Make Bread Bowls
Bread bowls are like the best thing ever! Homemade artisan bread is perfectly sturdy to make great bread bowls.
- Follow the instructions to mix your dough and let rise overnight.
- Then, divide the dough into two balls before allowing it to rest for 1 hour.
- Use two smaller oven-safe pots (with lids) and proceed with the remaining directions as written.
- To cut the tops out, cut like you would the top out of a pumpkin: angle a sharp, serrated knife both down and in towards the center of the loaf. Take care not to cut too far down, otherwise, you’ll poke a hole through to the bottom.
- Cut out the top and either serve, reserve for homemade croutons or breadcrumbs.
- Flour: $0.63
- Yeast: $.04
- Salt: $.02
The total cost of No-Knead Bread is $0.69 per loaf!
Compare that to $3-4 per store-bought loaf and imagine how much you could save each year!
(Actually, don’t imagine – I’ll just tell you: $120 if you made just one loaf each week.)
More of our favorite bread recipes:
- 90 Minute Man Bread
- The Easiest Einkorn Sourdough Loaf
- Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
- The Best White Sandwich Bread
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1½ cups room temperature water
- Combine flour, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Add water and mix well. The dough will be hard to stir and shaggy, not smooth like traditional bread dough.
- Cover with a towel and let rise overnight, 8 to 18 hours. The sticky dough will bubble and rise.
- When you're ready to make bread, flour your hands and your working surface and turn the dough out. Without kneading the dough, gently form it into a ball. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for one hour.**
- After the dough has risen for 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and put your Dutch oven or oven-safe pot (that has a lid) inside to preheat. Do not put the lid in the oven. Preheat for 30 minutes.
- When the dough has rested for an hour, and the pot has preheated, remove the pot from the oven. Carefully lift the dough from the surface and place it into the pot. If your pot is stainless steel and not lined, you can line it with a piece of parchment paper first.
- Replace the lid and place the pot back in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on.
- Carefully remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
- Allow to cool completely (at least 30 minutes in a spot where air can flow freely above and below).
To cut the tops out, cut like you would the top out of a pumpkin: angle a sharp, serrated knife both down and in towards the center of the loaf. Take care not to cut too far down, otherwise, you'll poke a hole through to the bottom. Cut out the top and either serve, reserve for homemade croutons or breadcrumbs.