Easy No Knead Bread – Crusty Artisan Bread

This no knead bread is one of our favorites. Fresh crusty, homemade bread. Yum!
no knead bread sliced

We bake this bread in two different ways – on a cookie sheet or in a dutch oven. When I make it on a cookie sheet, I make four small loaves, two at a time. This gives our family of four one loaf to have with dinner and one for breakfast, snack or lunch the following day. The extra dough stays in the fridge for more fresh baked bread within a couple of days.

Two small loaves of no knead bread baked on cookie sheet.

When I make it in a dutch oven, I make two large loaves because that’s what happens to work with my oval 5 quart enamel coated dutch oven. This size is perfect for larger crowds.

no knead bread in dutch oven
Large loaf of no knead bread made in dutch oven.

The original recipe came from our friend Dennis who forwarded a recipe for Simple Crusty Bread from the New York Times. After having a loaf at Dennis’ house, I knew I wanted to make this bread!  That was in 2008, I’ve since made my own modifications.

The original New York Times recipe was adapted from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007). My adaptation uses less salt, some whole wheat flour and optional vital wheat gluten. I also provide instructions for making it on a regular baking sheet and in a dutch oven instead of a baking stone. For more details about some of these options continue reading after the recipe.

No Knead Bread Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Easy No Knead Bread – Crusty Artisan Bread

An easy, no knead crusty bread you can make quickly or leisurely over a couple of days. Either way you get delicious fresh homemade bread.
Prep : 10 mins
Cook : 3 hrs
Total Time: 3 hrs 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tbsp rapid rise yeast*
  • 3/4 Tbsp salt
  • 3 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp vital wheat gluten optional
  • cornmeal optional

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix yeast, salt and lukewarm (100°F/38°C) water.
  • Stir in flours and vital wheat gluten, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be difficult to stir, but too wet to knead or work with hands.
  • Cover dough with a clean cloth and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours or up to 12 hours (overnight). Long rising will lead to lighter density bread.
  • After the rising period, dough can be baked or stored, covered in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Baking on Baking Sheet

  • Sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece (1/4 of the dough) with a serrated knife.
  • Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch the surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Use as much flour in your hands as needed and form into an oval artisan bread shape.
  • Place on lightly greased cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal where dough will be placed. Repeat with remaining dough, or leave in fridge for another day.
  • Cover with clean towel and let rest 40 minutes (if using dough from refrigerator, let rest for 1 hour). While dough is rising, preheat oven to 450°F/232°C.
  • Dust dough lightly with all purpose flour.
  • Use a serrated knife to make three diagonal slashes on top of the dough.
  • Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 205°F/96°C.
  • Cool on wire rack.

Baking in Dutch Oven

  • Place dutch oven with lid in oven and preheat to 450°F/232°C.
  • Tear a piece of parchment paper just slightly bigger than your dutch oven. You will use this to move your bread from the counter to the very hot dutch oven.
  • Sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut in half with a serrated knife. (For my 5 qt enamel cast iron dutch oven, I make 2 bigger loaves instead of 4 smaller ones).
  • Using as much flour as needed on your hands and on the dough, lift out half the dough. Gently shape the dough to roughly match the shape of your dutch oven. Stretch the surface and tuck dough underneath to create a smooth rounded top and a lumpy bottom.
  • Place on parchment paper, cover loosely with clean towel and let rise for 45 minutes.
  • Use a serrated knife to make three diagonal slashes on top of the dough.
  • As quickly and safely as possible, pull hot dutch oven out of oven and move the bread and parchment paper into the dutch oven. Cover and quickly return to oven.
  • Bake covered for 25 minutes.
  • Remove lid, reduce heat to 425°F/218°C and bake another 20-30 minutes.
  • Use an internal thermometer to ensure internal temperature reaches 205°F/96°C.
  • Cool on wire rack.

Notes

Vital Wheat Gluten helps lighten the texture when using whole wheat flour, but is not necessary.
Using a Dutch Oven gives a shiny golden crust and helps shape larger loaves.
To Use Regular Active Yeast (not instant)
Use 2 Tbsp of active yeast (need a little bit more than instant).
Mix with 1/2 cup warm (100-105°F) water.
Let rest and activate for 10-15 minutes.
Add to step 1 of instructions where yeast is added.
Reduce rest of water by 1/2 cup, so only add an addition 2 3/4 cup water.
Tried this recipe?Mention @GetGettyS or tag #GetGettyS

Extra Tips for Making No Knead Bread

Mixing and Handling Loose, Sticky Dough

You’ll find that when you mix the dry and wet ingredients for this dough, it will be tough to stir, but too sticky to knead. That’s normal. Just keep stirring with a sturdy wooden spoon until all the flour has been incorporated.

When it comes to shaping the dough, you’ll want to use plenty of flour to cover your hands and the dough. I never worry about using too much. I just keep adding as much as I need to prevent it from sticking to my hands and allowing me to shape it.

handling the no knead bread dough
Use as much flour as you need to handle and shape the dough.
shaping small loaves
These two small loaves are ready for the cookie sheet and oven.
dough on parchment in dutch oven
Shape and proof the dough on parchment paper then use the parchment paper to lift it into the super hot, preheated Dutch Oven. The parchment paper stays in the dutch oven. Cover with lid and place in hot oven right away.

How to Tell When No Knead Bread is Done

You can judge based on cooking time, color, and a hollow sound when you knock on the bread. Or, you can do it the easy way and use an internal thermometer to check the temperature of your bread. Because we’re using whole wheat bread, this bread is done when the internal temp is 205°F/96°C.

check internal temp of no knead bread

Baking Sheet or Dutch Oven to Bake No Knead Bread

Use whichever approach works best for you. Either way, you’ll have delicious fresh homemade bread! Seriously, if anyone is going to chastise you for one approach over the other – they don’t deserve to eat your fresh bread!

large loaf sliced
No knead bread baked in Dutch Oven

With that said, the steam created in the hot, lidded dutch oven will create a lighter loaf with a few more air pockets. It will also create a pretty great crust. The Kitchn has some alternatives if you don’t have a dutch oven.

But don’t let not having a dutch oven stop you. I often bake this bread on a cookie sheet. It’s quicker, I don’t have to preheat a pot, there’s no parchment paper needed and I can make smaller loaves.

no knead bread slices
No knead bread baked on cookie sheet.

Why Use Vital Wheat Gluten in No Knead Bread

Anytime you add whole wheat flour to bread, it will become a little more dense. The more you add, the more noticeable the changes in texture and structure become. This recipe uses about 40% whole wheat flour, so it is a little more dense than if you used only bread or all purpose flour. However, even without the vital wheat gluten it’s not overly dense and heavy. If you have it, adding vital wheat gluten makes it just a little more tender and airy.

Vital wheat gluten is a concentrate of the natural protein found in wheat (gluten). Because whole wheat flour has less protein than all-purpose or bread flour, adding just a little vital wheat gluten increases the protein content which will improve the texture and elasticity of the dough.

You can find vital wheat gluten in health food stores or in larger grocery stores where specialty flours are sold. But I made this bread without it for years, so it truly is optional.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this bread as much as I do.

Other Bread Recipes to Try

You may also want to try these bread recipes:

50/50 Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Whole Wheat Soft Hamburger Buns

Sourdough Bread A Beginners Recipe

No Knead Cottage Cheese Dill Bread

Rosemary Focaccia

If you make this no knead bread recipe, let me know what you think. Leave a comment or take a photo and tag #getgettys so I can see it and like it!

Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

Similar Posts