8 Rustic No Knead Bread

Rustic No Knead Bread
No knead bread. Sound too good to be true? Well, it is possible! This recipe comes from Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery, published in the NY Times on Nov. 8, 2006.

*This photo was taken by my ever talented brother of Some Dude with a Camera...

Rustic No Knead Bread

I didn't get this recipe until recently. I thought, someday, I'll try this. Well, someday came very quickly when I went to Sam's Club with a friend.....

This beautiful, enameled cast iron pot began to speak to me. It's really dangerous when kitchen appliances start talking to me.

Look at me. Look how beautiful I am. I can cook, bake, anything you want. I can keep your foods warm for hours. I can cook candy without burning. I am only $35....

Stop! Sold! You're coming with me! Consider yourself an early birthday gift to me! I was in love. And motivated to bake this bread.

Note: You can use enamel, Pyrex or a ceramic casserole dish or removable crockpot insert (with glass lid) for this recipe.
Update! I have found that using parchment paper to let the dough rise and remove from the pot to be SO MUCH EASIER.
Other No Knead Bread recipes:
No Knead White Chocolate Pecan bread
Mock Sourdough
Orange Cranberry Walnut

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No Knead Bread
From Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, NY Times 11-08-2006

3 c. all purpose flour
¼ t. instant yeast
1 ¼ t. salt
1 5/8 c. water
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.


In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water and stir till blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and rest for 12-18 hours at room temperature, about 70 degrees.
Lightly flour work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle with more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton (not terry cloth) towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and let rise for 2 hrs.

When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least 30 minutes before dough is ready, get a 6-8 qt. cast iron, Pyrex or ceramic pot and put it in the oven. Heat to 450°.
Open oven door and take lid off the pot.
Slide hand under towel (or use pizza peel) and turn dough over into the pot, seam side up.
It will look like a mess, but that is o.k.
Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.

Cover with lid and bake 30 min.
Remove lid and bake another 15-30 min. until desired browness.

Cool on a rack.

The first step is to combine your flour, yeast and salt in a bowl. It calls for instant yeast, but all I have is active dry. Let's see if it works. (update...instant yeast is the same as rapid rise. I tried it and it worked better...I got a higher rise to my bread. Remember instant yeast is only good for one rise)

You 'stir' everything together. Guess you can't call it 'kneading.'
You cover this baby and put it to bed on the counter.  Overnight. For 12-18 hours. Yep, I can sleep that long. Just ask anyone in my family.

Good morning! This is what your baby should look like. All nice and bubbly.

Lightly flour your work surface and dump the dough out. It just kinda slid out. I did use a bowl scraper and get every little bit out. I hate anything going to waste.
Sprinkle some more flour on top.

Fold the dough over on itself...once or twice. I used my handy bowl scraper (only 99 cents, folks) and used it to fold the left side up and over; then the right side up and over the top. Still....no kneading....

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and walk away for about 15 minutes.

This is a good time to find a cotton (not terry cloth) towel and GENEROUSLY dust it with flour. Note to myself. Give towel more flour. Lots more. Your dough will stick to the towel!

This was the hard part. The recipe said to gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. This is where I HAD to restrain myself from kneading. I was soooo tempted. I used my trusty bowl scraper to help me transfer this baby to the floured towel. Covered it with the towel and walked away. Again. Get busy doing something else. For 2 hours.

Update:  I have found it easier to put the floured towel inside a bowl and put the dough on top of the floured towel, sprinkle with flour and lightly cover with plastic wrap.  Some people have found it easier to spray parchment paper, dust with cornmeal and let the dough rise in the parchment lined bowl.  All you have to do is lift the parchment and set it inside the dutch over to bake.  With a floured towel, you will need to invert the dough into the dutch oven.

Fast forward 4 hours. I had to pick up my son from school, get a gift for my friend, and deposit a check at the bank. Hey, life happens.

Still looks, o.k., doesn't it? Light, bubbly, ready for the pot!

O.K. I need to be honest. I put that beautiful pot in the cold oven and set it to 450 degrees. 15 minutes later, it was ready.

My heart was pounding. How am I going to 'plop' it into the hot pan? What happens if I drop it? Stop it, I told myself. Just do it. Like the Nike commercial. Just do it.

I picked up that towel, walked over to the oven, and inverted it. It fell. Into the pot. Then, to my horror, the last little bit stuck to the towel.

What to do?
What to do?
Gotta do something!

I just peeled that sticky dough and stuck it back on the top. Remember, I can't let anything go to waste. I covered the pot and waited. Worried and waited. For 30 minutes.

When 30 minutes were up, I uncovered the pot and took a peek.
Not brown, but looks o.k.

I let it cook uncovered for 15 minutes and this is what I found...

Doesn't that look beautiful? Rustic.

See that little swirly thing on top?

That was the extra stuck dough that I rescued from the towel.

Let's take a look inside....hot steamy, full of airy holes. I couldn't wait to take a bite.

Yep. I would definitely make this again.

And I'll be more generous with the flour on the towel. I promise.


  1. I LOVE this bread and make it almost weekly. Plus you can't underestimate the goodness of an enameled cast iron pan.

  2. That pot has been calling my name at Sam's Club also, but I haven't broke down yet and purchased it. I'll get one someday!

  3. Yummy bread. I'll have to try it with the glass casserole.

  4. Has anyone made this at a high altitude, say 5,000 ft? What adjustments did you make? Thanks.

  5. retired2AZ, I live at 4500 feet altitude and I did not make any adjustments to the recipe. Good luck!

  6. Have the rest of your recipes been made at 4500 feet also? Oh happy day, I might be able to use your baking recipes. I have had to turn my bread machine into a dough machine because it just isn't suitable at 5,200 feet. Thanks for your help.

  7. Yes, all of these recipes are made at high altitude! I haven't had success with a bread machine either.

    When you make bread at high altitudes, it will rise more quickly, which saves you time ~ aren't we lucky? ...


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