No-Knead Loaf Bread

No Knead Bread in Loaf Pan
Photo: Diana Rattray
  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Rising: 5 hrs
  • Servings: 12 servings
  • Yield: 1 loaf

Most yeasted loaves of bread require lots of work and kneading, which makes the dough light and airy. Luckily you can achieve crusty and delicious bread without kneading the dough. The bread is perfect for slicing to make toast, sandwiches, or french toast, or to accompany eggs, soups, and pasta dishes.

This no-knead bread recipe is great for beginner bread bakers because it requires very little effort. The ingredients take about five minutes to measure and mix, and the bread is quickly shaped and deposited in the loaf pan, ready for baking. It does require two rounds of proofing (or rising), but your patience will yield fantastic results.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour (all-purpose or bread flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast (instant)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (kosher)
  • Optional: 2 teaspoons sugar (or honey)
  • 1 1/2 cups water (room temperature)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar or honey, if using.

  3. Use a whisk or spoon to blend well.

  4. Slowly add the water and stir with a wooden spoon, or your hands, until well mixed.

  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free place to rise for 4 hours.

  6. Grease an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with butter.

  7. Scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface, such as a silicone mat, parchment paper, or a cutting board.

  8. With floured hands, shape the dough into a rough rectangle about 8 1/2 inches by 12 inches. Add small amounts of flour, if needed, to keep it from sticking to the surface. Try to handle the dough gently so it doesn't deflate too much. You want lots of little air bubbles through the loaf.

  9. Gently fold the ends to form a rough loaf shape. Drop it into the prepared pan.

  10. Cover the pan loosely with a clean, lightweight dish towel and set in a draft-free place for 1 hour, or until it is approximately double in size.

  11. Heat the oven to 425 F.

  12. With a sifter or fine-mesh sieve, dust the risen loaf with a little more flour.

  13. Bake the loaf for 25 minutes, until it's a deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

  14. Remove from the oven and turn the bread out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing. 

  15. Enjoy!

Tips

  • For best results, measure the flour using the dip and sweep method.
  • You can refrigerate the dough overnight after the first rising, then bring to room temperature on baking day and proceed with forming it into a loaf shape.
  • The best draft-free place in most kitchens is in the oven. Turn on the light and make sure you don't turn on the heat while the bread is rising.

Recipe Variations

Spice up your bread by sprinkling and gently pressing one of these toppings onto the loaf before baking:

  • Add 2 tablespoons of roasted pumpkin seeds for extra crunch. Roasted squash seeds work as well.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of bagel seasoning, or use poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or onion salt, either alone or in a custom combination.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds or caraway seeds.