This easy no knead bread is the crusty homemade artisan bread of your dreams… minus the effort! This Dutch Oven Bread is THE easiest bread recipe you will ever make, foolproof even for novice bakers.
Take a look at my Easy Wholemeal Bread Recipe
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Dutch Oven Bread
Love bread? Managed to get hold of some yeast? If your answer is YES, then you MUST make my no-knead bread, also known as Dutch Oven Bread.
With a crusty exterior and soft crumb, you will not believe how delicious this bread is! And better still, YOU baked it – bragging rights 😉
It’s a very low effort recipe – literally under 10 minutes hands on time. And what’s even better is that doesn’t require lengthy proving /rising – in fact it is ready to bake in just two hours.
You can bake this easy yeasted bread in a Dutch Oven or a cast iron skillet – take a look at the recipe video to see how it’s done!
No Knead Bread Ingredients
You only need four or five ingredients to make bread but you can also customise the basic recipe however you like!
- Flour – white bread flour if you can find it or all purpose flour (plain flour). You can also experiment using a mix of wholemeal and plain flour.
- Yeast – dry active yeast or fast acting yeast (instant yeast)
- Water – tepid tap water
- Honey or sugar – not essential but I always add some for extra flavour
- A bread whisk, dough scraper and dough scoring lame kit (worth getting if you are planning to do a lot of bread baking, I just ordered one myself)
- A banneton proving basket (not essential you can use a bowl)
- Dutch Oven or a cast iron skillet are useful in this recipe but have so many other uses too!
Dry Active Yeast vs Instant Yeast
You can use either type of yeast in this recipe but the method is slightly different. Always make sure the yeast is within date before using – an old pack that’s been gathering dust for years won’t cut it!
DRY ACTIVE YEAST – this is dissolved in water to activate before using. Take a look at my recipe notes if you are using in this recipe.
INSTANT YEAST – doesn’t require activation and is mixed directly in with the flour and other dry ingredients. Instant yeast is suitable for use in bread machines.
How to make No Knead Bread
Mix the honey with lukewarm water in a measuring jug, stirring to combine. Make sure the water is just tepid and not hot, otherwise it will kill the yeast.
Combine the flour, instant yeast, and any herbs or seasonings in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
Make a well in the centre of the bowl and pour the water in.
Use a wooden spoon to stir together, making sure no dry pockets of flour remain. Mix in the salt, stirring once again until it is distributed in the dough. Sprinkle a little flour over the top.
FIRST RISE Cover the bowl with a clean towel and leave to dough to rise for 1 – 2 hours, or until almost doubled in size. The rising time will depend on how warm your kitchen is, you can speed it up by putting in a warm oven.
Tip the dough out onto a well-floured worktop and sprinkle with a little more flour – the dough will be very sticky. Line a bowl or banetton basket with baking paper and dust with a little flour.
Use a floured dough scraper to fold the edges over towards the middle to create a round loaf.
SECOND RISE Cup the loaf into your hands and carefully transfer the loaf into the prepared bowl seam side down. Loosely cover with a plastic bag and leave to rise for 30 minutes while the oven is heating up.
Preheat the oven to 220C (420F) and place a 24cm (4L/4.25 Quart) Dutch Oven on low shelf to preheat for 30 minutes while the bread is having its second rise.
Slice the bread using a sharp knife or a dough scoring lame (this helps the bread to rise so don’t skip it).
Carefully remove the pot from the oven (it will be very hot so use oven mitts or pot holders). Lift the bread out of the bowl using the baking paper and drop gently into the pot.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes – the bread will have risen but is not baked all the way through yet.
Uncover and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the pot and bake directly on the oven shelf for 5-7 minutes until golden and crusty. The bread is ready when you hear a hollow sound when you tap the underside.
This is possibly the hardest part… Leave the bread to cool down before slicing. The bread will continue to cook for a short time as it cools – if you slice it too quickly the inside will be “gummy” in texture.
Cooking In a Skillet
You can use a cast iron skillet to bake the bread instead of a Dutch oven. The bread will have a slightly different shape, a bit more spread out, but will still taste just as delicious!
Prepare the dough as per instructions up to the first rise. Oil your cast iron skillet and sprinkle with a little semolina. Shape the loaf and transfer into the skillet for the second rise (30 minutes) while you preheat the oven.
Slice the loaf. Place a roasting tray on the lowest oven shelf and the skillet on a shelf above it. Throw a handful of ice cubes into the roasting tin you placed on bottom shelf. Place the skillet on shelf above. The steam created by the melting ice cubes will help your bread to rise. I found that the bread baked quicker in a skillet, needing 30-40 minutes overall.
Storing homemade bread
The bread will have a wonderfully crisp crust when out of the oven. Leave the bread to cool, uncovered, at room temperature (don’t leave it in the Dutch Oven to cool).
Once the bread has cooled down and sliced it will need to be stored in a paper bag. It will lose some of its crispness but can be refreshed if placed in a hot oven for a few minutes.
Freezing homemade bread
The best way to store this bread is to slice it and freeze it as soon as cool enough. Place in freezer bag and use within 3 months.
Toast the bread straight from the freezer and you will have wonderfully fresh bread!
Customising your no-knead bread
Consider adding herbs (chopped rosemary is a favourite) spices or nuts and dried fruit to your bread.
You can experiment by adding cheese, olives or sun dried tomatoes as well – the bread might have a slightly different crust but it will be delicious!
Got no yeast? Try these recipes!
Overnight Sourdough Bread
Slow Cooker Bread | No Yeast, No Knead Bread
Quick and Easy No Yeast Pizza Dough
Two Hour No-knead Bread
- 4 ½ cups (570g) white bread or all purpose flour plus extra for dusting and worktop
- 2 tsp instant yeast (rapid rise yeast) see notes if using dry active yeast
- 2 cups (500ml) lukewarm water
- 2 tbsp runny honey or sugar
- ½ tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp chopped rosemary optional
- Combine the water and honey in a measuring jug.
- Mix the flour and instant yeast together in a large bowl.
- Add the water/honey and mix together with a wooden spoon until you have a sticky dough.
- Add the salt and mix it in to distribute into the dough.
- Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 1 ½-2 hours, or until almost doubled in size. The rising time will depend on how warm the kitchen is, if it is really cold you might want to prove the dough in a warm (but turned off) oven to speed things up.
- Dust your worktop with flour. Tip the dough on it and sprinkle with a little flour – it will be sticky (that's how it should be). Line a bowl or banetton basket with baking paper and dust with flour.
- Use a pastry scraper to fold the edges over towards the centre to create a round loaf.
- Carefully cup the loaf in your hands and transfer into the prepared bowl seam side down. Loosely cover with a plastic bag.
- Preheat the oven to 220C (420F) and place a Dutch oven on low shelf to preheat for 30 minutes while the bread is having its second rise.
- Slice the bread using a sharp knife or lame. Carefully remove the pot from the oven (it will be very hot so use oven mitts or pot holders).
- Lift the bread out of the bowl using the baking paper and drop into the pot. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
- Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes then take out of the Dutch Oven and bake directly on the oven shelf for 5 minutes for extra crisp crust.
- Leave the bread to cool before slicing.
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