Ever since hearing about and making Mark Bittman’s wonderful no-knead bread, I’ve been hooked on making my own loaves at home in the comfort of our kitchen. I am no pastry chef or expert baker by any stretch of the imagination, but within the past year I have jumped over hurdles of pastry intimidation and the air of pretension that tends to, most rightfully so, tag along with crafting artisan foods, chief among them: bread.
Though a complex process if you want it to be, I love that bread making can also be done simply at home. Homemade bread consists of a few quality ingredients, some patience, and a hot oven. That’s really about it. It’s especially wonderful to have homemade bread in the colder months when heating the oven to 450 degree is more of a treat than another reason to sweat on a hot summer’s day. But let’s not joke around here, I’ll take and make bread no matter the season and no matter the heat index outside. My love for bread knows no bounds. This recipe below is one I’ve tinkered and toyed with several times, six to be exact, before feeling fully satisfied to share it here with you. It’s one I’ve adapted from an old but trustee recipe (see link above), whereupon I’ve proven to myself that one can indeed fiddle with baked goods and get pretty darn good results. Now there will undoubtedly be bread makers out there who will deem this recipe a bit of a cheap shot at making bread, and they are right. It is. This recipe aims to get homemade bread on your table fast, a word you almost never associate with good bread, but for whatever reason it here it works. I stand by this recipe not only because of it’s speedy results, but because it is very delicious. I recommend slathering it well with full-fat butter, sprinkled with fancy salt. Fleur de sel is a revelation on a slice if you have it. And if you dare take things a step further, top it with butter and raspberry Bonne Maman jam. You’ll have one beautiful breakfast or snack.
- 3 cups bread flour + more for dusting your work surface and hands
- 1 teaspoon dry active yeast (I use Fleischmann’s instant yeast)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups warm water (not hot, not boiling, but warm)
To prepare, mix the bread flour, dry active yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Once mixed, add warm water and mix well using a large wood spoon. There should not be any extra flour on the sides of your bowl and the dough should look a bit shaggy when done. Cover your bowl with a towel or saran wrap and leave it be, preferably somewhere warm like on a sunny table top or on your refrigerator, for at least 3 hours. If you happen to leave it for 6 no biggie. I like making my bread mixture before church on Sunday around 8 am, and I’ll get back to it after brunch and laying the boys down for naps around noon.
At this point, your bread dough should have lots of bubbles on the surface, so go ahead and preheat your oven. You’ll want it really hot, so set the temperature for 450 degrees and put your dutch oven inside with the lid on while it heats up. I use my large 8 quart Le Creuset for this and it works really well. Dust a work surface or countertop and scoop the dough out onto it. The dough should be really sticky at this point, so dust those hands of yours with flour to keep the dough together. Fold the dough over several times on itself as if you were sloppily wrapping a present, 2-3 times works, and then dust your proofing basket.
Place the bread dough in the proofing basket (or another bowl), cover it, and let sit anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. It takes my oven at least a half an hour to reach 450 degrees so if you light it before the final proof you shouldn’t have to wait too long. When your oven is hot and the dough has proofed for at least 30 minutes, dump the risen floured bread into a sheet of lightly oil-sprayed parchment paper. I use canola oil spray so the bread doesn’t stick to the parchment, but any sprayed oil should be fine. Lift the parchment into the dutch oven making sure the beautiful rings are on the top and cover it with the hot lid. Place the hot dutch oven back into the oven for 40 minutes. Once the timer is up, check the color of your bread and cook longer if you prefer a darker crust, ten minutes max. I recommend you take it out and let it cool the first time you make this, and make adjustments from there. The loaf you see above was baked for 40 minutes covered without any additional uncovered baking time. Eat after it has cooled a bit with lots of good salty butter and…
Helen - Oh, definitely trying this! I tried the No-Knead bread when you linked the post in the last blog you did. It was an INSTANT hit in my house!
Katie - Hi Amanda! Thank you so much for sharing this, it sounds delicious and not intimidating ☺️ I was wondering how you store any leftovers (or is that a laughable statement “homemade bread leftovers” 😆). We are a family of 3, mom, dad and 3 year old so there would be leftovers initially… I’ve made homemade bread in the past and the leftovers seem to go super stale overnight … I can make bread crumbs or croutons from that, but just curious if there’s a way you know to keep it a little longer for enjoying as slices of bread! 🤗
Amy - Just mixed it up and stuck inside the microwave to rise (warm and no drafts!). It’s chilly here today so this will be a nice addition to supper.
Angela Lemons - I have pizza crust yeast left over from my husbands baking day!!! Will that work for making the bread??!
Victoria - Amanda is there anything you can’t do?!? Thanks for keeping us all so inspired, I’ll be trying this bread in the Autumn (which won’t be long since I live in Western Canada)
I truly look forward to every post you write, you feel like an old friend and kindred spirit. I’m a new mum of a beautiful 7 month old boy and I’m so thankful to have other mamas like you leading me down such a thoughtful path.
Happy Birthday and can’t wait to hear about your trip to Paris (which I coincidentally have planned for my 30th next year!)
Laura - Hi Amanda,
After college I went to pastry school for 9 months and I am still too intimated to make bread at home. It’s been years! This recipe looks great and simple enough. I am definitely going to try it. Thank you for sharing.
I have a similar Le Creuset pot but was under the impression that the top black knob isn’t oven proof? Has your has ever cracked in the oven?
Trista Carter - I cover my Dutch oven knob in tin foil and it works great, no problems even in super high heat!
Alison - OK. Already made it today! and I have to say…. I’m NEVER buying bread again! it’s great! I was pretty sceptical halfway when my dough was so runny I could barely handle it… but everything turned out great! Thanks so much for this great recipe 🙂
Niken - Looks so good! I will try this
Jenn - I’ve been making an almost exact recipe for years but NEVER thought of using the parchment paper. I would just drop the dough into the pot and hope for the best shape. Results were visually mixed but tasted great. I will be trying this tip out next time.
Melissa - This looks so amazing! I cannot wait to give it a whirl!
Jacqueline Beach - Can’t wait to try this! I’ve been making Jim Lahey’sbread on and off for years and years.
Off topic, I just read this and thought you’d really appreciate it if you haven’t seen it already. ❤️
Hannah Cotan - This has been my go to recipe for years and I always get compliments on it! The flavor greatly improves if you add a teaspoon of sugar 🙂
Kira - Hey Amanda!
Just wondering if this bread recipe is achievable without a Dutch oven? I just don’t own one and would love to try my hand at homemade bread!
Callie - Oh! I’ve been wanting to make my own bread for some time. I’m going to try this. Question though … and I feel a bit foolish asking … but, when you “lift the parchment into the dutch oven” am I actually putting the parchment with the bread dough in it, or is the sprayed parchment just a way to get the dough into the dutch oven without it sticking to your fingers or you getting burned by it? Thanks!
Daniella - I was wondering the same! Mostly because parchment paper usually starts to go brown and burn at that high of a temperature (at least in my oven, lol).
Nicole Mitchell - This is an awesome recipe! And I really enjoy your blog. I’m also a teacher, staying home right now with my kids. 🙂
I was first introduced to breadmaking using the Artisan Bread in 5 method, which is very similar to yours (except you keep extra dough in the fridge, and pull off/let rise/bake when you want fresh bread).
I’m curious about the size proofing basket you use, I just ordered an 8.5 inch but it seems kind of small. Also any tips when first using the basket? Do you remove the liner?
And last… you have those amazing elastic, cotton covers for the bowls. Where can I find?
Krystal Wight Armstrong - Looks so yummy! Thank you for sharing this.
Could you explain more about the pretty rings/lines? You said make sure they’re on top, but how do you create them?
Krystal Wight Armstrong - PS… if I don’t have a dutch oven, do you think it’s possible to make either this, or your previous bread recipe, uncovered in the oven (maybe less hot?), or with a tented foil lid over a pyrex pie plate? Would love to hear your thoughts on the concept of no Dutch oven to cover it with. : )
Thank you so much!
Erin - Hey Amanda, I wanted to share a method I’ve been using now for No-knead bread. The recipe comes from King Arthur flour’s website. Basically, the method is that you make a large batch of dough ( about 7 cups of flour), on day one. Plop it in the fridge after the first rise for up to seven days. When you want bread, just pull 1/3 of the dough from that batch and bake off as usual (like your baking method here). I like use equal parts bread flour, AP flour, and Whole wheat flour. I bake it in the Dutch oven at 450 for 30 mins, then remove the lid for the last 10 or 15 mins. Over the course of the 7 days while the dough is in the fridge. the bread gets more tangy and flavorful. I get about three loaves per batch. Anyway, it is absolutely fantastic and I think you might like it! Definitely nice to have dough at the ready!
Autumn in the Air + A Tomato Goat Cheese Tart » Homesong - […] of a old recipes I’ve gathered and adapted along the way to suit my style or taste buds. Like my bread recipe, this one is not fancy, but it’s delicious. What’s better, is that it took me about and […]
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Jordan Adamson - Hi amanda I noticed you said you make your bread in a 8qt dutch over, would you say this is the perfect size? would a 6 or 7 qt be way too small?
admin - Jordan, I would say either are fine, but know that a 6 qt. will make a much rounder, higher loaf! x Amanda
mary wall - I make this frequently now and it is so good! Thanks for the recipe. Love your blog
jack - Hi Amanda, Made the bread yesterday and with the 50 minute cooking time it turned out perfectly, just as you said it would. Made it in a ceramic bean pot and it turned out to be an excellent cooking vehicle. I can vouch the freezer also keeps leftovers next to fresh. The loaf really impressed my significant other. Thank you for sharing this and I look forward to receiving all of your recipes in the future!!!