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No time to bake? No-knead bread

July 12, 2014

No knead bread - mycustardpie.comIf everyone jumped off a cliff would you follow? I have a very awkward streak which means I would probably wander off in the other direction even if a tornado or a herd of run-away wildebeast was coming. This resistance to going with the masses has influenced many things in my life; for instance my choice of camera (most people seemed to have Canon so I bought Nikon).

This stubbornness had its effect on my food blogging too.Β  A couple of years ago the raptures dedicated to pages and pages of macarons made sure that I would never, ever attempt to make one. Cup cakes and whoopie pies were equally safe from ever making an appearance in my kitchen. No knead bread made a similar splash and, though far more appealing than the sweet baking fashions, my recalcitrant nature meant that it lingered, untested by me until last week.

I was juggling end of term, packing for the UK, arranging my daughter’s last bits and pieces for Thailand, rushing to client meetings, trying to finish work projects before I travelled, getting three different types of currency from the money exchange and all the usual demands of a busy life. Running down my store cupboard before six weeks in the UK, I was also keen to bake so the easiest loaf was needed and I had a sudden vision of no-knead bread.

Did it fit the bill? Yes indeed, in fact it was the only loaf I could have feasibly fitted in among the chaos. The result was a crusty loaf with a good firm texture with very time or little effort required. I’m now itching to experiment with different flours and flavourings when I return to my kitchen in Dubai.

Most recipes I found online were in cup measurements so I’ve converted the proportions to suit weighing. It makes quite a small loaf so I’ll experiment with slightly larger quantities next time too, however the small amount remaining went stale quite quickly (although made good toast). If you have never made bread, or don’t think you have time to, this is the loaf for you. Be warned – it looks very homemade, but I think this is a good thing. Just slather with good butter and excellent jam.

No Knead Bread

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 400g strong white bread flour (plus a bit extra)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 300ml lukewarm water


  1. Put all the ingredients into a medium sized bowl, mix together with a wooden spoon, spatula or plastic scraper to form a ragged, fairly messy dough. Cover with cling film and leave for 18 hours at room temperature.
  2. When ready to bake, flour your work surface generously. Using a plastic spatula or scraper, ease the dough onto the surface.
  3. Using your scraper or floured hands gently shape the dough into a ball by tucking the sides underneath. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest until the oven is heated (next step).
  4. Set the oven to 230C (or equivalent) and put an enamelled cast iron casserole inside (or any similar dish with a lid such as Pyrex which will withstand high temperatures) to heat up for 30 minutes.
  5. Cut a strip of foil or baking paper, about 10cm wide and long enough to reach up the sides of the casserole dish.
  6. Carefully remove the casserole from the oven (it will be very hot) and place on something heat-proof next to the dough. Put the strip of paper inside. Using floured hands, quickly scoop up the dough and flip it, seam side down, into the pot. DO NOT TOUCH THE SIDES OF THE POT WITH YOUR HANDS.Β  Don’t worry if it looks a bit lop-sided.
  7. Put the lid on the casserole and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, replace the casserole in the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and use the paper or foil to lift the bread out of the casserole and onto a wire rack to cool.

Find more no-knead inspiration:

Are you a follower or a rebel? Would you be heading over that cliff or running off in a different direction? Bread maker or just bread eater?


  1. July 12, 2014 12:29 am

    What a brilliant recipe. I can imagine times when this would be very useful.

    • July 12, 2014 12:52 pm

      I still love all my other kneading recipes – although I do use the Dan Lepard gentle kneading method. This recipe benefits from neglect though!

  2. July 12, 2014 12:29 am

    Monica Shaw makes a bread like this but it’s a bit longer than 18 hours. I love the idea myself as I don’t have time to knead even in kitchenaid. I also like your knack for the paper too.

    • July 12, 2014 12:53 pm

      I must check out the Monica Shaw recipe – don’t really know her.

  3. July 12, 2014 12:44 am

    Your loaf has an amazing looking crumb with a beautiful crust, yum!

    • July 12, 2014 12:54 pm

      It’s quite impressive for something that takes so little effort Julie!

  4. July 12, 2014 12:56 am

    Hurrah… I dedicate your post to myself – an experimental cook, a passionate foodie who has never ever made a bread! Thanks to your schedule, there’s hope that I shall bake a bread soon. Inshallah!

    • July 12, 2014 1:01 am

      Sorry, to your last question… I have always been a rebel. Nowadays I follow, courtesy social media.

    • July 12, 2014 12:54 pm

      Yes, yes – you must πŸ™‚

  5. July 12, 2014 12:58 am

    The loaf looks wonderful. I’m definitely both a bread eater and a bread maker but still pondering the cliff-top decision – which probably doesn’t say much for my decision making ability/chances when faced with the wildebeast.

    • July 12, 2014 12:55 pm

      Ha ha – thoughtful is good too Andrea.

  6. July 12, 2014 1:34 am

    Could I use a cast iron pan instead of a casserole? Would it work the same way? πŸ™‚

    • July 12, 2014 12:55 pm

      I’m not sure Didi – Jaden (see link above) doesn’t use a casserole.

  7. glamorous glutton permalink
    July 12, 2014 2:20 am

    Like you, the surfeit of dainty macaron and cupcake bakes has made me instantly look for something butch and savoury to cook. Likewise with the no knead breads, I’ve never been entirely convinced. It looks great though and I love the fact it looks rustic. After all that effort you don’t want everyone thinking you bought it at the supermarket, do you? GG

    • July 12, 2014 12:56 pm

      Butch and savoury is good in my book GG.

  8. July 12, 2014 3:33 am

    I totally dislike trends and never follow the flock (I own a Nikon too and rarely care about those sopposedly new trends, LOL).

    Anyway, no-knead breads are fantastic (I’ve been making them since years) and yours looks amazing!



    • July 12, 2014 12:57 pm

      Glad to know about another Nikon rebel – feeling like I’m in great company now πŸ™‚

  9. July 12, 2014 4:05 am

    We have that same streak and resisted it forever, but a few years back found ourselves far from a decent bakery (in France, no less) and broke down and made it. It really is incredible, isn’t it? I don’t even mind that it makes the Le Creuset pot unsuitable for photos forever after. Bravo Jim Lahey!

    • July 12, 2014 12:58 pm

      Oh yes indeed – I was quite horrified by the look of the interior when I took it out. Thankfully a very old casserole – it’ll have to be the shabby chic look from now on.

  10. July 12, 2014 5:05 am

    This bread looks fabulous with a beautiful fine texture. I get frustrated by the proving time making bread and its not ideal in a busy lifestyle so this looks like it might be a perfect option. Make the dough one day, bake it the next. I’ve also never thought of using my cast iron pot in my baking process… might have to look into that further. Thank you for the recipe share.

    • July 12, 2014 12:58 pm

      The texture is really good Leah – let me know if you try it.

  11. July 12, 2014 10:23 am

    That is a brilliant recipe. I never make bread but I’m going to check this out. By the way, it’s said that Canon are for engineers and Nikon for photographers. I’ve used Nikons since 1968.

    • July 12, 2014 12:59 pm

      I’ve never heard that saying but feeling a little taller now πŸ™‚

  12. July 12, 2014 12:14 pm

    Wow what a wonderful rustic looking loaf! Thank you for opening my eyes to yet another way of making bread, I’d not seen this 18 hour proving method before or the cooking in a cast iron pan. I wonder what the science is behind the latter part? Thanks for featuring my no-knead loaf:-)

  13. July 12, 2014 12:22 pm

    Fabulous loaf of bread. Nothing quite like the smell of bread baking and then slicing it while still hot.
    Have a super weekend Sally.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy xo

    • July 12, 2014 1:03 pm

      Difficult to resist the urge to cut a loaf while hot – but it squashes the bread and ruins the texture so best to leave until barely warm. Have a lovely weekend too Mandy πŸ™‚

  14. July 12, 2014 12:58 pm

    Not sure I am a rebel, maybe just lazy, but when the no-knead bread craze rolled by I was like “you mean there’s another kind??” πŸ˜‰ lovely recipe and thanks for the link!

    • July 12, 2014 1:04 pm

      I discovered through this that you are not a bread maker Jeanne – could this convert you?

  15. July 12, 2014 1:26 pm

    Great recipe. Love baking bread – it’s usually brioche these days πŸ™‚

  16. July 12, 2014 1:29 pm

    Great recipe Sally especially no knead too!! I’ve recently started experimenting with Bread and slowly getting the hang of it…would love to try this out some day:)

  17. July 12, 2014 2:27 pm

    Sally, your bread is awesome and the color of the crust is beautiful. You convinced me to try this recipe (I’m a big fan of bread) πŸ™‚

    • July 12, 2014 3:48 pm

      Let me know how you get on. That colour is a bit like magic when you take the lid off!

  18. July 12, 2014 2:58 pm

    Wow! What a cool recipe ☺️

  19. July 12, 2014 4:18 pm

    It looks great Sally, but I just know I wouldn’t be organised enough to plan it 18 hours ahead, although that could be night before really. I’ll made no-knead beer rolls and they were pretty good too, but more instant.

    • July 17, 2014 5:33 pm

      What I like about the slow rise method is that you don’t have to use very much yeast. You can always freeze the bread and refresh in the oven when you want to use.

  20. therealgeordiearmani permalink
    July 12, 2014 5:22 pm

    getting the husband to try this one πŸ™‚

    • July 17, 2014 5:33 pm

      Cool – let me know how you (he!) get on.

  21. July 12, 2014 8:30 pm

    You and I both re the ‘contrary’ streak. πŸ˜‰ This sounds like my sort of loaf at the moment because I have a tennis elbow and the thought of kneading brings tears to my eyes.

    • July 17, 2014 5:32 pm

      Poor you – yes this is the bread for tennis elbow.

  22. July 12, 2014 11:57 pm

    Looks so rustic and amazing . Going to try it

    • July 17, 2014 5:35 pm

      Do let me know how it turns out Anita

  23. July 13, 2014 5:06 am

    Beautiful looking loaf. I’m not very good at playing in groups. πŸ™‚

    • July 17, 2014 5:34 pm

      You (bread) paddle your own canoe Celia πŸ™‚

  24. July 13, 2014 9:34 pm

    Your bread looks fab. Having broken two dough hooks on mixers, I converted to no knead bread a long while ago and only knead dough when the alternative would be throwing plates at the kitchen wall.
    I’d be rounding up a gang to find a different cliff to jump from.

    • July 17, 2014 5:36 pm

      I’ve used to use my KitchenAid dough hook but like the hands on approach really. This is the best of both worlds. Leadership qualities there Anne πŸ™‚

  25. Fishfingers for tea permalink
    July 14, 2014 12:41 am

    I very rarely make my own bread but this is rather tempting, it looks lovely. I really need to put much more effort into my bread making attempts.

    • July 17, 2014 5:37 pm

      The great thing about this is there is no effort πŸ™‚

  26. July 14, 2014 12:50 am

    I thought of you as I popped my no knead pizza dough in the fridge last night. It came out for a final rise and shape this lunchtime for a magnificent pizza with no knead and no effort. I am loving the soft, gently ‘carrot’ approach to persuading bread to rise than the ‘stick’ of kneading/stretching and pulling!

    • July 14, 2014 12:51 am

      I mean I thought of this post Sally not you personally πŸ˜‰ (just in case you thought I was slightly strange!!! ) x

      • July 17, 2014 5:38 pm

        I’m not as organised as people seem to think and I’m often shoving my dough in the fridge πŸ™‚

  27. July 14, 2014 5:22 am

    Love that you relented in the end :o)

    • July 17, 2014 5:38 pm

      Sometimes you just have to give in!

  28. July 14, 2014 1:20 pm

    As you can imagine, I ignored macarons and whoopee pies too. But I am also like you in that I tend to go the other direction with most things. If I am ‘on-trend’ then it will most certainly be an accident. I am so off-radar radar with most things that I only just succumbed to Facebook last week, despite nagging by nearly everyone I know for many years. I am happy to know that you possess a similar stubborn streak. And it goes without saying that I love your simple, approachable no-knead bread. I bake Irish brown bread in a pot, but never a ‘proper’ bread.

    • July 17, 2014 5:40 pm

      You create your own trends Kellie – in fact always happy to follow your advice re food and diet.

  29. July 14, 2014 2:04 pm

    Haha Sally, yes I can be obstinate too so I know what you mean! So relieved that others refuse to make macarons, whoopie pies and such. My bread baking is terrible must of my family runs and hides, but no-knead bread often seems to work. Will give this one a try and look forward to your experiments with other types when you get back. Enjoy your “home” vacation ;D

    • July 17, 2014 5:42 pm

      You are such a good cook that I’m amazed your bread making has been patchy Karin. My confidence grew in joining a regular baking challenge – so do persevere

  30. July 14, 2014 3:43 pm

    Ha, what a fun post. I, like you go anti-trend and so anything which is meringue or pavlova inspired turns me off.

    I love how simple your recipe is, to the effect of such a light and wonderful effect. I’m liking the cast iron pan too x

    • July 17, 2014 5:43 pm

      I’ve been making pavlovas for years so amused they are back ‘in’. That old Le Cruset was bought in Jeddah and must be almost 20 years old πŸ™‚

  31. July 14, 2014 4:54 pm

    I had no idea such a thing as no-knead bread existed. Brilliant!

  32. July 15, 2014 1:02 am

    I have tried this out and it really is such an easy way to make bread it hardly seems possible but it is. I like to use this method as well as the regular kneading method, depending on how much time I have. This way gives the bread a good flavour. I aways think the longer you leave dough to rise the more time the tastes have to develop.

    • July 17, 2014 5:44 pm

      Agree 100% Laura – and using such a small amount of yeast means there is little danger of over proving. Thanks for commenting.

  33. July 15, 2014 2:06 pm

    I make no-knead bread all the time and its always pretty good. One word of caution – never ever forget to line the pot – I did once and it took a week to soak off the spot welded bread crust! I’ve got a foccacia version that takes 3 hours and is divine!

    • July 17, 2014 5:45 pm

      Oh dear Susan – mine popped out beautifully!

  34. ramblingtart permalink
    July 16, 2014 2:58 pm

    I do understand your reluctance to make what “everyone” is making. πŸ™‚ I am glad that your foray into no-knead bread was so delicious and successful. πŸ™‚

    • July 17, 2014 5:46 pm

      I think we’re a couple of rebels aren’t we.

  35. July 16, 2014 10:22 pm

    I actually only started baking bread last year – before then I had never tried. I was inspired my Paul Hollywood’s nimble kneading hands, but I must say that this recipe looks like a fab one for those instances when you don’t have the time or energy to kneed etc.

    p.s. Extremely jealous of the 6 week trip – bring back some rain please? Have a fabulous time!

    • July 17, 2014 5:49 pm

      Just read that Paul Hollywood has carpal tunnel syndrome from kneading so maybe this is the best way. PS Lots of sunshine (but yes a bit of rain too – blissful).

  36. July 17, 2014 6:19 pm

    Ohhh I love bread! This recipe is a winner πŸ™‚

  37. deliciouscityliving permalink
    July 17, 2014 8:30 pm

    what a great recipe! will definitely be trying it out!

  38. July 19, 2014 8:48 pm

    This makes me so hungry! πŸ™‚

  39. August 5, 2014 1:27 pm

    Very nice. If you’re not kneading you can use the exta time to put your feet up and have a cuppa.

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