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Fast No-Knead Bread Recipe

Mark Bittman's 3-Ingredient No-Knead Bread Actually Works

If bread is the staff of life, then this cook has been wobbling on shaky legs for much of her culinary career. What is it about baking bread that's so daunting? I suppose I've rationalized my bread-baking evasion by telling myself it takes too long and my spaghetti-noodle arms can't knead well enough. But I recognize those are silly excuses, so this week I set about tackling the easiest bread recipe I could find.

About five years ago, New York Times journalist Mark Bittman introduced the baking-phobic world to Jim Lahey's no-knead bread recipe and — in typical Bittman fashion — wowed us again by reducing the 24-hour process to a mere five hours. One of us valiantly (and very successfully, I might add) took a stab at the original, but for those of us who can't plan further ahead than tonight's dinner, this may be the closest we'll come to a lovingly leavened, rustic loaf.

Bittman's recipe calls for a wet dough with plenty of yeast and leverages that high water content to steam the dough in a heavy lidded pot before browning the loaf. This process results in that crisp, crackly crust and fluffy, chewy interior that you crave in a rustic loaf, and all this without a single kneading stroke. Someday I'll pursue the weight training that will get my arms in bread-kneading shape. But until then, I thank Mr. Bittman for fostering my lazy side. For the recipe, keep reading.

Speedy No-Knead Bread

Speedy No-Knead Bread

Speedy No-Knead Bread


3 cups bread flour
1 packet (1/4 ounces) instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Oil, as needed


  1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. Lightly oil a work surface and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes more.
  3. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6-to-8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under dough and put it into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  4. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Want to challenge yourself further in the bread-baking department? Check out more bread recipes at every level.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sara Yoo
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commscholar commscholar 2 years
This is by far the BEST bread recipe I've ever tried. I've made many complicated recipes but never had satisfying results. Everyone that I bake this for is ADDICTED! It's the ONLY recipe I'll use going forward! :)
Lyone15383108 Lyone15383108 2 years
This is a fine recipe. But the whole article is based on a false premise: bread making/baking is NOT a "24 hour process." That is the most absurd thing I have ever read. The recipe given here takes the same amount of time (or maybe a little longer) as the regular (non-wet) bread that I bake weekly. I think the real key is using OIL. I always use olive oil in my baking, and it gives me a wonderful crust.
Melody14777006 Melody14777006 3 years
My mother-in-law is french and said if you want something closer to 'real' french bread, use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour. I've done the original 24 hour version of this with both bread flour and all purpose and I prefer the all-purpose (although I prefer bread flour for all my other breads). Unless you want to risk burned hands, I would follow the original instructions of letting the last rise be on parchment paper so that you can lift the loaf up and set it (parchment paper and all) inside the dutch oven without risk of your hands touching the pot or the dough deflating too much from dropping it in.
Sweetazrielle Sweetazrielle 3 years
So simple and SO tasty! Perfect crusty outside and soft inside! Will make this over and over!!!
Amanda3214370 Amanda3214370 4 years
I've never used bread flour so I googled it. I read conflicting opinions about how it differed from all-purpose flour. Any thoughts or advice?
Beth2445002 Beth2445002 4 years
I like this loaf of bread recipe.  Certainly will be trying it soon.  Let you know what I think of the finished product.  I make a very simple bread that is kneaded, yet is a similar recipe in terms of ingredients, though as I recall mine calls for honey and is a French loaf which comes looking much your finished product.  So excited to get this recipe.  Thanks.
Laura2412520 Laura2412520 4 years
Bread that Grandma baked is not easily reproduced.  It takes a lot of patience and some effort.  Its easy to find simple recipes, but nothing beats the old fashion way of bread baking!  I will try this one out and I'll let you know how its goes!  
lalaandbert lalaandbert 4 years
Trying this tonight!  Fresh bread at 10pm.  I have used the original Bittman recipe and it is not only wonderful, but wonderfully easy.  You'll be amazed you made something so cool/rustic looking
Susannah-Chen Susannah-Chen 4 years
I am going to attempt this bread this weekend, followed by Camilla's bread (the Jim-Lahey 18-hour bread) next weekend!
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