The world's best bread - No Knead Bread - Dutch Oven Bread
The bread you get out of this recipe is better than any bread you can buy from a baker. Both at home and abroad. The unique baking method, which takes place in a saucepan/dutch oven, gives a very special bread.
- 625 g (22 oz) flour (10 dl (1 ltr))
- 5 dl (½ l) (2 cups) water
- 2 tsp salt
- yeast the size of a pea (yes, that little), or a 1/4 tsp dry/instant yeast.
You have to start on the bread 12 hours before you need it. Eg the evening before, so it can ferment overnight and you can bake it in the morning. Or you can start in the morning and then bake it in the evening. The bread stays good and moist for a long time, so I usually begin in the evening.
First, stir the yeast into the water so it's evenly distributed. Use a large bowl. Mix the salt and flour into the water and stir with your hands or with a spoon. You only need to stir until all the flour is wet.
Let it ferment for 12 hours. When it's done fermenting it's light, airy and twice the size, with large bubbles. The long fermentation is why you don't have to knead the bread. the yeast does the work that you would have to do. It can be fermented for a longer time with good results.
Pour the dough out on a flour covered board. Fold it together in three parts. Like a letter. First one way and then the other.
Put it into a greased up bowl or onto a flour covered towel. Fold the towel over it and let it raise for 2 more hours.
Professional bakers use an oven with water vapor in it. This is something most people don't have. But you can get your crust even better than the baker by using this little trick.
You need to bake the bread in a pan/dutch oven inside the oven. the Pot's lid keeps the steam from the dough inside. That makes it take longer for the crust to settle and become hard. So the bread rises even more in the oven.
Heat the oven to 250°C (480°F). Use Convection if you got it. Place a medium sized pot in the oven. The pot should only be half filled with dough.
When the dough is done raising, flip it into the hot pan. Then put the hot lid on and put it all into the oven.
Make sure the stove is hot enough. I usually wait 15-30 minutes after the oven says it's hot enough. The oven thermostat measures the air temperature in the oven and can easily reach the wanted temperature before all the metal parts of the oven are properly warmed up. If the oven isn't hot enough the crust will be thin and soft. I use a convection oven.
It should bake for 30 minutes at 250°C (480°F) degrees with the lid on.
After 30 minutes you let it bake for 15 minutes at 230°C (445°F) without the lid.
Let the bread cool of for at least 20 minutes before serving.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe originates from my danish site www.kvalimad.dk, and over the years there has been a LOT of questions about this recipe. So I have made this list of Frequently Asked Questions, with answers. In the hope that I would not have to repeat my replies from the FAQ.
If you have any new questions, please ask them here and not via email. That way many more people can read the answers.
Q: Did I not see you in "GO' morgen Danmark" (The biggest national morning show in Denmark)?
A: Yes, I was :-D It was fun, and they were nice. The only drawback was that I had to get up at 3:00 to make it in time: -S For those who did not see it , here is a link to the clip of the broadcast.
I am told that there has subsequently been some debate about the bread on National radio. But I have not heard that myself. There has also been an article in the paper "Politiken" that gives some more background:
Q: Why does my bread stick to the bottom of my pan?
A: Because the pan is not hot enough. Heat the oven to 250°C (490°F). Put the pan in oven and allow it to heat for at least half an hour. If you know that your pan takes ½ hour to get hot, you can just put it into the oven when you turn that on. Then you calculate ½ hour for the oven to heat, and another ½ hour for the pan. 1 hour in total. Which is not unusual.
Q: my bread is finished, but it is sticky and like liquid inside. Why?
A: It has not been baked long enough and / or at too low temperature.
Q: Can't you just let the dough rise a second time in the pan and then put it all in the oven.
A: No because then your pan is not hot enough from the beginning. It will burn and get stuck to the pan. This method will NOT work. Even with the aid of baking paper.
Q: Should the pot be greased?
A: No! That will result in the oil and the bread burning into the pan.
Q: Do you have to invest in an expensive cast iron dutch oven for this?
A: No.. It can easily be made in any approx. 4 liter (4 quarts) pot with a tight fitting lid. For example, an IKEA pot as most students have. Cast iron or other heavy material is the best. But it might as well be one that costs very little. I have a round cast iron pot that cost me €27 ($37), it makes a bread that is every bit as good. It does not matter if the pot is enameled or not. Mine is by accident. There was a sale. You can also use a roasting pan covered with aluminum foil.
Q: Can you use a roaster of glass or ceramics ( Römertopf ) or tupperware instead?
A: yes, and with equally good results. Preheat them in the same way as the iron pan. However, you may run the risk of glass and ceramics breakage due to thermal difference between the batter and the roaster. But the bread does not care :-)
Q: can the knob handle the high temperatures in the oven?
Re: I have done it for 5 years, but it is above the temperature factory recommends for my Le Creuset. You can change the knob with oone made of metal. Or use the money to buy a cheaper cast iron pot without a plastic knob : -S
Q: can you make a whole meal version of the bread?
A: Yes! Replace approx. 25% of the flour with a coarser type of flour. More than that, and it will raise poorly. The coarser version will generally not be as airy as with pure white flour.
Q: Should the dough rise in the refrigerator or at room temperature?
A: In this recipe the dough rise at room temperature. However, you can leave it overnight in the fridge. It will then rise afterwards for the same number of hours. So it' will not make you save time. Well allright. Perhaps it will need an hour less, but not much more. The dough and the bread will actually be better after resting in the refrigirator. It allows for some positive biochemical reactions to take place.
Q: Can it be made any quicker?
A: Yes. I sometimes make a "panic-bread" if I realise in the morning that I need a loaf of bread in the evening :-S In addition to the ingredients in the recipe I add 1 tbsp vinegar. For example, apple cider. I mix the yest into the flour and heat the water in a pot until it like water from a hot tap. About 60°C (140°F). Then I mix it like normal and let it rise. It is approx. twice as fast. About 4 hours for the 1 rise and approx. 1 hour for the second rise. The bread is not quite as good, but it is still better than what the baker makes :-S
If you are in a total state of panic you can actually make a version that only takes 1 hour! But it requires that you both knead the dough in a machine for 10 minutes and warm up the water.
Q: How can I store the bread so it stays fresh and with a good crust?
A: The short answer is "You can not." In a paper bag the bread is crisp and fresh for approx. 1 day. Then it dries out. In a plastic bag it is fresh for 3-4 days. But the crust becomes soft and chewy. I usually have it on the kitchen table on the first day. Every time I cut a slice I will put it down against the cutting board so it does not dry out. In the evening I put it in a plastic bag for the next few days. After 3-4 days I fry the remaining slices in a pan with a little oil or butter.
Q: Can you use dry yeast?
A: Yes. 1/4 tsp.
Q: Can I replace the yeast with sourdough.
A: If you use 50/50 of water and my wet sourdough, you end up with a sourdough bread that is somewhat more firm. If you want it to be light and air filled you should add the yeast too. Apart from that you can just use the same recipe.
Q: Does it matter that it ferments for more than 12 hours?
A: I ferment for between 8 and 20 hours. You can however over ferment it. Then the dough is completely runny and will not gather in a ball before it needs to rise for the final 2 hours. If you need to let it rise for 24 hours then let the first 8-12 of them be in the fridge.
Q: Can you bake a double portion bread:
A: I usually use two pots then. Otherwise you should use one ten liter pot and a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should be at least 94°C-98°C (201°F-208°F). Aim for 96°C (205°F). You can also also use a temperature probe on a regular portion. It is a VERY good method to check when the bread is done.
Q: How hot should the water be? Is lukewarm as in other recipes?
A: It is cold tap water. The dough ferments for so long that it does not mean anything. It is will reach room temperature in a short time.
Q: Can you use the dough for buns?
A: It is not good for buns. Too much crust in relation to crumb. But you can make sensible baguettes and fantastic pizza bases. For baguettes you should let the dough rise and then shape into a ball. Use a wide spatula and "pinch" six strips. Like with a cookie cutter. Not cutting. It destroys the bubbles. Now let them rise for 2 hours and put them in a 250°C (390°F) oven. Preferably on a hot pizza stone. You can make 2-4 pizzas from a portion of this dough. Depending on how big and thick you want them. 2 pizzas gives relatively thin pizzas that approx. fills an entire baking pan.
Q: What type of flour do you use?
Re : Plain white flour from the supermarket :-S It gives a good result. High protein is importan. Be aware that coarser flours absorb more water if you experiment.
Q: The temperatures are they with top and bottom heating or convection?
A: All my recipes is with convection.
If you have any other questions then feel free to ask ...
Time is no problem here...Really! Just make the dough in the evening before bedtime and its ready to bake when you wake up! You could preferably make it on weekends and you will have bread for the next working week at hand. easy as can be. I have not tried this specific recipe yet, but have been baking a similar bread for some years now. Its really easy. In the winter time, when I have made the dough in the evening, I just put it outside on my un-heated balcony, I dont even need a fridge! How convenient is that?
MarvellousI've been using pretty much the same recipe for over a year now - it's the best bread I've ever eaten and I appreciate every single slice of it. In extremis, I've eaten shop-bought bread but it gets worse every time. By the way, we wrap it in a cotton tea towel and it keeps very well, not that it lasts long, though.
Whole grain flourFirst of all, thanks so much for this recipe and video. Regarding this: "Replace approx. 25% of the flour with a coarser type of flour. More than that, and it will raise poorly." I have made this bread, exactly as you describe twice with 100% whole-grain Dinkel flour and it actually raises just fine in my opinion. Since I haven't made this particular bread with white flour I have nothing to compare it to but 100% whole grain certainly produces excellent results and a very good bread for me.
Whole grain flourYes, you can make a whole grain bread and it will rise fine. But it will be a *lot* more compact than a bread made with only white flour. - max
BakingI love the passion that you have for baking. It makes me want to try to bake some of the things that you have made videos on. Thank you so much!!!!! I am trying this bread right away.
nice article on no kneadthanks for article... nice ideas well written. Enjoyed much. Been making no knead bread, rolls, fougasse, and pizza for 2+ years now. I find rolls just wonderful using no knead bread. I cut the dough ball into pieces and put the dough right in a muffin pan, sprayed with cooking spray, (no need to form small balls). 18-20 minutes in oven @ 450. Nice crust. May your bread rise and your garden grow.
Refrigeration of DoughJust what exactly does the refrigeration of the dough do? I have made this recipe 3 times. It is perfection! And it was the best bread I have ever made--and I have made a lot. Crunchy chewy golden brown crust with aromatic, fragrant, and tasty bread. One recipe was in the frig overnight and it seemed to be my best. Thanks!
Refrigeration of DoughIt is called "autolyse", and is a form of enzyme fermentation, if you want to google more about it. Basically the enzymes in the flour has more time to work, which release a lot more starch as sugars, and more gluten protein is released too. All resulting in a better dough with more sugar and gluten. better taste, better rise.
FloursQ: Can you use almond flour in this recipe as I have problems with gluten?
Sourdough rye pancakesI love the taste of pancakes made by pouring pure rye sourdough starter directly on an oiled frying pan. However, if they are not very thin and quite small, the centers won't cook through. Can you offer a recipe that keeps the flavor but makes for a more presentable pancake?
Sourdough rye pancakesYou need to lower the temperature of the pan so you can cook it for longer without the pancakes burning. Or perhaps you could put your pancakes into the oven for a more even even finish.
Oven temp for No Knead BreadI'm looking forward to trying your No Knead Bread recipe. However, I have an old oven that just barely reach 425 degrees. The bread tends to be get a very, very thick, hard crust. Until I get a new oven, do you have suggestions for baking this bread at a lower temperature?
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