No-Knead 5-Minute Artisan Bread

This no-knead 5-minute artisan bread explains how to make homemade bread in just minutes a day without fuss. Quick, easy, rustic, entirely doable even by novices, and the best bread you’ll ever bake.

Six round loaves of no-knead artisan bread.

This no-knead 5-minute artisan bread is truly “revolutionary.” That’s the word the authors who created this quick homemade bread recipe use to describe it, and we couldn’t agree more. Like so many rustic bread recipes, it relies on just pantry staples of all-purpose flour, yeast, salt, and water. But what distinguishes this recipe, its true genius, is the technique. There’s no kneading required. More than that, though, you can stash it in the fridge for later. So you simply forget about it until you’re overtaken by the craving for freshly baked bread. When that happens, you just grab the dough from the fridge, lop off enough for a loaf, shape it, let it rest a few moments, and then slide it in the oven before you continue to go about your life. We’re talking 5 minutes of effort here. Seriously. Just don’t come forget to come back later to retrieve the best loaf of artisan bread you’ve ever experienced from the oven.

[Editor’s Note: Okay. If you want to get technical, this bread does take a little more than 5 minutes to make, but that’s only if you include the resting and baking time. But in terms of actual effort? Seriously, it’s just 5 minutes. We’ve relied on this recipe literally dozens of times and we can assure you that 5 minutes hands-on time is all you’ll ever invest at any given stage in the recipe. That’s nothing for a loaf of rustic artisan bread that’s homemade. Nothing short of a miracle, that is.] Originally published January 13, 2014.Renee Schettler

How To Make Other Shapes Of Bread

The authors created this recipe so that it can accommodate any shape loaf, whether the round boule you see in the photo above, a baguette, bâtard, ciabatta, couronne, crusty white sandwich loaf, Pullman sandwich loaf, or soft dinner rolls. The recipe below instructs you on how to make the French boule (pronounced “bool” and meaning “ball”). But if you’re experienced in shaping the others, or want to Google instructions on the others, by all means, go right ahead. The dough will work admirably.

5-Minute Artisan Bread

  • Quick Glance
  • (80)
  • 10 M
  • 5 H
  • Makes 40 slices | 4 (1-pound) loaves
4.9/5 - 80 reviews
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Ingredients


Directions

Make the dough

Warm the 3 cups water just a little so that it feels just slightly warmer than body temperature. That should put it at about 100°F (40°C).

In the large bowl of a standing mixer or a 6-quart container with a lid, mix the yeast, warm water, and salt. Don’t worry about getting the yeast to dissolve.

Add the flour to the yeast mixture all at once, then use a spoon or stand mixer to mix until the flour is completely incorporated and you have a blobby dough. (If you’re hand-mixing the dough and it becomes too difficult to incorporate all the flour with the spoon, just use very wet hands to press the mixture together.) Don’t knead the dough! It’s not necessary. You just want the dough to be uniformly wet and loose enough to conform to the shape of its container. All you need to do is be certain that there are no dry patches of flour.

Loosely cover the container and let the dough hang out at room temperature until it begins to rise and collapse or at least flatten a little on the top, about 2 hours. (Relax. It’s bread dough, not a newborn. You don’t need to monitor it constantly. And don’t worry about the dough being precisely double or triple its original volume as you would with a traditional bread recipe. Just walk away, go about your business, and come back in 2 hours. Seriously.)

Stash the dough in the fridge

After 2 hours, stash the container of dough in the fridge. That’s it. (If your container isn’t vented, you want to ensure the gases can escape by leaving the cover open a crack for the first couple days in the fridge; after that, you can seal it.)

You can use the dough anytime after the initial 2-hour rise, although the refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and easier to work with than dough at room temperature, so it’s best to refrigerate the dough overnight before handling it. Once refrigerated, the dough will seem to have shrunk back upon itself as though it will never rise again—that’s normal. Whatever you do, do not punch down this dough. You’re trying to retain as much gas in the dough as possible, and punching it down knocks gas out and results in denser loaves. Just be certain to use the dough at some point within 14 days.

Shape the dough into a loaf

When you want to bake a loaf of artisan bread, dust a pizza peel or a baking sheet turned upside down with cornmeal or line it with parchment paper.

Grab a hunk of the dough and use a serrated knife or scissors to cut off about a 1-pound piece of dough. Hold the dough in your hands and, if necessary, add just enough flour so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. (What you’re trying to do is surround the surface of the dough with flour so that it can be handled. You’re not trying to incorporate more flour into the dough, so for the love of all things good, resist the temptation to get rid of all the dough’s inherent and lovely stickiness by working the flour into the dough.)

Gently stretch the surface of the dough, tucking the ends underneath the ball and rotating it a quarter turn as you go. Most of the dusting flour will fall off, and that’s okay, because as we just said, it’s not intended to be incorporated into the dough. The bottom of the ball of dough may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out and adhere during resting and baking. The rest of your round loaf should be smooth and cohesive, and the entire shaping process should take no more than 20 to 40 seconds—don’t work the dough any longer or your loaves may be dense.

Place the ball of dough on the prepared pizza peel or baking sheet, seam side down with all the collected bunched ends on the peel or board. Let it rest for about 40 minutes. It doesn’t need to be covered. (You may not see much rise during this period, but don’t fret. It will rise much more during baking.)

Bake that gorgeous-looking loaf

Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C) for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Preheat a baking stone (or an upside-down cast-iron skillet or baking sheet) on a middle rack for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Place an empty metal broiler tray on any rack that won’t interfere with the rising bread. (Do not use a glass pan as it could shatter.)

Dust the top of the raised loaf generously with flour and, using a serrated bread knife, slash a 1/2-inch-deep cross or a couple gashes or a tic-tac-toe pattern in the top. There’s no need to dust the flour off the loaf.

Place the far edge of the peel or the upside-down baking sheet in the oven on the baking stone or cast-iron skillet or upside-down baking sheet a few inches beyond where you want the bread to land. Give the peel or baking sheet a couple quick back-and-forth jiggles and then abruptly pull it out from under the loaf. The loaf should land on the baking stone with very little drama.

Quickly but carefully pour about 1 cup hot water into the broiler tray and immediately shut the oven door to trap the steam. Bake the bread for a total of 20 to 35 minutes, until the crust is richly browned and firm to the touch. Because the dough is so wet, there’s very little risk of it becoming dry despite how dark the crust may become. (If you’re using a baking sheet rather than a baking stone, you may need a little extra time—up to 50 minutes total—for the bread to be done.)

Remove the bread from the oven and let the loaf cool completely, preferably on a wire rack for the best flavor, texture, and slicing. (Crazily enough, a perfectly baked loaf will audibly crackle, or “sing,” when initially exposed to room temperature.) The crust may initially soften but will firm when cooled.

Print RecipeBuy the The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day cookbook

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David Says

David Leite caricature

I’ve made six or seven dozen loaves of 5-minute artisan bread. That's no exaggeration. (That's one of my babies below.) When I don’t want to think too hard, which these days is often, I whip out Zoë’s and Jeff’s book, flip it open to the master recipe, and start measuring. (I always use a scale, and every loaf has been perfect.) The One, who’s not a bread fan (it was always foisted upon him as a kid so he would fill up), devours these. In fact, he even pleads with me not to make them because he can’t stop eating them. What I love best about the recipe, though, is it’s so versatile. To whit, I have made loaves with bacon, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and black pepper; sausage and Cheddar cheese; rosemary and olive oil; sautéed onion; chopped black olives. You name it. And I’ve made all kinds of shapes: boules, loaves, pan loaves, couronnes, epi. It’s the official bread of our annual cassoulet party, and guests even place an order for a loaf to take home. Trust Fatty Daddy, you’ll never go wrong with this recipe.

5-minute Artisan Bread Recipe

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Wow! What a gorgeous, beautifully colored, irresistible loaf of artisan bread! I wish I'd made more loaves at the same time. The loaf had a chewy crust and a beautiful interior.

The ingredients for the dough were fast and simple to assemble. I used a wooden spoon and didn't need a mixer. Make sure to use the scoop-and-sweep method to measure the flour. I placed the dough in a large, ungreased Tupperware with a lid and rested it on the counter for 2 hours. Then I placed the container in the refrigerator, loosely covered, and waited 2 days to use the soft, spongy, yeasty-smelling dough. (I stuck a sticky note on the outside of the container with the date, so I could keep track of the 14 days—not that I expected it to last that long!)

Forming the boule and transferring it to my hot pizza stone were simple enough. I made a tic-tac-toe pattern on the top of the loaf, and there was definitely a significant amount of flour on the loaf, but it didn't burn. My loaf baked for 25 to 30 minutes. We love the aroma of bread baking in the oven, and we were all watching and waiting for the loaf to cool so it could be sliced. This was truly Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and I can't wait to try some other variations on this.

I nearly always have some of this dough in the fridge. This 5-minute artisan bread is a simple 4-ingredient dough.

I used a wooden spoon in a large mixing bowl and finished with my wet hands. The dough was very lumpy and sticky. After the 2-hour rise, the dough was full of holes, which are very noticeable throughout when using a glass bowl. After refrigerating the dough overnight, it was very easy to work with. So easy, in fact, I really didn't need to flour the surface before cutting a loaf-size amount from the dough. I made a couple of boules, and while they had a nice crumb, the crust was spectacular!

This dough is perfect to have on hand for any occasion. If, like me, you love a crisp, crunchy bread, this recipe is for you. If you leave the dough in the fridge for at least 48 hours, the crumb has many more holes. When you use it the next day, the crumb is much tighter. I prefer mine with holes to capture all of the goodies that I apply.

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Comments

  1. I’ve made this bread many times and it always turns out great! I wonder though, is it possible to make 2-2lb loaves instead of 4-1lb loaves? I want to make a bigger loaf, but I’m not sure if that would affect the rising at all or if I’d have to adjust the yeast. Thanks!

    1. Ellie, I believe several of our readers have had success doing this. You may find that you don’t get the same amount of rise when making a boule. We’d love to hear from any readers who have tried this and any adjustments they may have made to the recipe.

  2. Hi, I have a question about flour weight. As I always use a scale, I converted quantities using the “US/METRIC” toggle and for 6.5 cups I got 910 grams of AP flour. But my tried-and-trusted converter says it should be 812.5 grams. According to Rose Levy Berenbaum, it should be 747 grams. The delta here is 100/160 grams, so it looks like it’s quite a big deal… what am I to do? Thanks!

    1. Ah, the eternal question, Marcella!

      Because we feature cookbooks from different authors, we are always true to their measurements. The reason why there’s a difference is that each of these authors has her own measuring technique for flour.

      Bottom line: Go with exactly what Zoë and Jeff have specified in this recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    I seem to have a continual issue of my dough getting dry in the fridge if I leave it for a couple of days. Do I simply need to cover it more securely after the initial rise?

  4. If I want to make roasted garlic rosemary bread, do I just add roasted garlic and chopped rosemary without any adjustments?

  5. I made this and it was great. Made a few mistakes but am prepared to do better next time. I left the dough in the fridge for four days, and, like one of the reviewers, it made three loaves of just over one pound each. My bread didn’t brown, so I left it in the oven longer than I should’ve, which resulted in a thick crust. I Googled my non-browning problem and read that I over-steamed the loaves! Yes? (I put more than a cup of water in the pan!) I have just mixed a new batch and would like to add some cheese to one of them. What is the process for doing so, and how much for a nice cheesy loaf? Thanks!

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