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.

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.]–Renee Schettler Rossi

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.

No-Knead 5-Minute Artisan Bread

Six round loaves of no-knead 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.
Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François

Prep 10 mins
Cook 4 hrs 50 mins
Total 5 hrs
Sides
American
40 servings
74 kcal
4.91 / 81 votes
Print RecipeBuy the The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups lukewarm water (100°F or 38°C) plus more for the broiler tray
  • 1 tablespoon granulated yeast (active dry, instant, quick rise, or bread machine is fine)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt to taste
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour measured by the scoop-and-sweep method
  • Cornmeal for dusting (optional)

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

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 74kcal (4%)Carbohydrates: 16g (5%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 263mg (11%)Potassium: 23mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 1IUVitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 4mgIron: 1mg (6%)

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.

This has to be the easiest and fastest way to make bread dough. It’s also now my favorite way to make bread dough—and a decent loaf or boule of bread with little effort.

I made a free-form boule and a loaf in a traditional loaf pan. I found that after baking the loaves for 30 minutes, I had a tanned boule, much like a round sourdough loaf. I found this loaf had a moist and dense crumb and a crunchy crust. As for the loaf pan, I found that batch didn’t rise as much, but this may be due to my handling of the dough. It was still delicious. This is certainly a way to wow on a weeknight, as the bread does its own thing while you prep dinner. A great method for making bread.

I used a 10-quart storage container with a lid. While the dough was rising, I left 1 corner open, and then when I refrigerated it, I closed that corner. It really is a good idea to open it the first few days to allow the extra gases out. I find it’s a good workout mixing the dough with a wooden spoon (about 6 or 7 minutes of mixing), but I’ve used a stand mixer in the past with other bread doughs for speed (about 3 or 4 minutes). Both work equally well. The resulting dough looks like wet pizza dough, sort of jelly- or pudding-like. When the work is done, all that remains is to use it within 14 days. I so far have not had this dough last a week.

The only suggestion I would make is that you should check your yeast to make sure it’s still viable before mixing your dough. I forgot to do that, and my first batch failed to rise. I replaced my yeast with fresh, and the second batch performed as it should.

This 5-minute artisan bread is absolutely delicious! I love the warm, earthy flavors, the spongy, chewy texture, and the crisp crust. Great recipe.

I just used the last of the dough that was in the refrigerator. However, I don’t have a pizza peel, so I used a small bread board with a handle. When I tried to put the dough on the baking stone as instructed, it fell and lost its shape, and I had to pick it up and re-shape it. I took the bread out of the oven when it was 210°F, and the top was richly browned. It took only about 20 minutes to bake the bread.

This recipe was well worth the time.

I’m going to start off by saying that this 5-minute artisan bread dough is gorgeous and comes together without a hitch. I followed the directions precisely and used exactly 6 cups flour. It’s a lovely, sticky dough that’s a bit difficult to work with unless you’re used to working with loose doughs. The resulting boule was golden brown, with a lovely crust, fantastic chew, and wonderful flavor.

After allowing the dough to rest in the fridge for 2 days, I embarked on making the boule. I followed the directions precisely, and even without a pizza peel, I was able to put the formed boule onto the preheated baking stone without changing the shape too much. Don’t be scared to use a lot of flour to help you shape the dough—it won’t get incorporated at all, and it looks rather gorgeous against the burnished crust. I baked the bread for exactly 30 minutes and then placed it on a rack to cool.

This recipe is so easy and would be a good one for first-time bread bakers. You don’t really need any fancy equipment. Just a bowl, a spoon, and a baking sheet.

I used all-purpose unbleached white flour and Red Star instant yeast. It took all of 10 minutes to mix up the dough. After a 2-hour rest at room temperature, the dough was refrigerated for 3 days before baking. I made 2 loaves. Shaping was easy and I was careful to not knead or add much flour. After a 40-minute rest on the baking sheet, it went into the oven. Pouring the hot water into the boiler tray was an exciting flash facial! I baked for 35 minutes until an instant-read thermometer read 190°F. Let cool for a few hours–and yes, it did crackle and sing!

We really enjoyed this bread, especially toasted. The crust was super crispy. I was expecting the interior to have some bigger air pockets but the texture was very uniform. The taste wasn’t super complex but still delicious.

I liked this homemade bread recipe very much because it was easy to make, needs no effort to get a yummy artisan bread, and the end result is a crusty and crunch bread with a chewy interior that we really liked. The prep time is totally accurate as it took around 5 minutes to mix it up.

I used a baking sheet rather than and the baking time was 50 minutes.

I am familiar with the book by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day, and while I had never made this recipe, when I saw this test recipe, I knew it was time to try their approach. What I particularly liked is the simplicity of the bread making. The results are very good. I can see the appeal of this method to breadmaking as anyone can have fresh bread in very little time because you have a loaf ready to go just sitting in your fridge. I made my loaf 8 days after making the dough and the flavor was excellent!

The dough began to rise quickly. I thought it would take over the container!  At the 2-hour mark, the dough was pushing up the loose cover of plastic wrap. Into the fridge it went at the two-hour mark. The next morning, I checked and the dough stayed high with very little shrinking back. At the 24-hour mark, I checked and the dough was the same height as it was this morning. And, lastly, the following morning, the dough was the same height.

I made loaf #1 about 46 hours from the beginning of the recipe and I made loaf #2 exactly 8 days from the beginning of the recipe.

I grabbed 1/4 of the dough The second loaf was stickier than the first. It took about 30 seconds to shape. I used a baking sheet. The bread baked for 40 minutes and I then checked for doneness. The internal temperature was 209°F. I removed the loaf from the oven. The outside was a nice golden brown color and it felt very firm.

As this is a popular recipe, I won’t tell you what you already know, this recipe is a winner! As far as the baking goes, I baked this loaf for 22 minutes and found it created a lovely bread with a depth of flavor and a great crust.I mixed it for 30 seconds with the dough hook and 1 more minute after that. I placed it in the refrigerator overnight and baked the bread for 22 minutes with a pan of hot water.

Even though I consider myself an avid baker, I have to admit this was my first time ever attempting bread…and I can now say there’s no recipe I would rather have lost my breadmaking virginity to! I was so intimidated to start, but making the dough was just about the simplest set of instructions I’ve ever followed. Moving along with zero confidence in myself, the bread proofed nicely over the 2 hours and was easy to handle afterwards using the steps as written!

It baked up perfectly in 34 minutes on a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To my family: You’re welcome.

Homemade bread is such a luxury but can be intimidating to try to make it. There’s nothing intimidating about this recipe. It’s as easy as it sounds. The hands-on time is truly only 5 minutes. (I have to admit, I was skeptical when I saw “5 minutes’ as part of the title, but it’s true!!!

There are only 5 ingredients in this recipe and one is optional (which I didn’t use).  I used my mixer to combine the ingredients, which took about 1 minute.  I couldn’t believe how fast this all came together. The hands-on time is very brief but there’s a waiting period to let your dough rest and rise. I made mine one day and put it in the refrigerator after it sat at room temperature for 2 hours.

I baked the first loaf of bread the next day. It was excellent. It’s a heavier bread and it’s delicious. I served it to company and the whole loaf was completely gone! I baked mine on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 25 minutes. This recipe requires little effort and delivers big!!!

The bread was simple and delicious! I felt very fancy baking my own bread and it was easy enough that I will do this again.

The notes throughout this recipe make bread baking approachable for any level of baker. The instructions were conversational yet specific, and were consistent with the results I saw. For example, step 10 reads like the author is there coaching you, gently encouraging you to shape the sticky dough into an attractive mound while note overworking the dough. I also liked that the recipe made a large batch of dough that could be stored in the fridge and baked off one loaf at a time as needed.

The major difference between the recipe and my bread was the yield is the recipe promised four loaves but I only got three. I weighed the first two loaves to be exactly 1 pound, but the remaining dough was only 1 ⅓ pounds, so I opted for a third slightly larger loaf rather than two smaller ones.

hand-mixed the dough with a rubber spatula with no issues. Step 5 indicated that after a couple days, venting was not necessary, but my dough continued to expand in an airtight container after one week in the fridge. A larger bowl is probably better if possible.

Be careful when adding boiling water to the hot tray because it steams up immediately.

I baked my loaves on a dark cookie sheet with parchment. After baking three loaves, I determined that the best method for my oven was to bake the bread on a lower rack for about 25 minutes, then do the last 5 minutes on an upper rack (requiring me to swap the bread pan and water pan) to brown the top of the loaf. Otherwise, the underside of the loaf is too pale and not crusty/chewy enough. I baked the third, larger loaf for an extra 5 minutes (35 total).

The first loaf was baked on day 1 (after about 6 hours in the fridge), the second on day 4, and the third on day 9. The second and third seemed slightly more flavorful than the first to me, and were definitely more fragrant (think bready/yeasty/sour notes). The second and third seemed to be less dense and have bigger air pockets throughout, as well as a chewier crust.

Originally published February 27, 2019

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Comments

    1. A, no, the crust and crumb of this bread is very different from focaccia. If you’d like to try making focaccia, I recommend this recipe.

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been researching when to add sugar or salt to a yeast bread recipe. I’ve read more than once that salt retards the yeast and perhaps should be blended with the flour before adding that mix to the yeast mixture. This recipe says add the salt to the warm water with the yeast which I did… and my loaves were very dense. (NOTE: I’m the one who also added Wheat Germ with my flour.) As Kosher salt is coarse, I don’t think it should be blended with the flour, but am curious about adding it to the yeast water. When doing this, are we intending to retard the yeast? TY. PS: I cut the dense loaf very thin and served as a substitute for crackers with cheese and olives; it was a hit.

    1. It’s interesting that you bring this up, JuliaV. I have also read that it can retard yeast. I can’t speak to Zoe’s thought process when she developed this recipe, however, it is possible that adding the salt to the yeast water is intended to slow the fermentation process significantly to allow it to have that long slow fermentation.

      Your loaf looks great and appears to have great structure, and I love the suggestion of serving it in place of crackers! The addition of seeds and wheat germ may be contributing to the density of the loaf, but also watch that you’re not over-proofing your loaf before refrigerating, and also that you’re not over-handling the dough before baking.

  2. 5 stars
    May I ask a question before I start mixing? Is it possible to divide the dough into 4 boules immediately after mixing… prior to the 1st rise; so there would be 4 containers of dough hanging out on the counter for 2 hours and then being stashed in the fridge? Thank you?
    PS: I’ll come back with a real rating once I’ve made the recipe. TY

    1. 5 stars
      This is a follow-up to my query of 11/14. I prepared the dough, but guess I messed up because the final bread did not rise. Here’s what I did (please don’t be mad 🙂 I also added 1 Tbsp honey to the warm water plus reduced the flour to 6 cups and substituted 1/2 cup wheat germ plus added 1.5 cups roasted sunflower seeds with the flour/wheat germ mixture. Then I divided the dough into 4 bowls covered with saran wrap before refrigeration. When I tried to shape the loaves for baking they weren’t as moist as they should have been… probably due to the wheat germ.
      I like the flavor of the bread, but the loaves are no bigger after baking than they were straight out of the refrigerator. Definitely not the recipe’s fault. I will make another batch tonight but will skip the honey and the wheat germ.
      I do love that I can make 4 loaves so easily.

      1. Thanks for sharing this, JuliaV. Bread-making is all about experimentation and finding the right moisture content and an appropriate amount of add-ins that work for you. You are likely correct that the wheat germ absorbed too much of the moisture and made the dough too heavy to rise in the oven. The dough should still be quite moist and tacky when you shape it for baking. Do let us know how your next batch works out.

    2. Yes, JuliaV, I think it would be fine to do that. Takes up more space in the fridge, but saves you dividing it later. Let us know how it turns out!

  3. Can this dough (a piece of it) be used for a pizza? I have a bucket of dough in the fridge and am so looking forward ro baking bread with it.

    1. We have had readers who’ve had success making pizza with this dough, Maria. You’ll want to use an 8-ounce piece of dough and quickly form it into a ball. Let it rest while you get your toppings together, about 5 minutes or so, then roll it out to 1/8-inch thick. Top and bake, preferably on a baking stone. Do let us know how it turns out for you.

  4. Question — when the recipe calls for salt, is it actually needed to make things work, or is it just being added for taste? I have to limit my salt intake.

    1. Jon, while salt does play an important role in making your bread taste good, it also helps to slow the rate of fermentation. Without it, you may find your bread rises too much too quickly.

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