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. 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. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Am I the only one who has had zero success with an oven proofing/rise? Every loaf (about 12 so far) turns out like a disc- yeast is fine, crumb turns out great, but after I transfer my proof onto a baking stone it deflates and never rises again ::sad face::

    1. Bee Roll, are you seeing any rise before you transfer it? How long are you letting it proof?

      1. Not as much rise as I’d expect, less than double? About an hour on the counter. I’m still sitting on two portions so I’ll give it another go tomorrow and report back. Thanks for the response!

        1. You’re welcome, Bee Roll. This may seem counter-intuitive, but try letting it rest for less than an hour. Maybe closer to 40 minutes. In traditional bread making, you ‘punch down’ the dough between rises, so you’re looking for a significant rise the second time around. This bread is different. Here, you want to be as careful as possible when transferring the dough from its first rise (and refrigeration) and barely handle the dough. This leaves plenty of gas trapped in the dough, ready to expand when heated, and ultimately result in a round puffy loaf. You shouldn’t expect to see a significant rise while it is on the counter. I made two loaves this morning and saw (at best) a 25% rise before baking. If you let it sit for too long before baking, the dough can over-proof and when exposed to the heat of the oven, it will collapse, leaving you with a flat loaf. Looking forward to hearing how it turns out.

  5. I can’t wait to try this recipe – my question is, can you do this in a kitchenaid stand mixer? Thanks!

    1. Yes, Laney, I’ve made this many times using my Kitchenaid stand mixer. Do let us know how it turns out for you.

        1. Just until it all comes together and there are no dry patches, Laney. You’re not really kneading it, just combining the ingredients. It usually takes me 20 to 30 seconds of mixing with the hook.

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