Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread

Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread recipe turned traditional bread making upside down for all of us. Made with just flour, yeast, salt, and water, the bread is the fastest, easiest, and best you may ever make.

A cut loaf of Jim Lahey's no-knead bread

This is it, folks. Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread recipe. The technique that incited an insurrection among bread bakers everywhere. The recipe is ridiculously easy, even for first-time bread bakers, and will make you wonder why you ever spent all that time and effort kneading dough in the past. The loaf is an adaptation of Lahey’s phenomenally and outrageously popular pugliese sold at Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan. And once you try it, you’re going to wonder where it’s been your entire life. Originally published April 23, 2015.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Ensure Magnificence From Your Loaf Of No-Knead Bread

Baker Jim Lahey took great care, in his original recipe for this no-knead bread, to explain as many tricks as he possibly could to help ensure you have spectacularly satisfying results at home. We’ve included them in the instructions below. Don’t rush through this recipe and skim the details. Each word, each visual cue, each explanation has meaning. Rely on the description of how the dough should appear or feel more than the timing. And know that conditions change from kitchen to kitchen and from day to day, depending on the exact flour you’re using and the temperature of your house and the humidity and, we suspect, the barometic pressure, the phase of the moon, and maybe even your mood. So some days your bread baking may seem blessed and others it may feel cursed. Although as Lahey says, “Even the loaves that aren’t what you’d regard as perfect are way better than fine.”

A round loaf of Jim Lahey's no-knead bread, dusted with flour on a leather chair

As easy as this recipe is, Lahey cautions that it’s not exactly an impromptu sorta thing. “This bread is incredibly simple and involves little labor, but you need to plan ahead. Although mixing takes almost no time, the first rise requires from 12 to 18 hours. Then you’ll need to shape the dough and let it rise for another 1 to 2 hours. The longer rise tends to result in a richer bread, but you need the patience and the schedule to do it. After preheating the oven and the pot, you’ve got 30 minutes of covered baking, another 15 to 30 of uncovered baking, and about an hour of cooling. And please, don’t gulp down that first slice. Think of the first bite as you would the first taste of a glass of wine: smell it (there should be that touch of maltiness), chew it slowly to appreciate its almost meaty texture, and sense where it came from in its hint of wheat. Enjoy it. You baked it, and you did a good job.”

Jim Lahey's No-Knead Bread

  • Quick Glance
  • (62)
  • 30 M
  • 3 H, 30 M
  • One 1 1/2-pound loaf
4.9/5 - 62 reviews
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Special Equipment: 6- to 8-quart heavy pot with lid

Ingredients

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Directions

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and mix with a spoon or your hand until you have a shaggy, sticky dough. This should take roughly 30 seconds. You want it to be a little sticky. (Many people who bake this bread find the dough to be sticker than other bread doughs they’ve worked with. Even though it’s not what you’re accustomed to handling, it’s perfectly fine.)
Cover the bowl with a plate, towel, or plastic wrap and set it aside to rest at warm room temperature (but not in direct sunlight) for at least 12 hours and preferably about 18 hours. (Ideally, you want the room to be about 72°F. In the dead of winter, when the dough will tend to rise more slowly, as long as 24 hours may be necessary.) You’ll know the dough is properly fermented and ready because its surface will be dotted with bubbles. This long, slow fermentation is what yields the bread’s rich flavor.
Generously flour your work surface. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to turn the dough onto the surface in one blob. The dough will cling to the bowl in long, thread-like strands and it will be quite loose and sticky. This is exactly what you want. Do not add more flour. Instead use lightly floured hands to gently and quickly lift the edges of the dough in toward the center, effectively folding the dough over onto itself. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round. That’s it. Don’t knead the dough.
Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal. Place the dough, seam side down, on the towel and dust the surface with a little more flour, bran, or cornmeal. Cover the dough with another cotton towel and let it rise for about 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will be double in size and will hold the impression of your fingertip when you poke it lightly, making an indentation. If the dough readily springs back when you poke it, let it rise for another 15 minutes.
A half hour before the dough is done with its second rise, preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and place a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot and its lid (whether cast iron or enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats.
When the dough is done with its second rise, carefully remove the pot from the oven and uncover it. Also, uncover the dough. Lift up the dough and quickly but gently turn it over into the pot, seam side up, being very careful not to touch the pot. The blob of dough may look like a mess, but trust us, everything is O.K. Cover the pot with its lid and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and bake until the loaf is beautifully browned to a deep chestnut color, 15 to 30 minutes more. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a wire rack. Don’t slice or tear into it until it has cooled, which usually takes at least an hour.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

For me, this is the PERFECT bread recipe. Making bread is my obsession. I have made nearly every bread recipe you can name. As much as I love the ritual of old-fashioned bread-making—kneading, resting, proofing, etc.—this no-knead bread recipe is my go-to loaf.

I base this on two things: texture and flavor. This is hands-down the best-tasting "white bread" that I have ever eaten, let alone made. I use a digital scale and weigh my ingredients.

Good bread takes several hours to produce. GREAT bread takes nearly 24 hours. If you rush this recipe, you will be doing yourself a great disservice. When

Jim Lahey says this dough should be wet, trust him, it will be as wet as a ciabatta dough. VERY WET. When folding the dough, it doesn't have to be precise. I simply pull 4 edges up and toward the center. Then simply turn the dough, seam side down, on a floured cloth or linen. Do not scrimp on the flour for the tea towel. You will NEED a thick coating on the cloth or it will stick when you flip it into the 450°F Dutch oven. Trust me. Don't fret over how the dough looks when you put the lid on and just slide it back in the oven, set your timer for 30 minutes, and, like some crazy magic, when the lid comes off, it will always be perfect. The last 15 minutes is the hardest for me. I always want to take it out of the oven before it turns a lovely dark brown. DON'T DO IT! Let it bake without the lid for at least 12 minutes.

Remove your masterpiece from the oven, carefully place it on a cooling rack (I use 2 silicone spatulas) and, while you're admiring your mastery, listen. The bread will crack and hiss and sing. Truly one of the most beautiful sounds that you'll ever hear.

Yum! This no-knead bread recipe is perfect! I used bread flour and let it rise for 22 hours. I used a glass bowl so I could see many bubbles visible on top and throughout the dough along the sides. After the first rise, the dough is exactly as described—quite loose and sticky. I let it rise 2 hours after shaping the loaf and baked for the recommended time. The bread matched the picture color.

I hopped into the shower and left the bread cooling and unguarded from bread lovers. When I came out, my husband had cut the bread only about 20 minutes into the recommended cooling time. There was no detriment to the bread. It retained a moist chew inside and a lovely, crunchy crust outside. I will definitely make this again.

This no-knead bread recipe has been around for a few years and I've made it a few other times. When the recipe was initially published in the New York Times, it pretty much shocked the bread-baking world. But the long fermentation definitely eliminated any need to knead the dough. As long as you plan out the timing for the fermentation and baking, it's very easy and only takes about 10 minutes of actual hands-on time. The crust is a nice crunchy brown and the crumb is moist and airy.

You do have to follow the directions precisely and be sure to look for the clues given in the recipe to determine when the dough is properly fermented. Best used the day it is baked.

The aroma of the bread while it was cooking was extremely deep and rich. The taste of the bread from the fermentation is unbelievable. Adding cornmeal to the covering of the bread before the final rise is possibly the best decision to make. The cornmeal adds a textural element to the bread that enhances the overall experience of eating it.

If you've been wanting to try making bread, this is a great way to get started. There aren't a lot of ingredients or equipment to acquire and the entire hands-on time commitment is under 10 minutes. For this, you are rewarded with a beautiful, crusty loaf of bread with an open and airy crumb. I have made bread in a machine and bread by hand/mixer before, but this is the first time I have tried no-knead bread and I am hooked.

The picture closely resembles what I produced, except my air holes were larger and my crumb was more light and feathery.

I let my dough rest for 19 hours on my gas stove top (a little warmer than the rest of the kitchen during the winter). The recipe is correct in assuring that even though the dough looks like a mess, everything is OK. My bread still came out great, if a little oblong instead of round. I would try using cornmeal or wheat bran in place of flour on the towel in the future to see if that works better.

I allowed my dough to rise for 2 hours 10 minutes. It held an impression at this point, but it did not appear to have doubled in size. It seemed more important to continue with the recipe once your fingertip left an impression so I did not wait for the dough to double in size.I baked my bread for 45 minutes total—30 minutes with the lid and 15 minutes more without the lid. At this point, it was a lovely dark brown color.

No need to worry when making this no-knead bread! I was pleasantly surprised at this rustic, crusty bread I made with little effort. Total time (because of almost a full day of rising) is about 26 hours. But that sounds crazy since you literally have about 10 minutes total of hands-on time. The rest of the time was rising (18 hours for my first rise; 2 hours 15 minutes for second) then baking and cooling.

I chose to use half bread flour and half regular flour. For the coating on the cotton towel, I used cornmeal and so glad I did. The directions are very clear, but I was skeptical about "dropping" the risen dough into the hot pot without touching the sides and with no oil! But to my surprise, every step was so simple and the bread turned out amazing. It didn't stick at all!

I let it cool for the complete hour as recommended. The bread didn't last long after that. We smothered it with delicious Kerry Gold butter and couldn't be happier with the results. The cornmeal added more texture to the crust and looked beautiful.

This recipe is a no-brainer. Delicious and quite impressive!

Gnarled, crunchy, bronzed crust, light and soft pillowy bread beneath—this is THE BEST BREAD I have ever made. I'm not usually very successful with bread—I'm impatient and have small weak hands, neither of which go to producing a good loaf of bread. This recipe, with no kneading at all, is just perfect then and very easy indeed. The recipe suggest leaving it to cool but I couldn't. I used a towel to hold onto the hot bread and sliced a piece off, smothered it in butter, and devoured it.

I was very un-confident with the amount of yeast required. Just a 1/4 tsp is such a small amount to the volume of flour that I was sure this was incorrect. However, I stuck to the recipe and I'm glad I did. I would suggest a note to re-assure people that its an accurate amount.

I was also not sure if the water should be cold or warm. Usually with bread its warm water but again I decided to go with the recipe deciding if it was warm it would have stated so.

Using the 1 1/3 cups of water the dough was still dry with loose flour in the bowl. I ended up adding another 2/3 cup water to produce the consistency described in the recipe. The detail provided in the recipe was really useful to help me know things were going well—this is a very unusual bread recipe so I do think this amount of detail is required.

I found the times for raising the dough were quite varied, my first rest was for 25 1/2 hours. It does advise it may take longer due to variances in temperature. This didn't really matter though the actual hands on time is so minimal the bread making fitted around everything else that was going on at the weekend.

The second rest is only meant to take 2 hours but I left mine for 16 hours. Partly for convenience but also because after 2 hours it just didn't look as if it had changed at all. The finger test described in the recipe was an excellent tip to confidently decide if the dough was ready for baking.

I didn't have the special pot with the lid but just used a Pyrex dish (1 litre) and covered it with a plaited foil lid.

The baking time was perfect. My loaf took 30 minutes with foil lid on and then just another 20 minutes lid off to produce a fabulous dark golden crust.

One of my favorite things about Leite's Culinaria is the surprise of learning a recipe's source after a test (yes, recipes are blind to the source— we get a recipe title, headnote, picture, and the recipe). This recipe was different—I instantly recognized the name Lahey as the developer of the no-knead bread that broke the internet, the bakery on Sullivan Street, and the only no-knead bread recipe I had not tried. Seriously, I swear I've tried them all, for better or worse. This loaf stood up to the hype. A perfectly written recipe, flawless timing, forgiving ingredients and detailed directions and exact cook time and oven temp, check-check-check. Flour: all purpose. Salt: Morton's kosher. Water temp: purposely ignored. A floured towel (this will never work!): NBD (that's no-biggie!). Pitfalls: none. MAKE THIS LOAF. Then, google it, tweak it, play with it, and MAKE IT AGAIN. I'll be right there with you.

Flipping the dough into the pan sounded disastrous but even the loose flour that went along with it and the sticking to the towel, which was inevitable but way less terrifying than I'd always imagined, no biggie.

I gave it the full bake time to get a beautiful dark golden brown, a few minutes south of a scorch on the bottom...just how I love it.

I was happily restricting carbs in my diet until I made this bread...it's over now. This is by far the easiest bread I have ever made and the results are incredible. For about 25 cents worth of ingredients and several minutes of hands on time, you are rewarded with a house that smells like a bread bakery and a homemade bread worthy of praise.

The most difficult part of this recipe is figuring out what time to get it going based on what time you would like to serve this freshly baked masterpiece.I allowed my bread to rest for 18 hours in the first rise and my dough definitely took on all of the characteristics described in the recipe. (I love when I feel like the recipe writer is standing in my kitchen telling me what to look for!)

My second rise did not give me dough that had doubled in size-I let it go another 15 minutes. I probably could have let it go further. Oddly, my dough felt cool to the touch at that point and I wondered if my kitchen just was not warm enough for a proper rise.

I used my 7-quart enameled cast iron Le Crueset pot for baking and my only concern was that I had once made this bread before and it had darkened the interior of my pot. The bread does not stick but the enamel has continued to appear a bit darker after this high heat baking. I baked the dough as directed for the first 30 minutes but left it in only 15 minutes for the uncovered portion of the baking. I started to smell burning flour and got concerned. In retrospect, I think the bread would have benefitted from a bit more time in the oven to keep that crust crunchy. It was a beautiful color when I took it out but I think it could have withstood a few more minutes to get it even darker.

I waited the hour for the bread to cool, always following directions...but then I sliced it...and it was delicious. Then I got out some butter and it was great, too. Then I thought of all the wonderful things I could eat on it or next to it! I opted to eat a bit more for dinner and then slice and freeze what was left and it defrosted and toasted just beautifully over the weekend.

My end product was a circle that was 9 inches wide and about 4 inches high in the middle. I can't wait to make it again. Admittedly, I am no longer carb-free-I had a job to do!

My kids actually thought I performed magic this morning! What started as a thought for dinner last night ended up as avocado and poached egg toast this morning. Our kitchen isn't warm enough so the proofing actually took 24+ hours but it did finally get there!

I wish the instructions would have given a temperature for the water in the ingredients. Often while making bread I've used room temperature or even water to help hasten the proofing. Because it wasn't instructed here, I used room temperature.

My dough was NOT sticky at all. In fact, it was dry and I was nervous that it wouldn't come together. I kneaded for about 45 minutes with my hands to get it to come together. I covered it with a plate in the kitchen on a counter during a snowstorm so it never got too warm. And 26 hours later, I decided to keep going!

Cooking time for me, at 5600 feet, was about 25 minutes after removing the lid. It was gorgeous! I did wish there was some advice as to how to know when it was done besides color—mine was hollow on the bottom and gave off a good knock but is there any way to help people who aren't used to making bread? We covered it with a towel at night after it was cool and left it on the counter to demolish for breakfast. I'll be making this again and again!

This is a wonderfully delicious crusty loaf. With a little or maybe a lot of patience and only a few minutes effort, you get an amazing bakery-style loaf. All with less time and effort than going to the store. The crisp exterior yields to a soft tasty interior. Perfect on its own slathered with butter but would also be lovely with a saucy meal.

I covered it with plastic wrap and let it rise for 20 hours. The dough was dotted with bubbles and doubled in size and came out of the bowl with long strands as described. I used a bowl scraper and followed directions to make dough into a round. Took 30 seconds. I covered it with a tea towel coated with flour. Let it rise for 2 hours. Baked for 30 minutes with lid on and then for another 15 without. Loaf was nicely browned.

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Comments

  1. I thought I’d try this today. I’m in FL and have a small kitchen, so I’m concerned about the rise. The air conditioner blows quite vigorously when it is cycled on, so I was concerned about cold drafts. Would I be better off putting this in another room where I can keep it farther away from the A/C?

  2. I let the dough prove for 24 hours, small bubbles appeared, but it also developed a thickish/hard skin. Is this ok? Used German 1050 bread flour plus packet yeast, as per instructions.

    We will see.

    1. Anthony, what did you cover the dough with for those 24 hours. (Also, 24 hours might be a bit too long.) German 1050 bread flour is a heartier, denser flour that would require more water proportionally to reach the same hydration. So the combo of a longer proof and less water could definitely cause the hard skin.

    2. Thanks for the prompt reply.

      It came out brilliantly.

      However, I will do a little experimentation with a mixture of different flour types. Will let you know the outcome.

      Stay healthy.

  3. I’m reading about ‘proofing’ dough in the refrigerator…as it gives it a more flavorful sourdough taste. Do you recommend this? If so, when do I put it in the fridge? How long? Then do I let it sit on the counter for 2 more hours (or so) and then bake it? thank you–absolutely LOVE this bread!!

  4. Looks pretty good. Just came out of the oven and it’s singing to me now. Mine did stick to the towel but that’s my fault; I didn’t use enough flour. Next time I’m using parchment. Thanks for recipe.

      1. Hi David,

        I’d like to add a question onto Margaret’s: Can I add sugar (maybe 1/4 cup of sugar to make it into a sweeter bread) to the original recipe along with cinnamon and raisins in the first mix? Or will the addition of sugar wreck the chemistry? I’ve been successful with the no-knead recipe exactly as is and it’s fantastic.

        Thank you for your page and for your help!

          1. Hi David, Thanks for your reply and for your recipes, which look wonderful! A corollary question: As soon as I read your reply I started searching for no-knead brioche and found a few recipes; except it’s hard to trust them enough to use ingredients that may not work out. Have you experimented with any no-knead brioche recipe? Thanks!

      2. I roll the plain dough out thin as possible, the next morning (flour your board well!), sprinkle with chopped nuts, raisins, cinnamon, and turbinado sugar (white is ok). Roll up tightly, pinch all seams and ends, let raise for an hour covered with a towel, then bake in an OVAL cast iron Dutch oven.

    1. Followed the recipe as written. Turned out great, even at 5280 feet.

      Excellent for toast or garlic bread.

  5. Also on the general bread making point, are the salt and sugar levels adjustable? One of the points in making your own bread is it can be healthier, but many of the recipes have loads of salt and sugar. Salt in particular, is there a bare minimum you must have? Quite a few recipes suggest several teaspoons.

  6. I’m in England and having read some of the comments the general view seems to be not to bother with American recipes as the ingredients and measurements are so different, especially re bread? Also not if you don’t have the right sized pot. I only have a 1.5 litre pyrex casserole dish, although I noticed someone in the testers choice comments below the recipe says they have the same and it worked fine? I’d be interested if anyone in Europe has tried this method and its worked? Or if there’s an equivalent British recipe?

    On a more general point, what is the advantage of proving the dough in some towels, as opposed to the usual bowl covered in clingfilm which seems simpler?

    Also, if you made the dough at 7pm, and left it overnight when it’s obviously a lot cooler, would it be ready in the morning?

    1. KT, I’ll let our readers who live in Europe respond to your first point.

      Regarding timing, because it’s cooler at night, and also cooler at this time of year, you would need the full 18 hours of proofing. Then an additional two hours. So, no, the bread wouldn’t be ready to bake the next day if you started at 7 PM.

  7. The bread came out perfectly. What a pleasure not to have to knead it. Should have made it rounder, but that’s my fault, not the recipe.

  8. I’ve been using this bread recipe for a few years now – a delicious and easy part of our lifestyle. I avoid white flour so try a variety of wholemeal flours and seeds, with good results. This loaf today is 21/2 cups organic spelt flour with 1/2 cup plain flour, and 4 tblsp mixed seeds. The spelt gives a much lighter loaf than I thought, and so tasty…….

    1. I’m a beginner bread maker (2 loaves, one good but dense, one wholemeal dough that I could pour, although it still turned out edible, just about…) In your experience can you add anything you like, as many seeds as you like etc? When do you add them, does it matter? Thanks.

  9. Try adding some sliced olives to the dough after the first rise…Pat olives dry of excess brine first. Delicious-

  10. Followed recipe exactly. Bread turned out great. One question? Is it possible to double the recipe and make one large or two small loaves?

      1. hi! can i use bob’s mill gluten-free flour for this recipe? will any of the other ingredients need to be changed? thanks.

        1. heidi, we didn’t test it that way, so I can’t say. There are adjustments that need to be made to the recipe. I’d suggest buying their book, which has plenty of gluten-free recipes!

  11. I think I am asking too many questions here, so feel free to tell me to stop. Anyway, I am at the end stage (developing color) of my 3rd consecutive successful loaf (Bread flour!) My question is regarding the split on top – I don’t get one, ever. This time I followed the directions by doing the second rise seam side down and inverting the dough into the pot (using parchment). Still no split or ears. Any ideas? Also, this time, I used wheat bran instead of corn meal, and the bottom of the loaf got scorched. Any ideas on that? Oven temp was 450°F. I did leave it in a bit longer since the crust color wasn’t as dark as previous loaves after 10 mins uncovered.

    1. David, you won’t get much of a split on the bread. And definitely no ears. It’s a bit of a tradeoff with this recipe. The artisan bread in 5 minutes a day recipe has you slash the bread, and you definitely get ears. Leaving the loaf in longer caused the scorching for sure. And wheat bran will scorch faster than cornmeal. If you want to use wheat bran really lay it on thick.

  12. I have made this twice with really good results.

    I’ve mage my dough too dry for a long time. I’ve just recently begun to appreciate the benefits of wet dough. So, I was surprised when the dough this first time was fairly dry. But the bread was a hit in our house. Everyone liked it; probably better than other breads that I have made.

    The second time, the dough was actually wet. But the bread came out well. This time, I made a double recipe and used half of it for a loaf and the rest to make two baguettes.

    The second time, I let it have a first rise of about 24 hours and then put it in the refrigerator overnight. I could tell the difference in taste. It was almost like sourdough.

    I liked the crust, but my wife thought that it was too hard. Personally, I like it crispy, but I probably need to learn how to get a softer crust for her.

    All in all, I consider this recipe to be a keeper. I am enclosing a picture of the loaf and the baguettes. I might later try it as a pizza dough or maybe as a camp bread.

  13. So this one, with the second rise done seam side up covered with an inverted bowl rather than a towel, came out looking even better than my last (and first successful) attempt. With that one, the paper I covered the top with stuck to the dough and it deflated a bit and got irregular looking when I unstuck it. This one, dare I say, is beautiful.

  14. Is there a particular reason for putting the seam side down for the second rise? Unless I’m misreading, some of the commenters seem to be saying that they don’t turn it over when putting the dough in the pot. Are they putting it in seam side up or down?

    1. David, the dough should go in the pot seam-side up. I think this is because there are natural weak spots that allow the dough to expand better since it’s not being slashed. Some people prefer to make a parchment sling and place the dough in the pot seam-side down because it’s easier. Either way works, but I think you get a bit more rise the first way.

      1. Thanks, David. I don’t think I asked my question as clearly as I intended. Is it OK to do the second rise with the seam side up? Can I put it on the parchment with seam side up, let it rise for 2 hours or until it passes the poke test then just lower it into the pot? Or is there some particular purpose to doing the second rise with the seam side down?

        1. Yes, David. You can let it rise seam-side up and lower it into the pot that way. I’ve done it before. It might be a bit funky looking rising seam-side up. When it rises seam-side down, the weight of the dough keeps the seam from splitting open.

  15. I have four 8.5-4.5-3.5-inch depth cast iron bread pans, could I divide the dough into two of the pans and invert the other two pans as the dome lids? Thank you, Catherine

  16. Hi tried this recipe for the first time today. Never made bread in my life! It has come out looking ok, but not tasting ok? It’s very doughy and chewy with not much taste? I think I made the dough too wet. I used all-purpose flour. But using your recipe quantities of water, the flour was still very dry, so I added another cup. Also, I’m in the Philipinnes where room temps can get quite warm. Would this affect the proving process and time? I left it for about 18 hours and it doubled in size. However, it didn’t increase much in size during the second proving process and the dough was difficult to handle because it was so wet? Anyway, here’s a pic. It won’t put me off and I’ll try again.

    1. Alan, the loaf looks terrific! All-purpose flour is fine. What kind of salt did you use? Salt is what will bring out the flavor. My concern is your having to add an extra cup of water. That suggests you had too much flour to begin with. My advice is to use the weights in the recipe. It’s the most precise measuring method. Do you have a scale?

      1. Hi David, thanks for the reply. I don’t have scales. I’ll get some. My cup is 240ml, and the recipe calls for 3 cups. My salt is very coarse salt, so I’ll get some finer salt. The 2nd attempt looks and tastes better than the first. So, just gotta keep at it!

        1. Alan, it sure does look great! Using a scale will make ALL the difference. Plus, when you measure course salt, you’ll get less in the spoon than regular table salt. So, you’re on your way!

  17. Thanks, David. I’m not sure if you remember, but you spent a lot of time with me nearly a year ago, both email and on the phone, trying to suss out what was going wrong, but we just couldn’t figure it out. I don’t know if the flour was the problem, but I’m not going to argue with success. Thanks for all of your help. And just so you don’t think that “beauty is only skin deep,” here is s photo of the crumb showing that it, also, is perfect.

    1. David, I do remember, and I’m very happy you persisted. My number-one goal is for every cook to have success. And if it takes emails, calls, and video chats, we’re up for it. Now…speaking of beauty not being skin deep, that is a truly gorgeous and envy-worthy crumb. The airholes are fantastic. My advice: keep at it, loaf after loaf. Some will suck, some will shine. You’ll become a pro soon enough.

  18. So, after 3 miserably failed attempts to bake this supposedly “can’t fail’ bread, and a 10 month swearing off of any form of brag baking, I have finally given this another try. This time, I used King Arthur bread floor rather than supermarket brand AP flour, and weighed everything out (although I did that at least one of the failed attempts) out seems I may finally have had success. The dough behaved as expected, finally, and the baked loaf looks gorgeous. I will know for sure after it cools and I can slice into it. Fingers crossed!

    1. David, I’m sorry for the three previous flops, but if you’re anything, you’re the personification of, “If at first you don’t succeed…” The loaf looks amazing!

  19. Fool proof and so very delicious, also incredibly forgiving. I have been making it for years and every time I make I think I should have taken a picture to share but I never remember UNTIL today, first of many in 2020. Here it is

  20. Thanks for posting this incredibly easy recipe. It’s just out of the oven, and I can’t wait to taste it. Thanks also for the metric quantities button ;-)

      1. I know you won’t be surprised by this but I wasn’t expecting it to turn out so sourdough like. I presume it’s due to the long fermentation(?). Easy, tasty bread. Thank you.

        P.S. I can’t upload a picture because we’ve eaten it :-)

  21. Thank you for posting this easy recipe and for all the review tips! I ended up adding about 1/3 cup more water to get that “sticky” consistency. Plus I added about 1 teaspoon sugar, and it worked great! I only had a 2 3/4-qt Le Crueset so I ended up making 3 small loaves while also using my Emile Henry loaf baker. Will def be making more and experimenting with herbs!

    1. You’re welcome, SZ! We’re delighted it worked so well for you. Your loaves look beautiful. We can’t wait to hear about your future bread baking experiences.

  22. What a great recipe + technique! I’ve made no-knead bread before. I made a double batch and placed in a 6-qt Rubbermaid plastic bucket with top and placed on my countertop. It rose quite well in the 24 hours. (Yes, I should have refrigerated after 18.) I followed the remaining instructions (and thanks to many reader comments, too!). I put my ridiculously heavily floured towel with the dough on a metal pan. I placed it on top of a heating pad on low. (A wondrously effective contraption). Time to bake. I preheated the oven with the 4-qt Rommertopf (top and bottom to avoid any sudden temp shocks). It worked perfectly fine with this doubled size loaf. I will experiment with SOAKING the Rommertopf first to see how this might work and affect the outcome.

    I was very pleased with the result. One really needs to be underway sooner than I started (4p.m. after taking out of bucket). The loaf definitely needed more cure time..I waited 45 minutes…not enough as directions state! I’m day 2 with bread down on cutting board, and still enjoying as toast.

    Thank you for this recipe and the great exposition of how to make it. I’m really glad that I experimented with my Romertopf (bought unused for $5 bucks at a thrift store!) for bread. It works beautifully.

    1. Wow, Leisa, what a glowing review- thank you! We love it when our readers have such a lovely experience with our recipes and especially when they share. And we LOVE that you scored such a bargain at the thrift store.

  23. The only way to get consistency is to weigh the ingredients.

    Here (80% hydration) is my recipe for 2 loaves (freeze or give away one).
    40 oz of flour (I use high hydration bread flour)
    32 oz of purified water (bottled)
    1/2 teaspoon any dry yeast
    1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

    Mix and let ferment, covered, 15 to 24 hours (refrigerate after 24 hours). Bake as above.

  24. A friend sent me the link, and I’m hooked! I haven’t made bread since middle school, and don’t remember it being this easy. My confidence builds with each batch. The picture is the result of a mistake. Didn’t have enough regular flour needed, so used a little almond flour. Wasn’t understanding why it wouldn’t fully rise. When it came out, both loaves looked like focaccia bread. Then realized almond flour is gluten free. Hello! Turned out awesome, regardless.

    Now, need to know bake time if I want to make smaller loafs (4 small from one batch). And, do I cut in to four balls at first rise, or just before second? Suggestions?

    Thanks!

  25. Can this bread be made gluten-free? I live in the tropics it is 82-86 degrees daily. Does it still need to rise for so long?

    1. Deborah, we didn’t test a gluten-free variation. The loaf wouldn’t have to rise as long at room temperature, but the slow rise is what gives it a better flavor. Perhaps let it rise in a cooler?

        1. Deborah, because you live in a tropical zone, it would be hard to get normal room temperature. By a “cooler” I mean a plastic container you put soda or beer in to keep cool.

  26. Wonderful taste and chew. So easy to make. Followed directions and hesitated at the small amount yeast but it is perfection. Did not post this untill my first taste. Yum!

  27. Really only 1 g of flour?! Anyway, made it as per the recipe and here it is, just out of the oven… trying to be patient…

  28. This recipe is fantastic. A friend of mine showed me this link, and I thought I would give it a go. The recipe is easy to follow and it was very helpful in telling you not to worry if the dough looked like something crazy….it’s not like any recipe that I’ve ever used for bread before.

    Once you get the hang of it, it’s the simplest thing to do. The bread has a wonderful flavour and the crust is excellent. It makes an open textured loaf that is perfect with cheese or soup. It’s also fairly forgiving in the measurements. Wonderful! You do have to plan ahead by a day but the best things in life are worth waiting for.

  29. I use this as a whole wheat recipe (2/3 whole wheat, 1/3 unbleached white). I make a larger loaf (approximately 5 cups of total flour). And, I cut the salt … normally to nothing. That said, if I’m making my “pesto bread,” it’s getting sodium in general, and some salt, from the parmesan.

    Other “twist” is that, with the larger loaf, since I’m going to have a longer cooking time, I usually start tapering the temperature after 10 minutes. I don’t get precise, but I usually cut the oven temperature 15 degrees every 15 minutes or so.

  30. This bread came out beautiful. I have made it before, and I used a four at Le Cruset with parchment paper and it came out without any kind of sticking.

  31. Hello everyone! I am making this recipe today for first time. I wanted to ask, can you use this as a starter as well?

    1. Ive, sure! Any flour-water mixture can become a starter. But you’ll need to go through the 1- to 2-week feeding process so it’s strong enough to raise a loaf.

  32. I first made this recipe by following Jim Lahey’s instructions on Mark Bittman’s video. In the video, Lahey puts the bread into the oven right after the 12-18 hour rise (your step 3). He does not let it rise for another 2 hours in the towel. When I followed those instructions, the bread also came out great – and looked just like your photo. I’ve made it twice already (in the past week!) and both times it was perfect. But just for comparison, next time (today) I’m going to try it with the second rise. Thanks!

      1. I’ve now tried the version on this blog (with the second rise). After the second rise the dough didn’t quite “double” in size, but it spread out quite a bit. After baking, though, the bread was higher than it was without the second rise. The taste was great in both versions!

  33. Love this recipe. I make it once a week now for my husband. We can’t get a good crusty bread here in the mountains of Virginia and this satisfies. My only problem is when the bread is risen, the top part of the bread is hard. Should I put oil on the dough to keep it soft?

    1. Saundra, love that you’re as hooked on this recipe as we are! And yes, you can absolutely slick the surface of the dough with a mild oil prior to letting it rise. I do this when I bake bread simply by
      putting a little oil in the bowl and coating the surface of the bowl, then gently turning the dough in the bowl to lightly coat all sides. Terrific question! We so appreciate you asking it so others can also benefit from it.

    2. Saundra,

      I add 30 to 40g (2+ tbsp) olive oil into the dough alongside the other ingredients, which gives the whole loaf a lovely slightly softer crust. It also adds a richness to the flavour that I love. I don’t find it necessary, but you may want to reduce the water by 10 ml if you do this.

    3. HEY Sandra when the bread is hot out the oven wrap it in a very damp but not dripping wet teatowel, it will give you a soft crust as it cools! Works a treat!

  34. 45 years of using Canadian flour with US recipes and no problems so far for this professional cook/restauranteur…

    1. Heather, while we didn’t test it that way, I’ve researched the topic for you, and you can swap out half of the all-purpose flour for the spelt flour. Spelt is low in gluten, so you need some all-purpose or whole wheat flour in there for proper gluten formation.

  35. Hi, I made my bread about 6 hours ago, waiting for it to rise. I don’t have a pot with a tight lid, what can I do or use in it’s place? Thanks

    1. Hi Natalie, I would tightly seal the top of the pot with foil. You just want to create an environment that holds the steam in.

  36. Hi there! Just finished my first rise and I realized I only have a Schlemmertopf Clay Pot that holds about 5qts. (I just measured it out and the bottom seems to hold 3qts, while the lid is shaped in a way that adds extra room.) Do you think this is okay to use? I’ve given the first rise ~21 hours so I’m thinking about stashing it in the fridge until I can hear back. :) Thanks so much in advance!

    1. Maddie, it might be too small. Without seeing it next to the dough I’m not sure. The loaf does rise, about 1 1/2 to 2 times its size. But, it also flattens a bit when you put it in the pot. I’ve always used a five or 6 quart pot. I say go for it! And let us know how it goes.

  37. For anyone looking to develop a sourdough starter, search at Sunset magazine. Years ago Sunset collaborated with UC Davis to analyze San Francisco sourdough and developed a starter using yogurt because their research showed that much of the leavening came from lactobacillus. I started my decades old starter using their recipe. If I killed or lost mine somehow I would go back to their starter recipe. I make 8 loaves of bread a week to sell as a fund raiser for my local farmers market. I just add water and flour to refresh the starter and I keep it at about 67% hydration. I’m living on the central coast of CA for the winter. I didn’t bring my starter, so I’m back to making Jim Lahey’s fabulous bread.

  38. Excellent loaf. Similar to ciabatta but much simpler to make. I baked it in a wood-fired oven and the contrast between the crisp chewy crust and the moist interior is delicious. Definitely a go-to recipe.

    1. Magnificent, Neal! Lovely to hear this has been added to your go-to list. Greatly appreciate you taking the time to let us know how well it worked for you! And looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

  39. Two things.

    First, altitude probably is a factor in the results.We live near 3500 feet and many recipes have adaptations for this.

    Second, is this recipe adaptable for gluten-free flour? My wife is gluten-intolerant and most commercial breads are very cardboard-y, both in texture and taste.

    1. Barrie, we appreciate your interest in our recipe! You’re correct, both those factors will play considerable roles in your results. Have you read Susan G. Purdy’s book, Pie in the Sky? It’s our go-to for advice on the nuances of high-altitude backing. I highly encourage you to take a look at it. You can learn more at High Altitude Baking.

      As for the gluten-free issue, I, too, am gluten-free, and I know exactly what you mean about those cardboard-y loaves of “bread.” We always test recipes before we decide whether they’re sufficiently spectacular to share with others, and this recipe aced that test easily, but we only tested it using regular flour. I’d love to be of help here, as I understand the hankering for a proper loaf of bread, although there are so many factors to baking gluten-free bread I’m hesitant to make any particular recommendations I haven’t tried myself or that any of our testers have tried. So you’re welcome to try this with your favorite gluten-free flour blend and high-altitude modifications per Purdy’s book, although I just would like to issue the caveat that gluten-free is so tricky. I’m asking everyone I know for their favorite gluten-free bread recipe and will be back with you with results. And in the meantime, if you try this recipe, kindly let us know how you modified it and how things turned out. Many kind thanks!

  40. I have been slowly working my way through Lahey’s bread book and this recipe is what started me off. I am a novice when it comes to yeasted breads but am chuffed with this particular loaf—it always turns out and it always tastes incredible. I use Canadian flour and find I need less water than recommended but otherwise I followe the recipe exactly. This and the ciabatta on this site were definitely turning points in my bread-baking ability and confidence…and in the volume of carbs I can jam in my mouth in a single sitting.

      1. I do think that might be the case. I know that when I first tried baking bread years ago, a huge part of the problem was that I didn’t understand the difference. And, since so many of the recipes I tried were American, I gave up after baking quite a few terrible loaves. It took some basic research and a little trial and error but my bread has improved greatly!

          1. I first started by searching out recipes written in Canada, to get a feeling of what a proper dough should be, before moving on to other (American) recipes. I don’t use a true conversion, as such, but I do know that this recipe required an extra 1/4 cup of water for 468 grams/3 cups of flour (contrary to what I mistakenly said above – more water or less flour is what works). Generally, our harder wheat absorbs more water than what is called for and that can be a significant amount depending on the size of the recipe. I know that’s perhaps not as empirically helpful as it could be but just knowing that has changed the quality of my breads – so much so that I now bake bread weekly.

  41. I baked my loaf yesterday (using parchment paper/cast iron Dutch oven) and it’s wonderful. Do have a question though….the bottom crust came out very hard and, therefore very hard to cut. I have a good serrated bread knife but I felt like I was sawing wood! Thoughts about what I might do next time to prevent that? TY!

    1. Hi Ann, it sounds like your oven may be running too hot. You might try calibrating it to make sure. Also, is your heating element on the bottom of your oven? If so, try moving the bread to a higher rack.

  42. I always do the first rise on parchment paper and in a large/deep bowl. Then, when it’s time for the dough to go in the hot Dutch oven, I simply lower it in, parchment and all. Trim or carefully tuck excess paper into the pan. No flipping and the dough keeps its shape, no flat loaves! It’s just delicious!

  43. I now have my third loaf in the oven! I just love this bread! I do have one question, how should the bread be stored? The loaf from yesterday is not as crusty on the outside after storing it in a ziplock bag. Should it not be closed up tightly?

  44. So I made this today’s. Followed to the letter. The dough is showing all the bubbling and everts it’s supposed to do. Now it’s ready in the pot, it rose it’s crusty it looks perfect and now I can’t get it out of the pot. It’s stuck! I carefully drizzled a few drops of water at the edges and finally got most of it out but it’s not pretty. What did I do wrong?

      1. I thought I did as it rolled out of the towel into the pot without any difficulty. Maybe it needed more…. Eventhough it could have looked prettier it was sooooo delicious. I already have a seond one set up to bake tomorrow, I will use more flour , thanks!

        1. Nori, the recipe calls for cornmeal or wheat bran. The reason is flour is too easily absorbed into the very wet dough. The cornmeal and wheat bran won’t. Try them!

  45. Kirstie, each oven and each of us bakers are different. The bread does need uncovered bake time to get to final completion. By trying this several times, I’ve found MY oven’s ideal temperature is 455F for the entire 30 minute covered bake, then still at 455F, for 15 minutes uncovered. This gives me the my desired level of Awesomeness! Let us know how yours turns out and if you come up with any tips or techniques that work best for you!

    A loaf of Jim Lahey's no-knead bread on a cutting board with a slice removed; big air holes and a dusting of flour

  46. I’m new to bread making and tried this recipe for the first time. I’m having trouble knowing when to take it’s done, despite the suggestion of waiting for the deep chestnut color. Baking uncovered for 15-30 minutes makes me a bit nervous, as I’m afraid I’ll overbake. Any additional suggestions?

    1. Kirstie, have courage! I’ve made this many times, and it’s never overbaked. If you want another way of telling when the bread is done, many bakers look for a 200° to 200°F/93 to 99°C interior of the baked loaf. You’ll need an instant-read thermometer for that.

    2. Kirstie, I’ve made this bread a few times and I bake it covered for 30 minutes, then remove the cover and continue to bake for only about 10 minutes more. The first time I baked uncovered for 20 minutes, and the top was too dark for me. But 10 minutes results in a beautiful dark golden brown.

  47. This recipe calls for a 6-8-quart pot, but Ive read that some people prefer a 4-quart. I have 4, 5.75, and 7-quart dutch ovens. Which do you think would be best to use? Or does it matter? Thanks!

    1. Kirstie, I regularly make this in a 5-quart pot. The 4-quart is too small. The larger ones are best because they give you a lot of space for the bread to plop into.

      1. That’s helpful to know, thank you! My 5.75- dutch oven is oval in shape, but I think it will do. I may even try the 7 quart, as it’s round. Thanks again for the input!

          1. Just found this website! I’ve made close to 200 loaves of this marvelous bread (I have pictures of 124 stored on my phone—as you can imagine we eat it daily). I do the second rise on parchment paper with the bowl upside down over the dough, then I dump the whole thing in my pot. Thing is, my pot is a 3qt Cuisinart and the loaf comes out tall and round each time. I used to use a 6qt Le Creuset but the bread would spread and come out more flat. I prefer the domed one—so don’t be afraid of (very) small pots!

            1. I am just checking to see what Barul meant when he said he does the second rise on parchment paper with upside-down bowl to cover. When he says ” I dump the whole thing in my pot. ” does he mean he takes the bowl off, lifts the bread on the parchment paper and places the parchment paper in the heated pot with dough to bake? Or does he use the parchment paper instead of a towel and then ” Lift up the dough and quickly but gently turn it over into the pot, seam side up,” as instructed?

              1. Marna, while I can’t speak for him, it’s a common technique to use parchment paper as a sling to lower the loaf into the pot, avoiding the sometimes “deflating” experience of flipping the loaf.

  48. Hello, I made the bread today and was so excited as everything went fine until the second rise when it got stuck to the cotton cloth even though I had put flour on it. Perhaps I put too much water at the beginning? However, I got it into the pot with difficulty and when cooked it was lovely and crusty but not cooked enough inside. I will have to try again but don’t really know what went wrong. This loaf will go to the birds!!

    1. Sivry, the dough is indeed wet. I suggest really, really coating the towel with a lot of flour. I had that problem at first, too. As far as the bread not being baked enough, your oven could be running cool. I’d invest in an instant-read thermometer. The internal temperature should be about 200°F.

  49. I’ve been making this bread twice a week for six months, and it never fails. The beauty of it is its flexibility. Depending on timing and need, sometimes I let it rise in the counter the 12 to 18 hours, sometimes in the fridge for up to 36 hours. That way I can go about my business and bake when I am ready. What’s the longest anyone out there has kept it in the fridge?

    1. Hi Sam, you can use an instant read thermometer to gauge doneness- it should be around 190 degrees. Visually the bread should be golden brown and give a nice hollow thunk when tapped.

  50. Miyoko Schinner has adapted her bread recipes to Jim’s techniques. I have her baguette recipe (using Jim’s techniques) which is wonderful! She however does not use instant yeast but instead active dry yeast which is stirred directly into the dry ingredients. I don’t have instant yeast so I did some research. I understand that instant yeast can be stirred directly into the dry ingredients, where as active dry yeast, apparently, needs water to dissolve in water. Miyoko’s recipe has us stirring active dry yeast directly into the dry ingredients and then adds the water, just like Jim. My question is, if I used active dry yeast in Jim’s recipe would it work? Also, if I let it activate in warm water first would it work? Just wondering.

    1. Marna, active dry yeast would work perfectly well with this recipe. There is so little yeast, and the rise time is so long, that it doesn’t need to be mixed with water first.

      1. Thank you for your reply. So I have another question, I see that this was updated on Oct 3 2018, was the recipe updated? If so what was the update? Also, I was wondering why the difference in oven temperature with the recipe and the recipe with Jim Lahey in the video. This recipe calls for a 450 degree oven but Jim says, even for us at home, “500 even 515”.

        1. Marna, an update can be a change anywhere in the recipe. For example, an ingredient or even a typo. In this case it didn’t deal with any of the ingredients or directions.

          As to the temperature difference, the temperature in the recipe is what he originally wrote in his cookbook. As he lived with it, he added suggestions. Many people’s ovens don’t go as high as 500°F unless they’re on a broil setting. If yours does go as high as 515°F, definitely use that. But watch the baking time, as it will be a bit shorter.

  51. Love this recipe. I have made it a million times. I also have given out this recipe to all my girlfriends

    Is there a similar version for sourdough ?

    1. Janet, there are a lot of recipes out there for no-knead–ish sourdough bread. The one I like is from Tartine Bakery. You can easily find it on the internet. Let me know what you think!

  52. OH MY GOD. This is absolutely delicious. And comes out eerily perfect, as if from a professional kitchen, the very first time. I don’t understand those reviewers who claim it’s tasteless—mine was absolutely redolent with the smell and taste of yeast. I did add some extra salt and I did the second bake for less than the suggested 15 minutes. It was truly astounding.

  53. Oh My! This recipe is amazing and so easy. I actually cheated and used my Instant Pot to proof the bread. Yogurt Setting with vent open for 6 hours and the controlled heat/humid environment was perfect for the first rise. The hardest part was waiting for it to cool before diving in. Divine. I will be making this often. Thank you so much!

  54. Can I use vital gluten with all purpose flour for this recipe? I don’t have bread flour so hoping that would be a nice alternative. I’ve used all-purpose before and it worked out nicely but curious if it would hinder or add to the crust and chew of the bread.

    Regards,
    L.Shaw

  55. I’ve been making this recipe for the past week and after some trial and error I’ve been getting some good results! The only issue is that slices aren’t very big and I’d like to make some sandwiches with it. Is there any issue if I double the recipe to make a taller loaf? Bake longer?

      1. Thanks for the suggestions!

        I found someone that doubled the recipe and seems to have done okay. Lowered the temp to 425 and cooked it for 40min. I’m going to try this out and report back. Will compare it to the standard recipe

          1. I doubled the recipe to make a mega loaf! 6 cups flour and everything else in proportion. Let it rest for 19 hours before I folded it over, and had a second rise of 3 hours. The oven was preheated to 475F along with the Dutch oven. After I baked it for 15 min I lowered the temp to 450F and had it continue baking for 25 min before I took the lid off and baked for another 20 min. So total bake time of 1 hour. Checked the internal temp with a meat thermometer to make sure and it was 200F, good enough for me.

            After letting it rest for 3 hours I had a bread that was at least as good as the standard recipe, if not better!

            One thing to note about this recipe is that it doesn’t seem to make a difference for me whether I slash the top or not.

            Two pictures of Jim Lahey's no-knead bread. A whole loaf on a grill, and the loaf sliced in half

    1. Increase the recipe (maybe not the yeast quantity quite as much) and use the same size pot. I regularly make it using 4.5 cups flour (ie 1.5 the original recipe). I did this because I found that my pot was too big and that the loaf, while delicious, was too flat in shape for my liking. In increased quantity it rose higher to become rounder.

      It’s an incredible recipe. It’s worked when I’ve made the dough quite dry (the first time I made it from an adapted version someone sent me) or really wet (I wasn’t weighing the flour).

  56. So I happened to be doing a recipe where I mixed about the same amount of flour, water, and salt and let it sit overnight.

    389g bread flour
    38g spelt
    19g dark rye
    304g water
    19g salt

    About 10 hours later, I added 100 grams of sourdough starter (100% hydration) and because I had to work, I left it again for another 12 hours. When I got home, I shaped it, let it sit for about an hour and then baked it in a cast-iron two-piece (The one from Chad Robertson’s Tartine book) 500° for 20 mins, 450° for 25 minutes.

    It turned out SOOO good. The flavor was really strong, and the sour taste really came through. I definitely want to try more of this no-knead bread making with sourdough starter.

    Here’s the original video I was watching, Trevor J. Wilson is a solid bread maker with excellent dough handling techniques

  57. I would avoid using this recipe unless you have a digital scale at home to measure the flour. The volumetric amounts listed in the recipe simply do not work; I have tried twice now using non-professional grade cookware and there is simply too much water in this recipe (compared to most no-knead recipes) to allow for any margin of deviation. It will fall, or be too wet to fold if you don’t measure using a digital scale.

    1. Peter, sorry you had a hard time with this. I can assure you the recipe works, as I’ve made it many times using volume measures and well as with weight for the flour when we tested it. Plus this is the original no-knead bread! Now, it is a very, very wet dough. I suspect you might be using too much of a light hand with the flour, as that can be the culprit rather than too much water. Just to be sure: you’re using just a little more than 1 1/2 cups of water?

  58. I made this last weekend and was a huge hit in my house. This is by far the easiest bread recipe I have ever made. This is now going to be my go-to recipe. I’ve been trying out a new recipe from this site weekly and every single recipe I have made has turned out beautifully and with rave reviews. The key is to read the recipe thoroughly first.

    1. Christina, it’s been nearly 45 years since a woman has made my heart do a jig–just ask The One!–and that was back in junior high. But you accomplished it when said the most important thing is to read the recipe well first. Be still my heart! So happy you enjoy the bread.

  59. Finally! I let it rise two hours, in parchment, in a covered stainless steel bowl. After reading a hundred notes and about as many options, I decided on the cold oven approach: I put the bowl, as it was, in a cold oven, covered it with a pizza tray, and set it for 450 degrees. After 30 minutes, it was golden brown, and 199 degrees; I decided to skip the charring time, so I pulled it out and dumped it on a wire rack, and easily peeled off the parchment. Ten minutes later–butter and honey! This shows again, how foolproof this recipe truly is; next time I’ll try 430g of flour and 345g of water, and hope to do a better job!

    A loaf of Jim Lahey's no-knead bread on a wire rack

  60. That is a great way to make bread. I have also added jalapenos and cheddar cheese. I also made one using Asiago cheese as well. They are a favorite now at my house and I don’t buy store bread anymore. Thank you.

      1. I am writing this ten minutes after setting the dough aside to rise for 12 to 18 hours, so I have no idea how it will turn out; but I do have a question. I started with 300g of water, added to exactly 400g of flour (incidentally, I scooped 3 cups of bread flour, leveled with a knife, and it weighed 401g); the dough was quite stiff. I went back to the original recipe, and it calls for 384ml of water. Well, a gram of water = 1 ml (at least at standard temp. and pressure–I was once a chemist!); so that’s 84g more water; which I have now added, and the dough is suitably–I hope–soupy.

        Tomorrow I’ll know the result.

        1. Lowrie, may I ask where you got the 300 grams from? The recipe calls for 1 5/8 cups or 384 grams of water. Also, I wouldn’t call the dough soupy. Wet and sticky, yup. Did you take a look at the video?

          1. OK, I let it rise for 26 hours; to make it out I declare took another 3/4 cup of flour! It was that soupy! Now I’m letting it rise the second time, on parchment. From what I’ve seen, 300ml of water is too little, 384ml too much. The “Goldilocks” amount might be the 320ml David Gaskill uses. I’ll be trying this again; hope I can cook (and eat!) whatever I’ve got here.

            1. Wow, Lowrie. We’ve had one or two other readers say they needed more flour/less water. But I have never, ever had a problem in all the years I’ve been making this. Do you think perhaps you might have mismeasured? Either way, you’re documenting what you’re doing, so it will help others Thanks!

          2. I am preparing to make this while traveling in Europe… we always us the volume measurements at home, but weight is the only option. The weight based recipe does give 300 grams as the water weight, not 384…with 400 g flour…. I think I will pick 320 or so to start and adjust by texture.

  61. This is a great recipe and is now the one I make all the time. This week however I was challenged with the loss of power in our house from a Nor’ Easter storm. The dough was bubbly and ready to go. I waited for hours and finally decided to bake it a different way. English Muffins in a cast iron pan. Delicious!

  62. I’ve been making this bread for years from a recipe by Michael Smith. It turns out well every time. You can add a bit of oats and molasses, or chopped olives and rosemary, or your favourite seeds – whatever suits your fancy. Nice to see the recipe here so even more people will attempt to make their own bread.

  63. I just made a loaf yesterday and it came out extremely well. I agree with Larry Noak though, 384 water to 400 flour is 96% hydration, that’s poolish territory. I used 320 for 80% and the oven spring and crumb were perfect for my taste. I remember when this recipe came out (2005-ish?) but I never tried it. Thanks for bringing it back. I’ll definitely be making it again.

  64. Enjoyed this recipe. Its been a while since i made bread. It stuck to my parchmwnt so i didnt flip it. Just lifted the whole thing into pot as is. Came out great

    1. Karen, so glad you liked it, even if it stuck. I’m trying something different as I write this: I have a loaf rising in an oiled bowl. I’ll post a picture when I’m done.

  65. The top of my loaf was hard after 18 hours – it was loosely covered. I just folded it in on itself and it seemed to come out fine, but it wasn’t nice and supple as shown in the video.

    Also, the crust is so tough that I can barely cut it with the knife.

    Suggestions?

    1. Julia, if you want to keep it up to 18 hours, consider covering the bowl with plastic wrap. That will definitely help with the hardness and lack of suppleness of the dough. It might help with the tough crust. But know that this is a thick-crust bread.

  66. So, I am about to make this bread for the first time. My first concern is home temp. We usually keep at 66 degrees or a bit less. Should I let rise to the 24 hour mark? Secondly, are there flavor variations as in rosemary, cheese, etc.?

    1. Donna, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. I would indeed go the full 24 hours. And as far as add-ins, anything works. Just don’t loaded down with too much fatty ingredients, as it can way down the dough.

  67. This bread is so simple and makes me feel like an ace in the kitchen, not many millennial moms are making bread for their children! I’ll fully admit to bragging about making bread, however I don’t brag about the ease of recipe! Best to keep some things left unsaid ;)

  68. Very good bread recipe. I tried it 3 years ago (two variations): 1. Using all-purpose flour and 2. Whole wheat flour 50%. Dough raised very, very well. Both were very tasty. Ideal recipe!

  69. I have made this recipe 5 times after a lot of screaming and cursing. I don’t know what kind of “towel” you are using but I have had a sticky mess on both the covering and base towels. It is impossible to get the dough off in anything that looks like a round loaf. I have tried using floured parchment paper which was just slightly better. There has to be another way to get the second rise without it sticking to everything. I hope someone has the answer.

    1. Ed, I hear you. I’ve had problems with the dough sticking, too. The tea towel I use is just a plain, tight-weave towel; one without the terry cloth looping. I suggest two things: 1.) Use wheat bran. That has been the most successful for me. But you need a ton of it (same with the flour). I mean at least several cups. Or 2.) Grease a bowl and let the dough rise in that. Let me know how it turns out (no pun intended).

    2. Ed, I “solved” the sticky second rise issue by putting the dough on a piece of parchment, seam-side up, and covering for the second rise. Then I just drop, parchment on the bottom, all of it into the hot pot and bake per directions. I learned this trick from America’s Test Kitchen. The bread releases from the parchment easily. Sometimes the loaf looks a little funny from the folds of the parchment but it’s still delicious.

  70. My family loved this crusty bread and ate the entire loaf in one sitting. I was wondering if anyone has tried doubling the recipe and baking it in a large 9.5 quart dutch oven? Thank you for your help.

    1. Sandra, what good news! None of us here has doubled the loaf. My two cents: Make two loaves and bake them one after another. That way you’re sure it will work.

  71. I have this rising now in 84F degree room. Is that too hot? Mine will be rising overnight and I’m wondering if I can put it in the fridge for half the remainder of the first rise?

  72. Hi. Was hoping for some advice on timing. If I leave the first rise for 18 hrs, is it possible to delay the 2nd rise for 10 hrs rather than 2? (I have to go to work!!) Would refrigeration work? Would it need to come back to room temperature before baking?
    Many thanks

  73. I’m not a novice bread maker, but far from a pro. I’ve been wanting to try this for a while after seeing Jim Lahey in a TV piece. I was amazed by the result, so was my family. I hadn’t ever tried a crusty bread like this. M