Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread

Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread making recipe turned traditional bread making upside down for all of us. Perhaps it’s time you tried it so you can understand what everyone’s been raving about.

Jim Lahey's Bread

This is it, folks. Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread recipe. It’s what incited an insurrection among bread bakers everywhere. The recipe is fast and easy to make and will make you wonder why you ever spent all that time and effort kneading dough in the past. It’s an adaptation of Lahey’s phenomenally and outrageously popular pugliese sold at Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan. And once you taste 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 to explain as many tricks in this no-knead bread recipe as he possibly could to help ensure you have spectacularly satisfying results at home. 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, so some days your bread baking may seem blessed and others it may feel cursed. 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.”


Special Equipment: 6- to 8-quart heavy pot with lid

Jim Lahey's No-Knead Bread Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 3 H, 30 M
  • One 1 1/2-pound loaf

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour (400 g), plus more for the work surface
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (1 g)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (8 g)
  • 1 1/2 cups water (375 ml | 375)
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran, as needed

Directions

  • 1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and mix with a wooden spoon or your hand until you have a shaggy, sticky dough. This should take roughly 30 seconds. You want it to be really sticky. (Many people who bake this bread find the dough to be unusually wet. Even though it’s not what you’re accustomed to handling, it’s perfectly fine. Most of the water is meant to be released as steam during baking. Besides, you’ll be handling the dough very little, so you don’t have to worry about your hands looking like some creepy monster that just crawled out of a lagoon.)
  • 2. Cover the dough and bowl with a plate, towel, or plastic wrap and set 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 and take on a darkened appearance. This long, slow fermentation is what yields the bread’s rich flavor.
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. 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 more than 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.
  • 5. 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.
  • 6. 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.
  • 7. 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, it just seems more accurate for me. So, that would be 400 grams bread flour, 8 grams table salt, 1 gram instant yeast, and 300 to 310 grams 55- to 65-degree water. 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.

Comments

  1. THIS is my go-to bread recipe and my FAVORITE bread cookbook of the 20 or so that I own. The rye bread recipe is utter perfection!

    1. Crazy. The instructions say to follow the instructions. Exactly! Well I did. When I told my gal that I didn’t think it raised quite as much as I expected she said well did you use warm water? (Yes the quick yeast had NOT expired.) I said the very specific instructions didn’t say warm water. So … whose FAIL?

      1. Mako, we’ve made this bread many times with room temperature or cool water. True, most American bread dough recipes call for warm water, but because it’s a slow ferment at room temperature and there’s no rush, the water doesn’t need to be warm to jump start the process. The recipe mentions the ideal room temperature, I’m just curious if your kitchen was cooler than that? And sometimes yeast can fail to be viable even before its expiration date, so you may want to stir a little yeast into warm water just to see if it bubbles within a few minutes. Beyond that, I don’t know whose fail this is, as we and many, many others have made this without warm water and still had a rise.

        1. Yesterday I made two batches – one with tap water and the other with warm water. It is winter where I am (outback Australia) so the tap water was quite cool/bordering on cold. After sitting for 20 hours I would defy anyone to identify which is which. Thank you for this recipe, it is truly wonderful bread and the word “fail” has no place in any description of it. Ever.

      2. I have made this recipe a million times. I have added not enough or too much of each ingredient. I have made super wet and a little less than wet. I have waited as long as 26 hours (surface dries out) and as little as 8. This bread is truly idiot proof. If it didn’t raise for you, the yeast was probably old. Maybe not from when you bought it, but either how long it sat on the shelf or how old before being packaged. Don’t give up. Also make sure that when you look at it, that it is covered with a ton of bubbles. It should almost looks like tapioca. When you turn it out on the board, it should stick with long strands or “fingers.” If not, put it back in the bowl and let the yeast develop longer.

        1. ps I dump all ingredients in a bowl and add room temp/tap water. Never fails. Seriously no muss no fuss.

          1. Also I weigh my flour. If you just scoop and don’t spoon or weigh your weight could be too heavy for the amount of yeast to lift in the stated amount of time. look for the “eyes” or bubbles in the dough. That will tell you it is ready regardless of the amount of time that has passed.

          1. All I will say is that 3 cups of flour does not equal 400g, as mentioned in the recipe. For my first loaf I used 400g as I was following the instructions, and it was way too wet. You need around 500g of flour…

            1. Greg, I see from your email address that you’re in the UK. I can say with complete confidence that flours differ around the world. I was unable to successfully bake my recipes from my own Portuguese cookbook while living in Lisbon. I had to make significant adjustments because the flour was not the same. I also checked some other US versions of UK cookbook (ex. Edd Kimber’s Patisserie Made Simple), and 3 cups equal 400 grams of all-purpose flour. That being said, I absolutely believe you need more flour. When I use the 400 grams as stated in the recipe, I get a tacky, sticky dough. It works beautifully–for me. All that’s important is that we keep baking on our respective sides of the pond!

              1. Thanks for the reply, David. I’m actually in HK (South China) and it is very humid here at the moment so that may be a factor. I’ve ended up using 520g of flour and 320ml of water (salt and yeast no change) and it’s working out great, although the bread does come out quite flat, perhaps only a 2-3 inches tall. What are your thoughts about that? More yeast required?

                1. Greg, Hong Kong! That’s on my Bucket List.

                  So, now that I know that, we have several factors affecting the situation. Yes, humidity is a player. I was in Singapore, and if Hong Kong is that humid, you have to account for that. Second, the flour you have is most likely different from ours here in the States. When I was living in Lisbon, I was never really was able to make the baked goods from my cookbook (which worked perfectly at home). That’s when I first understood that flours are different in different parts of the world.

                  As to the flatness, that’s not uncommon. You may want to give the dough more time in the second rising. And, yes, you might want to try a bit more yeast, as the humidity and type of yeast might be affecting it. Try one-quarter more yeast and report back! And send pictures, too!

            2. I too live in a humid climate. I find that I need to use at least half bread flour. Try using a stronger flour, they are more thirsty than regular all purpose flour. The bread flour I use is King Arthur brand, you might look to see what the equivalent is where you live.

      3. I had the same thoughts when they said add water. What temperature of water? Anyone who makes bread knows you have to have warm water to make your yeast work sooo I will add warm water when I make my bread. I haven’t tried it yet but plan on making it tomorrow. My new cast iron covered pot arrived today in the mail so now I can get to baking! After reading other comments I see because of the long fermentation process I guess room temperature water would work but I am so old school I need to see that rise in my bread to make sure it’s working it’s magic. I’m sure it’s going to be out of this world delicious when I make it regardless of the water temperature! I can hardly wait to try it!

        1. Bettye, because the dough sits in a warm spot for up to 18 hours, the temperature of the water isn’t that important. In fact, you want a slow, loooooong rise, so cooler water works just fine. I’ve made the bread many times and never thought twice about the water temperature!

      4. Greg, there’s not a typo in the recipe. If you watch the video, you’ll see Jim use just about 1 1/2 cups of water. I’ve made this countless times, and I only have to add a bit more water in the winter, when the house and kitchen are particularly dry. Now, the 5-minute artisan bread calls for far more water and is a much wetter dough. But it doesn’t sit and rise as long as this. The long rise of Jim’s bread hydrates the dough and, of course, lends a better flavor. Sorry, the recipe as written didn’t work for you.

    1. China, I don’t, but I have heard and read that if you let this dough rise the first time and then refrigerate it for three to four days, you will have a more complex, sour taste. Not a sourdough, but closer.

    2. China, The very best sourdough is the one by Chad Robertson in his book Tartine Bread. In short, here’s the short and modified version recipe:

      Ingredients (Use a scale!)

      • 1 cup (5 oz.) whole wheat flour
      • 2 1/2 cups (11 oz.) white bread flour
      • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
      • 1 1/2 cups purified water
      • 1/4 cup starter

      Mix together the dry ingredients.

      Dissolve 1/4 cup starter into purified water.

      Add water / starter to dry ingredients and stir until the water is incorporated.

      Cover with plastic and let sit 12-18 hours.

      For the last 3 hours, fold the dough every 30 min – as though you were making a box (4 folds, long sides and 2 ends). As you do the folds, gently pull out each “side” to lengthen your pull before folding toward the center. This creates the long gluten strands that make those beautiful holes in the crumb.

      Cover loosely with plastic and rest for 15 minutes.

      Transfer to well floured towel, parchment paper or proofing basket. Cover with towel and let rise about 1 1/2 hours.

      Prehead the Dutch oven to 500 degrees (with lid).

      Bake in covered Dutch oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes.

      Remove cover; reduce heat to 450 degrees and bake an additional 12-15 minutes till brown.

      Let cool completely on rack. LIsten to it crackle as it cools!

      Consume bread, be happy.

    3. China, to make really good sourdough you need a starter. It’s a flour, yeast, water mixture that needs to ferment for several days before it can be used. Look on line for sourdough starter recipes. The taste of the bread is worth the wait!

        1. I followed this recipe but used 10 grams of a rye based sour dough starter instead of yeast. Perfect results, tangy, chewy and gorgeous. Thank you.

  2. I make bread on a regular basis using Charles Van Over’s Best Bread Ever recipe and it’s delicious. I can’t wait to try this with the 24 hour fermentation! Also, I would love to have the rye bread recipe if you’re willing to share. :)

    1. Dana, We use Lahey’s recipe while substituting about 30 percent (2 out of 6 cups) of white flour with rye—or a mix of rye and whole wheat. We also thrown in a tablespoon of rubbed caraway seeds, since so many people associate that with rye. (Some think that’s the taste of rye!) Give it the full 18 hours fermentation—or, better, 24—for best results.

  3. Hi, I wanted to add that I do this recipe with sourdough, and it works well. You might have to reduce a bit the water (didn’t measure). Anyway, the exact same recipe yields a great sourdough bread.

    X

      1. Hi again,

        As I am not a native in English, please excuse me for any language errors– I don’t really know technical bakery terms!

        What failed in your recipe How was the bread afterwards? I’m really a lazy baker, so I do most things without weighing, but I did weigh today. Even when doing things without weighing, and even the time I put too much water in, this recipe always comes out very well (better than any other recipe I tried).

        I use the exact proportions with semi-whole flour (110g), but reduce to 300ml of water or less when using white (65g) flour, with variations depending a bit on my sourdough’s texture that day. Today I measured 200g of sourdough, it’s less than half the jar, but enough with such a long rise at room temp. For step 1, I mixed sourdough first, then water and salt, then only add flour. After that, I follow the recipe.

        If the dough ends up having too much water, it’s obvious as at step 3: the dough will keep expanding on whatever surface you put it, without much hope of shaping it at all (I still tried). If that happens, after a desperate attempt to shape it, just perform step 4 but put the towel in a big kitchen bowl (“cul de poule” – I have no idea what the English term is for that) so the bread won’t keep flowing. You’ll be able to pour back everything from the towel to the oven dish, and even if the crust will look messy, it’ll still be extremely good bread. This recipe is so forgiving ! Next time, just put a bit less water, to be able to follow the recipe as-is.

        X.

      1. Anita, I haven’t been able to turn this into a sourdough recipe. But I’m the worst person to ask. I’ve killed every starter that has ever entered our home. But Xara seem to be proficient. I’d try her method.

  4. Sorry for posting again: I realize that I gave the coarseness of flours according to French standards. Here’s a table and explanations, apparently in the UK and US, there is no such numbers. I’m pretty sure that because of these variations in flours, most readers will have to make adjustments in water.

  5. This might be a silly question but I can’t get instant yeast where I am…can I use active dry yeast and just proof it first and then follow the steps as listed above? Thank you!

    1. My dear Mary, absolutely. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of well-drained chopped olives to the dough when you mix it. It should be perfectly fine. I’ve added cheese, bacon, sausage, rosemary–in short, all kinds of fold-ins. I’ve never had a problem. But…if you want to play it safe, use Jim’s olive bread recipe.

  6. Just made my first no-knead bread with your recipe. Loved it! I added dried onion to it and very good. Thank you!

  7. I have to say after more or less “retiring” from bread baking I’m back in it full swing! It is true you get ” the bug”! Only one drawback is you want to eat the whole loaf! This is when it’s nice to give it away! I don’t buy bread anymore. Only flour and yeast!

  8. Fantastic! But you already know that. What I don’t understand is why do you do the second rising in a tea towel? Why not just return the dough back into the bowl? Perhaps add oil or flour/cornmeal to the bowl first.

    1. Piet, glad you liked it. The tea towel makes flipping the dough easier. Some people have greased the bowl and had success flipping. Adding flour or cornmeal to won’t sufficiently cover the surface of the dough and it will stick to the bowl. (I’ve even had problems with the dough, which is quite wet, sticking to the tea towel.) Hope this helps.

  9. I tried Jim Lahey’s recipe for calzone dough last week and it was better than any other yeasted dough I’ve ever made ( I have an unfortunate history with yeast– everything I make turns to heavy bricks) and it had a complex flavor, bubbly texture… It was a miracle. I am sooo going to try your recipe David!

    One question: I can’t find any mention of greasing the dutch oven before putting in the dough. Is this correct?

    1. Carolyn, so glad you’re liking the Lahey Method. It’s really simple. And, nope, no need to grease the Dutch oven. Just drop it in and bake. (But definitely make sure you spread a good layer of flour or wheat germ on the towel because this is a wet dough.)

  10. Can this be doubled or tripled? I have lots of family coming and would like to make more than one loaf at a time

    1. Eileen, we’ve never tested it that way. Because each recipe makes just one loaf, I’d be concerned that you’d deflate the dough after the second rise by dividing.

      1. I have doubled the recipe, split the dough into two after the first rise, and then proofed and baked the two in separate pots at the same time. Both came out spot on. One thing I didn’t do was double up on the yeast, I only used 1/4 teaspoon plus half of that, so 3/8 teaspoon total. Hope this helps.

  11. My grandson loves this recipe but was just diagnosed with diabetes and would like me to try making with half whole-wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. Will it work. Does anyone have an easy good sandwich whole-wheat flour bread recipe

    1. Leslie, Yes. I have made this with 50 percent toasted barley flour (Tibetan “tsampa”) in place of white flour. The only other adjustment is that I have to add more liquid, as tsampa soaks up moisture. (Himalayan people make an instant porridge by spooning some tsampa into butter tea.) Anytime we use a heavier flour—barley, rye, whole wheat—we make sure to let it sit for a good long time in the first proofing: 18-24 hours. I also save the whey from cheesemaking to replace the water. Delicious.

    1. Ana, we don’t have that recipe from his book, sorry. If you want a recipe for ciabatta that is NOT no-knead, we can heartily recommend this ciabatta recipe, which is one of the most popular recipes on our website. Be sure to read the instructions carefully as it’s a very wet dough (as are most Italian breads) and requires a little special handling.

  12. I’m trying this recipe today. A bit of guidance would be appreciated. Should the water be hot, warm, cold? Also what is the target internal temp? I’m guessing 180 on this one but just checking.

    1. Hi Michael, I would use lukewarm water and aim for a target temperature of around 185 degrees. Please let us know how it turns out.

  13. I do not have a dutch oven pot, what else can be used? I have made bread in the past but would like trying this no knead bread. My b-i-l made a Ricardo recipe where he says to not use a pot with a glass lid and to preheat the cooking pot at 450 for 30 minutes. I think pre-heating a pot for 30 min. sounds like a bit much; would appreciate expert counsel…Thanks!

    1. Lina–fear not–I’ve used all sorts of lidded vessels, including small Corningware casseroles with glass lids. You can make a smaller batch if you only have a small vessel. (But I usually make a double or triple batch and divide it to fit various Dutch ovens and casseroles–if you’re going to heat up your oven and your kitchen, might as well make a loaf for a friend while you’re at it!)

  14. I just bought a 4-qt lodge cast iron pot thinking it was the right size for lahey’s bread. You call for 6-8! Counsel please.

    1. Hi, Elle. The recipe is Jim’s, and he calls for a 6- to 8-quart pot, which I agree with. The loaf needs space, especially when you flip the dough into it.

  15. Jim’s recipe is wonderful–and versatile. I’ve used the Dutch oven technique on more conventional doughs, too. But in addition to this recipe, Jim’s book is a good read. His own story is compelling. Many other neat recipes for beer bread, stecca, unusual pizzas…

  16. I’d like to make my no-knead bread in my Pullman Loaf pan so it is more serviceable for sandwiches and toast. Any tips on this, to save me some trial-and-error? Thanks!

    1. Patticake, while I love anyone who knows what a Pullman pan is, this recipe isn’t right for that. You need a really good sandwich-loaf recipe. One with a tight, light crumb. This bread had an open-hole texture and can be quite moist. To avoid disappointment, I’d suggest searching for a recipe designed for a Pullman pan.

  17. This bread is stupendous. I’ve been making it for a long time, throwing in herbs, grated cheese, bits of cooked bacon–all sort of add ins. Never fails us!

  18. I just tried this recipe and it seemed to go perfectly, they is until cutting it and tasting it. It looked, felt, smelled and sounded beautiful, but had no flavor and was quite sticky inside, uniformly sticky all the way out to right near the crust. This is despite the crust being very dark. It also came out a bit flatter in shape than I expected.

    So what could be wrong? I believe I used 1 5/8 cup water, so maybe just too much water? The dough seemed to conform perfectly to the description in the instructions.

    I didn’t have a Dutch oven, but used a pizza stone pre-heated for 1 hr. Then I tossed the dough on that and covered it with an upside-down mixing bowl for the first 30 minutes.

    Would lower temp and longer bake time help? It did not seem underbaked, but done, just uniformly sticky inside. Beautiful holes and everything.

    I want to try again, but any ideas to improve? Thanks.

    1. Hi Tim, I certainly admire your creativity but I wonder if your cooking method is causing the problem. As David mentions in one of the comments, this recipe does require the proper pot. I wonder if this bread might be easier for you to tackle as no special pot is required.

  19. 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. Most of mine come out of a loaf pan. This was everything it promised to be in ease of preparation to a fantastic product with a chewy crust and a soft, tasty interior and a wonderful open structure. Now I have to try it again and give it a few more hours in the first fermentation. The only problem is that my family may insist that I make this everyday for the next few weeks.

    1. Gary, this is magnificent to hear! All of it! I could not be happier for you—and I could not be more grateful to you for sharing this with us. Thank you! Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

  20. 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

  21. 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?

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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 ;)

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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!

  32. 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!

  33. 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

  34. 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.

  35. 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?

  36. 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

  37. 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).

  38. 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

  39. 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!

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