I can’t even count how many times I’ve made this no-knead bread…because it’s that easy. Four ingredients (if we’re even counting water as an ingredient), one bowl, no kneading – and the end result is piping hot, crusty-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside bread that also happens to be beautiful. And then you slather it with honey butter with a hint of salt and sweet-salty-soft-crusty magic happens.
This recipe is super flexible – make 1 loaf, or 2 or 3 or 4; make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge; bake all your loaves at once or over a couple of days! It doesn’t really matter how many loaves you make, though – you probably won’t have any left over. Is “serving size” really a relevant term when you’re talking about bread that’s still warm from the oven?? You have been warned.
So: mix warm water with kosher salt and yeast. Stir in flour until it’s all incorporated and you have a shaggy dough ball.
Cover the bowl with a towel and let it rise for a few hours. It has a lot of yeast in it, so it will get really bubbly, and it looks pretty wet!
If you’re ready to bake it, sprinkle the dough with flour and cut off a hunk (I made enough dough for 2 loaves, so I just cut it in half). Shape the dough into a round boule by lightly stretching the surface with both hands and tucking the edges underneath. You’ll end up with a smooth, rounded top…
…and a lumpy, pinched-together bottom.
Give the dough some room to grow on a baking sheet (a light sprinkle of flour on the pan is good, too).
I like to go ahead and turn the oven on to 450 at this point, and put a broiler pan on the bottom rack. The dough balls rise for about 40 minutes, then get a sprinkle of flour on top and a few slashes.
The no-knead bread gets its lovely crispy crust from steam in the oven – that’s where your broiler pan comes in! Just pour in a cup of hot water when you put the bread in the oven. After 30 minutes, the loaves are nicely browned and your house smells glorious.
The honey butter isn’t strictly necessary, but super easy – you don’t even have to measure, just eyeball and taste! You can mix it up by hand if your butter is soft enough, or whip it with a mixer.
I probably don’t need to tell you that no-knead bread goes with anything – any of these soups, obviously. Spaghetti, for sure. But it can also breathe life into a leftovers meal, or make your virtuous grilled-chicken-on-salad dinner much more exciting! Bring it to a potluck, and be prepared to be a hero.Print
For 2 loaves of bread:
- 2-1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1-1/2 cups warm water (about 100 degrees)
- 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the dough
For 3 loaves of bread:
- 1 Tablespoon plus 3/8 teaspoon instant yeast (just do a scant 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 Tablespoon plus 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt (just do a scant 1/2 teaspoon)
- 2-1/4 cups warm water (about 100 degrees)
- 4-3/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting dough
For 4 loaves of bread:
- 1.5 Tablespoons instant yeast
- 1.5 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 3 cups warm water (about 100 degrees)
- 6.5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting dough
For salty honey butter:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
- about 2 Tablespoons of honey, or to taste
- about 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (a pinch), or to taste
- Mix yeast and salt into the water in a large bowl, reserving a couple tablespoons of the water. Stir in flour and mix until a shaggy, loose dough ball forms and all of the flour is incorporated. Add the reserved water if you need it to incorporate the flour. You don’t want the dough to be so wet that it’s hard to shape later.
- Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise at room temperature for about 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
- You can bake it right away or cover and refrigerate the risen dough for up to a week! To bake at this point, sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour and cut it in half (if making 2 loaves). Form each piece into a boule by stretching it lightly in your hands and tucking the ends under until you have a round ball with a smooth top and a lumpy, pinched-together bottom. Place each ball on a lightly floured baking sheet, giving them room to grow and spread out a bit. Cover the dough balls with a towel and let them rise again for about 40 minutes (if the dough has been refrigerated, increase this rising time to 1 hour!) while you place a broiler pan in the bottom rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 450.
- Dust the dough with a little flour and cut a few slashes in the top with a sharp knife (I use my serrated bread knife). Open the oven and slide out the bottom rack. Pour one cup of hot water into the broiler pan, then slide that rack back in as you put the bread pan on the middle rack and quickly close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for 30 minutes until the loaves are well-browned. I recommend checking the bread after 20 minutes, and if it’s already brown, tent each loaf loosely with foil (I just drape a piece right on top).
- To make the salty honey butter, mix butter, honey, and kosher salt by hand, or whip it with a mixer. Slather it generously onto warm slices of bread!