No Knead Dutch Oven Crusty Bread

Crusty Bread – bake this easy to make bread in a cast iron pot and you have perfection, no kneading required, 4 simple ingredients.

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I am so excited about sharing this bread recipe with you, I have not been this excited in a very long time about a recipe. You know how much I love baking, but I love simplicity as well. This bread could not get any easier, it’s even easier than the artisan bread.

Let me give you an introduction first. I came across this recipe on pinterest, and it took me to Simply So Good blog to this amazing bread recipe. The ingredients are the same as for the artisan bread but the way it’s made, totally different. The thought of baking bread in a cast iron pot with the lid on never crossed my mind, but now that I think of it, it makes complete sense. As you bake it with the lid on, it creates steam inside the pot therefore creating a nice crust on the bread. We know steam makes crusty bread.

Do not worry about a thing. If you think there is no way your bread will look like this, you are so wrong. This could not get any easier. If you’ve never baked bread before you could still make this.

But admire the bread for a minute. Is that crust not perfection? Have you seen a better looking crust than that?

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Now let me tell you about the bread a bit. It is the best bread I have ever made. No lie! And I’ve made a few breads in my day. It crusty, it is crunchy and it is flavorful. You know those great Italian loaves of bread with a nice crust to them that you buy from the local Italian bakery, it’s like that, if not better.

To make this could not get any easier. Simply mix the flour, salt and yeast together and then add the water to it. Mix it using a wooden spoon or spatula until it’s all incorporated, no need to over mix, it will look like a sticky mess. Cover up the bowl, let it rest outside on the counter for 12 to 18 hours. Yes, if you thought you were going to eat bread today you won’t, you have to let it rest for that long, and also please do not refrigerate it. I left mine for 18 hours overnight, and after all that time that sticky mess will rise and will become even stickier but that’s OK. You have to preheat your oven to 450 F degrees, and also preheat your cast iron pot as well. Apparently you don’t have to use a cast iron pot if you don’t have one, any other oven proof pot with a lid on would work. When the pot is heated, be careful not to burn yourself, using a lot of flour on your hands roughly shape the dough into a round ball, you don’t have to be perfect, and drop it in the pot. Put the lid on and bake it 30 minutes, after which remove the lid and let it bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until it’s nice and golden brown. A Perfection.

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And if I haven’t said it a million times, there is nothing better than warm bread, right out of your oven. I know you want to rush and make this right now. Oh by the way you can add other ingredients to the flour before adding the water, such as cheese, or herbs, that’s what I’m going to try next. :)

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4.9 from 9 reviews
Crusty Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1½ cups water (room temperature)
Instructions
  1. In a big bowl mix flour, salt and yeast together. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula mix it until it's all incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 18 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. Add your cast iron pot to the oven and heat it as well until it's at 450 F degrees.
  3. Remove pot from oven and remove the lid from it.
  4. Flour your work surface really well and make sure you flour your hands really well. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool.

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Comments

  1. Lori Kaumans says

    I tried this recipe this weekend and it could not be easier or more delicious. Have you ever tried it with wheat flour?

  2. First Time Bread Maker says

    My bread will be rising overnight but I only have a 3 quart Dutch oven. If I slit the dough in half and cook two seperate loaves is the cooking time the same?

    Thanks! Can’t wait to put it in the oven… And then eat it!

    • says

      3 quart should be fine for the whole dough, just depends how high it is. Otherwise yeah you could cut it in half and bake two loaves.

  3. lindsey says

    Have you tried adding cheese to this recipe yet? At what point would you add it in? At the very end I am assuming, but would mixing it in at that point ruin the texture of the bread?

    • says

      I haven’t, but I’ve read comments or posts where others have and they add the cheese at the beginning with all the ingredients. You’re right you couldn’t add it at the end because you don’t really want to mix the dough at that point.

  4. Kat Cortez says

    How sticky and/or runny is the dough supposed to be? I made this with jalapenos and cheese and the dough was too liquidy and not “together” enough, that half of the bread was just a mess. Can you add less water to give it a more firm consistency?

    • says

      You can absolutely. The dough will be quite sticky, that’s why you need to put a lot of flour on your hands when working with the dough.

  5. Debra Corey says

    i am making my dough now. It has been sitting for about one hour. It is already halfway up the side of the bowl. Is that normal? Also, my cast iron pan says not to heat without something in it or I will ruin the enamel. What should I do. Any suggestions would be great.

    • says

      I’ve never paid attention to how quickly it doubles in size, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much, just make sure you used the right amount of yeast. Not sure about the cast iron though, I haven’t had that issue with mine.

    • Bet says

      You have to be careful. This recipe does not call for a packet of yeast, just half a tsp. I accidentally used a whole packet once and it rose way too quickly. This recipe is a favorite of mine. I even bought a Dutch oven just so I could make it!

  6. Ashley says

    Just pulled mine out of the oven! I did have a problem, though, with it sticking to the bottom of my cast iron pot. I had to rip the bottom off to get it out. Any suggestions? Should I coat the bottom with crisco or oil it next time?

  7. Caroline says

    #1 This bread is the best thing that ever happened to me, thank you so much!
    #2 I found that at least for my elevation/ climate (coastal sea-level), 1.5 c water is a little too wet, and I’ve had much better results with 1.3 c water

      • Kathy Strunk says

        I made this over the weekend. It was very dense, it was still good but the insides looked nothing like the picture here, where it looks light and airy with some holes through out. What do you think I did wrong?

        • says

          It’s very hard to figure out what you did wrong, since I wasn’t in the kitchen with you, but the only things I can think of, is maybe you over mixed the ingredients, also when you are ready to put the dough in the cast iron, again don’t over work the dough, just gently shape it into a ball and place it in the dutch oven. Do not knead it.

    • Cindy says

      This bread is amazing. I made it yesterday and it looks just like the picture. Go ahead and buy a new pot. You will love it. It smells so wonderful in the house when it’s baking. I love the density of this bread and makes yummy toast too.

  8. Tanya W says

    I just found you through Pinterest. Have you ever tried doing dinner rolls in your dutch oven? I am going to try this recipe it looks great. Thank you :)

  9. Sophie says

    Great recipe! I’ve been this almost daily for 2 weeks, great every time. I’ve to keeping back 100g of the dough in the fridge to add to the next batch, is made a big difference to the flavour, and I get bigger holes in the finished loaf for it. :) Thanks so much!

  10. Shay says

    i only have an 8qt or 2qt Dutch Oven. Man! I’m attempting it in the 8qt right now. Hope i don’t totally mess it up.. I’m hungry!

  11. sharon says

    have you tried this recipe with whole wheat white bead? i’m kind of a health nut and try to do everything whole grain

  12. Jacqui says

    I can’t wait to try this because my Italian husband always bragged about the bread in NJ. I just wondered if you have to grease the dutch oven before you plop in the round loaf?

  13. Mark says

    I received a dutch oven for Christmas and I have a terrible track record when it comes to cooking. I was looking forward to making a bread and this was my first attempt. I must say, it was fast, easy and i’m enjoying the first slice as I type. Thank you!

  14. Nikki says

    I would love to know if you have tried it with cheese yet?I got a new cast iron pot for Christmas. I am dying to try it though I would love to add cheese to it but don’t want to mess it up. if you like the way that it works with cheese just as well then I will try it. Lol thanks, Nikki.

  15. says

    This recipe is amazing!
    I found your link on pinterest and tried it. The look is so french/italien and my husband likes the crust. So easy!! I baker it in a pot of glass and it works.
    One question: if i add cheese. Just mix it with the flour and other things or just the last 20 min on top?
    Thank you for this Great Bread

    Ps: may i post a link on my blog?

    • says

      Yes you may. If you want to add some cheese and herbs you would add that in the first step with the flour and the water and yeast. So glad you liked it. :)

  16. Violet says

    Question, I don’t see anything about spraying or greasing the pot – should we? Thanks! Love making bread and this recipe is VERY interesting! Can’t wait to try it!

  17. Steve says

    Hi,

    As you take the dough out and drop it in the dutch oven have you to be careful not to knock the air out or doesn’t it matter?

    Thanks in advance

  18. Kimberly Stone says

    I have never once tried baking bread in my life, but goshdarnit I’m going to try this.

    Only I don’t own a cast iron pot with a lid. What brand is yours? And what size? Do you have a photo?

    Thank you for sharing this recipe and your wisdom.

    • says

      Hi Kimberly,
      My dutch oven is Kitchenaid brand and it’s a small one, 3.5 quart. I only have the photo that’s in this post, where you can only see part of it. Hope you try this bread, it’s really worth it.

    • Kathi says

      I have made this using Corning Ware casseroles – the ones with the glass covers. They work fine too. For this size loaf I use the 1 3/4 size dish. You put it in the oven to preheat just as you do for the cast iron dutch oven. Happy baking. I have a loaf baking right now.

  19. says

    I’m trying this as we speak. It was very sticky when I was trying to get it out of the bowl is that correct? It was not easy to handle but I finally got it into the baking pan. I hope it works for me. Thanks

  20. Sue says

    I just made this bread and it looks great! Will have it with beef stew tonight.
    A question though, am I to let it cool in the Dutch oven or remove it to a cooling rack?

  21. Marta says

    Made this for the 1st time today, it was so delicious! I’ve never had any luck with recipes that require yeast so I was very skeptical to try it. Ate it with a creamy tomato soup! Making for Christmas morning breakfast for the family

  22. Jack says

    I found this recipe a bit ago. I now use it ALL the time and LOVE it. We have doubled the batch on many occasions. I’ve made it over a camp fire and even in a regular baking pan. Comes out fantastically each time. If I’m ever feeling really creative, we add cranberries or garlic.

  23. Christina says

    This recipe is making the rounds on Pinterest and I tried it yesterday. HUGE success, Thank you! this is so easy and delicious, I am going to let my kids make the next loaf. Can you give me some add-in suggestions with amounts?

  24. Faith says

    Just tried this recipe today, and when I took it out from baking it barely rose at all and lacks the textured appearance that shows in your pictures. Not really sure where I went wrong…

  25. says

    Incredible, just incredible. I have so much trouble getting bread, any bread, anytime, despite hints, tips, you name it but I just keep trying. This one, well it did it all and it turned out JUST like the photo and the directions said it would. Jo, I would buy you a cocktail for this! Thank you so very much for sharing!

  26. Elyse says

    I made this the other night, it was excellent . The only thing I need to fix is the bottom crust was quite hard. Any ideas?

  27. Jody says

    This recipe is absolutely amazing! So easy and incredibly delicious. I’ve been making different kinds of bread for years now and this is by far the best I’ve ever made. I added Thyme and Rosemary, and can’t wait to try cheese, seeds and more.
    Do you think it would work if I substituted half whole wheat flour?

    Thank you Jo!

  28. HuGh says

    Before I go out and buy a cast iron pot I have a porcelain pot that should be okay, if it is big enough. What is the diameter of your cast-iron pot? Do you know how many quarts ?

    Will this taste anything like Italian bread?

    Is there any trick to having the crust come out real thin and crispy?

    • says

      My cast iron pot is about 10 inches in diameter. Yes it does taste like Italian bread, mostly because of the crust. The reason the bread comes out nice and crispy is because you bake it with the lid on for the first 30 minutes, which creates that steam inside which makes the crust crisp.

  29. Apple says

    Hi Jo!
    Thank you for posting this recipe! I tried it last week & it turned out great! I like your website as it contains a lot of simple & yummy recipe. Can’t wait to try another of your recipe!! :)

    • says

      I’m not sure what size mine is, it’s a smaller one. I think the corning ware should work though I never tried it. Let me know how it turns out.

  30. Ric says

    Just found this recipe. Looks great! Can’t wait to try it. Do you have to oil or flour the pot before putting in the dough? Thanks!

  31. Geoff says

    Hey there. This looks like the Mark Bitman no knead ovenight bread I have been meaning to make. It is on You Tube and was in NY Times. Is that where you found the recipe? It’s great to see how well it worked out for you. Must try!

    • says

      Hi Geoff,
      I found this on pinterest on simply so good blog. I’ve made this bread now many times, you really can’t screw it up. I really love it.

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