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No-knead bread

No-knead bread
Bread baked using the no-knead method
Type Bread
16x16px Cookbook:No-knead bread  16x16px No-knead bread

No-knead bread is a method of bread baking that uses a very long fermentation (rising) time instead of kneading to form the gluten strands that give the bread its texture. It is characterized by a low yeast content and a very wet dough. Some recipes improve the quality of the crust by baking the bread in a Dutch oven or other covered vessel.


According to one version of the method developed by New York baker Jim Lahey,[1] as described in his book My Bread, one loaf of the bread is made by mixing three cups (430 g) flour, 1¼ teaspoon (8 g) salt and ¼ teaspoon (1 g) instant yeast with 1½ cup (345 ml) cool water to produce a wet, sticky dough.

Ingredients Grams Baker's %
Flour 430 100%
Salt 8 1.86%
Instant yeast 1 0.233%
Water 345 80.2%
Formula  784 182.093%

The dough is allowed to rise, covered, for 12 to 18 hours until doubled in size and covered with bubbles, then scraped onto a floured surface and allowed to rise, covered, for another hour or two. It is then dropped in a pot that has been preheated in an oven at Script error: No such module "convert".. The bread is baked in the covered pot for 30 minutes and, with the lid removed, for another 15 to 30 minutes until the crust is a deep brown, then removed from the pot and allowed to cool for an hour.[2]

The method uses a long rise instead of kneading to align the flour's gluten molecules with each other so as to produce a strong, elastic network, which results in long, sticky strands. The automatic alignment is possible because of the wetness of the dough, which makes the molecules more mobile.[3] Wet doughs, which use a weight of water of about 75% that of the flour, require more salt than conventional doughs, about 2% of the flour weight.[4]

History and Popularization

Although no-knead bread was first described in the 1999 cookbook No Need to Knead, written by California baker Suzanne Dunaway and published by Hyperion Books, author Jeff Hertzberg notes such a method before the late 1990s in Italy.[5] One reviewer described Dunaway's cookbook as, "a book that doesn’t care about kneading and still produces fantastic results!"[6] Due to the popularity of her no-knead method, Dunaway's book was re-published in 2012 by Grub Street Cookery.[7]

In 2007, Hertzberg and fellow author Zoe François published Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which uses a no-knead method of stored and refrigerated dough that is ready for use at any time during a 5-to-14 day period. New York Times journalist Nick Fox wrote, "... soon the bread will be making itself… The crusty, full-flavored loaf that results may be the world’s easiest yeast bread."[8]

New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman described Lahey's method in his November 8, 2006 column The Minimalist. Bittman praised the bread for its "great crumb, lightness, incredible flavor [and] enviable, crackling crust."[3] Two years later, he noted the recipe's "immediate and wild popularity,"[9] and a 2009 cookbook described Bittman's column as, "one of those recipes that literally change the culinary scene with discussions on hundreds of blogs in dozens of languages around the world."[10]


  1. ^ Jim Lahey, Baking the perfect loaf of bread at home, Sullivan St. Bakery, retrieved 2012-05-25 
  2. ^ Lahey, Jim (2009). My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method. W.W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-06630-4. 
  3. ^ a b Bittman, Mark (8 November 2006). "The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work". New York Times. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  4. ^ McGee, Harold (23 February 2010). "Better Bread With Less Kneading". New York Times. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  5. ^ American Public Media. " The Splendid Table" N.p., 7 March 2014. Web. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  6. ^ Hodgman, Ann. " Just give me the recipe, and shut up already! -" N.p., 19 May 2000. Web. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  7. ^ Harman, Nick. "No need to knead - Suzanne Dunaway - Foodepedia."Foodepedia - Feeding you the good stuff. N.p., 21 Nov. 2012. Web. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  8. ^ Fox, Nick. "Soon the Bread Will Be Making Itself." The New York Times. 21 Nov. 2007. Web. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  9. ^ Bittman, Mark (3 October 2008). "No-Knead Bread: Not Making Itself Yet, but a Lot Quicker". New York Times. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Wolfert, Paula (2009). Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking: Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share. John Wiley and Sons. p. 266. ISBN 978-0-7645-7633-1.