No-Knead Bread

Yes, really! You can make delicious bread with no kneading and minimal effort. It makes fantastic bread for weekends, as you do need to be around to bake in the middle of the day if you want to eat it very fresh. If you don’t mind eating it the following morning, you can do it any day. I was given this recipe by my father, who in turn had it from Abel and Cole (their veg. box suppliers). However, having listened to this week’s Food Programme on Radio 4, it sounds very much like what Elizabeth David was advocating over 30 years ago.

This gives you bread which uses very little yeast and no heat or power other than for baking. The texture is lovely and open like the French pain de campagne, the flavour is delicious and the recipe works just as well for white or granary flour.

Recipe: No-Knead Bread


  • 270g / 9½oz strong white flour
  • 270g / 9½oz malted grain flour
  • 1/2 tsp dried active yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 360ml / 13floz fairly hot water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Start this bread in the late afternoon or evening.
  2. Heat the water to the point where you can just keep your finger in it, but it’s clearly hot.
  3. Put the flours in a large bowl.
  4. Add the salt, yeast and sugar.
  5. Mix all the dry ingredients very thoroughly. This is crucial.
  6. seeded_loaf1Pour in the water and mix thoroughly with a clean hand to form a sticky dough. The dough really does need to be very sticky. If it’s at all dry, add a little more warm water. If your dough is too dry, it won’t rise properly.
  7. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it on the worktop overnight. Do not put the bowl anywhere warm, just leave it out in the kitchen. It doesn’t need warmth to rise.
  8. In the morning (about 7am -7.30am if you want to eat it at lunchtime) tip the dough out of the bowl onto a floured board and flatten it out with your finger tips. You don’t have to particularly gentle, but there’s no need to go for full scale kneading, just flatten it out.
  9. Fold one side in to the middle, then fold the other side in on top of it.
  10. Shape the dough to fit your loaf tin and pop it in.
  11. Cover the tin with lightly oiled cling film and put it back to carry on rising for at least another 5 hours. If you’re out at work all day, you can leave this to rise all day and just pop it in the oven when you get home.
  12. Pre-heat the oven to 210C/Gas Mark 7
  13. Bake your bread for 30 minutes until the top is a lovely golden colour.
  14. Tip the bread out of the tin, tap the bottom of the loaf to check that it’s cooked. If it is, the loaf will sound hollow.
  15. If you think it could do with just a little more, pop the loaf back in the oven, without its tin for 5 minutes.
  16. When baked, allow the loaf to cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes so that you can cut it without mashing it.


If you want a white loaf, just use 540g of strong white flour.

Preparation time (duration): 15 minutes effort, many hours effortless rising

Cooking time (duration): 30 minutes

Diet type: Dairy-free

Number of servings (yield): 12+

Meal type: any time you like!

Culinary tradition: French style baking

Microformatting by hRecipe.

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