Easy 3-Ingredient Artisan No-Knead Bread Recipe Is Irresistible by Kristan Wager

Bread/Muffins Side Dishes
9 months ago

Easy 3-Ingredient Artisan No-Knead Bread Recipe Is Irresistible

I love to bake. There is something so elemental about home-baked bread. The scent fills the air, the crusty loaf sitting on the cooling rack just begs for an Instagram post, and the taste. Well, that is the kicker. The taste of freshly baked bread is so much better than store-bought bread.

I poo-pooed the no-knead bread idea as ridiculous because I had this image of bread baking taking hours of careful kneading, timing, proofing and talent. Then my friend baked a loaf at my home. Even without the correct pot, it was terrific. However, a Dutch oven is essential for the real deal.

Thus began my obsession with rustic, no-knead artisan bread. I have literally baked a dozen loaves in the last three weeks. At about 70 cents a loaf. In these inflationary times, you do the math: Artisan bread is $7 at our local store!

Try this easy three-ingredient (not counting the water) artisan no-knead homemade bread recipe – you will love it. The sense of satisfaction that this simple act of bread baking gives is indescribable. Theoretically, the bread lasts for a few days in a plastic bag. We make a loaf daily for our family of five. Bon Appetit!

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Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 1/2 hours
Cook Time: 40 to 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 1/2 hours (approximately)

Servings: 8


  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour (in a pinch, I use all-purpose flour, but it is not our favorite)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 2/3 cups water (100 degrees F)

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Recipe Notes

  • This rustic bread recipe can be doubled or tripled successfully if you have a large enough bowl. Check out a dough proofing box for multiple loaves.
  • A ball the size of a large grapefruit is the correct size.
  • The longer it rises in the fridge, the more like sourdough it tastes. My family loves a couple of day cold rise the best. However, it is so delicious we eat any and all loaves.
  • I have discovered that for us, organic bread flour and 2 teaspoons salt make the best loaves. In a pinch I use all-purpose flour, but it is not our favorite.

Here's how to make it: 

Quick Rise (3 1/2 hours)

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon or Dutch dough whisk, blend warm water into the dry ingredients. This dough will be wet and shaggy, also very forgiving. Mix until no dry flour is seen. Cover with plastic wrap and put a towel on top to proof for 2 hours.
  2. At the 2-hour mark, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F with the covered Dutch oven inside.
  3. Dust a large square of parchment paper with flour and turn out the dough carefully. (It will be sticky but try to preserve the proof.) Dust the top with flour and, using a dough scraper, gently fold the dough over and create a round boule. Use the sharp edge of the scraper to score lines in the dough. Cover with the plastic wrap and let rest until pot and oven are up to temperature.
  4. Remove the pot from the oven. Place the parchment paper and dough into the Dutch oven and replace lid. Bake, covered, for 35 minutes. Then, anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes uncovered (this is a personal taste issue about the crispness of the crust). Let the bread rest 30 minutes. It will be hard to wait, but you will wreck the loaf by cutting into it immediately. 

Overnight Version (Creates a Yeastier Loaf)

  1. Use 1 teaspoon instant yeast instead of 2 teaspoons in quick-rise method. 
  2. Proof the bread on the counter for 8 to 10 hours or in the refrigerator for several days. 
  3. To bake, take the dough out and place on parchment before heating the oven so it gets to room temperature.

Recipe cooking times and servings are approximate. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography. Need to convert cooking and baking measurements? Here are some kitchen conversion charts. Here's how to submit your recipes to 30Seconds.

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I’m already obsessing over this bread. I’ve been wanting to try baking my own but haven’t yet. Now I will!
Kristan Wager
Let me know how it goes
Stephanie Woloschuk
I love this bread! So so easy and delicious. I've made with olives, cheese, cranberries, raisins, nuts, sesame seeds....I can't get enough. It's my favorite with a bowl of soup 😋
Kristan Wager
We make a loaf every day!
Elisa Schmitz
I am SO glad you shared this recipe, Kristan Wager . I've been so curious about baking my own rustic bread. You've inspired me to finally try, thank you!
Kristan Wager
My favorite thing is walking past the $7 loaf of bread at Wegmans because we have fresh at home!
Bill Heleine
I baked this early this morning. Not only does the house smell wonderful, the bread is delicious!
Can I bake in loaf pan? Can I make into burger buns?
Kristan Wager
So, you could - but the magic for the crust is from the moisture created when you seal the dough in the dutch oven. You could try putting a pan of water in the oven to create the moisture - but it will be a different experience. Buns might be tricky. But perhaps worth trying? I am thinking if I did that, I would heat my stone sheet pan in the oven and put the buns on a hot stone. I would also have a pan of water in the oven for the moisture.
Keith Spies
How did the crumb turn out? Tight, or open?
Kristan Wager
Excellent question - and multiple answers.
Quick rise is tighter and slightly moist. Especially if you use AP flour. With bread flour, definitely give it a 2 hour rise minimum and you will get more action - holes in your dough. Some people add a 1/4 tsp. of sugar to the recipe to get the yeast working.
Cold rise or overnight rise - looser crumb, more lightness in texture.
Bread flour and AP flour totally behave differently and we prefer bread flour.
That being said, we have only made 1 loaf that we did not love - and that only had 1/2 tsp. of salt. Too bland and the crumb was very dense.
Thank you for this great idea! I would love to make this bread but I have never made bread before. Can you share a video showing the process? I'm not familiar with some the steps you are describing. Thanks!
Kristan Wager
I tried to post these in order. Basically - dry mixed, add wet- super sticky - let rise. Flour on parchment. Scrape wet and sticky dough. Dust with more flour. Use the scraper to fold over dough 1-2 times. SUPER gently. Dust with flour and score. Set in HEATED Dutch oven. Remove top. Cook 10 or so minutes.
To get a higher rise - you need to do the overnight or several day rise. However, by being super gentle and shaping it into a round you should get a good rise in the quick rise.
Be aware - all flours behave differently. I sometimes decrease the flour by 1/4 to 1/2 cup once I understand how the flour is behaving.
Hope this helps.
Post pictures!!
Way too much salt. The crumb was very tight a dense. I threw the recipe away aling with the bread. I am a very experienced bread maker and extremely disappointed in this recipe. Definitely NOT a keeper!
Kristan Wager
I am sorry you did not like it. This is NOT original to me, though I have baked over 35 loaves and experimented with the variables. The original recipe called for 1/4 tsp. of salt and was bland and dense. I read more, added 1 tsp. to the next and 2 tsp to the one after that. For us, that is the magic number. It does not produce a salty loaf and the rise and crumb are great even with the quick rise. There are many resources that discuss variables - you might want to check some out if you want an easy bread that requires little handling.
Delicious as is! Can I make this with whole wheat flour? Is so, what alterations do I need to make. Google is useless in making the conversion. Thanks!
Kristan Wager
So - Whole wheat is its own beast. I would not think it would be suitable for this kind of bread, but admittedly have not tried. We are going to start using Italian organic bread flour because that is assuredly NOT hybridized wheat and there is no glysophate. I have been using an organic bread flour and organic AP flour with great success.
King Arthur flour has a great resource with conversions, weights, how each flour performs etc. It is my go-to with questions.
Welp! I did it anyhow. Waayy too dense, so it will be going into my breadcrumb pile :). If I try it again, I'll add wheat gluten and see how that works. Now I'm off to do an overnite version with BF and roasted garlic.
DA Pilit
Just made my first loaf. Was worried about the salt and we think it's just right. Probably one of the wettest dough I've worked with but it came out great
Kristan Wager
Looks great! It is sooooo satisfying to make bread!
Björn Strömros
For the Overnight Version: Should I put the dough in the dutch oven when the oven is at correct temperature or when the dough is at room temperature?
DA Pilit
I kept it out of the dutch oven. Put the dutch oven in the oven and let it get up to temperature before you drop it in on the parchment paper.
Kristan Wager
Yes! That is where the magic happens! The high heat creates the moist environment.
Kristan Wager
Dough on the counter as the Dutch oven heats. It will come to room temperature as the pot is heating.
Björn Strömros
I did the overnight version in the fridge. It turned out looking and tasting great. A little bit compact though. How do I fix that?
DA Pilit
I'm just ordered a 2 qt dutch oven. I had used a 5 qt for my first loaf. I'm hoping this will make it a little taller. If you are looking for more air bubbles I am guessing letting it rise another day. I think I forgot to mention I used half AP unbleached flour and half unbleached bread flour.
Kristan Wager
Yes- good idea. It is also just getting to know how the flour you have behaves. I have loved experimenting with all the variables.
Kristan Wager
So - for me this required some trial and error - though that loaf looks amazing! We use bread flour and only 3.25 cups of flour. That seems to make all the difference. Experiment with flour and water ratios. Cut either one by 1/4 to 1/3 and see what happens. Bread can be a finicky thing - temperature/humidity/protein/gluten...all the things can affect it.
My husband is a bit worried because I just ordered 50 pounds of Italian bread flour. He is of the "if it works why change it?" school, but I think that it will be the perfect balance of all the things we love: looser crumb, yeastiness, crisp crust. We shall see!
Made this today and it turned out GREAT! I followed your recipe to the letter and my family has been annihilating the loaf. Thanks for sharing the goodness! Made another one the next day with some fresh rosemary...ya gotta try that! 3 tablespoons worth with one of those chopped. Good Stuff!
Oh rosemary that would be so good, im going to try it!
Kristan Wager
Oh my goodness! Looks great!!
Try basting the warm loaf with garlic butter and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt!
Hi! Me again. I found an oval ceramic crockpot "insert" yesterday. Can't beat .75. I know I can't use the lid in the oven, do you think covering it with foil would work? It's the perfect size for 2 loaves. Thanks again. 😊
Kristan Wager
Hmmm... Maybe? The only drawback might be not as much rise?
Let me know!!
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and tips, this bread is so good and easy to make! My first loaf was a little more dense but still delicious, second loaf (pictured) I followed your tip and put a little less flour in and it rose a bit more. Dense or not, it’s delicious and my mom told me today it’s her favourite I’ve made so far -I’ve been trying knead breads with some success but this one is is easier and delicious!

I also just wanted to commend you for your polite reply to the “experienced baker” who did not like the recipe -she was very harsh and that was unnecessary to say the least. If you don’t like a recipe there is no need to blather venom. As for myself, an “inexperienced baker” I love it and so do many others as indicated here. Peace to you and please keep sharing!
Kristan Wager
I am so glad you love it! Your loaves look great! Have you done an overnight rise? That gets the dough even nicer.
And thank you for your kind words. 'A gentle word turns away wrath.'
Happy baking!
Julio Caro
Thanks For Sharing...
Hi Kristan! Thanks for sharing this! I’ve made this before and being a “Jersey Girl” I love the crusty bread! I do have one question tho… if I want to add salami and some mozzarella should I mix it in prior to or after proofing? Thanks so much in advance!

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