No-Knead Bread is the Easy Solution for Preservative-Free Homemade Bread
I’m actually not sure why no-knead bread is just now becoming trendy in clean home-baking. It is the absolute simplest bread to make. It requires the most minimal of ingredients. It takes almost NONE of your precious, limited time. No-knead bread is clean and preservative-free, and a myriad of recipes means that you can easily choose one to fit your health, diet, or culinary goals.
Really. There’s just no downside to no-knead bread.
For busy people today (and who isn’t!?), no-knead bread is THE solution to problem of being able to put home-made, quality, reliable, knowable goodness on the table, with a side of holy delicious and nostalgia!
No-Knead Bread: The Time It Takes
So, what is it that maybe scares people from making cleaner, better no-knead breads at home?
If one had to guess, you could suppose it’s that it takes a long time to make no-knead bread. Hours, in fact. OVERNIGHT, in fact. Or rather, at least 6 to 8 to 12 and maybe even 18 hours!
Who in the world has that time today!?
We all do. Because here’s the thing. The “time” it “takes” to bake no-knead bread is not hands-on time at all. It’s almost completely in rising—a slow, sourdough-like rise time (without the hassle of maintaining a sourdough starter) with a moist, soft sponge, that pretty much doesn’t even get your hands dirty. You’re literally only talking maybe—MAYBE—5 minutes of measuring and mixing (if you drag it out), and then covering the bowl, forgetting about until the next morning, or the next afternoon, or whenever you have the time, then a quick dump-and-shape-up with a little more rising while the oven heats up, and around 45 minutes of baking.
All told, you’re looking at a maximum of 15 minutes of hands-on “labor.” The rest of the time, you could be soaking in the bath, working, running your kids around endlessly, or reading a book for all the bread cares. You see where I’m going with this. No-knead bread doesn’t need us, either.
How Long Does It Take to Bake No-Knead Bread?
Here’s a general overview of how long it takes to make no-knead bread (for the typical no-knead bread recipe; the process itself doesn’t vary that much between recipes for no-knead bread):
- Dough preparation: 5 minutes (measuring, mixing)
- Rising/proofing time: minimum 6 hours, 8-12 recommended, can go as long as 18-24 as life dictates
- Baking prep (turning out dough, shaping loaf): 5 minutes (maybe?)
- Final rising (mostly while oven and Dutch oven or baking vessel preheats): 45 minutes
- Baking time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: average 9 hours, 45 minutes
- Total ACTIVE (read: busy, hands-on) time: 10-15 minutes
A Bare Minimum of Ingredients
The time-factor is one of the biggest reasons to bake no-knead bread.
The others? TASTE and homemade goodness, clean PRESERVATIVE-FREE bread, INGREDIENT CONTROL, and ease-of-use (you really don’t need to be a bread baker, or much of a cook at all, to make this bread; basic kitchen skills required—an excellent bread for beginners!).
What Ingredients are in No-Knead Bread?
You’ll probably be floored when you see the list of ingredients for the typical no-knead bread. They include:
- Yeast (about ¼ teaspoon)
Seriously. That is all.
Now sure, there are no-knead bread recipes with more ingredients. If you’re looking for a more savory or flavored no-knead bread, that’s an option, too. You might find one like a Cherry, Nut, & Chocolate no-knead bread recipe; perhaps a Wheat no-knead bread recipe; you could make a multi-grain no-knead bread; or a Garlic and Herb no-knead bread recipe might be your choice. But even with no-knead breads as delicious- and complicated-sounding as these, the process, and therefore the time involved, remains largely unchanged. You’re talking about a little more preparation and a little more measuring. A few measly more minutes. The results, however, are anything but measly. They’re amazing, quite frankly.
Time-Saving, Clean, Preservative-Free No-Knead Bread Recipes
Now that you’re a little more comfortable with taking on these easy, clean, delicious (so delicious), crusty, chewy, European-style no-knead breads, all that’s left is to find some good recipes to get started.
In Quick-Time Homemade Bread and Pastries, you’ll find plenty. Ten, to be exact. From the basic Dutch oven no-knead bread recipe to the savories with herbs, cheeses, and garlic, to the sweet like the aforementioned Chunky Chocolate Cherry Almond no-knead bread recipe, you’ll find all the bases covered, with plenty to enjoy (and impress!).
So buy the book (you can get it for Kindle or in paperback), bake the bread, and be sure to come back here and share your experience (and your no-knead bread pictures, too!).
Happy Baking & Enjoy!
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Have yet to understand why my breads are like bricks. Nothing in your books or articles help me with this.
Apart from your recipes, even bagels are pretty dense. It is said that more yeast dough rises faster, but is not more ‘airy’, and may start tasting like yeast. (Not good!)
I’m sorry to hear your frustrations.
As you’re commenting on a no-knead bread post, I’m surprised. I’ve never had this issue with this bread. It does require a long rising period, and if your kitchen is on the cool side, you might need to look toward going as long as 12 to 18 hours.
A slight increase in yeast should not make a huge difference, but you’re right that adding a significant amount would and in that case, I’d look for a different solution.
Some other things that might help:
Try adding 2-3 tablespoons of Vital Wheat Gluten to your flour. This is probably the first thing I would start with.
If it’s not the no-knead bread you’re referring to, are you having an issue getting them to rise? You might try using your oven as a “proofer”–then you have more control over blocking drafts, keeping humidity high enough, and keeping the proofing environment warm enough. To do this, turn your oven on to the “warm” or very low setting. Boil some water in a kettle, and place a pan on the lower rack. When the oven is warmed, shut it off. Then place your dough on the top rack, uncovered, and pour the hot water into the pan below it. Shut the oven. Note that the dough will rise quicker this way so do keep an eye.
Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your feedback!