No Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (2024)

No Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (1)

No Knead BreadVariations

There are countless ways that making food from scratch offers a huge savings over buying the pre-packaged version in the grocery store. One of the best examples is Roasting Whole Chickens and Making Chicken Stock. A very close second would be baking your own bread.

It’s no secret that we’re crazy about Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread around here. This big, beautiful loaf can be made in your own kitchen for less than $1 a loaf. You would easily be paying five times that in a bakery or grocery store for something of similar size and quality. Multiply that over the course of a year and that is some serious savings. Enough to justify buying a Dutch ovenNo Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (2)(Amazon).

Or four. But who’s counting?

In this post, I’ve included our version of Lahey’s recipe, as well as included a long list of possible variations. Once you have the hang of the basic recipe, start putting your own spin on it!

No Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (3)

Basic No-Knead Bread (go here for the step-by-step recipe)
slightly adapted from Jim Lahey’s original recipe(Amazon)

6cups bread flour (recommended) or unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 t. instant or active-dry yeast
21/2 t. salt
2 2/3 c. cool water

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt (add any additional ingredients here). Addthe water and stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated; the doughshould bewet and sticky. Coverthe bowlwith plastic wrap. Let the dough rest 12-18 hours on the counter at roomtemperature. When surface of the risen dough has darkened slightly, smells yeasty,and is dotted with bubbles,it is ready.
  2. Lightly flour your hands and a work surface. Place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice and, using floured fingers,tuck the dough underneath to form a rough ball.
  3. Generouslydust a cotton towel (not terry cloth) or parchment paper with enoughflour, cornmeal, or wheat bran to prevent the dough from sticking to the towel as it rises; place dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran. Cover with the edges ora second cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
  4. After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to425 degrees. Place a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot, such as a cast-iron Dutch oven, in the oven as it heats. When the dough has fully risen, carefully remove pot from oven. (You can add some olive oil to the bottom of the pot, if you want.)Remove top towel from dough and slide your hand under the bottom towel;flip thedough over into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough looks unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  5. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 10-15 more minutes, until the crust is a deep chestnut brown. The internal temperature of the bread should be around 200 degrees. You can check this with a meat thermometer, if desired.
  6. Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

No Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (4)

If you want to stir in additional ingredients to your bread, add them to the dry ingredients (flour, yeast, salt) before adding the water. This will ensure they get evenly incorporated to the dough. Then proceed with the recipe as written.

The list below is by no means an exhaustive one of possible variations. Olives, herbs, roasted garlic, or caramelized onions would be good. Or cinnamon raisin! Or roasted pepper!

Go to our No-Knead Bread FAQ page for more ideas or create your own combination! We’d love to hear your favorite combination in the comments section!

And I know someone is going to ask: Do you have a gluten-free version? I have searched high and low for a good gluten-free option, but none of the recipes I found seem to be that popular. I am a total amateur when it comes to gluten-free baking, but I am intrigued by the cup-for-cup gf flour. However… I always balk at the price. It would make one expensive loaf of bread. Does anyone have any brilliant gluten-free ideas?

No Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (5)

Cranberry Orange Bread

This version can stand on its own with no problemo. Serve it with some butter and call it a day. But! If you really want to win friends and influence people, invite them over for breakfast and serve this as French toast. They will want to make you President of something, even if it’s just the PTA.


zest of 1 orange
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c.dried cranberries
1/2 c. sunflower seeds or walnuts

No Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (6)

Four Cheese Bread

I can barely handle this bread, it is so delicious. The first time I served it (Christmas Eve 2013, with three kinds of soup), people kept asking, “What is in this bread?!” Cheese! But not just any cheese. Trader Joe’s shredded Quattro Formaggio. Adding some chopped green onion isn’t a bad idea, either.


1-2 c. shredded cheese
1/4 c. chopped green onion (optional)

Depending on the saltiness of the cheese, you may want to decrease the salt called for in the recipe by 1/2 teaspoon. In addition to mixing shredded cheese into the dough, I also sprinkle some on top when I remove the lid for the final ten minutes of bake time.

No Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (7)

Sandwich Bread (with almond flour)

My smarty-pants husband has the mind of an inventor, so on those rare occasions when he enters the kitchen to cook rather than to eat, he’s always trying to put his own spin on recipes. He offered to stir together a batch of bread one night. When I baked it the next morning, it had a finer, softer crumb (interior) than usual. His secret? Almond flour. This bread makes the best sandwiches or toast.


1 c. of almond flour for 1 c. of unbleached flour

No Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (8)

Dark Chocolate Coconut Bread

I’m not a huge fan of sweet breads, but my husband loves them. I cut our recipe in half (back to Lahey’s original amounts) to make a smaller loaf. This bread is great toasted or served up as an afternoon snack.

Add (to 1/2 of original Frugal Living NW bread recipe):

2 T. brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped dark chocolate
1/2 c. shredded coconut (I use Bob’s Red Mill unsweetened coconut flakes)

Cut the covered baking time to 30 minutes, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle some shredded coconut on top of the bread when you remove the lid for the final 10 minutes of bake time.

No Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (9)

Tomato Basil Cheese Bread

This combination came compliments of a Frugal Living NW reader. I owe you big time. This makes the most rich, savory loaf of bread. It is delicious served with soup or spaghetti and even better turned into grilled cheese sandwiches.


2 T. tomato paste
1 c. shredded cheese
1/4 c. finely shredded fresh basil leaves

Depending on the saltiness of the cheese, you may want to decrease the salt called for in the recipe by 1/2 teaspoon.

No Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (10)

Whole Wheat Bread

You can play around with different amounts of whole wheat flour, until you find the ratio that you prefer. I like to substitute 3 cups of whole wheat flour for 3 cups of unbleached flour. If you want a lighter loaf, try half of that. Adding some honey or molasses adds a nice touch of sweetness. Cinnamon is also a great addition to this bread. If you go that route, use sugar instead of honey or molasses as a sweetener.


1 1/2-3 c. of whole wheat flour for the same amount of unbleached white flour


3 T. honey or molasses (optional)
1 T. ground cinnamon (optional)

No Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (11)

Trying to think of a gift for the person who has everything? Wanting to bring something special to the friend who just had a baby? Bake them a loaf of bread! If you wrap it up in a big kitchen towel and tie it with a nice ribbon, you are practically Martha Stewart. Of course, Martha would embroider her towel with the person’s monogram and braid her own ribbon from horse hair on her country estate, but who cares! You baked a loaf of bread! Give it to someone and watch their eyes light up. It’s a good gift.

No Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (12)

For wrapping the big loaves of bread, I like to use a towel around 20″ x 24″.

These 18×30″ Liliane Collection Kitchen Towels (Amazon) would work great. They have excellent reviews and a variety of uses. Ditch the wrapping paper and gift bags in favor of something that’s actually! At less than $1.50 a towel, buying a 13-pack is a great way to stock up for the people on your list who will be receiving home-baked treats.

Findmore delicious recipes on our Recipe Page! And make sure you’refollowing us on Pinterestfor more recipe inspiration!

This post may contain affiliate links. See the disclosure policy for more information.

No Knead Bread Variations | Recipe (2024)


What makes no-knead bread different? ›

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.

What are the pros and cons of no-knead bread? ›

Pros: Develops dough without adding additional flour (as with traditional kneading). Effective method, especially with slack doughs such as baguettes. Cons: Takes time and repetitions to master. Less effective with doughs that are either stiff or high hydration — best with medium-soft doughs.

Why is my homemade no-knead bread so dense? ›

Why is my bread dense: Usually bread will be too dense when there is too much flour. Keep in mind this dough will be pretty sticky, do not add more flour than specified. Other factors that come into play are humidity and age of flour. Little yeast, long rise, sticky dough are keys to a good, light loaf.

Will dough rise if not kneaded enough? ›

Because under-kneaded dough doesn't spring up as much in the oven, it often results in a flatter loaf with a dense texture. While it may not be the perfect loaf you hoped for, it's still entirely edible.

How do you know when kneading is sufficient? ›

The Poke Test – Give that ball of dough a firm poke with your finger. If the indentation fills back quickly, you're good to go. If it stays looking like a deep dimple, continue kneading.

Should you stretch and fold no-knead bread? ›

If the dough isn't mixed or kneaded to full development (e.g., full windowpane), adding in sets of stretch and folds during bulk fermentation will help continue its progress toward a firmer, more cohesive dough that's able to trap gas and hold its shape all the way to bake time.

Why is my no-knead bread so flat? ›

Classic no-knead bread (made with ¼ tsp instant yeast and 2¾ cups of flour) often tastes flat and dull. That lack of flavor comes from the yeast outpacing enzymes and consuming too many of the available sugars in the dough.

Can I use bread flour instead of all purpose for no knead bread? ›

Tips from our Bakers

Bread flour has more gluten-forming protein, so if you choose to use it in this recipe, the crust will be a bit thicker and you won't get quite the same open-holed structure as with all-purpose. We really prefer the texture of both crust and crumb when all-purpose flour is used.

What is the alternative to kneading bread? ›

First, when we mix flour with water, the components of gluten come together, forming an elastic, extensible network. This happens without kneading or mixing: simply add water, wait, and voilá, a cohesive dough forms. Further, time also allows for fermentation, which has additional strengthening effects on dough.

Is no knead bread better than kneaded bread? ›

Given a few folds a no-knead dough can be just as strong as a dough that has been kneaded. In some cases, like with doughs that contain a lot of whole grain flour, kneading can even have a negative effect on gluten development.

How can I make my bread lighter and fluffy? ›

Add Sugar

Adding sugar weakens the gluten structure, absorbs water, and eventually makes the bread lighter and softer. As a result, sugar improves the bread's taste, structure and texture. Yeast also eats up sugar to produce carbon dioxide, which raises the dough and makes bread fluffy.

Why do you put potato flakes in bread? ›

Potatoes, in all their varied forms, equal starch, and the more starch in dough leads to a more tender loaf. They are good at retaining moisture, which helps keep the bread soft longer. And even though potato flakes are dehydrated, they will rehydrate once incorporated into the bread dough.

What is the best yeast for bread making? ›

Active Dry Yeast is an ideal yeast to use for artisan breads or no knead breads that require a slower rise time. It's also the preferred type of yeast for those doughs that proof in the refrigerator for extended periods of time.

How do you know if bread is over risen? ›

What to look for in an over proofed loaf. Similar to the signs of over proofed dough, an over proofed loaf will be very flat, without much rise or retention of shaping. Over proofing destroys the structural integrity of the bread, so loaves that have gone over are unable to hold their shape in the oven.


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