POV: You’re walking into the local bakery and become instantly enveloped in the aromas of freshly-baked baguette that feel like a warm blanket on a chilly day. If only we could find a way to bottle up this scent to make your home smell that way, too. Sigh. Much as we all may love eating bread, the cold hard truth is that making it from scratch can be a pain in the tush.
That ends aujourd’hui. There are many tips and tricks to making a pillowy soft in the inside, crusty ’round the edges loaf of bread with as little effort as possible. Enter the best no-knead bread recipe, ideal for even the most novice baker.
To help guide our bread-loving endeavors, we tested three top-rated no-knead bread recipes swirling the internet—including a yogurt flatbread, artisan bread, and sandwich-style rustic bread—and here were our results.
What to keep in mind about this bread experiment
First things first, let’s define the control variables in the experiment. For each trial, I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour. Since I found it challenging to get my hands on storebought self-rising flour, I opted for making it myself by combining one cup of flour, one and a half teaspoons of baking powder, and a half teaspoon of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (which was the same salt I used for all of the recipes).
Additionally, I used FAGE Total Greek Yogurt, 2% Reduced Fat when yogurt was required, California Olive Ranch Olive Oil and Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray for greasing, and Red Star Dry Active Yeast. Also worth noting, I used my all-time favorite five-and-a-half quart Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven for baking the artisan-style bread.
Then the fun part: the variables. To figure out the best no-knead bread recipes, I narrowed it down to three highly popular techniques getting tons of attention on social media. This included the following varieties: yogurt flatbread, artisan bread, and sandwich-style rustic bread. For each of these, I assessed them based on their intended use (like which one is best for a quick snack) and how long it took me to prepare them.
3 ways to prepare no-knead bread
1. Yogurt Flatbread
As it turns out, yogurt bread is destined to be one of the most popular bread recipes of the spring. Why? It’s made with two ingredients and is packed with loads of protein. A win-win. Above all, this one is by far the easiest no-knead bread recipe you’ll ever make and is ideal for whipping together a quick snack. To make it, I followed the steps in a recent TikTok video by @chicago.dietitian, Samar Kullab, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian.
@chicago.dietitian Literally just 1 cup of Greek yogurt & 1 cup of self rising flour! #dietitian #nutrition #highprotein #healthyrecipes #healthybread ♬ original sound – Samar Kullab MS, RDN
First, I combined one cup of my homemade self-rising flour and one cup of Greek yogurt in a large bowl and mixed it with my hands until a uniform ball formed. Then, on a floured surface, I divided the dough into six equal portions and flattened each using a rolling pin to form a flatbread-style shape. Next, in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, I added avocado oil and cooked the bread until it was golden brown on both sides—they slightly puffed up as they cooked. Lastly, I seasoned them with a pinch of flaky sea salt.
Best For: A quick snack, a side dish for a meal, or when you’re very, very hungry but really want bread.
Total Time: 20 minutes
Definitely a high-vibe, low-effort way of making bread to impress your friends (and yourself) with your baking skills. To make it, I followed the steps in a recent TikTok video by @cookingwithshereen, which has over 3.6 million views. In a large bowl, I combined three and a half cups of all-purpose flour, two teaspoons of Kosher salt, half a teaspoon of instant yeast, and one and three-quarter cup of warm water (about 108°F). Next, I stirred the mixture until a ball began to form and added a few additional splashes of water to help bind the ingredients together so the edges of the dough wouldn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.
@cookingwithshereen Foolproof! Jim Lahey’s no knead artisan style bread. Gets better each time. #artisianbread #nokneadbread #bread #cookingwithshereen ♬ original sound – Shereen Pavlides
Then, I covered it with cling wrap and let it proof for about two hours—though Shereen Pavlides recommended five to eight hours at room temperature. To expedite the proofing process, I used my Calphalon Performance Countertop French Door Air Fryer Oven, which I set at its lowest setting (150°F). After about 10 minutes of heating up, I turned off the oven. Then, I placed the covered bowl inside of the warm environment ideal for speeding up the proofing process (you can also use the Instant Pot on the yogurt setting for similar results). Ultimately, the goal is to have the dough double in size, which only took me about two hours with this easy trick.
Once the dough was proofed, I transferred it to a floured surface, folded the sides inward to create a round loaf shape, and flipped it over. Then, I covered it with a bowl to avoid the outside from overdrying. Meanwhile, I preheated the oven to 425°F, and once it was hot, I inserted my Dutch oven (with the heat-safe lid and knob on) inside for 30 minutes. While the pot was heating up, I dusted a bit of flour and carved two slits on the surface of the dough. After the pan was hot, I carefully removed it from the oven, placed the dough inside, and repositioned the lid. Then, baked it for 30 minutes and an additional 10 minutes with the lid off until the surface was golden brown.
Best For: Impressing your friends with a bakery-worthy loaf of bread to make your home smell like heaven on earth.
Total Time: 4 hours
3. Rustic Sandwich-Style
Say hello to a new staple in your meal prep routine. This sandwich-style rustic bread recipe (aka “peasant bread”) by @alexandraskitchen (with 6.9 million views on TikTok) is beyond easy to make and super practical for preparing in large batches to nosh on throughout the week. To make it, I combined three cups of all-purpose flour and one and a half teaspoons each of Kosher salt, granulated sugar, and instant yeast in a large bowl. Then, I added one and a half cups of lukewarm water and stirred it all together until a sticky ball formed, which I covered with cling wrap and a clean kitchen towel on top.
@alexandraskitchen One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how to make the peasant bread in a loaf pan… here’s how Metric measurements given in recipe. #bread #simple #noknead #peasantbread ♬ original sound – Alexandra’s Kitchen
Since I was using my small countertop oven to proof the other batch of dough, I opted for another quick and easy trick to expedite the proofing process. To do so, I microwaved a heat-safe mug with a cup of water on high for about two minutes to trap warmth and moisture in the appliance. Then, I placed the covered bowl next to the cup with water in the microwave (without turning it on). I let it proof for about an hour or so, which was enough time for it to double in size. Next, using two forks, I scooped the dough from the edges to form a ball in the center, added a tablespoon of olive oil, and turned the dough to coat all sides.
Once the dough was coated, I transferred it to a greased (with unsalted butter) loaf pan and let it rise covered for another hour until the dough crowned the rim. Once ready, I cooked the loaf at 375°F oven for 45 minutes until golden brown. Lastly, I transferred the loaf to a cooling rack to cool completely before slicing.
Best For: Meal prepping to enjoy throughout the week.
Total Time: 4 hours
The best no-knead bread recipe, according to our tests
TL;DR? The results are in. The best way to cook no-knead bread is *drumroll please* all of them.
Yes, that’s right. According to my tests, you should definitely make all three of these no-knead bread recipes. In terms of flavor, they’re all delicious, crispy on the outside, and so soft on the inside. However, what makes them different (and worth making all of them), is the fact that each is ideal for different scenarios. Basically, there’s a time and place for each one of these no-knead recipes.
According to my tests, you should definitely make all three of these no-knead bread recipes. In terms of flavor, they’re all delicious, crispy on the outside, and so soft on the inside.
For the snackers, flatbread yogurt bread is the way to go. It’s easy, reliable, and ideal for making bread in a flash. Meanwhile, the artisan-style bread is the very impressive no-knead bread recipe you’d want to bring to your in-laws or prepare for a new lover. Lastly, the sandwich-style rustic bread is the easiest to make in large batches and perfect for meal prepping for the week ahead. Basically, why choose when you can have ‘em all?
An easy paleo bread recipe: