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Making bread has never been easier with this 4-ingredient, quick, no knead bread recipe. It’s soft and chewy inside with a perfectly golden crust and requires just 5 minutes of hands-on prep and 2 ½ hours of proofing!

completed Easiest No Knead Bread on a white surface

The Easiest, Quick, 4-Ingredient No-Knead Bread For Beginners

If you’ve never made bread before, you may think it’s a long and arduous process, but that doesn’t have to be the case! In fact, while this easy bread recipe is slightly long, most of that time is for the dough rising. Otherwise, this no-knead bread recipe takes very little effort, just 5 minutes of hands-on prep, and 0 kneading!

This quick, no-knead artisan bread requires no mixer, no special starter, and only a short 2 ½ hours of proofing vs. the regular overnight proof, and no previous bread-making knowledge. It’s also extremely forgiving, including using a longer proofing time for a more yeasty, developed flavor or adapting it with optional mix-ins.

You can also make this no-knead bread without a Dutch oven if you don’t have one; just a regular baking tray will do. With very little effort, you can produce artisan-quality, rustic, hearty free-form bread! It truly is the perfect beginner loaf for enjoying as toast, making sandwiches, and dipping in soups and stews!

The Ingredients To Make Bread

This basic easy bread recipe relies on just 4 ingredients.

  • Flour: We usually use all-purpose flour, though white bread flour works even better. You could also use a 2:3 blend of whole wheat and white flour, though the no-knead yeast bread loaf will be denser.
  • Yeast: For this no-knead crusty bread, you’ll need instant yeast, which requires no ‘activation.’ To use active dry yeast, check the FAQs.
  • Water: It’s important to use lukewarm water (around 110-115F) to help activate the yeast and form the dough for this fast no knead bread.
  • Salt: To lightly season this easy yeast bread.

How To Flavor Bread?

With the simple bread recipe sorted, it’s easy to make dozens of different flavored varieties to fit any occasion. Mix them in during step 2.

  • Garlic: Add garlic powder or 1-2 minced garlic cloves.
  • Everything bagel seasoning: Add 1-2 tbsp for crunch and flavor.
  • Vegan cheese: Vegan parmesan or sharp cheddar work well for a delicious no-knead plant-based cheese bread. Add between ¼-¾ cups based on how subtle you’d prefer the flavor.
  • Jalapeño: De-seeded and finely chopped. Adjust the amount to taste.
  • Olives: Finely chopped green and/or black olives will add a salty, briny flavor and texture. Add about ¼ cup.
  • Sundried tomatoes: Add 2-3 tablespoons, finely chopped.
  • Herbs: Use fresh or dried herbs, like rosemary, sage, Italian seasoning, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds: Add 1-3 tablespoons of raw or toasted mixed seeds, pumpkin seeds, or chopped nuts (walnuts, pistachios, etc.).
  • Flaky sea salt: Sprinkle a little over the top of the loaf before baking.

You can also combine any of the above in many delicious ways. I.e., garlic + herbs, vegan cheese + garlic, tomato, olive + herb with optional vegan cheese, etc.

  • Cinnamon raisin bread: Add ⅔ cup raisins, 1-2 tsp cinnamon, and 2-3 tbsp brown sugar or coconut sugar. Optionally add ½ tsp vanilla extract.
  • Cranberry walnut bread: Add about ½ cup each of nuts and dried cranberries. Optionally add a little sugar and/or orange zest.

How to Make Quick No-Knead Bread

This homemade bread recipe really couldn’t be any simpler. All you need are four ingredients and just 5 minutes of prep time.

  • 1) First, combine the yeast, warm water (between 110-115F/43-46C is best – too hot will kill the yeast, and not warm enough won’t activate it), and salt in a large bowl. No need to mix or wait for it to dissolve.
process shot of adding yeast to glass bowl of water
  • 2) Add the flour and use a wooden spoon or your hands (ensure they’re really wet) to mix it until it’s a sticky, shaggy dough (no need to knead).
  • 3) Cover the bowl with a warm damp tea towel or plastic wrap and leave it to rise in a warm, draft-free area (like in the oven with its light on – at around 70F/21C is best) until it doubles in size. This will take 1-2 hours but can be left overnight to develop the flavor.

For One Large Loaf

  • 1) Then, as if the dough has four ‘sides,’ gently stretch one side up, fold it over to the center of the bowl, and repeat with the remaining three ‘sides.’
  • 2) Turn the bowl over to deposit the loaf onto floured (or use cornmeal/wheat bran) parchment paper to create a nice, rounded loaf.

If not, shape it by hand, pinching the seams on the underside of the loaf.

  • 3) Cover it once more and leave it to rise for 30-40 minutes until the dough doesn’t readily spring back when poked.
  • 4) After 20 minutes of rising, place a baking tray or baking stone in the oven and preheat it to 450F/230C. Place a smaller oven-proof dish on the bottom rack.
  • 5) Once risen, score the top of the loaf with a large X using a sharp blade, then transfer it to the preheat tray/stone in the center of the oven and carefully pour a cup of water into the dish on the bottom rack.
process shot of cutting a small slit onto top of dough

This water will steam in the oven and help to create a really nice crust on the loaf.

  • 6) Bake the loaf for 30-40 minutes until golden-brown outside and hollow when tapped on the bottom. Then leave it to cool completely before serving. Enjoy!

For Multiple Smaller Loaves

We often like making just one small loaf to begin and store the remaining dough in a Ziplock/Stasher bag (excess air removed) in the fridge for 4-5 days.

Then, whenever you want fresh bread, tear off a grapefruit-sized piece, shape it in 60 seconds, and bake as written above for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown!

FAQs

Can I make the bread in a Dutch oven?

A Dutch oven mimics a professional bread oven by increasing radiating energy and humidity. To make no-knead Dutch oven bread, preheat the Dutch oven for 30 minutes in the oven and place the bread on enough parchment paper, so there’s slight overhang (easier to remove afterward).

Bake the bread with the lid on for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 10-25 minutes, until it’s your desired level of brown.  

Bread flour vs. all-purpose flour?

Bread flour has a higher protein content and, thus, more gluten. This makes for an easy yeast bread with better structure and height and a chewier texture.  

How do you know when the bread is ready?

It’s ready when the crust is golden to golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. If you have a thermometer, the center of the bread should read 210F/99C.

Can I use active dry yeast?

Yes, but you’ll need to use an extra 25% and activate it by combining the yeast and warm water in a bowl (without the salt and optionally add a teaspoon of sugar to feed the yeast), then leave it to activate and become frothy in about 5 minutes.

Then, after mixing the dough, you’ll need to leave it to rise for 18 hours at room temperature or up to 3 days in the fridge.

Top Recipe Tips and Notes

  • Ensure the yeast is in date: If it isn’t fresh, the bread won’t rise.
  • The dough’s consistency: It should look wet and sticky, like a shaggy dough, before rising. This is normal, so don’t mix in more flour.
  • Short vs. long rise time: A longer rise time will further develop the flavor of the bread and create a more porous texture. After the initial rise, punch down the dough and transfer it to a bowl, lightly oiled and covered, to the fridge for up to 3 days, punching it down gently as necessary (to lightly deflate it).
  • Leave it to cool: The residual heat will help fully cook the inside. Meanwhile, the bread will properly ‘set’ as it cools.
  • To avoid burn: Sometimes, a piece of the crust rises and browns too quickly. Simply tent a small amount of foil over that part.
completed Easiest No Knead Bread on a white surface

Storage Instructions

Once baked, we love eating it warm out of the oven. However, you can store any leftovers in a cloth bag or wax paper at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Alternatively, you can freeze the quick artisan bread in a freezer-safe Ziplock/Stasher (wrap with a layer of plastic wrap first) for up to 3 months. Then thaw it at room temperature when needed.

To freshen up a hard loaf, sprinkle it lightly with water and bake or microwave until warm. You can also use slightly stale bread to make croutons or turn them into breadcrumbs.

More Vegan Bread Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Easiest No Knead Bread on a white surface

The Easiest No Knead Bread

5 from 48 votes
Prep: 3 hours 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 4 – 5 loaves
Making bread has never been easier with this 4-ingredient, quick, no knead bread recipe. It's soft and chewy inside with a perfectly golden crust and requires just 5 minutes of hands-on prep and 2 ½ hours of proofing!

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups of lukewarm water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of granulated yeast about 2 packets – any brand/style will do
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of coarse salt
  • 6 ½ cups of unbleached all-purpose flour

Instructions 

  • Add the yeast and the salt to the warm water (about 110 degrees F) in a large bowl. You don't need to mix it or wait for it to dissolve.
  • Add the water. No need to sift or pack the flour. Simply scoop it up, sweep level, and add all of it to the water mixture.
  • Use a wooden spoon or your (very wet) hands to mix in the flour. It's not necessary to knead the dough. Just mix it together until it's uniformly moist.
  • Cover the bowl and allow it to rise in a warm spot until it's about twice its size. I cover it with a hand towel and put it in the sun. This will take about 2 hours.
  • It's recommended that you allow the dough to then sit in the fridge for a few hours, but if you're like me, you're ready to eat. Cut off a grapefruit sized chunk of dough and with floured hands, stretch and mold it into a ball. Again, no need to knead – this shouldn't take more than 60 seconds.
  • Place the ball of dough onto a heavily floured surface you can later use to slide the dough into the oven (like a pizza peel). Flour the top of the ball and use a knife to cut a couple of slices into the top. Allow the dough to sit and rise for 40 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the oven on to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) and place a baking surface on the middle rack (a baking stone works best but a cookie sheet will work).
  • After 40 minutes, slide the dough on to the baking surface. The trick is to add a pan with 1 cup of water to the bottom rack, which will help bake the bread with steam, making it soft in the middle. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
  • Keep the rest of the dough covered or in a freezer bag in the fridge until you're ready for another loaf (it will keep for well over a week). The initial dough making is the tedious part. However, when you're ready for a loaf, cut off a chunk of dough, spend 60 seconds to roll the dough into a ball, let rise for 40 minutes and cook for 30. You'll have fresh bread for 60 seconds of work.

Notes

  • Ensure the yeast is in date: If it isn’t fresh, the bread won’t rise.
  • The dough’s consistency: It should look wet and sticky, like a shaggy dough, before rising. This is normal, so don’t mix in more flour.
  • Short vs. long rise time: A longer rise time will further develop the flavor of the bread and create a more porous texture. After the initial rise, punch down the dough and transfer it to a bowl, lightly oiled and covered, to the fridge for up to 3 days, punching it down gently as necessary (to lightly deflate it).

Nutrition

Calories: 744kcalCarbohydrates: 156gProtein: 22gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 2630mgPotassium: 232mgFiber: 6gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 4IUVitamin C: 0.01mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 9mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Jake
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Method: Oven
Diet: Vegan
Keywords: appetizer, beginner recipes, bread, bread and butter, easy bread, easy bread recipe, flour, free formed, no knead, side, side dish, vegan, vegan bread, vegetarian, yeast
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Jake

Jake switched to a plant based diet in 1996 and quickly realized he had no idea how to cook. All these years later and he’s still trying to figure it out…

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This No Knead Bread recipe is such a fast and fun way to make homemade bread. I love that it’s just so simple and it makes for delicious toast!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe. It’s great how easy it is to prepare this bread and how delicious it turned out.

  3. I get that there is ease in making this free form, but if I want to make a more uniform loaf in a bread pan for kids sandwiches, will it work just as well?

    1. We haven’t tried subbing in GF flour yet for this one so can’t guarantee the results! Let us know how it turns out if you end up giving it a go!