No-Knead Harvest Bread: the easiest artisan loaf you’ll ever enjoy

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You visit a fancy metropolitan bakery. You pay fairly big bucks for a loaf of “artisan bread.”

You think to yourself, “Hmmm, I should be able to make this at home… how hard could it be?”

The answer is – as hard as you make it, given the degree of authenticity you want the loaf to have.

You can build your own starter, and feed it twice daily. Make dough figuring baker’s percentages and proper hydration, then mix and knead it to yield the perfect temperature for yeast growth. You can lovingly shape the loaf using traditional techniques, and bake it in an oven you’ve carefully filled with steam.

And if everything goes right, and you’re a pretty good baker, you’ll have an excellent loaf.

Me, I’m simply not that patient. I can certainly follow the artisan bread process; I’ve done it, it’s interesting, it works.

But most days, I’ll trade taste for classic preparation methods, thanks anyway. If you feel the same – read on.

No-knead bread is the easiest way for novices to get into bread baking. And the simplest way for any of us to enjoy yeast bread without investing a whole lot of prep time.

As its name implies, one of yeast bread’s basic challenges – knowing how to knead – is removed. Whether you’re making a soft cheddar soda bread, crackly-crusted white bread, or any number of other tasty no-knead loaves, you’ll expend a minimum of effort for a maximum bread experience.

How does this work? Don’t you HAVE to knead yeast bread?

As it turns out – no. Just the simple passage of time, paired with a stickier than normal dough, will develop enough gluten to produce bread with body, crackly-crisp crust, and great texture. To say nothing of wonderful flavor.

Five years ago next month, The New York Times’ Mark Bittman introduced the world at large to no-knead breads, riffing on the method Jim Lahey was using at his (NYC) Sullivan Street Bakery.

Authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois took things a few steps further with their seminal Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

And many of us have embraced “no need to knead” for lots of our loaves ever since.

Are you a wannabe bread baker? Or simply someone – anyone – who wants delicious bread with a minimum of effort?

Then this dense, chewy, fruit-and-nut-packed No-Knead Harvest Bread is for you.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

3 1/4 cups (13 3/4 ounces) Lancelot Hi-Gluten Flour or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (4 ounces) King Arthur Premium Whole Wheat Flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 3/4 cups cool water

Mix until well combined. No knead to need, simply mix until there’s no dry flour showing; then add the following:

3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 8 hours.

It’ll become bubbly and rise quite a bit.

When you pull some dough away form the side of the bowl, you’ll see the gluten that’s formed – even without kneading.

What’s up with that? Don’t you have to knead yeast dough to “develop” it, to create and strengthen its gluten?

Actually, you don’t. Yeast dough will develop its own gluten as it ferments (rises), so long as you give it sufficient time – which is the secret behind no-knead breads. No kneading, but lots of slow rising – sometimes for days, in the fridge.

Turn the sticky dough out onto a well-floured work surface.

A silicone rolling mat is helpful here; not only is the dough easier to work with, it’s simple to pick up the mat afterwards, dump off any excess flour, and simply rinse it clean.

Try picking up and dusting off your wooden table or granite countertop!

Gently form the dough into a log or round loaf to fit your 14″ to 15″ long lidded stoneware baker; or 9″ to 10″ round lidded baking crock.

Lightly grease the pan you’ve chosen. Place the dough in the prepared pan. Cover and let rise at room temperature for about 1 to 2 hours, until it’s become puffy.

It should rise noticeably, but it’s usually not a real high-riser.

Place the lid on the pan, and put the bread in the cold oven. Set the oven temperature to 450°F.

Bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake for another 5 to 15 minutes, until it’s deep brown in color, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 205°F.

Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out onto a rack.

Cool completely before slicing. Store leftovers, well-wrapped for several days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.

Notice the slight purple cast to the bread? That’s from the walnuts; there’s something about walnuts’ acidity that reacts with any alkalinity in the bread and changes its color. If I’d used pecans, it’d be creamier-looking. It’s a little off-putting, appearance-wise. But don’t worry; the bread doesn’t taste “purple” – its flavor is strictly golden!

Bonus: If you don’t eat the entire loaf before it starts to get stale, cut thin slices and make these irresistible Sparkling Harvest Crisps.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for No-Knead Harvest Bread.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. bsteimle

    PJ, I don’t have any of those specialty baking pans. Can this be made in standard loaf pans? It sure looks yummy.

    Yes, I think the following would work, though I haven’t tested it: Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rise on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet; it’ll flatten out some. Bake in a 350°F oven – not sure how long, but probably 45 to 60 minutes, tenting with foil when it starts to become golden – after maybe 35 minutes or so? It’ll be done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers about 200°F to 205°F. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  2. pbonfert

    This sounds delicious! Is it possible to make this bread with a higher amount of whole grain flour? If so, what percentage would be okay?
    Thanks! –Petra
    Sure, Petra, go ahead and use another cup of the whole wheat flour in place of the white flour and add one extra tablespoon of water. Enjoy! ~Amy

    Reply
  3. clutz1970

    I have a no knead bread that calls for a enameled cast iron (ex: 5 quart le creuset). Do you think I could use this? I also have a clay pot that has to be soaked before use. They are used for bread. Do you think this sticky dough would be a problem in that?
    I think a sticky dough would be fine in the enameled or clay pot. ~Amy

    Reply
  4. Aaron Frank

    Can I bake this right on a pizza stone?

    Can I use KAF bread flour instead of Lancelot or AP?

    Thanks
    Yes, you may bake this on your stone and use bread flour. ~Amy

    Reply
  5. nlshugars

    What adjustments are necessary for using with a pain de mie? I have the larger one.
    The composition of this bread is not a great candidate for the pain de mie pan. ~Amy

    Reply
  6. Jess

    Can I use regular yeast or do I need to use instant? What adjustments would be necessary? And, if I use my Le Creuset, does the bread dough have to fill it (the way it does the pan you show in your photos) or is it OK if the pan is significantly bigger than the blob of dough? Thanks so much.

    Jess, you can use regular yeast; use the same amount. No need to dissolve it first, though you can if you want. In the Creuset, no, it doesn’t have to fill it; if it’s a large-diameter pan, the bread won’t rise very high, but it’ll still taste good. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  7. jenzings

    PJ–Shirley Corriher’s terrific CookWise cookbook has a solution for the purple walnut issue. She says that if you toast the nuts briefly before adding to baked goods, you won’t have that issue. She explains (p. 334 if you’re interested) that by toasting the nuts beforehand, the chemical change occurs before you add them to the dough, instead of reacting during the baking process. It’s an extra step, but I’ve made a number of walnut breads and I now always pre-toast the nuts for about 10 minutes, and then let them cool completely, and I no longer have that blue-dough look!
    Excellent information! Thanks so very much for sharing.

    Reply
  8. MGW960W

    I’m confused. PJ says she’s used the pain de mie pan, but Amy says it isn’t a good choice. How did you do it, PJ? With or without cover? Foil to cover when first baking? I have both the long and short pullman pans and love the size of the slice. I often bake sweet breads (banana breads, for example) in the smaller pan so there will be more, smaller, slices. I’d love to try this recipe in the longer pullman pan for the same reason. Thanks for your help in this always-informative blog and for all your great recipes.

    I did try the pain de mie pan – the bread didn’t rise high enough to require a cover, so I simply baked without the cover; 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes, until the interior registers about 205°F on an instant-read thermometer. I didn’t like the results as well as the ones I got in the stoneware baker. the bread wasn’t as crusty. In fact, I think I’ll remove that reference to a pain de mie pan in the blog… PJH

    Reply
  9. mailbag

    I just got out all of the ingredients to make this beautiful bread and found that my Lancelot flour expired last year! Can I use it anyway or will my bread turn out ruined? I hate to go through the looooong and agonizing anticipation phase during the 8 hour resting period only to end up with less than stellar results.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.
    In general, if your white flours still smell good, fresh and clean, they are fine for baking with. If you said two years ago, I’d be wary, but 2010 flour should still be fine. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  10. Anna

    Just pulled this out of the oven. I used a cast iron Staub, lightly oiled, and I can’t get it out of the pan for love or money. I’ve loosened the sides with a knife, but the bottom is stuck fast. Any suggestions?
    Hi Anna,
    Next time, you may want to use a solid shortening in the pan. I find that oil doesn’t work as well and tends to absorb into the bread a bit too much to help with sticking. A bit of semolina flour under the loaf can help as well.
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  11. dbmccork

    Do you have the nutritional info for this bread? I am a diabetic and have to count carbs.
    Sorry, we don’t have the nutritionals on this recipe right now. There is a very nice calculator at http://www.sparkpeople.com, and it is free as well, to help you calculate for recipes. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  12. littlechef

    Just wondering if you can use fresh apple in this recipes?
    Thank you

    littlechef
    Hi littlechef,
    If you want to use fresh apples, choose ones that will stay somewhat firm in the dough, not turn to sauce. Also, you may want to dice them first and blot them dry before adding to the dough so that they don’t bring too much excess moisture to the dough. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  13. Amy1234

    I have some frozen cranberries. Can I use them instead of the dried ones in the recipe? I find the dried ones too sweet because of the added sugar.
    HI Amy,
    It’s a bit trickier to use the fresh cranberries, as they are much more moist than the dried, but if you want to give it a try I’d suggest chopping them first and blotting them dry before adding to the dough. Hope this helps. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  14. joltster

    Hi :
    I noticed that this recipe has no sugar or honey. Is it OK to add some, and if so, how much? I am trying this recipe out now. It is resting as I type- I started it about 4 hrs ago.
    Thanks.
    Hi there,
    If you’d like to sweeten up the loaf, that is fine. Start with about 2 tablespoons of sweetener, and see how you like it. I’d say you can go a high as 3 tablespoons and still get good results. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  15. Tiena

    I had the same problem as Anna, baked the bread in a dutch oven pan and the bread was stuck to the bottom. The bread still tastes great it just doesn’t have a bottom crust! Reading thru the comments it was suggested that if using regular baking pans to bake at 350 F not 450 F. Would this have stopped my bread from sticking? I’m hoping to try this recipe again but with dried figs and hazelnuts.

    We’ve found that sometimes bread will stick to a new pan, or one that hasn’t been used much. The pans seem to season themselves, the more you use them. Maybe you could lay a piece of parchment in the bottom next time, see if that helps? PJH

    Reply
    1. Aly.

      I have started to use the new Reynolds parchment with foil on one side, unlike plain parchment it does get brown and brittle being used in a super heated cast iron pot. I proof the bread on the paper and then slide it into the lid of my heated Copco pot and bake the bread in the lid covered with the pot, The bread is easier to remove than baking it down in the pot, (less burns to my hands) The pot works like a mini steamer and I uncover for the last 15-20 min to brown. Works great.

    2. PJ Hamel , post author

      Aly, thanks for the tip – much appreciated, especially by those of us who’ve had trouble dealing with sticky dough and hot loaves in a super-hot cast iron pot! PJH

  16. Rockycat

    I’d love to try this recipe, but I’m a devotee of the Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day school – meaning I generally do a 2 hour rise, refrigerate at 1 day, rise on a pizza peel and bake free-form. In other words, I don’t have the specialized baking pans. Can this recipe be adapted to the Hertzberg/Francois method or should I start with one of their whole grain recipes and add your inclusions? (That’s what makes sense to me, but I thought I’d ask the experts first.)

    I’m thinking this recipe could be shaped into a boule (a round), and baked on a baking sheet. Or certainly, you could add the nuts and fruit to one of jeff and Zoe’s whole-grain “5 minute” breads. Either way should work just fine. PJH

    Reply
  17. puttertat

    This is more of a general question: Do most breads need to be cooked to 205 degrees? I’ve seriously undercooked and overcooked several breads recently. I do follow recipes, but I also use a convection oven and I sometimes split my recipes to make 2 small loaves instead of one large one.

    We like to bake light, white flour, sandwich-type loaves to 190°F; and heavier, denser, whole-grain breads to about 205°F. Hope this helps- PJH

    Reply
  18. argentyne

    What would be the possibility of dividing this and baking half in a regular loaf pan or as a boule, and then baking the other half a couple of days later?

    There’s only me and the bird in my house who eat bread and for all our efforts, we just can’t get through such a large loaf before it goes bad. (and sadly, in my house, stale doesn’t seem to be much of an option. Blue and fuzzy is the norm.)

    Well, I think resting in the fridge would make the dough too “sour.” But here’s what I do, in our 2-person household: divide the baked loaf in half, and enjoy half (it stays good for quite awhile without molding), and make the other half into Sparkling Harvest Crisps, which go into my cracker jar and are good indefinitely – though they never last that long! You could also freeze half the dough (for up to 3-4 weeks) prior to shaping/baking; or freeze half the baked loaf. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  19. slg222000

    Can this recipe be adapted to make this in a bread maker?

    Well, depends on your bread maker, and whether it has a long, multiple-rise cycle… You could try mixing the dough on the dough cycle, then turning off the machine and letting it rest overnight. Next day, choose the very longest cycle possible. That’s how I’d try it, but I have absolutely no guarantee it would work, since I haven’t in fact tried it… Heck, it’s not always the destination; sometimes the journey is just as important, so why not give it a go? PJH

    Reply
  20. "Jane C"

    I made this Friday to take to a Lefse Fest the next day in San Diego with some North Dakota natives (I’m SoCal born and bred with NoDak roots) and it was great!!! I started it in the morning and baked it in the evening in my long clay baker. That clay baker is a wonderful addition to my kitchen “tools”. The other guests were very impressed with the bread and couldn’t believe I didn’t knead it! Luckily I was able to bring some home and enjoy it today, Sunday. It’s delicious toasted… Oh, yes, the homemade lefse was great too.

    Reply
  21. LA_bread

    Of course we didn’t follow the recipe even the first time. We added dried blueberries and almost doubled the amount of dried fruit. I don’t have the covered loaf pan so I used my trusty 5 quart cast iron Dutch oven.

    This could not have been better. I like this slightly toasted with cream cheese on top.

    The dough with all the extra dried fruit was very thick. I think next time I may add a bit more water. I will be making this for my family through the holidays. Thanks for the great recipe.

    Reply
  22. seaton11576

    Followed the advice for making without a special pan — made the round loaf and baked for 35 minutes at 350. Tented it and baked another 25 minutes. Came out wonderful! This blog is so helpful.

    Glad to hear it worked out well for you – thanks for sharing your results here. PJH

    Reply
  23. pat15712

    We really enjoyed the bread but want to know if we can do something to get a little softer crust. We baked it in the covered loaf pan as directed. We used King Arthur’s bread flour and King Arthur’s unbleached white whole wheat flour. I don’t know if this changed anything or not. Thanks for all the good recipes.
    For a softer crust, once it is baked, brush the top with some melter butter. This type of bread does create craggier crust like an artisan bread. Elisabeth

    Reply
  24. Dancer

    If I don’t have the gluten flour, can I just add gluten to the all purpose flour? If yes, what is the ratio?

    You can just substitute all purpose flour for the Sir Lancelot flour. It’s not necessary to add additional vital wheat gluten, but if you’d like to, the general rule is 1 Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten per 1 cup of whole grain flour in your recipe. ~Mel @ KAF

    Reply
  25. yennydayerman

    Hi, I decided to have PB and J sammies all week at work, but I decided that I needed some homemade bread to eat them on. I decided on this recipe. So, I made the recipe, but baked it in a regular loaf pan. It came out surprisingly well. I wasn’t concerned about a crisp crust, since I knew I’d be having sandwiches with it. Now, the top crust still came out crusty, but the bottom and sides never really even got brown. Having said that, the bread is EXCELLENT!!!! Walnuts are so expensive, but still, especially compared to what a loaf would cost in the store, this bread was a bargain in terms of cost and time and flavor. I will certainly be making it again.

    Thanks for sharing your feedback here. I wonder, did you use a light-colored pan? Bread does have a tougher time browning in a light-colored aluminum pan… or maybe you needed to bake it on a lower rack in the oven? Hmmm… Anyway, glad you’re enjoying it despite its wan appearance! PJH

    Reply
  26. Vera

    I have made this bread more times than I can count and it always brings raves. The bread DOES stick to the pan, whether it be a round enameled cast iron pan or the long lidded stoneware baker (I use both) , but the solution is to line the bottom of the round pan with a (reusable) circle of parchment paper. For the long stoneware baker, I line the entire bottom and sides. Comes out perfect every time.

    Reply
  27. MaryLiz

    Thanks for all the great comments & bread making hints, everyone. I’m going to try the parchment paper to prevent sticking.

    This is a great place to come for information, MaryLiz, isn’t it? Glad we could all help – PJH

    Reply
  28. Marylee Iliff

    Just want you to know this made the best Pumpkin Bread Pudding.There is just my Husband and I and we cant eat the bread all up so I have frozen it but this time I thought I wonder what it would taste like as a bread pudding it was great.I would give you the recipe but I just kind of winged it basic bread pudding recipe and a couple of gobs of pumkin puree (sp) baked them in a water bath

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Marylee, that’s an excellent suggestion – thanks so much. I hear you about baking for a “twosome” – it’s good to have ways to use up any leftovers. While this Pumpkin Bread Pudding recipe uses pumpkin yeast bread, it’s probably along the lines of what you did – check it out sometime. And thanks again for sharing here – PJH

  29. ovenbake

    Hi PJ,

    I’m new to baking bread (or anything) outside of my bread machine and King Arthur’s website has been an amazing recipe for getting things right. I don’t have one of those long covered bakers yet. I have a Browning 12″ dutch oven. Would I be able to make this recipe in the dutch oven? If so, what adjustments would I need to make?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Absolutely – just shape it into a ball, and use the Dutch oven as you would the covered baker. I don’t believe you’d need to make any adjustments – although it may need to bake just a touch longer, due to being round rather than long. Good luck – PJH

  30. Shelda W

    If this is made into a boule should it be done on a stone with steam? If it’s bake in cast iron, should it go into a preheated pot or cold oven and at what temp?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you use a stone to bake this, please preheat the stone and load the bread into the preheated oven. If you bake in cast iron, you could use the could use the method PJ uses here, starting the bread in a cold oven.~Jaydl@KAF

  31. Janice

    I was wondering if it would be o.k. to add some sugar to the bread or would it affect the bread rising?
    I like things a bit sweeter. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I plan on trying to bake in a loaf pan size terra cotta pot from plant nursery lined with parchment paper. I’ve read reviews of the pan that you use on Amazon but it’s $60. Too steep for me. There were reviews from seasoned bread bakers on this item on Amazon suggesting to line the pan with parchment paper. Some even suggest soaking the terra cotta planter. Hope these suggestions can help somebody who would love to bake this bread but can’t afford the hefty price for the pan.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sure you may add 2-3 T. of sugar to this recipe Janice. In fact, grown sugar may be a nice addition! Elisabeth@KAF

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