Dutch Oven No-Knead Herb Bread

“Tap tap tap”, Luise leans forward and puts her ear closer to the bread crust. “Yep, this one is also good”. It’s her third bread today. All with different flours, but with the exact same baking technique. Earlier this week she found Mark Bittman’s 6-year old New York Post article on Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread. Although the recipe has been circulating for quite a while, we couldn’t resist making our own version of it, using more wholesome flours.

Baking isn’t normally our strongest area, so when we succeed with three breads in one day, it must be a fail-free technique. We love sourdough bread, but ever since our sourdough starter tragically past away, we gave up the thought of making our own again. This recipe has however the flavor and texture of a sourdough without the need of a starter. This is thanks to the long fermenting process. The fermenting also spares you from kneading it, time does all the work. One trick to succeed is to get the pot really hot. So when you add the wet dough, it’ll create a moist and steamy environment that gives the bread that perfect crust.

We ate several slices hot from the oven, with just a slab of butter on them. So damn good.

As it got closer to dinner time we started talking about the bag of chanterelles that we had lying around.

Chanterelles are very popular here in Sweden during August and September. Almost everyone I know has their own secret spot in the forest where they claim chanterelles grow like a yellow carpet. We don’t have any secret places like that. So when we can’t tag along some of our friends, we just go and buy a large bag of them at the market. One of the simplest yet most delicious way to eat chanterelles is stir-fried on a sandwich. So for dinner, we combined that Swedish chanterelle sandwich with a recipe for an Italian bean bruschetta that we sometimes make. The result was great. The beans added creaminess and tanginess and made it more into a dinner than just a sandwich. So, next time you feel like making a bruschetta, skip the tomatoes and try this bean and mushroom combo instead. We have included the recipes for both the bread and the bruschetta here. Happy weekend!

The spelt dough after 15 hours of fermentation.

Dutch Oven No-Knead Herb Bread
1 big bread 

We have played around with rye flour, spelt flour, kamut flour, whole wheat flour and it doesn’t seem to changes the amounts of flour much, so choose your favorite flour and give it a try.

2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 g fresh yeast (the size of a pea) or 1/4 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp unpasteurized honey
1 handful fresh herbs or kale, very finely chopped
2 3/4 cups (400 g) whole spelt flour
2 cups (300 g) light spelt flour
extra flour for folding
1 oven proof dutch oven, cast iron or ceramic pot

Place water in a large mixing bowl. Solve the yeast into it by stirring with a spoon or your hand. Add salt, honey, herbs and kale and stir until well mixed. Sift the flours and add to the water mixture. Mix together until all is combined, yes it will look kind of loose and messy and not as pretty as a traditional bread dough, but that is normal. Cover with plastic wrap, set aside to ferment in room temperature for 12-15 hours.

When you unwrap the bowl, the dough is bubbly and sticky. Prepare your work surface, flour the kitchen counter and a kitchen towel (you’ll use that later). Pour the dough out on the flour covered surface and dust the dough with flour or it will be to sticky to handle. Then fold it 4 times. Take the first side and fold it onto the middle of the dough. Repeat this for the opposing side, then do the same thing to the top and bottom. Now place the folded dough on the flour dusted kitchen towel with the folded sides down. Fold the kitchen towel over the dough and let rise for 2-3 hours (in room temperature). When there is about 40 minutes left of the rising time, turn on the oven to 500F (250°C) and place the dutch oven (no greasing needed) with the lid on in the oven. When the oven is ready, the dutch oven is smokin’ hot and the dough is done rising. Carefully remove the dutch oven from the hot oven, using oven gloves. Unwrap the dough and place/drop it in the dutch oven. Slash the dough with a knife, then cover with the lid and place it back in the hot oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then lower the to 445F (230°C), remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven, let cool slightly, turn the dutch oven upside down and place the bread on an oven rack to cool.

Chanterelle & Black-Eyed Bean Bruschetta

1 cup cooked black-eyed beans, rinsed
1/4 cup pickled capers, drained
1 celery stalk and leafy top, really thinly sliced
10 fresh basil leaves
1/2 lemon, juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices of bread
200 g fresh chanterelle or wild mushroom of choice
2 cloves garlic, peeled

Combine beans, capers, celery, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl. Set aside to let the flavors infuse.

Cut 4 thick slices of bread. Set a chargrill pan on high heat (without oil) and grill the bread slices for a few minutes on each side until grill marks appear.

Heat a few tablespoons of ghee, olive oil or coconut oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add chanterelles, salt and black pepper, and let stir-fry for 5-6 minutes tossing a few times.

Assembling: Rub each slice of grilled bread with a garlic clove. Spoon the bean mixture onto the slices and top with chanterelles and a fresh basil leaf. Add extra olive oil if needed. Serve warm.

85 Comments

  • Marylou
    so the mushrooms are hot (warm) and the bean mixture is room temperature? Sounds wonderful!
  • Dorien
    Wow, I made this yesterday and it was the most amazing bread i've ever tasted! So easy and great! I'm considdering making homemade bread everyday. Thanks for the great recipe!
  • Corinne
    Made the Bread today as an Easterbread. The herbs i used were thyme and homemade thymehoney. With the folding of the Bread i added some raisins. It was a delicious festive bread! Thanks!
  • Anne
    Hi again. Nomnomnom. We (hubby, two kids, 2 and 4) nearly finished the whole loaf in one sitting. :-) I already milled (?) buckwheat and wheat for the next one. Yay. Thanks again. You made a German girl very happy.
  • Anne
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I couldn't wait until the bread is done.. The dough looks gorgeous already. This is what I was looking for: a perfect basic recipe to play with and have fun. And written on the day my daughter was born. Just be a sign. :-) Anne
  • I would like to make this bread. My oven is very slow - is there a way to test that the bread is cooked enough? Like using a skewer? Or any indications as to when to lower the heat for the last part of the baking? Thank you so much
  • Lenok
    I am not sure where to find spelt flour and light spelt flour. Is is possible to bake this kind of bread with whole wheat flour. Thanks.
  • Allison
    Thank you so much for this post. The first time I pulled my first loaf from the oven I couldn't contain my excitement. Having worked in a bakery for many years it's a thrill to have a consistent recipe that doesn't have to be kneaded or shaped. Thanks again. I'm making bread twice a week now and having a blast playing with different flours and add-ins.
  • Chelsea
    Has anyone tried adding things to the dough? i.e. thinking about sautéing my mushrooms and garlic and rolling into the dough. Would like tips about process if anyone has any? Thanks! my freshly picked chanterelles would be lovely with this bread :)
  • Kathy-Lee Westergom
    lovely another bread that didn't rise during baking... at least it tastes nice not as sour as I thought and because being so flat it gives me long and narrow slice but hey I'm just at the beginning state of baking if I should keep it up
  • Kathy-Lee Westergom
    Looks divine! I need to give the chanterelle Brushetta a try! I'm all about chanterelles in Autumn, when they are in season! As for the bread, I've realized that I am quite picky when it comes to bread. I barely understand the people having a relationship with bread because ,honestly, I almost cannot taste bread! Wierd isn't it? I rarely bake or eat bread because of this and have only tried a sourdough starter once, which didn't last too long because I was to lazy (yep) and not interested in bread to keep it longer. Unfortunately in a family of bread lovers, I never really got to know a good sourdough bread, only yeasted ones and in a land of bread I also never found a good bakery selling traditional sourdough and herbed bread. (Most breads here are plain...) This bread however happily seems like a recipe I could give a try. It includes herbs, which I love to add in bread, if I ever make or eat some and of course is said to come close to sourdough, which I always wanted to taste once in my life! I've prepared the dough, but used whole rye flour and light spelt and added dried herbs, because I had no on hand... I used dried parsley and Anise because once my mother brought rye buns that had Anise in them and for the first time I would have actually fallen for a bread! My dough didn't seemed that moist but I just let it sit for now in a room temperatured place covered and hope for the best! Btw I even found a technique which allows one to bake no knead beads even without a dutch oven on youtube, because I rarely bake I don't even own a dutch oven to bake bread in and was happy to find other techniques that might work out. Wish me luck and I wish you the very best!
  • Alicia
    This is without a doubt the best bread I have ever made! Seriously nice and crusty and full of flavor. Thanks!
  • Alicia
    Soooooo confusing, please help! In Uk, the two most common types of yeast are 'dried active yeast' and 'easy bake yeast'. Which one do I have to use and how much? Thanks.
    • Hi Alicia, you don't have fresh yeast in UK? How weird, in Sweden it is very common. We also only have one common form of dry yeast. Anyway, we meant to write fresh yeast instead of active and have changed it now. I recommend that you use 1/4 tsp dried active yeast. It should do the trick. Hope your bread turns out great! /David
      • Alicia
        Thanks for your reply. We have fresh yeast in UK but only in bakeries, no in supermarkets, or I have never seen it. I will try 1/4 tsp dried active yeast. I can't wait to bake it!
  • Alice
    Today's try was a greater sucess: what a crust! (The dough was indeed not watery enough last time...) Thousand thanks once more for reposting the New York Times' post!
  • Alice
    I know this is an old post but since I am a new follower it is not that surprising that I only see it these days ^^ I must admit that this method seems so convincing that I felt I had to give it a try! I have already done "tresse" or "zopf" (they really look like plaits), a typical Swiss bread made with a bit of milk and butter but absolutely not as sweet as the French brioche and I love kneading them... but I never felt the same for "real" breads. After reading comments, I was expecting a quite watery dough and "bien sûr", mine was not. But having already mixed everything, I did not try to add water at the end und just went on. Now that my bread is baked (and turned a bit compact but I don't mind), well I just have to thank you for sharing this recipe! I feel so glad that I can make my own bread without a sophisticated and expensive bread machine... :)
    • Alice
      (Oh and I am sorry, I remark that I always talk about Swiss food and food habits... I hope that I don't bother you! I almost hope that you've never been too long in my country so that what I told you is quite new to you ^^)
  • Samantha Klomp
    Hello, Congratulations on the publication of your recipe book, I just received mine in the mail 2 days ago and it has become by kitchen bible! Everything looks delicious but I love that you have put the nutritional information in the book too. About this bread, I have attempted twice and although the taste is great it comes out very dense, even after being very very patient! And the dough is so sticky and lose after the first rising that I pretty much cannot handle or fold it. Am I maybe converting the measurements wrong? I use the metric system, so I use 700grams of flour but maybe I am adding too much water? I cannot seem to find the right conversions. Also, I use dry instant yeast, does that change anything?
  • Amy
    Hi all, I have baked this bread in a 4.5 quart dutch oven, which works fine - the bread fills the pot pretty much but doesn't hit the lid. If you used a bigger pot (like the 9.25 quart one) the bread will probably just turn out a bit flatter, as in a smaller pot it is contained by the sides more. amy
  • jacquelyn
    I was also wondering what size Dutch oven you used. I have a 9.25 quart lee crust.is that too big?
  • Pam Stewart
    Looks great - what size pot would you use ? thanks, Pam
  • Lisa
    I made this recipe this morning, and followed instructions exactly(inc weighing the flour) but it turned out very gummy in the middle. Even after cooling completely. I also cooked it longer since we live at high elevation (over 6000 ft) Any ideas why this may have happened? :( I'll definitely have a second go at it, because the flavor is great. Only the texture is off.
  • Amy
    Hello Green Kitchen people, I made this bread recently and it was totally amazing, I couldn't believe how easy it was and how beautiful the crust was and the texture and flavour of the bread is so good. It was your gorgeous images on this post that inspired me to give it a go. I've since shared the link with many friends. I'm also wondering if anyone out there knows what size dutch oven is good for this particular recipe? When I made it at my friend's place, I used her very large one, about 9qt, but I'm wondering if it would also work in a smaller 4.5qt one, or if it would get squashed? Also, there was a comment about the dough sticking in the pot - I sprinkled a generous amount of semolina in the bottom of the pot before putting the dough in, and this worked a treat. Thank you!
  • Caitlyn
    Hi there, Beautiful bread and wonderful post. I wondered what size cast iron Dutch oven is best? Would a 5qt work? Not sure if that is a silly/lame question or not. Thank you. So many blessings.
  • Hello Green Kitchen! I believe I must sendyou a note about the virus you spread with this recipe. Since I found out about it in early september, we are baking brad regularly every weekend. From innocent white to all sorts of mixtures, the recipe works for is excellent and we are sending it around to our firends and family all the time. Everybody who tastes it, wants to know, how it can be done. Thank you very much! And yes we enjoy the other recepies as well! Allthe best, Maja
  • I tried your recipe a couple of days ago. But instead of leaving it on the bench top to get bubbly for 12hrs. I folded it a few times and then left the dough in the fridge for 3 days. (no time to bake- i live in hong kong - long hrs) Took it out and shaped it into a ball and put in a banneton to proof overnight. Baked it @ 6am next morning ---> success! Large crumbs and thin crunchy crust! Thank you so much for your awesome blog. I love it!!
  • I baked this in my oven, without a dutch oven, on my (preheated) pizza stone. It worked perfectly, although the crust came out perhaps softer than it would have in a dutch oven – still excellent. It would probably work using a cookie sheet, also, though I suspect it may stick some unless the sheet is preheated for a few minutes to make sure it’s hot.
  • Chico
    I had a go at your recipe. The bread turned out well possibly a little under proved but good taste and great crust. The dough was very wet and hard to handle at the folding stage. It actually wasn't possible to fold but I did my best to flop it around.Do you have any tips when this happens??
  • Raoul
    You mentioned Mark Bittman and New York Post but I believe you mean New York Times. I can not wait to try the recipe!
  • Jessica
    Hi again. I finally made this delicious bread. I checked with both of the Whole Foods markets in my area (Cleveland, OH) and neither carries light spelt flour. They would order it, but I wanted to make it right away so I substituted the light spelt with organic white flour. I also did not use any herbs in mine, but will try that next time. After the rise I had a difficult time getting all the dough out of the bowl. Very sticky. I dusted heavily and was able to fold it 4x. I dumped a lot of flour on the towel but still had sticking after letting it sit for 3 hrs. That was the only frustration I had. I wanted to get it in the oven quickly so I dumped as much as I could. Then I scraped what stuck to the towel and put it in a mini loaf pan so it wouldn't go to waste. In the end, the bread was perfectly baked. We used the little loaf as crackers for some goat cheese. We're enjoying the big loaf this morning with some olive oil, salt and better. The flavor of the spelt is complex and satisfying. I have baked other no-knead breads that were not as sticky with much the same end result. And that is why this method is amazing. It should be named the No Need to Worry Bread. I am going to order the light spelt flour and see how that loaf comes out. Thank you again.
    • Jane
      Mustard Seed Market and Earth Fare in Akron have Spelt flour. There is a Mustard Seed in Aurora but I do not go there and do not know what products they carry.
  • Philippine
    Dear good food lovers, I feel a bit stupid to ask (especially because I am Dutch) but what is meant by a Dutch oven? Is this the iron pan with lid you put in the oven? Can I use a Creuset pan for that purpose? Thanks again for sharing your passion with us!
    • Hi Philippine! No worries! You can use an oven proof dutch oven, cast iron or ceramic pot. You can also use a Le Creuset, but make sure it has a steel knob. Happy baking Luise
  • Oh sorrows! I was so excited to try this, especially since the demise of my own sourdough starter, but after 15 hours, I turned my dough onto the floured counter, and though bubbly and larger in size than before, it was just a big, wet plop. Waay too liquidy to even fold. For some reason, I forged on, and now it is a big wet plop in a floured tea towel, waiting to rise, but somehow I suspect it will not be salvaged. What could have gone wrong with this tried and true method?!
    • Fear not Erin, you describe our exact thought from when we first tried this bread. If you make sure to flour the dough generously you should be able to fold it, even though it seems very loose. And when it is done rising in the towel you just flop the dough into the hot pot. It still won't look like a perfect bread, but after some oven time it will. Best of luck, and let us know how it turned out. /Luise

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