This no knead dutch oven bread takes just 5 minutes of prep and only 3 simple ingredients. It’s super soft, tender, crusty on the outsides and has amazing flavor.
You may have never thought of making bread in a dutch oven, but trust me, you must try it! Unlike traditional homemade bread, there’s no kneading required to make this version. You simply give the dough a quick stir, let it rise, shape into a ball and then bake in the oven. The end result is absolutely perfect each time!
This bread is very similar to my favorite artisan bread, however it is cooked in the dutch oven instead of a pizza stone. Cooking it this way gives it a crusty outside and makes the bread super soft and tender with those nice airy holes in the center. This is the perfect bread to make for beginners because it only takes 5 minutes to prep and there’s absolutely no kneading required. It’s easy, hassle free and has incredible flavor. Take one bite and you’ll be hooked!
Why use a dutch oven to bake bread?
You’re probably wondering what makes baking bread in a dutch oven so special. Because the pan is enclosed, it creates extra humidity and evenly distributes the heat. The bread begins to steam, which creates a super moist and tender inside. Then the lid is removed the last few minutes of baking to create a crispy golden crust (without drying out the center).
How to make bread in a dutch oven
- MIX. Start by mixing together the dough. Proof the yeast by adding the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl, then pour the warm water on top. Mix together until a shaggy dough forms. I like to use a dough whisk, but a spatula or wooden spoon also work great. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest on the counter for about 8 to 24 hours.
- PREHEAT. About an hour before baking, you’ll need to heat your pan so that it’s hot. Preheat the temperature to 450°F and place your dutch oven (with the lid) in the oven. Let it heat in oven for at least 30 minutes.
- SHAPE. While the oven preheats, you can shape the dough. Turn the dough onto floured parchment paper and use your hands to quickly shape into a French boule (round ball). The dough is sticky so you’ll want to generously flour your hands too. Add a light dusting of flour on the top of the dough ball and then make 1-4 lines across the top with a bread knife. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
- BAKE. Remove the dutch oven from the oven and carefully slide the dough (with the parchment paper) into the pan. Close the lid and place pan in oven. Bake for 35 minutes, then remove lid and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool and then slice and serve.
- Dough texture. After mixing, the dough should look shaggy and slightly sticky/wet to touch. If it’s too sticky to work with, add 1-2 more Tablespoons of flour.
- Rise time. The longer it rises, the more chewy and flavorful it will be. It can rise on the counter for up to 24 hours or in the fridge for up to 1 week. If you’re short on time, you can bake after rising for 2 hours.
- Flour your hands. Because of it’s sticky texture, make sure to generously flour your hands before shaping the dough. No need to punch it down, knead or roll it out. Simply use your hands to gently shape it into a round ball.
- Best dutch oven for bread. Any type will work, however you’ll get the best results when using a heavier dutch oven with thick walls. The heat holds better in this type of pan, which means your loaf will cook evenly and get perfectly crispy.
- Hollow insides. To test if it’s done, knock on the bread loaf. It should sound hollow inside when knocking.
For best results, store the bread in a paper bag so that it doesn’t soften. Do not store in a plastic zip top bag, as it will trap moisture and make the crust soft and soggy. The paper bag let’s more air in, keeping the crust crispy and delicious.
More types of bread to make:
Dutch Oven Bread
- Place the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Then pour the warm water over top, making sure it's not too hot.
- Then you can use a dough whisk, spatula, wooden spoon or your hands to mix together. Stir until a shaggy dough forms. The dough should still be somewhat wet and sticky, but add a Tablespoon or two more flour if it's too sticky to handle. Once the flour is all mixed in, cover with a towel or plastic wrap spayed with nonstick spray. Leave on the counter and let rest for 8-24 hours. If you're short on time, you can bake as soon as 2 hours. The longer it sits, the better. You can also refrigerate it for up to 7 days.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F about 1 hour before serving. Place a 4-6-qt dutch oven (with the lid) into the oven for at least 30 minutes to get hot.
- Flour a piece of parchment paper and generously flour your hands. Then turn the dough onto the paper. The dough will be sticky. Do not punch it down, knead it or roll it out. Gently and quickly work the dough into a French boule (round ball). Lightly dust the top with flour and then use a bread knife to add 1-4 lines across the top. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Remove the dutch oven from the oven and carefully slide the dough with the parchment paper underneath into the pan. Cover with a lid and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the lid and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. When you knock on the bread, it should sound hollow.
- Allow to cool on a cooling rack and then slice the bread and serve. Store in a paper bag so it doesn't soften.