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Easy Dutch Oven Bread (No Knead)

This no knead dutch oven bread takes just 5 minutes of prep and only 4 simple ingredients. It’s super soft, tender, crusty on the outsides and has amazing flavor.

Dutch oven bread in pan close up.
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Homemade Dutch Oven Bread

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).

dutch oven bread ingredients collage.

How to Make Bread in a Dutch Oven

  1. MIX. Start by mixing together the dough. Proof the yeast by adding the flour, sugar ,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 hours.
  2. 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.
  3. SHAPE. While the oven preheats, you can shape the dough. Turn the dough onto floured counter and use your hands to quickly shape into a French boule (round ball). Pull the ends into the center. 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 1-3 lines across the top with a bread knife. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
  4. BAKE. Remove the dutch oven from the oven and carefully slide the dough 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.
Dutch oven bread in pan.

Baking Tips

  • 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 3 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.
Dutch oven bread on cutting board.

Storing

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.

Piece of dutch oven bread on white plate.

More Types of Bread to Make

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dutch oven bread in pan

Dutch Oven Bread

5 from 9 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
This no knead dutch oven bread takes just 5 minutes of prep and only 4 simple ingredients. It's super soft, tender, crusty on the outsides and has amazing flavor.
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Resting time: 8 hrs
Total Time: 8 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 12

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 4.5 cups (585 grams) all-purpose flour (more for dusting)
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 grams) sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (14 grams) fine sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon (2 grams) active dry yeast (or 1 teaspoon instant yeast)
  • 2 ¼ cups (17.8 ounces) warm water (105°F)
  • cornmeal , optional

For serving: Butter and/or Jam

    Instructions

    Make dough:

    • Place the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Then pour the warm water over top. Then you can use a dough whisk, spatula, wooden spoon or your hands to mix together. Stir until a shaggy dough forms and the dough is combined. The dough should be 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 rise for 8-24 hours. If you're short on time, you can bake as soon as 3 hours (I prefer to make in the morning and bake in the evening). You can also refrigerate it for up to 7 days.

    Shape:

    • Generously flour the counter and your hands (use about 1/4 cup). Then turn the dough onto the counter. 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) by pulling the ends into the center. Then place into a glass bowl. Lightly dust the top with flour. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes while the oven preheats.

    Preheat:

    • Preheat the oven to 450°F about 1.5 hours before serving. Place a 4-6-qt dutch oven (with the lid on) into the oven for 30 minutes to get hot.

    Bake:

    • Remove the dutch oven from the oven and sprinkle some cornmeal into the bottom of the pot or a piece of parchment paper. Then carefully pour the dough into the pan. Use a bread knife to add 1-3 lines across the top if desired. Cover with the hot lid and bake for 30 minutes, or until it's starting to turn golden. Remove the lid and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. When you knock on the bread, it should sound hollow.
    • Allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack atleast 30 minutes before slicing (the middle will finish cooking while it cools, so make sure to give it time to rest).

    Notes

    Artisan bread: Don’t have a dutch oven? Try my 3 ingredient artisan bread
    Storage: Store in a paper bag (so it doesn’t soften) for up to 4 days. Freeze up to 3 months. 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 293mg | Potassium: 33mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: bread
    Cuisine: French
    Diet: Vegetarian

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