4 Ingredient No Knead Bread

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on December 20, 2010

I must say, things are looking up.


Sometimes, all a girl needs is some freshly baked whole wheat bread slathered in Earth Balance.

Besides releasing endorphins via carbohydrates, I also spent the entire weekend getting my life in order!


Santa approved.

I cleaned. I organized. I did Holiday prep. I bubble bathed.

I cleaned off the kitchen desk that was covered for 3 months…


I rocked my to-do list…

  • Paid bills/business banking
  • Cleaned main level of house
  • Organized kitchen supplies, clean out baking drawers
  • Donated all items not in use (got 2 boxes worth to donate!)
  • Clean/tidy office
  • 3-4 loads Laundry
  • Baked 2 recipes for blog
  • Bought new bed
  • Finish X-mas shopping
  • Wrapped all gifts + ship out gifts
  • Grocery shopping


I am starting to feel like my life is sloooooowly getting back on track. This week I need to make time for the dentist and a much needed hair cut, two things I have not had time for over the past few months. I also need to work on my business tax prep and email catch up before the holidays arrive on Friday.

But, back to this bread.


You may have heard about this famous ‘No Knead Bread’ recipe from Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery. The recipe was published on the New York Times website in 2006 and the bread has graced many food blogs over the past few years.

I finally decided I would give it a shot myself!

While I have admitted that I love kneading dough, my curious nature just got the best of me. I also wanted to try this recipe using 100% whole wheat bread flour to see if it would still turn out.



4 Ingredient No Knead Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey.


  • 3 cups 100% whole wheat bread flour (note: this is not the same thing as regular whole wheat flour)* see note
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 + 5/8 cup warm water
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Additional flour for dusting



Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. The mixture will be very sticky and shaggy, but this is normal. Place into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature for 12-18 hours.

After rising, turn out the sticky dough onto floured surface and fold the dough a couple of times. Place back in the bowl, covered, for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, grab the dough and lightly flour your work surface if need be. Only use enough flour to prevent the dough from sticking because you don’t want to dry out the dough. Fold corners into the middle to shape it into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Place the dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

30 minutes before the rise is over, preheat oven to 450F and place a 5-8 quart cast iron pot (or other sturdy pot that can withstand this temperature) with lid in the oven while it heats.

After 30 minutes of preheating, carefully remove the pot from the oven. Place a square of parchment on the bottom of the pot and place the dough ball seam side up into the pot.

Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on at 450F. Remove lid and bake for an additional 10-20 to brown. Cool for about 10-20 minutes.

Note: Using 100% whole wheat bread flour resulted in a fairly dense dough that did not rise as much as the white flour version. This version also did not have air holes or pockets throughout the bread. With that being said, if you don’t mind a denser and hearty bread, then this one may be for you. You could also try using a mix of whole wheat bread flour and white bread flour to see if that lightens things up.


First things first, mix all 4 ingredients together and let it rise for 12-18 hours, covered in plastic wrap.

My dough mess looked like this after about 14 hours…


Hot mess.

Turn the hot mess onto a lightly floured surface and fold the dough a couple of times. Place back in the bowl, covered, for 15 minutes.


After 15 minutes, fold the corners into the middle to shape it into a ball. 


Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. I used flour and it was one heck of a mess!


Place the dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours.


Tip: If you use a tall narrow bowl, the dough should rise higher as the walls will force the dough to expand upward.


Sketchie hibernated.


After 2 hours, place the dough ball seam side up into the preheated pot.


Do as I say not as I do, apparently. I placed it seam side down by mistake. I’m not sure how much this impacts the final outcome! Maybe it doesn’t rise as much when it is seam side down?

Bake for 30 minutes covered with the lid, and then carefully remove the lid and brown the bread for 15-20 minutes.


Rustic, wholesome, goodness.


The result is a very crispy outer shell with a moist and dense interior.


The crumb was a bit spongy for my liking, but it was nothing a slather of Earth Balance couldn’t fix. Our favorite part was the crisp outer crust…it was incredible and made this bread so rustic.


Eric and I proceeded to eat half the loaf for lunch.

Is there anyone who actually makes fresh bread and does not inhale it when it comes out of the oven?


My overall impression of this no knead bread is that it was more work and mess than it initially seems.

I probably would opt for making kneaded bread next time, only because there is not a 12-18 hour wait period and I think the whole wheat dough might rise better using a traditional method. I’ll have to test out a kneading recipe soon to compare! If anyone has some good whole wheat bread recipes, please shoot em my way.

Either way, Eric and I still very much enjoyed this bread and if you don’t mind the 12-18 hour rest time, it might be a good option for you! You may also want to play around with the flour too using a mix of white and whole wheat bread flours as this one was a bit dense.

PS- I found this quote on an old bread post and I’m re-posting it because it makes me laugh and it is TRUE!

“Any human being is really good at certain things. The problem is that the things you’re good at come naturally. And since most people are pretty modest instead of an arrogant s.o.b. like me, what comes naturally, you don’t see as a special skill. It’s just you. It’s what you’ve always done.”
– Stephen Jay Gould, evolutionary scientist

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

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Shauna December 20, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Hi Angela

Last week I made your pumpkin pie brownies for a potluck and they were a HUGE hit! I wasn’t surprised because I make your recipes all the time. My fiancée has requested that I make it for his family’s Christmas dinner too. I was wondering if you had tried freezing them? I would love to make them ahead of time but I worry about the pumpkin pie layer having a weird texture once it is defrosted.

Oh, and I was really hoping you would win the challenge! I thought you were the best by far!
Enjoy your holidays!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I have not tried freezing them, so I am not sure how they would do. Im sure they might keep for at least a few days if necessary. Let me know if you try it!

Im glad they were a hit!


Ashley December 20, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I have the 5 minutes a day artisan bread book and its fantabulous. My husband says its the best bread he’s ever had. Supper fast and easy, I loved it so much I went out and bought healthy breads in 5 minutes a day too and they’re even better! I make a small loaf for the two of us every other day because it never lasts longer than that.


Amber K December 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I have never made my own bread before! I’m definitely going to have to try though, because gluten-free bread is expensive!!


Sarah December 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I just wanted to congratulate you on the FoodBuzz finish – I love your website and check it daily for inspiration and laughs. Thanks you – hope you have a great holiday season.


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm

thanks sarah!


Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) December 20, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I often make homemade bread (but unlike you I cheat and use a bread machine! :P) and you’re right- as soon as it’s ready, I inhale it! The smell that permeates the whole house is the best bit! Nothing can beat the smell of freshly baked bread :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 20, 2010 at 2:42 pm

i seriously think freshly baked bread is impossible to resist


Alaina December 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I get the same way when I’m making quick breads. The banana nut bread and pumpkin bread make my mouth water when it’s baking :-) It’s the best smell.


Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) December 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I have a tweaked really good multigrain recipe from Deborah Madison that I love (actually, I plan on making it again this afternoon). It has multigrain cereal in it, and can either be 100% whole wheat flour or part white/whole wheat. It is delicious! It also has sunflower seeds, couldn’t be better. The original recipe calls for buttermilk/honey, but I’m sure you could veganize it. Let me know if you want the link!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 20, 2010 at 2:42 pm

yes yes please. That sounds fabulous. I actually LOVE sunflower seeds in my bread!


Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) December 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Here you go! http://bloggingoverthyme.com/2010/12/01/mission-accomplished/


ezzie December 20, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I was planning to bake some bread today with my mom since we just restocked on our white whole wheat flour and this seems like a nice technique for when I don’t want to bother with kneading. Thanks for sharing~


carlee December 20, 2010 at 2:24 pm

DROoOoOoOollll. That looks like heaven !!


Jessica @ How Sweet It Is December 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm

That bread and butter? OMG.


Lindsay December 20, 2010 at 3:00 pm

So not even joking, I was searching for this recipe last night because I’m pregnant and was having a major bread craving! Thanks for posting it! I made it a few years ago when the recipe first came out in the NY Times. Your right, it’s not the same as kneeding it yourself, but when your too tired to do much kneeding, it’s a great alternative :)


Jessica December 20, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Another wonderful book for easy artisan bread: “Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day”. Wonderful! I use it all the time for boules and pizza dough.


Zuzia December 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm

That looks so good! If you didnt and salt would that do anything to the bread?


Beth @ DiningAndDishing December 20, 2010 at 3:49 pm

LOVE that quote! It is indeed, so true :).


Felicia (a taste of health with balance) December 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm

oh fresh warm bread how i love you so


Michelle December 20, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Hi Angela – that looks great! I’ve made this recipe before too, using wholegrain spelt flour I think, and I remember it was pretty good. You’re right though, it does seem to work out quite messy, but still good! I’m pretty keen on baking powder bread at the moment which is less mess, there’s no waiting time, and it tastes pretty darn good too. :) There’s something special about yeast bread though! Bread vs. cheese? No contest. ;) Happy Christmas and congrats on making the final 3 in the Project Food Blog!


rachel December 20, 2010 at 4:24 pm

that looks delicious! i love making my own bread, makes the house smell amazing.


Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun!) December 20, 2010 at 4:26 pm

A clean kitchen counter and buttered fresh whole wheat bread sounds like a party to me.


Emmy December 20, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Hi Ang,

Had no idea where to post this as I know its slightly outdated now (Ive had a crazy few days with submitting info for my nutrition degree) BUT I just wanted to say how amazing every submission of yours was for Foodbuzz, but how totally touched I was by final post.

Your recipes are amazing, your writing and photos are beautiful, but your totally exceptional skill is in the strength of your kindess, humility, thoughtfulness and honesty – which totally shows through in everything you write. In a blog world where its SO tempting to pretend to be perfect and together the whole time your honesty about struggles we ALL have – if we were just a bit more honest! – is a total breath of comforting fresh air.

Plus, its massively reassuring when super gorgeous, intelligent and together people get anxiety too! :). Your blog genuinely makes me want to be a better person.

You SO deserved to win! xx


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Thank you Emmy. :) Your encouragement means so much to me!


Melissa @ I Never Imagined December 20, 2010 at 5:14 pm

I’m so glad you did this! I have been wanting to make no-knead bread ever since I read The Art of Eating In by Cathy Erway, and I knew I’d need to set aside a weekend to do it. I wanted a whole-wheat version, but wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I just never got around to it because I never really got the time. But I have been feeling guilty every time another weekend goes by without me having made a loaf! Now I can stop feeling guilty. Yours does look amazing, but like you said, the extra time and effort does not seem worth it. I think I’ll stick to my favorite Whole Foods loaf :) Thank you!!


liane December 20, 2010 at 5:23 pm

I need to discuss your chocolate torte recipe.
I served it last night to a group of people who are total foodie people, and they asked for seconds, and then they all sat stunned when I told them it was a) vegan and b) contained avocados. Oh, and they clamored for the recipe, so I dutifully wrote out your URL.

Consider this my daily “Oh She Glows” Public Service Announcement:
Stop whatever you are doing right now. Head to the grocery store, buy 4 avocados.
Return home.
Make. This. Immediately.

(and try not to eat half the filling before it even hits the cake pan)


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 20, 2010 at 7:42 pm

haha omg this cracked me up!!!!!
Too funny. I had someone comment yesterday they said it was so good they wanted to cry. lol.


Pearl (Crunch and Chew) December 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Looks delicious!
Congrats on all the success you’ve had in project food blog, it was so much fun following you on your journey :)


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin December 20, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I couldn’t wait that long for fresh bread either. Once I get the idea of fresh bread in my head, I need it ASAP! But that bread still sounds amazing, especially the crispy crust!


Alo Clothing December 20, 2010 at 7:06 pm

That looks delicious. Thank you for sharing such detailed, step-by-step instructions with us!


Danielle December 20, 2010 at 7:11 pm

It’s such a great feeling to get organized!!

I’m not sure why melted shortening/butters taste so much better than when they are cold, but wow – that melted Earth Balance on bread looks awesome!


Caroline December 20, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I read here http://ohsheglows.com/2008/11/10/if-i-could-bottle-this-smell-i-would/ that your all time favourite website is allrecipes.com. If you like that one you might also like this one: http://www.joyofbaking.com/
I love that site! They have a lot :)

I’m gonna give this bread a try. Sounds easy :)


Lauren December 20, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Hi! I’m one of your biggest fans and I posted about a rye buttermilk whole-wheat bread on my blog a while ago that I think might just float your boat: http://laurenzietsman.wordpress.com/2010/10/23/buttermilk-rye-whole-wheat-bread-so-good-you-might-want-to-marry-it/ …it’s seriously SO good–hearty, but with a slight buttermilk tang and a pretty subtle rye taste. It’s from Bernard Clayton’s Complete Book of Breads and was a giant success. You really should try it for a whole wheat bread that’s not just whole wheat :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 20, 2010 at 8:56 pm



Amy December 20, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Mmmmm… Bread! I have a great whole wheat bread recipe on my blog:



Cara Craves... December 20, 2010 at 8:53 pm

My oldest brother makes an awesome version of this bread…
it is his specialty


yasmine (mypurplegrape) December 20, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Sketchie is so cute!!

Ps: I made your Nanaimo Bars and Chilled Double Chocolate Torte yesterday!! They were such a hit. i’ll be posting pics on my blog later this week :)



Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker December 20, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Great job, Angela! No-knead bread is THE BEST! And your loaf looks so hearty. Yum!


Rachael December 20, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Looks like you had therapy in two forms today – the amazing, grounding rush that comes from creating control out of chaos (and least it’s medicine in my world) and the healing, warm fuzziness of baking and eating homemade bread :)


AGS December 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Ooooh. Similar to wonderful “english muffin bread” that my Mom used to make in left-over coffee cans. You just brought back a wonderful memory!


Lydia January 16, 2014 at 9:40 am

I love that this has no oil in it-I make bread once a week but I hate the adding oil part,I’d rather use much less oils if possible. Can’t wait to try this.


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