Easy Bread Recipe That Anyone Can Make: No-Knead Refrigerator Bread

by Maris Callahan on April 6, 2011

I love to cook. And bake. But more than that I love to break bread and talk about food with likeminded people. So, I thought I would bring some of that sharing to In Good Taste with a few guest posts to liven things up a little. I’ve baked my share of bread but when I connected with  a fellow twenty-something foodie who had found the perfect no-knead bread recipe — well, we just couldn’t keep that a secret now, could we?

Guest blog post by Esther Reisinger

It has been said that man cannot live by bread alone. Obviously, that was said before I was born.

Let me explain: I eat the crust part of a piece of pizza. And I love it. I get kind of sad when I see rejected crusts on a plate. The bread basket at a restaurant always puts me at risk of being too full for my main course. Especially if thereʼs some sort of flavored butter. You know how some people remove the top bun of their burger or sandwich and just eat the sandwich open-faced to reduce carbs, or something like that (a foreign concept to me)? The other night, I deconstructed my half-eaten pulled pork sandwich and ate the bun alone, leaving the rest of the sandwich exposed (mind you, it was a brioche bun, so I think I get a free pass one this one).

Usually, when Iʼm so obsessed with something, I try to figure out a way to make it at home (Usually, it doesnʼt happen. But at least I think about it). However, making bread at home can seem like a daunting task. It calls to mind days long gone by and conjures  images of bonnet-wearing women and daughters endlessly kneading masses of dough by candlelight.

After that era, as the world became more advanced and modern, I think America wanted to depart from these time-consuming processes of their great-great grandparents. The opportunity to have the food they wanted with little to no effort on their part was infinitely more appealing than spending hours in the kitchen. So, homemade bread? Forgetaboutit.

Fast forward to the present, and it seems almost as if weʼve come full circle. As a society, our health-consciousness has increased, and with it our desire to labor in the kitchen once again. Itʼs all about making food from scratch. Itʼs better for you.

So now, people (me) are discovering that making your own bread doesnʼt have to be painful or scary at all. I was delighted to find this super easy recipe that is perfect for lazy carb-lovers such as myself. And guess what: thereʼs no need to knead!

This bread is so versatile and delicious. Itʼs simultaneously chewy and sturdy (holds up well to a lot of things) without being too dense. I can think of so many ways to enjoy it. The actual active prep time for this recipe is incredibly minimal. It does however take at least a day of inactive prep as it sits in the refrigerator. The awesome part is that it can sit in the fridge for up to 7 days, and you can just pull off however much you want to bake at a time. This recipe makes about three good sized loaves. (I always halve the recipe since Iʼm only cooking for two, and I get two medium-sized loaves.)

No-Knead Refrigerator Bread
Recipe and photo from Kelly Dean Yandell, The Meaning of Pie

What You Need:

6½ cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 tablespoon table salt
2 (1/4 oz. each) packages of fast-acting dry yeast (like Red Star)
3 cups lukewarm water

How-To:

Make the dough:

Using the scoop and scrape method (scoop your measure into the flour container and scrape off the excess with the flat side of a knife), measure the flour into a 6 quart food safe container that will fit into your refrigerator (with a tight lid).

Add the remaining dry ingredients into the flour and stir them around to combine. Then add the water and stir quickly with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds until all of the flour is moistened and a sticky dough has formed. Now, leave the container out in a warm place to rise for two hours. It should double in volume, approximately. Once the dough has risen for two hours, put on the lid and put the container in the refrigerator for a minimum of one day, and up to seven days.

Bake the bread:

When you want to bake a loaf of bread, take out the container and simply remove as much dough as you want to use, roughly a quarter or a third. Put the rest back in the refrigerator.

Gently form the dough into a ball or a slightly elongated log and place it onto a baking sheet covered with parchment and sprinkled with a little flour. Allow this to rise for 45 minutes or up to an hour. It will inflate a little and spread. Use a very sharp knife to cut three slits in the top, about a half of an inch deep.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Carefully place a small pie pan, or other smallish pan, of hot water in the bottom rack of the oven (this is for steam). Then place the dough in the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes until it is a deep golden to brown color. Remove the bread from the oven and cool on a rack.

(For safetyʼs sake, you may want to wait for the oven to cool before removing the pan of water.)

Food for thought: If you want to spice things up a bit, you can try adding some fresh herbs to the dough (rosemary, perhaps?) or cheese (sign me up). Add your herbs or cheese to the section of dough that you are baking at the time, fold it over on itself a few times, and bake! I have not yet tried one of these variations from the basic dough, but you can be sure Iʼm going to next time! Let me know if you do, and how it turns out!

Serving Suggestions:

  • Top with hummus and cucumber slices.
  • Slather on goat cheese, top with some roasted red peppers, then put that goodness in the broiler for a few.
  • Toast it, mascarpone it, and raspberry jam it.
  • Create an herbed olive oil dip for it, or a parmesan + olive oil dip.
  • Of course the most obvious, simplest, and probably the best way: toast it, add butter and honey.

———

Esther Reisinger is a 20-something girl dining her way through Chicago and beyond. Her number one passion is exploring her city’s offerings as well as researching and discovering new food to create and experience in her own kitchen. Esther’s love for food is accompanied by a strong desire to travel the world and experience other cultures and cuisines. As a new home cook and budding foodie, she is excited to learn and share her discoveries with others on her own blog The Swell Quenelle.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) April 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm

We must be twins! I love bread just as much, and often take the filling out of a sandwich just to eat the bread. Oh, and I eat my husband’s pizza crust that he leaves on his plate, lol.

This recipe looks great! Yum.

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Daryl April 7, 2011 at 6:20 pm

That picture is gorgeous! I alos love bread and had to laugh because I have been known to remove a hamburger and eat the roll!

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Erica April 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Wow ! This loaf looks PERFECT. I love homemade bread- there is nothing like it- and this recipe looks super easy- LOVE!

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Three-Cookies April 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm

I used to make this before, its fantastic. Just like wine the dough gets better with age, up to a certain limit!

By the way its written “It has been said that man cannot live by bread alone.”. It seems from this article that woman can:) Sorry, had to pick on this.

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Jamie | My Baking Addiction April 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm

I’m all about no knead bread and pizza dough, so I’m thinking this is going to be the next bread that I tackle! It’s truly lovely, Maris!

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Holden April 7, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I love your blog! new follower, && I’ve been looking for one with posts like yours :) I always love finding other 20something cooking writers :) mind checking out my new blog?

Holden @ SUGARbijoux

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Gen April 7, 2011 at 11:14 pm

I looove bread, too! I’ve actually been known to eat a bowl of oatmeal with a side of english muffins! hahaha :D Awesome recipe and guest post!

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Dishes of Mrs. Fish April 7, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Great post, I’ll be giving this recipe to my husband, he’s the yeast master around here. :)

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NancyC April 7, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I have been wanting to try a no-knead bread recipe, because I’m definitely a beginner when it comes to making bread. This looks and sounds great!

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Nicole@HeatOvenTo350 April 8, 2011 at 12:10 am

What a great post. I think I’m going to have to try out this whole “no-knead” thing, because the finished loaves always look so wonderful.

The link to The Swell Quenelle wouldn’t work. Would you mind sharing your friend’s URL? Thanks!

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Autumn @ Good Eats Girl April 8, 2011 at 1:48 am

Wow! This recipe looks great! I”m definitely going to try it out!

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Betty @ scrambled hen fruit April 8, 2011 at 2:56 am

This looks great! My son has been making no knead bread for a while now, and loves the ease of it. Bread is my weakness! :)

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Baking Serendipity April 8, 2011 at 3:50 am

An easy bread recipe sounds fantastic for my busy days :) I love homemade bread and this loaf looks perfect!

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella April 8, 2011 at 9:29 am

I love no knead breads too! They just require a bit of patience but when faced with the idea of kneading by hand or waiting, I’d rather wait! :P

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Kristen April 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm

What a great recipe and so easy – I love that recipes like this are getting people in the kitchen.

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Jessica April 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm

That looks incredible and so easy. I used to be scared of making bread until last year when I started doing sourdough bread. This is definitely on my next to do list! Thanks for sharing

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Daryl April 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I couldn’t resist this-No need to Knead!!!

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Aimee April 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I have two questions:
1) Have you tried using hard white wheat or other kinds of flour?
2) The bread picture posted looks like a loaf of italian bread. Is it more of a crusty bread, as opposed to regular loaf?
Thanks – I am a beginning baker and just want to make sure of what I am doing.

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Rosa April 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I love NKB! Yours looks wonderful.

Cheers,

Rosa

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Amy April 9, 2011 at 1:05 am

I love that this bread is so simple and yet sounds delicious! Nice to not have to knead :) !

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Simply Life April 9, 2011 at 10:34 am

Oh that bread does look perfect and I love the simple ingredient list!

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Mary April 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm

What a fabulous loaf of bread. It really sounds delicious and it is certainly easy enough to do. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

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pigpigscorner April 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I lke the crust of pizza too! This sounds so easy, the best part is that it doesn’t require any kneading!

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spcookiequeen April 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Maris, this bread sounds great. I could live on bread alone. I can almost smell it. Hope you have a lovely weekend.
-Gina-

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Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets April 10, 2011 at 1:04 am

Mmm no-knead bread is such an awesome invention! I’ve tried the artisan bread in 5 minutes recipe and that worked well too.

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thatssoron April 10, 2011 at 2:19 am

That looks like some good bread! good recipe

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Sarah Caron April 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm

What a great and easy recipe. It sounds so doable!

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Katherine: Unemployed April 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm

I don’t know… you might want to use “anyone” a little bit more carefully. I’m pretty sure this looks too complicated for me to make. Eating? I could handle. Looks great!

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rebecca April 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm

great recipe can’t beat a good bread thanks for traveling with me :-)

Rebecca

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Barbara April 10, 2011 at 5:40 pm

I love the no-knead bread recipes! They make life so simple. Would love to add cheese to this!

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Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) April 11, 2011 at 2:01 am

I became enamored with no-knead breads recently too. This looks like a great addition to my repertoire. Thanks for sharing.

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Reeni April 11, 2011 at 2:16 am

I am the same way about bread and I love a crusty pizza! That’s the best part. I love the concept of having dough ready whenever you need it!

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Vivienne April 11, 2011 at 5:38 am

ive recently got into bread making but have yet to make a no-knead one! def looking fwd to try this one out…*love* chewy bread! <3 thanks for sharing :)

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Blond Duck April 11, 2011 at 10:51 am

There’s nothing like homemade bread. I’m going to pop this in the fridge so my husband can enjoy it when he gets home from his business trip!

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Caroline April 11, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I’ve always wanted to try no-knead bread! It looks so easy and so delicious – not to mention it looks like that expensive artisan bread you can get from the specialty stores!

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Kate April 11, 2011 at 1:28 pm

This recipe sounds so easy and fabulous! Can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

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Dewi April 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Homemade bread always tastes divine!

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grace April 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm

since i started working in a bakery, i’ve vowed to never buy a store-bought loaf of bread ever again. if it can be easy too, well, that’s excellent. :)

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Sommer@ASpicyPerspective April 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm

No kneading? I love it already!

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Theresa April 14, 2011 at 2:37 am

I LOVE the idea of “no knead” as I’m bread making challenged…seriously! I too was curious if you could use whole wheat, white whole wheat or spelt flour? I just can’t bring myself to use All Purpose flour! And since I’m so challenged I’d hate to try it on my own and it not work!! LOL Thanks :)

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Maria @ Scandifoodie April 15, 2011 at 8:41 pm

This is such a great recipe, definitely will try it soon! I’m like you, always thinking of ‘how can I make this at home’ ;-)

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Megan April 17, 2011 at 5:19 am

I love it, no-knead bread is the greatest! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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Stephanie April 20, 2011 at 11:18 pm

This sounds too easy not to try it! Homemade bread is so amazing. My stomach thanks you in advance!

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Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food April 22, 2011 at 10:43 am

I’ve been making my own whole wheat bread virtually every week for the past 30 years, but I’m still using the old-fashioned, kneaded approach. I REALLY must get organized to try this new, no-knead method, which sounds and looks so delicious and so much easier.

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