4-Hour No-Knead Bread.




About: Hacker, Artist, Researcher, and founder of the diybookscanner.org community.

There are many good bread Instructables already, but when making bread, you can never have too many fail-safe techniques, and this recipe works almost every time.


This is a four-hour process; you need that much time to let the dough rise. I like to throw it together while snacking on lunch, and then when I get home after school it is ready to throw in the oven.

My recipe differs from most no-knead recipes in that you do not drop it it into a heated pan. I changed the recipe because I had too many burns from handling a bread pan at 400+ degrees, and one of my Pyrex dishes shattered on me when I accidentally set the edge of it on a wet washcloth.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial and the resulting mouthwatering delicious bread.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Materials.


To make good bread, you need good flour. Flour which is marked "bread flour" typically has 11-12% protein (gluten) which is higher than normal flour. This allows the loaf to have good structure and texture. You can cut cheaper white flour with bread flour if you don't have enough of either.

If you are in Germany, type 550 flour works well. Thanks t.rohner and stryke!

I use yeast from a Polish market. While you can buy Fleischmann's yeast from the supermarket, it is really expensive, especially in packets. If you have access to an Eastern European or Balkan market, often they sell 1lb bags of yeast for just a few dollars, a huge savings over the grocery store stuff. You need a small spoonful, the amount is not critical.

I use sea salt, but you can use any kind of salt. Salt adds flavor and slows the growth of yeast slightly. I like to put about half a spoonful in.

You need a bake-proof container with a lid (the lid saves you from having to use foil every time and results in a more consistent crust). I got my Pyrex baking dish (visible in Step 7) at a local thrift store for just a few dollars. It is really the perfect dish for this kind of thing

3 cups flour.
Some salt. (see picture 2)
Some yeast. (see picture 2)

Step 2: Putting Things Together and Mixing Them.

Pour your ingredients in a bowl. Mix the dry ingredients a bit before adding 1.5 cups warm(ish) water.

Be sure to add the water slowly - pour it in a small but steady stream. Some flours take more or less. You just want your dough to be "shaggy" -- pictured in the next step.

Step 3: Making Your Dough "Shaggy".

Your dough should be this consistency or a little more damp. It's easy to add too much water -- it's better to add less, because when you let it sit for 4 hours, the water will diffuse through the loaf.

If you added too much, add more flour to get it back to "shaggy", my favorite texture.

Step 4: I Love Yeast

Cover the dough, put it in a warm place, and let the yeast rise. It's pretty amazing to watch them go.

These images cover a span of about 4 hours. You can do more, but you'll get poor results with less. Click on the second image for an animation of the dough rising.

Step 5:

This part is critical. I have an old burnt pan that I use for just this purpose.

Put a tablespoon or so of oil on the surface.

Let the oil spread around.

Remove the dough from your mixing bowl. Mash it once as shown. Do not mash or knead it any more than once or, if you must, two times.

Roll up the flat thing you just made.

Done with this step!

Step 6: Into the Dish!

Place the dough in a Pyrex baking dish, "ugly side up". Doing this allows the dough to easily expand and makes for an interesting surface.

I like to salt my bread at this point. The surface is oily and catches the salt nicely. Be generous with the salt; you won't regret it.

Other things I like to put on top:

A dash of sugar and black pepper OR

A streak of honey (if I plan to eat it with butter/jam) OR

Basil and sun dried tomato pieces OR

A splash of garlic vinegar OR

Minced onion.

Step 7: Pre-Oven Prep

Now cover the loaf in the baking pan. You have to let it "rest" in order to have it bake properly. By now, you're probably starving, but don't rush this step.

To make the wait easier, preheat your oven to around 450 degrees F.


Put your dough in the oven.

Pour some water on your hands for your dead yeasties.

Step 9: Baking

Bake your bread for 30 minutes with the cover on.

Then, if you want an extra crispy, nutty, amazing crust, remove the lid and bake 5 more minutes.

Step 10: ENJOY.

By now, your whole house smells of baking and you're starving. Take the loaf from the oven, remove it from the pan, and let it cool for a minute. Cut it with a bread knife or tear it open with your hands like a hungry caveman.

One of the simplest and most delicious things to eat with the finished product is a small bowl with oil, salt, and Italian spices like basil. I like to keep such a bowl in my fridge, ready for each new loaf. Dipping fresh bread in such a mixture is just outstanding eating.

I won't even go into the money you'll save baking for yourself, because if you could buy this kind of bread at the store, you wouldn't care what it cost.

3 People Made This Project!


  • Made with Math Contest

    Made with Math Contest
  • Candy Challenge

    Candy Challenge
  • Multi-Discipline Contest

    Multi-Discipline Contest

217 Discussions


1 year ago on Step 10

First-time bread maker here. Followed the instruction to the point! Worked perfectly. 4 hours of raising, 30 minutes of baking, 5 minutes to make the crust! Voila. A perfect loaf of bread. Thank you for writing the great instructions!

1 reply

3 years ago

wow why so long for rising! My rise 45 minutes to 1 hour and I don't use a warm oven to let rise .In my opinion longer rise does nothing for the flavor .

1 reply

3 years ago

You might want to check out an even simpler variation over at jennycancook.com. She has found that you can put the dough after the initial rise directly in a cold pot in a cold oven, cover it, then turn it on to 450°. Uncover it after 30 minutes, then bake for another 30 minutes.


4 years ago on Introduction

I've used Jim Lahey's technique for a long time, but it calls for an 18 hour rise + preheating a dutch oven. It's great that you can get such a beautiful loaf after a four hour rise with no preheating.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

I, too, have been using Jim Lahey's technique for a long time. As someone who has had trouble with gluten, his recipe makes the bread more tolerable for me. But my friends who are not gluten intolerant will love this quicker, easier method. I'm sharing it with them now!


4 years ago

Made this foir the first time.. easy good and on my to do list when making bread form now on.


10 years ago on Introduction

Just tried this for the first time - turned out delicious, crust was perfect! The crumb is perhaps a small bit denser than I would prefer, do you have any suggestions for making it rise a little more? I may have gotten a little too much water in the dough, perhaps that was the culprit... Used bread flour and one packet of quick-rise yeast. Thanks very much for the excellent tutorial!

11 replies

Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

One of the best loaves I've ever made, and I've made a LOT of bread! The crust was amazing. I let the loaf rise for almost 12 hours (because I forgot about it) and it still came out wonderful.


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

At what point can you let it go longer - during the "four hour rise"? Should you refrigerate at any point during a longer time period? And after the longer rise do you follow the directions the same way you would if you had only let it rise 4 hours?
(I'd like some bread for tomorrow's dinner, but it's way too late to do the entire process tonight!)


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

You can let the dough rise for 18 hours (see Jim Lahey's book on bread baking). He uses only 1/4 tsp of yeast.


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

It's a very forgiving recipe. I let the initial rise go for 12 hours, then followed through with the rest of the recipe without changing anything. Actually, that's my new routine. I mix it up in the morning before work. I come home between 8-10 hours later and do the last few steps and bake it. Beautiful dinner.


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

I've never tested such a long rise time, so I am super glad to see this great experience/advice coming from my friend jradi. :)

Also, great shot, acrollet.


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction


You can actually go quite a while and it still tastes great. Here's pretty much the same recipe, with it rising for14-20 hours!



Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

It worked perfectly and tasted the same as when I've done it with just 4 hours. I think I have a new bread baking routine in the works!


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

w00t! Great news! And interesting, it seems from your comments and others that you can leave this stuff overnight and still get great results. Awesome.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Forgot to mention - I used a crockpot insert w/ pyrex lid, and it worked great. Used an oven thermometer to make sure I was baking at 450. (had to turn the dial a little over 475)


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Thanks! Actually, just today I tried calibrating my oven -- the knob is off by ten degrees. I don't have a good suggestion for getting the crumb to be less dense... have you had any luck since?