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2 loaves of No Knead French Bread on a parchment on a cooling rack
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4.50 from 22 votes

No-Knead French Bread

No-Knead French Bread loaves have golden, crisp crusts and lightly chewy centers. This homemade bread needs just 90 minutes of total rise time and makes two rustic loaves. It doesn’t require special methods or equipment. (No bread flour needed.) 
Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time1 hr 55 mins
Course: Bread
Keyword: baking, French bread, Homemade bread
Servings: 12
Calories: 163kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $5.00

Equipment

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Half Sheet Pan

Ingredients

  • 4 cups / 500g All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoon Kosher Salt (I use Morton’s or Diamond Brand)
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoon Fast Acting or “Instant” Yeast (see note)
  • 2 cups / 473ml Warm Water (see note)

Instructions

  • Make Dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Pour water over dry ingredients and stir until no dry spots remain. The dough will be very sticky, but just scrape down the sides as you stir.
  • First Rise (45 minutes): Cover the dough with a clean dish towel and leave it on the kitchen counter to rise until doubled in size, 45 minutes. (If your kitchen is on the colder side, let the dough rise for 60 minutes.)
  • Set out a large sheet pan (or two sheet pans). If you’d like, you can add a piece of parchment paper to the sheet pan which will make it easier to remove the bread and eliminate any chance of sticking. Dust the pan with all-purpose flour (see note).
  • Shape Loaves: Use a knife to slice down the center of the dough, separating it into even halves (the dough is very sticky, so don’t worry about being super precise). Dust the surface of the dough and your hands with flour. Working with one half of the dough at a time, transfer it to the prepared sheet pan and form it into two side-by-side baguette-shaped loaves. (If things get sticky, dust with some more flour as you work. These loaves may not look picture-perfect, but they'll taste great!)
  • Heat Oven: Preheat oven to 450°F / 232°C. (If you have an oven that heats up fairly fast, you can wait to start heating the oven until the dough is nearly through the second rise below.)
  • Second Rise (45 minutes): While the oven heats up, leave the dough to rise on the sheet pan, uncovered, until nearly doubled in size, 45 minutes
  • Just before baking, use a knife or kitchen shears to cut slits in the surface of the dough. (These slits help the dough to spread out and rise as it bakes, but they’re also decorative - giving the bread some more texture and color on the surface.)
  • Bake bread (25 minutes): Bake bread in the heated oven until the top is golden brown and crisp, about 25 minutes. (Use an instant read thermometer if you have one. The bread is done when it reaches 190°F / 88°C in the center.)
  • Transfer loaves immediately to a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly and serve!

Notes

Yeast - 2 ¼ teaspoon of Fast Acting or “Instant Yeast is one ¼ oz packet of yeast (often sold in 3-packet sets). Be sure to get yeast labeled as Fast Acting, Instant, Quick-Rise, Bread Machine, or RapidRise - any of these will work. Do NOT use “Active Dry Yeast” for this recipe; it needs to be dissolved in water before using. 
Water - Check the label on the brand of yeast you have purchased for the recommended water temperature. Water that is too hot will kill the yeast, water that is too cool will not “activate” it. Use a thermometer to check the temperature or just make sure it feels warm (but not hot) to the touch. 
Dusting with flour or cornmeal - The key to shaping the loaves of very sticky dough without them sticking to your hands or the pan is to dust everything lightly with either all-purpose flour or cornmeal. Either one will work.
Storing bread - Sliced bread can be stored at room temperature for 2 days (it’s best warmed in the toaster after the first day) or can be frozen for up to 6 months.
This recipe is adapted from what is, as far as I’ve been able to figure out, the original source - Mrs. Howard G. Shutte, Jr. as published in the Three Rivers Cookbook III of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1990). Tips, tricks, and the discovery of this recipe come from my grandma - Jeanne Gregg.

Nutrition

Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 390mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 2mg