Who doesn’t love a low-effort, high-reward bake? Especially when it comes to making bread!
Introduced to many by Mark Bittman and Jim Lahey, then popularized by bakers like Jeff Hertzberg, Zoe François, and later Alexandra Stafford, the no-knead method, as its name promises, omits the laborious step of kneading bread dough altogether. Instead of encouraging gluten development and dough strength with your hands or stand mixer for several minutes (the former being a real workout!), you just mix the dough and … that’s it. A long, slow rise does all the work for you. (Not to mention, that extended rise also gives the dough a chance to develop even more flavor over time.)
No-knead breads mean less fuss, less stress, and less active time — just take a backseat and let the dough do its thing. These recipes do take longer to make, but the bulk of it is passive time — so you can go about your day and run those errands, get a full night’s sleep, or even let the whole work week go by while your dough rests.
Ready to take a break from kneading? Here are seven fantastic no-knead bread recipes — from classic, crusty boules to sweet, swirled brioche.
With a recipe that stays true to its name, these cinnamon-packed sticky buns are not only easy, but incredibly amenable to your schedule. After the dough’s initial rise, a subsequent rest in the fridge can last for several hours and up to three days. An added bonus? This recipe yields three batches of buns. So treat yourself to one batch today, and stow the rest in the freezer for sticky buns on demand. You’re welcome, future you.
If you’re newer to yeast baking, this is the recipe for you. If you’re a pro at yeast baking, this is still the recipe for you. From the straightforward stirring of the dough to a nuanced, developed flavor thanks to a rest in the fridge (that can last up to seven days), this quintessential no-knead recipe proves that a handful of basic ingredients can transform into a crusty, artisan-style loaf that delivers every time.
Meal prep for the week can get overwhelming. But what if I told you that five minutes of mixing dough on a Sunday morning gives you the flexibility to make pizza night any night? Leave the dough out to rise at room temperature for a full day, then stick it into the fridge, where it can rest for up to six days. At any point, you can take out the dough to finish up the shaping and baking steps in merely an hour, meaning you’re always 60 minutes away from freshly baked pizza.
Swirled with a luscious strawberry jam throughout its tender crumb, this buttery brioche gets better by the slice: Eat it for breakfast as-is, slather it with marmalade during your tea break, or give it the French toast treatment for an occasion-worthy brunch. A sweet, impressive-looking bread like this makes it hard to believe so little work goes on behind-the-scenes.
The formula for this yeasted flatbread couldn’t be simpler: Mix the batter, pour it into a 9”x13” pan, give it a rest — overnight, if you’d prefer the flexibility — and voilà, a delightful appetizer that’s (almost) worth filling up on the bread course.
A delightful trio of chocolate chips, tart cherries, and toasted pecans meets its match with a blend of all-purpose, rye, and whole wheat flours for a spectrum of sweet and nutty flavors. Don’t let the total recipe time dissuade you — the active prep only includes mixing the dough in a bowl, incorporating the add-ins, and shaping it into a round, while the bulk of the timing is dedicated to a slow rise that can be split up over a day or two.
For an elevated take on the humble burger bun, look to this recipe, which calls for the addition of cheese powder (or shredded cheese) and onion powder. All that’s asked of you is to quickly beat the dough and divide it into bun-sized portions, while an hour-long rest in between each step does most of the leg work. As fellow blog writer PJ Hamel puts it simply: so easy, so cheesy!
Looking for more handy scheduling tips for bread? Check out our Extraordinary Bread: Weeknights collection for bread recipes designed to fit into your busy lifestyle.
Cover photo (Strawberry Swirl No-Knead Brioche) by John Sherman.