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This dutch oven bread is a simple, hands-off, no knead recipe. It’s perfect for beginners that are hesitant to try making their own bread. It’s full of homemade simplicity that will be the best bread recipe you’ll ever try.
Bread. We’re like best buds. I remember before I tried to make bread of any sort, and I was so intimidated. Yep, I was intimidated by some flour and yeast. Don’t laugh. I just thought it was going to be some complicated process and turn out to be a rock or something. I dunno… I’m weird.
Anyway, now that I’ve got my ridiculous confession out of the way. I did try making it, with great success. Beginners luck? Maybe… but so far, knock on wood, I seem to be able to make bread without any issues. Except sourdough, I keep trying, I’ll try till I get it right, but I always kill it before it becomes an actual loaf of bread.
This no knead dutch oven bread is, hands down, my favorite to make, though. It’s so simple. But, don’t let that simplicity fool you. This stuff is full of flavor all by itself. While I love kneading bread (I’m weird, remember) I really enjoy the hands-off simplicity of this recipe. You just measure. Dump. Stir. Leave for the day.
Yep, that’s it and yes, I said a day. The beauty of this bread is while it’s totally hands off, you won’t be eating it until tomorrow. Why? Because the longer bread sits, the more flavor it has. Yes, my friends, patience is required in all good things in life. This recipe is no exception to that.
While you do need to leave it sit, you could technically eat it for supper tonight. If you throw it together first thing in the morning. As long as your first thing in the morning is 430 or 5. If you don’t let it sit, it just won’t taste as good and you won’t have all of those delicious air pockets in your loaf. And you need those air pockets. They’re glorious.
Tips for Making Dutch Oven Bread
- This dough is sticky, even after you allow it to rise for half a day or more. That’s okay. Do not add any more flour to it. You can flour your hands to keep the dough from sticking to your hands, but don’t put any more into the actual dough. It’ll end up more heavy and dense and you don’t want that.
- This recipe is super simple, don’t overcomplicate it. You just need to incorporate all of the ingredients together, then stop. Don’t over mix it. Just stir until incorporated and go find something else to do until tomorrow. You’ll thank me later.
- Speaking of time, yes, you need to let it sit for a minimum of 12 hours and up to 24. If you don’t, your bread is likely to be very chewy. The longer it sits, the more delicious and palatable your bread will be. I like to put mine together the day before I plan to make soup or beef stew that I love serving this along side.
- To avoid your loaf sticking to the bottom of your pot, you need to make sure it’s nice and hot. Throw it in the oven while it’s preheating and then allow it to sit in there for another 20 to 30 minutes before you pull it out and carefully place the loaf into the the bottom of the, now very hot, dutch oven. This will keep the dough from sticking to the bottom.
Why is My Bread Flat?
The reason bread turns out flat is almost always your yeast. Yeast is a living organism, believe it or not, and it loses its reactivity after a while. Even if you never opened the jar, it expires. So always check your expiration dates. Leave it stored in a cool, dark place. Once opened, you can store it, tightly lidded, in the refrigerator for a few months. I always allow refrigerated yeast to get to room temperature before baking with it.
Another reason your bread could be flattish in appearance is the size of dutch oven you use. The larger the dutch oven, the less tall your loaf will be. I use a 5 quart dutch oven with this recipe and it works fine, but if you want your loaf to be taller, use a smaller (perhaps a 3.5 or 4 quart) dutch oven instead.
Can I add herbs or spices to flavor my dutch oven bread?
Absolutely. While this bread is probably one of the most flavorful, simple bread recipes I’ve ever tasted, you can definitely modify it. I really enjoy adding a little rosemary, garlic, and cheese to it and serving it with Spaghetti & Meatballs . It makes a delicious cheesy garlic bread that’s so good. If you do add anything to it, which is totally fine, let it rise longer because the addition of those ingredients slows down the yeast.
- In a large bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients. The flour, sea salt, and yeast. Slowly stir in the warm water until just incorporated. Do not over stir.
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Sit it off to the side and leave it, undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Nothing will hurt it if it sits a little over a day.
- Place your dutch oven, with the lid in place, on the center rack of your oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F with the dutch oven inside. Once the oven reaches temperature, allow the dutch oven to heat for around 20-30 minutes.
- Once the dutch oven is warmed up, carefully remove it from the oven, it's super hot! Sprinkle just a bit of flour on the bottom. Alternatively, you can use parchment paper in the next step....
- Flour your hands really well and remove the dough from the bowl. It will be very sticky, do not add flour to the dough mixture. Do not punch down the dough, simply form it into a ball and either place the ball on parchment paper and place it in the pot or carefully place the dough directly on the bottom of the dutch oven.
- Place the lid, also hot, back onto the dutch oven and place it back onto the center rack of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid and bake the bread for an additional 20 minutes, until it has a nice brown color.
- Once finished, carefully remove the bread to a wire rack to allow to cool before slicing.
If you would like to add ingredients to the recipe, you'll do so during the first step.
Other From Scratch Breads You’ll Love:
Do you bake your own bread? What kind is your favorite?
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