Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

No-Knead Crusty Cranberry Nut Bread

No-knead super crusty, soft, and EASY bread made in the dutch oven! Filled with dried cranberries and walnuts, the bread is delicious! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Here’s a recipe you’re going to memorize.

And I’m not saying that because it’s so simple. I’m saying it because it’s an unbelievably and awesomely delicious homemade bread with a major crust, a soft and chewy texture, and plenty of irresistible nuts and dried cranberries to keep each piece interesting and unique. You won’t be able to stop making it. You won’t be able to stop eating it. And, as such, you’ll memorize it before the year’s over.

I’ve made this no-knead bread 4x within 2 weeks and I’m not even a bread person. But it MADE ME A BREAD PERSON. Not sure if that’s a bad thing? Thank god we can hide under chunky sweaters and Thanksgiving pants for awhile.

No-knead super crusty, soft, and EASY bread made in the dutch oven! Filled with dried cranberries and walnuts, the bread is delicious! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

“Homemade bread” and “easy” are terms that don’t typically go hand-in-hand. When you think of homemade bread, you get pretty freaked out, right? Seems like a terrible idea, majorly complicated, and a general waste of time. No thanks. This recipe will completely change that universal thought. I realize that’s a pretty big promise, but I’m confident your perception of homemade bread will switch from “too fancy schmancy” to “wow, I can do this.”

This bread’s got all the bells and whistles and takes zero effort to make.

The general plan:

  1. Stir 5 ingredients together. Don’t even break out your mixer.
  2. Stir in extras like chopped walnuts and dried cranberries.
  3. Shape into a ball and leave it alone for a day.
  4. Kick up your feet and don’t knead the dough.
  5. Score an X on top of the dough and bake it.
  6. You’re done.

The 5 ingredients include kitchen staples like flour, salt, and honey. You’ll also need a little warm water to bring all the ingredients together and activate the yeast. For the yeast, we’re using Red Star Platinum, my favorite. Don’t be nervous– yeast doesn’t bite, I promise. 🙂 It’s just another ingredient you’re adding.

Red Star Yeast - Platinum

This whole no-work, no-knead, professional-bread-at-home concept has swarmed the internet and after some research, I found it originally came from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC. It’s all very basic ingredients, which I mentioned before, but his method is unique, which includes an 18 hour rise time. 18 hours?! Yes! Don’t be nervous, this 18 hours gives the dough a chance to ferment. And the fermentation time requires absolutely nothing from you. If you’re feeling lazy, great. This bread is for you. Just set it on your counter and forget about it until the next day. The magic happens when you’re not looking!

I added a little honey for some flavor, a little extra yeast, and a bit of flour to make up for the added liquid. Plus lots of walnuts and cranberries for interesting texture. Not that this bread needs any assistance in the texture category. It’s SO crisp and crusty. Just look at it! And that long rise time ensures an amazingly chewy texture.

How to make easy crusty no-knead bread on sallysbakingaddiction.com

You’ll bake the bread in a super hot dutch oven. If you don’t have one, you can use any heavy duty pot with a lid, providing it’s oven-proof.

Why a Dutch Oven?

Baking the bread with the lid on traps steam inside the pot, creating that perfect crust. A lid is KEY to this bread recipe’s success! You won’t regret picking up a dutch oven.

No-knead super crusty, soft, and EASY bread made in the dutch oven! Filled with dried cranberries and walnuts, the bread is delicious! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

No-knead super crusty, soft, and EASY bread made in the dutch oven! Filled with dried cranberries and walnuts, the bread is delicious! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

It’s so easy, you’ll be silly not to try it. And you’ll really be missing out!

Step-by-step pictures and additional tips below the recipe.

No-Knead Crusty Cranberry Nut Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups + 2 Tablespoons (390g) all-purpose flour, plus more for hands
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt (I find the flavor lacking using regular table salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Star Platinum yeast (instant yeast)
  • 3/4 cup (95g) chopped nuts (I like walnuts or pecans)
  • 3/4 cup (105g) dried cranberries*
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) warm water (about 95°F (35°C))

Tools

  • 6 quart or higher dutch oven or any large oven-safe pot with a lid (lid is crucial-- see post!)

Directions:

  1. *No need to grease the bowl.* Stir the first 6 ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in the warm water. The dough will be pretty sticky-- don't be tempted to add more flour-- you want a sticky dough. Gently shape into a ball as best you can. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Set on the counter at room temperature (honestly any normal room temperature is fine!) and allow to rise for 12-18 hours. The dough will double in size, stick to the sides of the bowl, and be covered in air bubbles.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using lightly floured hands, shape into a ball as best you can. Doesn't have to be perfect! Transfer dough to a large piece of parchment paper. (Large enough to fit inside your pot and one that is safe under such high heat. I use this parchment and it's never been an issue.)
  3. Using a very sharp knife, gently score an X into the top. Cover dough lightly with plastic wrap and leave alone for 30 minutes.
  4. During this 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 475°F (246°C). (Yes, very hot!) Place your dutch oven (with the lid) or heavy duty pot inside for 30 minutes so that it's extremely hot before the dough is placed inside. After 30 minutes, remove the dutch oven from the oven and carefully place the dough inside by lifting it up with the parchment paper and sticking it all-- the parchment paper included-- inside the pot. Cover with the lid.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes with the lid on. Carefully remove the lid and continue baking for 8-10 more minutes until the bread is golden brown. Remove pot from the oven, carefully remove the bread from the pot, and allow to cool on the counter for 30 minutes before breaking/slicing/serving.
  6. Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for 1 week.

Make ahead tip/Freezing: The dough takes up to 18 hours to rise, so this is a wonderful recipe to begin 1 day ahead of time. You can also bake the bread, allow it to cool, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving. You can also freeze the dough. Complete the recipe through step 2. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-friendly container. To bake, allow dough to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or for 2-3 hours at room temperature. Continue with step 3 and the rest of the recipe instructions.

Recipe Notes:

Recipe adapted from Red Star Yeast, method originally from Jim Lahey

*I've been receiving a lot of questions about using whole wheat flour. I haven't tried it yet, but I expect the bread to taste quite tough. Rather, try half all-purpose and half whole wheat.

*Dried cranberries (or raisins!) are best for this wet dough. I haven't tried this bread with fresh or frozen cranberries.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Gently stir all of the ingredients together:

How to make easy crusty no-knead bread on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This will be a super sticky dough. Remember, do NOT be tempted to add more flour. It will stick to your hands. That’s nothing a quick wash can’t fix!

How to make easy crusty no-knead bread on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Let the dough rise at room temperature. This recipe is very forgiving. Any normal-ish room temperature is fine. You’ll know that the dough is finished rising when it has doubled in size and air bubbles have formed on top.

How to make easy crusty no-knead bread on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The dough will still be super sticky after rising. That’s ok! Using lightly floured hands, form the sticky dough into a ball and place on a large piece of parchment paper. Allow to rest for 30 minutes, then score an X on top:

How to make easy crusty no-knead bread on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Bake! Eat! Enjoy!

How to make crusty no-knead cranberry walnut bread on sallysbakingaddiction.com

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Glass Mixing Bowls | Wooden Spoon | 2-cup Glass Measuring Cup | Dutch Oven

No-knead super crusty, soft, and EASY bread made in the dutch oven! Filled with dried cranberries and walnuts, the bread is delicious! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

180 comments

  1. Well, I was really excited about making this, got all the ingredients, even bought a new  Dutch oven but it all went down hill when I thought I had the water too hot for the yeast So I waited for it to cool, I think it cooled too much, because the dough rose.  So like someone else mentioned, I added more yeast with more flour and it did rise, but not a lot.  I went ahead and baked it, it wasn’t great. I’m not giving up, I’ll try it again and hope that I can get it right

  2. I’ve made this twice since you posted the recipe. So easy, but the best thing is how wonderful it tastes. I think I put more nuts than you called for, but that was a good mistake. We enjoy it just as is, slice and eat. Thanks for a recipe that I’ll be making frequently.

  3. I NEVER thought I could make amazingly chewy, crusty, delicious bakery-worthy bread like this! Thank you Sally! I even bought the dutch oven from the link you posted. I love it so much. I got the white colored one and it’s a beautiful warm cream color more than white. It looks lovely in my kitchen. The bread came out PERFECT. I can’t wait to make more and give as gifts too.

  4. I made this bread once and it turned out exactly as the recipe indicated–so delicious! I’m making again and wondered if there was a limit on the rise time–like don’t go above 18 hours? My 18 hr rise time will be done late at night and I’d rather not bake at 2AM, etc. Can you either let the bread sit on the counter after 18 hrs or put in the fridge until ready to bake the next morning? What would you recommend for a “gap” time between the initial rise time and the 30 minute pre-oven rise time? Thanks! It’s a great recipe and I’m excited to try it after the holidays without cranberries/walnuts…just plain? Or with other ingredients, etc…Open to any thoughts you have on the versatility of the basic flour/yeast/salt/water combo as the foundation to other recipes?

    • Hi Tania! I don’t recommend going much past 18 hours. This bread is wonderful plain. I’ve had readers add cinnamon, chocolate chips and raisins; some have shredded cheese with luck too!

  5. This recipe turned out great, but the bottom got darker than I’d like. Any suggestions as to how I could modify the recipe to fix this issue? 

  6. I just finished making this and it looks amazing! I’m trying very hard to wait the 30min cool time. I didn’t have instant yeast so I proofed my yeast with some of the warm water the recipe called for and followed the recipe exactly. I wish I could post a picture of the how gorgeous this bread looks. Will definitely be making this again 🙂

  7. OMG! So good – will admit I couldn’t wait the 30 mins. to cool (oops!) I have seen similar bread for $8.00 and I can now make it whenever I want (that could be dangerous). Thanks Sally!

  8. Can I use King Arthur bread flour instead of all purpose flour?

  9. Directions for my Dutch oven state I shouldn’t heat it empty. What do you advise? Thank you!

  10. Well, I made this and it is delicious, but it stuck to the parchment paper. Should I lightly grease it next time?

    • I had the same problem,  I  think if I had just dusted paper with a little flour it wouldn’t have stuck.  The loaf looks gorgeous though, can’t wait to taste it!

  11. I tried making this with whole wheat pastry flour and I’m not sure if that was my mistake; my dough wasn’t sticky at all, but rather pretty dry. It didn’t really raise in 18 hours, but did a little in the oven, and came out really dense, not fully baked in the middle and burning on the bottom.
    I don’t really like eating white flour if I have a choice so I’ll try this again and add more water until I get a better consistency.

  12. I thinking of trying this bread and making it a bread bowl dip for thanksgiving!! Just need the right dip

  13. This bread was fantastic! It was so easy to make, and went great with a grilled chicken salad for dinner. It was equally as great the next day with breakfast, toasted and spread with butter. I was a little worried because my parchment paper was only good up to 420 degeees, but I just kept an eye on it, and no fires! 

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