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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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. This bread would be a great appetizer to put out with a little whipped butter for the Christmas season! I’ve had my eye on trying your irish soda bread for a while, but since I’m not much of a bread maker, I think I’ll start with these. I’m not usually much of a cranberry fan either, but I love a few of them in heartier fare than muffins like bread and scones 🙂

  2. OK – So this is the 3rd time I have been told about Jim Lahey’s method for baking bread. It must mean I am meant to try it! I will give it a go this weekend. Thanks for sharing this combo – the cranberries and nuts will be perfect for Thanksgiving.

  3. Have you tested this with whole wheat flour?

  4. Do you think you’d be able to add pureed pumpkin? I realize this changes the moisture completely – but adding pumpkin to cranberries is like autumn personified!

    • I don’t suggest adding pumpkin puree to this dough. Let me know if you find a recipe for yeasted pumpkin bread because that sounds great!

  5. I added pepitas to it still waiting till tomorrow to bake it. How would you make this with whole wheat flour? 

  6. Hello Sally,
    A heartfelt” CONGRSTULATIONS” on the new addition!! Hope all is well with you!
    We don’t carry Red Star platinum yeast here in Toronto, Canada. And I searched on Amazon, where they have everything, but it is super expensive! We have Fleischman a, so which type should I use… rapid, active or traditional?

  7. Adding a handful of chocolate chips took it to a wholeeee ‘nother level :))

  8. This looks really good! I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year (the first time in over 30 years my mom isn’t having it…) and this bread looks like it would be such a deliciously festive addition to those tube biscuits we typically have (that I’ve never particularly enjoyed.) I was wondering: is 1/2 teaspoon of yeast an entire yeast packet or will we need to measure it out? Thanks!

  9. Looks fantastic, but I don’t have a dutch oven or even a heavy duty pot. Can I just bake it on a baking tray and put some ice cubes in the oven for steam? Or maybe i. A loaf tin with foil over it?

  10. can u also make it in a bread machine

  11. Love the look of this bread. Husband not so keen on dried cranberries, could I sub raisins &
    a healthy dose of cinnamon. Also would some sugar be ok to add? We like sweet.

  12. I’m so excited to make this! Would fresh/frozen cranberries work or do they have to be dried? Thanks! 

    • Hi Adriana! Dried cranberries (or raisins!) are best for this wet dough. I haven’t tried this bread with fresh or frozen cranberries.

  13. Hi Sally! I have a 5 1/2 qt Le Creuset dutch oven. Will this be big enough for your recipe? Thanks!

  14. What about adding some orange zest?

  15. This looks amazing! I would love to see other variations for no knead bread like this one. 

  16. Girl!!   You ARE not helping my waistline, and it’s only November, hahha, I AM a bread person I’m doomed, this looks delish, will def try with at least 1/2 ww flour, and get back to you. Thanksgiving pants here I come

  17. Why AP flour and not bread flour?

  18. Sally, this looks delicious and i can hardly wait to try it! Where do you buy your brown parchment paper? I’ve searched every now and again but all I find is the bleached version.

  19. Would it be ok to leave out the nuts? A family member has a nut allergy.

  20. It doesn’t seem like 1/2 tsp would be enough for a loaf of bread. When I saw the recipe, I thought it must be a typo. But I read you mention it again. That is not even a third of one yeast packet, which contains 2.5 tsp. So really, just a half teaspoon yeast?

  21. I would like to try this recipe, but would like to divide the dough in two and bake it in a 3 qt. Dutch oven instead of a 6 qt. Any ideas on how to adjust the time it would bake in a smaller pot? I presume the temp of 475 would be the same. Thanks.

  22. Hi Sally, i’d love to make this bread but sub the yeast for sour dough starter which I have bubbling away in the fridge. What do you think?

  23. I have a no-knead bread that I make ALL the time, and I love the addition of cranberries and nuts to this one! Definitely putting this into our holiday baking line-up!

  24. This looks amazing and so easy, perfect for thanksgiving!! I want to add this along with your cranberry apple pie to my menu 🙂

  25. Can you make with Whole Wheat Flour? Thanks!

  26. Such a gorgeous bread and the cranberries make it perfect for fall!

  27. Hi Sally, was wondering the dutch oven that I have can only be heated to 425, do you think baking the bread at this temp would still work? Can I use a cast iron skillet instead?

  28. I’ve been making a bread like this for a few years now. It is a favorite at my house. We have always done a savory style though. I use grated parmesan, crushed red pepper flakes, garlice and onion powder, and Italian seasoning. We love to dip it in olive oil or use it to make grilled cheese. The bread makes great grilled cheeses! I’ve been wanting to try a sweet version like this though. I’m thinking maybe with chocolate chips and a cinnamon sugar swirled throughout. I love how festive your recipe looks though!

  29. There seems to be a number of different yeast products. Now Platinum Yeast. It would be great to understand the difference and possible substitutions. How many types of yeast do I need in my cupboard???

  30. This reminds me of the Cranberry Walnut bread at Whole Foods, which I love. My oven was not quite at 475 after 30 minutes so I waited until it got there to tuck in the dough. I used 1 cup white whole wheat instead of 1 of the cups white and it worked great for me, a little heartier flavor which we prefer. Also took a chance and used Kirkland parchment which as someone mentioned is only graded to 420 degrees, it worked ok for me but I could not lift by the parchment instead I gently rolled the loaf out of the dutch oven and let it cool on the parchment. This recipe is a keeper!

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