Crusty Cranberry Nut No Knead Bread

Yeasted bread has never been easier. This simple mixing method produces the most beautiful and crusty cranberry nut no knead bread with practically zero hands-on work!

loaf of cranberry walnut bread

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 the recipe in no time. That’s a guarantee.

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?

cranberry walnut bread showing the inside

“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. This recipe, however, 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, like my homemade artisan bread, has all the bells and whistles and takes zero effort to make. If you’re feeling lazy…. awesome. Because this recipe is for you.


Video Tutorial


Overview: How to Make No Knead Bread

  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, let it rest, then bake it.
  6. You’re done.

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, 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. Just set it on your counter and forget about it until the next day. The magic happens when you’re not looking!

packet of platinum Red Star yeast

Only 5 Ingredients for No Knead Bread

You don’t need a lot of ingredients to make homemade bread and you might already know that if you’ve tried my sandwich bread recipe. You only need 5 ingredients here, which 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.

Honey isn’t usually added to traditional no knead bread recipes, but I wanted a little extra flavor here. A couple Tablespoons of flour make up for the added liquid. There’s also 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.

cranberry nut bread in a dutch oven after baking

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 Bake No Knead Bread in 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 Dutch Oven? No Problem.

While baking the bread in a dutch oven is key to this bread’s texture, you can get around it. Instead, place the rounded dough on a parchment paper lined or generously floured baking pan. (No need to pre-heat the pan in the oven like you do the dutch oven.) Score the bread as noted in step 3 below. Preheat the oven. After the oven is preheated, place a shallow metal or cast iron baking pan or skillet (I usually use a metal 9Ă—13 inch baking pan, do not use glass) on the bottom oven rack. Carefully and quickly pour 3-4 cups of boiling water into it. Place the scored dough/baking pan on a higher rack and quickly shut the oven, trapping the steam inside. The steam helps create a crispier crust. Bake for about 30 minutes, but begin checking at 25 minutes. Gently tap the loaf– if it sounds hollow, the bread is done.

loaf of cranberry walnut bread and a couple slices

piece of cranberry walnut bread

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.

Print
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cranberry nut bread in a dutch oven after baking

Crusty Cranberry Nut No Knead Bread

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 hours
  • Yield: 1 loaf; 8-10 servings
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Yeasted bread has never been easier. This simple mixing method produces the most beautiful and crusty cranberry nut no knead bread with practically zero hands-on work!


Ingredients

  • 3 cups + 2 Tablespoons (390g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), 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))

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Dutch Oven: 6 quart or higher dutch oven or any large oven-safe pot with a lid (lid is crucial– see post!). If your dutch oven is smaller than 6 quarts, you can halve the recipe (instructions remain the same, just halve each ingredient) or make the recipe as directed in step 1. Shape the dough into 2 balls in step 2. Bake them one at a time in your smaller dutch oven. While the 2nd dough waits, lightly cover and keep at room temperature. The bake times (25 mins and 8-10 mins) are both a little shorter for smaller loaves.
  3. No dutch oven? See post above for alternative.
  4. Yeast: If you don’t have instant yeast, you can use active-dry. I’ve never had a problem using active dry yeast in this recipe– and with no other changes needed. Works wonderfully!
  5. Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls | Wooden Spoon | 2-cup Glass Measuring Cup | Dutch Oven
  6. Bread Flour or Whole Wheat Flour: I use all-purpose flour here since it’s more readily available to most bakers. However, I love baking bread with bread flour and it can definitely be substituted with no other changes needed to the recipe. You can also swap all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour. The bread will have a tougher and heartier texture, as expected. To maintain a chewy and softer texture, use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour.
  7. Cranberries: Dried cranberries (or raisins!) are best for this wet dough. I haven’t tried this bread with fresh or frozen cranberries.
  8. Parchment Paper: If your parchment paper can only be heated to a certain temperature, bake the bread at that temperature. Bake the bread a little longer to compensate for the lower temperature.
  9. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
  10. Recipe adapted from Red Star Yeast, method originally from Jim Lahey.

Gently stir all of the ingredients together:

pouring water into bowl with cranberry nut bread dry ingredients

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!

cranberry nut bread dough in a glass bowl

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.

cranberry nut dough in a glass bowl after rising

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. Score an X on top, then allow to rest for 30 minutes:

cranberry nut bread in a ball with an x scored on the top

Bake! Eat! Enjoy!

cranberry walnut bread

490 Comments

  1. Lovely recipe, but nothing too outstanding. Lightly toasted the bread and spread honey goats cheese on it will be making again, maybe with sunflower seeds or poppy seeds!

  2. A lovely bread and perfect for turkey sandwiches on Boxing Day!

  3. I made this for Christmas gifts! I was a hit with my friends! It was delicious! Giving out this website for all my friends.
    THANK YOU
    LESA

  4. Great recipe! I live in a tropical climate and don’t have a dutch oven so I made the following modifications:
    – proofing/rising time: I did 9 hours first then 30 mins for the second rise
    – i used a ceramic casserole pot with lid and preheated the pot to 210C
    – baked with lid on for 30 mins
    – continued with lid off for 12 mins at 200C
    Bread came out with nice crusts and peaks and brown color. I let it rest for an hour and had a small slice to test and it’s chewy inside in a good way and very, very flavorful! Thanks for this recipe. Will do it again soon.

  5. Christopher Smith says:

    Wonderful texture and flavor, but both times I’ve baked it, the bottom is burned and the parchment paper is stuck in places to the bottom. Any suggestions about how to counter the charring?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Christopher, happy to hear that you enjoyed this bread recipe. It often helps to move your bread away from the heat source in your oven. Otherwise, try lowering it by 50 degrees F and cooking the bread for longer. Let the bread cook until it’s golden brown on the exterior. Lightly tap it with your knuckles– if it sounds hollow, it’s done. I hope this helps for next time.

  6. Could this be made in a cast iron pot?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Definitely!

      1. Thank you .. Going to make this soon.

      2. This was so good. The cast iron kettle worked perfectly.

  7. Sally, have you ever made this bread with wild rice vs. walnuts?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Deb, No we have not ever tried that!

  8. Could you make this bread in an Instant Pot?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Devvy, We don’t have an instant pot so we have never tried it. Let us know if you give it a try!

      1. Is it correct that the recipe calls for just 1/2 teaspoon of yeast and 2 teaspoons of salt? I wondered if it was reversed—should be 1/2 t salt and 2 t yeast?

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Alli! The measurements are correct – this recipe doesn’t need much yeast because of the low and slow rise time.

  9. Hi,
    We don’t have platinum yeast so, would the half a teaspoon of ordinary instant yeast be OK, and would that be about 2.5g?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathryn! You can substitute the same amount of instant yeast.

  10. Kristine Angelo says:

    Hello Sally,

    Can I make this using a Gluten free All Purpose flour like King Arthur’s Measure for Measure GF flour?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We have not tested this recipe with gluten free flour but let us know if you try!

  11. i have been failing at all of my bread baking (too heavy and dry mainly) but this is perfection!! i used mostly bread flour with 1/4 cup of whole wheat mixed in because i ran out of plain flour and it came out incredible!!!

  12. Thanks Sally,
    You are my go to for recipes. For years I have printed out tons of your recipes. I just baked crusty cranberry nut bread. It is so yummy!! I love cranberries so I did half dried & half frozen. Awesome!
    Thank you so much…

  13. Hi Sally, I’ve been happily using your recipes throughout the pandemic but I failed on this one! I used dried cherries as I didn’t have dried cranberries and the 1 1/2 C of water made it so wet I couldn’t form a ball. Any idea what I could have done wrong?
    Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lynne! This is a very different type of dough than a traditional yeasted bread. It’s wet and sticky and that’s completely normal – it’s a very hands off bread making experience! If it’s completely unworkable, feel free to add more flour on your hands and work surface. Thank you so much for giving it a try!

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