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.”

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

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.

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 9×13 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.

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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

418 Comments

  1. I made the dough last night and baked it today. It turned out great – looked just like your photo and the family all loved it. Great recipe for this chilly Fall weather we’ve got in the Pacific Northwest.

  2. I made this and it’s amazing! I can’t beleive it came out so good since I never use yeast but it looks just like your pictures and it’s really tasty!  I cut my dough in half and used a 3-1/2 qt Dutch oven and froze the rest. Worked out great.  Thanks Sally, can’t wait to try some more recipes

  3. The course sea salt is such a nice detail! Love the effect. And it is actually safer for your yeast i can imagine (less surface contact). This bread baking style I love it. I use it with starter when i have it but this recipe is a perfect alternative! I will try half rye half all purpose next time. I know white bread flour also works. And…i always shape my ball with a rough bottom and then turn around in the pan for a nice artisan surface!

  4. I made this over the weekend, and it is LOVELY. Had a little piece off the end, then froze the rest to take home for Thanksgiving! I used chopped pecans, but walnuts would be great as well.

  5. I made this today substituting my own gluten free flour blend.
    Sally your a genius, i followed the instructions as you did it. Just added sultanas instead of nuts as daughter doesn’t like hard pieces .
    Its the best Gluten Free bread I have ever made. No its not ‘normal’ the structure its bound to be a little different. However its light and breadlike. What more could you ask for. Thank you

  6. Austria Azaceta says:

    Hi Sally!!
    I made this bread last week & LOVED it!! It was very easy & hassle free to make & so so so good.  I followed the recipe exactly but used a 5qt oven safe pot as thats all I have & it came out beautiful & browned like yours.  My oven runs hot so I had mine at 460 instead of 475.  Will be making this again very soon!!

  7. Natalie Munroe says:

    OMG. With only a few exceptions (my aunt’s Irish brown bread), I don’t generally consider myself a “bread” person. Don’t get me wrong- I enjoy breadstuffs, but I’m not gaga for them, if you follow the distinction. But let me just say this bread is ON THE LIST OF EXCEPTIONS because IT IS DELICIOUS!!!!! It took me a few days to track down the Red Star Platinum yeast (my supermarket used to carry it but randomly stopped carrying it so I had to go to a different market just to locate some) but once I did, this bread came together so easily and it came out looking just like your picture and the taste is outta this world. I’ve been slicing myself pieces every time I go into the kitchen. It’s delish with a smear of butter, but I also tried it as an open-faced sandwich and topped it with this amazing cheese I found at Wegmans and that was fabulous, too. I texted my husband in between bites and was like, “Can I just say I’m an amazing cook?!” haha. There’s a time and a place for modesty, and this just wasn’t one of those times! Thanks for another fab recipe!

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

    1. 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!

  12. 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? 

    1. Yep! Feel free to reduce the oven temperature slightly.

  13. 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 🙂

  14. Molly Schonfeld says:

    Hi Sally,
    I would love to make this recipe! It looks incredible! My parchment paper goes up to 420 degrees, would it be possible to lower my oven temperature to bake this (bake @420) and then increase the time it bakes for?

    I LOVE your recipes!

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Absolutely! Lower the oven temperature to 420 and bake for a little longer to compensate.

  15. Trista Rusher says:

    I have never made any kind of bread involving yeast before this one and it was DELICIOUS! I have sent your page to family and friends to see if they will also make it (they loved eating it). I am inspired to try more breadmaking! Thanks Sally!

  16. I have made this bread several times now for out Airbnb guests and each time it gets rave reviews. It is so easy and beyond delicious. Thank you so much for this easy and scrumptious loaf.

  17. I was so excited to find this recipe. I love the cranberry nut bread that is served at our favorite “special occasion” restaurant, and a slightly lighter loaf that one of the warehouse clubs sells at their bakery. I thought this recipe sounded similar, and oh so easy. It came out very disappointing because the smell and taste are both reminiscent of beer (soured). My experience with baking yeast breads is next to non-existent, so I don’t know what I did wrong. I was hoping to bake it for my 92 year old mother when I go to visit soon, so would appreciate any tips. I

    1. Hi Rosemary! Let me try to help. You mention you haven’t baked bread much before. Did you know that yeast feeds off sugars? (In this case honey.) As it metabolizes the sugars, carbon dioxide and alcohol are released into the dough, which causes it to rise. So that could be what you are smelling. However, when baked bread taste and smell like beer or alcohol, the dough may have risen too quickly in a too warm environment. Or the dough was rising for too long. How long did you let it rise?

  18. Thanks for your information about what would cause my bread to taste like beer. I put the dough in the same room where my dehumidifier was running because I thought yeast dough needed warmth to rise and the house is 73 degrees at night. I also probably left it too long, I didn’t realize that l would run into problems if it rose for too long. Next time, I’ll check for the holes in the surface at the beginning of the suggested rise times and not try for extra warmth. Thanks for your suggestions!

  19. thank you very much for this delicious recipe! This bread is amazing, I baked it twice already, both times we ate it right away 🙂

  20. Hi Sally…I made this bread this morning and the taste is wonderful! My loaf looked exactly like yours! I wanted to ask you a question about the texture of my loaf though. It was a little too moist. My husband said it was as if the loaf was underbaked although it wasn’t. There were no flat lines of uncooked dough that you sometimes get when it’s not baked long enough. There were air bubbles throughout from top to bottom. I followed the recipe as written (using sea salt and instant yeast) and the only change I made was to add 1/2 tsp grated orange rind. I let it rise in the oven for 16 hours, baked it for 25 minutes then 6 minutes with the lid off. I used exactly the same pot pictured in your ‘shop the recipe’ section. I preheated both the oven for 30 min and then the empty pot and lid for 30 min. When I took the loaf out of the oven, the internal temp was 195 degrees and the bottom was slightly over-brown. Would you suggest a way for me to alter things so that the inside of the loaf is drier? I was thinking of cutting the amount of cranberries in the recipe to maybe 1/3 to 1/2 cup.

    Thanks Sally!

    1. Hi Mary! Thank you so much for trying this bread recipe! I would reduce the cranberries AND reduce the oven temperature. Reducing the oven temperature down to 425°F (218°C) will definitely help cook the bread a little more evenly. Let me know if this helps!

  21. I love this bread. I have made it several times for guests at our Airbnb. It’s so easy and so very delicious! My one issue is that the bottom of the loaf is often a little too dark and hard to cut. Can I reduce the temperature or should I reduce the baking time? I don’t want to lose the crusty-ness or the moistness of the inside of the loaf.

    1. I’m so glad it’s been a hit with your guests! Are you baking it in a heavy dutch oven?

  22. Absolutely out of this world… first time. I never stick to recipes as I have lots of home bread baking experience — but thankfully I did with this one! Well… I did use 1 cup bread flour, 1 c all-purpose and 1 cup whole wheat flour — as well as molasses instead of honey (all I had), an additional half cup of cut frozen blackberries from my sister’s yard (oh.. and quarter cup of sunflower seeds). Stunning outcome… and delectable. Thank you.

  23. Hello,

    I have made this recipe in the past and it came out great! I am wondering, have you ever split the recipe into two loaves? I am thinking I can follow the same instructions as far as rise time etc after splitting dough, but do you think the bake time will remain the same? I was also going to bake in smaller Dutch ovens. Thank you!

    1. Hi Michele! If baking 2 loaves instead of 1, the bake time will be a little shorter. I haven’t tried this, so let me know how it turns out.

  24. Terry Goldstein says:

    I’ve made no-knead breads in the past. Usually the recipe calls for cool or room temperature water when you do a 12-18 hour rise. Do you think using cooler water might give it a slower rise and better flavor?

    1. Hi Terry! Cooler water will extend the rise time, improving the flavor. I find warm water works just fine but definitely use what you prefer/have time for!

  25. Can I use dried currants instead of dried cranberries?

    1. Absolutely!

  26. Hi Sally, Can I use your warm oven method to proof the bread instead of letting it rise at room temperature?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Janice! Unfortunately not. This type of bread requires a long and slow rise on the counter at room temperature. I do not recommend using a warm oven.

  27. Hi Sally, I love this recipe and want to make it as a gift but don’t have access to a Dutch Oven-is there another way to achieve that crust? Will a steam bath work? Thanks.

    1. You can use any heavy duty pot with a lid, providing it’s oven-proof!

  28. This is the first time I have made bread. It came out great, the family loved it. A week later I’m making another loaf. Thanks

  29. Hi Sally,
    This bread is delicious! I have experience with this method of baking bread and you changed my life with the parchment idea. I used to proof the bread in a floured towel placed in a colander. Sometimes it would stick to the towel or the bread would have lots of flour around the crust. Your method is so much easier and cleaner.
    I do have a question about freezing the dough before baking because I want to have a few ready in the freezer.
    Wouldn’t the dough stick to the cling wrap after it’s thawed? Would I need to proof it for 30 minutes on the counter again?
    Thanks!!
    Karen

    1. Hi Karen! So glad you enjoy this bread recipe, thank you! For freezing– if you’re nervous about the dough sticking, you can always unwrap it when it’s frozen and let it thaw in a covered container. In the freezing instructions, I mention: thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for 2-3 hours at room temperature. Continue with step 3– in step 3, it instructs to let the dough rest for 30 minutes before baking. I hope this helps!

  30. Is it possible to let the dough rise too long? Past the 12-18 hours?

    1. It is, yes. The bread could taste sour and may not rise as high in the oven. Try not to go past 18 hours.

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