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 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

454 Comments

  1. Excellent recipe. I made it today and it turned out fab! It was easy but all you need is patience to wait it out. Thank you for the recipe.

    And thanks for pointing out that parchment paper has a heat capacity. Mine was only up to 220 degrees celcius. If you didn’t mention it, I would have baked it at 246. I baked at 220 degrees and it turned out good. In fact was a bit burnt at the top, so I may have to lower the heat a wee bit when the lid is off the next time.

  2. Janey Moskowitz says:

    I love this bread and I’ve made this recipe a few times, but the more times I make it, the flatter the loaf has been. Additionally, I’m finding it hard to shape as it just falls. What am I doing wrong? I have followed the recipe to a T, what can I do to improve this? Please help! It’s everyone’s favorite bread.

    1. Hi Janey! I’m glad to help. This dough is meant to be sticky and well hydrated. However, don’t be afraid to flour your hands and the dough as you shape it. If you make it again, try adding 2-3 extra Tbsp of flour to the dough. I use and always recommend King Arthur Flour in bread baking.

  3. Judy Cocce says:

    Well…recipe was super easy…let it proof about 15 hours…popped in the oven per instructions…and now have a gorgeous looking loaf that makes my kitchen smell like an all-night beer kegger at a fraternity! Ha!!

  4. Made this today and my home smelled like a bakery! It turned out really well and I’m very happy! The only question I have is that the risen dough was still sticky and wet and it was impossible to form anything that resembled a ball; scoring the X was also not possible.

    1. So glad you tried and loved this homemade bread recipe. Coat your hands in flour and the top of the loaf in flour, too. That will make shaping easier. Use a very sharp knife for scoring or even a pair of kitchen shears.

    2. Hi Sally,
      I’ve made this loaf three times and I love it! I would like to point out though I had to add about a cup to 1.5 cups of flour during the shaping process. After the 12-18 hour rise it is very sticky, and impossible to form into a ball on its own.
      For those who are having a difficult time, I recommend pouring the risen dough onto a floured baking sheet (it will be big enough for your liquid consistency dough mixture), covering the dough with a layer of flour, and then forming a ball with flour coated hands. I then kept adding flour as I shaped into a ball (it was very very sticky). This was the only way I was able to achieve a pretty little dough ball! I then scored and baked and lived happily ever after.

  5. Karen Nightingale says:

    I’m prepared my dough at noon today. I think my brain has turned to dough. Lol. Will it be ok to leave it out until tomorrow morning? Or should I put it in the fridge before I go to bed tonight. I really don’t want to bake it at midnight.

    1. You can put it in the refrigerator overnight and bake tomorrow. No need to let it come to room temperature before baking.

  6. Hi Sally I made this bread several times. I was always very successful. Bread came out perfect. This time I made from the frozen dough ( I made the dough before and then put in the freezer for two months). I thaw it at room temp and then followed as usual. The bread didn’t rise and is not cooked inside. What should I do? Where I went wrong? Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi David, it sounds like there may have been too much moisture in the dough so it’s (1) not rising properly and (2) not cooking properly. Did you let the dough rest at room temperature, then freeze it? It won’t rise much as it thaws, but baking should turn out normally. Was it cold going into the oven?

      1. Hi Sally! Thank you for response! I doubled the receipt, let it rise in room temperature for about 14 hours. Then I divide the dough In half. Wrap one piece in plastic, then put it in freeze container with cover (the second piece of dough was made in ball and rest for 30 mins, then baked, and it was fabulous). I kept the other half in freezer for 2 months. It was taken from the Freezer in the morning and left for several hours on counter top. It was a room temperature when it went to the oven. Idk what happened But yes it did kind of looked and felt more “wet” when I was preparing it for second 30 minutes rise. I needed way more flour to shape it. Sorry for the long rant

  7. This was amazing! Thank you. So super easy. I toasted the pecans before going in but otherwise stuck to this recipe carefully. Yummmy!

  8. Annette Dellios says:

    I made this bread last night but it came out quite dense in the centre. It was proved approximately 18 hours, shaped and then rested 30 minutes before baking
    Looked fantastic on the outside and did taste great but centre was doughy
    I’ve made plain no knead bread before and so light and fluffy but with the fruit and nuts in it just changed the texture
    Should I increase the resting time before cooking it or would like to hear any other suggestions
    Thanks

  9. I love this recipe but I made this last night and this morning I saw that the dough did not rise as usual. The yeast is good since the other regular no knead bread I made along with it rose just fine. What can I do? Can I add more yeast?

    1. Hi Amy, anything you did differently this time? It may be helpful to let it sit at room temperature for a few more hours. I wouldn’t add more yeast, I would just go along and bake it (especially if you followed the recipe exactly!).

  10. I baked this bread today and very happy with the result.
    The only thing is the very intense yeast smell.
    Is it supposed to be like that?
    This was my first time baking with the yeast. Overall, thank you for the wonderful recipe. Will bake over and over again.

  11. Jennifer M Sabine says:

    Looks like a great recipe. I want to make a nut bread without the cranberries. Can I use 1 & 1/2 cups of walnuts instead of 3/4 cup of walnuts and 3/4 cup of cranberries or can I omit the cranberries and keep to the rest of the recipe?

    1. Yes – either way works! Enjoy.

  12. Annis Kishner says:

    Hi Sally! I baked this bread and clearly over-baked it when I tried to adjust for my parchment paper (450 max temp). Is there a rule of thumb for how increase baking time for lowering the oven temperature? I just did not know how to judge and my crust is away over done and tough.

    Annis

    1. Hi Annis, no specific rule of thumb for the bake time when lowering the oven temperature. It really depends on the exact temperature, but the bake time wouldn’t need to be extended too much if lowering to 450F. I would still bake for 25 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid so you can keep an eye on it to determine its doneness.

  13. Debra Cormier says:

    Thanks for these great recipes. Yesterday I made my first-ever loaf of bread using your homemade artisan bread and it was wonderful!
    I’m wondering why this recipe only has 1/2 teaspoon of yeast compared to the other bread recipe. Can I add more yeast if I want a fluffier/less-dense bread?

  14. Hi Sally,
    I have been making this bread for about a year now and it’s just awesome!
    My only question is how do you get to the ball shape? After I put the dough on the counter it spreads a lot and is very sticky. I want to make it more like a round ball rather than a flatter one.
    Thanks! Regardless of the shape it’s delicious

    1. Hi Caroline! So glad you enjoy this bread recipe. Gently work a little more flour into the dough to help it hold a shape a bit better.

  15. Hi! I let the dough rise for about 18.5 hours and it was really fermented and tasted like alcohol after I baked it. It also did not rise much in the oven. Do you think the problem was the long rising time? I could tell that if it were not for the over fermentation, the bread would have been delicious.

    1. Hi Lauren, are you accidentally using more yeast than the recipe calls for? 18 hours at room temperature for this amount of yeast (and flour) isn’t too long– you want a slow rise. I’ve had it smell a bit like alcohol before, but it’s never tasted as such.

      1. I don’t think I used too much yeast but I will try again and make sure I measure it precisely. I could tell the bread would have been really delicious had it not over fermented.

  16. Overall a great recipe! The bread interior came out super soft and fluffy, and the cranberries were a great touch. I look forward to toasting this bread! The whole process was really easy and barely took any effort because it was no knead, and the detailed instructions were really helpful.
    I had a few little issues:
    1) the bread came out a little salty; not sure if this was my mistake and I measured wrong
    2) my bread didn’t really brown. most of it remained a chalky, pasty color and only browned in swatches. I reshaped the dough into a ball again after the second rise, because it had drooped into a very flat shape; might that be the problem with breaking the taut gluten strands and all?
    3) some cranberries on the surface became charred and bitter.
    4) We tried the bread a few hours after it finished baking- the crust didn’t really get crunchy or crispy and it was kinda soft, though I used the boiling-water-in-a-pan method.
    If I were to make this again, do you have any remedies for #2, #3, and #4?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi G! Glad you tried and loved this. Happy to help with those questions. (2) It sounds like the bread could have benefitted from a few extra minutes in the oven. This could also help with question (4) as well. Extra oven time will help brown the loaf and (hopefully!) keep it crispier. (3) This happens to me as well. You can try to manually pick out the dried cranberries that are on top of the shaped loaf and press them down into the dough before baking.

  17. Wow I can’t rate this recipe highly enough! As someone pretty new to making bread I’m amazed by how easy it was and how delicious it tastes! It’s made our whole house smell incredible and safe to say it’s not going to last for very long. Thank you so much!

  18. Natalie Wan says:

    Hi Sally,
    what to do if my bread isn’t baked in the middle ? I baked in the dutch oven for 30 mins (25 mins with lid, and 7 mins without lid) . Should i have baked longer with lid on ? Please advise soon !

  19. Way too salty. I will reduce the salty by at least half next time if I make this again.

    1. Mathieu Graham says:

      not sure what you did, but mine came out perfect. The salt defs adds to the taste and you don’t even need butter! I edited the recipe for mine a bit and added unsalted sunflower nuts instead and frozen blueberries for 1 of my breads, it’s amazing. Also you can just skip the cranberry all together!

  20. Perfection! Made this with raisins and almonds, swapped 2 cups of all those for whole wheat flour. I love kneading bread, but I love good loaves even more, and this was delicious.

  21. Krishnaprasad says:

    It’s the family favorite.. It’s fail-proof and needs a lot of love and patience. You can haggling fall short on technique

  22. New to bread making and this really opened my eyes! So easy and yummy. I’ve been making this straight in 2 weeks and loved it for breakfast. I used trailmix (that’s all I have in my pantry) to substitute for the walnut and it worked great! I also think adding honey did make it more flavorful. I’ll try using different dry fruits/nuts or maybe chocolate chunk for variations next time.

  23. Hi,
    I just made this for the first time. Texture and flavor were excellent. I did think the loaf would rise more than it did. How would I get more rise? Let it sit longer before putting in the oven?

    Thanks!

  24. This was an absolutely great tasting bread as well as so easy to make….Mine looked exactly like the original posted photo! I did use 1 c. of whole wheat and 2 c. AP flour. That was my only adjustment. I will make it again.

  25. Lizanne Zike says:

    Oh my goodness. Love this recipe.

  26. Better than the Cranberry Walnut bread at both the local bakeries in our area that I’ve been paying 6 bucks a loaf for.

  27. Will definitely make it again and add a little bit of orange zest. This turned out wonderfully even in my unreliable fan-forced oven. I did have to extend the covered baking time a little. If you are worried about overnight rising in a cold kitchen, I put the bowl and a hot water bottle into a large storage box which kept it cosy but not too warm.

  28. Hi Sally – Question – I made the bread and used the water in a pan as I did not have a 6 quart pot. It turned out just like in the pictures but had a fermented flavour. Is that what it should taste like or do you think I let it sit too long? I left it sit for 18 hours. Thanks

  29. Lisa Gennarini says:

    Excited to try this. If I prepare the dough in the morning, but don’t plan on baking until the next day; can I let it sit out for the day, and then refrigerate overnight? The next day, would I let the dough come to room temperature before moving forward with step #2?

    1. Hi Lisa, that should be fine– letting it sit out all day, then refrigerating overnight. Cover it in the refrigerator. No need to bring to room temperature before baking.

  30. Hi Sally-thank you for your great recipes- you have been a lifesaver! I looked thru all these comments and still can’t find the answer to my question, so hoping you can answer for me. I don’t have a dutch oven or an ovenproof pot w/ a lid.
    In the “No Dutch Oven No Problem” section it doesn’t mention anything abt needing a lid, but wasn’t sure if that was implied. Could I bake on a cookie sheet (without a lid) as long as I do the water step? I also have a pizza stone, a 9X13 ceramic baking pan, or 2 non-stick bread pans that I could leverage if that is preferable vs. a cookie sheet.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Andrea, You do not need a lid for the cookie sheet. The water in the pan below makes the entire inside of the oven steamy (instead of just the inside of a dutch oven if you were using one) which helps to create a crispier crust. I hope this helps!

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