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

425 Comments

  1. Thanks for a wonderful recipe! Made it but added extra 50g of cranberries and 50g sultanas and it was really lovely! Will try with a mix of other fruits.

  2. I made this for breakfast this morning and it was amazing. I halved the recipe and I used only 1/2 tsp salt and added more cranberries and honestly it was the best no knead bread ever! Definitely will be making this often! Thank you Sally!

  3. Grace Reppucci says:

    Very easy recipe to use. However instead of platinum yeast I used SAF gold instant, the person I gave it to said the first few slices were wonderful, but when he got to the middle it tasted peppery?
    I think, according to other comments, it was a fermented taste. Could this have been caused by the yeast not mixed with the water? I’m gonna try again and let the yeast bloom in the warm water before mixing with other ingredients. Do you think this will help?

  4. I used bread flour and fresh cranberries and it came out great. Thanks

  5. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

    Hi Pam, 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.

  6. This was so easy! My bread turned out perfect. Thank you so much for all of your terrific directions.

  7. My dough was so wet and sticky that I “poured” the dough onto my cutting board. I weighed my flour so that wasn’t the issue. I generously floured the cutting board and my hands to be able to handle the wet and sticky dough. I made this using the no dutch oven method. The bread looked fully cooked inside and out but inside it felt a little damp as if there was too much water and I should have mixed in a bit more flour. Other then feeling damp, it tastes fine. It’s humid over here so I should have added more flour. Next time with any yeast recipe I’ll add more or less flour based on my kitchen environment even if the recipe says not to add any more flour I’ll add it if needed.

  8. Can I use a pizza stone and place a pan of water beneath the stones? How large is this loaf as I may make 2 at once.

    1. Hi Rita, a few readers have reported back saying they successfully used a pizza stone for this bread. (I haven’t.) I would add the water in a pan beneath it, yes.

  9. Mathieu Graham says:

    I added less yeast to mine, and now it has no yeast taste.

  10. Can I use chopped fresh cranberries? Would I double amount? Lessen water?

    1. Hi Nina, I don’t recommend fresh cranberries. They will make the dough much wetter. Stick with dried for this recipe.

  11. I was concerned, reading through this recipe, at the hydration – thought a mistake had been made, since it is over 90%! I wondered how you would get any kind of gluten development, even with over-nighting it. I make sourdoughs all the time, with a hydration of 75-80%, which is considered high. But it turned out great! I did one addition, since it is a holiday bread – added just a little of Pensy’s “cake spice,” which really kicked it up a notch or two! One suggestion for those using a pizza stone: on the rack beneath it, put a small pan (preferably cast iron) when you heat your oven; when you put your bread on the stone, throw a couple of ice cubes in the pan. Don’t put water in it, which could cause a steam burn. The ice cubes will quickly melt and turn to steam, but not before your hands are safely out of the oven!

  12. Venice Burman says:

    Love this bread. The only drawback is the bottom is very hard to cut. Are we doing something wrong? Is there anything we can do? We will still keep making it because it is so good and easy to make. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Venice, We are glad you are enjoying this recipe! If the bottoms are getting too hard, try lowering your oven temperature by 25 degrees and lower your oven rack as well. The bake time will be a bit longer since you lowered the oven temperature.

  13. Vernice Burman says:

    Thank you for your suggestions. I made another one last night. I put corn meal on the bottom. Haven’t tried it yet.

  14. Hi,
    Wow loved everything about this bread…but would like it sweeter…would I be safe to add more honey? Other better ideas to accomplish this appreciated.

  15. This bread did not rise very much at all. I kept it in a warm room for 18 hours. Did the recipe exactly according to instructions. Kept the dutch oven in a hot oven for 30 minutes before baking. It’s cooling off now. Don’t know what it tastes like yet however I am very disappointed. Won’t make it again!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rita, Thank you for trying this recipe. If the dough didn’t rise and there were not any air bubbles in the dough, it’s likely that the yeast wasn’t good. Any chance it was older or expired? If you ever wish to try again I suggest getting fresh yeast.

    2. This did not work for me either, and I followed the directions exactly. My yeast was fresh, but I’m wondering about the measurement. It doesn’t seem like enough yeast compared to my other bread recipes.

  16. Thank you. I did think about fresh yeast but having said that the instant yeast was well within the sell by date and I wasn’t sure what ratio of fresh yeast to use. I think it is around 21 grams.
    Anyway, I cooked the bread for approx., 40 minutes on 190 electric fan oven, turned the oven down to 175 for 20 minutes and then I still had to put it back in the oven for half an hour because the top was crusty but the middle was quite wet. In the end it dried out and it was nice to eat. I will probably give it one more go with fresh yeast this time. I was trying it out today to see how it turns out for Christmas. Made some delicious mince pies yesterday. All trial and error I suppose. Sorry about the poor earlier review. I was just a bit fed up with the result but all good in the end. Rita p.s. I’m glad you measure ingredients in grams and not just cups. Some American recipes are a nightmare to follow due to this problem so I have to keep referring to Mr Google for conversions in the U.K. p.p.s. I love cooking and baking and do a lot of it.

  17. I carefully followed directions, including measuring ingredients by weight not volume. Did, and double checked. Dough was too wet. I was tempted to add flour, but did not. Allowed to rise for 18 hours. Disappointing results compared to other Sally…. recipes tried.

  18. My home is chilly so I sat it on the fridge for the 18 hrs and put it in the microwave warmed with the light on for the final rise. Turned out very well. I was worried about wrecking my Le Creuset but the temps didn’t hurt it. I do have the stainless lid handle. Turned out much better than the other recipe I tried but I baked that on a bread stone and it really spread out…I will definitely make this again as I’m a fool for cranberries and walnuts.

  19. Nancy Hatfield says:

    Followed recipe as written, but used dried tart cherries and pecans instead of dried cranberries and walnuts. Threw it together last night at 8pm and at noon was baking a beautifully risen dough. Cooling for the 30 minutes then sampling
    Thanks so much Sally for clear and detailed recipes with lots of side notes for substitute ingredients and cookware, and for ingredient information. Appreciate it! Next up tomorrow is the cheese jalapeño bread. Happy holidays!

  20. I just made this bread. I love it! Just wondering how to keep the crust crunchy. I put it in a bag after it cooled. Now the crunch is gone.

  21. Baker Nicholson says:

    I love this recipe! I’ve made it twice with 100 percent whole wheat pastry flour and it has turned out beautifully. The first time I made one loaf, the second time I divided the dough into two loaves, using a third of the dough for the small one and the remaining dough for the larger one. I baked the two loaves at the same time at a slightly lower temperature (450) for 20 minutes with lid on and eight minutes more after removing lid. I appreciate the details the recipe provides for variations!

  22. The flavor is delicious! I added some orange zest. The texture of the crumb was a little “gluey” though – any idea what could have caused this? I’m sure it’s something I did, and not the recipe, but I’m relatively new to bread and not sure how to troubleshoot yet!

    1. Hi Shauna, I missed a few comments/questions on this recipe last month and am just seeing them now– my apologies. I’m so glad that you enjoy this bread, too! It simply sounds like the bread wasn’t cooked long enough. Add a few extra minutes to the bake time.

  23. Hi Sally,
    Love your recipe. thanks for sharing. I made it twice already but I replace one cup of all-purpose with 1 cup of whole wheat. It’s a big hit anytime I made it!!! omg Many people couldn’t stop eating it but it’s very filling. I believe the longest hours help with the complex flavor profile.

    I do have 2 questions though:

    1. I left the dough for 18 hours but I noticed that the dough rose to the highest point of the bowl at around 4-5 hrs later (could be because of warm water). At 18 hrs, it flattened by half of the bowl. I am not sure this is normal or sign of overproof but I added more water in the second time to make it a little softer and less dense. Should I start shape the dough when it hit its highest rise and let it sit until 18 hours?

    The reason I asked is that my dough didn’t have much oven spring especially the one that I add more water. It is still dense but soft inside.

    2. Your bread came out with nice brown crust/ more shiny. Both of mine are in matte dull brown color. Is it because I dusted the bread too much. How can I achieve the same nice crust?

    3. Scoring is another question, I have issue with scoring both times. The one that I added more water didn’t create a nice split/expansion like typical no knead bread (white flour only). the bread inside expand up, making the scoring less pronounce. I read in some articles, they said it’s because my dough need more time to proof. So, I was confused whether the issue is I overproof or underproof.

    Thanks for shedding the light how I can improve my bread 🙂

    1. Hi Ann, I missed your comment/questions last week, but am happy to help now. I’m glad you enjoy this bread recipe! 1) Warmer water will speed up the yeast’s ability to raise & expand dough. I wouldn’t add MORE water. Try using cooler water next time. You can definitely begin shaping the dough before the 12-18 hour timeframe, especially if it rose that quickly. However, it may not have the same chewy texture and lovely developed flavor. Again, I would try cooler water next time. 2) The shine could be the lighting in the photos. Try raising the oven temperature for just a few minutes right at the end to achieve a darker brown finish. 3) The wetter the dough, the harder time you’ll have scoring it. I honestly just think the dough was too wet. I hope some of this is helpful!

      1. Thanks very much Sally for taking the time to answer my questions! I tried it and it works out perfectly this time.

    2. It was fine for me too.. I continue to let it rest at least 16 hrs, no matter what. I recently did an experiment. I split the dough into half each. One dough I did everything per this recipe. The other one, I shaped it after it rose to double and let it proof after that but it didn’t hold it shape and became flat. So, I ended up reshaping it again and this time it hold the shape after proofing for 2 hrs. I think the dough was not ready then. I froze this bread for next week so I can’t tell you whether it taste any differently. The last time I made, both loafs come out perfect now (appearance and score). The reason that my first one didn’t get brown because my dutch oven is too deep. This time I needed to use 2 pots and I can see the difference due to the type of the pot used. The shallow one brown faster and better.

      I don’t have issue with salty bread.. I used the sea salt grinder bottle and it turned out perfect. Many who tried my bread said the flavor is perfectly right.
      As for the flour, I use unbleached all purpose flour 2 cups and King Arthur whole wheat stone ground for 1 cup. It gave the complex flavor profile. I would say taste much better than many bread I have tried. I’m thinking about changing it to half/half next time.
      Some people adds rye flour (only 5%) to the dough as it will give a deeper flavor (I’ve never tried) but don’t add too much as the dough will be very sticky and hard to manage. My friend used oat flour too and she said it turns out good. I haven’t tried though.

      Hope it helps.

  24. Made this bread this weekend. LOVED IT! I’m making 2 more as gifts. I used fresh cranberries, and they worked great! This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thank you!

    1. Just the post I was looking for! I would love to use up some fresh cranberries that I have leftover from the holidays. Did you use the same amount as the dried that the recipe calls for?

      Also, has anyone used coarse or just regular kosher salt as an alternative?

      Thanks! Can’t wait to make this!

  25. The bread is great. My bread burned a bit on the bottom and the parchment stuck some to the bottom. Any suggestions to prevent this. The bread was a trial run for one that I want to take to a person who is re-covering from surgery . I want it to be perfect which it is if not for those two issues.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Barbara, We are glad you are enjoying this recipe! Next time you can try lowering your oven temperature by 25 degrees and lower your oven rack as well. The bake time will be a bit longer since you lowered the oven temperature.

  26. I made this following the instructions and it turned out perfect the past 2 times I’ve made it!! This is definitely a staple recipe for me now! Thank you!

  27. Great recipe! So easy. I let the dough rise for 7 hours on my kitchen counter but I had to go to bed so I covered it in plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight (additional 9 hours). In the morning, I let it continue to rise covered in a warm oven (I used Sally’s trick of warming an oven, turning it off, and putting the dough in with the door shut). I then baked it according to the recipe and it turned out perfectly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Perfection!

  28. I love this recipe! Making it again today. I think it is not meant to be a high rise bread- which is OK with me since it’s delicious!

    I overcooked it and cut it like biscotti. SO GOOD with a cup of coffee. Just an idea!

    Thank you for sharing!

  29. Excellent flavor.. Crowd pleaser

  30. I have made this bread so many times! It is so easy and delicious. My coworkers and family love it. Tonight I am going to try it with pecans and white chocolate. Can’t wait!

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