How to Make Easy, No-Knead Crusty Bread

Learn how to bake no-knead crusty bread that’s deliciously moist and chewy inside, but still has the beautiful outer crust of rustic, peasant loaves. The No-Knead Dutch Oven bread technique and recipe is easy even for beginners. Includes recipe, ingredients list, instructions, step-by-step photos and a video demonstration of the technique.

Wonderful bread requires nothing more than yeast, water, flour and salt.

Wonderful bread requires nothing more than yeast, water, flour and salt.

Photo by Roger Doiron

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You can bake rustic artisan loaves at home. Learn how to make this easy, no-knead crusty bread using these step-by-step instructions.

Minimal Work for Homemade Bread

No-Knead, Dutch Oven Bread Recipe

How to Make Easy, No-Knead Crusty Bread

Picture a bowl of soup or a salad without a slice of crusty bread to go with it. Worse still, imagine a deliciously tangy piece of Camembert cheese, served with a glass of red wine, but no accompanying hunk of baguette. Quelle horreur! as the French would say.

Much has been written over the centuries about bread’s importance in global cuisine. Legendary American chef and food writer James Beard called it the “most fundamentally satisfying of all foods” and referred to bread served with fresh butter as the “greatest of feasts.” True to form, the Italians are even more dramatic in describing bread’s essential role. “Senza il pane tutto diventa orfano,” they say, which means “without bread, everyone’s an orphan.”

About six years ago, I felt orphaned myself. I had just returned from 10 years living in Europe where artisan bread is so common you almost trip over the stuff in the streets. The same cannot be said of my native state of Maine, where Wonder Bread still leads wonderful bread by a comfortable margin. If you trip over anything in the winter-worn streets of Maine, it’s more likely to be a frost heave.

Bread had become so fundamental to my culinary happiness that I realized upon returning to the States that I needed to knead some of my own. After five years playing around with different recipes and techniques, I reluctantly came to terms with my limits as a home baker. I could produce zucchini and banana breads to die for, a decent sandwich loaf in both white and whole-wheat varieties, and a perfectly respectable focaccia.

What I couldn’t produce, unfortunately, was the type of bread I craved the most: a hearty, round rustic loaf with a moist, chewy crumb (inside) and a thick, crispy crust.

Fortunately, my return proved to be well-timed in that it coincided with an artisan bread-making revival making inroads in Maine. I became a regular customer of Standard Baking Co., a Portland-based bakery that turns out breads and pastries that rival Europe’s finest. What I couldn’t bake myself was available just a few minutes and a few dollars away.

But for people like me who grow some of our own food and cook from scratch, close foods can never be quite close enough. I remained committed to being able to produce the loaf of my dreams in my own kitchen. On a Saturday morning bread run to Standard, I asked one of the bakers her secret to a crusty loaf. She replied “quality ingredients, time and a $10,000 professional baking oven.” Ugh. That was not what I wanted to hear.

She went on to explain that the secret to a loaf that is soft and moist on the inside and crusty on the outside lies in the careful balance of heat and humidity. Professional baking ovens achieve this balance via high temperatures and blasts of steam during the cooking process.

Over the years, ingenious home bakers have tried to replicate the humid conditions of a commercial oven by placing a pan filled with water at the bottom of the oven or by spritzing their loaves with water from time to time. My own experiments in moisture management, however, left me frustrated. The quality of my loaves just didn’t do justice to the time and work that went into making them.

Just when I was ready to give up on crusty, peasant loaves altogether, I came across an article in The New York Times that described a new bread-making technique, the results of which sounded too easy and too good to be true. Dubbed “no-knead bread,” the method involves using wet dough, letting it rise over a very long time in lieu of kneading it, and cooking it in a hot Dutch oven (heavy covered pot). While the recipe calls for a slow fermentation process, its popularity proved an instant success. The recipe (see the recipe link at the top of this article) was shared and devoured by foodies all over the world via the Internet.

Excited at the prospect of finally creating a crusty loaf of my own, I couldn’t wait to try the technique myself. I was also curious to see if it really was possible to come up with something new in a field as old as bread-making. As if that weren’t enough, I had indulged myself the year before with a $120 cast iron Dutch oven that had thus far not seen much action. I pictured myself cranking out one crusty loaf after the next, and did some quick math to calculate how many loaves I’d need to make before recouping my investment.

From the first attempt, my results — like those of others who’ve used the technique — have been nothing short of miraculous. Not only are my loaves delicious, but they are drop-dead gorgeous, every bit as pretty as the ones I was tripping over in Europe. The long, knead-free fermentation process allows the dough to develop good flavor, while the Dutch oven creates the humid conditions needed for a crisp crust. Those of you who have been foiled in your home-baking efforts in the past can find new hope in this technique, which is as forgiving as it is flexible.

Although I may still be a loaf or two shy of paying for my fancy-pants Dutch oven, I’m getting close and am even starting to think about new challenges. Next time I make a Saturday morning bakery run, I think I’ll ask the baker the secret of a buttery chocolate croissant. With my baking confidence at a new high, I just might be up to the task.

Roger Doiron lives on the southern coast of Maine where he’s a sustainable agriculture consultant, passionate organic gardener and recreational clammer. He digs good food ­— literally — on land and at sea.

Click here to watch a short video demonstration of the no-knead technique. You can also learn more about the science of baking and unlock the mystery of why the Dutch oven technique works so well.

We're putting together the first MOTHER EARTH NEWS cookbook, and would love for you to share you own variations of the No-Knead Bread recipe with us. E-mail your recipes to

3/22/2016 2:04:41 PM

I just made this and the bread is very good, I will use my sourdough starter next time. thank you for the recipe.

1/14/2015 3:39:50 AM

I made this bread this week ,thanks alot [URL=]شركة نظافة بالرياض[/URL]

1/3/2014 11:05:21 AM

I tried this recipe and since I didn't have a dutch oven decided to use one of my class pyrex roasting pans and did everything according to directions. When I opened the oven and saw my finished product and it looking like the picture, I thought now here's a keeper for my recipes box.

12/17/2013 12:52:11 PM

I finally own a dutch oven and have been baking this bread all month. Im originally from South Philadelphia and have moved to West Virginia over 2 years ago and cant seem to find the crusty bread that is sold in almost every corner store and bakery back home.This recipe is easy and the taste is totally awesome! I can now make my own crusty bread whenever I please and Ive already baked loaves for family and a neighbor who love it. Oh and by the way,I bought my dutch oven at Boscovs where it was on sale for only 30.00 for a 5 quart size. They are much more affordable now than years ago.

11/12/2013 4:02:54 AM

Cast Iron Dutch ovens are not cheap - but some years ago someone suggested terracotta pots. Initially I bought a standard flower pot - the round/conical sort. It made a deep loaf of good flavour - almost uncooked in the middle. But I like that. Then I came across terracotta flower pot that was effectively the shape of e conventional, rectangular, loaf, say 14 inches long by 3, 3 1/2 inches wide and 5 inches deep. Now I use this (it makes slicing easier), with very satisfactory results. It is necessary to "cure" the terracotta well with oil for some days before the final cure. Just keep painting on rice/olive/sunflower oil every day - once each day outside and twice each day inside. On the last day - thoroughly paint both inside and outside and put in to a COLD oven. Heat to 450 degrees F and when at temperature turn off and let cool undisturbed. Your terracotta loaf "tin" is now ready. There are holes in the bottom. When baking your bread (with the no knead recipe), fold a double layer of grease-proof paper (aka "baking paper"), into the bottom after having re-painted the inside with you oil of choice. The bake as before (having heated the "tin") as instructed in this recipe. I also add two ounces of Chia seeds to the recipe - add water to these and let stand while you do the final preparations for the initial mix - and blend into to that mix. If you are using stoneground flour - it turns the normal "brick" into a much more acceptable and softer bread. The extra protein does you no harm, either!

11/12/2013 3:34:49 AM

Cast Iron Dutch ovens are not cheap - but some years ago someone suggested terracotta pots. Initially I bought a standard flower pot - the round/conical sort. It made a deep loaf of good flavour - almost uncooked in the middle. But I like that. Then I came across terracotta flower pot that was effectively the shape of e conventional, rectangular, loaf, say 14 inches long by 3, 3 1/2 inches wide and 5 inches deep. Now I use this (it makes slicing easier), with very satisfactory results. It is necessary to "cure" the terracotta well with oil for some days before the final cure. Just keep painting on rice/olive/sunflower oil every day - once each day outside and twice each day inside. On the last day - thoroughly paint both inside and outside and put in to a COLD oven. Heat to 450 degrees F and when at temperature turn off and let cool undisturbed. Your terracotta loaf "tin" is now ready. There are holes in the bottom. When baking your bread (with the no knead recipe), fold a double layer of grease-proof paper (aka "baking paper"), into the bottom after having re-painted the inside with you oil of choice. The bake as before (having heated the "tin") as instructed in this recipe. I also add two ounces of Chia seeds to the recipe - add water to these and let stand while you do the final preparations for the initial mix - and blend into to that mix. If you are using stoneground flour - it turns the normal "brick" into a much more acceptable and softer bread. The extra protein does you no harm, either!

9/10/2013 6:40:27 AM

I was horrified at the cost of the cast iron casseroles. A friend told me about cast iron pots with covers for sale at Academy that just opened near me. Found just the perfect size for about $25. Will be trying this bread soon!!! Thanks wveryone for all the great tips. I like the idea of using parchment paper so will try that.

8/8/2013 5:42:56 PM

This bread is so good and super easy.  I followed the recipe except I didn't use coarse cornmeal for dusting (it was too expensive) so I used bread flour.  I baked it in an 8 quart Logan cast iron dutch oven I bought for making stew, etc. for when we camping.  My husband said he wasn't hungry but when he smelled the bread, he got hungry.

laurie lee
3/16/2013 5:06:36 PM

Hi, Janet. If you refrigerate your dough, be sure to bring it to room temp and let it rise after that before you bake it. This advice is based on my experience with cold pizza dough that didn't bake all the way after I refrigerated it and failed to bring it to room temp. I made this bread this week, doing all that I learned in the video, and it turned out great. If you fail, don't despair. Keep trying. There are not a lot of ingredients in this recipe, so you won't waste too much. I love baking bread, and have baked many loaves and many different kinds of bread. I make bread at least once a week, as well as homemade pizza. BUT . . . I failed six times before I succeed for the first time years and years ago. I wrote an article about my experience, and got it published! So, everyone who wants to bake bread, don't give up. Just keep trying.

janet downey
2/28/2013 8:41:25 PM

Can the dough be saved overnight in the refrigerator?

george poerner
2/13/2013 10:55:10 PM

I have been trying to do the same thing with REAL JEWISH RYE BREAD the kind I remember from when i was a kid, 79 years ago. I have been trying all different methods, some very good, but not like th ones they baked in real stone ovens.

lin hutchison
2/13/2013 5:47:01 PM

I have used a clay chicken baker for years without incident. The bread comes out very nice.

gm morgan
2/13/2013 4:46:09 PM

I would certainly try this recipe IF I still had a Dutch oven (I'm cooking for just two, now). Can it be made in a claypot cooker (Romertopf)? I saw that a ceramic option was offered, BUT cold dough and 475 degree ceramic just doesn't sound too safe to me (In my mind, I'm hearing CRACK! BREAK!! CRASH!!! and a lot of NASTY words that I can't repeat here). HELP!

suzanne peck
11/28/2012 2:39:29 AM

Alrighty, here goes nothin'! I made this bread several times last year and it came out perfect every time, but then I embarked on a gluten free diet and had to say goodbye to it. Now, almost a year of being GF, I pulled this recipe out again and used 2 cups of Bob's Red Mill GF all purpose flour mix and 1 cup of brown rice flour and 3 tsps. of xanthan gum. It is rising now, my inclination is that it may need extra rising time. Wish me luck! And if anyone has a tried a true GF version of this, I would love to see it! I'll let you know how it goes~

mallory martin
1/15/2012 3:09:54 PM

I love this bread, I just made it for the first time and it is AWESOME! I just wanted to say that I don't have a dutch oven so I used a stainless steel heavy bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid and it turned out perfect! Thanks for sharing this easy, delicious bread!!

linda none
11/6/2011 5:11:16 PM

I made this bread yesterday and had to make 3 more loaves today!!! Fabulous, absolutely FABULOUS! One of the loaves, I added 1 cooked diced potato, a teaspoon of caraway seed, and about a 1/4 cup of small garlic gloves that I had slightly roasted. OMG!!!! I will be baking this all winter!!!!

belinda mansfield
11/5/2011 10:57:18 PM

I have been making this bread since I saw the article in ME back along. The only thing I have done differently is I use unbleached bread flour and I do not open uncover it at all while baking. If after it has risen in the bowl, I put it on floured surface and I do knead it twenty times with added flour...and then cover for two hours to continue to is the best bread. I made some this morning. During the winter I normally make it twice a week. It doesn't store well because it isn't full of preservatives. Mine doesn't last long. It reminds me of the bread in Germany...with homemade jam :O) yummy

12/21/2010 8:08:09 PM

Have had this recipe in my archives since the article was published! I finally made a loaf, and was really surprised! The loaf was beautiful and tasty. The crust came out a little thicker than in the photo, so I think I'll just reduce the uncovered cooking time a bit, maybe 5 minutes or so. Had no problem with the rising (I also keep my house at abt. 64F during the day and 60F at night in the winter), I just waited until the surface was dotted with bubbles, abt. 16 hrs. Will make this over and over, thanks, Sherrill

madelyn vanacore
10/21/2010 8:53:20 AM

WOW. That is SOME bread. I always made my own bread when I was raising my boys. I just retired and found this website, decided to try kicking the kneading habit.I read the comments and used my oven stone under my ancient heavy duty aluminum dutch oven-perfect crust on the bottom I keep he house cool, so I covered the bowl with a towel and set it in a sunny window. Overnight I put it in my microwave. On overcast days I'll try it with the heating pad, an old trick I learned years ago. And my well water here in Sterling Ct is astronomical-pure and clean. I heard the water in NYC comes from the Catskills so it's the best in the country. Now I don't have to drive into New York for a decent loaf of bread! Thanks guys.

patsy evans
2/20/2010 12:58:53 PM

As I am new to this method, please give ideas on keeping at room temperature of 70 degrees as my house is usually about 65 degrees in the winter.

7/24/2009 11:57:57 AM

Some notes on making the artisian bread in hot, humid Tampa. I tinkered with the recipe from this site and the following works perfectly for us: 4 cups bread flour (Pillsbury is fine) 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp dry yeast 2 cups tepid water Mix all in a large bowl and set aside (in a cool oven) for 18 hours. Turn out onto a dish towel heavily coated with cornmeal and wrap in the towel. Wrap again in a second towel to absorb excess moisture. Let rise for 2 hours. Heat a covered Dutch oven in a 475 degree oven. Flip the dough into the hot pan and bake, covered, for 30 minutes at 475. Bake an additional 10 minutes at 475 with the cover off. Cool. I found the dough was much too wet to form into a loaf but this was not necessary. The dough smooths itself once in the pot. The plastic wrap was also not helpful. Just use plenty of cornmeal and a second towel to wrap. Flipping the loaf into the pot is the only tricky part but even if it does not look perfect, it tastes wonderful. I shortened the cooking time because the loaf browned too much with the additional five minutes in the original recipe. Bread, butter, cheese, and wine. What more do we need? Cheri

7/21/2009 2:11:29 PM

I had been making this bread for over a year and had no trouble whatsoever. Then I started to make the bread to sell at our local farm market and bought some low cost flour at GFS. Big mistake. I had all kinds of trouble. It was super wet, wouldn't rise, was sticky and hard to handle, and didn't have the good taste and texture I had learned to expect. So, word to the wise, cheap flour does not save you time or money. I am back to my usual flour, mixed up a loaf this morning. Everything is right with the world, at least the bread world. I wonder if some of the folks who had trouble with the recipe were also using a low quality flour. I did not use bread flour, just a good quality all-purpose flour.

5/31/2009 8:05:53 PM

I have been using this recipe since it was printed in ME News. I add some quick oats to it (substituting a cup or two for flour) and I also use whole wheat flour. I've found that I need to let it rise for at least 18 and preferably 24 hours. Also, I have found a way to use it in loaf pans so that I have sandwich bread--just oil the pans, and, after stirring down the risen dough, divide it in two and tip it into the pans. Smooth it out a bit and let it rise for an hour, then bake for about 70 minutes at 350; cool on racks. This recipe has been a great help to me with my busy schedule--I can bake twice or even three times a week with no trouble at all.

1/19/2009 3:31:21 PM

great bread! i love a good dense bread. i added sesame seeds and flax seed to mine for more crunch and fiber. i used 1 cup of buckwheat flour as well. i also added some wheat gluten which makes it hold together real nice. i will try it with sunflower seeds and maybe oatmeal too. very satisfying, thank you for the recipe!

12/11/2008 8:55:01 PM

I am enjoying a slice of this bread right now! A few hints -if the bread is too wet, it is because too much water was added. I add one cup of water, then add the remaining 1/2 cup a little at a time just until the flour is absorbed. The best way to store the bread is cut side down on a board inside the microwave - I use my microwave as a bread box. Never wrap in plastice or in a bag - it ruins the crust. I have a very detailed recipe at - both US and metric versions, plus photos. An awesome bread, the best I have ever made by far.

12/8/2008 9:27:45 AM

I have tried this recipe twice and both times the dough came out so wet that I could not work with it. I used the original recipe published in the New York Times which calls for 1-5/8 cups of water, the first time I thought it was something I did wrong, the second time I thought maybe there was a mistake with the amount of water called for in the recipe. I went to a number of other websites and found the amount of water varied only slightly from the original recipe. I used two cups all purpose flour and one cup of rye flour and let the tough rise in my electric oven with the light on for 18 hours. When I turned it out it was so wet that it could not be formed into a ball. I threw the first attempt in the trash. The second time I had the same results, this time I added more flour (~1 cup) and was able to work with it, I let it rise a second time and then baked it in my Dutch Oven. After baking the specified time the bread came out looking like a cow pie and tasted lousy, the bottom was burned and the bread was very wet and dense. Any help would be appreciated. Thank You

12/1/2008 9:06:39 AM

I really want to try this recipe! It looks so easy. Has anyone tried the "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day" recipes in comparison? Which tastes better?

stacy burk_1
9/17/2008 2:22:20 PM

Hello fellow knead-less bread enthusiasts! I've been enjoying this bread for almost a year now and rarely have trouble with it, except when our temps. here are in the 100's. Then it rises too fast, comes out flat, etc... Anyway, I've had a request for a wheat free version using buckwheat, spelt, quinoa, or other non-wheat flours. Have any of you baked this bread wheat free? I'd love some advice before I start experimenting. I'm not really a bread baker, I love the knead-less recipe because it is so simple, therefore I don't really know the chemistry behind bread and alternative flours. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

stacy burk_1
9/17/2008 2:12:56 PM

Hello fellow knead-less bread enthusiasts! I've been enjoying this bread for almost a year now and rarely have trouble with it, except when our temps. here are in the 100's. Then it rises too fast, comes out flat, etc... Anyway, I've had a request for a wheat free version using buckwheat, spelt, quinoa, or other non-wheat flours. Have any of you baked this bread wheat free? I'd love some advice before I start experimenting. I'm not really a bread baker, I love the knead-less recipe because it is so simple, therefore I don't really know the chemistry behind bread and alternative flours. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

2/12/2008 1:42:50 PM

I have made this "new" bread a couple of times now and just LOVE IT!! I have a batch of rye going right now and I bake it in a very old cast iron dutch oven I did have to lower the temp. just a little as the dark black of my d. oven burned the bottum last time with the rye. Here is the recipe: EM's rye bread. 1 cup rye flour (light, I havent gotten to trying the dark yet!) 2 and 1/2 cups bread flour ( if it is very damp out I did find that I needed alittle more flour) 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt 1 large tablespoon of Buckwheat honey(I think that maybe a little molasses would do instead?) 1/2 teaspoon of active dry yeast 2 heaping tablespoons of caroway seeds. 1 and 2/3 very hot tap water(or warmed bottled minaral water if your city water has too much clorine in it... or let your tap water sit overnite , and then heat it to around 110 to 115) I start by adding the yeast and honey to the hot water and let it sit about 15 min. to make sure that my yeast is going ok Then the salt and caroway seeds. I then add the rye flour and bread flours. (adjusting for damp or dry condishions). let this sit in the warm oven for at least 8 hours up to 18 hours.(I use my oven as it is old and has a pilot in it, others say to leave the light on in electric ovens. if your home is nice and warm go ahead and leave it covered on the counter) then when ready to use it I dump it out on floured surface fold over a few times and then put in flour covered tea towel in a bowl to let rise again.(use alot of flour, I have read that wheat bran does well too. or even cornmeal. or it will stick) anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. about 20 minutes before ready make sure you put your cold d. oven in cold oven and start heating (you can follow the main recipe for temps. but for my old dark d. oven I use about 400 degrees Farenhight) when 20 min pass dump your dough in hot d. oven and cook covered for 20 min and uncovered about 15-20 min at 375.. it makes a great loaf o

2/10/2008 9:45:51 AM

How do I store the bread once it is cut? As it is so good, do not want to waste a bite.

2/7/2008 4:15:27 PM

I made my first loaf today. It was delicious! I would love to add olives to the loaf. Would you do this with all the other ingredents at the beginning? Would it be better to add them in at the end in the second rising?

janeane morrissey
2/7/2008 10:20:43 AM

I have been making this bread for over a year and it's never failed....Cooks Illustrated had an article about it several months ago and they had one suggestion that I've followed and it works. That was to use parchment paper underneath the loaf once who've shaped it. You then pick up the loaf by the sides of the parchment paper and set in your cooking vessel. The parchment paper stays with the loaf throughout the cooking process. It's not nearly as messy as flour and easier to handle. They also recommended spraying the top of the loaf with a Pam product before covering with plastic wrap for the post shaping rise. This really does prevent the wrap from sticking to the rising dough.....I am interested in variations that have worked...Thanks, Ruth for the tip re using a going to try that soon. Janeane, New Mexico

linda o.
2/7/2008 12:31:53 AM

Can't believe I have lived this long to finally find out how to make a crusty artisan bread that is really wonderful! thank you so much...........

ruth sandin
2/6/2008 11:28:37 AM

I've been experimenting with sour dough: 3/4 c starter, 1 c + 2 Tbsp water and 1/2 tsp. yeast. Rise 24 hours, then 4-5 after shaping. Whole grain: 2.5 c white flour and 3/4 c. uncooked 7 grain cereal, 1.5 c water,etc. - dust with 7 grain. OR 1 c cooked ceraal, 3 cup white flour and 1.25 c water. The whole grain has more sugar, so the process is quicker. I use a cast iron dutch oven. The biggest problem is not eating too much.....! Ruth Sandin, Minnesota

2/5/2008 4:55:16 PM

I tried 1 and a half cups whole wheat flour 1 cup rye flour and a half cup white flour, a couple T. of molasses, some sugar. It is excellent! Would be good with some sunflour seeds in it. My problem is that I want to eat more and more of it. It is fantastic. I'll never bake in a bread pan again.

2/4/2008 2:19:49 PM

I, too, have longed for such a bread even as I have lived in northeast Wisconsin all my life and never even had a decent bakery within easy driving distance. Imagine my surprise when I made this receipe for the first time -- and it was actually as good as the author of the article suggested. Since just before Christmas when I made it for the first time, I make a loaf every weekend. I would do it more but since our electric company prefers us to use our big electric chores on the weekend [and heating my oven to 475 is a biggie], I generally put together the ingredients on Friday or Saturday eve just before bedtime, and bake around mid-day the next. I've found that if one uses an electric knife, the hour wait to cut into it, is decreased substantially -- like as soon as you can hold the loaf -- and I've learned to stand the loaf on its side and cut down to the other side. Have also experimented with whole-wheat and find that we like 3/4c of whole-wheat along with 2 1/4c white flour. Yum, yum -- more, more, more. Diane

1/20/2008 7:39:27 PM

If you are using cake yeast how muich should I use?

1/20/2008 10:49:09 AM

My first batch was way too soupy. I spooned the flour into the measuring cup so i figured it was too little flour. After it sat 18 hrs I turned it out, right into the garbage. The second batch is working now. I just dug the measuring cup into the flour to be sure it was almost packed into it. The initial mix up was much better, but when I turned it out to fold it and turn onto the towel, it was still thinner than I thought it should be so I worked a little more flour into it before I was able to get it onto the towel. It's setting now, so we will see how it goes. Anyone have any ideas for plugging the hole in the lid when i take the LeCruset handle off? I hope this works. We just absolutely love this type bread.

1/20/2008 8:31:58 AM

I made this easy recipe yesterday and it turned out very well. I used 2c. wheat and 1c. white. I used wheat bran and flour on the towel and it didn't stick at all. I baked it in pampered chef stoneware, which worked very well, no burned bottom. I only had to bake it for the 30 minutes because it was already nicely browned when I took the lid off. We had it with homeade chili...was yummy! I can't wait to make more using a lot of the tips I have read here about add ins such as the olive oil and spices, cheese, etc. Thanks for the tips...Happy Bread Baking to all!

1/19/2008 3:37:59 PM

wow! this works. as usual i use my eyes, ears, nose and hansd to bake. i did not use the formula, rather made my own artisan dough and added a small amount of mashed sweet potato. i also used about 50% semolina flour for color. results are great! i am really pleased with the possibilities and as a former clayworker i feel as if i have found a special little gem.

1/18/2008 10:15:34 PM

I have made the bread two times and I am very pleased with the results. I have one question: I have always had to add more water to make the dough. If I did not use more water the dough was too dry. I have tried hand mixing and machine mixing. I thought the amount of water listed in your recipe may be in error. Thank you. The Komanche

1/18/2008 4:20:26 PM

I like making it. It was nicely done, and it was fun to make!

1/14/2008 6:03:21 PM

Hubby found this recipe and I just had to try it...Have tried a couple of variations - added 1/4 cup molasses (thought it would sweeten bread but didn't just turned it a light brown and the bottom turned black) - then tried it with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and lots of different spices (this one was great - it was good as a dipping bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This time I lowered the heat to 450 degrees and only baked for 40 mins. then removed lid turned off oven and let stand in oven for next 15 mins. this one turned out PERFECT! Truly enjoy this receipe - IT'S A KEEPER!

1/13/2008 7:31:14 PM

I've been having some fun with this recipe, trying a double batch. Somehow, it didn't seem to make a significantly bigger loaf. I have also been using 1/2 white flour and 1/2 white whole wheat flour, with good results. My biggest problem is getting the dough into the hot pot without deflating it and distorting it. Any suggestions?

1/12/2008 6:03:58 PM

This recipe is awesome! I've tried it a couple of times now. Turned out exactly as described. I allowed for maximum rising time as in the recipe. I'm excited that someone had success with a gluten-free flour mix, because I went gluten-free just recently, and was sad that I might not be able to eat this scrumptious bread again.

1/11/2008 4:49:19 PM

I live alone- just priced Dutch ovens and am amazed how expensive they are. Can I just cut the recipe in half- use a 2 quart glass casserole I have- hope so. It sounds really good.( P.S.)- in addition to price, I really could not LIFT a cast iron dutch oven at Bed Bath and Beyond- talk about heavy !!!

1/10/2008 9:13:55 PM

I just made my first loaf, and it looks AWESOME and tastes even better!!! I have been trying unsuccessfully to create this style of bread since I moved away from San Francisco. I got as far as making a wetter dough, but I never tried baking it in a covered dish (although several times I've looked at those earthen covered bread baking dishes in the cooking catalogs and wondered...) For this attempt, I used tons of flour on the towel and the top of the loaf (due to prior experience with ciabatta dough), so I had no sticking problems, but the flour on the bottom of the loaf in the baking dish did burn. I am going to try some of the suggestions from all the comments to see if i can keep the bottom flour from burning, as that was the only part i didn't care for. I don't have a dutch oven (yet) so I used a 3 qt. pyrex round baking dish with lid. It worked fine. After reading all the great reviews and ideas for adjustments, I immediately started a new batch of dough, as this loaf is disappearing quickly! Thanks for the great recipe, Roger!!!

1/9/2008 10:23:06 AM

I tried this bread for the first time two nights ago. My first loaf was VERY hard on the outside and dense and sticky on the inside. I used Fleishmans RapidRise yeast, and a cast iron dutch oven in an electric oven. I followed the directions exactly. the SECOND time I made the loaf, I put it in the oven with the light on as suggested by someone else to create a better environment for the yeast. This dough was much stickier and wetter and more difficult to work with. The resulting loaf is hard as a brickbat and totally inedible. I MIGHT try this loaf one more time, but so far it's a disaster.

1/4/2008 2:14:14 PM

have made several loaves using original recipe and various combinations of unbleached and whole wheat flour. do not like the scorched flavor. last baking i reduced oven temperature to 400 F; preheated cast iron dutch oven. loaf is 1/2 unbleached, 1/2 whole wheat. has dark brown crunchy crust without the scorching of the higher temperature. dutch oven is an antique and was also concerned about ruining its seasoning at high heat (475 F); also have no room to have more than one of these heavy pots. best results so far. tasty bread without the scorched bottom crust. (p.s. - oven temp is accurate)

1/2/2008 8:05:21 PM

I only have a 2 qt. cast iron skillet. I'm able to make a 1 lb. loaf in it. I cut the water down to 1 c., salt to 1 tsp., and the flour to 2 c. I kept the yeast at 1/4 t. Turns out great! I cook 25 min. with the lid and about 10-15 min. without the lid. Made this with 100% whole wheat. Still turned out good, but much more dense. White is definitely my favorite.

1/1/2008 2:24:39 PM

I just tried this recipe with a gluten-free bread mix, and it worked really well. for my second loaf, I found that substituting 1 cup pure apple juice into the water measurement helped boost the yeast production, (like when I used to brew my own beer, before having to go gluten-free)and cut the first rising time down to about 2.5 hours.

12/29/2007 10:06:49 PM

I tried the recipe for the first time this week, and the results really are amazing - it turned out perfectly. I used 2/3 white, 1/3 wheat (King Arthur brand here, too), and a cast iron dutch oven I picked up for $3 at the local thrift store.

12/29/2007 7:38:56 PM

I tried this recipe for the first time this weekend and it turned out great. The only thing I did differently was let the bread rise in a bowl for all three steps rather than use a kitchen towel. I will make this again, I would like to try it with a sourdough recipe next. Ithink it would be great as a sour dough

12/27/2007 4:00:11 PM

I own 6 Dutch Ovens and as many cast iron griddles/fry pans Many new Dutch Ovens are sealed with wax. Follow manufacturers cleaning instructions. Or fill with water and bring to a boil. I find that oil gets sticksy and animal fats stinky. I use an all vegeatable shortening to season my cast iron and keep it from rusting. If you store your dutch ovens for any length of time, (which with this bread recipe probably will not happen) place a paper towel sheet across the top opening then put the lid on. This well absorb any moisture.

12/27/2007 11:40:49 AM

Check out Cabela's - we bought our 8 qt. Dutch oven there for $24.99. Just finished making our first loaf and it came out perfectly! We were worried about being at 5200 ft. elevation, so kept our oven on 200 degrees while we were awake and the bread raised great and tastes wonderful. Can't wait to try some with our sourdough starter and/or whole wheat flour - oh, and Kalamata olives, fresh rosemary, not all at the same time (smile).

12/23/2007 4:30:13 PM

I've tried this recipe twice in the last week. The first time I followed the recipe exactly (using King Arthur unbleached flour) and used corn meal on the dish cloth and top of the loaf while it was rising. It worked great and didn't stick to the cloth at all. It did burn a bit in the dutch oven while baking which probably changed the taste slightly but it was still very good. On the second loaf I used 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, and 1/2 cup flax seeds. I think it could have used a bit more flour because the dough was way more sticky than the first loaf I made. On this loaf I used flour on the dish cloth while it was rising. It ended up sticking to the cloth a bit but I got it in the pot with a little extra work. I scraped the extra dough off the cloth and threw it on top of the loaf in the pot. This loaf turned out way better than the first loaf. It tasted wonderful with the whole wheat flour and flax seed. Oh, one other thing I did on the second loaf was that I used kosher salt. This second loaf rose much more than the first one did.

12/19/2007 5:05:29 PM

I found this recipe in our local paper over 6 months ago and have baked many loaves and have sent this recipe to many friends also. I also had some sticking problems to begin with and then switched to the foil and it has stopped that problem. The loaves come out the same everytime once you get it down pat. My wife and I love artisan seeded bread, I quickly modified it with poppy seeds(1tbs),sun flour seed(2tbs), Flax seed(2tbs) and toasted sesame seeds(2tbs). Soooo great, no other change to the recipe except a little bit more water. I also started adding( subsitution) wheat flour, about 20%, doesn't quite raise like the all flour recipe but still my wife's favorite.

12/17/2007 1:28:51 PM

I saw this recipe over the weekend and made a loaf last night. I had no problems and the loaf came out perfect. I immediately started a second loaf. I think I will lighten up on the last dusting though, as it seems I used too much flour. I am so glad I found a new use for my cast iron dutch ovens.

12/16/2007 8:55:56 PM

I've been making this recipe since summer, although not as much as I'd like. I found a cheap Lodge dutch oven at Sears for about $30 -- I think it's a 5qt. It has a wire handle, and the handle on the lid is cast in. It works beautifully! It claims to have been pre-seasoned, but I don't really trust the pre-seasoning on any of the newer pans; I'd recommend treating it as if it had never been used. Mine darkened and smoothed quite a lot once I'd baked it for a while coated with oil. I highly recommend a good cast-iron dutch oven; it needn't be enameled, even! (Then again, I hardly use anything OTHER than cast iron for cooking; I have about 10 skillets that I use for different things, and they're all old cast iron!) For those of you who have had your dough fall; the key really is minimal handling. I mix mine with a spoon initially. Where the recipe calls for shaping it into a ball, I just dump it on a heavily floured dish-towel, fold it over, and cover it. That's it! My experience has been that if you do more than that, you lose a lot of the bubbles.

12/11/2007 9:10:36 PM

More about dutch oven. There are two "secrets" to the excellent crust on this bread and the flavor of the bread: 1) the high heat, 2) the ability of a heavy pot to retain the heat. The same results will not be obtained using ordinary loaf pans. Glass lids are inadvisable at the high temperatures, and crock pot liners may vary in their ability to withstand the high heat.

12/11/2007 8:59:09 PM

Affordable dutch oven: Check thrift stores for used cast iron or enameled cast iron dutch ovens with lids. New ones run about $40 and can be found in hardware and houseware stores. A new one needs seasoning before use, if not pre-seasoned by the manufacturer. Old timers say to use animal fat such as bacon grease or lard. Coat the inside of the pan, put it in a 300 degree oven and leave it for 2 hours. Dutch ovens can also be bought over the Internet, but the shipping will be expensive; mine weighs 20 pounds.

12/11/2007 12:51:46 PM

This past weekend, I attempted to bake a loaf in my crock-pot instert, as someone else had mentioned trying. Unfortunately, upon heating, the glass lid to the crock pot shattered. I ended up baking the dough in a loaf pan, covered with aluminum foil, and added a pan of water on the lower oven shelf - the bread was delicious, but I'm now trying to figure out where I can find an affordable dutch oven, or if I can split the dough in half before the final rise, and use two smaller containers, with two smaller loaves. Has anyone tried that?

12/10/2007 12:43:07 PM

Hi all, I am here to update my first comments two weeks later. I have baked about 6 loafs of this great bread. I had no more trouble with the dough sticking to the cloth after I added lots of flour to the cloth. I later used wheat bran which works very nicely with a rougher surface on the finished loaf and a nutty taste of the wheat bran toasted. Today, I tried a loaf with 1/2 whole wheat flour and it didn't rise as well. Maybe I should have put it in my oven (gas) to rise which seems to help the white flour rise; the pilot light keeps the inside warm. I think this bread is very easy and tastes great. I am interested in amending it by adding seeds and nuts and maybe cheese! I had to cut the browning time for the last part of the recipe because I did burn one loaf on the bottom. I changed the browning time with lid off to 10 minutes in my small gas oven. I use a large cast iron enameled, French made, Dutch oven. It works very well but the Dutch oven has blackened a bit on the inside. You won't need any grease in the pot. Loaf has never stuck to the pot, they always come out very easily. Frederick
12/9/2007 7:40:40 PM

Hi all, it is my first visit to Mother Earth News online and I am pleased to find this article and your comments on the "no knead/NewYorkTimes" bread recipe. I happen to be in the middle of preparing my own video on the method and have this to offer to help those of you with the sticking problems: - The secret is minimal handling of course, but the release from the cloth at the end is facilitated nicely by using a generous sprinkle of ground corn meal on the well-floured cloth before setting the dough ball on it, this is because the ground corn meal is so aggressive in taking up moisture that the dough does not tend to migrate into the fibers of the cloth as readily, and the extra crunch in the resulting crust is right on time. It is certainly critical to use a covered pot, and a crock pot has a good shape for this, but I see no reason to use a big pot unless you like the shape of a lower wider loaf. I use a 1970's Copco dutch oven marked "D2", it is rated as a 2qt pot but it holds about two and a half quarts to the rim - if you think you will be making this bread as often as I do you will be very happy with it, but they are no longer in production and you will need to buy it from a yard sale or online auction where I recently found my third. The shape of this pot is perfect for one of these remarkable Boule breads, and by the way, I see reference to "scorching", that scorching is part of the process and is delicious in my book as long as it is not frankly burned and the loaf is so moist that it doesn't affect the flavor of the rest of the body of the bread. I bake two or three together (in separate Copco pots of course) and have found it necessary to raise the temperature to 485 for the first half hour and up to 505 or 510 for the last ten minutes. - One more hint, do not be afraid to use high temperature. The high heat makes the bread want to shrink a bit and release itself from the walls of the po

12/8/2007 7:37:52 PM

I found these recommendations for baking any bread at altitude above 3000': 1) Reduce yeast by 25% to combat over-rising of the dough (note- ignore this for the no-knead recipe). 2) Increase salt by 25% to slow the rise of the dough & discourage sinking. 3) Add water to the flour, 1 tsp at a time, to counteract dryness; use quality flour (I routinely use 1/4-1/2 cup more water in any bread recipe as Tucson is dry). 4) Reduce sugar by 1/3 to prevent the collapse of the bread’s center (no sugar in the no-knead recipe). 5) Reduce oven temperature by 20-25%, but bake for the same length of time. I find some altitiude effect in Tucson even at the 2500' at my house. Someone mentioned using other flours. Without other leavening, you could replace up to one cup of the wheat flour with another type of flour such as rye, barley, oat, rice, soy. More and the bread won't rise well as gluten is essential; rising will take longer in any case with non-wheat recipes. Additions to the bread sound great, but if using garlic or onions, use roasted garlic or sauteed onions; either will affect the yeast if raw.

12/8/2007 6:42:03 PM

Thanks bobbear43! I didn't want to damage my new pot. I've got everything rising. I'm going to bake this at 400 degrees, watching closely.I live at about 7500 ft. in the Rockies. I'll report my results.

12/8/2007 2:31:27 PM

Comments from a home baker and cook with 50 years' experience. Had never seen this recipe. It came out well using whole wheat flour. Crusty and light to medium density. Bottom a little scorched but tastes just fine. With the long rising time for this bread, instant yeast versus active yeast should make no difference. They're both active. I buy my Red Star Active Yeast in a 3-pound package at Costco for about the same price as 6 packets. I keep it in a quart mason jar in the refrig. Rising problems: final rise needs a temp of about 80 degrees. If you have a gas oven, turn it on, let it light, and then turn it off. Then put the bread into the oven for the final rise. Of course take it out when heating the oven. If no gas oven, put the bread on an upper shelf in an electric oven, and place a large baking pan full of hot water about 6" below it. After an hour if the bread hasn't risen enough, refresh the hot water. Another problem is not waiting long enough. If no oven, even if too cool in your kitchen, the bread will eventually rise enough. Cast iron dutch oven: I used mine which is from Boy Scout days. 475 degrees is actually too hot with dry baking to maintain the seasoning of the pot. My pot came out all dry looking inside, but I let it cool a little and reseasoned it with some vegetable oil. I am going to experiment with lower temperatures.

12/8/2007 10:18:17 AM

I have made this bread twice now - I really like it. I am having trouble with it rising properly too. I will keep at it, but would take more suggestions, too.

12/7/2007 8:14:48 PM

I realized I have instant yeast and not dry active yeast. Does anyone know how to substitute? I have read it is measure for measure but not to dissolve the instant yeast in water. Would I just mix the flour, salt and water first and then add the instant yeast? Any ideas would be helpful

12/7/2007 1:30:27 PM

I just got a beautiful Lodge 7 qt. Dutch oven, just to make this bread. I paid $39.98 total, including shipping at This is a great value. It seems like so many of you have had success with this recipe, so I must assume that 475 degrees is the correct temperature. It seems pretty hot to me. Is this the correct Temperature? Thanks!

12/5/2007 12:51:25 PM

Mixed results for me. I let the dough sit overnight in my oven with just the light on. Things went well and my dough looked almost exactly like what was shown in the pictures until I put it on the towel. After 3 hours, mine had barely risen and was also stuck to the towel. I'd used a mix of cornmeal and flour, but not enough, I guess. Knowing my kitchen was a little cool, I put the towel on a cookie sheet and put the dough back in the oven with the light on. Turned it into the hot dutch oven anyway. It's almost finished baking and in a few minutes, I'll see how it turned out. Might taste good anyway, though it's pretty flat. I think some folks here have the Lodge enamel dutch oven, same as mine. I removed the 400-degree-rated handle from the lid for this baking project. I am going to search for an all-metal handle that I can screw onto this lid. And no, I'm not giving up on this easy recipe. I'm sure I'll get a perfect loaf after some practice, trial and error.

12/4/2007 6:33:36 PM

Thanks for the tips guys - I will try it again in the oven with the light on!

12/4/2007 4:18:59 PM

Thank you so much for the recipe, directions, and related articles. I tried the original recipe as given with Grandmother's old cast iron dutch oven which worked perfectly. (Price? Free to me, perhaps a few dollars to Grandmother!) Then next day, I made another batch and added a liberal amount of dill weed and dried onion flakes to the liquid. When the dough had risen overnight and I reached the time to fold it over a few times, I sprinkled the surface with finely grated Coastal cheese (Asiago or New York Sharp Cheddar would also be good). I folded and sprinkled about three times. When I formed the dough into a ball, I was careful not to expose the cheese. It was great fresh from the over and even the next day after the flavors had time to meld. Next weekend I will try dried tomato, drained Kalamata olives, and basil with a little onion. We are thrilled with the recipe. Thanks so much.

hugh tomlinson
12/4/2007 12:40:30 PM

I am extremely happy to say I think I have found the perfect recipe and method of baking bread. Thank you so much. I have tried many ways prior and have not had nearly the success as I did with this. I was ecstatic when I took the lid off for the final bake and now I can't wait to cut into it.

12/4/2007 11:28:06 AM

Interesting comments. Yesterday (Dec 3rd) we mixed the bread up and this morning it has at least doubled in volume. Later today we plan on baking it in a new cast iron porcelain 6 quart pot (with lid). The pot's brochure said the knob on the lid is good to 400 deg F. This is less than the 475 deg recipe temp callout. Is the 475 deg temp a typo? We may remove the knob just to be sure. Looking forward to the bread! Jim

12/4/2007 7:21:13 AM

Lots of Dutch Ovens from $69 to $220 - any recommendations? Also, article says to use a six to eight quart oven. Is it necessary to use such a large oven?

12/4/2007 7:21:08 AM

Lots of Dutch Ovens from $69 to $220 - any recommendations? Also, article says to use a six to eight quart oven. Is it necessary to use such a large oven?

12/3/2007 10:02:54 PM

Teri, Try putting the dough into the oven with just the light turned on as suggested by Bill. In the winter, most house temperatures are well below the optimum for bread to rise properly. Also, use tepid to warm water. Hot water will kill the yeast. Try using fresh ingredients-especially yeast. I also recommend (can I say this?)King Arther Flour, if you can find it in your area-tops for bread, in my opinion. Also, on the video, I know that they demonstrate it just barely stirring the dough but I've found it rises better if I mix it thoroughly-personally, I cheat and use my mixer. Good luck!

12/3/2007 12:40:18 PM

This recipe worked great for me, and I've never baked anything but frozen pizza before! My first loaf was a little on the flat side, but the next two have been fine. I got new flour after the first loaf, so I have a feeling maybe something had gone off in the old sack. Also, from what I've read elsewhere, it's important to use warm (but not hot!) water to get the yeast percolating. I've been putting the dough in a bowl covered with saran wrap and sitting it in the oven with the light turned on. At least in our oven, just the bulb being on seems to keep the temperature around 75-80 degrees. We don't have a Dutch oven, so I've been using the removable ceramic crock from our crock pot, along with its glass lid; works great!

12/2/2007 3:49:09 PM

I was excited to try this recipe and have made 2 batches - neither of them have risen properly. Is it something I am doing wrong, bad yeast or too cold? Both batches I made in the afternoon and let rise overnight - for 15-18 hours but it did not. Any help would be appreciated. I noticed in other recipes that it calls for much more yeast... I do not have a dutch oven so used pyrex qnd it worked fine as far as the nice crust.

12/2/2007 12:07:51 PM

Maggie, no it won't stick to the dutch oven. I made it today in a heavy cast iron dutch oven and it fell right out when I turned the dutch oven over. It did, however, stick to my dish towel. Wish I had read the comments here before trying it. This bread definitely reminds me of breads I used to eat in Europe. It's a great recipe if you like that style.

12/1/2007 10:44:50 PM

I love baking bread, and am anxious to try this recipe. I noticed that it doesn't call for greasing that dutch oven......isn't the dough going to stick badly???

11/29/2007 3:44:35 PM

I have made this bread every day this past week-it never lasts more than a day and there are only 3 in our family. I have tried it replacing 1 c. of white with Whole wheat flour, rye flour, even polenta, also added pumpkin, sunflower and pine nuts to it. Endless variations are possible. Secret-by adding 2 T. olive oil, it makes the easiest silkiest, crispiest, easy to stretch but doesn't tear pizza crust ever. Delicious! By adding 1-2 T. of butter to the dough, it yields a bit more of a tender crumb on the inside but with still crispy crust-great for sandwiches. I've shared this with many friends already and plan to bake fresh bread and pizza for one of my holiday parties this season. Whole Foods, move over!

11/28/2007 10:21:15 PM

Thank you sister and I have been trying to make artisan bread for years.....I tried your recipe and it was wonderful..we are building a new home and I don't have a regular oven so I used my oven roaster and even that worked. I used the inside of my electric crock pot and lid because I don't have a cast iron dutch oven but I plan on buying one........Thanks again..

11/27/2007 8:57:53 PM

has anyone successfully made this bread with hard white whole wheat flour? thanks.

11/26/2007 11:49:14 PM

The loaf that I baked looks just like the expensive artisan loaves that I buy at Costco. I used a stainless steel Dutch oven with a copper bottom, and the bread baked up beautifully. And when I tap on the bottom of the loaf, it makes the coolest hollow thump. An unsolicited suggestion for a previous poster: Frederick, maybe you could use some of that no-stick aluminum foil (Reynolds Release, I think it is called) or wax paper instead of a cloth to avoid the dough sticking when it rises. I used plastic wrap and it worked okay for me. Anyhow, next I plan to try using other flours besides wheat, and adding some nuts and/or seeds to the dough. Yum! Thank you for making this recipe available to us!

heidi hunt_2
11/26/2007 3:55:51 PM

WOW! I have never made a loaf of bread as good as this one! It was exactly as advertised - very crusty outside and soft inside. And, it was delicious. I am fortunate to have a cast iron Dutch oven with the inside/bottom somewhat rounded instead of flat.

11/26/2007 3:14:18 PM

Oh my goodness, This first loaf of the no knead bread stuck to the cloth where it was rising and was very difficult to get from there into the hot pan. I am new at baking and working with dough. I am not discouraged completely but I think I learned use plenty of flour on the cloth when you put the dough on it to rise. Just a warning to others who might also be beginners in the bread making kitchen. Can't wait to see how it tastes anyway. Flat and mal-formed doesn't hurt anything!

11/26/2007 3:13:56 PM

Oh my goodness, This first loaf of the no knead bread stuck to the cloth where it was rising and was very difficult to get from there into the hot pan. I am new at baking and working with dough. I am not discouraged completely but I think I learned use plenty of flour on the cloth when you put the dough on it to rise. Just a warning to others who might also be beginners in the bread making kitchen. Can't wait to see how it tastes anyway. Flat and mal-formed doesn't hurt anything!

11/25/2007 4:19:03 PM

I tried the No Nead bread as soon as I saw the recipe in my last issue. I have been baking all our bread for years, but never managed to get that wonderful crust. This was so simple. My only problem was with a burnt bottom, but I solved that with putting a small round pizza type stone in the bottom of the kettle and raising the rack up one level in the oven . Thank you for sharing this great bread trick with us all. Grethe

11/23/2007 11:56:10 PM

So happy to read Roger's article about the No Knead bread. Eric Rausch at Breadtopia has a whole section on this method including videos and variations on the recipe. The version with steelcut oats is great. I usually line a banneton with parchment paper which makes it so much easier to gently lower the dough into the hot pot. No burnt fingers and no deflating from the dough dropping from a height. Try it, you'll be hooked! Annie