There’s no easier way to make fresh artisan bread at home than this Dutch Oven Bread recipe. Baking the simple 4-ingredient, no knead dough in a dutch oven gives you soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside bread each and every time.
Did you know that you can make artisan bread that’s fluffy on the inside and crispy and crunchy on the outside in the comfort of your own home WITHOUT getting your hands messy? Well, you can and it’s so easy!
This no knead Dutch Oven Bread recipe is foolproof, heavenly, and will make your home smell amazing! It’s made with a simple 4-ingredient dough and after one 2 hour rise (yep, the dough only goes through ONE rise!), it’s ready to be popped into the dutch oven.
Baking bread in a dutch oven is the best way to make an artisan loaf that’s super soft inside and crunchy and golden brown on the outside.
Tear off a big chunk to dip in Butternut Squash Soup or a hearty Vegan Stew, or just slather some with Vegan Butter! You can make this for dinner tonight!
What size dutch oven do I need?
I love my dutch oven for food like chili, soups, biscuit pot pie and more. I highly recommend getting one if you don’t own one already! Some brands are super expensive, but I’ve had my trusty Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven for years, and it’s never let me down.
6 quart is the best size, but this bread will likely work in one a bit smaller, a 4.5 quart size. But I wouldn’t go any smaller than that. If you have a larger one, that’s fine as well.
Ingredients needed (with substitutions)
- All purpose flour – A simple all purpose flour will still give you perfectly fluffy and soft bread. You can use bread flour if you want or a 1:1 mix of whole wheat and all purpose flour instead. Sorry, I’ve never tried it gluten free! But go make this Gluten Free Artisan Bread from The Loopy Whisk instead.
- Salt – For flavor.
- Instant yeast – Unlike active dry yeast, instant yeast doesn’t need to be proofed before it’s used. Make sure it’s fresh and not expired so your bread can fluff up. You can use regular active yeast if needed, but the bread will need to rise a bit longer.
- Warm water – Test the temperature of the water with your wrist. If it feels a bit too hot for your wrist, it’s perfect to use for the yeast. If you have a thermometer, the water should measure 100ºF. Any hotter than 110ºF and it will kill the yeast.
How to make dutch oven no knead bread
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
No knead bread dough is probably the easiest you’ll ever make. It comes together by hand in just one bowl:
- Stir the flour, salt, and instant yeast together in a bowl.
- Pour the warm water in the middle and gently stir everything together. It’ll be quite sticky and messy.
- Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set it aside in a warm dark place to rise for 2 hours.
- After the rise time is up, check that the dough had doubled in size. It’s ready to be baked!
Place a square of parchment paper on the counter and sprinkle it with flour. Transfer the dough from the bowl to the paper. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and use a spatula to gently fold the dough on top of itself about 4 to 6 times.
Flour your hands and gently shape the dough into a loaf shape in the middle of the paper. Or simply use the spatula to avoid touching it with your hands. It doesn’t need to be perfect!
I also like to cut several lines in the bread with a sharp, serrated knife.
Carefully remove the hot dutch oven from the preheated oven and take off the lid. Use the parchment paper as handles to move the bread dough from the counter to the dutch oven. Place the lid back on and bake.
Remove the lid from the dutch oven in the last 10 or 15 minutes of the bake time. You’ll know the bread is ready when the crust is golden brown.
Let the dutch oven bread cool for at least 30 minutes before you slice into it. Enjoy!
Tips and variations
- Letting the dough rise – If your house is warm, the bread should be fine to rise right on the kitchen counter. On colder days, I like to preheat my oven to 200ºF and then quickly turn it off and place the bowl inside with the door cracked for about 15 minutes. Afterward, I close the oven door and continue to let it rise for the whole 2 hours.
- Shaping the dough – While this is a true no knead bread recipe, it’s still important to shape the dough with a spatula a few times so the bread can have a great structure and be easier to handle. Try not to hand it too much or it will lose those wonderful fluffy air pockets.
- Preheating the dutch oven – Don’t skip this step! The dutch oven needs to be HOT when the dough goes in to help the crust get nice and crispy. Pop it in the preheating oven about half an hour before the bread is finished rising.
- Gluten free – I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour, therefore I’m unsure if it would work. Almond or oat flour will not work for this recipe.
Frequently asked questions
- What is no knead bread? In most traditional bread recipes, letting the dough rise multiple times and kneading it by hand is essential in forming the gluten. No knead bread doesn’t need to be kneaded because it’s left to rise once for a very long time. This gives the gluten plenty of time to form.
- What if you don’t have a dutch oven? You can bake no knead bread without a dutch oven but the crust won’t turn out as golden brown or crispy. Bake the dough right on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in a preheated cast iron skillet instead.
- Why didn’t my bread rise? This probably means your yeast was old or expired. I recommend starting over with fresh yeast to get the best results.
- Can you make the dough ahead of time? Absolutely! Let the dough rise for 2 hours, then bake it or wrap it in plastic and keep it in your fridge for up to 7 days.
- Is it freezer-friendly? Very much so! Wrap the whole loaf or individual slices in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge or on the counter before you use it.
There are endless ways to enjoy this easy homemade bread:
- Spread some vegan butter on each slice.
- Dip it into some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Use the slices for avocado toast.
- Serve it on the side of a comforting soup, like Vegan Potato Soup and Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup.
- Spread some vegan ricotta on the bread and top it with roasted cherry tomatoes.
- Use it to make sandwiches or grilled cheese!
- Spread some garlic butter on top to serve next to Vegan Lasagna or Eggplant Parmesan.
This artisan bread also makes wonderful Vegan French Toast!
More easy yeast recipes
Dutch Oven Bread
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 packet instant yeast ( 2 1/4 tsp)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (not hot or it will kill the yeast)
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and instant yeast.
- Add the warm water and stir together until a sticky dough forms. Don't worry about it looking like a round ball of dough; it will be quite messy and that is fine.
- Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and set in a warm place to rise for 2 hours. I preheat my oven to 200 degrees F, then quickly turn it off, place the bowl inside the oven with the door cracked for about 15 minutes, then close the oven door and continue to let it rise for the whole 2 hours. If your house is warm, you can just use the counter.
- About a half hour before the rise time is done, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (if you used your oven to help the dough rise, remove the bowl before preheating) and place your dutch oven inside the oven, with the lid on, while the oven preheats. We want the dutch oven HOT when the dough goes in! Once the oven preheats, leave it in there for another 10-15 minutes, until your dough is ready to be transferred in.
- Prepare the dough: Place a large square of parchment paper on a counter and sprinkle it with flour. Using a spatula, transfer the dough to the floured surface as one big blob.
- Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough, and use a spatula to gently fold the dough on top of itself (see photos above in post) about 4-6 times.
- Gently shape it into a round loaf type shape in the center of the parchment paper (it doesn't have to be perfect at all), using lightly floured hands or the spatula. Be careful not to handle the dough too much or it will lose those wonderful air pockets. If desired, cut several shallow lines using a sharp, serrated knife.
- CAREFULLY remove the HOT dutch oven and remove the lid using oven mitts. Using the parchment paper, place the dough inside the dutch oven and place the lid back on. You will cook it with the parchment paper, and it's okay if a little bit sticks out of the lid.
- Place the dutch oven back in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the lid (with oven mitts!) and bake for about 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
- Remove the dutch oven from the oven, and transfer the bread to a cutting board to cool for about 30 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
- Keep the bread covered at room temperature for 2-3 days, or a little longer in the refrigerator. It also freezes well!
- No dutch oven? Bake the dough right on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in a preheated cast iron skillet instead. It won’t get quite as crispy on the outside, but it works.
- Make ahead option – Let the dough rise for 2 hours, then bake it or wrap it in plastic and keep it in your fridge for up to 7 days before baking.
- Freezer safe – The bread freezes well. Simply wrap it well and freeze once it’s baked and cooled. Let it thaw at room temperature before serving.
- Yeast – You can use regular active yeast, just make sure it doubles in size before baking.
Hi! I am currently making this and just realized that I don’t have parchment paper! The dutch oven is currently preheating, is it ok to just put the dough directly in? Should I oil it?
Yes, it will help to grease the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent the dough from sticking. You could sprinkle a thin layer of corn meal on the bottom of the pan as well. Hope this helps!
Love this recipe! I also make sourdough bread, which is delicious, but very time-consuming. This recipe gives me and my kids the same crackly-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside goodness as those 48-hour specials, but on the same day!
Hello! Would a preheated pizza stone work (without a Dutch oven)? Thanks!
I haven’t tried it but I think it will work. The crust might not be as crusty and thick, but I think it will turn out quite well.
Highly addictive. I tried this as a weekend experiment making bread. That was about 2 months ago. I now make it once a week and my teenaged sons eat through it quickly, might have to make it twice a week. Makes amazing avocado toast in the morning. Goes great with soup as well. Hasn’t lasted long enough to try my vegan French toast recipe. Thanks for another lovely creation! It’s a hit!
That’s so great to hear, Jan! I’m so glad you and your sons love the bread and that it’s become a weekly ritual 🙂 Thank you for your wonderful review and feedback!
I’ve made this bread countless times and my friends are always amazed at how good it is and how easy it is!!
How great the bread it a hit with your friends! Thank you for sharing your fantastic review and feedback!
Have you or anyone here commenting, use whole wheat flour?
Delicious, very similar to ciabatta in texture. Just making a loaf currently while away in our motor home , thankyou for sharing nice addition with olives and semi dried tomatoes.
You are welcome! I’m glad you love the bread! Have fun being away, and enjoy the bread!
I just made this for dinner tonight. Outstanding!!!! Thank you Nora!
You are welcome! I’m glad you loved it!
I’m about to make this for the second time. It’s perfect! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.
You are welcome! I’m glad you are loving the bread! Thanks for your wonderful feedback! Happy baking!
I bought the 4.5 qt Lodge JUST to make this. I followed the recipe to the letter, even the oven proofing method, and it’s PERFECT! It’s the first successful bread I ever made without a bread machine.
Your record of successful recipes is still 100% with me!
Hi Dara. I’m thrilled that your bread turned out perfect! I am so glad you are enjoying my recipes! Thank you for sharing your fabulous feedback!
I made it! It’s delicious 😋
I’m so glad you love it! Thanks for your fabulous feedback!
I make this all the time! It’s in the oven right now and your potato leak soup on the stove. I love both!!! I do have a question. I noticed Bob’s red mill has artesian flour what would be the difference in using that type of flour for this?
Yum, what a delicious combo, Carrie! The Artisan Bread Flour you’re referring to has a higher amount of protein and gluten (like all bread flour), which can give the bread a chewier and airy texture. Hope this helps!
I LOVED this recipe! So good and so easy!
I’m so glad you loved the bread! Thanks for your terrific feedback, Josie!
I make mine with fresh rosemary, a little olive oil added and salt on the crust. To get an extra crunchy crust, put a cast iron skillet with a cup of boiling water in it in the oven after you take the lid off the dutch oven. It sends out a burst of moisture and helps crisp the crust.
Thanks for sharing your great tips and for your review!
Help me understand this correctly. Place bowl with tea towel on it at 200f ( dough inside bowl) This is where I get confused….. turn up the heat to 450 with bowl and tea towel on top. So do I take that bowel out when Dutch oven goes in to heat up ?
Sorry for the confusion. I made a note that if you used your oven to help the dough rise, remove it before preheating to 450. Yes, take the bowl out before heating up the oven. Hope that helps!
Thank You 😋I have made almost every gluten-free bread on the web. This is by far the best! The dough looks like real dough, and not like cake mix, so it was very easy to work with AND using minimal ingredients super tasty!
You are welcome, Stacy! Thank you for your wonderful feedback about the bread! I’m so glad that you loved it and found it easy to make! Happy cooking!
Can I use bread flour? Sounds like a great recipe, look forward to making it😊
Hi Kathy. Yes, you can use bread flour if you’d like to. Enjoy the bread!
can I ask what gluten free flour did you use?
I’ve made this every day for the last week. The kids keep asking for it, it is just so good and comforting on a dark winter day!
I love that your family is enjoying the bread. It sounds cozy and comforting indeed! Thank you for your wonderful feedback!
Made this today and was delicious and SUPER easy!!!
Can this be made in a loaf pan??
I’ve never tried it in a loaf pan but it might work okay. Glad you enjoyed it!
This bread is like a French bread, crusty on outside soft and warm on inside. We will eat the whole loaf with dinner (if it lasts that long.) Sometimes i add my sourdough liquid to the recipe and it comes out with a nice sour dough flavor. The bread it great on it’s own but this time of year I make a fig/pear jam spread and it tastes great slathered on when the bread is hot and just out of the oven.
Hi Carrie, how much SD liquid do you add? And do you omit some of the water? Do you heat the SD liquid? Thanks!
What temperature should I preheat and what temperature should I cook at for 45 minutes, I do have a dutch oven?
Hi there, it’s all in the instructions. Preheat and cook at 450 degrees F.
Nora!!! Oh my goodness! This is amazing! As usual, I had to substitute some ingredients due to my food allergies, but it still turned out great! I can’t have all purpose or even gluten free flour because of some of the added ingredients. However, I used two cups of brown rice flour and for the third cup, I mostly filled it with almond flour and topped it off with oat flour. Then I added rosemary and sage. After the bread finished baking, I made a dipping mixture of olive oil, sage, onion powder, and salt and it was amazing. I was nervous when I took the bread out of the Dutch oven and noticed how crispy it was on the outside. However, once I cut it, the bread was so soft and delicious without the dipping mixture. Thanks again for another delicious recipe!
I’m so glad the bread turned out wonderful, even with the flour substitutions! That’s so great! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and ideas!
Is it okay to use a non-stick coated ALUMINUM dutch oven for baking the bread. it is much lighter than the cast iron types so it may not hold as much heat ?
It won’t retain as much heat but should still work! Just make sure it can withstand the high oven temperature first.
Love the recipe but was just wondering if it would also work with Kings Arthur Gluten Free Flour?
Would like to surprise someone who can’t eat gluten, and I’m not familiar with gluten free options .
I’m so glad you love the bread! I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour, so I’m not sure if it would work. If you make it gluten free, let me know how it turns out for you!
Thank you so much for this recipe. I have struggled with making good bread. I’ve tried lots of recipes and many of them require multiple folds and proofings. You spend all day on it and then it flops, it’s so disappointing. I’ve used this recipe many times and it always turns out perfect and it’s almost effortless. There’s no longer any excuse for not making homemade bread.
It really is easy, right?! I’m so happy you loved the bread and thanks so much for sharing your wonderful review!