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.
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.