A Simple Loaf of No-Knead Wheat Bread
If you’ve been on any form of social media lately, you’ve likely encountered someone in your sphere making sourdough bread. Amateur and seasoned bakers alike seem to be leaning into our current crisis armed with flour, sourdough starter, and a piping hot oven. I was ready to get on board, too, but couldn’t bring myself to do the work. “Feeding” my starter takes days and nurturing the dough requires more bandwidth than I have right now. Instead, I pulled out my copy of Rise & Shine and made the simple no-knead wheat bread in the baking chapter. It’s a homey, wholesome loaf that, when sliced and slathered with salty butter, delivers the kind of comfort I’m craving right now.
Easy No-Knead Bread
If you’re intimidated by the idea of baking bread, not to worry. This simple loaf is easier on the baker than most. It takes about 10 minutes of hands-on time with no kneading involved — just a handful of vigorous turns with a sturdy spoon and one relatively brief rise. The resulting loaf is a humble one. This is not the glorious artisanal bread you’ll find on the cover of a magazine. It’s homespun and wholesome, nourishing and satisfying. Toast it in and top it with a your morning egg, layer it with avocado for lunch, or serve it alongside soup at dinnertime.
A Mostly Whole-Grain Loaf
The majority of the flour in this recipe is whole-wheat, with some all-purpose, and just enough rye-flour to give it an earthy tang. To me the rye actually makes it taste just a touch like sourdough. If you don’t have rye, just use that same amount of whole-wheat flour instead. White whole-wheat flour can sub in for regular whole-wheat if that’s what you have in your pantry. And if all you’ve got is all-purpose flour, that will make a lovely loaf as well. What I wouldn’t recommend is any type of cake or pastry flour, since it lacks the protein needed to build structure in a yeast bread.
A Few Simple Steps for Baking Bread
If you’re new to bread baking, I thought a few step-by-step photos might help you along the way. If you have kids at home, baking bread can double as both a math and a chemistry lesson. Consider it part your home schooling routine.
Start by combining warm water, honey, and yeast in one bowl, with flour and salt whisked together in another.
Stir it together with a sturdy spoon. Don’t hold back.
Cover and leave it to rise in a warm place until it about doubles in size.
Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered loaf pan and brush the top with the remaining butter.
Scatter with sesame, poppy, or hemp seeds (no worries if you’re out)/
Bake at 425 degrees for about an hour.
Turn the loaf out of the baking pan, set it upright, and let it cool on the counter for at least a half hour. Slice while still warm, add a swipe of butter, a pinch of salt if you like, and relish every bite. Notice how your kitchen smells like a bakery.
For other easy bread recipes, you might like:
Adventure Bread (gluten-free nut and seed bread)
Sourdough Bread from A Couple Cooks
Simple No-Knead Wheat Bread
Many of us are intimidated by the idea of making yeast breads. You have to count on all that chemistry, to trust that the yeast and heat will react as you want them to so that your bread will indeed rise. This simple loaf, however, is easier on the baker than most. There is no kneading involved—just a handful of vigorous turns with a sturdy spoon and one relatively brief rise. The dough is mostly whole wheat, with just enough rye to add an earthy tang that reminds me of sourdough. Serve it warm from the oven or sliced and toasted the next day.
- 2 cups hot water, 105 to 115 degrees (see notes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons molasses or honey
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (a little more than 1 packet)
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour (not pastry flour), spooned and leveled
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 3/4 cup rye flour, spooned and leveled (substitute whole-wheat or white if you don’t have rye flour)
- 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or hemp seeds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a small bowl, stir together the water and molasses until the molasses dissolves.
Sprinkle the yeast over the top, jiggle the bowl a bit so the water engulfs the yeast, and set in a warm place until the yeast liquefies and swells and tiny air bubbles appear, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, rye flour, and salt. Pour the yeast and water mixture over the flour and use a sturdy spoon to stir it very thoroughly and vigorously to blend the ingredients and distribute the yeast (unlike muffin and quick bread batter, you needn’t worry about overworking the dough). Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise (I set it on top of the stove).
When the dough has nearly doubled in size (about 30 minutes), give it several vigorous strokes with a spoon to deflate the loaf and work out the air bubbles.
Use a pastry brush to grease the inside of a 9 × 5-inch loaf pan with the melted butter, reserving just a bit for the top of the bread. Transfer the dough to the pan, brush the remaining butter on top, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Put the pan into the oven and bake until the bread is deeply brown and sounds hollow when you tap it firmly with your hand, about 1 hour.
Remove the pan from the oven, run a knife around the edges, and turn it out from the pan. Set it upright and leave it to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. (It pays to be patient here.) Serve sliced, toasted, and spread with salted butter.
Use an instant read thermometer to test water temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, aim for water that feels like a very hot bath.
Recipe adapted from Rise & Shine: Better Breakfasts for Busy Mornings (Roost Books, 2016)