I’ll admit, this is the first non-dessert bread recipe that I have ever developed and baked all on my own. It’s kinda hard to believe, given how much I cook (not to mention how much bread I eat), but for whatever reason, I’ve just never been much of a bread-baker. I think the idea of proofing and rising and kneading and finding the right yeast (yes, there’s more than one kind and I learned this the hard way after a particularly traumatizing attempt at homemade cinnamon rolls in 2017) kinda makes bread-baking seem a little tedious to me. The whole process can seem sorta complex and time-consuming and, as much as I enjoy the occasional labor of love in the kitchen, I’m not the biggest fan of foods that require a lot of rest, or steps that span entire hours or days, because I am a) too impatient, and b) too hungry for that kind of commitment.
That’s not to say I’ve never made any bread at all: I love to make what I call “dessert bread,” which’ll be your banana breads, pumpkin-choc-chip loafs, zucchini breads, etc…the types of loafs you’d see in the bakery window at a coffee shop, but I hadn’t tried my skills at straight-up bread baking until I gave this loaf a whirl, and I am so beyond THRILLED that I did. This stuff is bonkers good, and there’s no proofing, rising or kneading required. The cherry on top: not a single pack of yeast was harmed in the baking of this loaf.
I basically guessed at the ingredients, using my dessert-bread-baking and muffin and cake baking experience as a foundation, and it turned out great on the first attempt so I haven’t changed a single thing about it. Aside from being insanely easy to make, it’s got a perfect consistency (moist and light but still hearty), it’s flavorful (just a tad sweet) and actually really versatile. The only thing I’m unwilling to change is the type of flour used – more specifically, the brand…I exclusively use King Arthur brand flour when I bake, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
I’ve been sticking with the plain version of the recipe, but you could definitely add any dried fruit, nuts or seeds that you like. You could even up the savory factor by adding caraway, turmeric or another fun spice, depending on what you plan to serve the bread with. Personally, I like to eat this straight out of the bread box, heated up with some butter and a drizzle of honey, but it’d be perfect alongside a big bowl of soup or with a piping hot lasagna, if you’re into that sort of thing (who isn’t?)
If you’ve got 5 minutes to measure some ingredients, and an hour to sit around and watch Netflix (or work or do laundry or write the next great American novel, whatever takes you an hour that doesn’t require leaving the house) then you, too, can bake homemade bread! Trust me. It’s easy. Here’s how you do it:
No-Knead, No-Yeast Brown Bread
- 2 cups King Arthur brand whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups King Arthur brand white flour
- 1/2 cup sugar *if you don't want the bread to have much sweetness, cut this amount in half.
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 16 ounces sour cream
- olive oil
- old fashioned oats
- sesame seeds
- flake salt
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner and spray with non-stick spray.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk or sift together.
Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and stir until completely combined.
Add the dry ingredients, a third at a time, to the wet ingredients, stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
Once all the ingredients are in the same bowl, wet your hands with room temperature water (the dough is very wet so this prevents sticking and makes it easier to work with) and – using your hands – gently combine the ingredients by lifting the dough up and folding it over itself until all of the dry ingredients are combined and you can't see too many dry bits of flour in the dough. This doesn't take long, maybe a minute or two. There's no need to overmix the dough, we aren't kneading it, you just want to bring it together slightly.
Turn the dough (which is a very loose, wet and crumbly dough at this point) onto the baking sheet and form it into a shallow loaf using your hands. Pat the loaf down and smush the sides in until it looks loaf-ish. The loaf will become less crumbly as you pat it and form it, until it's more or less one big lump. It's not the type of dough that will ever come completely together (like a pizza dough that you can pull and stretch) and thats perfectly OK. The formed loaf should be approximately 10-12 inches long and about 2-2 1/2 inches high. Those are guidelines. It doesn't need to be perfect.
Coat the loaf with olive oil, rubbing it all over the loaf using your hands, and sprinkle some oats, sesame seeds and flaked salt over the top of the loaf.
Bake at 350 for an hour, until a butter knife insterted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Start checking the bread around 45 minutes to test for doneness, as cooking times can vary. The loaf will look crackly and rustic on the top and the bottom should be hard and golden brown.
Serve the bread hot with butter, honey or whatever toppings you prefer.