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Artisan Bread Update and a Bread Cloche Giveaway!

In all the years of writing this blog, the most popular post ever has been the one I wrote about No-Knead Artisan Bread.  This method, popularized by Zoe Francois and Jeffrey Hertzberg, revolutionized homemade bread baking.  Instead of making up a batch of dough every time you want to bake bread, you make up a large batch of very wet dough and let it do a long, cold fermentation in the refrigerator - no kneading, no fuss. You can store the dough in the fridge for up to two weeks, tear a hunk of dough off and make bread whenever you feel like it. A variation of this method was also developed by Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery. Suddenly, it seemed, everyone was making homemade bread with these methods.  In the five years since I wrote that post, I've learned a few things and tweaked the recipe a little.  I thought it was time to do an update.  

Zoe and Jeffrey's approach is to make a very wet dough, let it rise and then let it sit overnight in the fridge. You then shape a piece of the dough, let it rise and then bake it on a pizza stone in the oven.  They liked to place a cup of water into a pan beneath the rack with the bread, creating a little steam for the crust.  In Jim Lahey's version, a smaller batch of wet dough is worked up and allowed to rise about 18 hours then wrapped in a towel to rise again and baked in a heavy cast iron or ceramic pot.  Both methods are terrific.  I like making up a larger batch of dough so I can keep it in the fridge and just make bread or rolls whenever I want.  I was baking my bread on a pizza stone but then tried Lahey's version of baking it in my Le Creuset pot. I really liked doing it this way and that's how I've been doing it for a while.

Right around the same time as I was thinking I should write an update to my old post, Emerson Creek Pottery sent me a Bread Cloche to try out.  Now, since I was pretty happy with baking my bread in my Le Creuset pot, I was sceptical that baking the bread in this cloche was going to make any difference, but I tried it anyway. What a surprise!  Both my husband and I noticed the difference in the crust.  I'm not sure what exactly is happening here, but I love the result.  The Bread Cloche is my new favorite thing and Emerson Creek Pottery has agreed to give one away to a lucky reader.  If you want a chance to win one of these, just leave a comment at the end of this post and a winner will be selected randomly by Wednesday, June 10th.

(This contest is now closed) Congratulations to Joann Heremma for winning!

I've made hundreds of loaves of this Artisan bread and have changed a couple of things.  For one, I do not do the water in the pan beneath the bread anymore.  I'm pretty sure this led to my oven window eventually cracking and having to be replaced.  The crust was better with the steam but it was okay without it. With the Bread Cloche, though, the crust is so amazing that I don't miss the steam at all.  If you are pretty sure you are never going to buy a Bread Cloche, please go ahead and try the bread in a dutch oven kind of pot.  It does make a big difference. 

Another change is that sometimes I don't bother to slash the top of the loaf. I've found that I still get a pretty good looking loaf, especially in the Bread Cloche.  I am also baking the loaf a little longer - until it is a deeper color than I used to.  The texture of the bread is better and I have less problem with it being gummy. 

This recipe is my version with these changes.  If you haven't tried making homemade bread, you really should - it's hassle free, cheap as can be, and the results are outstanding.  And the Bread Cloche is a big plus - you're going to want one!  Just leave a comment at the end of the post to have a chance to win one! Be sure to include your e-mail so you can be notified if you win. Giveaway ends at midnight, June 9th - A winner will be picked randomly on Wednesday, June 10th. 

(This contest is now closed)


Artisan Homemade Bread

for a printer friendly recipe click here

makes 4 - 5 small loaves (you can also make rolls easily with this bread). 

●  I use a plastic container with a small hole punched in the lid to store the dough. If you don't have one, you can use a very large bowl with plastic wrap and a hole punched in the wrap.  But if you're going to make dough on a regular basis, I would buy a dedicated plastic container. If you want to know the container I use for my dough it's this 21-cup container from Rubbermaid.  I love it because it doesn't take up make space in the fridge and most of the time I keep it in the door of the fridge, where it fits nicely. 

●  This dough is much more easy to work with if you let the dough rise all night, so I highly recommend making your batch of dough the day(s) before you want to use it. The dough actually develops more flavor the longer it sits in the fridge! You can keep the dough in the fridge for 2 weeks.

3 cups room temperature water
1½ Tablespoons instant yeast (instant yeast is awesome - no proofing is needed)
1½ Tablespoons kosher salt
6½ cups flour (I use half Bread Flour and half regular AP flour) 

Place the water in a large bowl and add the yeast and whisk.  Add the salt and whisk. Start adding the flour and blend until all the flour is incorporated (I use my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook to do this).  Transfer the dough to a plastic container with a small hole punched in the top to allow the gases to escape.  Let rise for about two hours.  I lift the container up and let it drop on the counter to collapse the dough inside. Then just stick it in the fridge all night. 

When you want to bake bread, allow about an hour and half from start to finish. Here is the way I do it: I have divided this whole process into four 20 minute steps.  Place a piece of baking parchment on your counter and tear off the amount of dough that you want. The great thing about this dough is that you can do exactly that - bake a very small loaf of bread or a large one. Shape the dough into a tight ball, placing your thumbs on top of the loaf and pulling them down and under the dough, creating a nice surface tension on the top. Place the dough on the parchment paper and let rise for 20 minutes.  Place your Bread Cloche or a heavy cast iron pot with a lid in your oven and turn the oven to 450° F. to preheat.  Continue to let the bread rise on the counter another 20 minutes.

After the dough has risen, open the oven door and carefully remove the lid from you Cloche or pot. Transfer the bread dough, along with the parchment paper, to the pot and place the lid back on.  Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes (this will depend on how large a batch of dough you are making) or just until the bread is a deep golden brown.  Baking the bread until it is a deep color is the key to preventing a gummy interior.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.  Easy!


Giveaway ends at midnight, June 9th - Be sure to include your e-mail so you can be notified if you win - A winner will be picked randomly on Wednesday, June 10th.

(This contest is now closed) 

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Reader Comments (437)

Love it! I have always been afraid of making bread, but no more. Jim Lehey's method is the best. Not only do I use a cast iron dutch oven to bake my bread, but I also will change the ingredients. For example, use carrot juice for the liquid and add raisins. This makes a wonderful carrot bread! I didn't know one could make a big batch and have it for weeks in the refrigerator. Thank you so much for sharing this! I love your blog! I hope I can win the bread cloche to test the recipe.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

We make this bread a lot! It is so easy.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

I'm looking forward to trying some of the new suggestions. Have you ever tried adding seeds or anything like that to have a seeded bread? Would be great to be the winner of your cloche. Hope I'm the lucky one.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoanie

I really LOVE the idea of baking bread in a natural pottery cloche. I am sure it makes the bread so moist on inside, crispy crust on the outside.

I like the idea of making a big batch of dough and using it as needed also! Someone was sure using their thinking cap.....


May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette Crain

Brings me back to my childhood! My mom made fabulous homemade bread all the time!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commenteredwina mendicino

Thank you for the inspiration! I'm planning to try this recipe in the very near future.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Fantastic Blog! Have you marked as a favorite. Would love to be the winner of this wonderful giveaway!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSally

I love your recipes, I love your blog!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

I love that I can bake this in small amounts since there is just the two of us at home now and that the dough is always ready in the fridge. What a great gift to give a loaf with a jar of my homemade preserves.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Massey

This is my total fav bread! I make it all the time using my old cast iron dutch oven. Love crusty bread and this meets all the requirements. Would love to try The Bread Cloche.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSheila W

I have always wanted a bread cloche so winning this one would be perfect!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDeusa

I also like making artisan bread .It is so easy to do. I hope that I'm lucky enough to win the Bread Cloche. I love your web site too.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPhyllis

How clever of Emerson Creek Pottery to have thought of this! I would love to win and try their Bread Cloche!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJanice Miles

Fresh baked bread made with my very own bread cloche...YUM!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSusan R

Every recipe I have made from this blog has been excellent. Thanks so much for sharing them :)

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Bailey

I would love to win a Bread Cloche! I had to stop making this bread after my oven window cracked. I had to have my glass custom made because the manufacturer discontinued making it! My family would love it if I made this crusty bread again!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Davis

My family & I love this bread recipe & I make it on a regular basis. When it is finished & another not baking there is a sort of panic in the household.

The cloche sounds perfect & like everyone else, I would love to win it. And, thank you ever so much for a chance to win.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBARBARA

I loving baking bread and I am anxious to try your recipe. I enjoy your blog and your recipes are always delicious.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterpatricia

I love your blog and am so happy you put this bread recipe out there. I would love to have a cloche. Thank you!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercate

what a treat to have a cloche! Thank you for the giveaway.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSusan K

I can smell how good it is, got to try this, thanks!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn

I would so love to win this. I bake traditional bread all the time and would love to try this type of bread; BUT I have nothing to bake it in in the oven and can't afford to buy an expensive new pot to bake it in as I am on a very limited budget.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

Have loved making & sharing home made bread forever. But I feel like a novice as I never heard of a Bread Baking Cloche, sounds pretty awesome as does your bread recipe! Would love to give both a whirl!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCR bodurtha

I make ciabatta buns and focchia (both "regular as well as sweet). I have figure out how to get Ciabatta finished buns in about 4 hours,,,,,,,, the yeast type is the secret. SAF INSTANT DRY YEAST is the secret. The cloches sound interesting and I definitely would try using one, but I have to admit, I just toss a 1/2 cup of water into the hot oven and proceed with baking. It's an old over, unfortunately electric, but so far the porcelain interior is holding up fine I have, in the past, used ice cubes in a fry pan as a moisture source. The steam works on the crust to give a much crisper crust that without the steam. Thank you for the info and recipe and very much for your thoughts on how you make your bread. Anybody have a GREAT English Muffin recipe and/or any help with making GF bread (I mostly need "flour" type/source) as my dear wife is GF intolerant and LOVES sandwiches. Happy baking all and congratulations to the winner of this drawing. My recipes are here if interested: John Dach

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJohn D.

The last time I made bread was at a cooking class in Paris. I would love to try the Bread Cloche>

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichele Richardson

I look forward to trying this recipe! Thank you.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKathy K.

I have used the previous recipe. My family loves this bread. I would love to win this cloche.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoAnn VanMeter

we u this recipe al the time (sometimes with some changes! and its my favorite flat bread base because always have it around

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJessi

I've been using a cast iron Dutch oven that was my mothers for the past 20 years.
Le Creuset oven? I can't afford one of those.
I mist the inside of my oven with a spray bottle every 2 minutes for the first 8 minutes and the results are a crisp crust.
Cloche? I can't even pronounce the word, but I would be thrilled to be given the chance to win one.
Thanks for the chance, Joe
To your bread recipe I add 1 Tbl each of, diastatic malt flour, vital wheat gluten & milled flax seed, then sit back and watch the bread disappear at Sunday dinner.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Would love to try baking bread in this cloche!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Bonanno

Love this bread recipe and would love to try the updated version as well! Thanks!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

I've been making my bread with this exact recipe and cooking it in a Le Creuset Dutch Oven for years. I love being able to just pull off a little or a lot of dough and let it rise while the oven heats. Would love to try it with a beautiful cloche. Sometimes I'll use a little sourdough starter with The No-Knead Artisan Bread method,


May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDebbi Dubbs

The crust look so good . Would love to win a bread cloche!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDoreen

I have finally learned what a cloche is! Your bread looks so delicious and beautiful, I would definitely try my hand in making bread if it turned out as heavenly as yours! With a new cloche of course!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKlarika

Will definitely try it ! Thank you for the recipe and Bread Cloche

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFilomena

Would love to try a cloche - my 88-year-old mom talks about her talks about the bread her mother made and the wonderful crust - this sounds like it would help bring back some happy memories with this cloche and the artisan bread!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMary

I love this bread both on cast iron pizza pan and the Le Crueset -- the cloche would make the third time a charm! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and helpful suggestions and ideas!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdyagel

I use the Sullivan Street Bakery recipe to help teach my elementary school-aged girls how to count backwards so we know what time to start the whole process if we want to be eating bread by a certain time! They love helping. Clean up, not so much. Would be fun to try with a bread cloche - I'm throwing my name in the mix. C'mon, June 10!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterkim winter

I've been using the book ARTISAN BREAD IN 5 MINUTES A DAY for several years now, and am not happy with the "gummy" loaf that results. Time to give your recipe a try Elaine! Thanks!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiane P.

Your recipes take me back to my Mom and my Grandmom's kitchens. Really good food and great memories. Thank you, thank you, a Thank you.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRita Fail

I've never seen a cloche before but now I want one!!!! Thanks for sharing this new post with us!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBarb D.

ooh...I wanna play!! :}

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDina

Your website is stupendous. Being a full blooded Italian your recipes bring me home and your knitting has inspired me to pick up my sticks again. Working on the Colorplay scarf now. Thank you for all your inspirations.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia

Just got back from Paris and will try to match this recipe to that fantastic bread. Looks like it will be a twin.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBeverley

I've been making this bread for about a year now, ever since a friend mentioned the 5 minute a day to Artisan bread making book. You're right, it is so simple, cost efficient, and most importantly delicious! The bread cloche looks like it product a perfect loaf of bread; crunchy crust with tender middle. I'll keep my fingers crossed to win one.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRhea

Please remove the comments via my email about the Artisan Bread Update and a Bread Cloche Giveaway. Too many unknown email distributions.

Only if I win the Cloche, please notify me.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDora

Have cloche, will bake bread!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterToni

This looks even better than the original. I can hardly wait to try it with the bread cloche, which I feel sure I will win.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJane Gartrell

There's nothing quite like the crunch of a well baked loaf of bread. That thick, chewy crust, the sound of it breaking as you bite it. The crumb, large holes, incredible taste. I love baking my own bread. It's just one of those things you do that can't be compared to anything else. I'm so happy that the art of bread baking still lingers on in this rapid paced world. I've never tried a cloche, but I'm sure it will enhance anyone's bread that uses/wins it. Happy baking!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

I love to cook and try new things..., but I have always been intimidated by breads after numerous fails. Willing to give it a go again with this one as I have had so many successes with your wonderful recipes!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTiffaney

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