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No-Knead Bread for Two

Serves: 2 to 4
Hands On Time: 
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215 grams (1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoons) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
173 grams (2/3 cup) water
8 grams kosher salt (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
Rice flour, for proofing


In a large bowl, stir together 54 grams (about a heaping 1/3 cup) of the flour, 57 grams (a scant 1/4 cup) of the water, and the yeast. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until vigorously bubbling and smelling distinctly of bread and vinegar, 8 to 12 hours. 

Add the remaining 161 grams flour, 116 grams water, and the salt. Mix with a wooden spoon until a loose dough forms. Re-cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 12 hours or up to one week. 

When you're ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and let come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured counter, being careful not to deflate too much of the air in the dough. Grab corner of the dough and pull it up and over to the center. Continue to grab the corners of the dough, pulling towards the center, to form a taut ball. Pinch together the seams of the dough, and then flip over so that the seam is facing down.

Generously coat one side of a clean cotton kitchen towel with rice flour and rub the flour into the cloth. Place the towel in a medium bowl or proofing basket, flour side-up. Sprinkle about a tablespoon more rice flour over the towel. Gently place the dough ball, seam side-up, in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let proof until doubled in size, 4 to 6 hours.

About 30 minutes before the bread has finished proofing, place a small, 3- to 4-quart Dutch oven and its lid on the middle rack of the oven. Heat the oven to 475 degrees.

When the oven is hot and the bread has proofed, sprinkle the seam side of the bread with a little more flour. Remove the Dutch oven base from the oven and, very carefully, flip the dough out onto your hand, seam side-down, and slide into the hot Dutch oven. Use a very sharp knife to deftly slice a 1/4 inch deep slash acrosss the top of the dough round. Place the Dutch oven on the oven rack, cover with the lid, and bake until the bread has risen into a round loaf, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to bake until deeply browned and the center registers at least 200 degrees, 10 to 15 more minutes. 

Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and transfer it to a wire rack. Let cool completely before slicing and serving. Sliced bread will stay fresh for about 24 hours; use any leftovers for croutons or breadcrumbs.

Photo: Kate Williams

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