No Knead Fruit and Nut Bread

If you need bread, but are not into kneading... here's a delicious fruit and nut bread using the famous technique (or lack thereof) of Jim Lahey where there's no kneading required. It does require a little planning to accommodate the 18 hour rise time, but the wait is worth it!

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What is No Knead Bread?

No knead bread is exactly what it says it is – bread that requires no kneading whatsoever. No knead bread became a craze several years ago when Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City figured out that you don’t have to knead bread dough to get the critical gluten development required for a perfect loaf. Instead, if you have patience, time will do the job. Letting the bread dough rise slowly (very slowly), allows the gluten to develop just as well as kneading it. Hence, no need to knead!

If you’ve tried my recipe for No Knead Bread or Whole Wheat No Knead Bread, you’re in for a treat with this No Knead Fruit and Nut Bread. I’ve tweaked my recipes a little, used both all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour and incorporated dried fruit and nuts into the mix, using the delicious fruit and nut bread from one of my favorite restaurants – Parc in Philadelphia – as the role model. 

Ingredients in bowls - flour, salt, yeast, golden raisins, cranberries, pecans, walnuts and water.

No Knead Ingredients

For this recipe, you will need very basic ingredients. It starts with all-purpose flour. I often use bread flour in my recipes, and you can certainly substitute that here, but I wanted a recipe that started with all-purpose for the sake of convenience. Add to that a little whole wheat flour, some yeast and some salt. Those, along with some water, are your basic ingredients for no knead bread. To make it fruit and nut bread, you’ll add two cups (total) of dried fruit and nuts. I use half a cup each of golden raisins, dried cranberries, pecans and walnuts, but you could substitute any dried fruit and nuts that you like and have in your pantry.

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No knead bread just mixed in a bowl.

Stir, Don’t Knead

The beauty of no knead bread is that you don’t need a lot of strength, elbow grease or an electric mixer to make it. You do, however, have to stir all the ingredients together until you no longer see any traces of flour. What you end up with will look rather un-extraordinary, but that’s it. Now you wait.

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No knead bread dough after 18 hours of rising.

Rise up!

I let the dough sit in a warm spot of my kitchen, covered loosely with plastic wrap for 18 hours. You can go as little as 8 hours or as long as 18, but the longer the better in my books. That allows for more flavor development in the dough.

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Fruit and nut bread resting on floured parchment paper with a flour duster near by.

Shaping No Knead Bread

Shaping no knead breads can be the trickiest part of the process. With this recipe, however, the dough is not as loose and sticky as with my other no knead bread doughs. Sprinkle a lot of flour on a piece of parchment paper. (I use my favorite little single-use tool – my flour duster – for this.) Then, turn the dough over on itself a few times and shape it loosely into a round and place the untidy side down on the paper. 

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Bread dough covered with a bowl.

A Second Rising

Once the dough has been shaped, it still needs to rest and relax for a couple of hours before going into the oven and it needs to be covered while it rests. You could put a clean towel over the bread, but I find it often sticks, making a mess of your shaped loaf. So, invert the bowl that it rose in over the top to keep it from drying out. With my other no knead bread recipes, I invert the dough into a hot cast iron pot, but with this no knead fruit and nut bread I use the parchment to lift the dough into the pot, baking the bread with the parchment paper. This allows you to actually shape the dough the way you want it and makes managing the dough and a very hot cast iron pot much easier. Before you lift that parchment paper and place the dough into the hot cast iron pot, take a baker’s lame or sharp serrated knife and make two or three slashes in the top of the dough. Doing so will give the steam trapped inside the bread an escape route and allows you to control the look of the bread.

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No knead fruit and nut bread in a turquoise Dutch oven.

The Best Pot for No Knead Bread

The best pot to use for no knead bread is a cast iron pot. It pre-heats in the oven and gets very hot indeed. The thing about cast iron is that it holds the heat and turns into a mini oven inside your oven. If you don’t have a cast iron pot, you can use any other heavy duty lidded pot that is oven safe to 425ºF. The bread might not get quite as crispy a crust, but it will work. Remember that the diameter of your pot will control the size of your loaf. If you have a very large pot, the bread will spread out more and not rise as high. If you have a smaller Dutch oven, the bread will be forced to rise up.

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Bread sliced on a wooden cutting board.

How to Know your No Knead Bread is Done

After baking the bread in a covered pot at 425ºF for 30 minutes and then for another 10 to 15 minutes without the lid, your loaf should have a nice brown crust and should be completely baked inside. If you’re uncertain, you can carefully remove the loaf from the pot and tap the bottom, listening for a hollow sound. To be absolutely certain, you can insert an instant read thermometer into the center of the loaf. It should read 200ºF and there should be no wet batter on the thermometer when you remove it.

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A plate with bread and butter next to a cutting board with a whole loaf and some slices.

How Long will No Knead Bread Keep?

Well, that depends on how hungry you are. 

On a serious note, no homemade bread lasts as long as store-bought bread and that is because it has no preservatives in it. That’s a good thing. Homemade bread is always best the day it’s baked, but this bread should last 5 to 7 days in an airtight bag or container or wrapped well. After day 2, it’s best toasted… delicious actually. 

No Knead Fruit and Nut Bread

  • Prep Time: 5 m
  • Cook Time: 40 m
  • rising time: 18 h
  • Total Time: 18 h 45 m
  • Servings:
    10

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 1½ to 1¾ cups water

Instructions

  1. Combine the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Stir to combine and add the dried fruit and nuts. Stir to distribute all the ingredients well. Add the water and stir everything together. The dough should be shaggy and a little sticky. Just stir and turn the dough over until there are no traces of dry ingredients.
  2. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest in room temperature for 12 to 18 hours. The longer you let it sit, the more flavor is developed. After 18 hours, the dough will have risen and may be a shade darker than it was when you started.
  3. Place a piece of parchment paper on the countertop and dust very generously with flour. Wet your hands and fold the dough over on itself a few times to release the air inside the dough. (Wetting your hands will help prevent the dough from sticking to you.) Shape the dough into a round and place it on the floured parchment paper, seam side down.
  4. Dust more flour on the top of the dough and cover the dough by inverting the mixing bowl over the top. (Alternately, you could use a clean kitchen towel to cover the dough, but I find this often sticks to the dough, ruining both the appearance of the bread and the towel.) Let the dough rest like this for up to 2 hours. After the dough has rested for 1 to 1 ½ hours on the countertop, place a lidded cast iron Dutch oven into your oven and pre-heat the oven to 425ºF for 30 minutes.
  5. Then, working carefully, remove the Dutch oven from the oven and take off the lid. Make three slashes in the top of the bread using a baker’s lame or a serrated knife. Use the parchment paper to lift the shaped dough into the pot, paper and all, and cover with the lid. Return the pot to the oven for 30 minutes.
  6. After 30 minutes, remove the lid from the Dutch oven and let the bread continue to bake until it is nicely browned on top - about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and let the bread sit in it for about 5 minutes. Then, transfer the beautiful loaf to a cooling rack to cool. Although it is tempting to dive right in, let the bread cool for 30 minutes before enjoying.
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Comments (10)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I added 2 tsp of mixed spice to the dry ingredients and brushed the top with melted butter when I took it out of the oven (then covered it with a tea towel). I didn’t have pecans, so used flaked almonds with the walnuts etc. Thanks so much for a great recipe. This will now be a family favourite!

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe, love this version of the no-knead bread! So hearty and healthy in addition to being delicious AND sooo easy to make. Everyone “kneads” to be on the no-knead bread wagon!

  3. 5 stars
    So quick and easy. Making this to take to my bosses at work. I hope they enjoy it. Opinions about honey butter with this?

  4. Hi Meredith
    I just baked this bread and the finished product looks like your photos. Taste is delicious.. Definitely a “Keeper”.

    Comment/Questions:

    > I let it sit overnight ~ 15-hours. Our house was pretty warm ~ 80 F. It smelled pretty ‘yeasty’ the following morning. Is that to be expected ?

    > After I shaped the loaf and covered it for the 2nd rising… then uncovered it 2 hours later, it really flatten out. Is that ‘normal’ ? I considered using my Benetton, but it’s a small one (1-pound loaf)… this one seems heavier/larger.

    Comments ????

    1. Hi Doug. Glad you liked the bread. Yes, the dough will smell “yeasty” in the morning. One of my favorite smells! If it flattened out after the second rise, it probably sat for too long. The yeast can exhaust itself and the dough will fall in that case. Perhaps the room was a little warm, which would have sped up the activity. No trouble – just do the second rise for shorter. I think a 1-pound banneton is probably too small for this loaf, so best to let it rise on the countertop until you transfer it to the pot. Keep up the baking!

  5. 5 stars
    Re:
    If it flattened out after the second rise, it probably sat for too long. The yeast can exhaust itself and the dough will fall in that case. Perhaps the room was a little warm, which would have sped up the activity.

    Yup… we were in a heat-spell (inside temps ~ 80’sF).
    Had a 1-inch slice; toasted… for a mid-morning snack: Delish !!!

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