No-Knead Chocolate-Cherry Pecan Bread

Recipe by Sue Gray

This easy, no-knead loaf features the best crust we've ever obtained using our home ovens. Based on the method from Jim Lahey outlined in a New York Times article by Mark Bittman, this bread requires very little effort. But you do have to plan ahead — start it the night before, then bake the next day, or start early in the morning for bread in the evening. Note that this recipe makes a very dark-brown loaf; if you don't like your bread "Continental-style" — just shy of burned — cut back on the baking time, as suggested in the directions.

15 mins
50 mins to 1 hr
15 hrs 33 mins
one 9" round loaf
No-Knead Chocolate-Cherry Pecan Bread - select to zoom
No-Knead Chocolate-Cherry Pecan Bread - select to zoom
No-Knead Chocolate-Cherry Pecan Bread - select to zoom
No-Knead Chocolate-Cherry Pecan Bread - select to zoom
No-Knead Chocolate-Cherry Pecan Bread - select to zoom


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  1. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Mix flours, salt, yeast, and water in a large bowl. Stir well to make a tacky dough, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a reusable cover. Let rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 12 hours; the dough will be bubbly and puffy.

  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and fold it onto itself a few times. Let it rest 15 minutes, then knead in the cherries, chocolate chips, and pecans. Form into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, smooth side down. Cover and let rise at room temperature about 2 hours, until a slight indentation remains when poked with a finger.

  3. During the last 30 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 450°F and place a heavy, 4- to 4 1/2-quart oven-safe pot in the oven while it heats. We've found that black cast iron pots or Dutch ovens don't do well with this recipe, as the bread tends to burn. We suggest, if you're using cast iron, to use a vessel that's coated with enamel. If you don't have a pot that can safely be preheated empty, preheat your oven without your pot inside; and turn the dough into your room-temperature pot before baking.

  4. When the dough is risen, remove the pot from the oven. If you're not sure how seasoned your pot is, you might want to grease it with some vegetable oil, to prevent sticking. Alternatively, place a round of parchment in the bottom. Turn the dough out of the bowl and into the pot; the smooth side will be facing up. Shake the crock gently to settle the dough, then cover with the lid and return to the oven.

  5. Bake the bread for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake another 30 to 40 minutes, until the bread is deep brown in color and a digital thermometer inserted into the center registers about 205°F. If you prefer your bread more lightly browned, after its initial 20-minute bake start testing it after an additional 20 minutes, or when it's as browned as you like.

  6. Remove the crock from the oven, turn the bread onto a rack, and cool before slicing.

  7. Store, well-wrapped, on the counter for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Want to use pumpernickel flour (or white/light rye) in place of the medium rye flour in this recipe? Go right ahead.
  • Lacking a heavy oven-safe pot? Use a greased cake pan for the dough, and invert a heavy oven-safe pan over the top of the dough, creating a dome.