This recipe was forwarded on to our Nikkitha, our Senior Content Editor, by a friend over WhatsApp. She’s since forwarded it on to other homer bakers who want to make a low-effort, high-reward loaf of bread. There’s no kneading required, and no flour-dusted counters either. The most difficult part is waiting for dough to ferment overnight, which develops a slightly tangy flavour, and waiting again for the bread to cool before slicing. For the recipe to work, you need a round cast iron cocotte (24cm or 26cm, ideally – bigger sizes will make a flatter loaf, but you can scale the ingredients up proportionally to make it fit). 

Makes 1 round loaf


500g strong bread flour
6g salt
7g instant yeast
400ml room temperature water 


  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Add 350ml of water gradually and mix until a chunky, thick dough forms. It should be just barely wet throughout. Gradually add the remaining water and mix until you have a scraggly-looking ball. Cover bowl with a tea towel and let it rest for 12 to 18 hours at room temperature. It will have risen significantly and have some bubbles.
  2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 240°C/220°C fan and place a lidded cocotte in the oven. This creates a mini oven that ensures a beautiful crust. While the cocotte heats, use a dough scraper to pull the dough away from the edges and towards the centre, rotating the bowl as you go. Don't be alarmed if it deflates; this is normal. Once you've pulled all the dough towards the centre, scrape or invert it onto a large piece of parchment paper. It should be large enough to fit in your cocotte with lots of overhang. Cover the dough with the bowl the your dough was resting in, or a slightly damp tea towel, and let it rest for another 30 minutes at least. Don’t worry if the ball isn’t perfect; the cocotte will help shape it.
  3. Remove the cocotte from the oven, taking care because it is very hot. Remove the lid, gently place parchment paper with the bread inside the cocotte, and cover. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Then remove the cover and bake for 12 minutes, until the exterior is golden brown. Bread is ready when the bottom sounds hollow if you knock on it. (Keep baking in 5 minute increments if it is not there yet.) Do not cut the bread until it is completely cool, as that will affect texture. Enjoy!

BK Tips

  • To make a wholemeal loaf, replace 200g of the strong white flour for a wholemeal flour like spelt or rye. You could also add 90g mixed seeds or nuts, as long as they are chopped into small pieces. (Use 55g for mixing into the bread, and 35g for sprinkling on top before it goes in the oven.)

  • To bake this bread in an oval cocotte or a bigger round cocotte, multiply the quantities of each ingredient by 1.5 or 2, depending on the size of your pot.