Few things in life are as satisfying as baking your own bread. From the moment you plunge you hands into the supple dough, to the aroma that fills your home, the process is spellbinding and the result is miles beyond anything you can buy at the grocery store.

Traditionally, bread baking is a laborious, time consuming process that involves a great deal of kneading. Kneading by hand allows long gluten strands to develop, providing structure to the dough and the finished loaf. Without the mechanical combination and conversion of gluten proteins (mixed with water) to long gluten strands, the finished loaf would be dense with a tight crumb structure – more like brick than bread.

So, what to do if you love fresh bread but don’t need the knead? This light and tasty no-knead pumpkin bread is perfect.

In no-knead bread baking, time replaces mechanical processing. While the dough ferments, natural enzymes break down gluten proteins and combine them with water to form long gluten strands. Other hallmarks of no-knead bread dough include higher hydration (the extra water assists in enzymatic activity) and minimal use of commercial yeast resulting in a more complex and flavourful bread.

Making no-knead bread still requires a bit of hands-on time as you mix the dough. Once combined, though, the bread (and the baker) rests while the natural enzymes go about their business. The long fermentation period (12-16 hours) allows the dough to fully develop on its own sans kneading.

The second ‘hands-on’ phase is entirely optional. Giving the dough a few stretches and folds will produce a nice tight boule. Otherwise, it’s entirely fine just to place the dough in a small bowl lined with a floured cloth or a floured banneton basket.

The best way to achieve the perfect outer crust is to bake it at a high temperature in a pre-heated Dutch oven. Just before baking, a quick slash with a sharp knife will help the loaf to spring up.

One of the best things about no-knead bread is that you can adjust the timing to suit your own schedule. For example: mix up the ingredients before you leave for work in the morning, then come home and finish it that evening.

One of the most popular no-knead bread recipes of all time is Mark Bittman’s New York Times recipe. The accompanying spin on it includes puréed pumpkin and a variety of seeds for the topping. It goes well with a bowl of homemade vegetable soup. Happy baking!


  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp active yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • assorted seeds (for this loaf,plain shelled pumpkin seeds, white and black sesame seeds)


  • Place pumpkin purée, water, salt, yeast, and honey in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  • Add 1 cup of flour and thoroughly combine, repeat with 2 remaining cups of flour.
  • Reach into the bowl and mix well with your hands. Knead dough until it is smooth and elastic.
  • Tidy dough into a ball and cover. Let rise 12-16hours; until the dough has more than doubled and bubbles can be seen on the dough surface.
  • Carefully remove dough from the bowl and place onto a clean countertop.
  • Grab the side of the dough farthest away from you, stretch up (about 3 times the height of the dough) then fold over the dough. Repeat on the right side of the dough, the side closest to you, and finally the left side.
  • Flip over the dough ball so that the smooth side is on top. Cup your hands around the ball and slide it slightly forward on the countertop. Rotate, and repeat until the dough is a neat ball.
  • Carefully place the dough ball (smooth top facing downward) in a well floured banneton. Alternatively, line a medium bowl with a well floured tea towel and place the dough ball in there.
  • Cover and let rise until doubled, approximately 1-2 hours.

To Bake

  • Place Dutch oven in your oven and pre-heat until it reaches 450 F. Cut a circle of parchment paper the size of the bottom of your Dutch oven. Place it over the basket (or bowl).
  • To remove bread from basket/bowl, place a cutting board over the parchment paper, grab the basket/bowl with your thumbs and flip the whole thing over using a quick motion.
  • Moisten hands and lightly rub over the surface of the boule. Scatter the seeds over the bread surface. You may need to press them in slightly. Score the bread with a sharp knife or bread lame.
  • Remove hot Dutch oven from your oven and carefully lower the boule in to the pot (by holding onto the parchment paper).
  • Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 20-25minutes. Remove bread from Dutch oven and place on rack to cool.


The temperature and humidity in your home will affect dough rising times.
Oven temperatures may vary. If you have an average or cooler oven, try starting at 450 F then reducing to 425 F after you remove the lid.