I’m not a big time baker, but there are a handful of things that I can do well. No knead bread is definitely one of them (and obviously this no knead marathon bread variation), but honestly anyone at any level of ability can walk into their kitchen and make a loaf of this goodness. The technique was made famous by legendary bread master Jim Lahey. I make his no knead pizza dough as well (for pizzas like this Buffalo cauliflower one). Fancy-lazy is the name of the game!
All you have to do is mix up the ingredients the night before you want to bake bread, cover the bowl, let it do its thing, shape the loaf in the morning, and bake it in a super hot dutch oven. Total simplicity and ease for such a delicious loaf of homemade bread. It is positively mind blowing the first time you try it. Once you get into it, no knead baked goods are a way of life! See: these no knead cinnamon rolls.
I live by a US border and hop over there for some American grocery specialties from time to time. One thing that I often grab at one of my favourite grocery stores (shoutout to Wegmans) is a loaf of marathon bread. It’s super seedy, loaded with finely minced dried fruit, and little shreds of carrot. A toasted slice is just the thing with almond or peanut butter and a sprinkle of salt.
I looked at the ingredients one time and thought of that beloved no knead bread. I figured it would be simple to fix up a low maintenance, homemade version of this marathon bread at home. I would take the base, use a bit of hearty whole grain flour, add shredded carrots, seeds, dried fruit, and a touch of warm spice to get me even more excited for Fall bread baking. It all worked! No knead marathon bread! This is an excellent toast bread that warms up the house real good. Perfect for those first forays into cool weather baking! :)
NO KNEAD MARATHON BREAD
- Dutch Oven (see notes for alternatives)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat OR whole spelt flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- ½ teaspoon instant yeast
- ⅓ cup grated carrot from roughly 1 small carrot
- ⅓ cup dried fruit of choice, finely chopped (I used goji berries and golden raisins)
- ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds, plus extra
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds, plus extra
- 1 ½ cups room temperature water
THE NIGHT BEFORE:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, cinnamon (if using), and instant yeast. To the flour mixture, add the grated carrot, chopped dried fruit, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and water. Using a spatula, stir the dough until it comes together.
- The dough will seem dry in spots, extremely ragged, tough, and shaggy. This is fine! The dough will hydrate and unify overnight. Cover the bowl tightly with bees wrap or plastic wrap and place in a slightly warmer area of your house overnight, up to 18 hours.
THE NEXT MORNING:
- Arrange your oven racks near the bottom of the oven to accommodate a large dutch oven (mine is 7 quart). Place the large dutch oven, lid and all, inside the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Let the dutch oven heat for one hour. Rip yourself a piece of parchment paper (enough to set the dough onto and transfer it to the dutch oven) and set it on the counter. If you have a mister/spray bottle, fill it with water and set it on the counter near the oven.
- While the oven is preheating, shape your bread. Lightly sprinkle a working surface with flour. Using a spatula, gently scrape the marathon bread dough out onto your floured surface. Flour your hands and gently shape the dough into a nice round loaf. I just pull up the sides and lightly tuck each “flap” of dough in the center until I go all the way around. Minimal handling is optimal!
- Once you’ve shaped the dough, set it on top of the parchment paper and cover it while you wait for the oven to finish preheating. Press some seeds into the exterior of the bread if you like.
- Once the hour is up, carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven and set it down. Carefully remove the lid of the dutch oven (remember to use a dry towel–it’s super hot!) and set it to the side. Uncover the marathon bread dough. Grab the corners of the parchment paper and carefully transfer the dough to the hot dutch oven. Once it’s in place, use your dry towel to grab the dutch oven lid again. Quickly spritz the inside of the hot dutch oven lid with your mister/spray bottle of water and close the lid on top.
- Transfer the dutch oven back into the oven. Set a timer for 30 minutes. Once the 30 minutes are up, open the oven and remove the dutch oven lid. Let the marathon bread bake for 15 more minutes, or until the top is quite browned. Remove the marathon bread from the oven.
- Let the no knead marathon bread cool completely before slicing. This should take a good 2 hours. Transfer the marathon bread to a cooling rack to speed this process up if you wish.
- This recipe is entirely based based on Jim Lahey’s famous no knead bread technique.
- No Dutch oven? The Kitchn has a guide to baking no knead bread without one right here. Also, this method from Jenny Can Cook also looks promising.
- Any finely chopped dried fruit that you like is great. The original marathon bread that I based this on has finely chopped banana chips, apples and apricots in it. Go wild ;)
- I like to let my dough sit overnight for a solid 16 hours. Anything in the 12-18 hour window is fine.