NO KNEAD MARATHON BREAD

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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, 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. 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.

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 hearty 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! This is an excellent toast bread that warms up the house real good. Perfect for those first forays into cool weather baking! :)

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NO KNEAD MARATHON BREAD RECIPE

Print the recipe here!
SERVES: Makes one round loaf
NOTES: 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.

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour, plus extra (I used Flourist’s sifted red spring wheat 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 whole wheat pastry 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 more whole wheat pastry 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 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.

  • Linda H18/09/2019 - 7:11 am

    Thank you for this great recipe! We love Jim Lacey’s recipe and this only adds to it. We can’t wait to try it this weekend. Your cookbook “the First Mess” is also top notch. I bought it for myself and friends for Christmas gifts last year. They are huge gardeners and loved it.ReplyCancel

  • Mari-Elaina Garcia18/09/2019 - 9:27 am

    This might be a silly question but when you spritz the lid are you spraying the inside of the lid before you put it on the dutch over or the outside of the lid?ReplyCancel

    • Laura18/09/2019 - 2:01 pm

      The inside of the lid! I’ve clarified in the instructions. Thank you for this! Never a silly question :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Ron Burg18/09/2019 - 10:25 am

    Could it be made with a gluten free flour, Cassava,?
    Sound like a great recipe.ReplyCancel

    • Laura18/09/2019 - 2:01 pm

      Hi Ron,
      I have not tested this recipe with gluten-free flour, so cannot recommend substitutions. I am not overly optimistic on making a gluten-free version of this though, if I’m being honest. Might be best to seek out a recipe from a dedicated gluten-free recipe site/resource.
      -LReplyCancel

      • Lisa F18/09/2019 - 6:46 pm

        Hi Laura. Thanks for the recipe! I don’t have a Dutch oven. Any suggestions for an alternate vessel? Thanks!ReplyCancel

        • Laura19/09/2019 - 5:01 am

          Hi Lisa! Check out my reply comment to Christine below :)
          -LReplyCancel

  • McKenzie18/09/2019 - 10:44 am

    YUM. Making this. One day I’ll be able to afford Flourist flour–real excited for that day.

    Unrelated: Yesterday Minimalist Baker posted an Instagram TV video on making coconut yogurt from canned coconut milk. It reminded me that one time you had a tutorial on making coconut yogurt from TJ’s frozen coconut meat. I would love to know where I can find that tutorial. I have your book, but didn’t see it in there unless I missed it. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura18/09/2019 - 2:25 pm

      Hi there! I think I was using thawed frozen young Thai coconut meat to make coconut yogurt. The TJ’s coconut meat is from mature coconuts and blends up kinda stringy.

      But the basic recipe is as follows:

      12 ounces young Thai coconut meat (about 2 cups) + 1 cup filtered/spring water + 1/2 teaspoon probiotic powder (from a probiotic capsule). Blend the coconut meat and water in a blender until completely smooth. Then, transfer that thick coconut cream to a one quart glass jar. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the probiotic powder. Then, cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth or a clean cotton towel. Secure the fabric with a rubber band. Place the yogurt in a slightly warm place for at least hours. I like to keep mine in the oven with the light switched on. Check the yogurt after 8 hours. It should be lightly tangy and slightly fluffier too. Sometimes I take mine up to 12 hours.ReplyCancel

      • McKenzie18/09/2019 - 4:12 pm

        Thank you! I’m saving your response and trying it this weekend. Thanks again.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Veitch18/09/2019 - 1:19 pm

    Would this work with all purpose flour, as the original recipe calls for? I happen to have that on hand.ReplyCancel

  • Gayle Loesel18/09/2019 - 2:11 pm

    Hi-Michigan Baker here-I’ve made Jim Lahey’s bread for years, doubling the recipe, tweaking it with cinnamon and apple cider, seeds, etc. I think I’m going to try your suggestions with the ingredients pictured, because the idea of toasting that is making me hungry! Still too warm to bake at those high temps, but I’m saving the recipe; already copied and sent it to my bread baking daughters. French toast from that bread-oh yum!!ReplyCancel

  • Alannah18/09/2019 - 2:47 pm

    I’m going to make this for the first time… but I only have Quick Rise yeast… will that eff it up?ReplyCancel

    • Laura19/09/2019 - 4:56 am

      I think instant yeast is often labelled as Quick Rise yeast, correct? I think you have the right product on hand for this. As long as the granules of yeast are quite fine, you’re good to go.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sarah18/09/2019 - 3:24 pm

    Do you spray the inside or outside of the lid? Thank you! This looks amazing!!ReplyCancel

    • Laura19/09/2019 - 4:57 am

      Hi Sarah,
      It’s the inside of the lid. This is stated in the recipe! :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Christine18/09/2019 - 5:21 pm

    This looks amazing. I don’t have a Dutch Oven pit, so I was wondering if I can use a loaf pan instead. Or is there another option?ReplyCancel

    • Laura19/09/2019 - 5:00 am

      Hi Christine,
      This website has a method that only uses a baking sheet and a muffin tin that you fill with water when you’re ready to bake. It looks quite promising! A lot of people have luck making this in a deep cast iron skillet as well. The cooking website The Kitchn has also made a page on dutch oven alternatives for no knead bread. It can be found here. Hope this is helpful.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sarah Shafer18/09/2019 - 6:03 pm

    Tired making the same old white flour no knead bread, I jumped on this as soon as it came up in my insta feed. Currently in the 18 hr rest period but looking forward to some yummy bread tomorrow!!ReplyCancel

  • Nicola Cartwright18/09/2019 - 6:26 pm

    This looks incredible! Is there a way I can make this without a Dutch oven?ReplyCancel

    • Laura19/09/2019 - 5:01 am

      Check out my reply comment to Christine above :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Hannah18/09/2019 - 7:07 pm

    Hi! Quick question– do you have experience baking with sprouted flours/know if a sprouted wheat would work 1:1 for the above recipe?ReplyCancel

    • Laura19/09/2019 - 4:53 am

      Hi there,
      I have used sprouted flours in muffins, cookies, pancakes etc before. In general, I find it to perform virtually the same with ever-so-slightly fluffier results and a lighter flavour. No knead bread is pretty forgiving if your flour remains within the wheat family. You could substitute 1 for 1.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Maren18/09/2019 - 9:01 pm

    This looks great and I’m eager to try it but I have a question about the flour. I followed the Flourist link and that flour appears to be neither whole wheat nor pastry flour, as specified in the recipe. Can you clarify? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura19/09/2019 - 4:51 am

      Hi there,
      To clarify: whole wheat pastry flour is generally milled from soft spring wheat. I realize that access to Flourist’s particular flour (the sifted Red Spring Wheat) will not be easy for a lot of people that follow me on here. I specify whole wheat pastry flour because most of the major flour brands (King Arthur, Bob’s etc) sell a version of this in supermarkets. And a general note: from my experience, no knead bread is quite forgiving in terms of flour as long as you stick within the wheat family. I’ve done 100% whole grain wheat loaves, loaves mixed with light spelt and all purpose, 50/50 loaves with red fife and all purpose, and I could go on!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Agnes19/09/2019 - 6:54 am

    Oh yum!!! I absolutely love the original recipe – which I also discovered thanks to you! – but this one is seriously next level! Thank you so much for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Kristi Jones19/09/2019 - 9:40 am

    Looks simple and DELICIOUS! I’m so excited to give this a try over the weekend! Thanks for adding to the plant-based recipe world! There can never be too many great ideas for a way of eating that, I think, one day will be a requirement, not a choice! Lovely photography too! Kristi – Roanoke, VAReplyCancel

  • Ruth20/09/2019 - 6:17 am

    I baked this last night and am eating my first slice now. The bread’s texture and taste is perfect! I used store brand all purpose flour, 50/50 whole wheat and white. I used a cup of Salad Topper mix sold at Costco as well as the carrot. I don’t have instant yeast so dissolved 1/2 tsp regular yeast in 1/2 c warm water with a teaspoon of sugar first before adding the other ingredients. The recipe is very versatile.ReplyCancel

  • Eleonora Ginnis20/09/2019 - 8:42 am

    I’m a sucker for good bread. This looks very good, I must try!ReplyCancel

  • Sue20/09/2019 - 4:20 pm

    Darn this bread is good! I also added a bit of nutmeg. Thanks Laura.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel20/09/2019 - 11:06 pm

    Wahoo! I made Jim Lahey’s recipe many times years ago when the recipe first came out on the NYTimes but hadn’t thought of it in a long time. Will definitely be trying your version. Thanks for the reminder.ReplyCancel

  • Marie Bishop22/09/2019 - 7:04 am

    Love your blog!!! Just made the bread,,letting it cool. Smells delish! Did not get much rise ,about double. Would that be correct? Used heritage flour.ReplyCancel

    • Laura23/09/2019 - 8:13 am

      Hi Marie,
      Thank you so much for this comment! My marathon bread generally triples by the time the bake is over. Is your heritage flour wheat-based? Is it 100% whole grain? If it is whole grain, this could explain the lack of rise. In the recipe, I use whole wheat pastry flour, which is quite light.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Kim H23/09/2019 - 8:48 am

    Just finished baking this bread this morning. It’s delicious but SO DENSE. I used a fresh packet of unexpired instant yeast, followed the recipe as written, and allowed a 17 hour rest/rise.
    The dough developed air bubbles so I know the yeast was working but it did not come close to doubling in size. The dough felt very dense after the rise. Is this to be expected or did you find you had a more pillowy dough after your rise?

    Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura23/09/2019 - 2:20 pm

      Hi Kim!
      The bread is definitely more dense than the original no knead bread with all refined flour (and zero add-ins). My dough grew in excess of doubling on each trial. What kind of flour did you use? There are SO many shifting factors with bread at work, but I’d love to try and help here. I will reiterate that It is naturally more on the dense side and ideal in a toast scenario.
      -LReplyCancel

      • Kim H23/09/2019 - 6:30 pm

        I used Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour. Would you increase the yeast? Regardless, I’ve already had 2 slices today, toasted with almond butter on top. So delicious! But I’d love to make it even better next time. Thanks for your help!ReplyCancel

  • Alex24/09/2019 - 6:58 am

    I make my own sourdough so never tried the no-knead method. But seeing all these fun add-ins like carrots has definitely convinced me I need to see what all the fuss is about for myself!ReplyCancel

  • Alyssa02/10/2019 - 5:50 pm

    So soooo good, Laura. I’ve been eating this every morning as avocado toast… definitely my new standby loaf. Thanks you ReplyCancel

  • Faly08/10/2019 - 1:22 am

    Hi Laura! Love the blog and cookbook :) just wondering if you’ve experimented with sourdough in place of the yeast?

    Thank you!
    FalyReplyCancel

    • Laura09/10/2019 - 6:30 am

      Hi Faly!
      I have not tried sourdough starter in place of the yeast with this particular recipe. All of my previous sourdough experiments have been slightly underwhelming. so I don’t feel confident recommending a course of action here. Might have to take a look at a dedicated sourdough baking site for guidance!
      -LReplyCancel

    • Sarah01/05/2020 - 10:56 pm

      Yes I want to try this too, as I just started making sourdough and had bookmarked this recipe ages ago. Might just test it out by swapping my starter for equal parts flour and water….will report back if so!ReplyCancel

  • Talitha27/10/2019 - 8:18 am

    I just made this bread with gluten free flour and it worked and tastes amazing! its definitely not the same consistency as the normal flour would have and you needed to use extra water than the recipe. But i’m so happy with the result! The flavours that come through are so yummy.ReplyCancel

    • Laura04/11/2019 - 9:11 am

      Thank you so much for reporting back on your experiment, Talitha! Any chance you could tell us which gluten-free flour (or flours) that you used?
      -LReplyCancel

  • Karon Skidmore29/10/2019 - 5:13 pm

    Making this bread was the perfect remedy for a stressful week! Delicious, nutritious, and easy. Thank you for great directions.
    I used chopped dried apricots and cherries. My 5.5 quart Dutch oven was plenty large enough.
    House smells amazing. The only difficult part is waiting 2 hours for it to cool!ReplyCancel

  • ML31/10/2019 - 4:15 pm

    Help! My dough after the first 24 hours is very wet and spread out and stuck to the parchment. There is absolutely no way to shape in a loaf. Ugghh! I followed the instructions as written. Obviously my dough is too wet. But is there any salvaging of it?ReplyCancel

    • Laura04/11/2019 - 9:07 am

      Hi there,
      Apologies for the delayed reply. In the event that this happens to you again, I’d try to work in handfuls of flour as you knead by hand before shaping. Once the dough has a smooth, not-too-sticky texture, you’re good to go on shaping and proceeding with baking.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Alex24/11/2019 - 1:05 pm

    Hi!
    Great stuff! Do you mind telling us What size is your pot?
    Thanks,
    AlexReplyCancel

    • Laura25/11/2019 - 3:41 pm

      Hi there!
      Mine is 7 quarts, but you could get away with less for this recipe.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Samira12/01/2020 - 1:58 pm

    I made both this bread and the granola from your book today and they were both SO GOOD. For the marathon bread I used regular raisins and dried apricots, that was really delicious too. But the goji berries and the sweetness of the golden raisins sounds like a very tempting pair as well :-)
    Thank you for the recipes!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie17/01/2020 - 9:02 pm

    Any thoughts as to if a 4 quart dutch oven would be too small for this? We just mixed this up and looking forward to baking it tomorrow. :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura18/01/2020 - 6:24 pm

      I think it would be fine! I would just be extra careful transferring the dough to the pot since you’ll have less space to work with.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Perri20/01/2020 - 5:39 pm

    Yum! Can this be made with sourdough starter?ReplyCancel

    • Laura21/01/2020 - 12:33 pm

      Hi Perri,
      I have not tried it, and am not experienced with substituting sourdough starter for yeast in no-knead breads unfortunately! You might have to do some Googling to find the right strategy here. Wish I could be more helpful.
      -LReplyCancel

  • AJ03/03/2020 - 2:53 am

    Excited to make this: few questions
    Only have ‘active dry yeast’ – 1) do I need to add water to the yeast to dissolve before adding to the flour mixture? If so, how much?
    2) will whole wheat flour work in place of the whole wheat *pastry flour? Or best to get pastry flour?ReplyCancel

    • Laura03/03/2020 - 1:44 pm

      I have made no knead breads with active dry yeast before with no changes to the recipe and they turned out great. Whole wheat flour WILL work, but this bread is already quite dense. Using 100% whole wheat will increase that density. If you have all purpose flour at home, I’d recommend doing a half and half mix of the all purpose and whole wheat.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sasha20/03/2020 - 6:06 pm

    Hi! Do you think this would work using rye flour?? I’m looking to use it up. Thank you :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura21/03/2020 - 10:29 am

      Hi Sasha! I think rye flour would be fine here, but it will make the bread a bit more dense. If that’s okay with you, I say go ahead!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Susan Kaufman30/03/2020 - 9:34 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe – it’s my favorite store bread too! Just made my dough and looking forward to baking it tomorrow. Question as bout the oven – I keep a pizza stone on the lower rack of my oven – should I remove that since I’m baking in a cast iron Dutch oven? Or is it ok if I leave it in and set the Dutch oven on it? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura13/04/2020 - 9:34 am

      Hi Susan,
      Apologies for my late reply. My inkling would be to take the pizza stone out first, but I honestly think it would be fine either way. Might crisp up the bottom of the bread even more, which is great.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Nadine05/04/2020 - 4:10 pm

    Hi Laura,

    I don’t have a dutch oven! Would it be possible to put a baking tray filled with water at the bottom of my oven whilst preheating?
    Thanks :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura13/04/2020 - 9:35 am

      Hi Nadine! Thanks for your patience with my reply. I think your baking sheet with water strategy is great. People also have great success making no knead bread in cast iron skillets! Not sure if you have one of those, but it is an option :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Emma08/04/2020 - 2:43 pm

    Hi Laura. Just curious if you think this could be made using AP bread flour? I just happen to have a lot at home. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Bee11/04/2020 - 8:57 pm

    I’ve made bread three times in my life, so I was worried that this would be out of my league. It wasn’t! It was really easy. I didn’t have wheat flour so I did a 50/50 mix of all-purpose flour and walnut flour. My house smells amazing and this tastes even better.ReplyCancel

  • Sally08/05/2020 - 6:05 pm

    Hi! Just getting in to bread making and have tried J. Lahey’s no knead recipe with good results! That recipe calls for bread flour. Would that be an option for this recipe? Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • Laura14/05/2020 - 8:35 am

      Hi Sally,
      I think bread flour would work fine here!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Rose25/05/2020 - 11:07 am

    I made the bread and the results were far different than expected. While proofing, the dough never doubled in bulk but it did have bubbles. I formed the dough into a small loaf shape, but while baking, it spread to about 1 1/2 times in size and flattened to about 1/2 the height, leaving me with a final loaf about the length and width of a small loaf of store bought bread, but only an inch and a half thick. The texture was dense, as expected, but the flavor was very much like sourdough, with a strong yeasty taste and aroma. To my taste, it would have been improved with a very slight amount of sweetening. I plan to try again but I will definitely proof the yeast with a teaspoon of sugar and bake it in a lidded Corning Ware that will prevent it from spreading. Fingers crossed! Open to any advice and suggestions. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Dhruvi26/05/2020 - 2:39 pm

    Hi Laura, I love your recipes. I live in India specifically in Mumbai. The climate here is humid and hot, I fear resting the dough for 16 hours for this recipe will spoil it because of the climate here any suggestions to how many hours I should rest the dough for?ReplyCancel

    • Laura27/05/2020 - 10:59 am

      Hi Dhruvi! I would recommend just an overnight rest for the dough in your situation. Roughly 8 hours!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Anna H-R03/07/2020 - 3:03 am

    Made this in a bread tin and it worked really well; it was a little dense but very good.
    If anyone’s interested: After resting the dough overnight I scraped it into a lined 1kg bread tin and left it to rise for 2 hours in a warm place then baked it (un-covered) for 45 minutes at 200C (fan oven). Then took it out of the tin to cool on a wire rack.ReplyCancel

  • Amy05/08/2020 - 7:02 pm

    Absolutely delicious and sooo easy! Made this exactly from recipe but just used my dried cranberries and blueberries instead of what was on recipe. Very delicious hearty wheat bread. It did stick to my parchment paper, next time I will add a little bit of oil so it doesn’t stick. Thanks for a good recipe, will be making this again.ReplyCancel

  • Rosamary13/08/2020 - 7:58 am

    Could I use fresh fruit instead of dried ? Such as fresh apple chunks or grated, fresh apricot chunks, chopped medjool dates ? Im wondering if fresh will alter the structure of the bread.ReplyCancel

    • Laura13/08/2020 - 11:23 am

      Hi Rosemary,
      I would not recommend fresh fruit here since the dough does sit overnight and the loaf is already on the moist side with the carrot in the mix. I think it would be too dense and mushy!
      -LReplyCancel

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