Fig & Walnut No-Knead Bread

This is what you do when once again you’re completely out of hours, and your intention to FOR SURE THIS TIME bake fancy fruit-studded loaves to bring all your friends and neighbours in the days before Christmas has once again fallen flat on its face. Honestly, don’t you know yourself yet?

It occurred to me that the wonderfully easy, rustic and crusty no-knead bread could take on additions like cinnamon and raisins, or herbs and cheese, or figs and walnuts. So I made a loaf, just to see. It fused fast to the pot – something that has never happened before – so much so that I had to chisel and soak its bottom from the bottom of the pan.

So for round two I used a piece of parchment, which worked brilliantly – not only did it contain the floury mess on the countertop, it looked quite charming in the pot itself, especially after the bread had baked and the parchment turned crackly and pale golden. Don’t skip it, unless you love doing dishes.

It turns out this is perfect for after Christmas too – for those midwinter mornings when preheating a large, heavy pot in a 450F oven to bake a crackly round loaf seems like a Very Good Idea.

Fig & Walnut No-Knead Bread


January 6, 2012


3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup chopped dried figs or raisins

1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted if you like

1 tsp. cinnamon (or a good hefty shake)


1In a large bowl stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 Β½ cups plus 2 tablespoons water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Add the figs, walnuts and cinnamon and stir to sort of combine - the cinnamon will be streaky. That's OK. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let it rest on the countertop for 18-24 hours at room temperature.

2The dough is ready when its surface is wet looking and bubbly. Put a piece of parchment on the countertop and scrape the dough out onto it; dust the surface generously with flour and fold the dough over itself a couple times; sprinkle again with flour and cover with a tea towel. (Make sure it's not terry cloth, which will stick.) Let it sit for another hour or two, or even three or four.

3When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450Β°. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. Pull the pot out of the oven, lift up the dough on the sheet of parchment and drop it into the pot. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until crusty and golden.

4 Remove from the pot and cool on a wire rack, or eat warm.


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48 comments on “Fig & Walnut No-Knead Bread

  1. Laurie from Burnaby
    January 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Really excellent. I love the addition of parchment paper. It looks great, and saves on chiselling it from the bottom of the pan. πŸ™‚

  2. sara
    January 7, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Fantastic idea – this looks so delicious! I will definitely have to try it out…yum! πŸ™‚

  3. stacey snacks
    January 7, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I am bread challenged. I am in my pajamas starting this now….it looks SO SIMPLE! I will keep you posted! Happy New Year Julie, thanks for all the great recipes and ideas.

  4. Magda
    January 7, 2012 at 8:52 am

    We have a saying in Greece: “If it doesn’t happen to you, you can never learn from it”. Thanks for a great tip about the parchment because I will definitely be making this bread. I’m so glad this didn’t happen to my pot πŸ™‚ I hate cleaning Dutch ovens.

    Your bread looks lovely and I really like the flavors you added to it. A keeper!

  5. Sue. D
    January 7, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Looks like public service – selflessly perfected by you for the good of all mankind.


  6. Bonnie White
    January 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    This is fantastic and worked with some old dates I had. Thanks for sharing. I feel like I get a good cooking lesson every time I visit this website.

  7. Erica B.
    January 7, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Oooh looks fantastic(much better than the hospital cafeteria sushi I’m enjoying again tonight) Hubby loves figs I’ll be making this when we get him settled at home for sure. Thanks Julie!

  8. Aimee @ Simple Bites
    January 8, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Genius, as usual, Julie. I’m craving some home baked goodness. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. ml
    January 8, 2012 at 9:40 am

    The dough didn’t seem to rise or change at all overnight? And it looks more dry and lumpy than your picture? Any suggestions on what went wrong?

  10. JulieVR
    January 8, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Hmm… sounds as if your yeast is dead. Maybe try again with fresh yeast?

  11. ml
    January 8, 2012 at 11:11 am

    It was packaged yeast – freshly opened. I also used bread flour.

    yes, perhaps I need to try again. It’s an easy recipe but just a pretty long wait.

  12. Moira
    January 8, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I wonder if you’d be able to use a big stainless steel pot instead? I’m presuming the ceramic/enamel/etc is only to prevent the dough from sticking. But if you use parchment paper to prevent sticking…? Thoughts?

  13. ml
    January 8, 2012 at 11:18 am

    p.s. I haven’t given up on it. I kneaded it a little about an hour ago and it’s looking more moist. Perhaps the yeast is finally activating? I’m going to wait a few more hours.

  14. Meghan
    January 8, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I just put a batch in the bowl to rise overnight with the addition of a little rosemary as we are having it with dinner tomorrow night – can’t wait. I regularly make the plain version and haven’t had a fail yet, thanks Julie!

    Moira, sadly I don’t have a dutch oven (insert husband rolling his eyes here) but I have used both my stainless steel soup pot and my corning ware – both with lids – with great success.

  15. JulieVR
    January 8, 2012 at 11:53 am

    ML – it sounds as if you didn’t use enough water. Or did you add extra flour? You shouldn’t be able to actually knead the dough, even if you wanted to – it’s too wet and gloppy. It’s the combination of high moisture and time that allows the gluten to do its thing.

    Moira – yes, a pot should work fine! I’ve heard of people using their slow cooker inserts too – whatever works!

  16. ml
    January 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I added what the recipe asked for but the dough did look dry. It wasn’t gloppy at all. When I kneaded it a little it now looks more moist and more like dough. Do you think I should add water at this stage?

  17. lovetocook
    January 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    We’ve been experimenting with variations on the No-Knead recipe usually simple additions but we did this rye bread recently which yields a finer texture and excellent flavour: Use 1 cup rye flour, 2 cups white, 4 Tbsp molasses, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/4 tsp yeast, 1 tsp salt and 1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp water. We always use parchment – much easier to get the dough into that hot pot without burning fingers too.

  18. Carolyn
    January 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Hey Julie – Just sent you an email to your email id in the About Me section above.

    I really like the no-knead bread with beans (from your newest book). It stayed edible on my counter for > 5 day – love that!

  19. Ali
    January 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Just made this with dates instead of figs and whole weat, it was absolutely wonderfull!! I had the impression I was eating cake and not bread. Thanks for this super easy, time and money effective recipe πŸ™‚

  20. ml
    January 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I made a new batch – this time with regular flour and NOT bread flour – and the dough looks like it should – gloppy. Will find out tomorrow how it tastes.

  21. JulieVR
    January 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I wondered if bread flour would have made that much of a difference – it’s just a little higher in gluten is all, so I’m not sure how it would make the mixture kneadable! Regardless, glad it’s looking better!

  22. I have been making no knead with all sorts of flours – rye, red fife, stoneground white. And with blue cheese & walnut, pumpernickel, raisin & cinnamon, cheddar, candied peel & dried cranberry, etc. They always work! And I always use the parchment paper trick. I have a steam assist oven so don’t even have to use the pot with a lid. This is the best bread ever rediscovered.

  23. Brandon
    January 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    AHHH! Anything that looks that delicious makes me want to grab the ingredients and start baking RIGHT NOW. Add “no knead” in the title, and my excitement only grows. Beautiful photos, thank you so much for sharing! I will have to make this sometime soon!

  24. stacey snacks
    January 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Just took my loaf out of the oven! I am no longer a bread virgin!
    This is a thing of beauty, smells and looks amazing!

  25. JulieVR
    January 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Yahoo!! Congratulations!!

  26. ml
    January 9, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Reporting back that the second loaf with regular flour fared better. It looked great – it was crusty and golden and had a good flavor when buttered – but the dough never rose enough to create the bubbles and airiness that it needed. (I followed the instructions to a T) The loaf is too dense and heavy. I consider myself a good cook/baker so after two tries, I think I’ll have to pass on this recipe.

  27. Merry120
    January 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    i’m going to have to make this since I missed out on that loaf that fused to the pot. πŸ˜‰

  28. web designing
    January 16, 2012 at 3:31 am

    really nice post thanks 4 sharing this post

  29. Ashley
    January 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Love the sound of this simple fruit & nut yeasted bread!

  30. ml
    January 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I’m reporting back that I found the culprit! My yeast had expired therefore my dough was not rising. It really bothered me so I went back and retraced my steps and figured it out. I made two new loaves with the new yeast – one with wheat flour, which just came out of the oven and tastes great!

  31. ml
    January 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    p.s. with wheat flour I had to use an extra 1/4 cups of water.

  32. Ally
    September 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Will this still turn out if I only let it rise for 18 instead of the full 24?

    Love this recipe! Can’t wait to try it! Thanks!

  33. Amy
    February 21, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    Just made this with figs and some fennel seeds. It’s amazing! Thanks

  34. ROD
    May 9, 2015 at 5:50 am


    • Cathy
      September 20, 2016 at 11:53 am

      I am now making this bread for the third time. It’s fantastic. Tomorrow I’m going to make the basic boule with black olives and some fresh rosemary.
      This evening we are going to friends’ for dinner. This, wrapped up in fresh parchment and wrapped in a tea towel will be my gift to the hosts.
      Yes, it is host worthy!
      Wonderful, wonderful recipe!

      • Julie
        September 20, 2016 at 1:02 pm

        Wow, great idea! And thanks – I had forgotten about this one! πŸ™‚

  35. Cathy
    September 20, 2016 at 11:54 am

    And I’m taking a copy of the recipe in case the hosts want to try it too!

  36. Rob
    December 23, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Mine turned out a bit tough. It was very hard on the outside (a lot of effort to get a serrated knife through it) but still pretty good (though dense) on the inside. Did I bake it too long? Not enough water? I did leave it to rise with the tea towel on it for 7 hours instead of 4 as I was out running errands. Is that too long?

    I want to try again.. but where did I go wrong?

    • Julie
      December 27, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      Hmm.. I’m not sure! did it look sticky with bubbles before you baked it? I’ve left it longer on the countertop too with no problems.

      • Rob
        December 27, 2016 at 9:51 pm

        I made a second loaf this time leaving the dough without any cinnamon, nuts or fruit, for 24 hours. Then I tried kneading the nuts and fruit and cinnamon in after the initial 24 hours. It was too sticky so I quickly got tired of trying to knead and just folded the ingredients in. Then I left it to rise with a moist tea towel for three hours and the resulting bread was perfect.
        I think the problem I had with the first one was it was too dry. Either I floured it too much in any of the steps, or my dried figs might have been too dry and then sucked out moisture. I don’t know. But I was so pleased with the recipe once I got it to work in my kitchen. Delicious!

      • Julie
        January 3, 2017 at 6:58 am

        Ah! So glad to hear you gave it another go!

  37. Suzanne
    April 8, 2018 at 8:25 am

    I love the cinnamon, fig and walnut idea. I combined that element of your recipe with Claire Tansey’s kitchen Recipe for a no knead bread (replaces some of the white flour with whole wheat flour). Delicious!

    • Julie
      April 11, 2018 at 9:30 am

      Yum – I have to do this again!

  38. Nutan Rai
    January 26, 2019 at 12:18 am

    I . trying out this recipe as of now
    can’t wait to bake it !

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