No-Knead Parmesan and Poppy Seed Crusty Bread

I’ve started and stopped and re-written and stopped and backspaced this opener thirteen fifty times because are you kidding there are NO WORDS.

Your new favorite no-knead bread. To die for. Show stopping. Tiny melted surprise parmesan pockets of glory. Crispy crusty outside speckled with poppy seed. The most comforting pillowy texture inside. And you barely did a thing.

No I swear. You’re going to make the rest of your life about this bread. Just you wait, ‘Enry ‘Iggins. Just you wait.

It’s much like my other cheesy no-knead crusty bread, but we’re taking the exact same amounts and dividing them into three loaves (don’t ask me how we get so much bread with the SAME AMOUNT of flour. I’ll never know.), slicing some pretty slits in them, loading them with parmesan cubes, giving them a milky egg wash and dusting with poppy seeds. This is what we’re doing.

And the hearts and plants? They mean nothing. I felt like a) the photo lacked color, and b) I live with doodling seven year olds, so.

You’ll mix the flour with the yeast, salt and parmesan cubes.

You can go domestic with this cheese, or you can use your good Parmigiano Reggiano. I’ll let your soul fairies guide that one.

This is what the dough looks like after you’ve added the water. My water was slightly on the warm side, which I feel like made a better bread. I have no idea, I’m not a seasoned baker. But perhaps the warmth of the water and the yeast of the . . . yeast made some magic? I like to think so.

The dough will be craggy and sticky. This is fine. Cover tightly and leave it on the counter overnight.

Next day! Look at all delicious bubbly-ness. It will triple in size with all those air bubbles. Exactly what we want. You’ll throw some flour on your fAngers and pull it out onto a cleaned and floured work surface.

I’ll obviously break down the no-kneading process and the rising in the recipe card down there, but you’ll let the mound rise once, then divide it into thirds.

And then you’ll divide it up into thirds, like this. This is mostly hands-off work, so don’t get stressed, pigeons. It’s all worth it in end.

Let these three mounds rise another two-ish hours, and then we’ll add some slits! Which I’m awful at, but we’ll be okay.

Give the bread some sexy diagonal slits across the top. Grab your sharpest knife! Go a little deep with it, because the bread may spring back, and we want to see at least SOMETHING on top, for crying out loud.

You’ll brush the tops with a milky egg wash (apparently the secret to shine and crust.) and dust with poppy seeds.

“Bev, are you sure the cheese is okay in the bread like that? It won’t go bad?”

Naw, dude. The cheese was covered all night, and is about to get baked. We’re good. It’s good. It’s all good.

Honey child, please.

Are you seeing that cheese? Of course you’re seeing that cheese. This is serious business and I need you to see that cheese.

Painfully delicious. Exquisitely comforting. It’s like a long-awaited savory carb mouth hug.

Sliced and slathered with salted butter? SO MUCH YES.

Toasted individual slices for loaded turkey and avocado sandwiches? Totally did and will again.

Ripped apart with your fingers and dunked into warm brothy or creamy soups? Herculean duh.

Toasted and open-faced with creamy scrambled eggs, lox and chives? Wouldn’t kick it out of my mouth.

The only real thing that matters here is how quickly you whip this dough together this afternoon. This morning. Right now.

I mentioned the oozing parmesan pockets, right?

No-Knead Parmesan and Poppy Seed Crusty Bread
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  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup small parmesan cheese cubes (a whole cup is fine, you devil!)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbs. milk
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the cheese cubes and toss to combine. Add 1 & 2/3 cup warm water to the bowl. Use a wooden spoon to mix together, creating a craggy, sticky dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and drape a kitchen towel over it. Let this rise overnight, anywhere from 12-18 hours.
  2. Next day:
  3. Lightly flour a clean work surface, along with your hands. Pull the risen, bubbly dough out of the bowl and plop it on the work surface. Using your hands, gently pull the dough a couple of times, to wake it up. Then turn it over on itself a couple of times, forming a round dough ball. Throw a kitchen towel over this and let it rise 20-30 minutes.
  4. After this first rise, take a pastry cutter and divide the dough into three equal parts. I went with an oval shape for my dough, but if you want to keep them round, that works. Cover these with your towel again and let them rise for two hours.
  5. At the 1:45 minute mark, preheat your oven to 400.
  6. Gently move the risen dough to a rimmed baking sheet. (I threw some parchment paper on mine for easy cleanup.) Take a sharp knife and create diagonal slits across the top of each loaf.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the beaten egg with the milk and stir. Lightly brush the tops of the bread dough with the milky egg wash, and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  8. Bake the bread for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown on the tops, and the cheese is crusted in places and oozing out. These are the good things in life.
  9. Let the bread rest for about 10 minutes, then slice and spread with salted butter!
  10. Enjoy your life because this makes THREE LOAVES.

Bread + butter = life. This is non-negotiable.

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22 Responses to No-Knead Parmesan and Poppy Seed Crusty Bread

  1. Mary February 25, 2021 at 9:15 am #
    OMG! Will be making today. In lieu of poppyseeds I am thinking some “Everything But the Bagel” sprinkles will be delish! Thanks for sharing.
  2. Nicole February 25, 2021 at 9:26 am #
    This looks awesome and I think it might be my weekend project. I have a couple questions. 1.) does the initial rise on the first day need to happen in the fridge or can you leave this on your counter? 2.) would this recipe work for bread bowls? And how many bread bowls do you think you could get out of this recipe?
    • Bev Weidner February 25, 2021 at 9:42 am #
      Hi, Nicole! So yes: all three rises are on the counter. First one in the bowl and tightly wrapped. Second two - outside the bowl on the counter with a towel over them. 2) I've never made it for bread bowls, so I'm not sure about that one. I just prefer dunking the bread into the soup! Hope this helps. :)
  3. Tina February 25, 2021 at 10:17 am #
    Looks so good! I will be trying this weekend! And I absolutely love your butter dish!!!!
    • Sharon February 26, 2021 at 9:44 pm #
      Hi, this looks amazing! I wonder if it would work in a bread machine? Hmmmm...
  4. Kylie February 25, 2021 at 10:35 am #
    My mouth is watering reading through this post! I think I have to make this bread this weekend!!
  5. Heather February 25, 2021 at 12:02 pm #
    I'm so excited to try this! It looks amazing. Cheese? Bread? Yes! Not sure if it is just me, but when I print your recipes, the numbers don't print, so the recipe looks confusing. Still workable, but I'm not sure if that's what you're going for. Thanks!
    • Bev Weidner February 25, 2021 at 12:19 pm #
      Oh, strange! I'm not sure what's going on there, but I often just screengrab the recipe card and print THAT. Ha! I'm a weirdo.
  6. Heather February 25, 2021 at 12:06 pm #
    Oh! One more question - do you think it is possible to freeze a couple of loaves pre-baked for later? When should I do that? After the first rise? Should I add time to cook? I'm not sure if you'll know, but any advice is much appreciated!
    • Bev Weidner February 25, 2021 at 12:20 pm #
      I'd say to go ahead and bake them all, and THEN freeze whatever you want. It will defrost quickly once you're ready for it!
  7. bc in edmond February 25, 2021 at 2:32 pm #
    My Fair Lady! Silly question - all I have is Red Star “quick rise” yeast - will that work, or do I need to buy something else? Can’t wait to try this - your writing makes me smile, and I’m sure the bread will, too!
    • Bev Weidner February 25, 2021 at 4:36 pm #
      That will totally work! And I love that you got my reference. :)
    • Anonymous May 9, 2021 at 12:36 am #
      Will Fleischmann’s “instant yeast” “fast-acting” work? Clearly I’m not the most literate in all things yeast ;)
  8. Andrea Gass February 28, 2021 at 11:00 am #
    I made this bread yesterday. I am not sure what I did wrong, but it was a super wet dough. I ended up leaving it all in one loaf, sprinkling poppy seeds right on top of the wet dough, putting it on parchment paper, and cooking it in a Dutch oven (followed Jo Cooks No Knead Bread directions). It turned out really yummy-just not in 3 separate loaves!
  9. Patricia McMullen March 3, 2021 at 4:44 pm #
    Follow instructions was like glue...not sure what went wrong...won't be having with tonight's Irish stew but tried adding more flour and will check on it in a few hours
    • Bev Weidner March 3, 2021 at 5:22 pm #
      Really?? At what part did it feel gluey? The moment you pull it out of the bowl it's sticky. But it's supposed to be. Then you fold it over itself a few times and form a ball (or three). At that point it forms a smooth dough ball. It was glue then, too??
      • Kasey April 9, 2022 at 8:59 am #
        Hi...I have since experimented and add more is delicious...however saying it makes 3 loaves is a little makes 3 very small loaves....I make it into 2 and perfect for dipping into soup...toasted it is to die for..thanks for the recipe.
  10. Jill March 4, 2021 at 10:55 pm #
    Agree with wet and sticky blobs. I’ve made numerous no knead breads, including your cheesy bread, but never had a dough so runny. I baked my “blobs” and the were tasty but did not look like loaves. I rechecked water quantity and I had read it correctly so....don’t know.
  11. Nicole April 30, 2021 at 10:27 am #
    I was exacting in my measurements but found the dough wouldn't come together without adding more water. However, I think it's because I only had parmesan petals instead of cubes. I weighed the dough to get the portions correct and they were beautifully baked at 35 minutes. Texture and flavor both amazing. I had no issues with any of the steps and would absolutely make again!!!
  12. Shannon January 26, 2022 at 5:22 pm #
    I’m in camp watery gluey dough too. Unsure what happened as we absolutely followed to a T.


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