The process of making a sourdough leavened no-knead loaf (at least the way I do it) is almost identical to the instant yeast variety. I just substitute 1/4 cup of sourdough starter for the 1/4 tsp. instant yeast.

Of course, working with sourdough can alter things quite a bit depending on how wet you keep your starter and how healthy it is. Some starters are very liquidy and can be poured out of their containers. I keep mine pretty thick. It has to be spooned out of the jar. I go into quite a bit of detail on how I manage my starter in the various related videos.

That said, here’s the most basic recipe that I use quite frequently.

 

Artisan Sourdough No-Knead Bread
Artisan Sourdough No-Knead Bread

Our original contribution to the no-knead bread revolution: substitute live sourdough starter for instant yeast to create the ultimate no knead artisan bread loaf.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 18 hours

Yield: 1 Loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (5 oz.) whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups (11 oz.) white bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups purified water
  • 1/4 cup starter

Instructions

Mix together the dry ingredients.

Dissolve 1/4 cup starter into purified water

Add water / starter to dry ingredients and stir until the water is incorporated.

Cover with plastic and let sit 12-18 hours.

Follow video instruction for folding.

Cover loosely with plastic and rest for 15 minutes.

Transfer to well floured towel or proofing basket. Cover with towel and let rise about 1 1/2 hours.

Bake in covered La Cloche or Dutch oven preheated to 500 degrees for 30 minutes.

Remove cover; reduce heat to 450 degrees and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Let cool completely on rack.

Consume bread, be happy.

http://breadtopia.com/sourdough-no-knead-bread/

The baking times and all that are the same as the basic no-knead method. So you can easily just watch that video but follow this recipe. I usually bake the bread at 500° for 30 minutes with the lid on and then remove the lid and continue baking for 15 more minutes at 450°.

You might have noticed that there’s a bit of difference between what I say in the video regarding recipe quantities and what’s written. The weights shown are probably more precise, but you should be fine either way as there is a fair amount of leeway in this recipe.

Generally speaking, the wetter your dough the bigger the holes will be, which many people really like. However, a drier dough will make it easier to get the bread to rise while baking, giving you greater “oven spring” and a more spherical loaf versus a pancake. With practice, you’ll get so you can come closer to predicting how your bread will turn out just based on the consistency of the dough when you’re mixing all the ingredients together. You can adjust the amount of water and flour to get the consistency that suits you best.

Many people want to know how to make their bread more sour. Breadtopia reader, Rhine Meyering, enjoys success with this by using just 1/8 cup of sourdough starter and extending the fermentation time by refrigerating the dough. Click this link to his October 7, 2007 post to read what he says. It makes a lot of sense based on my understanding of sourdough baking too.

Also, click the following link to Ariela’s post of November 25th, 2007 where she describes her success with the sourdough no knead method using spelt flour. She includes the actual recipe she uses too – very nice.

No Knead Revisited – A Three Year Check Up It’s been over 3 years since the original New York Times no knead bread recipe was published. That’s also about the same time Breadtopia was born. By far the most common difficulty people write or call in about is with the dough being too wet to handle at the end of the long first proofing period and also when it’s time to place the dough into a covered vessel to bake at the end of the second rise. When you run into this, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it other than attempt to follow through on the instructions and ultimately wrest the dough into your heated baker and into the oven. Your “mistake” may turn out better than you expected and if nothing else, you’ll learn from it. The next time around you can do one or a combination of a couple things differently.

  1. Add more flour and or use less water than you did the first time. Dough has a way of getting more slack as it sits for many hours so if you start off with the dough being a little stiffer than you think it should be, that’s fine and maybe it’ll be easier to handle later.
  2. Consider reducing the long proofing time by several hours. Don’t get stuck on the idea of 18 hours. Depending on your room temperature and humidity, 18 hours may result in over proofing. When dough proofs too long, the gluten breaks down, the yeast looses some oomph and it can just get downright soupy. Most of the time, I find 12-14 hours to be about right. If you want or need to prolong the proofing time, but don’t want to risk over proofing, stick the dough in the fridge for several hours or overnight. That will slow things down a lot. Then resume proofing at room temp until it’s ready to bake.

The same principle holds true on the second rise. While 1-2 hours is the suggested range, I’m almost always at about 60 to 75 minutes.

Another concern we hear a lot is about the dough not rising much during that second short proofing period. I don’t see mine rise much then either and it doesn’t matter so long as you see a good rise during the first several minutes that the dough is in the oven. That’s called oven spring and it’s a very good thing. By keeping your proofing periods on the shorter side, you’re more likely to get good oven spring from the still vigorous yeast or sourdough starter.

Of course all of the above is assuming your yeast or sourdough starter is fresh and viable to start with.

In summary, most problems can be helped or solved by stiffening the dough a little and/or shortening the rising times.

If you’re new to bread baking, don’t think from reading this that it’s difficult or tricky to get great results. Most people find it a breeze and enjoy success right out of the blocks. Others may find it takes a few tries. It’s important to have fun with it and don’t worry about bombing. There’s no significant downside to bread baking but the upside can be fabulous. Enjoy!

March 20th, 2010 update: Beadtopia reader, Beth Adams, emailed this:

I have been a follower and contributer (through the comments sections) to the site for a few years. I just tried something that I wanted to share. I added a tsp. of lavender to the regular sourdough recipe and had great results when using it for sandwiches. Hope you are able to enjoy it!

For more no-knead recipes using sourdough, check out No-Knead Recipe Variations.

Sourdough No Knead Bread

1,478 thoughts on “Sourdough No Knead Bread

  1. mark serocki

    hi everybody!
    im little bit confused about measurements
    In the recipe above 1cup=5oz in the video
    1 cup=4oz and at the end, i know that 1 cup is 8oz. So tell me please, wheres the real answer.

    • 1 cup of flour is about 5 oz (depends on the type of flour and how densely it’s packed). 1 cup of water is 8 oz.

  2. betty

    I baked the bread about 20 minutes longer at 400 with tin foil on top so as not to further brown the crust. The longer cooking time seemed to solve the wet (gummy) middle of the bread. Thanks Jamie.

  3. betty

    Thanks Jamie, I will try it this weekend and let you know how it turns out.

  4. gloria

    I had to laugh! I couldn’t figure out why I was getting such a wet sloppy mix! I was so bored with having to cook it for soooo long to dry out…. then I realized that US liquid cups were a lot smaller than British/Aussie cups… hahahaha.
    I can’t believe I was so dim. worked out the liquid in millilitres and it’s just right, now.
    :-)
    Wonderful recipes!
    Thanks

  5. Linda

    How do you use this recipe without using plastic wrap. I covered my bowl with a cutting board, is that too airtight, then I cover my second rise with a bowl. Do I need more air?
    Thanks

  6. betty

    My sourdough no-knead breads are very tasty. However, I notice that in the middle they are a little “wet.” Do I need to cook the bread longer or do you think the cause might be something else.

    • Jamie Haynes

      I’ve had this trouble as well, and solved it with a longer baking time. I keep an eye on it during the “lidless” phase, but have taken to really let the loaf get quite dark (as opposed to stopping at light golden). I think this improves the crust as well. You could also pull the loaf from the pan and place it in the turned off oven with the door ajar. This works for me as a cure for the dreaded “gummy” center. Good luck.

  7. Kat

    Could this be baked in a crock pot?

    • How hot does a crock pot get?

  8. Federico

    Okay, how in the world do you achieve a real sour sourdough bread? I’ve only been able to make real sourdough a couple of times. I just get regular French bread. I’m using Breadtopia dry starter and leaving it in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks. Still, I’ve never been able to duplicate my earlier success despite holding my mouth just right and repeating “Mother may I?” (I even took 2 giant steps.) Very frustrating. What am I doing wrong?

  9. Donna Canning

    Amazing result with a cast iron pot. I can’t believe it went so well. I will bake this again.

    • Indeed!

  10. betty

    I have only been making bread for about 2 months and just made the sourdough no-knead bread. my best bread yet!

  11. Donna B

    Wow, that loaf looks amazing Bobby!

    I had great success with an ordinary flour/water starter for 2 years, but then, mysteriously it died. I would be interested in your fruit juice/flour starter recipe and also your bread recipe please :)

  12. I have great success with the Breadtopia method. I have adapted the recipe as follows:
    1 and 1/2 cups lukewarm water, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup starter
    1/2 cup rolled oats
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    3 cups bread flour

    I bake in my preheated Dutch oven 30 minutes covered and 15 min. uncovered at 450 degrees.
    I bake bread twice a week and have also used my starter in cornbread and biscuits. Yum! Thank you to all who have posted. There is always more for me to learn!

  13. Bobby McGovern

    I’ve been baking artisan breads for years. I’ve never tried sour dough though. The idea of babysitting a starter put me off. However, I came across the flour & juice one and it didn’t seem like it would take over my life so I gave it a try. I didn’t have any pineapple juice on hand so I used apple juice instead. I alternate the feedings between rye, whole wheat and white bread flour. It’s been so active I figured it was a good time to give it a try.
    I made my first loaf today. At 14 hours it seemed ready, so folded, rested for 15, shaped and put it in the baneton for ~70 mins.
    Baked on the baking stone with my soup pot over it for 30. Removed the pot and continued for another 12 minutes or so. The internal temp was 208.
    So glad I stumbled across this site !

  14. Scott

    I’ve been making no-knead bread for quite a while now, starting what that famous NY Times article/recipe from Sullivan St Bakery and moving on from there.
    The one common element: putting the dough into an oven and heavy container that are both pre-heated.
    I was thus puzzled by this:
    http://www.sourdo.com/recipes/no-knead-sourdough/
    “Place in a cool oven, set the control for 375oF, turn the oven on and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.”
    What the heck?
    I’m also puzzled by the amount of starter used: 1 cup fully active culture; when I’ve done no-knead sourdough, I’ve converted over the original n-k recipe that uses very little yeast by using 1/4 cup starter, as noted here. For a 12 or so hour proof at room temp (or higher, if using a proofer box) isn’t that an awful lot of starter?

  15. Frances

    I too had some loaves burn badly on the bottom, and then read about putting a cookie sheet under the baking utensil. It wasn’t clear to me if what was meant was to put the baking sheet on the same shelf as the pan and directly beneath it so it is resting on it, or if I should put the baking sheet on the shelf below the pan. Clarify??

    • I’d go with the rack just below but I thing it will work either way.

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