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.

  • 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

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 UpIt’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.

1,450 thoughts on “Sourdough No Knead Method

  1. sandy

    I tried Bruce’s sourdough recipe 500 g bread flour (400 g of potato water (left over from boiling potatoes), 500 g of bread flour, 40g of sourdough culture (100 % hydration, about eight hours old), 14g salt, 16g honey, 60g of mashed potatoes. Did the several ‘fold – turns’ and a 24 hr (immediately refrigerated) retard prior to a 12 hour (post refrigeration) room temp rise. Formed shape, waited 90 min. then did poke test and baked at 450 degrees in a cast iron dutch oven. OH MY Goodness… a creamy outstanding crumb and great crust. I did get a slight rise in the dough when in the refrigerator for 24 hours. I have been making no knead bread for 3 years and this will be my ‘go to’ NKSD (no knead sourdough). Worth the wait. Thank you Bruce for taking the time to create your long post – very helpful.

  2. sandy

    Appreciate all the thoughtful questions and suggestions on this site….. re parchment paper I have been using parchment paper with no knead dough/bread for about three years. I find I do not need to use cooking spray at all with parchment paper. Nothing sticks to parchment paper. I use parchment paper under the second proof bread while it is rising (with a plate on top of the bowl) then use the parchment as handles to lift the dough into the hot preheated Lodge cast iron dutch oven (2 qt or 5 qt). Also find parchment great for under pizza no knead dough on my cast iron pizza pan (and for making fougasse). Parchment tolerates 450 with no problem and even temps to 550 when using it under pizza on cast iron pizza pan (if trimmed to about 1 in around pizza dough). I like parchment better than using corn meal .. less mess esp. on cast iron pizza pan. Trying to attach 5 pictures. All the best to all – appreciate this site.

  3. This recipe did not work for me as written here. The dough was far too wet and overproofed, and it also burned. However, I did make a few modifications and produce a very nice loaf.

    Flours (Same as above)
    Salt (Same)
    9 fl. oz. water (just over 1 cup)
    1/8 cup starter

    Dough refrigerated 2 days, then proofed at room temp. 12 hours.
    Covered 30 min at 475, then 15 min at 425.

    • By the way, I just tried this again using the larger amount of starter,
      and this time 9 oz didn’t seem to be enough water to make the dough hold together. I guess I’ve added closer to 10 or 10.5 to this one. I guess you can’t be too hard and fast with it, but in any case
      it seems much safer to err on the side of less, since you can always add more; I found that 12 oz (1.5 cups) was just too much when I tried it.

    • Peggy Bjarno

      I have been struggling off and on for years to get The Sourdough Bread that I want. I work on it for weeks or months, and then I give up. Then I decide to try again, and I work for weeks or months, and. . . you get the idea.
      Two weeks ago I dragged the dried up starter that I had been ignoring for TWO YEARS, out of the back of my fridge! Believe it or not, I was able to revive it after four or five days. I’ve been babying it, feeding it, talking to it, for the last two weeks, and this afternoon I baked my first loaf, using the no-knead method for sourdough.
      NOT perfect, but I’m going to keep trying (again) and hope to get it right this time. Any comments will be GRATEFULLY received!!
      This is what I observed: After adding the starter, water, flour and salt, I left it covered and warm (a heating pad on low, covered with several dish towels to reduce the heat further) for 16 hours. It looked gorgeous, a nice fat sponge in my bowl. When I poured it onto my floured surface I realized that it was entirely too wet. I worked some flour in, and more flour (gently, about 1 1/4 cup) and more flour, and was finally able to spread it, fold it appropriately, and put it into my proofing basket. Where it sat for an hour and a half, with oven and cast iron dutch oven with lid preheating the last 30 minutes. After proofing, I inverted the basket onto parchment, and the dough immediately started spreading — still too wet, BIG TIME! I lifted it into the dutch oven, trimmed the parchment, covered it and put it into the oven, lowering the temp to 450. I uncovered it after 25 minutes, finished it in another 10. Color is lovely, pattern on top is lovely, but. . .
      Well. . . You KNOW what the loaf looked like. Almost a pancake.
      I have taken my starter out of the fridge and am preparing it again for another try. I’m good for another few weeks of trials. The crust on this loaf is perfect, and the TASTE of this loaf was WONDERFUL, in spite of the density of the bread itself. It’s enough to keep me going. I envy people whose posts I read about “Oh well, I don’t even measure anymore, I just know when it ‘feels right’ ” and I’m hoping to BE THERE someday. I want to be the person who brings a fresh loaf to the potluck with unsalted butter and everyone says OMIGOD this is awesome how do you DO IT? And I’ll say, “Oh, it was nothing. I don’t even measure anymore. . .

      Thanks for the soapbox!

      • Hi Peggy,

        A couple things come to mind. It’s amazing how much faster dough proofs with even a moderate increase in temperature. So proofing your dough on the heating pad (even at low) could easily have caused the dough to over proof and turn to soup. If you just go with whatever your normal room temperature is next time, it might work out a lot better. Even at that, it often doesn’t take 16 hours to be ready for the second rise in a proofing basket. This is where experience comes in handy to be able to judge the timing on the various stages of baking.

        The other thing is simply that you may need to add a bit more flour at the beginning next time. Or some combination of this and the above point.

        Keep at it and you’ll be fine.

        • Peggy Bjarno

          Over-proofing. . . Interesting. I guess what I REALLY need to do is take meticulous notes about times, temps and when I add what (how much). I never thought about it being OVER PROOFED! Wow.
          Okay, I’m in the first couple of weeks of this effort (this time) so I’m not discouraged. Yet. I do thank you for the encouragement. I’ve turned off the heating pad on this batch, and will see what happens tomorrow.


  4. Leslie

    I like a little wheat germ in my bread. Could I add a half cup to the no knead process without any ill effects?

  5. Bert

    I do not have a dutch oven yet but started my bread last night what temp and for how long should I bake it?

    Thank you

    • If you’re baking it uncovered, you might want to reduce the temp by 50 degrees or so and maybe bake it a bit longer. The real answer is bake it until it’s done. When the internal temp reaches about 210 as measured by an instant read thermometer, or when you get a hollow sound when thumping the bottom of the loaf.

    • Saramcinky

      You can use a stainless mixing bowl inverted over a pizza stone/cookie sheet in lieu of a Dutch oven.

  6. Marie Taylor

    Hi, I have your sour dough starter and love it. It is so strong and very lively. I have made bread with it twice now. The first time was a flop but that was my fault. I let it rise and rest way too long. I think the whole process too 2 days. The second just the other day was better and the taste is wonderful. My problem is the bread is so dense and thick, the bread doesn’t have any of the airiness to it I see in your pictures and those of others. What can I do to lighten up the dough some. Thanks

    • I think that could be several things. Could be not enough rise time, or temperature too cold during rise. It might be a weak starter, but you already said it was strong and lively. It also might be the same problem I had with this recipe- too much water in the dough. Try reducing the amount of water to 9-10.5 oz.

  7. Sara

    Does the water need to be warm? Also, why is tap water bad if it’s been chlorinated? Does it prevent it from rising?

    • Eric Olsson

      I don’t think the water needs to be warm because the proofing time is so long. Other sourdough recipes with shorter proofing times tend to explicitly call for lukewarm water.

      The chlorine present in tapwater will kill a weak starter, and will cause a strong starter to work more slowly (since it will kill off some of the culture). However you can eliminate almost all of the chlorine in tapwater by filling a container and letting it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. The bubbles you’ll probably see forming on the sides of the container largely consist of chlorine gas which had previously been dissolved in the water.

  8. I just pulled the loaf from the oven. So precious, gorgeous scent of pure true bread.
    I’ve used this recipe so many times, I don’t really know how many loaves I’ve made!
    It certainly is my go to recipe.
    Thanks again Eric, love this and so many more of your recipes.

  9. rod


  10. Gayle

    I just made my first sourdough boule using your starter and recipe. It’s great! One thing, I’m using an enameled cast iron Dutch oven, with parchment paper, but it did begin to burn on the bottom. Any suggestions how to prevent this?

    • Great looking bread!

      A lot of people have had success placing a cookie sheet under their Dutch oven to prevent the bottom of the loaf from burning. It might also help to just lower the temp a bake a bit longer.

      • Margie

        They make black oven liner sheets. I cut thses in half and put them in the bottom of my baker. I also leave my loaf in a parchment paper sling tp final rise & also leave that in the pot for the final bake. Doing both of those things keeps my bread from burning.

  11. Margaret

    I’ve never achieved such great oven spring! Thanks so much for this tutorial. Looking forward to enjoying some truly amazing looking sourdough bread! :)

  12. Joanne

    This is my first time baking bread of any kind. I did not plan the timing well at all. My dough has been rising beautifully for 9 hours but it’s time for bed. I just put it in the fridge until tomorrow. Once I take it out for the second rise, how long is too long before baking? Also, what if I don’t want to bake all of the bread I seem to be “growing”? Can I partially bake, then freeze it?

  13. Ann

    I have been a fan of breadtopia for a long time and I also have Jim Lahey’s book which got me started on the no-knead method of bread making. I am now into sour dough and have put together a great starter using potatoes. I now want to use the sour dough but I want to make an olive loaf. I think I can leave out the yeast in my best recipe for an olive loaf and use a long rise. Also should I cut back on the salt since the olives are so salty. Any suggestions.

    • Hi Ann,

      I’m sure you can cut back a bit on the salt. I cut back quite a lot on my olive parmesan recipe but the parmesan is quite salty too.

  14. Stefan

    The original New York Times is OK. Dont change anything in receipe as hydratation, maybe switch to sourdough! That 70% hydratation is the secret!!!!
    I put on a silicon backing paper to rise that very wet dough, and together with backing paper I drop easy it in the hot wok! Not Big deal!
    I bake all, but that bread is phenomenal simply and very tasty!!!!! Ideal for today busy woman.

  15. Aubre

    I may have missed any posts mentioneing whether this dough may be placed into a loaf pan. So far I’ve used the dutch oven and the bread dome and wondered about a more uniform shaping

    • Sure, you can bake in a loaf pan. But you might want to reduce the heat some and/or tent the loaf with foil so the top doesn’t burn. With most bread recipes, you wouldn’t bake at as high a temp as you can get away with when baking in a covered vessel.

  16. bülent

    i also use enamel cast iron pan. I use the fan setting in the oven. I first used the lid for 20 minutes and 10 min no lid. The sourdoughbread was crusty in the bottom and soft at the top. with experimentation i found that no lid was necessary for an equal crust on top and bottom.

    One of my other experiment was; i do the second rising directly in the cast iron pan. When the oven reaches the 500 degrees I just put the pan in. 30 minutes later the bread comes out fine. Nicely risen but every now and then I get cracks. I try to eliminate large cracks by making lots of deep slashes. Yet still get them though smaller. I need more experimentations.

  17. Mark sutton

    Anyone using big green egg for sourdough baking? Especially in sw England

    • Anita

      A regular gas grill has worked for me, with some experimentation-

    • Nancy

      I bake in the egg all the time. Maintain the temperature you want and resist the temptation to open up for a peek. Bake the bread wit the plate setter and pizza stone set up.

  18. Michelle

    I have made this no knead recipe many many times over the east year pretty every week. But every once in a while my loaf sticks to the pan and I can’t get it out of the hot pan without pretty much destroying the loaf. Has anyone else experienced this or know what may be causing it. It’s happened to me 3 times now, very frustrating as I just don’t know what I am doing to cause that. Thanks to anyone who has an answer.

    • anniebl

      I just made my second loaf – I’m using the ceramic inside of an old crock pot as my “Dutch oven” – first loaf stuck although I’d greased it and used some corn meal as anti-stick. This second loaf came out smooth as butter because I put it on parchment paper, which I’d also sprinkled with corn meal. 45 minutes at 450 degrees, nothing stuck, nothing burned.

    • CarolynF

      Hi Michelle,
      You don’t say what type of vessel you’re baking your bread in, which would make a difference, i.e., glass, metal, clay, enamel? If you scrub your vessel and thus remove the “seasoning” that might cause sticking. (Just speculating in an effort to help.)

      I always spray a tiny bit of oil on the bottom and dust with wheat bran and haven’t had any problem.

      • Michelle

        Thank you so much for your reply. I always use my oval creuset roasting pan which I have been using for about a year now to make the bread. Have never oiled and dusted it will try that next time.

        • SixBalloons

          Corn meal works like a charm for me and my oval le creuset. When I make cheese or raisin breads I always use parchment b/c a scorched raisin burn was enough of a lesson for my precious pot.

        • Anita

          Yes, I had the same problem with the enameled cast iron, so I let the dough rise on parchment and then drop the parchment and all into the pot to bake- keeps it nice and unstained. The parchment is sturdy and usually can be reused several times, even if slightly discolored.

    • Ann

      I have found using parchment paper is great. I do the second rise right on top of the parchment and cover with plastic wrap. When the pan is hot I transfer the whole dough right into the hot pan. I used to have a sticking problem with my clay pots but now I use a Le Cruset and don’t even have to use cornmeal or anything. I take away the paper for the last 15 mins. when the lid is off.

  19. Annie's

    I am so confused. 1 cup is 5 ounces? 2 1/2 cups is 11 oz? What am I missing?

    • CarolynF

      Hi Annnie,
      I see what you mean, I don’t think I noticed that before and I’ve been making this bread for a few years now. The information above does say:
      “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.”

      That stmt about leeway is quite true especially if you measure rather than weigh the flour. That said — I weigh the flour and generally use 4 oz of White Whole Wheat and 12 oz of bread flour.

      If you really want to dig deeper, you can find a conversion chart at the King Arthur site that shows what one cup weighs for each type of ingredient they sell.

      • anniebl

        Thanks! I weighed and experimented a bit – 5 oz of wheat flour with 11 oz of white bread flour, plus 1 1/2 cups of water does the trick. I’d never cooked before using a scale! First loaf was great, second was better.

  20. Slim

    THANK YOU! I can make regular bread pretty easily, but the no-knead kind had me baffled. Your recipe and your tips (12-14 hours, then 45 minutes for me) have saved me — I baked a loaf this morning and my husband called me as I was on my way to work to tell me how good it is.

  21. Diana Dietrich

    I followed all the instructions for sourdough starter, I substituted oj for the pineapple juice, it reacted the same way as seen in your video.
    I flowed the instructions for the no kneed sourdough bread, unfortunately after baking the bread it was flatter and more dense than the beautiful loaf created in the video :-( I wonder where I made a mistake?

  22. Devon

    I just tasted my new variation on your Spelt Bread recipe. I was actually making Kefir while I was putting together the Spelt Dough and tossed in 2 tablespoons of orange peel. I use it in the Second Ferment of my Kefir. Oh my, what a lovely aroma and taste the Spelt Bread had. The recipe you provided worked great. You might just try throwing a couple of tablespoons of orange peel. Yum.

    • CarolynF

      The orange peel sounds yummy, I’ll make a note and try it some time. Love the spelt! Thanks for sharing your idea.

  23. Steph P.

    I just have to say, I’m new to this whole sourdough thing and I’m new to this whole no-knead thing, and I made a delicious loaf that combined the two today! My starter is only a week and a half old, and it is only increasing by about 1/3 at the moment, so I decided to just use the sourdough starter for flavor and still add the quarter teaspoon of yeast. I weighed the amount of starter I put in (all that I needed to dump out to refresh the starter), divided that number in half and subtracted that from the total amount of both water and flour that I needed, and added in the rest of the ingredients so it was all the right proportions. My oh my, it turned out GREAT! It tastes as good (or better) as any sourdough loaf I’ve had. I also added a wholegrain mix to give it some texture. I’m hooked on the no knead/sourdough combo. What a winner!

    • Excellent. Thanks for the post.

  24. dave

    tell me if i’m thinking this right please,, If my baguette recipe calls for 1/4 tsp of yeast i use 1/4cup of sour dough starter, to replace that sour dough starter in my mason jar i would add 1/8 cup water and 1/8 cup of flour and mix it back into my old starter. and to maintain the starter on a refrigerated level i feed onceevery two weeks by spilling out half then add half back again as above???? is the right??? i want to save the starter mostly. thanks dave

    • CarolynF

      Sounds good, but typically there is more flour than water so it doesn’t get too thin. I use Eric’s video as a guideline for how thick it should look. There is also a link on the side of this page on how to maintain your starter, in case you haven’t seen it yet.

  25. Annick

    I have baked the spelt sour dough bread twice already. Comes out perfect. I have used white spelt flour and whole grain spelt flour. I use this website’s recipe for sour dough starter (with pine apple juice), which I keep in my fridge in a glass preserve jar. I have named the sour dough starter “Catherine the Great” (my favourite Russian empress). When I want to bake, I take out two tablespoons from the original starter, put it in a plastic container and add two tablespoons of whole grain spelt flour, 1 tablespoon of pine apple juice and 1 table spoon of mineral water. Leave it for 12 hours (covered and at room temperature) and then it’s ready for use in your recipe of choice.

    Today, I have started the basic sour dough recipe using LeMaire flour ( I’ll let you know how it worked out by tomorrow evening.

  26. prachi

    I halved the original no-knead recipe, and 1/8 cup sourdough starter. The dough didn’t rise as much as I’d expected over 18 hours in the fridge, and was very wet. I had a hard time shaping it. I left it to rise a bit longer than two hours the second time and it rose a lot eventually, but it was still incredibly wet when I put it in the oven. It also had a lovely crumb, with lots of big holes, and tasted good, but the crust was chewy. The whole loaf became chewier the next morning. Does this sound right? I have only a tiny Oven-Toaster-Grill where the coil is close to the loaf. I wonder if the crust was overdone in the last 15 minutes of open baking.

  27. John

    The Poilâne bread has become my favorite. My graitude for posting this recipe. I’m wondering if anyone has split this dough into two in order to fit into smaller proofing baskets (8″ seems too small) and if so how did it effect the baking times?

    • Carolyn F

      I do several variations of the SD bread recipes given here. I almost always divide it into either 2 small loaves or 2 trays of 6 dinner rolls each. The baking time ends up being the same regardless of size. But I always check the internal temp. to be sure.

    • Greg

      Hi John,
      I don’t have experience with Poilane, but in general, dividing a dough into smaller pieces reduces the baking time.

  28. Jodie

    I’m very new to the wonderful world of wild yeast starter and have been enjoying the experience! I’m so glad to have discovered Breadtopia as the other site I was learning from now seems to have much to learn themselves :) I watched a video last night for making sourdough bread and decided to give my second starter (whole wheat and rye) a try. I’ve had the dough rising for almost 10 hours so far. When I touch it, it springs back but not completely, as demonstrated in the video I watched. Rising time in the video however was 18 hours. Do I wait that long or bake sooner? I guess I don’t even really need to ask. It’s all experimentation at this point and I am writing down what I’ve done in case I ever want to replicate it. Pineapple juice is on my list as I really want to try a starter with that! So maybe I’ll just end this post by saying THANK YOU for sharing all your information!

    • Greg


      I think you’re on the right track. My best advice is not to think of each loaf as a critical mission into space so much as a golf swing. Pay attention to what you’ve done each time and build on your successes.



    • Carolyn F

      Hi Jodie,

      Welcome to the addiction we call sourdough! When the dough has doubled in size you need to move on. Don’t use the clock to decide. Different climates, homes, starters, etc. can result in a wide variety of rising times. If the dough more than doubles you’ll get a poor rise when you bake. In the beginning I had no sense for what “doubled” looked like. I started using an 8-cup measuring bowl so I could see the actual amount of dough when I first mixed it and then when it had doubled.

      If you want to hold the dough for a longer period put it in the refrigerator for a few hours, up to a couple of days, shortly after you’ve mixed it. The long rise gives it more character but isn’t mandatory. Using the refrigerator can also give you more flexibility in choosing when to mix and when to bake. I can mix the dough anytime of the day and then take it out to rise whenever it suits me.

      Good luck and have fun!

      • Jodie

        Thanks Greg and Carolyn! I baked my bread (whole wheat and rye) and had great success! I don’t use white flour ever and of course don’t expect (or even prefer) soft and fluffy bread but I was surprised at the bubble holes I had. I can’t wait to make my next loaf and credit my recent success ot your site. I also used vital wheat gluten, so maybe that helped as well. I wouldn’t know for sure unless I omit it next time. I’m just so thrilled to be able to make 100% organic bread at home as I was never able to find organic store bought yeast. Wild yeast rocks! :)

      • Jodie

        Thanks Greg and Carolyn! I baked my bread (whole wheat and rye) and had great success! I don’t use white flour ever and of course don’t expect (or even prefer) soft and fluffy bread but I was surprised at the bubble holes I had. I can’t wait to make my next loaf and credit my recent success to your site. I also used vital wheat gluten, so maybe that helped as well. I wouldn’t know for sure unless I omit it next time. I’m just so thrilled to be able to make 100% organic bread at home as I was never able to find organic store bought yeast. Wild yeast rocks! :)

  29. Jimmy

    I have had good results at every stage of sourdough making process except the result. I’m in australia and our fan forced oven can only heat to 482 F. I have attempted to cook the bread with similar cooking times as recommended in the video but it remains doughy despite being crisp on the outside and full of lovely holes. I intend to try a longer bake time to try and accommodate for the lower temperatures I can create. Any recommendations would be appreciated to get my perfect loaf…. So close yet so far

    • Anita

      Your bread does sound like it’s perfect- Are you waiting until it is completely cool before cutting it- like several hours? If you cut it while still warm it can be gummy and will compress the texture. Also, check the temperature of the loaf with a baking thermometer to see if it has reached 205-210 degrees. Seems like 482 degrees oven should be OK. Maybe baking freeform on a stone would let more moisture evaporate than in a pot. Ask a local sourdough bakery for suggestions re your climate there.
      Good luck!

    • Carolyn F

      I have a gas oven and I bake at 475 F. with good results. Anita made some good suggestions. Using an instant read thermometer to get the internal temp. will tell you a lot. One other thought… is it rising well during baking? If the dough more than doubled during the first rise and you aren’t getting enough rise later, it could be too dense and then maybe not baking long enough to cook the center well.

      Good luck, it’s worth the effort to resolve the problem!

      • Jimmy

        Thanks Carolyn and Anita, I will tinker with those suggestions. Glad to hear my oven is capable. I will adjust rise time, and attempt to resist checking till it has cooled.
        I won’t give up that’s for sure.

  30. Tammy

    So the second proofing sent me here to message board. I didn’t think I saw any activity during the first hour. And, yes, someone did say that you might not see much for the second proofing. I did end up proofing one additional hour and did see enough rise to feel better.
    Fortunately, though, someone did talk about “burning.” I checked mine at 15 minutes and sure enough the bottom was quite dark already. I placed it on a rack and finished it for about another half-an-hour at 450. The loaf turned out nice and sour, had a crisp crust, and a dense crumb.

  31. Great tutorial! I am working my way through the second rise now! I do wish that it had shown the steps (including transfer to the baking dish) using the towel method — for those of us who to not have a proofing basket. I wonder if you still invert it, or if you pick it up and drop it in? I also wonder if it affects the way the dough rises (on the counter, there is room to spread out instead of up). We shall see!

  32. Melissa Nielsen

    I think my start is dead. I struggled with it for a few weeks and then I was hospitalized for 9 days and it went unattended. When I came home I started feeding it again and nothing. It is so sad :( should I buy a new start?

    • Sherry

      Was it stored in the refrigerator? Did you stir it well after feeding? If it was healthy before, it should survive for many months in the refrigerator without “tending.” If it wasn’t lively before, it may still need some time at room temp and repeated small feedings to get going.

    • Carolyn F

      Just pour off the liquid on top. Use a spoonful of the starter, mix with a spoonful of flour and a bit less un-chlorinated water. Keep in a nice warm spot for 6 to 24 hours. At some point it should start showing signs of life again. When it gets a bit bubbly, toss out half and repeat the process. Keep that up until it’s nice a active again. Working with small amounts reduces the amount you’ll be wasting while you’re revitalizing it. When it’s nice and active again go ahead and increase the amount again. It can take 2 or 3 days sometimes. But if you left it in the fridge for only a week or two it should be in good shape. No Worries! Mine gets ignored for 2-3 months some times!

  33. Eva

    I have made this bread several times and it always turned out great. The last 2 times though, it has turned out flat. I have no idea why now all of the sudden- I can’t get it to turn out right. So frustrated-HELP!

    • Carolyn F

      Hi Eva,
      My guess would be one of two probable causes, you’re sourdough isn’t strong enough – it should double in size within 4 hours in a warm place, or your dough proofed too long and more than doubled.

      • Eva

        Thank you. I let the dough rise for 17 hrs. I think maybe you’re right- the weather is warming up and maybe a shorter rise time, although I do use a proofing box and usually let the dough rise at 70 degrees for 17 hrs. It’s never been a problem before and my starter is always proofed 1st. Maybe I will try 8-9 hr rise and little less water.

        • Carolyn F

          The number of hours isn’t the important thing, it’s the amount of rise. I learned to judge whether the dough is ACTUALLY doubled. In the beginning I mixed the dough in an 8 cup measure so I knew how much I was starting with. I left it in there to rise so I could tell when it was doubled — 6 cups.

          Using the recipe here at breadtopia the dough always measured about 3 cups, so when it grew to 6 cups it was done whether that was 6 hours or 18 hours. Now I let it rise in a 6-cup bowl. When the bowl is full, it’s done!

          • Eva

            Thank you! In order to time my starter being ready and making the dough- can I put my dough in the fridge over night and take it our the next morning to rise? I try to time my breads to come out of the oven about an hour before dinner. I have method I use to make my starter more sour and it takes about 8-10 hrs for that as I use time and temp control for that.

            • Carolyn F

              Yes, definitely. I always put mine in the refrigerator for several hours up to 2 days. It took me 2 or 3 times before I knew how long it needed to rise after refrigeration. And there’s always some variation so be flexible if you can.

            • Eva

              I made my dough last night, put it in the fridge and tood it out this morning at 5:45 am. By 3pm it was ready for the 2nd proof. It came out of the oven with the best oven spring yet. Thank you thank you thank you!

            • Carolyn F

              Eva… I’m so happy it worked out! Congratulations and thanks for letting everyone know what you did and the results.

    • Beryl

      Hi Eva,
      Make sure to feed your starter several times before using it in the bread. If I have not used my starter for awhile, I might actually feed the starter 3 or 4 times (with 2 hour intervals allowing the starter to bubble). The nay other suggestion is if the weather has become warmer as it has here in the NY/NJ area, your rise time will be much shorter (maybe as little as 8-10 hours) If you let the dough rise too long it collapses and loses its spunk and will not rise during the baking. You really want the dough to double during the rise. The only other thing I can think of is that the dough is just so dry (or wet) that it cannot rise.
      Hope this helps a bit. Personally after making this bread for several years now, I feel like all the obsession on weighing and measuring is a bit exaggerated. After a while, one gets a “feel” for how much water and flour to add!
      Best luck,

  34. joanne

    hi. i’ve been trying to make the no-knead sourdough bread but every time i make it it comes out very wet after the first proofing. i’m not sure what i’m doing wrong. i measure out the ingredients by weight. i’ve had great success with the no knead baguette from the foodwishes blog. please help!!!

    • Carolyn F

      Hi Joanne,
      Although the dough should be fairly wet (watch the video again) if you want it dryer you can do a couple of things.
      1. Use a starter that’s thicker (reduce the amt. of water when preparing it.
      2. Add more flour than you did before,
      – or –
      3. Don’t add all the water stated in the recipe. Measure it out, but don’t actually add it unless you feel it’s too dry. I do this most of the time actually.

      It’s okay to alter the amounts, just experiment a little. But I’d suggest doing just ONE of these at a time so you can easily repeat or adjust your steps the next time, and be sure to write down what you did! :-)

      • joanne

        Thanks Carolyn for your help.
        I did try to add more flour but then it became too dense.
        I’ll try it again but, it doesn’t seem overly wet when I initially make the dough before the first rise. BTW, I used the same exact recipe with instant yeast and have not had any issues.

  35. Maura brickman

    Try using a handful of white rice flour rubbed unto cloth instead of corn meal or bran. It is magical – dough never sticks to the cloth.

  36. Gerry

    Up until today the art of a decent sourdough loaf has eluded me. I am not too proud to admit that I’ve never had an chewy, airy crumb. Even if my bread has been tasty and well appreciated at home, it has always been my own private little failure.
    However I set to work yesterday on the ‘no knead sourdough’ and now have two fantastic loaves sitting on the counter. Maybe an expert would find fault with my achievement but I feel I’ve scarfed enough sandwiches over the years to be able to know a good loaf when one hits my palate and these I cannot fault.
    I used cast iron casserole pots, (Dutch ovens) which I had never tried before.
    The bread is not especially sour so I might give the fridge method a shot at some point. In the meantime, and noticing it has begun to snow outside I’m of to have a sandwich.
    A big thanks from the frozen north.

    • Gorgeous loaves! Your perseverance sure paid off.

  37. Greg

    Lisa, that looks great! Yay!

    I just worked out a way that I can get back to a daily sourdough loaf like I used to do. My neighbor has agreed to take on my spare loaves. I just leave it on their front porch in the morning. They take it to work or whatever. Yay!

  38. Lisa

    SUPER-stoked… my “pineapple solution” starter is quite robust at about 3-4 weeks old, made rolls for Easter last weekend that were “ok,” but here’s my first attempt at a loaf… it had a beautiful rise, smelled amazing -a little sour :) – before, during, and after baking (used la cloche)… just came out of the oven, so haven’t cut into it yet… it’s crusty & crackling… SUCCESS! It didn’t turn out a brick. :D Yay! And Double-yay!

    • Lisa

      This was the best bread I have ever made! Thick, crisp crust & soft, chewy, open crumb. Lovely flavor. I used a little whole wheat flour in this loaf, but will be starting another tonight that’s all regular bread flour, my husband’s preference. I got some sriracha vodka tonight, so tomorrow night, we’ll be enjoying fresh-baked bread with a hopefully tasty twist on pasta & vodka sauce.
      I can’t thank Breadtopia creators & contributors enough for helping me take our household’s kitchen adventures to the next level. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! :D

  39. Devon

    Dear Niki,
    I decided I wanted to learn how to make bread. It has been a journey. I bought a 6 quart Lodge Dutch Oven from Walmart because I did not want to spend a lot of money until I learned how to make good bread. I also burned the bottoms of my bread at a 500 degree oven. I live in Long Beach, CA. I think location changes up the game. Here is what I learned.
    Take a non-stick cake pan. Sprinkle half a handful of corn meal in it. The pan seems to help the dough keep its shape. I form the boule from the sour dough that has risen at least 12 hours. I scrape the dough on to a floured counter top. Form a boule by folding the dough from the left over 2/3s and then to the right over 2/3s and finally folding it in half from top to bottom as described on this marvelous website. I let it rest on the counter for ten minutes. Next I lift the boule with my hands and set it in the cake pan with corn meal sprinkled on the bottom. I cover it with a towel and let it rise for a second time for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile I heat the Dutch oven to 450 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I score the dough and then brush it with an egg wash. I put on my long oven mitts, take the Dutch oven out and carefully set the dough in the cake pan inside the Dutch oven. I let it cook 30 minutes. I remove the lid and let it cook 7 or 8 minutes more. See the results. It comes out like this pretty consistently. Get long oven mitts. I burned my arms a bunch of times getting this move down. Wear a jacket if you only have short mitts. Hope this helps. Don’t give up!

    • Devon

      Niki, I wanted you to see a picture of my Dutch Oven. After a year and a half it looks like a war horse. I also put in a cake pan and about how much corn meal I use to give you an idea. A picture is worth a thousand words. Good luck!

  40. I have made this loaf about 10 times using a cast iron dutch oven and also using a crock pot- pot with a glass lid. No matter the vessel, it has come out of the oven scortched black on the bottom, every time (it was actually less scortched with the crockpot- pot). Tonight I used the cast iron vessel, baked it for 13 minutes at 500 with the lid on, 5 minutes at 445 with the lid still on, and then at 430 with the lid off for about 3 or 4 minutes. The bottom is STILL burned!
    I know it seems silly to keep trying this recipe, but the flavor is soooooo good – once I cut off the bottom crust. Do you have any suggestions?

    • pio

      use parchment paper

      • Surely not while it is preheating at 500? So would I just lay the parchment in the pot, then flip the dough into it?

        • Sherry

          I have a loaf pan and several other baking containers that can fit inside my large clay baker. Often I do the final proof in one of those, ALWAYS lined with parchment. I pre-heat the clay pot (with lid), then when the dough is ready, place the entire loaf pan inside the clay pot. 400 or 450 works better in my oven. And sometimes I don’t even use the clay pot, I just put a pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven, the dough in its parchment-lined pan into the oven, & am still happy with the results. It’s just a little less artisan-y but still delicious and sliceable for sandwiches.

    • Regina

      Use the La Cloche

    • Anita

      When my bottom crust burned, I tried lowering the heat by 25 degrees, moving up to the second rack from the bottom, and using parchment paper. I let my boule rise on a large piece of parchment in a basket, then I lift it up by the corners and place the whole thing into the pot. Another tip that has worked well is to crumple some aluminum foil to make a slightly raised base or platform in your pot, and then bake the bread on top of that. All of these helped, it just took some experimenting.

    • Dave

      Niki: Had the same problem, and tried many unsatisfactory solutions, and many burned bottoms. I now go with putting a trivet on the bottom of my cast iron dutch oven, and on top of that I put the bottom of my spring form pan, then the bread on top of the pan. I found for me that about 35 to 40 minutes at 450 is perfect. I also do not remove the lid, as that just seems to scorch the top.
      My bread, in my location / stove turns out perfect this way.

    • Judy

      Could the burning problem be related to uneven heat in the oven?

  41. Tracey-ann

    Thanks Beryl for your thoughts. With the adding the flour, are you referring to just before the first, or the second proof? Its good to know that a longer bake time can work out well, I will see how I go with that.

    • Beryl

      Hi Tracey-ann,
      I was referring to the time after the 18-24 hour rise, when you turn the dough out onto a floured board, fold it and briefly form into a ball and then place it in a proofing basket. When the dough goes through its long rise (initially) it seems to get much “wetter: so sometimes I add a bit of flour to my hands and the surface of the sponge so that it doesn’t stick too much!

  42. Beryl

    Hi Tracey -Ann
    I find that adding just enough flour so as to have the dough not stick too much to my hands when folding it and putting it in the proofing basket (I just use the same bowl with a spritz of olive oil in it) does the trick. If anything when the weather is cooler I let the initial period go as long as 24 hours–until the dough really doubles in size but does not collapse. I always bake the dough in a 500 degree oven (preheated for 30 minutes!) for 1 full hour and then 15 minutes uncovered at 450! Give it a try ! Best of luck!

  43. Tracey-ann

    Thanks for the recipe and video, I have been experimenting for a couple of months now and my loaf is sticky when cooked, and too dense. The taste is great though which is a plus. I have tried less water and different resting times now it is getting cooler here (Aus) but it is still too sticky. I have also tried a longer cooking time (45 and 15min). Any ideas? Thanks! My oven spring is lovely though :-)

  44. Lori

    I love the flavor of this bread! Still new to baking bread, and I was wondering if there’s a way to get the crust a bit softer? I have extensive dental work, and I’d hate to break a tooth on hard bread (as much as I love it.) Not eating the crust isn’t an option with me, it’s my favorite part.

    Is there something I can add to my dough, or alternative baking times/temperatures? I have a LaCloche oblong clay baker.

  45. Ina

    Hi, is it possible to leave out some of the sweetener? Sometimes I think the bread is a little too sweet for me.

    • Greg

      Hi Ina,

      To which recipe are you referring? The one shown above has no sweetener.

      • Ina

        Oh sorry, meant to say spelt sourdough recipe!

  46. Greg

    Hello Eric, All,

    I’ve seen that rice flour is the recommended treatment for proofing basket cloths. What about rice flour makes it so effective?

    If it’s because of it having little or no gluten, and/or high starch content, I wonder if powdered corn starch would be effective as well?


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