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 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. michelle

    I am sitting here trying to contain myself!!! So excited for my first sour dough loaf to be done!! I started my own starter last week, and thought I would have to chuck it… having no experience with sour dough I didn’t know what to expect. And after reading others opinions I was beginning to get discouraged….. but it worked!!! The bread looks amazing!! Thank you for your pineapple starter recipe!! Now I have to gain some self control to not cut into it before it is cool…..better to leave the house :]

    • One’s first steps, first kiss, and first sour dough bread are the things that make life worth living….

      • That’s wonderful, Michelle.

        Stuart – Best quote ever!

  2. Kevin F

    Thanks for the tutorial, I just tried my first loaf using fresh milled Prairie Gold Wheat Berries. I would call it a success. Hand flipping or should I say belly flopping into a dutch oven is a bit tricky.

    • Kevin F

      An additional picture of the two loaves. The second one is still crackling.

    • Les V

      Next time transfer the dough into the dutch oven with a piece of parchment paper. I place the parchment paper over the proofing basket then flip it over onto the counter. Gather up the corners of the parchment paper, pick it up, and drop into the dutch oven. Then when it’s done you can take it back out the same way.

    • I let the loaf proof on baking paper,itself sitting on a small cutting board.When the bread has finished rising, just slide it onto the schlemtopft (dutch oven) holding the cutting board at a 45 degree angle. Never fails….

  3. Les V

    I haven’t posted anything here in a while, but am still here checking in now and then. Here is my latest loaf, it sure was good. Have another proofing right now. Thanks again to the folks at Breadtopia, and all the folks who take the time to comment and ask and answer questions.

  4. Bénoît Segond von Banchet

    Can you please be more specific about the 1/4 cup sourdough?
    I am interested in the weight and the hydratation percentage…
    Thanks in advance!


    • Les V

      Since nobody else has chimed in, I keep my starter at about 100% hydration and it works fine. I haven’t weighed the 1/4 cupful, but I will next time I bake and report back.

      • Les V

        My 1/4 cup of starter weighs about 62 grams.

        • Bénoît Segond von Banchet

          Thank you for the info; next week I’ll have a new try :)

          • Les V

            Great! Be sure to let us know how it goes.

        • Bénoît Segond von Banchet

          Recalculating tthat would make:

          454 gr flour (16 cups)
          62 gr sourdough 100% hydration
          355 ml water
          I’ll have 1,5% salt from (454 + 0.5×62)= 7.3 gr

          The dough will have a hydration 79.6 % (very wet…)

          • Bénoît Segond von Banchet

            correction: 454 gr flour (16 oz.)

            • Bénoît Segond von Banchet

              My formula this time:

              500 gr wholegrain speltflour
              25 gr flax
              15 gr mixed rinsed quinoa (10% red. 90% white)
              80 gr rye starter (100% hydration)
              8 gr salt
              390 gr water

              resulting in a dough of 74% hydration.

              As I thought it a pity to loose air by the stretching and folding after the long proofing, I decided to apply (several) stretch & folds much earlier in the process:
              after 2 hours I made twice a stretch, triple fold, 90 degrees turn, stretch, triple fold; repeated this 3 times about 45 minutes later each and let it proof afterwards overnight (about 12 hours) in a clothed banneton which I richly treated with oat bran.
              From there directly into the hot dutch oven, scored in the dough in the oven and baked 30′ @ 240 Celsius with lid closed and 15 minutes without lid @ 220 Celsius.

            • Les V

              How did it turn out?

  5. Sue

    I received the sourdough starter and it came to life perfectly. I have made the no knead bread according to the recipe twice with it. It is VERY sour. Unlike most folks who are making comments, I’d like it to be less sour. Can I reduce the amount of starter? I am mixing it, leaving for 18 hours on the counter, and then rising and baking in a Dutch oven.

    • CarolynF

      Hi Sue,
      Have you tried using yeast instead of sourdough?

      Or, if you shorten the rise time (by putting it in a warmer spot) it might be less sour. This is reverse psychology because to make it more sour you lengthen the time by putting it in the fridge for a couple of days.

      If I’m in a hurry, I place the bowl of dough in my microwave with the door ajar so the light comes on. It’s not hot, but definitely warmer than the counter.

      • Sue

        Previous to getting the starter, I’ve made the no knead version with yeast several times with good success – but I’d like a bit of sour. I ‘ll try shortening the initial rise time in a warmer place this weekend.

    • Christine Hunt

      Feed more often and leave it on the counter. Like anything else the more you dilute it the less intense it will be.

  6. Fred

    Last week I put the dough in the fridge for 5 days and then baked it. It was the most intense sourdough bread I have ever eaten. While it was still good, I will not repeat that. I think that 3 days in the fridge is max for me.

  7. piazzi

    This was my first bread, and it turned just wonderful

    thanks you

    would I have to make any adjustments if I wanted to add ground flax to the recipe?

    • Fred

      I just made a loaf with cracked flax seeds. I used the water I use to make the dough to soak the seeds overnight and didn’t add any more water to the dough, which ended up being a little stiffer than it usually is. When I baked it it didn’t rise as much as it usually does. Next time I will trust my hands regarding the wetness/dryness of the dough and add a little more water.

      • stuart

        No matter how meticulously one follows a recipe, or just experiments, always trust your better judgement! Good call…

  8. just curious why Fred soaked the flax seed. i’ve often added ground flaxseed and/or wheat bran to my bread flour for their nutritional value-dry. i’d have too many photos of lovely loaves-some flops, but great journey along the no knead road! love it!

    • Fred

      Margie, The baker I got them from soaks them so they will give better oven spring. However, as I said before, they get very ‘goopy’ when soaked. The next phase of the experiment is underway. I put the flax seeds in dry and put the dough in the fridge for five days. I will then proof it and bake it. I will submit my report on the outcome when it is done.

  9. Melva

    I’m having trouble with the audio on the Sourdough No-Knead video…..the other videos are all fine.
    Thanks for these great recipes!

    • Works well on my computer. Have you tried sliding the volume bar in the lower right of the screen to the right?

      • Melva

        Yes…volume is all the way to the right. I faintly hear audio from my left speakers. It’s strange that it’s only this video….the others are fine.
        Thanks for your response!

  10. Fred

    I bought some cracked flax seed from my local baker who told me about using it. He said that after he began using the flax he had to buy bigger bags because the oven spring was so much more than without it. I just made my first loaf with it and it looks beautiful. A picture is attached.

    • Kathy

      Beautiful! How much did you put in for one loaf?

      • Fred

        I used 1/3 cup of flax seeds and soaked it overnight. It became very “goopy”. I used about the same amount of water as I usually do and the dough was pretty sticky, so I added a lot more flour in order to be able to handle it. Next time I will measure the water first and use that to soak the flax. It’s all an experiment.

  11. Chris

    Anyone else at high altitude? I am in Denver and I cannot get the internal temp above 180. I burn the outside of the bread before i get it up to temp.

  12. undermind

    I’ve been using a La Cloche for several years. I recently found another clay baker locally in a shop and it was an interesting shape, though it was glazed on the inside. I can’t remember why it is that you wouldn’t want the baker glazed.. Comments?

  13. Mark

    Just got my “starter” started, was curious if when I transfer it to store in the Breadtopia glass storing jar, do you use the rubber seal, or just close the jar without the seal and let it have breathing room.

    • I read somewhere on this site that you remove the rubber gasket. I actually also do not clamp down the lid, I just let it sit on top of the jar, but curious to see what the experts say, I am only at Sourdough #3 so this is from a newbie!

    • I’m not an expert either but while I also don’t use the gasket, I do clamp the latch.

    • stuart

      I replace the glass jar’s lid with a plastic sandwich bag, it’s self held taut by an elastic band. I then stab the plastic once with a fork, so as to allow the starter to breathe. The starter is then kept in the refrigerator until use.

      • Mark

        Thanks for all the information, happy Bread baking

  14. Mattig

    I made your starter which seeme to work great. My first loaf had a great crumb and chewy but the crust was soft. What can I do to get a nice crisp crust? I used a Cast iron pan with a steel cover, I do not have a dutch oven or bread baker.

    • Hmm, is the bottom crust crunchy? I would think the cast iron would work… Both pan and lid are preheated right?

  15. I made this recipe using the modification by Rhine (2 days fermentation in refrigerator followed by overnight proofing at room temp).

    The next morning, the dough had risen extremely high and was very sticky and wet. Nonetheless, I baked it and it came out very nicely- large holes, sour aftertaste, and hard crust. My only concern is that the bottom came out quite burnt. I am baking according to this recipe: 500 degrees for 30 min, and 450 for 15 min. I am baking it in a cast iron pan very similar to a Dutch oven.

  16. karencolleen

    Now that is a thing of beauty!

  17. Kathy King

    I made my first loaf of New Hampshire sourdough and it’s perfect! Thanks for your suggestions (especially Kaye). the Lodge dutch oven was perfect!

    • CarolynF

      Welcome to the NK Sourdough “cult”, err … I mean CLUB. l0l
      Your loaf looks fabulous!

  18. Chris Smoot

    I can’t believe how well this turned out!! I used a seasoned cast iron dutch oven and had no sticking issues. I did made a mistake during the final rise which made it difficult to get the dough into the dutch oven, but it still came out perfect. Now I know what oven spring means!! I bought the oval proofing basket and the Romertopf baker from your website today because I’m “all in”.

    • Chris Smoot

      Here’s a picture. It’s my first try at this, and it tastes fantastic. I was really surprised how well it turned out, for how easy it was to make. My starter is very active and lively, so maybe that makes it easier too.

  19. Lisa

    Hi Eric- I just made my first loaf of nk sourdough using your video. Awesome tasting! The sour was perfect. I did refrigerate it because I was afraid it would have over proofed when I was at work. I baked in my enamel Dutch oven on a piece of parchment paper that I did not flour( I was so excited I didn’t even think about that) so I had some sticking issues , and the bottom crust was very hard, but other than that it was very rewarding. Thanks for your wonderful videos- i will be baking until my bread looks as good as yours!

  20. Charlie

    This website is a great resource, the feedback from the world of bakers is invaluable.

    I bake 2-3 dozen breads a week for some local stores and farmers markets. I have a regular gas oven and can bake 2 at a time. I have found that oven proof mixing bowls with steeper sides are perfect for both proofing and baking; I can also rotate my Pyrex dutch ovens so they don’t crack or break. I use Pyrex pie pans for the lids.

    I don’t like to admit I shop at Walmart but the oven proof mixing bowls there are under $5.00, less than the retail cost of one of my breads so the ROI is immediate.

    The recipes here are so easy and the results are so fantastic, it is amazing! A dinner guest called me a “Master Baker” a few weeks ago after trying a bite of some no knead , I could barely contain my laughter and simultaneous joy.

  21. Allison

    Thank you for this recipe!! First time using it turned out beautiful. I did shorten all rising times a bit and think that made all the difference. The video was indespensable and made my other 15 failed loaf attempts with other recipes seem like a good learning experience! So glad I found this. It is the most delicious bread I’ve ever tasted, and I’m not prone to hyperbole! :)

  22. hi all,
    not been baking much this summer, but still feeding starter when i remember.

    was not getting much rise, and local baker basically told me that in our nabe, with whole wheat starter, it’s just not going to rise the way i want unless i add some instant yeast. which i didn’t want to do, but did and the results were astounding. i still want more rise, but am working on that

    now, however, about a month since i’ve baked, the bread is far less sour. i took out starter two days before baking, dumped half, fed, left on counter, then used recipe above. still a teeny bit sour, but not as much as i’d like. ideas?

    • This sounds suspicious: I have a feeling your starter has weakened , if not gone bad. I’d fed it once a day for several days, allowing it to strengthen, then try to use it.
      I also keep a wholewheat based sour dough starter that tends to get more sour over time…
      Good luck…

      • i think you might be right, as i fed her this morning and she did not grow at all. sigh. i really do not feel like starting from scratch, but i love the sourdough

    • CarolynF

      Hi Alyssa,
      A couple thoughts came to mind…. if you don’t want to use yeast how about converting to white flour in the starter. And, regardless of which ‘color’ starter you use make sure it’s as active as possible, i.e. double in size within… oops is it one or two hours, my memory is failing me. Check that on the “Managing your starter” link up above. I generally feed mine 3-4 times before using it if it’s been quite a while since I baked. But mostly I gauge it by how fast it doubles. Also, to get it more sour try refrigerating your dough for a longer rise.

      Good luck and keep baking!
      Carolyn F.

      • CarolynF

        ok, my memory is really bad. My notes say the starter should double in size in about 4 hours. Eric… is that right????

        • don’t know why i didn’t think to use a white flour starter. where is my brain?

        • Ideally, if it’s healthy and you feed it enough.

  23. Wanda

    Another great batch… my kitchen smells delicius… still to hot to cut… thanxs for all the incredible information… :-)

    • Kaye

      Wanda, Is this dough for two loaves and you made rolls out of the second one? They look like little Cibatta rolls. YUM looks good.

      • Wanda

        I made two full recipes… divided one in four small roll and bake them with stem for the first 12 minutes… they came out really good and chewy with a softer crust… thank you

        • CarolynF

          Hi Wanda,
          Love the look of your rolls! The pan they’re in looks like a deep dish pizza pan, is it? I have a clay one that looks very similar. Think I’ll give that a try, thanks for the idea!

          Carolyn F.

  24. Kaye

    Here is my first effort at Sourdough No Knead Bread. Baked this in my new Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven. I followed the directions to the letter and judging by the slightly charred areas, I think next time I’ll go for 450 to start and then drop to 400 to finish it.
    Can’t wait to cut it and see what the inside looks (and tastes) like :-)

    • Kaye

      I couldn’t wait to cut into this loaf. It is soft and chewy inside with the holes I expected. I’ll try again..less heat, not so much flour on the towel, to much flour (I used Semolina) on the outside for me. The crust is very crunchy, butu a little hard…I love it but hubby isn’t fond of the crunchy crust :-( The inside is WONDERFUL!!
      I will keep trying :-)

    • karencolleen

      I think it’s beautiful!

      • Kaye

        Ohhhhhhhhhhh thank you. It sure is good 😀

  25. Beryl

    Having arrived at our rental cottage in Sandwich, Cape Cod with only a tiny jar of starter and my “Danish Dough whisk”, I looked around at the kitchen supplies to see how I would be making my no knead sour dough bread during our stay! I was worried but improvised with a plastic cookie container from the local supermarket for a “proofing basket”, a corning 1 3/4qt “buffet server” (local thrift shop-$1) covered with a metal mixing bowl (see px). I needn’t have worried–The bread was heavenly with great taste & shape–as usual! Very forgiving! Thanks Eric!

    • Beryl

      and here is the Cape Cod bread!

      • Way to wing it. Awesome looking bread.

  26. Wanda

    Second loaf… the hard part is waiting for it to cool…

    • Wanda

      Nice looking loaf…

      • Wanda

        Lunch time… :-)

  27. Wanda

    First one… very easy recipe… it cooling… cant wait to cut it open… will see… :-)

    • Wanda

      Here it is… Tasty!!!

  28. i’m so envious all of you are having good experiences. i’m now on loaf #2 with my starter and failing miserably. first loaf barely rose in the oven, got current loaf mixed last night and it never rose. i touched it, it’s spongey and airy, but didn’t rise. not quite sure what to do.

    i never failed with this bread before i started using the sourdough starter, and while the one unrisen and baked loaf toasted good, t was solid as a rock

    • Carolyn

      Hi Alyssa, do you have a clay baker? I found I didn’t get much oven spring until I started using one and now the results are fantastic. The flavour of the loafs were great but they were heavy as bricks. If you don’t have a clay baker I recommend trying trays of water in the oven to increase humidity and have your oven at it’s very hottest to start off. Good luck and don’t give up, you will get there in the end!

  29. larry

    Absent the use of a proofing basket (I proof it in a loaf pan) I follow the sourdough no knead recipe EXACTLY as presented and yet every time my bread never ends-up three inches or thicker’ very tasty but it ought be thicker, right?

    What if I use yeast in addition to the starter dough?

    P.S. I live in Fl and my house is a constant 78 degrees and I use distilled water etc

    • CarolynF

      Hi Larry,
      Following the recipe/instructions Exactly never seems to work for me. And it sounds that way for others when I read other posts. There are a few things you can check and/or try. Your house sounds pretty warm, at least compared to mine. Are you letting it rise by the clock or by the volume? If it’s by the clock it may be over proofing, i.e. rising too much before baking. I put my dough in a very large measuring cup/mixing bowl. I note the measurement when I put it in then wait for it to double, regardless of the time it takes.

      Another thing I do is bake it in a vessel that won’t allow it to spread out. As many people have commented, they use lots of different containers for baking so don’t feel constrained to do it ONLY the way that’s shown in the video.

      Other people will probably add more ideas and suggestions, so keep trying. You WILL find what works best for YOU. Have fun with the journey. :-)

    • Sherry Peck

      I agree with Carolyn! I started getting much better results when I cut back a lot on both rising times (especially the second one), and baking in a container instead of on an open stone. Making the dough a little less wet helped too. Rising times definitely vary by temperature, & your house is warm!

      • larry

        Thanks for the tips, Ladies. I use a loaf pan to cook it but I time the rising and do not don it by volume; I ‘ll try that

        • Sherry Peck

          Even volume can be tricky, I’ve found. With the 2nd rising, I just experimented with less & less time (I forget how much now, as it’s been a while since I baked). When I found the sweet spot that gave me great oven-spring, the loaf did not visually double in volume before I baked it. Visually it’s only a slight rising. If I really let it double, it definitely goes flat in the oven.

        • Kathy

          Yep, I’ve cut my proofing time and my oven spring is amazing. And the dough is so much easier to work with and I can score the top and get a great little curl going on the crust. I use a stone because I like long loaves versus round. The slices of bread are more of a uniform size with long loaves. If your dough, after the 2nd proof, is too jigglie, you’ve proofed too long. Good luck!

  30. can you tell me what to do now with my starter? how/what to feed it to replenish?

    • karencolleen

      Seems everyone manages their starter a bit differently but I refrigerate mine. Every week or even 2 sometimes, I throw away approx half, then to the remaining I add 1/3 cup water and 1/2 cup flour more or less. I let it sit out on the counter for awhile to make sure it’s still good & bubbly then back into the refrigerator. FYI, when I take it out of the refrigerator, if there’s some hooch on top, I pour most of it out. I’ve done everything from stirring it all in to pouring it all out & it doesn’t seem to matter although I’m sure opinions differ widely on this too. Do a little research. There’s great info on this site & others.

  31. Kaye

    Just pulled my first try at Sourdough bread out of the oven. I used a recipe I found on line. I put it in my proofing bowl late last night and by morning it had grown . Turned it out and since this bread called for kneading, I did that. It was a bit sticky, but got it into two of my new wonderful bread pans I got from you. The recipe said 12+ hours for the first rise..mine went to the top of the proofing bowl in under 10. After I put the loaves in the pans, it said another 2 to 4 hour rise. Only took an hour. WOW! I am very pleased with my young starter :-) My loaves aren’t as pretty as some, but boy are they tasty and the whole house smells delish.
    Thanks for all the videos, my wonderful USA pans AND this amazing starter. I’m off to make some pizza dough for the freezer and Sourdough biscuits for dinner.

  32. Carolyn

    Here is a pic of the spelt sourdough made exactly as Eric instructs but proofed in a muslin lined bowl.. It was gorgeous!

    • karencolleen

      This is beyond beautiful. Makes my heart sing……….and makes me hungry!

  33. Carolyn

    Hi Eric,
    I have tried your recipe and technique for the spelt sourdough using my schlemmertopf and the bread turned out to be amazing! Thanks you so much for the recipe and detail that is usually missing from most recipies. However I tried the wheat no knead sourdough and it didn’t really work as well. The dough didn’t rise in the fridge over the eighteen hours and only seemed to rise a bit when I took it out the following day. I know my starter is virile as I baked the spelt with it to good results. I’m not sure why it didn’t work but the dough seemed heavy and sticky/gluey with no bounce. Can you please let me know that water measurement in grams as I tried to convert it online but I might have converted it incorrectly. Many thanks! Carolyn

  34. John

    Hey folks,
    Does anyone know how to use the towel shown on the video, instead of the basket, during the second proofing. I don’t have that fancy basket. Please help.

    • Tom Poe

      John: Try laying towel out, sprinkle with corn meal to keep dough from sticking, or generously flour the towel. Use one-half for sprinkling, and set dough ball on top of the flour or corn meal, then fold the other half over the dough ball. When it comes time for the oven, just finnagle the towel over your container and dump the loaf into your container. HTH

  35. CJ

    Wanted to say thanks for the starter, recipe and video. Followed them all and voila! This is my 1st ever sourdough and covered baker bread and it’s the best I’ve ever tasted. I did cut the starter to 2 TBL per other posters and stored it in the fridge 2 days. So happy it turned out so well!

  36. Beryl

    Hi Eric,
    I have been happily making no knead sourdough for awhile now using a cast iron covered pan in the oven. Recently I started using the whey left over from my greek yogurt making instead of the water in the recipe. The bread tastes fine but the bottom of the loaf is almost always charred. I tried lowering the oven temp to 475. Same results. I tried baking only for 25 minutes at 475 and then 15 minutes at 450. I tested the internal temp of bread and left it in a few extra minutes to bring it to 200. still it was burned on the bottom. I tried removing it from the pan for the last 15 minutes–still charred!!! Any ideas or should I just stop using the whey?

    • Dear Beryl,
      An easy solution: Bake the bread as usual for 15-20 mins. Then place one (or even two) empty baking trays under pan. May all your bread bottoms be white…..
      Stu K.
      Tel Aviv

    • Anita

      Hi Beryl
      If you are using the whey from flavored Greek yogurt, it would have a lot of sweetener that would burn- your oven could run hotter than the setting- have you checked the oven temp with a thermometer? Maybe a disk of parchment or foil in the bottom of the pot would provide a barrier- or try baking the bread on a stone or a cookie sheet with the pot inverted over it. I wouldn’t want to give up using nutritious whey. Maybe try using half whey and half water.

      • Beryl

        Thank you Anita & Stu,
        I tried a loaf today with the baking pans underneath but that did not seem to help much! I will try the 1/2 whey and 1/2 water next time. The taste of the bread does not seem to be different . I just would like to figure out why the difference as the bread comes out fine when I use water? I certainly could use parchment.
        Thanks for the suggestions –I will let you know how it turns out!

  37. Susan

    A little curious. Does this bread have to be baked in a round loaf in a Dutch oven or other pot? Can it be made into regular loaves and cooked in regular pans? In the 80s, I used a no-knead recipe involving my huge Tupperware bowl and the bread was great. I’m still looking to find that recipe again, as they were regular loaves. I’m not sure why sourdough is always cooked in other pans – or is it?

    • Anita

      Hi Susan, I just made my ‘no-knead’ sourdough in loaf pans because I wanted sandwich bread this week. Usually, I bake it free-form on a stone. I haven’t used the pot for awhile because I like to make 3 or 4 small loaves at once. Of course, the crust is not as thick and dark , but it is great bread . It’s just a basic dough- you can do practically anything with it that you want.

  38. Fred

    Anita, I use the same proportions of bread flour and rye flour that you do and use the no knead technique. Mine doesn’t rise much in the bowl and has a good oven spring. My house is pretty cool and I usually put the dough in the fridge overnight, which keeps it cool for a while when I take it out in the morning. Is your house warm? How long are you letting it rise?

    My dough is not very sticky. That might be due to using less water or due to not letting it ferment or proof too long. Perhaps Eric has some thoughts about sticky dough. I’m pretty sure that many others have commented on that situation before.

    • Anita

      Hi Fred – My rye dough isn’t sticky at all, which I’ve read is better for low gluten doughs. I do make a wetter dough for my white-spelt or white-wheat sourdoughs and ciabatta in order to get a larger, more open crumb. I don’t handle those doughs as much and don’t want to toughen them with extra flour. But rye is new for me. I haven’t refrigerated it, but let the first rise go about three hours or more in a warm spot. Last time it almost tripled in the bowl which was by accident. Maybe it overproofed so much that there wasn’t enough ‘gas’ left for a good 2nd rise after shaping. I’ll try it again two different ways- once, as you suggest, with a refrigerated ferment and once with shaping right after mixing and letting it rise only once. I’m using 1 cup or more of rye starter, so it should have a mellow sour flavor. Thanks for responding!

  39. Anita

    The stretch and fold technique really seems to help my loaves keep their shape and not spread out as much , especially when I bake freeform on a stone. If the dough is very sticky, I place the portions on floured parchment and then lift the edges to fold it over onto itself. I’ve been making a sourdough (no yeast) rye lately, but have not been brave enough to go without kneading it. It rises incredibly in the bowl, but the shaped loaves don’t seem to have much ‘oven spring’. Does rye have enough strength to rise twice? I used 30% whole rye, 70% bread flour. It was fine, but would like it as light and fluffy as possible.

  40. Fred

    The past two times I made a rye sourdough I did the stretch and fold four times, as Eric does in his spelt video. Then I did everything else as I always did, including flattening and folding just before proofing. The bread came out great each time. I don’t know whether the stretch and fold made a difference, but I will continue to do that.

    I have been baking in a Lodge Dutch oven at 440 for 40 minutes. I don’t take the cover off. The interior temperatures have been about 205-210 and the crust is excellent.

  41. Elizabeth

    I’ve attempted this recipe twice, each time I’ve had an issue with my dough before the initial poofing, it just does not seems to be sticking together quite right. The second time especially. I’m not sure why this is happening, but if this is the case, should I just add more water?


    • Ms. Elizabeth,
      I’d have to see an image of your dough before I’m able to make a qualified analysis, but perhaps you should add more liquid. I suggest 1/8th cup of oil. Please let me know if this suggestion helped.

  42. Fred

    Has anyone done the 4 spelt type stretch and folds with a no knead sourdough wheat bread? If so, did it make a difference?

  43. Scooter

    Dear Laura: I line my proofing basket with parchment paper. Put paper and dough in baker when risen and ready to bake. No more sticking problems. Scooter

  44. Fred

    I split my starter in two and made one into a spelt starter using whole spelt flour. It is not nearly as active as the wheat starter. Would it make a difference if I used white spelt flour?

    • It’s possible it is as active but just doesn’t look like it. Whole grain starters, like whole grain dough, may not rise as much. White spelt flour should perform about the same as regular white wheat flour.

  45. The solution I have to over come the difficulty of placing an already risen (and hence delicate) loaf of bread into a hot baking utensil is simply to shape the loaf, place it on wax paper, itself on top of a cutting board. When the dough has risen, slide the paper on which the dough sits into the baking utensil, holding the cutting board at a 45 degree angle. It never fails…

  46. Paul Bauman

    I’m leaving mine in the fridge for 4 full days, (using only 1/8 cup sourdough starter) then bringing it out into room temp for the full 18 hours, shaping it and letting it rest for about an hour and a half. I learned this by mistake, because of circumstances of not being able to bake for a couple of days. Then I realized I’d been doing the Artisan Bread in 5 method for over a year with great results, so why not?
    The bread is as sour as I’ve been looking for, and the crumb is perfect. Best tasting bread I’ve made yet.
    I do this free-form as a batard on a stone. There’s a pic of it somewhere on this site.
    Go ahead! “Push the window”!

    • Would you mind sharing the rest of the recipe in which you just use 1/8 cup of starter? I’ve tried many variations and would like to see how the long time I the fridge would work. many thanks.

  47. Les

    In the book, Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day, they said No Knead Bread dough could be stored in the fridge for two weeks. How long do you think Sour Dough could be stored?

  48. Bradley


    This is an excellent site, and I’ve made several of the recipes here that have all worked out great!

    I’ve made this plain sourdough bread a couple of times, and it has been very successful each time. This week I to mixed it up a bit by trying to make a chocolate cherry sourdough that I once had when I was in Scottsdale AZ. It worked out pretty well. Changes to the recipe above were:

    1. Added 1 1/2 TBS of cocoa to the dry ingredients (I used Hershey’s dark chocolate)
    2. Added about 1 TBS of agave to the wet ingredients.
    3. Used 16 oz of bread flour instead of a mixture of bread flour and whole wheat

    Then, during stretching and folding, I sprinkled a mixture of chopped up dark bakers chocolate, semi-sweet bakers chocolate, (about 5oz total) and dried cherries (probably 3-4oz) just before each fold. It worked out great!

    Next time I will add more of the cherries. I really just eyeballed it, and thought I was adding too much. But it turned out that the cherries are the real star, and there are not enough per bite. They add the tartness and sweetness that I remember from the original.

  49. Dan

    Just bought the Romertopf baker to try. I have a sour dough culture from KAF which has produced a great tasting loaves but not a lot of rise. They use twice the amount of starter in their recipe as well as yeast. Their proofing time is short, two hours. I live in Michigan and our room temps are in the low 60’s during the white season so I use the proofing function on our ovens in a glass bowl and not a basket. The problem that I have is that the loaves are really bubbly and deflate at the slightest bit of movement. I dread trying to pick it up and put it in the baker. I’m going to give a try probably tonight. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Dan,

      A few things…
      That’s a super fast proof time and when put in the oven it goes even faster. By the time you’re moving it, it’s over proofed. Either don’t use the oven to proof or be prepared to allow even less than 2 hours.
      But let me ask you, do you really need your bread to be ready in 2 hours or less? Personally, I would ditch that recipe go for something without added yeast and go for a longer proof. There are scads of recipes on this site like that. Low 60’s is perfect for a nice long slow sourdough rise which will be easier to handle and should result in a better tasting bread too.

      • Dan

        What I am hearing is “Low and Slow” is the “Way to GO!” The first recipe that I had wanted the bread to proof at 105 degrees for 8 hours. Always seemed that my schedule didn’t match the proof windows of the recipe. I will give it a try over night and let you know how it worked out. The Romertopf is calling to me.

        • I think we have a new slogan!

          • Kathy

            Catchy!!! So preparing dough in the evening, put in the fridge at bedtime, take out in the morning and bake in the late afternoon sounds like a winner! Right?

            • That could definitely work. And should work. Like anything, experience helps with recognizing when the dough is ready for the next step. But even a good guess is often good enough

        • Dan

          Well, the first clay baker experiment is in. Learned a Lot. Time from start of process to placement in Romertopf baker using the LOW AND SLOW method was 26 hours due to my schedule. Dough was a good texture and easy to reposition from proofing basket to baker. My oven appears to run hotter than 500 degrees. Followed time estimates exactly with timer and loaf had a crunchy rustic char on the outside. Activated Charcoal is GOOD for the system. Taste was excellent, crust was chewy. Plan to try the no knead with yeast next and lower oven temp. Thanks for the help.

  50. Paul Bauman

    Ok, here goes… I’ve made several loaves of Eric’s no knead sourdough (using 1 cup of whole wheat and it has come out perfect every time, minus the “sourness” I’m looking for. Then, at Eric;s suggestion on this site, I tried Rhine Meyering’s (October 7, 2007 post) method, using 1/8 cup starter and, because of circumstances, had to leave it in the fridge for 4 days, not 2. Had to extend the 18 hour proofing, since it just wouldn’t wake up. After all that, I folded the dough over itself, rested 15 minutes, shaped it into a batard and let it final proof for 90 minutes. Then with the oven at 450, slipped it onto a baking stone, and did the cup of water onto a steam pan thing and closed the door. It sprang up, looking like a football. The loaf looked like it belonged on a magazine cover!! Bottom line: I got rave reviews as being the best bread I’ve had to force-feed my wife since I’ve been making it. Great crumb with nice holes and the sourness I have been looking for.
    Thanks, Eric! This is one reason I send people I know who want to try making bread to!!

    • CarolynF

      Great story, thanks for sharing it! It serves to reinforce why I should do what I need to (in my case refrigerate the dough) to get an 18 hour rise. The more sour the better for us.

      • Kathy

        I agree Carolyn! If I leave my dough out 18 hours, it’s over-proofed, but putting it in the fridge definitely benefits flavor and allows me to bake according to my schedule (per your suggestion). I’ll make some dough tonight and refrigerate! thanks to everyone who participates in this blog. It is sooo helpful!

        • Thanks everyone for your great input!

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