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Cajun Three-Pepper Whole Grain Spelt
Tutti Fruiti

Cajun Three-Pepper Bread (No-knead)

A big thanks to Jerry in Seattle for this great recipe adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Brother Juniper’s Bread Book. It came out very well.

3 cups bread flour
¼ cup uncooked polenta
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
¼ cup sourdough starter
2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
1-1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic
¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Place dry ingredients (flour through salt) into a large bowl and mix well. Combine starter, Tabasco sauce and water and add to the dry ingredients. Stir and add in the garlic, bell pepper.and parsley.

Cover bowl with plastic at let sit at room temperature for 18 hours.

After 18 hours turn dough onto well floured surface and gently flatten enough to fold dough back onto itself a couple times to form a roundish blob.

Cover blob with plastic or an inverted bowl and let rest 15 minutes. During this rest period, line a proofing basket or bowl with Reynolds Release foil.

Gently and quickly shape blob into an approximate ball and place in proofing basket or bowl.

Cover with a towel or bowl cover and let rise for 1-2 hours depending on room temperature.

Just before baking, slash the bread top to control cracking and lift the foil and dough into a Dutch oven or ceramic (e.g. La Cloche) baker preheated to 500F degrees. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes at 450 degrees.

Allow bread to cool completely before slicing and eating.

This loaf has outstanding color in the crumb and is only slightly hot. Cream cheese is a better spread than butter. Would be good as a sandwich with cheese and meat.

Note: Check out Peter’s post and pics of his Cajun Three Pepper Bread.

Also, see Steve Krause’s first try at no knead baking – Cajun style.

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Christina kindly contributed these no-knead gems to the repertoire. Christina resides in beautiful Fairfield, Iowa

Tutti Fruiti

To regular no-knead dough add…

  • The finely grated peel of 1 orange
  • 2 tsps. unrefined sugar
  • And up to 1 and 1/3 cups dried fruit. (We used whole cherries, chopped pineapple, minced candied ginger, and golden raisins.)

The dough can be on the wet side as the fruit will absorb moisture. Rise and bake as usual. (Beware, the sugary fruits will caramelize if they touch the pot directly, so use a pot that cleans up easily and try to form the dough so that not too much fruit is exposed.) Makes a sort of light-hearted cousin to a stollen.

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Whole Grain Spelt

Make the dough using…

  • 3 1/2 c. whole spelt flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. starter
  • Water to 1 2/3 c.

Stir in more flour if you can–the dough seems to gain quite a bit of moisture as it rises. Monitor the volume of the dough rather than watching the clock. I found I had to cut my rising times quite a bit.

For the final rising put it in a greased bowl that has been well dusted with rice flour. (If you leave it on a flat surface it will just ooze as it rises.)

Use a bowl that has a diameter slightly smaller than the pot you’ll be baking in. It won’t rise as much as a loaf made with refined flour, but should increase by 2/3.

Dust the top of the dough with rice flour immediately before baking so that when you (carefully) flip it out into the pot you’ll have some there to prevent sticking.

Bake as usual. Makes a flattish loaf–not as fluffy as those with some refined flour, but good texture with smallish air holes throughout and great taste.

If anyone comes up with a way to increase the fluffiness of whole grain NKB I’d love to hear about it!

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Sourdough Starter Bread Recipes

Earlier Comments

128 thoughts on “Sourdough Starter Bread Recipes

  1. Brittany

    Do you have any recipes for sour dough doughnuts?

  2. Doug

    Hi – I just wanted to report that I made my very first loaf of no knead bread, using spelt, according to the Whole Grain Spelt recipe above and it turned out perfect! I allowed it to rise the full 18 hours and then 2 hours for the 2nd rise. This ends a long search for a good wheat free bread that I can make myself and it’s cheaper than the commercial variety. Thanks for all your help.

  3. Hi Nancy,

    Boy, I would love it if adding applesauce as the liquid was the secret to fluffy whole wheat bread. Do you happen to know if your brother is referring to 100% whole wheat bread?

    I hereby nominate you to try it out (with spelt too) and report back. If this turns out to be true, it will be a wonderful thing.

  4. Hi Brenda,

    You also asked about a recipe using 2 cups of sourdough starter. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the specific recipe I was referring to in that video. I made the video over 2 years ago and my favorites change all the time. But I know it came out of Ed Wood’s Classic Sourdoughs book, which is good for sourdough baking. Several of the recipes call for two cups of starter.

  5. Nancy

    I am new to the sourdough experience and I just found your website, what a treasure! I can’t wait to try the different recipes, etc. Today I just made my first sourdough loafs, and although they weren’t very sour they were quite yummy. I am looking forward to trying the Spelt recipe as I need to convert the recipe due to wheat allergies in our home. I noticed there was a question on that post about making the whole grain more fluffy. I can’t say this from personal experience, but my brother makes whole wheat bread and uses applesauce as the liquid and he swears it makes the bread fluffy. I am wondering if it would work the same for whole grain spelt. I am looking forward to trying that.

    I have been struggling with using spelt with yeast and was glad for the insight on site about using less moisture, and will be trying that soon. I would also like to convert my starter to spelt. Wonder if there is anyone who has experience with this and has some insight.

  6. Brenda,

    Just remember, both the starters and the doughs like a nice, comfy environment. I put mine in the oven with the light on as a matter of routine in the winter time because I, the original Scrooge, keep my place pretty cool.

    But, on the other hand, I also put doughs (especially sourdough) in the refrigerator overnight to help develop the flavor.


  7. Brenda McCormick

    Have answered one of the questions I previously asked…it was not warm enough where I had my starter…put it in the oven with just the light bulb on and it is doubling in size and as live as can be…duhhhhhhhhh…bet you get a lot of dumb questions from beginners…

  8. Brenda McCormick

    I am a beginner at this…have purchased your sour dough starter and the La Chloche stone baker and several other items and can’t wait to get started. In one of your videos you mentioned your favorite sour dough no knead recipe had 2 cups of starter in it…is that listed on your site and if so where…if not can you send it to me? Also if my starter is not acting as live as I think it should be acting, is there something I can do to make it more alive, i.e. you mentioned in one of your videos that when you feed it that it should rise about the size of what is in there…mine doesn’t do that, but it has bubbles so I know it is live…am I doing something wrong?

  9. Lisa,

    I would use my normal time and temps when using the covers. You might want to check the toward the end of the baking period, tho.

    And remove the lids toward the last to get even more crisp to your crust.

    Apologies for not responding sooner, but I was up to my ears in cooking/baking.


  10. marc lowen

    I’m looking for help in forcing bread to rise in an oven 170 similar to the bread machine, any thoughts

  11. Lisa...again

    Hi Bob!
    I failed to mention in my earlier post that the Cajun Three Pepper Bread’s batter was very wet and jiggly. Most of the breads I make have firm batters. Is this batter suppose to be jiggly? Oh, and about using a SS bowl to cover the baking bread; would it matter that the bowl is much larger than the loaf pan and air could get in beneath the bowl? Also, if I use that method, baking the bread in a reg. SS bread pan with something domed over it, what temp?
    Lost, Lisa

  12. A shameless plug for Eric.

    During the past two weekends of baking Christmas breads and cookies, I have just about worn out the Danish Dough whisk I bought from Breadtopia.

    I am mixing some really heavy German cookie recipes and it amazes me to watch how the creamed butter and sugar comes together with the other ingredients. It’s magic, I tell you, it’s magic!!

    Seriously, if you don’t have one, you really need to consider getting one – and this is from a guy who has two heavy duty bench mixers!

  13. Lisa,
    If you have a stainless steel bowl large enough to fit over your loaf, use that. It traps the moisture which is what you are looking for.

    No SS bowl, see if you can get one of those big disposable aluminum roasting pans used for turkey. Use that as a cover. Works just as well, if it is large enough.

    I also bake fairly small loaves in a 2 quart casserole dish. Again, the cover traps the moisture. Whatever you use, just ensure that it is oven proof.


  14. Lisa Moon

    Well, I worked through some kinks and finally made the Cajun Three Pepper Bread. I did not have an appropriate pot to cook it in so I used a reg. loaf pan, cooking it at 350 degrees. The loaf came out sorta flat (no fluffiness) and heavy. The flavor was awesome but I could not give it away due to the ‘form’ it produced. I made it from the new Sour Dough starter (yours here at the site) I really want to be successful, but obviously need the appropriate bakeware.

  15. Hi Lisa,

    Afraid I didn’t make the 18 hour cut on this one. Missed it by a mere 4 days. Not sure I would have been much help anyway.

    How did your bread turn out? You can surely use loaf pans but I’m not sure what I would do to compensate for using them vs a cloche or Dutch oven. I guess I would reduce the temp to maybe 425 and keep an eye on the top not getting too dark before the inside is done. You still want an internal dough temp of about 200 degrees and you can tent the loaf with foil at some point during baking to prevent the crust from burning.

    The first time you try something new, it’s a bit of a guessing game until you get it down. Just take notes for future adjustments.

  16. Lisa Moon

    I do not have a La Cloche/dutch oven and cannot afford one at this time. However, I have put together the Cajun Three-Pepper Bread (No-knead)
    Sourdough recipe, it is resting for 18 hours. Can I use just the regular loaf pans and what temp would I cook it on?
    Thank you,

  17. Steve

    Cristina: to make multi grain bread lighter you can add in gluten flour and soy lecithin granules. I’d use heaping TBLS of each per 4-5 C flours. Also I think malted barley powder which i find in a local health/natural food store. I think 1-2 tsp as above. I think I got these ideas long time ago but remember few details. I just do it.

  18. Dave the Novice


    Mine is just above here, in this thread. “Good”, of course, is in the eye (or taste) of the beholder.

  19. Danny Butler

    I can’t find a good sourdough rye bread receipt. Can you point me to one?

  20. Dave the Novice


    I used a cup, because that’s the quantity of starter I keep on hand, but it doesn’t really matter, as long as you take out the same amount you put in. If you used a lot less than the flour and water you are adding for your recipe, I guess it would take longer for the sponge to be ready to use.

  21. Hi Dave “the novice”. Your rye bread looks and sounds delicious! I have just one question-how much starter did you use to form the sponge?

  22. Dave the Novice

    My latest attempt was a sourdough no-knead rye bread, based shamelessly on Joe Valencic’s no-knead rye:

    For the sponge:

    1 cup bread flour
    ¾ cups water
    White starter form the refrigerator

    Mix starter, flour and water, cover lightly with plastic wrap, leave out to ferment at room temperature 4 hours. When very active and full of bubbles, stir down well, and remove a quantity equal to the original starter, and return that to the fridge.

    For the dough:

    Sponge from above
    ¾ cup organic whole-grain rye flour
    1 ¼ cups bread flour
    1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
    1 ½ tsp whole caraway seed

    Add other ingredients to sponge and mix well. This will form a wet dough. Cover with plastic and allow to ferment at room temperature (mine was 72 F) for 10-12 hours. Proceed as for any other no-knead bread.

    I baked mine in a flowerpot cloche at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes, then removed the top and browned 8 minutes more. This bread had great rye flavor, and a wonderfully soft, tender, but chewy crumb.

    Dave's No Knead Rye

    Dave's No Knead Rye

  23. Hmmm, not really sure about that Tracy. Sourdough bread does tend to bake up a bit heavier than a comparable recipe using commercial yeast. Although some sourdough recipes are certainly lighter than others. It may just be a matter of trying different recipes until you hit on one that does the trick for you.

    At least your problem at home is a good one. You’ve got some effective grandson bait!

  24. Tracy Miles

    I am using your sourdough starter and baking in a La Cloche and really enjoying the bread. It Has a very good oven rise and tastes great. My wife would like the bread a little lighter in texture. Can you help.

    I make at least 2 loaves a week, our Grandson comes over every week to steal bread thats how good it is. THANK YOU

    Tracy Miles

  25. baddboyi

    i’ve come across a recipe for a most awesome sourdough bisquit. recipe can be made with or without baking powder. i chose to go “pure”, and make a pure sourdough version. absolutely, bodacious/awesome. which i had a picture so you could see what they looked like. oh yea, while they are made from a regular kneaded sourdough, they are rolled into balls, put into our good old dutch oven, let to rise about 1 1/2 hrs, baked at 400 f for about 40 min covered, and about 20 min uncovered. LET THEM BROWN!
    recipe can be found at

    sincerely worth the effort!!!!!

  26. w.flesher

    I would like to have a sourdough spelt bread recipe
    But it has to be 100% spelt
    and how do I make that it should taste as good as wheat bread?
    Thank You!

  27. Steve Krause emailed in some shots of his first foray into no knead bread baking. He chose the Cajun Three Pepper (minus one) recipe to kick things off and from the looks of it, he’s off to a perfect start.

    The "minus one" comes from dropping the red peppers from the recipe for being over priced and low quality. He baked the bread in a glazed ceramic crock pot with an aluminum dutch oven lid.  

    He doubled the starter, added a heaping teaspoon of gluten flour and a heaping tablespoon of barley flour to feed the yeast.  

    Nice job, Steve.



  28. Friends,

    I had some trouble with my first attempt at Cajun Three Pepper bread because I was unfamiliar with polenta. Thanks to those who brought me up to speed–the stuff in the refrigerated tube at my local grocery is not the ingredient I needed. Substituting cornmeal did the trick! Isn’t it great that we get to eat our mistakes?

  29. Peter

    My first attempt at no knead sourdough went quite well. I was blown away by the results of the Cajun three pepper bread. I used my own homegrown culture that I have had a few months now. I followed the recipe exactly. Well, I only had the green Tobasco in the house, so that was the only change. I didn’t know what to expect when I lifted the cover on my Dutch Oven. I nearly fell over when I saw that beautiful, golden loaf inside. The hardest part of this recipe was waiting for the bread to cool down before tearing into it. The flavor was outstanding.

    Cajun Proofing

    18 Hour Ferment

    Cajun in Dutch Oven

    Dutch oven at 500°

    Cajun Looking Good



  30. Sambia Gode

    I have tried all types of sourdough recipes with my starter, and none of them has the sourdough taste my husband and I are looking for. I have even tried the recipes that say not to use starter and to use yogurt instead. I have been told by several people to leave the dough in the refrigerator overnight and that would make a difference. That did not work either. I don’t know if you have ever tried Safeway’s Sourdough, but it is wonderful. It is light and has the sourdough flavor. Any suggestions? I am wasting tons of flour trying to learn this technique. Also, would using all purpose flour vs bread flour make a difference in the taste of the sour? All suggestions are welcome. I really love sourdough, but would love a fresh homemade sourdough bread. Thank you, Sambia

  31. les starks

    I found a great recipe for “soft” spelt dinner rolls that are delicious made without the addition of gluten or wheat flour. I would like use the recipe for loaves instead of rolls. Can I successfully use a dinner roll recipe for loaves? Once a week I cook for a group of 15 to 20 people. Do you have any advice about the best equipment to buy to facilitate making multiple loaves of spelt bread?
    Thank you,

  32. Denise

    Hi, I have never baked bread before, and wish to try it out. Have been buying commercial Organic Spelt bread @ $6.60 a loaf!! It states the following ingredients are used – Organic Wholemeal Spelt flour, filtered water, organic Soya Flour, Olive Oil, sea salt and sourdough culture (contains Acidiophilus and Bifidus). It tastes great, but if I wish to try the above recipe, how would I get the sourdough culture ‘right’ and is there a recipefor the sourdough, which doesn’t use honey, milk, sugar, yeast etc? Many thanks.

  33. I might lower the temp a little if not covered. It depends on the recipe. 325 degrees Celsius = 617 degrees Fahrenheit which is indeed way too hot for any bread recipe I know of.

  34. Christine Kennedy

    I do not have a la cloche or a banneton. Can I just use a bowl with a well floured towel inside? As well for the baking, can I simply use a parchment lined cookie sheet, and place a raosting pan lid on the top? Would that work just as well to create steam like the la cloche? Forgoing all of that, without using a lid of some sort, what about using a pan filled with water in the oven for the first 15 min. of baking? Is it absolutely neccesary to preheat the oven? I have read that placing the bread in a cold oven and then setting the temp. is the best way to go.
    One last thing. The temp. that you use for baking with the la cloche seems really high. If you were not using the la clouche (or covering it) would you lower the temp.? I know my bread would burn for sure at that high temp. the recipe calls for in my home oven. The last loaf of sourdough I baked was at 325 C for about 45 min., and the crust was a very nice brown.

  35. The age of your starter isn’t important. It’s how you treat it now that determines its performance and flavor characteristics.

    For more sour flavor, I suggest going over to the page on the Sourdough No Knead Method. Near the bottom of the recipe instructions, there’s a reference to a technique that Rhine Meyering uses to make his bread more sour. Then scroll down to  the related comment and read that.

    I would try that. Let us know if it works for you.

  36. Sambia Gode

    I will try it. My starter is about 6 weeks old. Could this be the reason my sourdough doesn’t taste sour? It taste more like regular french bread. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am new at baking sourdough bread, but love the stuff!

  37. Hi Sambia,

    Sure, try that and see how it goes.

  38. Sambia Gode

    Question: I made a no-knead sourdough bread and it turned out like a flat pizza. I baked it in a dutch oven like the recipe suggested. Can I use my regular sourdough recipe and let the dough sit overnight for the flavor and still bake it on a baking sheet instead of using a dutch oven?

  39. Hi Petitechef,

    Maybe someone else reading this can address your spelt questions. The only baking I’ve done with spelt involves such a low percentage of it that it doesn’t effect the results much, as is the case with the Whole Grain Sourdough recipe. The creator of that recipe includes spelt in order to duplicate, as closely as possible, what he believes are the ingredients of the famous Poilane of Paris loaves. It is there mostly for flavor reasons as opposed to health reasons.

  40. Petitechef

    For health reasons I am interested in creating a sourdough using mostly spelt and as little as possible of other higher gluten flours. Ideally, I would like to produce a crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside baguette loaf. In Christina’s Spelt No-knead Sourdough recipe she states that the result is a flat-ish loaf.Is this due to the lower gluten content of spelt, or do you think this is because of the no-knead method employed? I also noticed that your Whole Grain Sourdough recipe has some spelt in it. I am wondering what the spelt flour brings to your recipe, and in general, as a low gluten flour, how does spelt behave sourdough recipes? Also, maybe your next video could include how to form baguettes using a flax cloth couche?
    My family and I have really enjoyed your instructive videos. I have tried for years to learn sourdough from books with poor results. I am looking forward to taking it up again with better results this time.

  41. rand jennings

    hi, just started reviving sourdough starter but cannot access video (really slow server) can you e-mail instructions
    on managing your sourdough starter ect.? thank you

  42. Hi Foy,

    That’s an interesting question. I’ve seen quite acceptable results on a number of occasions using my sourdough starter even several days after feeding it. That is when I have placed the starter back in the refrigerator for storage after feeding it.

    The starter can look very flat and lifeless but come roaring back to life as soon as it’s used in a recipe. My preference is to bake within a day of refreshing my starter, but I think you’re asking how wide the window of opportunity might look like.

    I’ve never really tested to see what the limits are. I suspect my results would start falling off sharply beyond that “few day” period.

    At the other end of that range, you can begin mixing your dough anytime after that initial doubling.

    I’m sure others would have a different take on your question but I hope this helps a little.


  43. Foy Braswell

    I am a beginning sourdough baker and have a very basic question. Assume you are ready to bake with a healthy-activated starter that you have just fed. In an example, it takes 8 hours to rise to double and begins to deflate after 12 hours. I realize that I must determine the behavior of my own starter under my own conditions. My question is – during what period of time can I begin mixing my dough and get acceptable results?


  44. Hi.

    I’m not sure which recipe you’re referring to. The recipes on this page were contributed by others.


  45. rlabohn

    hi eric..i see that you increased the bread flour by 1/2 cup for the recipe using you sour dough starter…why??

  46. Ann Timms

    Hi Eric, I made the spelt NK bread and it turned out really well and tastes wonderful. I substituted 1 cup of bread flour and made up the 16 oz. with spelt flour. I baked it on my stone with the base of my stainless steel dutch oven as a cover – not such a good idea because the bread hit the “top” and probably would have risen more. I was trying to use the higher shelf in my oven and the domed lid of the dutch oven is a problem. The dough was wet and spread quite a bit so maybe using a smaller pan would have helped there. I lined the banneton with parchment and lifted the whole deal onto the stone – then found that the dough was too risen to easily cover it with the base. Managed to burn the pad of my thumb in the process, clumsy clot. So while the bread isn’t super “fluffy” it has lots of holes and I think the bread flour helped. By the way, the new videos are great and my 6 year old grandaughter is a big fan! Of course she also likes the one of the children… Thanks for all your help, Ann

  47. Haven’t tried from cold but I’ve heard that works too. I just figure if I’m trying to simulate a hearth oven, I’m going to want to preheat the Cloche. But like everything, there’s a zillion ways to do things.

  48. Ann Timms

    Good morning Eric, I’m not sure that enthusiasm is a good thing when it reaches this point! I forgot when I wrote that the last couple of times I made NK bread I used a square of parchment paper in my banneton and lifted the whole thing into the heated pot with great results. I have been reading about people baking the KN bread from cold – have you tried it that way? Ann

  49. Hi Ann,

    I do love your enthusiasm.

    Yes, I believe this spelt recipe is a no knead.

    Adding bread flour would indeed make it fluffier.

    I’m guessing that a wet no knead dough would stick to the banneton even with a good coating of rice flour. I find it difficult to get enough rice flour to hold to the sides of the banneton to keep it from sticking. I just keep coming back to good ol’ wheat bran with a mist of oil on the banneton to hold it. Works great and cleans up easily enough with a brushing out using a basting brush with reasonably stiff bristles.

    Your starter sounds just fine and healthy too. Starters range from very liquid to dough like. Which is best is mostly a question of the kind of starter called for in the recipe (if it’s even specified) and/or the kind of results you’re after. If you’re getting results you’re happy with then nothing to worry about.

    BTW, I’m going to be posting a new recipe and video today or tomorrow that you might be interested in trying. It uses some spelt flour. I’ll be sending out an email to the list and also posting a notification to the home page of this site.

    Thanks for your comments.


  50. Ann Timms

    Hi Eric, I just found the spelt recipe and I have been looking for a way to use it – bought a bag this week. I wonder whether adding some bread flour would make it “fluffier”? Am I right in thinking this is a no knead recipe? Would the dough stick to my banneton which is well coated with rice flour? Also I watched your sourdough video and noticed that your starter is much more liquid than mine which is rather stretchy and full of bubbles and smells good. Have I gone wrong somewhere? Sorry to say I am completely obsessed and can’t wait to bake the next bread. Recently bought the Bread Baker’s Apprentice as well as the KA Wholegrain book and Ed Woods sourdough book – and on and on. Regards to you and Denyce, Ann

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