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A loaf of slied no knead sourdough bread on a wooden cutting board

No Knead Sourdough Bread

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A lot of people are intimidated by baking their own bread at home, let alone sourdough bread. It seems to be portrayed as this difficult task that only professional bakers can accomplish. This ‘no knead sourdough bread’ recipe is meant to change that.

I love baking at home, and usually bake at least once a week. Sometimes I’ll make a loaf of my homemade sandwich bread, which is great for weekday lunches, breakfast toast etc. When I’m in the mood for something heartier though I reach for this recipe and make a rustic loaf of old fashioned sourdough.A loaf of freshly baked no knead sourdough bread in a red enamel dutch oven

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Before You Start…

There are a few things to keep in mind before starting this sourdough bread. As this is a ‘no knead’ recipe, (which also incorporates whole wheat flour), don’t be surprised if the bread turns out denser then store bought sourdough. Usually, kneading the dough develops the gluten strands which allows the dough to stretch while proofing, by not kneading this dough it will not become as stretchy.

To get around this, you can add 3/4 tsp of instant yeast to flour. This helps create a stronger ‘lift’ in the dough especially when using whole wheat flours. You will also need to have a sourdough starter which is active and ready for a feeding.

Otherwise you could simply knead the sourdough for 10 to 15 minutes on a floured counter right after mixing the ingredients and before proofing it the first time.

Bread doesn’t have to always be perfect. Play around with the recipe, try different combinations of flour, and enjoy the fact you’re making your own bread! – Chef Markus Mueller

Prep Your Sourdough Starter

If you already have a sourdough starter in the fridge or are planning on making one from scratch at home, you’ll need to plan ahead. Read how to make your own starter from scratch with the link below.

Related:  How To Make Sourdough Starter (From Scratch)

If you already have a starter, it’s a good idea to take it out of the fridge in the morning, a day before you want to bake and feed it once with a little flour and water.

This will reactivate the wild yeasts and make them stronger for baking.

Equipment

In order to create the light texture and crackly crust of this rustic sourdough bread, a cast iron or enameled dutch oven is used to bake the bread.

Profesaional bakeries will use specialised ovens that have steam injection to create a moist heat, but I’m guessing most of us don’t have access to this. The way around this is to use the dutch oven which locks in the moisture in the bread, preventing it from drying out as it bakes.



You’ll also need some parchment or wax paper. I use PaperChef parchment paper (affiliate) which is designed to withstand high temperatures.

No Knead Sourdough Bread Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup active and bubbly sourdough starter
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose or bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour ( For all white sourdough, simply use all purpose flour here)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Extra flour for dusting

Measuring Out & Mixing Your No Knead Sourdough Bread

The night before you plan on baking, measure out all the ingredients, and check your re-activated sourdough starter. It should be nice and bubbly, and wanting to be fed.

Instead of feeding the starter though, mix 1 1/2 cups of the bubbly starter in with the no knead sourdough bread ingredients in a large bowl. Choose a bowl that will allow the sourdough to double in size.

Mixing together the ingredients for this no knead sourdough bread in a metal bowlUse a wooden spoon and mix the ingredients until all the flour is mixed in and nothing is sticking to the sides of the bowl. It will create a sticky shaggy ball, and you may think this will never work….but trust me on this….its normal!

Cover the bowl with a clean linen cloth and let the sourdough rise on the counter over night.

Related:  Easy Homemade Sandwich Bread

Shaping & Baking Your Homemade Sourdough

The next day (the day you plan on baking), the dough should have doubled in size, and look quite loose in the bowl.

No knead sourdough dough in a bowl after rising overnight

Pre heat your oven to 450F (232C) and place the dutch oven with lid in the oven as it is pre-heating. Cut out a 12 x 12 inch section of parchment paper and lightly oil it.

Shaping

Sprinkle a clean counter top with a little flour, and gently scoop the shaggy sourdough onto the floured counter.

  • Gently pull a section of the dough over onto itself. Turn the dough a quarter turn, and do this 4 times.
  • As you fold the dough in on itself you create tension on the ‘outside floured surface’ which will help the loaf keep it’s shape while proofing a second time.

Flip the dough over and gently shape the dough into a round ball by dragging it across the counter top.

You can watch a video of how to do this below.(Credit: weekendbakery.com)

Gently place the shaped sourdough on the oiled parchment paper, and liberally dust the top of the loaf with flour. Place it on top of the warm stove covered with the linen cloth for half an hour to rise.

Baking

After the half hour the no knead sourdough bread will have slightly risen and be ready for baking.

Take the pre-heated dutch oven out of the stove. Watch out and use oven gloves, it will be smoking hot! Gently lift the sourdough into the dutch oven, lifting all four corners of the parchment.

No knead sourdough in a enamel dutch oven ready for baking

Place the lid on the dutch oven and place it back in the 450F stove to bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes to brown up the crust.

Remove the baked loaf of sourdough bread and let it cool on a wire rack. The no knead sourdough bread is best served within the next day or two, but it can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days to extend its shelf life. Note that refrigerating the bread will make it denser and less fluffy.

A rustic loaf of homemade no knead sourdough bread on a wooden cutting board

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A loaf of slied no knead sourdough bread on a wooden cutting board
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4.72 from 14 votes

No Knead Sourdough Bread

A basic sourdough bread requiring minimal effort. This no knead recipe is a great intro to baking sourdough bread from scratch at home.
Course Baking
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Overnight Proofing 12 hours
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 1 rustic sourdough loaf
Calories 1822kcal
Author Chef Markus Mueller

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose or bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup active and bubbly sourdough starter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • Extra flour for dusting

Instructions

Measuring Out & Mixing Your No Knead Sourdough Bread

  • The night before you plan on baking, measure out all the ingredients, and check your re-activated sourdough starter. It should be nice and bubbly and wanting to be fed.
  • Instead of feeding the starter though, mix 1 1/2 cups of the bubbly starter in with the no knead sourdough bread ingredients in a large bowl. Choose a bowl that will allow the sourdough to double in size.
  • Use a wooden spoon and mix the ingredients until all the flour is mixed in and nothing is sticking to the sides of the bowl. It will create a sticky shaggy ball.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean linen cloth and let the sourdough rise on the counter over night.

Shaping Your Homemade Sourdough

  • The next day (the day you plan on baking), the dough should have doubled in size and look quite loose in the bowl.
    Pre heat your oven to 450F (232C) and place the dutch oven(lid and all) in the stove as it is pre-heating. Cut out a 12 x 12 inch section of parchment paper and lightly oil it.
  • Sprinkle a clean counter top with a little flour, and gently scoop the shaggy sourdough onto the floured counter.
  • Gently pull a section of the dough over onto itself. Turn the dough a quarter turn, and do this 4 times.
  • Flip the dough over and gently shape the dough into a round ball by dragging it across the counter top.
  • Place the shaped dough on the oiled parchment paper, and liberally sprinkle the loaf with flour. Place it on top of the warm stove covered with the linen cloth for half an hour to rise.

Baking

  • Take the pre-heated dutch oven out of the oven. Gently lift the sourdough into the dutch oven, lifting all four corners of the parchment.
  • Place the lid on the dutch oven and place it back in the 450F stove to bake for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes to brown up the crust.
  • Remove the baked loaf of sourdough bread and let it cool on a wire rack. 

Notes

You can watch a video on shaping the bread in the blog post above.
If making all white sourdough, simply substitute the whole wheat for white all purpose flour.

 

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53 Comments

  1. One more question,
    I do not have a linen cloth, is it ok to use cheese cloth instead?
    I can’t rate the recipe yet as I have not baked my first loaf yet. Two more days to go! My mouth is already watering!

  2. I am on day 3 of making my starter. Looks great! I have only been baking my own bread for a few months and I’m hooked! I’ve only made no knead artisan bread though. I just love sourdough and decided to use your wonderfully clear and easy to follow recipe! All my other breads are very yummy! But they don’t rise more than about 2-3 inches. Is this normal? I do not want this to happen with my sourdough bread.. I’m using cast aluminum, due to arthritis I can’t lift cast iron.

    • Hi Nancy, the aluminum shouldn’t affect the rise. It is most likely due to a week starter, I would try feeding the starter a little longer before using it in a recipe. The starter should easily double in size after feeding, (and within 24 hours) before using it in a bread recipe. I’m glad you enjoy the recipes though!

  3. Hi there, I was wondering where I can buy the sour dough starter.

  4. David Humphrey

    Sorry, computer acting up. Just saw the answer to my question below. 🙁

  5. David Humphrey

    During the overnight rise, should the bowl be left uncovered ?

  6. Laurie Maruschak

    5 stars
    For anyone that is looking for a sourdough recipe and can’t decide on one. Pick this one, it is easy to follow, the recipe is bulletproof,the instructions are clear and the bread is top notch. My first attempt at went perfect right up to 15 minutes into baking the bread and that’s went the power went out. I fired up the bbq got it up to 450 finished the baking with the lid on, still no power so I removed the lid and finished baking the bread on the bbq. It turned out perfect. I have shared this recipe and loaves of bread with friends they all love it.

  7. 5 stars
    Great recipe!! Tastes wonderful and really good texture. Very well written and understandable instructions, thank you!

  8. Donna Wooldridge

    5 stars
    Great recipe! Super easy too. I’ve made sourdough bread twice now and had excellent results.

  9. Susan L Sanderson

    5 stars
    I tried it again with a “sturdier” sourdough starter and it has turned out great. My starter had been 100% hydrated but I revamped the process and this is delicious!

  10. Hi Chef Markus,
    Could you please say something about the dough should “look quite loose in the bowl”? My dough never looks like that – it sticks to the bowl. Is it perhaps too wet?

    • Hi Hope, by “quite loose’ I mean that it will be fairly wet and jiggly, not thick and firm as a ‘yeast dough’ would be at that stage. As the sourdough ferments and works its way through the dough, it will double in volume and become a lot thinner in texture making it seem wet or lose.

  11. 1 star
    Not sure what went wrong but there was NO WAY this was forming into any kind of a boule. The dough was super wet. 3.5 cups of flour and 3 cups of liquid doesn’t compute–what did I miss here!

    • Hey Susan,

      I’m sorry to hear the recipe didn’t work out for you.

      You said you used 3 cups of water and 3.5 cups of flour.

      While the dough is fairly wet, I would encourage you to try the recipe again, but note that the recipe only calls for 1.5 cups of water and not 3 cups

      I’ve copied the full ingredients below.

      (Also note that your sourdough starter should by no means be liquid, but rather a thick gooy texture.)

      1 1/2 cup active and bubbly sourdough starter
      2 cups unbleached all purpose or bread flour
      1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour ( For all white sourdough, simply use all purpose flour here)
      1 1/2 cups warm water
      1 tsp. salt
      Extra flour for dusting

      Happy baking!

      Chef Markus

  12. 5 stars
    Hi Mark,
    I just made it. It SOOOO good!. Thank you for this!
    Do you think that it would be possible to add some black olives in the first mixing? Just for a different variety?

    • Hi Krystyna, so glad you enjoyed the recipe! You sure could add olives, I would suggest letting them drip dry first though so you dont throw off the moisture content! Have fun baking!

  13. Chef Markus,

    Once again, thank you kindly!

    Best,
    Lesley

  14. Hi again Chef Markus,
    Thank you so much for your lengthy and informative reply!
    I too hate using plastic so your suggestion to wet the cloth is a great one. Thanks! I’ll certainly do that and I never place it directly on the dough.
    Getting back to higher altitude and it being hotter and drier, what you can you recommend I do to accommodate this? Add more liquid when I’m mixing the dough, raise and/or reduce oven temperature and bake time? Can I add whole-wheat flour when feeding the starter to strengthen it?
    I have made a number of loaves now and thrown them out 😣. They have beautiful holes as sourdough should have but they are heavy and most times don’t have a good rise. I’m determined to get this right because I’ve just moved from Vancouver to the Kootenays and in Vancouver I made beautiful sourdough (never bought bread) but I lost my starter when I got here. I really want to make bread again and will work at it until I get it right!
    Your time and professional input is greatly appreciated!
    Lesley

    • Hey Leslie, I would suggest cutting the flour back first before adding more water. Start by removing maybe 1/8th of the overall flour and see what happens. If you find your sourdough starter weak, simply adding whole wheat flour will not strengthen it. You need to feed it longer increasing its mass and bacteria count. It should easily be able to double in size after feeding and letting it sit for a few hours. Here is a link on a few other tips when baking sourdough at high temperature ( I have personally never done so). https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/sourdough/how-altitude-affects-sourdough-baking/

      Chef Markus

  15. Hi Mark,
    I have made my starter which is bubbly and sour smelling. I added 1-1/2 cups to the rest of the ingredients. Firstly …. should it be 1 or 1-1/2 cups and secondly by covering the rising dough with a linen cloth it seems to create a hardish crust over top of the dough which I’m thinking is preventing it from rising. Can I use plastic wrap to cover the bowl instead? Also, note that I’m at an altitude of just over 3,000 ft where it’s hot and dry. How would it alter the bread if I were to knead it in a machine with a dough hook?
    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks.

    • Hi Lesley,

      You are correct it is 1.5 cups of sourdough starter you add to the rest of the bread ingredients. You want to add enough of the starter to give the bacteria the best chance possible to ferment quickly and rise the bread dough.

      Using a linen cloth should not really affect the dough while it is fermenting. You mention hot and dry conditions, which are likely the cause for this instead. It could also be that your starter is simply not strong enough. You could try feeding the starter for another week to build strength before using it. You could use plastic wrap sure, but I hate using it and always advocate for a waste less option. You could try wetting the cloth and draping that over the bowl to keep moisture in. (note the cloth should not touch the dough directly in any case).

      Baking at high altitudes always affects cooking and baking. Generally baking at higher altitudes results in bread which rises faster due to lower air pressure. Drier air also has a tendency to dry out flour/ dough.

      You could use a mixer to mix the dough sure, with a mixer though you run the risk of over kneading the dough which could lead to a denser loaf. But go ahead and try it out!

      Have Fun,

      Chef Markus

  16. Would you be able to give the dry ingredients in grams? I find it hard to measure accurately in cups, and I’ve not found a reliable conversion website. Thanks.

    • Hi Cheryl, sure thing! A good thing to note with bread, it is not as finicky as baking a cake for example, if you are off by a gram or so it won’t make a huge difference. It’s more about the ratio being correct.

      256 grams unbleached all purpose flour or 280 grams bread flour
      169.5 grams whole wheat flour
      1 1/2 cup active and bubbly sourdough starter (don’t currently have an active starter to weigh, but I can guarantee measuring out 1.5 cups with any measuring cup will work)
      5 grams salt
      354 ml warm water

      Hope this helps!

      • Thank you, Markus. I asked as, although I am not new to bread-making, I am new to making sourdough and everything went really well until I got to putting the dough together. I used a well-known flour manufacturer’s conversion chart, but the actual dough seemed really wet. Not knowing whether this was right or not, I went ahead and baked it, but it came out way too dense (even for sourdough) – tasted great though! I’m going to have another try this Easter weekend.

  17. Chef Markus,
    I’ve wanted to learn how to make sourdough starter and bread and I found your guide and recipe and I made this bread tonight after successfully making my own starter with your handy guide. Turned out great! My first loaf of sourdough bread, after 30+ years of bread baking, I have graduated to sourdough, yay! Thanks for great instruction!

  18. 5 stars
    I did a little variation and found that the bread turned out better if I didn’t preheat my cast iron pan. I extended the cooking time to 35 minutes with the lid on and 10 ore with the lid off, all at 450. It also raised a little higher and the sourdough flavor seemed to stand out more. I think the natural yeast shocks easier and gradually raising the temp makes a difference.

  19. Anthony Horahan

    5 stars
    I used Rye flour in place I’d the wheat flour and this is easily the best loaf of sourdough that I have ever made. I also cheated and used yeast to cut short the time frame.

  20. 5 stars
    my husband loves sour dough bread. I will have to get some starter going so I can make this one

  21. 5 stars
    I wish I was having some of this hot on the table for breakfast today! Yum.

  22. Nothing like freshly baked bread!

  23. 5 stars
    I haven’t fed my starter in a while. I need to give him some good feedings and then make this bread! Your instructions are perfect and your bread is gorgeous!

  24. That is one gorgeous loaf of bread. My son loves sourdough. I’ll have to make a starter so I can make some for him.

  25. I don’t have a dutch oven, can I bake this in an uncovered bread loaf pan wih the same results. If I need to adjust something, what will I adjust

    • Hi Randy, I have to say that I have never tried this. In theory, sure you can bake it in a uncovered bread pan. It may not have quite as much ‘oven rise’ though. The covered dutch oven helps keep moisture in the bread and allows the bacteria to ‘rise the dough’ a little longer before being killed by the high heat.

      I would suggest baking it at 375F in this case. If you try this, please take a picture and tag me on social media. I’d love to see how it turns out.

      Chef Markus

  26. 5 stars
    What a beautiful loaf! And your step by step instructions are so divine, I feel like I’m standing in the kitchen with you. Thanks for sharing. Will be pinning this for later.

  27. 5 stars
    hi again Mark – in the instructions it says 1 1/2 cups starter, but in the ‘ingredients’ it says 1 cup…

    2 cups unbleached all purpose or bread flour
    1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    1 cup active and bubbly sourdough starter
    1 tsp. salt
    1 1/2 cups warm water
    Extra flour for dusting

    thank you Mark – your step by step is AWESOME!!!! i can’t wait to try it!!!!

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