No-Knead Sourdough Bread
Updated: Feb 21
This sourdough bread is:
Ready to enjoy in only 1 day!
This recipe is long overdue. I have been baking sourdough since March 2020 (yes - I am one of those "Lockdown sourdough bakers"!). But so far, I had not shared my recipe! Mainly because, I had not settled into any routine really. I was constantly changing my methods and trying new recipes. But I feel that I have finally settled into a sourdough routine enough that I can share with you my current way of doing things.
I like my sourdough bread with not too many holes in. My boyfriend complains if the holes are too big, because then he can't butter his toast properly, haha! But I think he is absolutely right: the big holes definitely have aesthetic appeal (a.k.a. look good on the gram), but for eating pleasure, I prefer a finer crumb.
Now, I will definitely share different recipes in the future, but for my first sourdough recipe, I wanted to keep things as simple and non-faffy as possible. Sourdough is actually very forgiving, meaning you can get an incredible tasting loaf without much effort. But by all means, if you want to use all the sourdough tricks you have up your sleeve (coil folds, slap and fold, Rhubaud method, etc), be my guest. But I will share with you my way of making a simple, rustic looking sourdough boule, which everyone can achieve!
You need a cast-iron Dutch Oven for this recipe, and I highly recommend a dough scraper as well. Oh, and you need an active sourdough starter. There are plenty of guides online on how to create one. I have used different methods, but the starter I am using now is 100% rye, 100% hydration starter. I created it by simply mixing together 100 grams of rye flour and 100 grams of water, leaving it for 6 days whilst giving it a stir every day. On day 2/3 you will see it rise dramatically, but these are not the bugs you want for sourdough, so just stir it down and wait. On day 5/6, you should notice an increase in volume again. Wait until it starts to fall back down, and then feed with 100 grams each of fresh flour and water, maintaining 100 grams of mature starter. Repeat the next day with only 50 grams of mature starter. The starter should now have a steady rise and fall, after which you can use it for baking! When it has reached this stage, I continue to feed it daily on the counter in the following ratio:
25 grams mature starter
100 grams wholemeal rye flour
100 grams water at 25 degrees Celsius
If I am not going to bake a loaf any time in the next 2 days, I will pop my sourdough starter in the fridge ~3 hours after feeding it, where it can sit comfortably for a week until I need to feed it again.
Unlike some other bakers, I do not build a levain for my bread. I simply use my starter. When I am going to bake a loaf, I will feed my starter at night, leave it on the counter at room temperature, and I will use it to make my dough the next morning. I find this way is much less wasteful than building a levain, because it results in a lot less sourdough discard. So make sure you feed your starter ~12 hours before you want to use it, so it has doubled in size and is just starting to fall, which is the best time to use it.
In the recipe below, I share my suggested timings, but feel free to adapt to your schedule. You can start earlier or later depending on when you want to bake the bread.
No-Knead Sourdough Bread
450 grams strong white bread flour
50 grams wholemeal spelt flour
310 ml lukewarm water (25-27 degrees Celsius)
150 grams active sourdough starter
8 grams fine sea salt
Rice flour, for dusting
Semolina, for sprinkling
The evening before: Feed your starter the way you usually do it, and leave on the counter overnight to double in size.
8AM: Mix the flours, starter, and water in a large bowl using your hands or a wooden spoon, but do not add the salt just yet. Make sure there are no dry clumps of flour anywhere. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towl, and place in a warm spot (I put it on top of my boiler where it is a comfortable 27 degrees Celsius, but you can also turn the oven light on and put it in there). Leave there for 45 minutes to autolyse.*
8:45AM: Add 8 grams of fine sea salt, and with slightly wet hands, mix the salt into the dough properly by folding it in on itself a few times. Put the dough back in its warm spot, covered, for bulk fermentation. We will perform stretch and folds every 30 minutes during this period, for 3 - 6 times, depending on how much your dough needs. I usually need 4.
9:15AM: First set of stretch and folds. Grab the side of your dough, pull it up until you feel resistance (but do not tear it), and fold it over the dough to the other side. Twist the bowl 90 degrees, and repeat, until you have made at least a full circle, and the dough feels tighter and is resisting the pull. Put the bowl back in its warm spot.
9:45AM / 10:15AM / 10:45AM: Repeat stretch and folds as described in step 4. Your dough should pass the window pane test after you have completed all your stretch and folds. If it does not, add another set in after 30 minutes. Keep going until you are confident the dough has enough gluten strength. Place back in its warm spot in between each stretch and fold and for the remainder of the bulk fermentation. Your internal dough temperature should ideally read around 27 degrees Celsius - but no worries if it is warmer or colder; you can just prove the dough shorter or longer.
12:30PM: It has been 4.5 hours since you mixed your dough. It should now have grown around 50% in size, and feel a lot more wobbly. If it doesn't, give it another half an hour or so. If it is nice and wobbly, it is ready for preshaping. Take the dough out of the bowl and put it on a clean, unfloured counter. Preshape into a boule using a bench scraper and one hand by pulling one side towards you with your hand, but twisting away with the dough scraper on the other side. (Watch a video online on how to do it, is my advice.) Let the dough rest on the counter, uncovered, for half an hour.
13:00PM: Bring your dough into its final shape. First, lightly flour the top of the dough, then flip it over, so the smooth side is facing down. Then, fold the edges of the dough into the middle and pinch them together, to shape a boule. Using a bench scraper, flip the dough over again so the seam side is down. Then, gently pull the dough towards you using both hands, so the dough pulls under itself. Turn the dough 90 degrees using your bench scraper and repeat until the dough feels tight, and looks like a nice boule with surface tension.
13:10PM: Prepare a banneton or proving basket by liberally dusting with rice flour so the dough won't stick. Also dust the top of your dough with rice flour. Then, gently place the dough into your banneton, with the seam side facing up. Place in a plastic bag or a large freezer bag, so it doesn't dry out, but make sure to leave room at the top so the dough won't touch the bag when it rises.
13:15PM: Time for the second proof. Place the dough in the fridge until the next morning if you want a very sour tang to your bread. Alternatively, for a more mellow, subdued sourness, place the dough back in its warm spot for another 2-3 hours, until grown 50% again and very airy and wobbly. If you press your finger into the dough about half an inch, and the dimple slowly springs back up, but not all the way, the dough is ready to be baked. If it springs back up immediately, it needs a bit longer. If it stays indented completely, the dough is overproved so just bake it ASAP. Make sure you turn the oven on well in advance (at least one hour) to preheat your Dutch oven. The timing will depend on how fast your dough is bubbling up during the second proof. If you are retarding your dough overnight, then just turn on the oven when you wake up the next morning.
15:15PM or first thing the next morning: Turn your oven on to 250 degrees Celsius and place your Dutch oven with lid inside to preheat for one hour.
16:15PM or the next morning +1hr: Place a sheet of parchment paper on your counter and sprinkle it with a little bit of semolina. Turn the dough out of the banneton onto the semolina, so the smooth top of the dough faces up. You can now choose to score your dough any way you want. I like a cross with some little feathers next to it. Use a very sharp razor blade or knife, (or a scoring lame if you have one) and score the dough with quick, confident motions. Take the Dutch oven out of the oven (be careful - very hot) and place on top of your stove. Carefully lift the parchment paper up with the dough on it and lift into the Dutch oven. Place the lid on tight and place in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take the lid off, turn the oven temperature down to 220 degrees, and bake for another 20 minutes until a deep golden brown crust forms. Take the bread out of the Dutch oven and place on a wire rack until completely cool before slicing (at least 1 hour).
*I autolyse my dough with the starter already in it, just to minimise the time spent on the loaf. In the first 45 minutes, there won't be much activity anyways, and the flour will still hydrate in the meantime. I learned this method from James Morton's book "Super Sourdough" - before reading it, I used to autolyse with just water and flour. I still recommend that method (and a prolonged autolyse) if you are using a larger proportion of wholemeal flour, but with white flour, I prefer this method.
Slice your bread and enjoy with slightly salted butter, or toast it first; either way it is delicious. The little bit of added spelt flour gives a slight nuttiness that I love, and there is some earthiness from the rye flour. You can increase the amount of spelt/rye flour in this recipe, but in that case, I would autolyse for one hour before adding your starter. You might also need to add a bit more water, because wholemeal flours absorb more water than white.
Do let me know if you try my method of making a no-knead sourdough bread in one day! Find me on Instagram @bakingstori :)