Sourdough Bread No Knead and Easy Recipe

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This sourdough bread no knead and easy recipe is a family favorite. With mostly inactive time, this makes for an easy loaf to bake for your family.

sourdough bread no knead

This sourdough bread no knead and easy recipe is by far the favorite with everyone I know. I regularly make it for my family. It is a wholesome and hearty side to any dinner, perfect for toast in the mornings or great for sandwiches for lunch. I have also shared this in my local community and it is in high demand. It just can’t be beat. 

I love this recipe because it is so simple. Now, it seems like a lot when you first start out but once you get familiar with the process it is much easier to make regularly than a kneaded dough. It has just a few ingredients compared to a lot of other bread recipes and there is no kneading! A bit of mixing ingredients together and a lot of letting it sit. I even love to make it because the process is so relaxing and fulfilling. Making something like this with your own two hands is a very fulfilling practice. Creating something so healthy and filling for my family just makes shaping the dough even more special. Plus, I’m a sucker for making everyday things pretty and the scoring you can do is so fun! Nothing like a beautiful loaf of bread sitting out in your kitchen to bring a smile. 

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This is where you can find the free Sourdough Made Simple e-book. I created this to give a more in depth resource for those starting out with sourdough. It is full of information on how to make a starter, how to maintain a starter and a few recipes. Grab it here!

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    Why Sourdough?

    To keep from sounding like a broken record I won’t go into all of the health benefits and details but I share about the benefits in several other posts like my sourdough starter post. I also have created a free ebook, Sourdough made simple, that goes into even more depth about sourdough. You can grab that here

    In short, the act of souring or soaking your grains breaks down different elements of the grains. It also changes how our body utilizes those grains. This is related to gluten, the sugars, and phytic acid. 

    Does Sourdough Bread Need Kneading?

    This depends on your recipe. For this recipe, nope! Like stated above, stretching and folding the dough does the trick. Kneading is not necessary nor does it help with this dough. 

    How Does No Knead Sourdough Work?

    This is so interesting to me. With a traditional bread dough, you knead the dough to develop the gluten. With this no knead process, fermentation and a series of stretches and folds creates this development. There is no time spent kneading either by mixer or by hand. Now I do enjoy kneading bread. I really just love to work with my hands and to work with dough. But I still get this satisfaction with a little less work. And a much prettier loaf!

    Why Doesn’t My Sourdough Have Big Holes?

    If I’m being honest, I actually prefer smaller holes in my bread. It is much easier to eat and use for things like toast and sandwiches. However, fewer holes could mean a few things. The first is that your dough could be dry. The higher the hydration, the more holes. I would not increase hydration just for this reason though because it could cause your bread to not hold its shape! Another reason could be the fermentation time and failure to stretch and fold enough.

    Measuring

    The most accurate way to bake bread is by weighing it in grams on a kitchen scale. This will yield the best loaf because the measurements are more accurate. 

    However, I tend to deviate from this “rule” because it adds another level of complexity. When creating a new recipe or baking for others I will weigh it. But if I am making regular loaves for my family, I just use basic measurements and it is still delicious. I have listed both measurements below so you can choose how you want to measure!

    Our Favorite Ways To Eat

    sourdough bread no knead

    This bread is delicious for anything. We use it for toast and sandwiches mostly but it is great as French toast, in breakfast casseroles, made into croutons and it makes a delicious stuffing for the holidays. I love it with a slab of butter and some jam!

    Sourdough Bread No Knead Recipe Schedule

    6:00 AM: feed starter
    12:00 PM: make dough
    1:00 PM: start stretch and folding + first ferment
    9:00 PM: shape and cold ferment
    8:00 AM: preheat dutch oven
    9:00 AM: bake bread

    Tips- Sourdough Bread No Knead Recipe

    • Don’t skip the cold ferment! This helps your scoring pattern a lot! 
    • Don’t be too precise on timing. You can over ferment and over proof but go more by how things look rather than the time. It is just a general guide. 
    • Practice, practice, practice. While this is a pretty foolproof recipe, sourdough does take practice to make a beautiful loaf. Your starter will also get better the more it is used so the more bread you bake, the stronger your starter. 
    • Don’t throw any bread out. Make croutons or French toast. I have had plenty of loaves not turn out but were still edible. I’ve never had a loaf that didn’t taste good!
    • Place your bread/starter in a warm spot. A few ideas are by a window with sun, next to the fireplace or wood stove (not too close or the sides will bake), by a heater vent, in your oven with only the light on, or on a low heated surface. I am also guilty of turning my oven on at the lowest temp for about 2-3 minutes (not long enough for it to preheat, just get a little warm around 80 degrees), shutting it off and sticking my starter or bread in there. I would be careful with this because it is hard to gauge the exact temp and you do not want this above 80-ish degrees!

    Tools

    • Banneton basket, thrifted basket or large mixing bowl
    • Mixing bowl
    • Bench scraper (optional)
    • Tea towel
    • Parchment paper
    • Dutch oven
    • Scale or measuring cups
    • Lame or sharp knife

    Ingredients For This Sourdough Bread No Knead Recipe

    365 grams (3 cups) unbleached, all purpose flour

    160 grams (1 cup) whole wheat flour (can be subbed for all purpose but I prefer whole wheat for the texture)

    100 grams (1/2 cup) active sourdough starter

    337 grams (1 3/8 cups) water

    12 grams (1 1/2 teaspoon) salt- I suggest a good quality sea salt or Redmond’s real salt but any will do

    How To Make This Sourdough Bread No Knead Recipe

    First, feed your starter 4-12 hours before baking your bread. I know this is a large time lapse there but the reason I say that is because we are in the middle of winter here so my starter takes closer to 8-10 hours currently. If you live somewhere even colder, it could take longer. But in the summer, my starter takes 4 hours and sometimes less! 

    Once your starter is bubbly and active, begin mixing your dough. Start by adding water and starter to a mixing bowl and mixing until thinned out. Add flour and mix thoroughly. Do not add salt. Allow to rest for about 15-20 minutes.

    Next, add your salt and with wet hands combine the dough and salt until it is dissolved and even in the dough. 

    Once the salt, flour, starter and water is combined you will start the first fermenting phase. This lasts about 8 hours but you can go a little longer if you want your grains soaked longer for health benefits. 

    Let your dough rest for another 30 minutes after adding the salt then start the stretching and folding. You will stretch and fold 6 times. The first 3 are every 15 minutes and the last 3 are every 30 minutes. Now I’m not too particular about this. I don’t time it and sometimes I only do half of them and it turns out fine. But you will see the best results from the full 6. 

    To stretch and fold, wet your hands and lift one corner of the dough. Pull it up stretching it out as far as you can without tearing it. Then fold it over the dough to the opposite side. Do this on all 4 corners. Repeat 2 more times at 15 minute intervals and then 3 more times at 30 minute intervals. 

    Stretching and folding is part of what causes the big bubbles and holes in the bread. It makes a fluffy bread and helps develop the gluten. 

    Once you have completed all of the folds, place a plate or tea towel over the bowl and allow to finish fermenting. 

    After the 8 hours of fermenting, carefully scrape your dough onto an non floured surface. It will be sticky to help hold its shape but should not be sticking to your hands too terribly. We will start the shaping process.

    To shape your loaf, grab a corner of the dough and stretch the dough then lay it on the surface. Do this on all 4 corners. Then begin on the sides. You want to stretch this out to a flat rectangle about 9×13, maybe a little less. This is called lamination. 

    Take one long side and fold it in to the center of the dough. Repeat on the other long side folding it over to the edge. You should have a long and skinny dough. 

    Take one end and begin rolling it as tight as you can until the dough is a rough ball. It may stick to your surface so be sure to scrape with your hands gently as you go. You can also use a bench scraper. 

    Next, we will build tension in the dough. Place the dough seam side down. Cup it with your hands in front, push it backwards, then cup the back and pull it to you tucking the sides under. Repeat until you have a very tight and smooth ball. 

    Grab your bowl or banneton basket. Place a floured tea towel inside. Using a bench scraper or your hands, pick the ball up and flip it over inside the basket or bowl. The bottom will now be on top. Lightly flour dough and cover with the sides of the tea towel. 

    Place in your refrigerator for about 12-15 hours. I like to do this overnight. This is the cold ferment and final proof. 

    About 30 minutes- 1 hour before you plan to bake your bread, preheat your oven with a Dutch oven inside at 475 degrees. 

    After the 12-15 hours is up, pull your bread out. Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on your counter. You will dump your dough very carefully out onto the parchment paper. The side of the dough that was on the bottom of the bowl or banneton will now be on top. 

    Taking a lame or sharp knife, you will score your bread. There is a lot that goes into scoring and you can do some really pretty designs but I would recommend something simple if you are a beginner like a quarter inch deep slash down the middle. You can also look up scoring designs online for inspiration. 

    Pull your Dutch oven out and carefully lift the parchment paper into it. Place the lid back on and bake in oven at 475 degrees for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes. 

    Remove the bread from the Dutch oven carefully and allow to cool completely (if you can). This allows the inside crumb to set and gives the best loaf. I usually cut right in but I would recommend waiting!

    More Sourdough Recipes:

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    sourdough bread no knead

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