easy no-knead sourdough bread

After a lot of experimenting and tweaking, I am so happy to share my perfect, minimal hands-on time, easy no-knead sourdough bread recipe with you!

Are you looking for the easiest no-knead sourdough bread recipe ever? Well, you came to the right place!

I am going to show you that you can make a delicious loaf of artisan-style bread that is fluffy and light.

Maybe you have already checked out my no-discards and no feedings method to make a sourdough starter. Then you also know that I like things to be simple. No fuss.

And with an active starter and a European-style whole grain bread recipe, I was looking for something lighter and, yes, whiter.

Therefore, I have been playing with an artisan sourdough bread recipe in my cast iron dutch oven. And for that reason, I now have two sourdough starters (a white one and a dark one).

Why another sourdough bread recipe?

While there seem to be a gazillion good sourdough bread recipes out there, most of them are pretty involved. There is a lot of folding and stretching and keeping an eye on the clock.

My perfect recipe should be

  • minimal hands-on time
  • a reliable recipe that makes a perfect loaf every time
  • great bread with delicious flavor
  • a flexible recipe (that I can make with different types of flour and grains)

I wasn’t looking for big holes but a nice, fluffy texture and good crust.

With a bit of trial and error and experimenting with unusual ingredients, I am so happy with the recipe that I have come up with. And I am even happier to share that with you!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.

“Secret ingredients” of this no-knead sourdough bread

This bread is a true sourdough bread because we are using an active sourdough starter (you can easily make your own). And there is a 10 or so hour fermentation time. So you get all the health benefits from sourdough fermentation.

However, I am adding these two “secret ingredients” to boost this recipe:

active sourdough starter

Instant/dry yeast

Adding yeast to the sourdough helps with the rising. Sourdough, while I love it, can be a bit temperamental. It is highly affected by ambient temperature, humidity, and wild yeast in the air. Using dry or instant yeast is a bit of insurance to get a good rise. I can just step away from the bread dough and know that in a certain amount of time, I will get a loaf of good bread, no matter what.

And for any sourdough purist out there: wild yeasts and lactic acid bacteria are all part of the microbial make-up of sourdough!

Diastatic barley malt

You may have never heard of this ingredient before. But trust me, professional bakers use it all the time. I would say it is a bit like steroids for the yeast. Because of its sugars, it boosts the yeast, and gives the bread a better flavor, texture, and crust. Ever since I started adding a bit to my yeast doughs, I have only been loving the results. This malt flour is pretty easy to find (go here).

No-knead sourdough bread ingredients:

Here are the ingredients for one big loaf – or you could make two smaller ones:

2 cups warm water (about 500 grams)

1 cup very active sourdough starter (about 200 grams)

5 ½ cups of flour ( I prefer using about 70% regular white AP flour and 30% whole wheat flour but any ratios will work, even 100% whole grain flour)

1 tsp of dry/instant yeast

1 tsp of diastatic barley malt

and 1 tablespoon of salt (about 20 grams)

ingredients for sourdough bread

How to make this easy no-knead sourdough bread

This bread couldn’t be simpler! I start making it right before I go to bed. Here are the step-by-step instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, I add the dry ingredients, give them a quick stir, and then add the water and my active starter. I’ll mix all the ingredients into a shaggy, sticky dough. Since it is a no-knead bread, you will not have to knead it. Then I cover it with plastic wrap (or my homemade beeswax wraps) and let it sit overnight for the first rise. You can also cover it with a damp kitchen towel to keep the dough from drying out.

sourdough rising

The next morning, I line my cast iron dutch oven with a big piece of parchment paper. Then, I put a little flour on my hands and form the dough into a ball. Often, I use a dough scraper to get all the dough off the bowl. Just know that this is a very wet dough that will tend to stick to your hands! Now I let the dough ball rise right in my dutch oven for a few hours.

dough ball
before the second rise
dough rising
4-5 hours later

When I am happy with how much it has risen, I might score the bread with a sharp knife or razor blade. Just know that the dough is very fragile. You might end up tearing the top of the bread more than scoring it. Then, I put the bread (in the dutch oven with a lid on) in a cold oven, set the temperature to 450 degrees, and the timer to 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, I take the lid off.

sourdough bread baking

Then I bake it for another 20 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned.

sourdough bread crust

Let the sourdough bread cool on a wire cooling rack. Done!

Most of the time, the bread smells so good that we can barely wait to cut a slice or two once the bread has cooled enough to touch it for cutting. We love it with a bit of homemade butter and salt.

Sourdough breads do keep for a while but they do taste best fresh.

 bread cooling

Do you see how there really is very minimal hands-on time? That is my kind of recipe and I have a feeling you might fall in love with it, too!

No matter how you’re spending your day, it is very easy to weave making this sourdough bread into your schedule.

easy sourdough bread

Frequently asked questions:

Does this sourdough bread need to rise in a warm spot?

Not necessarily. Most of the time, I just let mine ferment at room temperature and it will rise just fine.

Can I do the second rise in a pretty proofing basket?

I don’t recommend that. This particular dough is just too wet and shaggy. It would be very challenging to remove it from the proofing basket without “destroying” it.

How long do I need to let the dough rise?

I would say, it depends. In the summer, your dough might rise faster than in the winter. A lot of people let the dough ferment overnight and just watch it for the second rise.

Can I increase the sour taste of the bread?

A little bit. After all, this is a sourdough bread. However, by adding a tad bit more salt and yeast and decreasing the rise time, your bread will taste less sour. Likewise, if you slightly decrease the amount of salt and yeast and increase the fermentation time, your loaf of bread will be a bit sourer.

Can I use whole grains for this bread?

Yes, you can. That is I have used different flours and different ratios of whole grain flours to all-purpose flour with good results. This is why this is such an easy sourdough bread recipe!

Is this bread recipe good for first-time bakers?

Absolutely! Since it doesn’t require much work or baking skills, you will get a nice loaf of bread with your first attempt.

Can I make two loaves of bread instead of one big round loaf?

I have done that by shaping two smaller loaves in two smaller dutch ovens with excellent results.

Why do you add commercial yeast if this is a sourdough bread?

Since I am busy, I wanted a super easy recipe with minimal hands-on time. Next to lactic acid, yeast cultures are part of the microorganisms that make up the sourdough. Adding a few more is not cheating in my book.

Can I make this sourdough bread without added yeast?

Technically, you can. I have not tried it myself and can’t promise that you will get the same fluffy, airy bread that you will get with this recipe.

Do I have to use diastatic malt?

In short, no, you do not. You can always leave it out completely. Or use about 1 tsp of sugar instead. However, I highly recommend using the diastatic malt, especially if you want to bake this bread more often.

Do you have a recipe for an equally easy sourdough starter?

I do! You can read this article here in which I share my super easy method for making a bubbly starter.

How do I get a crackly crust?

You can do a few things. During the second rise you can keep the dough ball uncovered. This will dry out the bread a little bit. Also, you can place an oven-proof container on the bottom of your oven. This will create steam during baking and help make the crust more crackly after you take the lid off.

Why don’t you place the bread in the hot dutch oven?

You can certainly preheat your dutch oven before baking. I did that with my first loaf and found it challenging NOT to burn myself. Ever since then, I have been placing my dough into a cold dutch oven and like that method much better.

How do I store my sourdough bread so it will last?

I have to admit that this bread will be best fresh. To keep it for the next days, we like to wrap it either in linen (or a linen bread bag) or place it in a paper bag. Often, I place it in my stove where there is a lot of airflow. Just remember to take it out before you use it! You can also store it with the cut side down in a big stoneware crock.

You can place your sourdough bread in the refrigerator but it tends to make it harder and chewier.

Often, when we know we won’t eat it within a few days, I cut it in half once it is cooled down. I then place one half in a plastic bag and keep it in the freezer.

Let me know all your comments and questions in the comments below!

Other recipes you might enjoy:

How to Make the Easiest Sourdough Starter Ever

Maintain Your Sourdough Starter without Discards or Feedings

European-style Whole Grain Sourdough Bread

Thanksgiving Stuffing with Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Printable recipe

no knead sourdough bread
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Easy No-Knead Sourdough Bread

After a lot of experimenting and tweaking, I am so happy to share my perfect, minimal hands-on time, easy no-knead sourdough bread recipe with you!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Resting time8 hrs
Total Time9 hrs 10 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sourdough bread
Servings: 1 loaf
Calories: 100kcal
Author: Our Gabled Home
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • Dutch oven with lid

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water (about 500 grams)
  • 1 cup active sourdough starter (about 200 grams)
  • 5 ½ cups flour (about 700 grams white, whole grain or any combination of flours)
  • 1 tsp dry/instant yeast
  • 1 tsp diastatic barley malt
  • 1 TBSP salt (about 20 grams)

Instructions

  • In a non-reactive bowl, mix all the ingredients into a uniform dough. It will be somewhat wet, sticky, and shaggy! Cover with plastic and let stand overnight.
  • In the morning, scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl and with floured hands form into a dough by stretching the top side and roughly folding the dough underneath.
  • Line a large cast iron dutch oven (or two smaller ones) with parchment paper. Set the dough ball inside the dutch oven. Put the lid on. Let it rise in a warm spot for a few hours or until is has about doubled in size.
  • Gently flour the dough. Using a sharp knife or lame, score the top (optional).
  • Set oven to 450˚ F. Put the lid back on the dutch oven and place it in the cold oven. Set a timer to 40 minutes.
  • After 40 minutes of baking, remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned.
  • Carefully lift the bread out of the dutch oven, remove the parchment paper, and let cool on a wire rack.

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52 thoughts on “Easy Sourdough Bread – No Kneading Required”

  1. Hi Anja! I am planning to try making this bread soon. My question is; when you leave the dough to stand overnight, is that on the counter? The refrigerator? Is refrigerator an option..because I live in a very warm and humid environment..? (Ok..3 questions😬) I am super excited to try this!

  2. What can you use as a substitute for the Barley Malt? I don’t have any on hand, but would love to make this bread. I’ve already made the starter, and ready to get the bread going.

    Thanks in advance.

  3. I’m midway through making a starter. I just purchased a Cuisinart Chef’s Classic enameled cast iron Dutch oven. On their tag it says not to use it dry. I’m thinking that I should be safe using parchment paper without greasing the inside of the pan. Have you experimented with enameled cast iron for bread?

    1. That sounds great, Cathy! I have used an enameled cast iron before but no prefer my regular cast iron since I am baking the bread at 450˚F and have heard that it can hurt the glaze. That’s just my little opinion ~ Anja

  4. Gruestig Anja,

    I would like to keep the remaining sourdough starter to use again but there is only a little bit left in the jar after taking out 1 cup of it for the bread recipe. Should I just add flour to it and stir it up for a few days on the windowsill before I pour more flour on it to deactivate it?

    1. Hi Sandee, yes, you can do that! Just add a bit of flour and water, let it ferment, and then add a whole lot more flour before you put it in the fridge. Hope this helps ~ Anja

  5. 5 stars
    Anja, thank you very much for the simplicity of your sourdough starter and the easy sourdough bread recipe.
    I have not bake it yet but I will this weekend.
    I have looked at tens of recipes and they were so ridiculously elaborate that I did not think I could find anything I would try, I almost gave up, then I found you. Really, are there many people out there taking the dough temperature. I was thinking, a hundred years ago, where women had so much work, did they have the time to be taking the temperature of the dough? Thank you, thank you again for your encouraging posts.
    Ana

    1. Yay! I am so, so glad you like my sourdough bread recipe! I don’t like complicated, either. Let me know how it turns out and happy baking ~ Anja

  6. I’m looking forward to making this bread but I have one question. When you say to use 1Tbs of salt is that regular table salt or kosher salt?

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you so very much for the starter recipe and this sourdough bread recipe. This has been my first try with both and I could not be more satisfied with the results. Starter and bread results were just as your YouTube depicted. Kudos, Anja.

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  10. My question is, if I need 2 cups of starter how do I go about enlarging the starter when I take it out of the refrigerator the night before I want to use it? I am really anxious to try your starter, it
    sounds so nice and simple which is exactly what I’m looking for, thank you so much.

    1. Good question! If you need more starter than what you have, I would take it out 2 nights before and add about ½ cup extra flour and enough water to make it thick runny. Then let it sit for a day. The next day you should have at least 2 cups of starter. Hope this helps – let me know if you have more questions ~ Anja

  11. This looks really interesting! What do you think would happen if you baked it in a preheated dutch oven and oven, instead of cold? Love the idea of no stretching and folding.. lol.

    1. Oh, I think it would work really well! However, I like the cold oven method since that way I don’t have to deal with dropping the dough into a piping hot dutch oven. So glad you like this recipe!

  12. 5 stars
    Dear Anja,

    I made the bread today and WOW it turned out great! It was so easy to make and it is delicious!!! You have been so helpful to me. My husband and I are so excited that we have this now and plan to make bread all the time going forward. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

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      1. do yo think this could also work if you wanted to make mini sandwich loaves for Italian subs? does the pan have to be covered? Thanks in advance for any ideas you would have for this.

        1. I would think that could work. You’ll want to watch them closely as they’ll be done sooner than a big bread. If you do, let me know how they turn out ~ Anja

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