Easy Sourdough Bread – No Kneading Required
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!
“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:
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 makeup 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:
- Warm water: this will warm up the dough to give it a good start
- Yery active sourdough starter: your main leavening
- 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
- Dry/instant yeast: this will give it a good crumb and make it more fool-proof
- Diastatic barley malt: this “secret” ingredient is like steroids for the sourdough and yeast
- Sea salt: without salt the bread would be very bland
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Then I bake it for another 20 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned.
5. 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 keep fresh for a while but they do taste best fresh.
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.
Should you ever have any bread left over, there are a lot of stale bread recipes you can make.
Frequently asked questions:
Not necessarily. Most of the time, I just let mine ferment at room temperature and it will rise just fine.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Absolutely! Since it doesn’t require much work or baking skills, you will get a nice loaf of bread with your first attempt.
I have done that by shaping two smaller loaves in two smaller Dutch ovens with excellent results.
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.
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.
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.
I do! You can read my blog post in which I share my super easy method for making a bubbly sourdough starter.
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.
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.
I have to admit that this bread will be best fresh. To keep it for the next few 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 air circulation. 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. I have actually written an entire post on how to keep your sourdough bread fresh.
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
Easy No-Knead Sourdough Bread
- Dutch oven with lid
- bread lame or sharp knife
- 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)
- 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.
- you can use 1 tsp of sugar instead of the diastatic malt
- if you don’t have a Dutch oven with lid, you can put a heat-proof container on the bottom of your oven and fill it with some ice cubes as soon as you have put the bread in the oven to create steam
I finally baked my bread. It is amazing. I went exactly by the recipe. I love the fact that this is so easy. When I first watched the videos and read it took me several times to understand. It is certainly the easiest bread I have ever made. No kneading and discards make that true. My only trouble was my timing. When do I need the bread so when should I take it out for the first rise and so on. I finally figured that out. Lol. Thankyou for all you effort and testing I don’t think I will even try another recipe. I used unbleqched all purpose. I ordered the malt and caraway seeds from amazon.
Nice! I am so glad to hear this! The timing can depend a lot on the temperature in your home and your SD starter but over time, this will be so much more intuitive ~ Anja
How much starter (approximately) do you use for this bread?
It says in the recipe, about 1 cup ~ Anja
This recipe is amazing! I had shied away from attempting sourdough after watching all the waste and complications in other recipes 🙈🙉 my second one turned out even better (I think the first one could feel my nervousness 😆) So thank you Anya. My only question is: how do I keep the parchment paper from sticking to the bread? I watched the video and read the recipe and didn’t see anything on this. Thanks again!
Nice! I am so glad to hear you like this recipe. Sometimes, switching brands can be the trick. Or wait for another 10 mins to peel it off. Hope this helps ~ Anja
I don’t have a cast iron Dutch oven, but do have a 10″ cast iron skillet, no lid. What would be the effects of using no lid on the bread?
I baked my whole grain white wheat bread uncovered in a cast iron skillet. After the first 40 minutes it had already reached 191 F, so I let it go for another 10 minutes and it was good to go. Man, this stuff is so good! I’d send a pic but don’t know how. I’m happy happy happy to have found this website and recipe, as my gut issues don’t allow me much bread and I’m hoping this will be the ticket for me. Thank you so much for your time and effort in sharing so much information with us! I notice how you reply to most of your commenters’ remarks, and that takes a lot of time.
Without a lid, you won’t be creating steam and that can stop the bread from expanding. But you might try to put aluminum foil over it to trap the steam. Hope this helps ~ Anja
Thank you so much for your recipes Anja. I really like your no discard no maintenance sourdough starter. Just made your easy no knead recipe. It rose so much overnight that I had trouble manipulating it. So I decided to cut the dough in half and shaped each to fit in a loaf pan. I will bake one loaf at a time, putting each in my covered Dutch oven. Just wondering how to adjust the baking time?
I am so glad to hear that! You can cut the baking time by 15 mins. Or measure the internal temperature, somewhere around 200˚F indicates that the loaves are done ~ Anja
I make my own diastatic malt. It’s simply barley or wheat berries, sprouted, dehydrated and ground into flour. It makes a HUGE difference in my whole grain breads!
That sounds really easy! Thank you so much for sharing ~ Anja
Good day Anya. When I get ready to make the bread, and take the starter out of the fridge, which is well floured, what step would I take to get it activated for the recipe?
Have you seen this post: https://ourgabledhome.com/easy-sourdough-starter-no-feedings-no-discards/ That will explain the process. Happy baking ~ Anja
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!
Yes, I leave the dough out on the counter but you can let it rise in the refrigerator if your kitchen is too warm. I have actually done that in this recipe: https://ourgabledhome.com/how-to-make-crusty-german-bread-rolls-brotchen/ Hope this helps ~ Anja
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.
You can always use ½ to 1 tsp of sugar to help the yeast along ~ Anja
What is the diameter of your cast iron for this recipe? Thanks in advance for your reply.
I either you ONE 12″ cast iron or TWO smaller ones. Hope this helps ~ Anja
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?
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
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?
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
I started this last night and we had it for lunch. The crust was the absolute best! Many thanks, Anja.
Hi Nana, your comment really makes my day! Good for you! Happy baking ~ Anja
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.
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
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?
I always like to use sea salt. If you have a scale you can weigh out 20gr which will be more accurate. Hope this helps and happy baking ~ Anja
I want to thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe. I used it and my first loaf of sourdough came out beautifully.
Hi Wendy! I love hearing that you baked a beautiful loaf of bread!!! Thank you so much for sharing ~ Anja
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.
Yay, that makes me so happy to hear!! Thank you so much for sharing, Jo!!
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.
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
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.
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!
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!
Great post! I love no-knead bread recipes!
Yes, me too, so easy!
No kneading!!! Now that sounds like the bread recipe for me! Thanks so much for the info!
Yep, very simple, so glad you like it!!
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.
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
That bread looks amazing and I can’t wait to try the barley malt!
Yes, I am sure you’ll love it! Happy baking, Emily!
Love a good no knead recipe! I’ll try this one. Also love and use your tips for keeping a dryer no fuss starter…in the fridge!
Thank you! I am so glad you like both my bread recipe and my sourdough method ~ Anja
That looks so good, Anna! I’ve never heard of this barley malt before. Thank you for teaching me something new!
Yeah, so happy I can share things! Happy baking, Sylvia!
can this be baked on anything other than a cast iron pan?
I haven’t tried it but a glass or metal loaf pan should work 👍
I often add dry yeast too! Love your post, really great read!
Thank you – your comment means so much to me!!