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!
I have been baking a lot of sourdough breads, mostly the European-style multigrain type of bread. But I wanted to create an easy no-knead sourdough bread recipe that was fluffier, lighter, and yes, whiter.
Therefore, I have also been playing with artisan sourdough breads in my cast iron dutch oven. For that reason, I now have two sourdough starters (a white one and a dark one).
While there are a gazillion good recipes out there, most of them are pretty involved. There is a lot of folding and stretching and keeping an eye on the clock.
I really wanted a reliable recipe with minimal hands-on time that would give me a perfect bread. 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!
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“Secret ingredients” of the easy sourdough bread
This bread is a true sourdough bread because we are using a very ripe 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:
Commercial dried/instant 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 yeasts 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 good bread, no matter what.
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 if its sugars, it boosts the yeast, gives the bread a better flavor, texture, and crust. Ever since I have 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).
How to make this easy sourdough bread
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)
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. I’ll just mix all the ingredients into a wet, shaggy dough, cover it with plastic (no worries, it shouldn’t touch the dough if your bowl is big enough), and let it sit overnight.
In the morning, I use floured hands to form a dough ball. Then I let the dough ball rise right in my dutch oven for a few hours.
When I am happy with how much it has risen, I put the bread (in the dutch oven with a lid on) in a cold oven, set the temperature to 450 degrees and the time to 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, I take the lid off.
Then I bake it for another 20 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned.
Let the sourdough bread cool on a wire rack. Done!
Most of the time, we are so curious to see how it turned out that we will 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. We wrap it in some linen and keep in the (obviously) cold oven since there is a bit more airflow. You can also freeze it for later, either whole or cut in slices.
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 No-Knead Sourdough Bread
- Dutch oven with lid
- 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.