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).
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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 sourdough recipes you might enjoy:
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