Baker Bettie

No-Knead Sourdough Bread Recipe

This is my favorite no-knead sourdough bread recipe. It is an easy, beginner sourdough bread that requires very little effort or skill and it creates a beautiful crusty loaf! 

Loaf of no-knead sourdough in dutch oven after being baked

No-Knead Sourdough Overview

If you’ve been following along with my Sourdough for Beginners series then hopefully you have a brand new bubbly starter that you are ready to bake with! I am so excited for you to bake your first loaf. And if you do not yet have a starter to work with, start with my full guide about how to make a sourdough starter from scratch, then come back here to bake the bread! 

I want to start out with my favorite no-knead sourdough bread recipe. The thing I love so much about sourdough bread baking is that it can be both extremely easy to make and can get more and more complex as you learn new techniques. But today, we are keeping it easy! 

With this recipe you will learn the most basic process of making a sourdough loaf from start to finish. And this is going to be our base recipe in which we will build all of the more complex recipes off of! 

What Makes this the Best Beginner Sourdough Bread? 

  • This sourdough loaf can be made completely from start to finish in 24 hours! This is actually very quick in sourdough world! 
  • This bread requires no-kneading and very little dough handling! 
  • You do not need to pre-heat your dutch oven as most sourdough recipes call for!
  • You will see how you can make an amazing loaf with very little knowledge of bread baking
  • You will have a delicious loaf of sourdough to slather with butter in the end! 

How do I Know When My Sourdough Starter is Ready to Put in Dough? 

We are going to walk through the whole process of making this sourdough bread below including feeding the starter. But I think this is something that can get people really confused about how to finally bake with the starter once they have an active one. 

A sourdough starter goes through various stages after it is fed. When you first feed it the starter will look dull and flat. Within the first few hours you should start seeing some rise and bubbles forming. 

Ripe starter that is ready to bake with

As time goes on the starter will rise more and will have a dome shape on top. When the starter is frothy and full of air this is the peak time to bake with it.  To check if it is ready, gently drop a spoonful of the starter into a glass of water. If it floats, you are good to put it in your dough. You should have a several hour time frame when you starter is vigorous enough to leaven dough. 

Eventually the dome will flatten out and you will notice that the starter looks like it is starting to sag a bit. At this point you need to use your starter immediately if you plan to bake with it. Eventually it will start falling and then it is past its peak to bake with. 

Do I need to Preheat my Dutch Oven Before Baking My Sourdough Bread? 

Baked loaf of sourdough that was baked in a pot that wasn't preheated

Chances are if you’ve read any sourdough or artisan style bread recipes you have noticed a trend of preheating the pot before baking. However, I sourdough baker that I follow on Instagram, Elaine Boddy, always bakes her loaves in cold pots and gets beautiful results! 

So I have been testing this method recently and have had wonderful bakes with it! I see no benefit with this recipe specifically of preheating the pot. And as a bonus, you don’t have to worry about burning yourself when you try to get the loaf into the pot! 

How to Make No-Knead Sourdough Bread

This process takes about 24 hours from the time you feed your starter until your bread comes out of the oven. Below I am giving you example timelines to help you plan for your bake. 

Step 1: Feed Your Starter

Feeding the starter to prepare for baking

About 24 hours before you want to bake your bread, you want to feed your starter. If this feeding doesn’t fit into your normal feeding schedule that is okay. You can either give your starter an extra feeding that day or make an offshoot of your starter by taking a portion of it out and feeding it separately.

Some people prefer to make an offshoot for all of their bakes and refer to this as their “leaven.” I prefer to make my feeding fit into my baking schedule by either delaying it a bit later than normal or adding an extra feeding. 

Step 2: Mix Your Dough

Once your starter is bubbly and full of air you can mix your dough. You can check to see if it is ready by gently dropping a spoonful of starter into a glass of water. If it floats then it is ripe and ready to go. If it sinks, then you need to give it a bit more time. It is typically ready in the 8-12 hour range after feeding it, and should be ready for several hours. 

Mix your ripe starter into your slightly warm water to distribute. Then add your flour on top followed by your salt. Now we mix! I like to start with a rubber spatula or a bowl scraper, and then use my hands to finish mixing. Mix until all of the flour is hydrated. Your dough will be pretty sticky, but stiff. This is the lowest hydration dough (least amount of water) that we will work with. 

Step 3: Bulk Ferment Your Dough

Cover the dough with plastic wrap or I like to use a shower cap because I can keep reusing them! Now we are going to let it sit at room temperature to bulk ferment for 10-12 hours. 

During this time, our sourdough culture is going to keep feeding and will continue creating C02 gasses and lactic acids. This process is what gives our sourdough all of its delicious flavor and beautiful texture. 

Step 4: Shape the Dough

Once the dough is puffy and full of air, we can shape it. Gently turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface without pressing the gas out of it. Start by pulling all 4 sides of the dough into the center and gently pressing to seal. Next, pull the dough all into the center, working your way around the dough, until you have a tight ball. Watch my No-Knead Sourdough video to see the shaping process in action! 

Now turn the dough over so the seam side is down on an unfloured part of the counter, and cup your hands around it. Turn the dough and pull it towards you, using the counter to help you build some tension on the outside of the dough. Do this a few times until it is formed into a tight ball. 

Rounding dough into a boule

Step 5: Proof the Dough

If you have a banneton basket, dust it with rice flour to prepare it for your loaf to proof in. If you do not have a banneton basket, line a bowl with a lint free linen and dust that with rice flour. Rice flour is the best flour to use to prevent your dough from sticking. 

Note: If this is your first time baking with your banneton basket, make sure you read my full banneton basket prep and care post before you use it! 

No-knead sourdough in banneton basket ready to proof

Turn the dough into your prepared banneton or bowl with the seam side up. Cover it again with plastic wrap or a shower cap and let it proof for 3-4 hours at room temperature.

To check if your dough is proofed enough to bake, press in on the dough gently with your finger. If it springs back immediately, it needs to proof a little longer. If it fills in slowly, then you are ready to bake! 

Step 6: Bake the Sourdough

We are going to bake this bread in a dutch oven that has not been preheated! Yep! It works really well! Just trust me. Most sourdough bread recipes call for preheating the oven, but you really don’t need to! 

Gently tip the proofed dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and use a knife or a bread lame to score it. You can score it however you like, but I typically keep it simple with one slash right across the center. 

No-knead sourdough in dutch oven ready to bake

Transfer the dough on the parchment paper into your dutch oven or into an oven safe pot and place the lid on. We’re going to bake the bread with the lid on for the first part of baking so that the steam gets trapped in. This will help the loaf rise more before the crust sets. At the end you can take the lid off and bake it a little longer to get more color on the crust. 

No-knead sourdough after being baked

Step 7: Cool the Bread! 

You really want to let your bread cool completely before slicing into it. Slicing into warm bread will make it stale more quickly. You also will have much better flavor and texture if you let it cool completely. 

No-knead sourdough cooling on a cooling rack

How to Store Your Bread

I love this really comprehensive article about how to store, freeze, and refresh bread that my friend Laura wrote. It is worth the entire read as it is filled with so much information on the topic. 

I store my bread on the counter uncovered for the first two days, and then I will store it in a bag or in the freezer sliced. A toaster is a great way to refresh bread that is frozen or has gone soft! 

No-Knead Sourdough Timeline

It takes about 24 hours to make this bread from start to finish, which is actually pretty quick for a sourdough bread. And there is very, very little actual hands on time. You should also plan to start this process about 30 hours before you want to eat it, because you should let it cool for at least several hours. Here are a few sample timelines: 

Weekday Bake

  • 9:30 pm (day before bake): Feed Starter
  • 7:30 am (next day): Mix Dough
  • 5:30 pm: Shape Dough
  • 8:30 pm: Bake
  • Sourdough for breakfast the next day!

Weekend Bake:

  • 1 pm (Saturday): Feed Starter
  • 9 pm (Saturday): Mix Dough
  • 9 am (Sunday): Shape Dough
  • 12:00 pm (Sunday): Bake
  • Sourdough for Sunday Dinner!
Easiest Sourdough Bread Recipe (No-Knead Sourdough)

Easiest Sourdough Bread Recipe (No-Knead Sourdough)

Yield: 1 Loaf
Active Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 22 hours
Bake Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 23 hours 20 minutes

This is the easiest sourdough bread recipe. It is a no-knead recipe that is very easy and forgiving. This is the perfect starter bread to bake for sourdough beginners.

Ingredients

Starter Build (Levain)

  • 25 grams mature starter
  • 25 grams whole wheat flour
  • 50 grams unbleached all purpose flour
  • 75 grams filtered water (90 F, 32 C)

For the Final Dough

  • 100 grams ripe starter
  • 300 grams filtered water (90 F, 32 C) 
  • 500 gr unbleached all purpose flour or bread flour (*see note for using whole wheat flour)
  • 10 grams fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • rice flour for dusting

Instructions

Note: See example timelines in the note section! It will also be very helpful if you read the recipe all the way through before starting.

  1. Feed Starter: About 24 hours before you want to bake your bread, feed 25 grams of starter with 25 grams of whole wheat flour, 50 grams of unbleached all purpose flour, and 75 grams of filtered water at 90 F (32 C).
  2. Float Test: 8-10 hours after feeding your starter gently drop a spoonful of starter in a glass of water. If it floats then it is ready to mix your dough. If it doesn't float, give it a bit more time to get active.
  3. Mix Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine 100 grams of ripe starter with 300 grams of water at 90 F (32 C). Mix together until the starter is distributed in the water. Add 500 grams of unbleached all purpose flour or bread flour on top, followed by 10 grams of fine sea salt or kosher salt. Mix all of the ingredients together until the flour is completely saturated. I like to start with a rubber spatula or a bowl scraper, and then use my hands to finish mixing.
  4. Bulk Ferment: Cover the dough with plastic wrap, a shower cap, or a damp kitchen towel and let sit at room temperature (68-74 F, 20-23 C) for 10-12 hours until puffy and full of air.
  5. Shape: (It is helpful to watch the video in post to see how to shape). Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured work surface. Pull each of the 4 sides of the dough into the center, gently pressing to seal. Then go around again pulling all of the dough into a tight ball. Turn the dough over so the seam side is down and place on an unfloured part of the counter. Cup your hands around the dough and round and pull the dough toward you to tighten it up into a ball and to build some surface tension.
  6. Proof: Dust a 9" round banneton basket with rice flour. If you do not have a banneton basket, you can line a bowl with a lint free kitchen towel and dust that with rice flour. Turn the shaped loaf into the prepared banneton (or bowl) with the seam side up. Cover again and let proof for 3-4 hours at room temperature (68-74 F, 20-23 C).
  7. Prep Oven: At least an 45 minutes before baking your bread, preheat the oven to 450 F (230 C). You do not need to preheat your pot. I have tested this recipe with both a preheated and a cold pot, and it bakes just as nicely with a pot that has not been preheated.
  8. Score: To check if your loaf is done proofing and ready to bake, gently press a finger into the dough about 1/2" in. If the hole fills in immediately then it needs a bit more time to proof. If it fills in slowly, then you are ready to bake. Turn the loaf out onto a piece of parchment paper and use a bread lame or a sharp knife to score it however you like. I typically just make one big slash down the middle.
  9. Bake: Transfer the dough on the parchment paper into a dutch oven or oven safe pot that is at least 4 qts in size. Place the lid on top and place it on the center rack of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 425 F (220 C). And bake with the lid on for 40 minutes. Take the lid off and if you would like a bit more color on the crust, bake it for 5-15 more minutes with the lid off.
  10. Cool: Allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack for at the very least 1 hour before slicing it. Preferably let it cool for 4-12 hours for the best flavor, texture, and to prevent it from staling too quickly.
  11. Store: Keep the bread at room temperature completely uncovered for the first 24 hours. If you have sliced into the bread, place the bread cut side down on your cutting board. For day 2 & 3 I generally transfer it into a ziplock bag and refresh it by toasting it because the crust will get soft. After that, I slice it and store it in the freezer. Toast to refresh from frozen.

Notes

Example Timeline #1 (work day timeline):

  • 9:30 pm (day before bake): Feed Starter
  • 7:30 am: Mix Dough
  • 5:30 pm: Shape Dough
  • 8:30 pm: Bake
  • Sourdough for breakfast the next day!

Example Timeline #2 (weekend timeline):

  • 1 pm (Saturday): Feed Starter
  • 9 pm (Saturday): Mix Dough
  • 9 am (Sunday): Shape Dough
  • 12:00 pm (Sunday): Bake
  • Sourdough for Sunday Dinner!

*Using Whole Wheat Flour: Because this is a fairly low hydration and a no-knead dough, it really does work best with white flour. However, if you want to use some whole wheat flour I recommend replacing 100 grams of the white flour with 100 grams of whole wheat flour and increasing the water amount to 324 grams.

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This is my favorite no-knead sourdough bread recipe. It is an easy, beginner sourdough bread that requires very little effort or skill and it creates a beautiful crusty loaf! 

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11 comments on “No-Knead Sourdough Bread Recipe”

  1. So when measuring ingredients into jar do you just hit Tare in the scale after each addition of an ingredient?

  2. This looks YUMMY!!! I’m drooling, I just can’t wait to try this at home.
    Thank you so much for sharing this awestruck recipe.
    Keep sharing:)

  3. I was wondering if I could get the measurements in cups and ounces, teaspoons and tablespoons so I could have a good place or idea where to start my measuring amounts. Thank you so much for all the info. 

    • Dwana,
      When I first found this site I used volume measurements but quickly realized a kitchen scale is the only way to go. Betty knows best 🙂
      The results are much better and more consistent.  It truly is worth every penny!

      In a pinch here is what I would use for a conversion:
      flour – 120g / cup (personal opinion – sift flour before measuring)
      water – 236g / cup
      table salt – 5.6g / tsp

      But again – a scale is the best!  
      Happy baking.

    • Hi Dwana! I highly recommend investing in a sale if you are interested in bread baking! It truly makes the process so much easier and they are very affordable! That said it’s really hard to tell you in volume how much sourdough starter to use, because it really depends on how active yours is and how many bubbles there are. I would go for about 1/2 cup active starter in the dough. Then add to that 1 1/4 cup water, 4 cups plus 1 TBSP flour, and 2 tsp fine sea salt. Hope that helps!

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