Dinner Party

No-Knead Sourdough Bread

November 13, 2019
26 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

A riff on Jim Lahey's popular no-knead method, this bread uses a sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast. You can adjust the fermentation (rising) time to make a tangier, more sourdough-forward loaf. If you have a Dutch oven or pot that you can preheat empty, do that! You'll get an even better crust on your loaf. But if you can't (and check, not all pots are safe to preheat empty), it'll be deliciously crusty and chewy regardless. —Posie (Harwood) Brien

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Miele. —The Editors

  • Prep time 14 hours
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Makes 1 large loaf
  • 4 cups (480 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) ripe sourdough starter
  • 1 1/3 cups (303 grams) room-temperature water
In This Recipe
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  2. In a large separate mixing bowl, whisk together the sourdough starter and water, stirring until no bits of starter remain.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir (a wooden spoon is helpful here) until it just comes together. You don’t want to see major dry spots, but don’t worry about getting everything perfectly combined; it’s okay for it to look shaggy and not smooth.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a reusable bowl cover and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  5. After 1 hour, uncover the bowl and fold the dough over onto itself a few times. The best way to do this is to grab the dough with your hand (or use a dough scraper), starting at the top of the bowl furthest from you, and pull it over onto itself towards the bottom of the bowl closest to you. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat, doing 4 folds in total.
  6. Cover the bowl again and let it rest at room temperature overnight (aim for 8 to 10 hours).
  7. After this rise, scoop the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using your hand or a dough scraper, repeat the four-time folding motion, shaping the dough into a ball as you go, leaving it seam-side down. Cover the dough lightly with a flour-dusted tea towel and let it sit for 1 1/2 hours, or until puffy and almost doubled in size. (It’s nice to let the shaped dough rise on a piece of parchment paper or another floured towel, as this will make it easier to move into the pot.)
  8. Just before the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450°F. Once risen, carefully transfer the dough to a Dutch oven or other heavy lidded pot, flipping it so the seam side is up.
  9. Using a very sharp knife or bread lame, slash the top of the loaf once, making a 1/2 cut down the center. (Feel free to get fancier if you like!)
  10. Cover the pot with the lid and bake the bread for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown all over. If you have a digital thermometer, the internal temperature of the loaf should reach 210°F. Remove from the oven and flip out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Dane Hoover
    Dane Hoover
  • Jennifer Moore
    Jennifer Moore
  • Mary Wright
    Mary Wright
  • Meredith Frick Kim
    Meredith Frick Kim
  • Marc

128 Reviews

Dane H. May 11, 2021
I just made this with excellent results. I did add a little extra water and I let it rise for 12 hours. I also preheated my Dutch oven. End result was perfect, with a flaky, chewy crust. Great [email protected]
Jennifer M. May 4, 2021
This recipe is great! I am new to bread baking and have been able to consistently make beautiful, tasty sourdough. Thank you!

One question...when I turn the dough over after the final rise what had been the bottom and is now the top is still a bit wet and sticky. I’ve been letting it sit for about 10 minutes under the towel before scoring but I am always nervous and the scoring is never clean. Do I need to flip it? What is the benefit of doing so?
Angiecooksalot April 8, 2021
I’ve made a lot of advanced sourdough recipes, and in my experience the best sourdough is no knead. So in my search for a new no-knead I was drawn to this one because it requires a much more reasonable amount of starter than most recipes. I made a few tweaks, half AP and half bread flour, increased hydration by 25%, added 1tsp of diastatic malt powder, and let it ferment overnight. What I ended up with was the BEST BREAD OF MY LIFE!!! Best bread I’ve ever made, and best I’ve ever eaten. Hands down. This recipe is magic. I will never bake another sourdough recipe again! I wish I could post pictures because wow, these loaves are gorgeous. The color and the open crumb are out of this world. Make this bread ASAP!
Timothy S. March 18, 2021
This is an excellent recipe since even a beginner like me can make tasty sourdough loaves! To add to the rise, I've used diastatic malt powder, which helps give a nice "wholly" final product.
The only thing I would like is to have nutritional information available as one member of my family has to be on a heart-healthy diet.
Beginner1 March 10, 2021
I made this today for the first time. I doubled the recipe for two loaves and I must say that I loved it. The two changes I made were, I replaced half the AP flour for bread flour and I preheated a cast iron dutch oven for one of the loaves. I definitely recommend preheating the dutch oven.
Mary W. March 3, 2021
I've made this recipe (doubled for two loaves) three times now with excellent results. However, I find I have to add significantly more water than the recipe calls for. My starter is at 100% hydration. I weigh all ingredients so the issue is not packed flour. Has anyone else shared this experience?
Meredith F. February 21, 2021
Agree with other reviewers, thanks so much for this one. Super easy, great flavor, works every time.
Durfay February 18, 2021
Thank you so much for this recipe. My family loves it, my son and I were at supermarket where I offer to buy sourdough and my son said "why we going to buy it? yours comes out perfect".
Marc November 29, 2020
I've tried this recipe twice so far and both times mine came out a little gummy. Any tips?
Karen L. December 12, 2020
How long are you letting the loaf cool before you cut it? I find if I cut mine too soon it will be a bit gummy. I wait around 2 hours to cut it.
Marc December 12, 2020
2 to 3 hours. I tried it again, and it failed again. I'm beginning to think that the recipe needs to be tweaked. The dough is really not developed or strengthened when it's not kneaded. That's the only other solution I can come up with. I'm probably going to give up on this one, toss that recipe and use another method.
samorris January 3, 2021
Preheat the oven with the Dutch oven in it for 45 minutes. Before you preheat the oven you’ll want to shape the dough ball and place it on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, about 10 inches square. When 45 minutes has passed, gently transfer the dough and parchment paper to the pre-heated Dutch oven and put the lid back on and back into the oven. Follow the recipe from there (I pull it out at 200 degrees).
Marc January 3, 2021
Yeah, I tried all that too, but still didn't come out. I pulled mine at 210.
Jani P. March 12, 2021
I've been making this bread for about a year very successfully. I'm wondering about your starter. I assume you make sure your starter is ripe. Another recipe I use suggests that every 1/2 hour for the first 2 hours you do the fold and I've started doing that with this recipe. The only change in the recipe I've made is I add a bit of sour sea salt. If nothing works for you, I've made the country bread in Tartine. Also, I do use a high protein bread flour. I hope you are successful with whatever recipe you find.
Marc March 12, 2021
My starter is ripe, I'm thinking that my kitchen is too cold. I've tried to let it rise in my instant pot on warm. We don't have gas out here, everything is electric, so placing it in the oven during rise time is not an option. I'll take another crack at it, because looking at all the comments, everyone is having success with it. I'd really love for it to turn out. The last bake was very close, so I guess one more try won't hurt too much.
Mike R. April 7, 2021
Hello Marc, I too have been making this recipe for about a year now as well, to an acceptable and often great results. I have been able to work this recipe in both humid and dry climates. It actually bakes better in dry climate. That said, depending on the year, I let it rise for up to 12 or even 14 hours. Definitely should double in size. Aside from that, I've experimented with more water, going all the way up to 340 grams. My result, the higher the hydration, the less "gummy" or shiny the result. Now, I'm consistently going with 325. Also, this may be sacrilege, but I have also added a pinch of active yeast to the recipe, which seems to help with rise, consistency, and texture as well.
Marc April 8, 2021
Hi Mike, I'm thinking that my kitchen was just too cold. I was attempting to make this in the colder months we had, so now that it's warming up a bit, I'm gonna give it another try. I had it resting for hours and never really got much lift out of it, again kitchen too cold. That's when I read about some people using their Instant Pots to proof bread in. I gave that a shot, but still didn't get the desired results. I did get some lift out of the proof, but not as much as I needed. So, either my kitchen is too cold, I didn't time my starter correctly, or I may have to commit the cardinal sin of adding a bit of yeast, lol. I don't want too do that just yet. I'm going to try again, and we'll see. I mean, how can you go wrong with just 4 ingredients?
tcconde April 16, 2021
Hi. Granted I have a lot less experience than most here but I have had very good luck proofing my bread doughs in the oven. If it is cold outside, I will leave the oven light on and a wooden spoon blocking the door open so it does not overheat. If it is warmer, I just put it in the oven without the light on and shut the door. And I have always had great luck with that. As far as the temperature, I bake at 475 degrees normally. When I bake at 450, I have had a few "doughy" complaints from the missus. Good luck.
Marc April 17, 2021
Unfortunately I can't proof in the oven, we don't have gas out here where I live, it's all electric. It's warming up now though so I'll be good proofing on the counter or instant pot if I so choose.
tcconde April 17, 2021
I don't have gas either. I have electric. I think my point was simply that it creates a stable environment. My kitchen can get drafty at times with dogs in and out, etc. but the oven has no drafts. The oven light does help though. Mine is 40 watt and is maybe too warm. That is why I prop the door open a bit with the light on. Keep in mind though that I am proofing standard no-knead with a scant 1/4 tsp of yeast for 24 hours.
Marc April 17, 2021
I see you're using the yeast. I'm still fighting that part. I want to test and see how good my starter is without the yeast before I totally give up and add a little to get through this recipe. I should have mentioned with the electric stove comment that my kitchen sometimes feels like it's in sub-zero territory, so placing the dough in there would only develop a bowling ball instead of a nice proof. :)
Ana November 27, 2020
This is the best sourdough I’ve made. Crusty outside and soft inside. The flavor is amazing! I used bread flour because I didn’t have enough AP flour. I baked it in a Dutch oven that was not preheated. I will be using this recipe again.
Sean_ob November 16, 2020
I’ve never left an internet review for anything until now bc of how good and surprised this bread turned out.
I was a professional bread baker in NYC for a number of years and I was skeptical of a no knead sourdough recipe. But my bread turned out really great. I’d called it a fancy supermarket Italian bread.
I have a large baking stone in my oven, so I shaped it into a tight tube, proofed 1.5-2hrs, then when you load it on the stone, flip and cradle in both hands and lightly stretch as you lower it, basically a filone.
Thanks for the recipe! I’ll be using it again very soon.
PS If you want to weigh the salt do about 9g
Pj October 18, 2020
Here’s a variation. I use 3/4 cup of starter, rather than 1/2 cup. In the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook, I put the water, then the starter, and mix the two with the dough hook. I then add the salt, with the hook rotating. If I am going to add rosemary, I do that now. Then, with the hook rotating, 4 cups of bread flour. This time, I did 1 cup whole wheat flour and 3 cups bread flour. I let the rotating dough hook knead the bread for several minutes. If the mix is too dry, such that some flour hasn’t incorporated into the dough, I add just a little water with the hook still rotating. Then I do the first rise in the mixer bowl. I then knead the dough with the dough hook on the mixer again for no more than a minute. Then I do the long rise still in the mixer bowl. In each rise, I cover the bowl with a dish towel. After the long rise, I knead the dough again with the mixer and hook. Then I turn the dough into my rattan floured bowl for a final 1 1/2 hour rise. Then into preheated Dutch oven at 450 degrees, with corn meal sprinkled on the bottom of the Dutch oven to avoid sticking. 25 minutes covered, then 18 minutes uncovered. Perfect result!
Lucibakes October 8, 2020
Used this recipe for my second ever sourdough bread. Turned out perfect! First rise I let set for almost 24 hours. Second rise about 2. Yes...the dough was sticky and I was a little concerned but it had a great rise in my preheated Dutch oven. Taste was great! My go to recipe from now on! Thank you
Adrianne P. August 21, 2020
I just made this recipe for the second time, using a preheated dutch oven for baking. The first time I used unbleached all-purpose flour, and followed the recipe to a tee. The loaf looked beautiful, gorgeous crust. Tasted great, but the bread inside was very dense - didn't rise nearly enough. Second time I used 1/4 whole wheat flour & 3/4 unbleached all-purpose flour, and I added a tsp of instant yeast, thinking that might help. But there was no difference - maybe a bit denser than the first time. Can it be my starter? Or is this normal for this recipe?
catiemoo August 6, 2020
I have tried this recipe and it has great flavor but it came out really flat and pale I looked up how to fix it and i found out that you are supposed to paint the bread with hot water and i would try using half all-purpose flour and half bread four but over all it is really good i would make it again.
Nan August 6, 2020
I not sure what you did but the first time I made this bread it came out a little flat because my house temp was too warm. I don't know what you mean by paint the bread, I'm assuming to brush with water but that's not this recipe. What kind- size of pot did you use to bake your bread in?
Kathy August 7, 2020
Nan, you can use a spray bottle filled with water to spritz your bread every so often while it's baking. That will give your bread a firmer, browner crust. I don't remember where I saw this tip, but I've done that twice now and it has made a big difference in my crust! I hope this helps.
Patrick J. July 29, 2020
I've tried several sourdough from starter recipes and this, by far, produced the best looking loaf by far. Gorgeous and tasty, with minimal effort required, and a manageable preparation schedule to boot. Well done!
neonkitty July 3, 2020
Just doubled the recipe for two loaves and they are perfect (shipping one to a friend). I am starting to make three adjustments:
1. I stopped using parchment paper and now just use vegan butter in the dutch oven before placing the dough in the final rise
2. I stopped preheating the dutch oven in the oven (now that it's super hot in NYC it seems overkill)
3. I stopped scoring the top since the bread doesnt tear at the top anymore (maybe this has to do with the current temperature as well?).
Anyway, thumbs up on this super easy recipe and keep on baking!
lartiste13 June 25, 2020
I am presently at stage 4 of of your recipe making my VERY FIRST sourdough bread and using starter... I'm hoping my starter is ready (did a successful float test). I wanted to use my new banneton basket to proof - would this be during stage 6 or 7? also because of timing, what is the maximum proofing time and should it be done in the fridge if it exceeds 20 hours?
Kathy June 25, 2020
We live at about 4,000 feet, an a very dry climate. I added extra water like I have to do with my bread maker but it came out very sticky. Adding more flour didn't help. I've never made dough by hand before, so I'm not quite sure how to address this for the next time!
Timothy S. July 18, 2020
I have the same issue as Kathy. The dough is so sticky I can't even work with using a well-floured bench scraper...help!!!
Author Comment
Posie (. August 6, 2020
Sticky is good! Higher hydration will yield a great crumb so is it possible to just fold it over gently? If you can do that, keep it that sticky.
Kathy August 7, 2020
Thank you, Posie! I wound up not using as much water the next time I made bread. The dough was not as sticky and easier to manipulate. I folded it a few times during the bulk rise, and it turned out great! The boule kept its shape instead of flattening out. It will be interesting to see what happens next time, now that the temperature has gone down (in the 90s instead of 110+!)
rebecca M. June 21, 2020
This was the easiest sourdough I’ve ever made and it came out perfect! I gave 10 hours for first rise and almost two hours for second. Definitely recommend the folds after first hour of mixing - it does seem to get the dough working.