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
1 large loaf
(480 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
In a large separate mixing bowl, whisk together the sourdough starter and water, stirring until no bits of starter remain.
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.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a reusable bowl cover and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
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.
Cover the bowl again and let it rest at room temperature overnight (aim for 8 to 10 hours).
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.)
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.
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!)
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.