No Knead Sourdough Bread – The easy way to make artisan bread

Many people are intimidated by sourdough bread. They say it’s very difficult and very time consuming. While the time consuming part can only be changed a bit, it’s very easy to remove the agitation component of sourdough baking. I will show you how you can make a super easy, but still awesome sourdough bread. This is my recipe for no knead sourdough bread.

People have many different ways of making sourdough bread, and it seems that once you’ve found a way that actually gives good results, you stick with that method from there on out.

The fact is that all of them can give you awesome artisan sourdough bread. Even no knead. Read on.


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So what’s different in this recipe?

The reason we knead, and use different folding techniques like stretch and fold, coil fold, slap and fold, or mix on a machine is to develop gluten. I will let you in on a secret:

Given time, gluten develops all on itself. Sourdough bread ferments so slowly that gluten will develop all on it’s own.

Methods like autolyse were created for yeasted breads, because it’s hard for gluten to develop when the bread ferments in an hour. The same goes for kneading.

So the process to make this bread is staggeringly simple:

  1. Mix the dough.
  2. Ferment the dough.
  3. Shape the dough (or don’t if you like rustic bread).
  4. Retard the dough (refrigerate).
  5. Bake the dough.

That’s it. It’s as simple as that.

A sourdough bread on a wooden board in front of a brick wall

What will you need to make this no knead sourdough bread?

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You will need some tools to make this bread:

  • A bowl to make the dough.
  • A see-through container with straight sides to monitor bulk fermentation.
  • A bench scraper to shape and move the dough around.
  • A lame to score the dough.
  • A dutch oven to bake the bread.
  • A baking steel to temper your ovens cold and warm spots.
  • A good oven that can heat to 260°C/500°F.
The cracked crust of a no knead sourdough bread

The dough in this no knead sourdough bread recipe

Vitals

Total weight1400 grams
Prefermented flour9.1%
Hydration75.0%
Yield2 small breads

Dough

The dough in this no knead sourdough bread is comprised of 80% bread flour (for lots of gluten) and 20% whole grain rye.

You can easily substitute with any other whole grain or even gluten free flour that you like.

I’ve baked this bread with up to 100% whole grain wheat, that I milled myself. It does tend to get quite heavy, but it has a wonderful taste. So that’s a possibility too.

The hydration of this recipe is 75%, which means there 75% water to 100% flour. This includes the water in the starter.

I recommend that you start with 70% hydration, if you are not sure how much water your flour can absorb. I’ve outlined this in the recipe.

WeightIngredientBaker's Percentage
576gbread flour80.0%
144grye flour20.0%
522gwater72.5%
14gsalt1.9%
144gstarter (100% hydration)20.0%

The inoculation (amount of sourdough starter to flour ratio) in this bread is 20%. If you would like a longer fermentation (or it’s very warm where you live) you can change this to a lower number. If you’d like a bread that’s done more quickly, you can change it to a higher number. Probably 40% maximum.

The salt content is 2%, which is just the perfect amount to bring out the taste of the grain without the bread tasting salty. It doesn’t come out to very much salt per slice.

If you want to play around with the formula, change quantity, hydration, inoculation, weight and such, you can do so here in my Bread Calculator.

The crumb of the no knead sourdough bread in this recipe

The conclusion of this no knead sourdough bread recipe

So can we get awesome sourdough bread without doing any actual kneading, folding, machine mixing? Yes, it’s absolutely.

The crumb is a bit tighter than you usually get with some good folds, but this can be changed with a final proof right after shaping. I implore you to experiment with it.

A sourdough bread boule on a wooden board

The two factors that makes the biggest difference in the appearance of the final bread is shaping and scoring.

If you are new to sourdough baking, have a look at the video. It gives you a good introduction to shaping. Both round and long bread.

When it comes to shaping I have a in-depth article (and video) on the subject here and here.

I don’t see any reason for you to not get started when it’s this simple, right?

A sourdough bread with lots of oven spring

Please share this recipe for no knead sourdough bread on social media

This is my recipe for no knead sourdough bread. If you like the recipe please consider sharing it with like-minded bread lovers on social media.

If you make it and post it on Instagram, please tag me as @foodgeek.dk so I can see it. That would make me very happy.

No Knead Sourdough Bread

Course: All
Cuisine: All
Keyword: artisan bread, seeded sourdough bread
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 20 minutes
Proofing: 11 hours
Total: 12 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 2 bread
Calories: 1356kcal
Author: Sune Trudslev
Nutrition Facts
No Knead Sourdough Bread
Amount Per Serving (1 bread)
Calories 1356 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 2734mg119%
Carbohydrates 277g92%
Fiber 16g67%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 44g88%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Sourdough bread can be complicated to make, so why not make it without any kneading instead? You can still get a wonderful tasty crispy artisan bread.
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Ingredients

  • 576 g bread flour
  • 144 g whole grain rye flour or another whole grain flour
  • 14 g salt
  • 144 g sourdough starter fed and grown to its peak
  • 522 g water divided

Instructions

Mix dough

  • To a mixing bowl add: 576g bread flour, 144g rye flour or another whole grain flour and 14g salt.
  • Mix it so that everything is well combined.
  • Then add 144g sourdough starter, it should be fed and grown to its peak.
  • Add 482g water. This will make the dough 70% hydration.
  • If you feel like the dough isn’t too slack you can add up to 40g extra water. Be careful about mixing too much in.
  • Be sure to mix the dough very thoroughly. You won’t get another chance.

Fermentation

  • When the dough is mixed put it into a see-through container with straight sides. Press the dough down so the top is pretty straight.
  • Mark the top of the dough on the outside of the container. I use a white board maker, but you can also use an elastic band. Then put the dough somewhere warm.
  • You should let it grow until it’s grown by about 25%.

Divide and pre-shape

  • When it's grown 25% it's time to do the pre-shape.
  • Dump the dough out onto your kitchen counter and divide it into two. Then shape each dough into a taut ball.
  • First we pull each corner of the dough, as to make a tight surface on the part of the dough facing the table.
  • Then flip over the dough balls and start moving the dough toward yourself with the scraper. There shouldn’t be any flour on the table now.
  • This pulls the dough down in the front making the surface tighter. You can use your one hand to guide the dough, but touch it minimally.
  • Also if the dough feels very wet in the beginning you can wet the scraper, but again, do NOT add any more flour.
  • Then let the dough rest about 20 minutes on the counter to let the gluten relax.

Final shape

  • After that you should final shape each ball into their final shape.

Shape as a boule

  • To shape the bread as a boule, do exactly as the pre-shape.
  • Put the bread in a banneton with the bottom facing upwards.

Shape as a bâtard

  • To shape the bread as a bâtard, do it this way:
  • Lightly flour the top of the ball, then flip it over.
  • Pull the dough out into a rectangle, and flip the sides in towards the middle.
  • Roll the dough up pretty tightly, and seal up the ends of the dough.
  • Put the bread in a banneton with the bottom facing upwards.
  • Stitch the dough to further tighten the dough. It's kinda like lacing a shoe. Watch the video for details.
  • If you use a liner you can skip putting any flour in, but if you use it without I will usually spritz the banneton with a bit of water and then flour it with rice flour.
  • Then I put them both into plastic bags and put them into the fridge.
  • How long you leave them there depends on your schedule, but I wouldn’t recommend less than 8 hours. If you want to do less, you should probably let the dough grow by more than 25% during bulk.
  • You can absolutely leave it in the fridge for up to 48 hours, but it should be really cold. I have my fridge set to 3°C/37°F.
  • Because of the relatively short bulk, the doughs will grow in the fridge. Even at these cold temperatures.
  • When you are ready to bake, heat your oven to 260°C/500°F with a dutch oven and baking steel inside.
  • When the oven is hot, grab a dough from the fridge. Don’t let it come up to temperature.
  • Just dust the bottom with rice flour so it can slide easily off the peel and flip it onto the peel.
  • Score the dough and place it inside the dutch oven inside the oven. Put the lid on the dutch oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • When the 20 minutes are up. Remove the lid and turn down the oven to 230°C/450°F. Bake for about 20 minutes more.
  • If you like a thinner and/or lighter crust, you can play around with how long the bread should be covered. You can cover it for the entire bake if you want.
  • When the bread is done, grab it from the oven, and put it on a wire rack to cool off. Bake the other bread the exact same way.
  • Let both breads cool until they are completely cooled down, or else your bread may not be done on the inside, or become stale really quickly because the steam inside the bread will evaporate through the cut in the bread.

Video

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