A simple EASY recipe for No-Knead Sourdough Bread made with your own homemade sourdough starter that rises overnight and is baked the next morning. Or mix it up in the morning and bake it at night. Up to you! Requires only 25 mins of hands-on time. 14 hours of total time. (3 VIDEOS BELOW)
Are we free enough to open to the flow, no matter what it may contain? ~Dorothy Hunt
Last week, I shared my recipe for simple Sourdough Starter. By now your starter may be happy and bubbly and ready to bake bread so I just wanted to share a simple, beginner’s recipe for No-Knead Sourdough Bread that my lovely friend Bee (from H is for Love) taught me how to make, now over 7 years ago.
It hasn’t failed me yet and I am forever indebted to her, because this simple act of kindness has brought me so much joy over the years.
This Sourdough recipe is flexible and easy but most importantly it works with my schedule. It doesn’t require a lot of hands-on time- although there is a tiny bit, just enough to make it feel wonderfully gratifying.
Why I love this Sourdough Bread Recipe: The dough is made the night before and proofs overnight on the counter (10-12 hours). In the morning it’s stretched, folded and shaped, with 1 hour more of rising time before baking for 35 minutes. Because my schedule allows me to be home in the mornings this bread really works well for me. It’s very flexible too, and can be placed in the fridge if plans change and something comes up and I can’t bake in the morning, slowing the process down.
Inversely, you could mix the dough early in the morning and bake it that night. Up to you.
TIP: When looking online for a Sourdough Bread Recipe (there are thousands!) I’ve found what is most important is to find a sourdough bread recipe works with your schedule. That way, you can easily fit bread-baking into your weekly schedule without having to bend your schedule around it. So always look at hands-on time and proofing times (usually there are 2 of these) to make sure it works with your life.
There are many ways to make Sourdough bread. Many of you are well beyond this recipe in terms of expertise, technique and knowledge and this may not the recipe for you- and I’m relying on you to help answer questions that will arise in the comments below and add your tips and guidance to the recipe notes below.
If you are very new to bread baking, you may be wondering…
What is Sourdough Bread?
- In the simplest terms, it is bread made without commercial yeast, but rather a “sourdough starter” instead. Think of this like “wild” yeast. The starter is what makes the bread rise. The sourdough starter is made first (takes 5-8 days) and then it is stored in your fridge and fed weekly. Like a pet. 🙂 Yes, you can even name it. Bread made with sourdough starter, has so much more flavor and complexity than yeasted bread.
What equipment do you need?
After leaving all my bread “gear” at home, it was a fun challenge to see if I could make it with just the basics. Here is what you absolutely need:
- 4 to 6-quart Dutch oven with lid (or bread baker)
- a couple of mixing bowls
- measuring cup
- Kitchen towel
- sharp knife, razor blade or scissors
- kitchen scale
Here are some optional extras that make this more fun:
How to Make Sourdough Bread (in a nutshell):
- Stir flours and salt together.
- Mix sourdough starter and water together.
- Combine both in a medium bowl, until flour is fully incorporated.
- Let rest 15 minutes. Stretch the dough, right in the bowl. See video. Repeat 15 minutes later.
- Cover and let rest on the kitchen counter overnight for 8-12 hours. ( 65-70 F)
- In the morning, stretch, fold and shape.
- Place in a parchment-lined bowl, let rise 1 hour in the refrigerator while oven preheats.
- Bake 35 minutes!
How to SCHEDULE No-Knead Sourdough Bread:
- 12 noon: Feed the sourdough starter. 8-12 hours before you plan to mix up the dough, feed your starter. (Or feel free to use an unfed starter for a more “sour taste”, straight from the fridge at 8 pm)
- 8 pm: Mix. Mix the dough. Cover for 15 more mins, stretch and fold. Repeat one more time.
- 8:30 pm: Proof. Cover, let proof (rise) overnight,8-12 hours at 65-70F on the kitchen counter.
- 6-8 am: Shape. Check your dough when you awake, and when it has almost doubled in size, stretch, fold, and shape. Place in a parchment-lined bowl seam side down. Place this in the fridge for 1 hour while you preheat the oven (heating up your dutch oven or bread baker too, for 50-60 minutes at 475-500F)
- 8-9 am: Place & Score. Pull your heated dutch oven out of the oven. Lift your shaped dough, lifting out by the parchment, carefully place into the hot dutch oven. Score the bread using a sharp knife (lightly oiled) or razor blade or bread lame, cutting a single slash, a crescent-shaped slit into the dough at a 30-45 degree angle, one inch deep, or smaller tiny cuts.
- 9:00 am Bake with the lid on for 20-25 minutes. Remove lid, lower heat to 45oF and bake 15 more minutes, until very deeply golden, and internal temp reaches 208F. You will want it darker than you might think. Let it cool on a rack before cutting. If you like a softer crust bake covered 25 minutes, uncovered 10 minutes.
- 9:45 Cool and enjoy!
SOURDOUGH BREAD TIPS:
- SOURDOUGH STARTER: Using your starter slightly after it’s peak, will ensure your bread rises sufficiently. Make sure your starter is healthy, strong and “hungry”, able to double in size 4-8 hours after feeding. If you like a more “sour” taste, use an un-fed starter that has been stored in the fridge 3-6 days- and use without feeding it first.
- FLOUR: For your very first loaf, I highly suggest just using mostly White Bread Flour and be sure to weigh to weight it. ***Please “zero out” the weight of the bowl. 🙂 Weigh the flour without salt, seeds, or other additions. Try substituting a 1/2 cup of the flour for another kind. For example, 3 1/2 cups white bread flour, plus 1/2 cup rye or whole wheat. If you add more whole grain than that your loaf will be quite heavy and dense. I really don’t want this for your first loaf and either do you. You want it to be amazing so you feel inspired to make it again and again. After several practice loaves- yes, fiddle with other flours as much as you like!
- WATER: (Hydration) 385 grams A wet dough will produce a lot of beautiful air pockets but it is much harder to work with, in the beginning. A dryer dough will yield a slightly denser, less airy loaf but will be easier to work with, in the beginning. This one falls towards the later – at 75% hydration- but you can easily adjust this down the road, as you practice, by adding a little more water or less flour in the initial mixing stage. To calculate the hydration level, you divide the water grams by the flour grams. In this case 385 divided by 520 = .75 or 75% hydration. As you get more comfortable, try for 80%-85% hydration, adding in a few extra folds at both stages.
- BAKING: 500F. Always preheat. The hotter the better. If you have convection, use it! Use a 4-6 quart dutch oven or Bread Baker: Make sure your dutch oven or bread baker can handle a 500F oven. Plastic handles may melt. If not, 475F or 450F will suffice, but you’ll need to bake it longer (25-ish minutes) before removing the lid, then bake for 10-15 more minutes uncovered. Always check bread with a thermometer. FYI My bread baker (clay) cracked at 500F, so just be careful. Always check the manufacturer’s guide.
Sourdough Making Steps in order (WITH 3 VIDEOS!)
*** or go straight to RECIPE Card and Instructions at the very bottom of the post.
STEP ONE: Feed your sourdough starter 8-10 hours before making your bread dough -leaving it out on the counter-using it slightly after it peaks. (Alternatively use it straight from the fridge, cold, without feeding within the 7-day window- which will give it a more sour taste.)
STEP TWO: Mix bread flour (weigh out 520 grams flour – do not include the weight of the bowl) and then add salt together in a medium bowl. Here I’m using roughly 3 1/2 cups white bread flour and a 1/2 cup rye flour. Weigh the flour for your first batch using a kitchen scale– to get a feel for the dough.
Add 2 teaspoons salt and seeds if you like- here I’ve added 1 tsp fennel, 1/2 teaspoon caraway and 1 tablespoon chia seeds. You can add other spices and seeds, nuts, dried fruit, herbs and roasted garlic. Get creative, but for the first loaf, go easy.
STEP THREE: Mix the 1/3 cup of sourdough starter (90 grams) with water (385 grams) using a fork.
It will look like cloudy water.
STEP FOUR: Combine both wet and dry ingredients, and stir, using a fork, into a thick dough. Switch to a wood spoon. Mix the dough for one minute to incorporate all the bread flour, using the wooden spoon. No need to knead. 🙂 Just incorporate all the flour. It will look a little shaggy and feel hard to mix. If using more whole wheat flour or rye, sometimes it can be “thirstier” than white flour so you may need a little more water, a tablespoon at a time. It will be heavy, thick and sticky to begin with, but will loosen up as it rests and proofs. Cover with a damp kitchen towel, for 15 minutes.
STEP FIVE: Do 2 sets of “stretch and folds” to help build the gluten. Do this twice, 15 minutes apart.
Watch the first video here below. With wet hands, stretch and fold.
Let rest 15 minutes covered, then repeat.
1st VIDEO| STRETCH and FOLD technique (before proofing)
***Don’t see video? Allow 15-20 seconds to load it right here!*** (if still not showing, check that your ad blocker is off, or refresh page.
STEP 6: PROOF Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and let it rise on the kitchen counter overnight 8-12 hours. This is the tricky part that gets easier as you practice. Every environment is different. And seasons will affect proofing time. Warmer homes proof much faster, colder homes, much slower. In midwinter in the Northwest, I’ve even proofed for as long as 18 hours on the counter. Here in Santa Barbara, in summer, the dough was ready in 7 hours. You can’t always look at the clock, you MUST look at the dough. It should be slightly domed, springy, bouncy, almost doubled.
Do the poke test: Carefully poke the dough with a floured finger, 1/2 inch deep. If it is easy to indent, and the dough springs back, this is a good sign it has risen enough. If the dough feels very firm and hard to indent, it probably needs to proof longer. If the dough doesn’t spring back, holding the indentation, or feels overly soft, liquidy or loose- it is probably over-proofed. Don’t toss it. You can still bake it but will not rise as much in the oven and will be harder to handle. Put it in the fridge to firm it up a bit before doing the stretch and fold. You may still get an OK loaf. Hard to tell.
PREPARE the SHAPING BOWl: Place a piece of parchment in a bowl. I like using a high-sided medium-sized bowl versus a flat or shallow bowl, to help shore up the sides.
As you progress in your baking journey, you may want to use a Banneton (bread proofing basket below). If using a Banneton, flour it well (rice flour works best here) and place any seeds on the bottom, placing dough seam-side up.
I will say- if starting out, it can be a bit tricky to flip the Banneton into the hot dutch oven, and have it land centered. I prefer to flip it onto parchment, score, then place the parchment and dough into the hot dutch oven. Up to you.
STEP 7: STRETCH and SHAPE:
Watch the 2nd video below for a different “stretch and shape” technique to use AFTER the dough has proofed. Loosen the dough from the edges of a bowl with a wet spatula or wet plastic dough scraper, sliding it down the sides of the bowl.
With wet hands, carefully pull the dough up on each side, lift it straight up in the air about 1-2 feet high and place it back down, folding it on top of itself, gently.
Wet your hands again and give the bowl a quarter turn and do this again. (You could repeat this 20 minutes later) Then the 3rd time you lift and stretch, you will either lift it all the way up into your parchment-lined bowl seam side down. (EASIEST) or into the floured proofing basket, seam side up (pinching it closed).
2nd VIDEO | STRETCH AND SHAPE (after proofing)
***Don’t see video? Allow 15-20 seconds to load it right here!*** (If you still don’t see it refresh page and come back.) (And if still not showing, check that your ad blocker is off. )
AS you see above, the dough after proofing will become a lot looser. The starter has metabolized the flour overnight. This can be tricky to handle. BUT, using wet hands and learning the 2nd stretch and shape technique in the second video above, will make the wet dough much easier to handle. Trust me here. 🙂
After the second set, lift the dough into the parchment-lined bowl.
Sprinkle with seeds if you like.
Sprinkle with a little flour, especially if using the basket, get those sides sprinkled well- so it flips out without catching!
STEP 8: FINAL RISE and PREHEAT OVEN:
Place the dough in the fridge for one hour (or up to 3) while you heat up the oven to 500F with your dutch oven inside (PLEASE SEE NOTES ) for 50-60 minutes. Chilling the dough a little will make it easier to score and give it a little more “oven spring”. It is not intended to rise here.
STEP 9: SCORE & BAKE.
You can do one simple slash, a crescent, crisscross, or feel free to add other designs. (Just google sourdough scoring designs and be mesmerized for hours!) Oiling the knife helps. The lame really does make this 100 times easier!
Quickly cover and place in the middle of the oven for 22 mins. Remove lid and it should be nicely puffed and just lightly golden. Continue baking 10- 15 minutes until deeply golden and internal temp reaches 208F.
Pull it out, place it on a rack and let it cool before cutting. The HARDEST part! 😂
Please try to get your loaves crusty and deeply golden. Let them go a bit longer than you might think. 🙂
It will smell heavenly and you will feel proud, as you should!
It truly is an accomplishment.
Also know that every time you bake, your bread will get better and better as long as your starter is healthy and active. I suggest that you make the same exact loaf, repeatedly, a few times to get it down before changing too many variables. Consider this first month of baking as “practicing”. The most challenging thing is getting to know your environment temperature and timing) and getting your starter healthy. So just be patient, keep trying and don’t give up. You will get it! Sometimes it takes time.
Or toasted with mashed avocado. 🙂 Or jam and almond butter.
Ok! Enjoy and Happy Baking!
PS. Here is the whole video- it’s long and boring but you may fine it helpful. 🙂
3rd video: SOURDOUGH BREAD! | (Start to finish!) 16-Min Video
***Don’t see video? Allow 15-20 seconds to load it right here!*** (If you still don’t see it refresh page and come back.) (If still not showing, check that your ad blocker is off. )
More Sourdough Recipes!
- Rosemary Olive Sourdough Bread
- Vegan Banana Bread
- Overnight Sourdough Waffles
- Sourdough Pancakes
- Sourdough Scones
- Sourdough Biscuits
- Sourdough Buns
- Sourdough croutons
An easy Sourdough Bread recipe that rises overnight and bakes in the morning. A simple flexible recipe, made with sourdough starter, that can be adapted to your needs. View the 3 instructional videos above for more details. If you don’t see the videos, make sure your ad blocker is off. (NOTE: the recipe multiplier is not working correctly for doubling or tripling – so please calculate this for yourself !!! Sorry.) Stretch and fold techniques from Breadtopia
- 4 cups organic white bread flour, spooned and leveled (520 grams total flour) -please don’t include the weight of the bowl! I Highly Recommend weighing for the first few loaves. (See notes for adding other types of flour.)
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (12 grams)
- 1 7/8 cups filtered water (385 grams)
- 1/3 cup sourdough starter (90 grams) fed 8-10 hours earlier, using it slightly after peaking (or use an unfed starter, 3–6 days after feeding if refrigerated- for a more “sour” taste- see notes.)
- rice flour (my favorite) or extra flour for dusting.
- seeds for flavoring: fennel seeds, anise seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, caraway seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dill seeds, celery seeds, nigella seeds, etc. (optional, but tasty)
Other optional additions:
- Substitute 1/2 cup rye flour, spelt or whole wheat flour or other whole-grain flour for 1/2 cup of the white bread flour if you like- resisting the temptation to add more for your first few loaves. (62 grams max.)
- Add seeds and/or whole spices (fennel, caraway, onion seeds, dill seeds, chia, hemp, flax ) My favorite is 1 teaspoon fennel, 1/2 teaspoon caraway and 1 tablespoon chia– or add herbs ( rosemary, thyme, sage, etc).
- Once you get the hang of the dough, try adding roasted garlic, nuts, dried fruit, cheeses, or olives.
- 8-10 hours before mixing your dough, feed your sourdough starter, leaving it out on the counter. (See notes for extra sour). OR, if you keep your starter in the fridge and fed it in the last 7 days- it is OK to use straight from jar, cold, without feeding. Best to use starter after it peaks, when it is “hungry”.
- 8:00 pm PLEASE use a kitchen scale if this is your first loaf. Weigh the flour in a medium bowl (***zeroing out the weight of the bowl). Then add salt, spices, seeds. Mix starter and water in a small bowl until cloudy and well mixed. Pour starter-water into flour incorporating all the flour using a fork or wood spoon. It should be a thick, shaggy, heavy, sticky dough. See video. Mix for about 1 minute using the wood spoon– it will be hard to mix, sticky, shaggy. Don’t worry about tidy dough here, just get the flour all mixed in and cover with a wet kitchen towel and let rest 15 minutes. It will loosen up as it rests. (Alternatively, mix starter and water in the bowl first, then add the salt and flour-like in my 3rd video- either way, works.)
- 8:20 pm: Do the first set of stretch and folds. (See the 1st video in post) With one wet hand (put a bowl of water next to you) pull the dough from one side and stretch it upward, then fold it up and over to the center of the dough. Turn the bowl and repeat, stretching and folding from the side, up over the middle, repeat for about 30 seconds or until the dough gets firm and resists. This helps strengthen the gluten. Cover, rest, and repeat the process 15 minutes later. Wet hand, stretch and fold, for 30 seconds until the dough gets firm. Then turn the dough over in the bowl. Yes, you could do this a couple more times if you would like to build the gluten, but not imperative. 🙂
- 8:35 pm Proof overnight, at room temp. Cover with plastic or wax wrap or a damp kitchen towel (to keep the moisture in) and place it on your kitchen counter for 8-12 hours. (see notes on temperature) 68-70F is the ideal temp. (If it is warmer, check at 6-8 hours. If it is cold, it may take up to 18 hours in winter.)
- 6-8 AM Check the dough in the morning. The dough should have flattened, expanded, with a slight springy dome to the top. It won’t necessarily double in size ( maybe 1.5 -1.75 times bigger) but will have expanded. Do the POKE TEST: With a floured finger, poke into the dough. If it indents easily, and mostly springs back to original shape, it has probably risen enough. If it feels firm or very hard to indent, let it rise longer. If it feels loose, runny, or indents too easily and doesn’t spring back, it is most likely over-proofed (bake it anyways).
- Line a high-sided bowl with parchment. This brand of parchment does not stick to the bread- but if you are unsure about yours, spray oil your parchment lightly before putting the dough in it. (If you are a seasoned bread baker, you do not actually need parchment -this is only for easier transport only, bread will not stick to the inside of a dutch oven.) I like using a high-sided medium-sized bowl versus a flat or shallow bowl to help shore up the sides. You can also use a rice-floured Banneton (bread proofing basket) if you have one.
- 2nd Set of STRETCH and SHAPE : (Watch 2nd video -Stretch and Shape video). Loosen the dough from the all edges of a bowl with using your wet fingers, a wet spatula or wet plastic dough scraper, sliding down the sides of the bowl. With both wet hands, carefully pull the dough straight up, in the middle and lift it, stretching straight up in the air- about 1-2 feet (see photo) and place it back down, gently folding it on top of itself. This first stretch, the dough may feel quite loose and runny. This is OK. It should firm up as it stretches and folds. (Note: If your dough breaks here, it is probably over-proofed, bake it anyways. If your dough won’t stretch like the photo and feels too tight or firm, it needs to proof longer). After the first stretch, give the bowl a quarter turn, wait 30-60 seconds, wet your hands again and stretch it up high again, folding over itself in the bowl. Wait 30-60 seconds. (You could repeat this one more time, 15 minutes later). Then, the third time you lift and stretch, you will lift it all the way into your parchment-lined bowl,folding over itself like you’ve been doing. (Alternatively, lift it into your floured proofing basket seam side up. ( If seam up, pinch the seam closed). Sprinkle top with seeds and flour (get the sides too) gently rubbing it to even coat –and add seeds if you like. If using a banneton, sprinkle the seeds in the banneton before adding the dough.
- FINAL RISE and PREHEAT OVEN: Place the bowl in the refrigerator for one hour uncovered which will firm up the bread, make scoring easier and help boost “oven spring”. It won’t rise in the fridge. (You could also keep it in the fridge for 3-4 hours if you want to bake later.) Preheat the oven (for 1 FULL hour) to 500F with your dutch oven inside and lid on (see notes). If you have convection- use it. You can also bake the bread at 45oF or 475F. You want your oven as hot as possible here– so don’t skimp on the preheat. I usually preheat for 1 full hour.
- SCORE & BAKE When ready to bake, place dough by the stove. Pull out the dutch oven, close the oven, remove lid. Score the bread in the bowl, using a very sharp knife, lame, or razor blade, score the dough swiftly and deeply, at a 45-degree angle, 3/4- 1-inch deep. One deep slash is just fine. Or criss-cross, or crescent shape. (Or feel free to add other designs, for ideas -google “scoring bread”). Oiling the knife helps as well as using a lame. You want to score where you want the dough to puff out from. You can also cut with kitchen scissors. Carefully lift the parchment by the corners and place both bread and parchment directly into the dutch oven. Cover quickly. It is OK if parchment peaks out. You want to score and transfer as quickly as possible. (Alternately, if using a proofing basket, cover the basket with parchment, carefully flip the dough into the parchment in the palm of your hand and then center the parchment and dough into your dutch oven, then score).
- BAKE. Place in the middle of the oven for 20 mins with convection on, 25 minutes w/no convection (or 28 minutes at 450F). Remove lid and it should be puffed and just lightly golden. Lower heat to 450 F, Continue baking 10- 15 minutes until deeply golden and internal temp reaches 202- 208F. No pale loaves please, let them get golden! (For a less “crusty” loaf, increase covered baking time, lower uncovered baking time. You can play with this for desired results.)
- COOL: It will smell heavenly. Remove from the dutch oven, let it cool 1 hour on a rack or tilted up on its side, before slicing so you don’t let the steam out and don’t smash it- be patient. This is the hardest part. 😉. Take a picture! Feel proud. You did it!
- SERVE: This type of bread is always BEST, served toasted! Then lather it with butter, ghee or olive oil. Add mashed avocado and salted tomatoes, almond butter, honey or jam. A piece of toast can turn into great meal. See this Mushroom Toast!
- STORE: Store the bread wrapped in a kitchen towel for the first day or two to keep the crust nice and crispy, then move it to a zip lock bag to keep it moist for longer. Bread can also be sliced and frozen. Make sourdough croutons with leftover bread- great in salads and soups!
Sourdough starter : Using your starter after its peak will ensure your bread rises sufficiently. Make sure your starter is healthy, hungry, and strong, able to double in size 4-8 hours after feeding. If you store your starter in the fridge and last fed it over a week ago, make sure to feed the morning before making bread. If it has only been 3-7 days since last feeding (and you keep it in the fridge), it is OK to make bread without feeding. Use a 1/3 cup starter for your bread dough and place the remaining back in the fridge and feed a week after the last feeding. BUT if it has been a week after your last feeding, pull it out of the fridge, discard (or save for pancakes, waffles, or give away) all but 1/2 cup. Feed it. Let it metabolize the flour 4-8 hours before mixing up the bread dough. Use a 1/3 cup of starter (90 grams) for the bread, place the remaining back in the fridge, and feed in a week. For a more “sour” flavor, use starter that has been in the fridge 4-6 days. Do not feed before using it. The sourdough starter is the sourest the longer it goes without feeding.
FLOUR: For your very first loaf, I highly suggest weighing (please do not include the weight of the bowl or any salt, seeds or spices- only flour!) and using mostly white bread flour (or AP white flour). I know it’s boring, but you can add whole spices and seeds. 🙂 If you absolutely must fiddle, try only substituting a 1/2 cup of the flour for another kind. For example, 3 1/2 cups white bread flour, plus 1/2 cup rye flour or whole wheat flour. If you add more than that your loaf may be too heavy and dense. I really don’t want this for your first loaf. Neither do you! You want it to be amazing so you feel inspired to make it again and again. The second loaf, perhaps try 1/2 whole wheat. After a few practice loaves- yes, fiddle as much as you like!
Hydration: A wet dough will produce a lot of beautiful air pockets but it is much harder to work with, especially in the beginning. A dry dough will yield a slightly denser, less airy loaf but will be easier to work with, in the beginning. This one falls towards the later – at 75% hydration- but you can easily adjust this down the road, as you practice, by adding a little more water or less flour in the initial mixing stage. To calculate the hydration level, you divide the 385 water grams by the 520 flour grams. In this case 385 divided by 520 = .75 or 75% hydration.
Dutch Oven or Bread Baker: Make sure your dutch oven or bread baker can handle a 500F oven. If not, 450F will suffice, and bake 25 minutes before removing the lid. My bread baker (clay) cracked at 500F, so just be careful. Always check the manufacturer’s guide. Plastic handles typically melt or crack at 500F
NO DUTCH OVEN? If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can try baking your bread on a sheet pan, covered with a large metal bowl or pyrex bowl to keep the steam in. It will yield a flatter loaf but it does work. Bake 25-30 minutes covered, remove the bowl, bake until golden 10-15 more minutes until golden, and be sure to check internal temp with a thermometer. It may take a few practice tries to perfect this.
PRACTICE: As you practice making your loaves (yes, it is a fun practice) you’ll get a feel for the dough and you’ll begin to notices how changes in seasons (changes in temperature) affect the loaves and their proofing time. I suggest making the exact same loaf repeatedly several times. Warmer temps will call for shorter proofing, cooler temps, longer proofing. You can also change the proofing time by adjusting the sourdough starter amount. For a faster rise, you can add a little more starter, for example, a 1/2 or 2/3 cup. For a longer cooler rise, say in the fridge for 36-48 hours, you can reduce the starter amount to 1/4 cup or even 3 tablespoons. You can play with ratios to get the proofing time just how you want it. Take notes! You can also adjust the hydration for an airier loaf, either reducing flour or increasing water. So many variables!!! *Remember your starter and your dough are actual living “creatures” that are affected by your particular environment. The most important advice I can give you is to pay close attention to your particular “creature”, observe it carefully, and look for signs- it is communicating with you. Pay attention. 🙂 Work with it, not against it. Be patient, respond thoughtfully.
Perfecting bread is a lifelong process, and I’m still learning too.
- OVER-PROOFED: If your dough feels overly runny, loose, or breaks, after proofing, you have probably over-proofed it or possibly incorrectly measured the flour/water. Note the rising time and temperature in you home, and shorten this next time. It’s easy to overproof in very warm climates. You can tell if it is over-proofed if the dough is flat and runny with lots of air bubbles at the top (meaning it probably peaked already and now is going down) or doesn’t spring back when you do the poke test, or breaks when stretched. Even still you could try to bake it (might as well at this point, right? ) Do the 2nd video stretch and folds-it will be runny, so manage as best you can and put it in the fridge to firm it up a bit before baking.) Turn “imperfect loaves” it into croutons, bread crumbs, etc.
- Under-proofed: Gummy Bread with big holes. This usually means your bread didn’t proof (rise) long enough in the initial overnight rise or the sourdough starter wasn’t “strong/active”enough. Note the time and temp in your house, and it let rise longer next time. This can happen if you are used to baking in summer and now shifting into winter. The kitchen is colder so dough will require longer proofing. You will be able to tell when you do your second set of stretch and folds. If it is not stretching liek the video it probably has not proofed long enough. Just let it go longer -or leave it out to rise in the bowl after shaping (instead of putting it in the fridge) for an hour or two. Gummy bread can be turned into croutons. Or try toasting the bread before consuming it, it may help the texure.
- Not Rising: It could be the starter. Is it healthy and active? Did you use “hungry” starter, using it after it has peaked? Also, I’ve found this type of dough will not rise and puff up as much as other bread doughs. It may only rise by 1 1/2 or 1 3/4 (not actually doubling in size). Just look for that slight dome and do the “poke test”. It will flatten out overnight, with a subtle swell (like a full belly) or slight dome and a bouncy spring to the touch. Check the temp with a thermometer. If it is under 70F it might just take a little longer. If you want to be very precise about the rise, and the rise time, you can measure the overnight rise it in a 2-quart clear measuring container with clear sides the first few times to get an idea rise level and timing. It should rise by 1.5 or 1.75, so not quite double. I found this practice to be very helpful.
- Flavorless: Did you forget the salt? Salt is imperative here.
- Too Sour: Feed the starter 8-10 hours before baking for less sour loaves.
- Not sour enough: Use un-fed starter. The longer it’s unfed ( within the 7 days) the more sour it will be
- Many people accidentally mismeasure the flour because they forget to “zero out” the weight of the bowl or measuring cup on the scale! Check your weight (without seeds, salt or any additions) only flour.
- Weird sweet flavor/scent: Your starter may have an unwanted bacteria. Bread should taste/smell heavenly, earthy and “bready” after coming out of the oven. Like the best smell ever. 🙂
- Burned Bottoms: Perhaps lower heat to 475F with slightly longer bake. Also, try placing a sheet pan under the dutch oven (but don’t preheat the sheet pan). This seems to happen mostly in electric ovens.
- Flat loaves with lots of holes: Over-proofed. Make croutons. 🙂
- Starter: If your starter floated, but no longer floats, but still doubles in size after feeding within 6-8 hours, it is probably fine to use in baking (this is what you have been telling me).
Keywords: sourdough bread recipe, no knead sourdough bread, how to make sourdough bread, overnight sourdough bread