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) or Jump to the Recipe Card. 

A simple EASY recipe for No-Knead Sourdough Bread that takes very little hands-on time, rising overnight and bakes in the morning.

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 Bread 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) and bakes in the morning.

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 schedule 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 that works with your schedule. That way, you can easily fit bread-baking into your week without bending your schedule around it. Always look at hands-on time and proofing times (usually there are 2 of these) to make sure it works with your life.

No-Knead Sourdough Bread sliced on a bread board

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, but if you are new, this may help clear up a few things. 😉

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.

You can make sourdough starter at home (takes  5-8 days) or purchase it here.  To maintain it – you’ll feed it flour and water. Like a pet. 🙂 Yes, you can even name it.

Bread made with sourdough starter has so much more flavor and complexity than yeasted bread. It is also much easier to digest, because it is fermented.

Ingredients in Sourdough Bread

An EASY recipe for No Knead Sourdough Bread that rises overnight and is baked in the morning. #sourdough

What equipment do you need?

After leaving all my favorite bread “gear” at home, it was a fun challenge to see if I could make bread with just the basics.

Here is what you absolutely need:

Here are some optional extras that make this more fun:

We offer this Sourdough Making Kit at our Bowl and Pitcher Shop if you are interested. 

A simple EASY recipe for No-Knead Sourdough Bread that takes very little hands-on time, rising overnight and bakes in the morning.

How to Schedule Sourdough Bread:

Keep in mind that rising time is affected by weather and seasons. In winter, cold kitchens will lengthen the rising time. In summer, or warm weather, hot kitchens will shorten the rising time. So this is a rough estimate, based on 70F weather

  1. 8 to 10 am:  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)
  2.  8 pm:  Mix the dough. Do two sets of stretch and folds, 15 mins apart (see 1st video)
  3. 8:30 pm: Proof Overnight.  Cover, let proof (rise) overnight,8-14 hours at 65-70F on the kitchen counter.
  4.  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) 
  5.  8-9 am:  Place & Score. Pull your heated dutch oven out of the oven. Lift your shaped dough, lifting out by the parchment, and 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.
  6. 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 for 25 minutes, uncovered 10 minutes.
  7. 9:45  Cool and enjoy!


How to make Sourdough Bread (3 VIDEOS!)

***Scroll down to the recipe card for concise instructions. 

STEP ONE:  Feed your sourdough starter in the morning 8-12 hours before making your bread dough -leaving it out on the counter-using it slightly after it peaks. Always use a slightly “hungry” starter.  (Alternatively use it straight from the fridge, cold, without feeding within the 7-day window- which will give it a more sour taste.) You know your starter is active and healthy if it doubles within 6 hours of feeding.

STEP TWO: In a large bowl, weigh bread flour ( 520 grams ) using a kitchen scale- being careful not to include the bowl’s weight. Here I’m using roughly 3 1/2 cups of organic white bread flour and a 1/2 cup rye flour.

A beginner's recipe for sourdough bread that requires no kneading and rises overnight. Easy and simple!

THEN Add 2 teaspoons salt and seeds if you like- here I’ve added 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon caraway and 1 tablespoon chia seeds.- I love this combination. Yes, you can add other spices and seeds. Get creative, but for the first loaf, I suggest to go easy.

flour,salt and seeds in a bowl

STEP THREE:  Stir down the starter, then add 1/3 cup of sourdough starter (90 grams) with water (385 grams) using a fork.

sourdough starter in a measuring cup

It will look like cloudy water.

sourdough starter mixed with water in a glass measuring cup

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, or a wet hand.  Just try your best to incorporate all the flour.

It will be thick, shaggy and hard to mix. If the flour absolutely won’t mix in, then add a tablespoon of water at a time to incorporate it.  Sometimes whole grain flours are “thirstier” than white flour so you may need a little more water, a tablespoon at a time. Dough will be heavy, thick and sticky (see photo below) to begin with, but will loosen up as it rests and proofs. Cover with a damp kitchen towel, for 15 minutes.

A beginner's recipe for sourdough bread that requires no kneading and rises overnight. Easy and simple!

STEP 5:  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 | Strech & fold Technique #1

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STEP 6: PROOF Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel  (wet it thoroughly, then wring it out) and let the dough 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 8 hours.

TIP You can’t always look at the clock, you MUST look at the dough. It should be slightly domed, springy, slightly jiggly like a happy, full belly, almost doubled. Shake the bowl, look for a little jiggle. 

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.

NOTE on Parchment: I use this parchment brand. It doesn’t stick or burn. If unsure about yours, spray your parchment with a little oil to prevent sticking.

making bread using parchment

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.

With using the parchment in a regular bowl, there is no flipping, just lifting by the parchment and placing it in the dutch oven. MUCH EASIER FOR BEGINNERS.

floured Banneton

STEP 7: STRETCH and SHAPE

Watch the 2nd video below for a different “stretch and shape” technique to use AFTER the dough has been 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 up 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 | Strech and Shape Technique #2

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An EASY recipe for No Knead Sourdough Bread that rises overnight and is baked in the morning. #sourdough

AS you see above, the dough after proofing will become much 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.

rising sourdough in a bowl

Sprinkle with a little flour or rice flour (makes it easier to score) especially if using the banneton, get those sides sprinkled well- so it flips out without catching!

floured sourdough in a bowl

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 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.

Score:  Grease your blade or lame,  and score the dough swiftly and deeply, at a 45-degree angle, 3/4 inch deep. Score where you want the dough to puff up. You can do one simple slash, a crescent, or a 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!

Carefully take out the dutch oven from the oven and close the oven door. Remove the lid. Gently lift your dough holding onto the parchment corners, and lift it into the dutch oven, and quickly cover.

Bake: Place in the middle of the oven for 18-22 mins. Remove the lid; it should be nicely puffed, lightly golden, and around 200F.  This is your goal. Continue baking 10- 15 minutes until deeply golden and internal temp reaches 208F.

Baked sourdough bread in the oven

Pull it out, place it on a rack and let it cool before cutting. The HARDEST part!  😂

An EASY recipe for No Knead Sourdough Bread that rises overnight and is baked in the morning. #sourdough

Please try to get your loaves crusty and deeply golden. Let them go a bit longer than you might think. 🙂

An EASY recipe for No Knead Sourdough Bread that rises overnight and is baked in the morning. #sourdough

It will smell heavenly and you will feel proud. Bask in it!

It truly is an accomplishment!!!


3rd Video | sourdough bread- start to finish (16-minUte video)

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***Scroll down to the recipe card for clear, detailed instructions. 


SOURDOUGH BREAD TIPS:

  1. SOURDOUGH STARTER:   Using your starter slightly after its peak will ensure your bread rises sufficiently. Make sure your starter is healthy, strong and “hungry”, and doubles in size 6 hours after feeding. If you like a more “sour” taste, use an un-fed starter that has been stored in the fridge 5-6 days- and use without feeding it first.
  2. FLOUR: For your very first loaf, I highly suggest just using Organic White Bread Flour and be sure to weigh 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 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 neither do you. You want it to be amazing so you feel inspired to make it again and again. So be patient. After several practice loaves- yes, fiddle with other flours as much as you like!
  3. 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.
  4. ADDITIONS:  If you want to start adding things to your bread- nuts, olives, cheese, dried fruit, roasted garlic, etc., I recommend folding these in after it rises overnight. Use this recipe for Rosemary Olive Sourdough Bread as a guide.
  5. BAKING:  500F. Always preheat. If you have convection, use it! Use a 4-6 quart dutch oven: Make sure your dutch oven can handle a 500F oven. Plastic handles will 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.

TROUBLE-SHOOTING Sourdough Bread: 

  1. 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 your 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” into croutons,  bread crumbs, etc.
  2. UNDER-PROOFED: Gummy dense 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. Double-check that your starter is doubling in size within 6 hours of being fed. 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 the 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 like 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 texture.
  3. Not Rising: It could be the starter. Is it healthy and active? Did you use “hungry” starter, using it after it has peaked? Double-check your starter is doubling in size within 6 hours of being fed. 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 jiggly belly feel,  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 in a 2-quart 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.
  4. Flavorless: Did you forget the salt? Salt is imperative here.
  5. Too Sour: The “hungrier” the starter, the sourer the bread. Feed the starter 8-10 hours before baking for less sour loaves.
  6. Not sour enough: Use an unfed starter. The longer it’s unfed ( within the 7 days) the sourer it will be.
  7. 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.
  8. GUMMY BREAD: If you are sure you are not under-proofing your dough, and that your starter is strong ( doubles within 6 hours of feeding) check that your oven temp is accurate. Buy an oven thermometer and double-check that it is indeed getting hot enough. Confirm bread is 200F when you remove the lid, and 208F after baking uncovered. Adjust timing if need be.  Lastly, test letting your bread sit longer before cutting- like 4 hours.
  9. Weird sweet flavor/scent: Your starter may have been contaminated with unpleasant bacteria. Bread should taste/smell heavenly, earthy and “bready” after coming out of the oven. Like the best smell ever. 🙂
  10. Burned Bottoms: Perhaps lower heat to 475F with a slightly longer bake. Also, try placing a sheet pan under the dutch oven (but don’t preheat the sheet pan). Or add a layer of cornmeal below the parchment. Burnt bottoms seem to happen mostly in electric ovens.
  11. Flat loaves with lots of holes: Over-proofed. Make croutons. 🙂
  12. 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).

More Sourdough Recipes!

  1. Rosemary Olive Sourdough Bread
  2. Soft Sourdough Rolls
  3. Sourdough Baguettes
  4. Sourdough Crackers
  5. Vegan Banana Bread
  6. Overnight Sourdough Waffles 
  7. Sourdough Pancakes 
  8. Sourdough Scones 
  9. Sourdough Biscuits
  10. Sourdough Buns
  11. Sourdough croutons 

The Sourdough Making Kit is available at our Bowl and Pitcher Shop if you are interested. 

For the love of Sourdough

Sourdough baking is such a satisfying hobby.  Making your first “good” loaf is the BEST feeling EVER! 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 any 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. I promise, you will get it! Sometimes it just takes time.

Enjoy the process,

xoxoxo

Sylvia

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An EASY recipe for No Knead Sourdough Bread that rises overnight and is baked in the morning. #sourdough

Sourdough Bread Recipe (Detailed Instructions)

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 25
  • Cook Time: 13 hours
  • Total Time: 13 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: baked
  • Method: bread
  • Cuisine: northwest
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

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.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 cups organic white bread flour, spooned and leveled (520 grams total flour) -please don’t include the bowl’s weight. I highly recommend weighing the flour for the first few loaves. (See notes for adding other types of flour.)
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (12 grams)
  • 1 7/8 cups water (385 grams)
  • 1/3 cup homemade sourdough starter or store-bought starter (90 grams) fed 8-12 hours earlier, using it slightly after peaking (For a more “sour” taste, use an unfed starter, 46 days after feeding if refrigerated- see notes.)

Optional additions: 


Instructions

  1. 8 am.  Twelve hours before mixing your dough, feed your sourdough starter, leaving it out on the counter making sure it doubles in size within 6 hours. (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 it straight from the jar, cold, without feeding. Best to use starter after it peaks, when it is “hungry”.
  2. 8:00 pm  PLEASE use a kitchen scale if this is your first loaf. Weigh the flour in a medium bowl (***zero-ing 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 the 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 1-2 minutes using the wood spoon– it will be hard to mix. 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.)
  3. 8:20 pm: Do the first set of stretches 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.  Quarter turn the bowl and repeat, stretching up and folding it 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. With wet fingers, stretch up and fold over, turning, repeating, for 30 seconds until the dough gets firm and resists. 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.  🙂
  4. 8:35 pm Proof overnight, at room temp. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, 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 very cold, it may take up to 18 hours in winter.)
  5. 6-8 AM Check the dough in the morning. The dough should have 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 its 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 or doesn’t spring back, it is most likely over-proofed (bake it anyways).
  6. 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.
  7.  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. In 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. 
  8. FINAL RISE and PREHEAT OVEN: Place the bowl in the refrigerator for one hour uncovered which will firm up the bread, and 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 so don’t skimp on the preheat. I usually preheat for 1 full hour.
  9. 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, razor blade, (or try scissors dipped in cold water), 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”). You want to score where you want the dough to puff out from. You can also cut with wet 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).
  10.  BAKE. Place dutch oven in the middle of the 500F oven for 20 mins with convection on, 25 minutes w/no convection (or 28 minutes at 450F). Remove lid.  It should be puffed and just lightly golden and internal temp close to 200F  (if not, put lid back on for a few more minutes). Lower heat to 450 F, continue baking 10-15 minutes until deeply golden and internal temp reaches 204- 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.)
  11. 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!
  12. 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 a great meal. See this Mushroom Toast!
  13. 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!

Notes

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.

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. Aim for an internal bread temp of 200F when removing lid- before baking it uncovered.  Take notes and adjust the next time!

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 practices tries to perfect this.

Smaller Loaves: If you would like to create two smaller loaves bake each at 450F for 18 minutes (or until internal temp is 200F) uncover, lower heat to 425F and bake until golden and internal temp is 204-208F. You may have to fiddle with this timing.

LOAF PAN: Yes you can bake this in a loaf pan. Shape and place it in an oiled loaf pan ( or line with parchment) for the last hour in the fridge, while oven preheats. Bake uncovered at 450 for 15 minutes, lower heat to 425 and bake another 25-ish minutes or until internal temp reaches 204-208F. You may need to play with this according to your oven. Place on middle or lower rack.

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. 😉

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 132
  • Sugar: 0.2 g
  • Sodium: 499.1 mg
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Fiber: 4.2 g
  • Protein: 5.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: sourdough bread recipe, no knead sourdough bread, how to make sourdough bread, overnight sourdough bread

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Comments

    1. Use the same measurements. I know some folks use regular flour, but bread flour really improves the texture here.

  1. This recipe turned out delish! The only issue I had was the parchment paper baking onto the bottle (after transferring it). Is there a reason it stuck? Should I switch to a different piece of parchment after the it’s in the fridge?
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Anna- I linked the brand that I use- I never have problems with it. “If You Care” Brand. 🙂 You can also spray oil it beforehand.

  2. I made this and it came out perfectly! I proofed overnight on my dresser because the wood stove makes our kitchen/living room too warm at night.

    I do have a question though since I love this recipe so much! How can I adapt this to make bread bowls for soup? At what point do I divide the dough? Do I need a tiny Dutch oven for that?

    1. I would divide after the long overnight proof. You can use the same sized Dutch oven, use it repeatedly, and you wont need to bake as long – use your thermometer. 🙂

  3. Hi Sylvia!
    I’m super excited to try this recipe! I’ve bought sourdough starter flakes to speed up the sourdough starter process. In their instructions, they state it is better to feed the starter with wholemeal rye bakers flour. I was wondering if I were to do this – would this affect me following your recipe and sticking to white flour as a beginner?

    Hopefully, this hasn’t already been asked – apologies if so!

    Jacob

    1. Nope- shouldn’t affect at all! Just make sure your starter doubles within 6-8 hours of feeding and be sure to use “hungry” starter.

  4. I just used this recipe for my first loaf ever and it turned out great! I planned on making another load in about a week, so I put my starter in the fridge last night (about 12 hours ago) after giving it one last feeding early yesterday morning. I just checked to see if it passes the float test out of curiosity and it doesn’t, even though it was before. I’m scared my starter is dying. Should I take it out of the fridge? What should I do? Thank you!

    1. Hi Sydni, it is not dying. 🙂 If it is doubling after feeding (on the counter) within 6 hours, it is fine. If not, take it out of the fridge for a few days, feed only when hungry, see if you can get it to double within 6 hours after feeding. That way you know it is healthy and happy.

      1. Okay! So if I do want to have a more sour taste, can I leave it unfed after taking it out of the fridge (within a week of feeding), even though it’s sinking? Or do I need to feed it 6 hours before baking to make sure it’s good?

          1. Great! One more question…you mention that “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.” Does this mean I will skip the overnight proofing step and put it right in the fridge after mixing the dough and stretching?

          2. Yes, you can skip the overnight rise if you want a slower colder longer rise in the fridge. 🙂

  5. Made sourdough bread for the first time for Thanksgiving following this recipe and it turned out PERFECT! I will definitely be using this recipe again in the future – thank you for providing so much detail in how to make a successful and DELICIOUS loaf of bread!

  6. How would I go about making a double (or even more) recipe?
    Should I feed the starter double? Would that work?

    Even though after a regular feeding there’s probably enough for at least two loaves, I’d prefer not having to feed as often (esp as I want more of the “sour” taste)
    Any other ideas? (Maybe after one feeding split the starter in two and feed those?)

    Thanks

  7. Love this recipe! Taste is always amazing!! I bake it at 500 and it takes me like 50 minuts covered just to hit 200, is there something I may be doing wrong? I have it in a ditch oven

    1. You may want to double-check check your oven is truly at 500F when you put the dough in, using an oven thermometer.

  8. I made this today for the first time and am so excited for this cool
    new hobby! Made some nice patterns on top and will definitely be making more loaves in the future. Thanks for the easy to follow instructions

  9. Hi there good morning. I have a pretty cough ball pre-shaped this morning waiting to be shaped into the banneton. I followed your recipe exactly and it has proofed for 12 hours. Can this last in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours like some other recipes say? I don’t want to ruin my work but I’ve heard it improves the flavor?

    1. Did you mean to say tough ball? If so, yes you can further proof in the fridge, but only until it is not quite double in size. I think 48 hours would be way too long.

      1. Apologies, I meant DOUGH ball. It wasn’t tough it was bubbly and jiggly.
        I baked it the next evening so it was around 38 hours. It was the best EVER! I’m trying it again today but it was left 14 hours for the bulk ferment, fingers crossed, I’ll bake it tomorrow.

  10. Super helpful and easy to use recipe! Made an excellent sourdough my first try following the instructions above

  11. 5 Stars if you don’t use the weight measurement for the flour. 4 cups of flour is 480 grams, NOT 520. 520 leaves you with a dough too dry and too thick to work with. You wind up with a door stop-not a loaf of bread. That being said if you use the correct amount of flour, you wind up with an incredibly tasty loaf of bread with the perfect crumb. Change the weight of the flour and you have the perfect loaf of bread.

  12. Great recipe and easy instructions. I am new to sourdough but it has quickly become our go-to bread. Fun to play with the many variables!

  13. I have made this recipe about 4 times and just gets better and better as I perfect the technique.
    I do find for my oven I have had to increase the bake time to get the right crunch

  14. Hello!

    If I make enough dough for two loaves, bur only want to make x1, can I can freeze half the dough for later use? Thanks!:)

    1. This is such a great question Elieha- I don’t think anyone has ever asked this! And I wish I knew the answer. I will have to try this and let you know. 😉

  15. This is my best loaf of sourdough yet. My other loaves were too dense. Even though I might have gotten this too wet, so wet in fact I couldn’t even score it, the oven spring was amazing. I’m still trying to get bigger holes throughout my loaf. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    1. Congrats Lana! I would just focus on increasing hydration like you are doing, and really building up your starter. 🙂

  16. Hi, love this recipe. I’m doing garlic and herb additions. I’m doubling the recipe. Just wondering when to divide the dough to make 4 smaller loafs? Please advise. Thanks

  17. Love the recipe. Fits my schedule perfectly. ?you had a recipe for gingerbread muffins using starter but I cannot find it now?

  18. I’ve tried this recipe no less than 5 times, and each time the loaf comes out flat and dense. I’ve done it in warm weather, cold weather, higher oven temps, lower oven temps, in a dutch oven, on a cast iron, shorter proofing times, and longer proofing times. My sourdough starter is bubbly and rises…my sourdough pancakes and biscuits rise like a champ and are fluffy and soft….I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but this recipe just does not work for me.

    1. Shoot Cassie, I can’t think of what could be going wrong here. Sounds like you have tried everything. What type of flour are you using? Does anyone else have any ideas? Starter doubles within 6-8 hours of feeding?

      1. I’m wondering if your scale is correct and/or if you’re measuring ingredients correctly. Sometimes going back to basics is a good idea.

        1. I just had another thought on this lady’s problem. Water. She should try bottled water. There may be to much salt and/or chlorine in her tap water. I know when u use too much salt I gwt less rise .
          Anyhow I hope this helps.

          1. That could be it. I love using mineral water as of late- the minerals seem to help too. 😉

      2. How old is your starter? In the beginning my starter was rising like a champ ,bubbly healthy , but loaves would still turn out dense, would rise a bit but still dense . A combination of an immature starter and my technique .
        Have you made loaves with your starter any other way than this one ? How did they go ? Or are these the first loaves you have attempted with a starter following Sylvia’s starter instructions . If your starter is very young I am guessing this is why the loaves are dense and heavy . Don’t give up !

      3. I’m wondering about the flour too. I see a big difference in the personality of my dough if I use all purpose compared to bread flour. It’s obvious within 15 minutes of mixing the ingredients. If that isn’t the problem, One other thought is that maybe the fermentation time is too long for the strength of your starter. I’ve seen starter that looks like pancake batter and starter that looks very stiff just after feeding it. Have you had success with other recipes?

  19. This recipe delivers success every time with minimal fuss. THANKS! I notice how it has been refined over the last three years while Ike been using it.
    Really appreciate your sharing it and guiding people to sourdough success. I’shared the link over and over when people say they can’t get it right.
    Cheers from down under

  20. As someone who loves sourdough but has some major ~baking anxiety,~ this recipe feels pretty foolPROOF 🙂

    Thanks for the detailed instructions and responses to comments- all very helpful!

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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