Easy no-knead sourdough

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If you're new to sourdough, then kneading can often be a little daunting. There's nothing worse than ending up with a sticky mess halfway up your arm, all over the worktop and up the wall. It seems to transfer to everything you've touched and many things you haven't!

It's enough to put anyone off baking their own bread. And it often does.....

What you need (if you'll pardon the pun) is a recipe that doesn't require you to do too much to the dough and yet still end up with a loaf of which you can be proud. 

Get a few successes under your belt and you'll begin to feel a growing confidence and will be ready to take a few risks and begin to explore the myriad of techniques and processes that make for a more advanced sourdough. 

So, let's have a go at a no-knead sourdough. 

This is a 66% hydration recipe. I'll explain why. 

As you'll see below, you have 500 gms of flour + 30 gms of flour in your starter. (I always make my starter with 1:1 ratio flour to water). That equals 530 gms of flour

You also have 320 mls of water + 30 mls of water in the starter (for the same reason as above). 

So, 350 (total water) as a % of 530 (total flour) = 66%. A 66% hydration should give you a loaf that is easily managed and also easy to score in an artistic way. Unless, of course, you have the artistic skills of a dog whelk....and that's me! 

So, on to the ingredients....


500 gms of strong white bread flour

320 mls of tepid filtered or basic bottled still water

60 gms active starter

5 gms sea salt

Of course, you'll need an active starter. Sorry, I presumed you would have some. If you haven't you'll need to read the recipe 'Make your own Starter' and come back to this is a week's time. If you have a starter...make sure it's recently fed and then we can move on...


Stage 1

  1. Take a large mixing bowl and add 60 gms of active starter. 
  2. Add the water and flour and finally, the salt.
  3. Mix thoroughly until it looks rough and lumpy.
  4. Cover the bowl with cling film or a shower cap and put it to one side for ONE hour

Stage 2
  1. Uncover the bowl and with wet hands, bring the dough into the middle of the bowl from the outside. 
  2. Fold it over the middle. Repeat this 15 or 20 times. Re-cover the bowl and wait another hour. 
  3. Repeat the process every hour for FOUR hours. By this time, the dough will be soft and elastic.
Stage 3
  1. Tip the dough out onto a rice-floured board. Do one last set of stretch and folds and then form the dough into a ball. 
  2. Put the ball away from you and then using the cupped sides of your palms, bring the dough forward as though you were making a ball. You are developing surface tension in the dough. Repeat this process four or five times, turning the dough through 90 degrees each time. 
  3. Liberally flour a banneton basket and also flour the dough ball. 
  4. Place the dough seam side up in the basket and tease a little more rice flour down the sides to stop it sticking to the basket
  5. Cover the banneton with cling film or a shower cap and place it in the refrigerator overnight. 
Stage 4
  1. Preheat the oven to 230⁰C.
  2. Take a large roaster, pyrex or cast iron casserole or Dutch oven and line with parchment paper.
  3. Uncover and invert the dough carefully into nthe COLD pot and score the top with a razor blade or lame. 
  4. Place the lid on the pot and bake for 50 minutes until the bread is risen, golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom. 
  5. You can finish off the loaf by baking for a final 5 - 10 minutes with the lid removed. 
  6. Lift the loaf out onto a wire cooling rack.
  7. Do not slice it for at least ONE hour. This allows the crumb time to set. 

Happy baking....


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