Sourdough No Knead Method

The process of making a sourdough leavened no-knead loaf (at least the way I do it) is almost identical to the instant yeast variety. I just substitute 1/4 cup of sourdough starter for the 1/4 tsp. instant yeast.

Of course, working with sourdough can alter things quite a bit depending on how wet you keep your starter and how healthy it is. Some starters are very liquidy and can be poured out of their containers. I keep mine pretty thick. It has to be spooned out of the jar. I go into quite a bit of detail on how I manage my starter in the various related videos.

That said, here’s the most basic recipe that I use quite frequently.

  • 1 cup (5 oz.) whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups (11 oz.) white bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups purified water
  • 1/4 cup starter

The baking times and all that are the same as the basic no-knead method. So you can easily just watch that video but follow this recipe. I usually bake the bread at 500° for 30 minutes with the lid on and then remove the lid and continue baking for 15 more minutes at 450°.

You might have noticed that there’s a bit of difference between what I say in the video regarding recipe quantities and what’s written. The weights shown are probably more precise, but you should be fine either way as there is a fair amount of leeway in this recipe.

Generally speaking, the wetter your dough the bigger the holes will be, which many people really like. However, a drier dough will make it easier to get the bread to rise while baking, giving you greater “oven spring” and a more spherical loaf versus a pancake. With practice, you’ll get so you can come closer to predicting how your bread will turn out just based on the consistency of the dough when you’re mixing all the ingredients together. You can adjust the amount of water and flour to get the consistency that suits you best.

Many people want to know how to make their bread more sour. Breadtopia reader, Rhine Meyering, enjoys success with this by using just 1/8 cup of sourdough starter and extending the fermentation time by refrigerating the dough. Click this link to his October 7, 2007 post to read what he says. It makes a lot of sense based on my understanding of sourdough baking too.

Also, click the following link to Ariela’s post of November 25th, 2007 where she describes her success with the sourdough no knead method using spelt flour. She includes the actual recipe she uses too – very nice.

No Knead Revisited – A Three Year Check UpIt’s been over 3 years since the original New York Times no knead bread recipe was published. That’s also about the same time Breadtopia was born. By far the most common difficulty people write or call in about is with the dough being too wet to handle at the end of the long first proofing period and also when it’s time to place the dough into a covered vessel to bake at the end of the second rise.

When you run into this, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it other than attempt to follow through on the instructions and ultimately wrest the dough into your heated baker and into the oven. Your “mistake” may turn out better than you expected and if nothing else, you’ll learn from it. The next time around you can do one or a combination of a couple things differently.

  1. Add more flour and or use less water than you did the first time. Dough has a way of getting more slack as it sits for many hours so if you start off with the dough being a little stiffer than you think it should be, that’s fine and maybe it’ll be easier to handle later.
  2. Consider reducing the long proofing time by several hours. Don’t get stuck on the idea of 18 hours. Depending on your room temperature and humidity, 18 hours may result in over proofing. When dough proofs too long, the gluten breaks down, the yeast looses some oomph and it can just get downright soupy. Most of the time, I find 12-14 hours to be about right. If you want or need to prolong the proofing time, but don’t want to risk over proofing, stick the dough in the fridge for several hours or overnight. That will slow things down a lot. Then resume proofing at room temp until it’s ready to bake.

The same principle holds true on the second rise. While 1-2 hours is the suggested range, I’m almost always at about 60 to 75 minutes.

Another concern we hear a lot is about the dough not rising much during that second short proofing period. I don’t see mine rise much then either and it doesn’t matter so long as you see a good rise during the first several minutes that the dough is in the oven. That’s called oven spring and it’s a very good thing. By keeping your proofing periods on the shorter side, you’re more likely to get good oven spring from the still vigorous yeast or sourdough starter.

Of course all of the above is assuming your yeast or sourdough starter is fresh and viable to start with.

In summary, most problems can be helped or solved by stiffening the dough a little and/or shortening the rising times.

If you’re new to bread baking, don’t think from reading this that it’s difficult or tricky to get great results. Most people find it a breeze and enjoy success right out of the blocks. Others may find it takes a few tries. It’s important to have fun with it and don’t worry about bombing. There’s no significant downside to bread baking but the upside can be fabulous. Enjoy!

March 20th, 2010 update: Beadtopia reader, Beth Adams, emailed this:

I have been a follower and contributer (through the comments sections) to the site for a few years. I just tried something that I wanted to share. I added a tsp. of lavender to the regular sourdough recipe and had great results when using it for sandwiches. Hope you are able to enjoy it!

For more no-knead recipes using sourdough, check out No-Knead Recipe Variations.

{ 1402 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda February 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Hi there,

Just a real quick comment on the bagel making process. When I make bagels I make a caramel water for the boiling portion of the process just prior too baking. The caramel water creates a perfect chewy outer crust while keeping the inner portion of the bagel light and fluffy.

All you do is cook 300 grams of white sugar in a large pot on med high heat until it’s a rich dark syrup. Then you add 3 litres of water all at once ,careful not to get any on you in the initial pour, and stir it to get that rich caramel water. Bring it to a boil and proceed the same way you would with you own bagel recipe.

The caramel water makes a difference. True New York style bagel.
Hope this is helpful!
“)

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Linda February 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Hi Eric,

Please forgive me for that long article I just wrote. Had I seen your starter segment, I wouldn’t have needed to ask. I’ve been mixing the liquid you mention in with the starter. Oops! So you don’t need to answer that question if you don’t want to.
Thanks again! “)
Linda

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Wil February 7, 2010 at 10:45 am

Thanks Eric, or should I say thanks Peter? I almost didn’t think about taking a picture. That was the last bagel. Mine turned out somewhat darker than his but I noticed that all of Peter’s breads, in his book, look a little on the light side.

Wil

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Breadtopia February 7, 2010 at 9:40 am

That is one fine looking bagel, Wil!

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Wil February 7, 2010 at 9:11 am

So, what do we do on the East Coast during a record snowfall (3ft)? I bake sourdough “everything” bagels. I used Peter Reinhart’s recipe from his “artisan breads every day” book. It is almost no knead. I used my sourdough starter but otherwise followed his instructions. Ummmmm good!

Wil

[img]Bagel.jpg[/img]

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Andrew February 4, 2010 at 6:30 am

Dear Eric,
I use a microwave heating pad for pets to proof my sourdough bread during the winter months.http://www.snugglesafe.co.uk/heatpad.htm
Simply pop the pad into a microwave for 5 mins then straight into an unheated oven and leave it overnight. (12hours max)
Best leave the pad below the bowl leaving a gap of 3-4 inches in between.
It work wonders!

[img]snuggle_safe.jpg[/img]

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Margie Craig February 2, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Hello Eric E-
I have made a no knead challah loaf & a no knead egg casserole bread from recipes on http://www.breadexperience.com. both have egg added but do not have the longer rise time. I think the two recipes range from 40m minutes to 2 hours room temp. I’m not sure about leaving it 12-18 hours I know the high oven temp & internal bread temp is high but depending on where you live & they aren’t supposed to be left out more than 1-2 hours. I’m sure Breadtopia will know the answer for you! good luck!
Margie

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Eric E February 2, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Has anyone had any experience adding an egg or 2 to sourdough NKB? I am working on a recipe now and would like the result to be a bit richer, and I thought of adding an egg, but wondered whether there was any problem leaving the dough out for 18+ hours with raw egg in it. Any thoughts/comments would be appreciated, and I will share the recipe once it is perfected!

- Eric E

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Elise January 31, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Hi Eric,

I’ve been baking your no-knead sourdough for about a year now. I noticed a couple months back that, although my dough looked like it had risen, my loaves were coming out very flat. So, I started adding a teaspoon of yeast to my starter/water mix before mixing the dough and have continued to do so. Any idea why this might’ve been happening? I’d like to go back to using just the sourdough starter, if I can. It’s a good one and everyone remarks on the great sour flavor of my breads.

P.S. Just scored a free(!) la cloche the other day. I’d been using a pizza stone with a heavy steel pot for a lid all this time. Can’t wait to use my new LC!

PPS. Thanks for the great proofing basket and dough whisk that hubby got for me for Christmas.

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Rick January 25, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Howdy! I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, my starter seems strong, and it forms the structure during the initial rise, but when I unmold it, it basically liquified and will maintain no structure whatsover for the second rise. What do I do? My normal no knead turns out right every time!!!

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Wil January 23, 2010 at 1:30 pm

John,

Thank you for your wonderful writing with the “right on” tips. It is one of those, “I wish I said those things” when I read of people having trouble with their NKB excursions. I remember all of my failures and the questions I would have. I now, thanks to this forum, bake a good bread, almost everytime. Of course it is never my fault anymore when I bake a flop.

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John G January 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm

To use skiing vernacular, I started as a Beginner a couple of months
ago, and now, after viewing (many times) Eric’s videos and also
reading the many community comments, I feel I can call myself
an Intermediate. I define that as the state you’re in when your
bread turn out consistently in texture, taste, and appearance plus
you are starting to dabble in variations on the basic recipes. This
reminds me of the quotation:

“We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more,
and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight
is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise
us up, and by their great stature add to ours.”

In the spirit of that quote, I would like to contribute the tips
and tricks that are making the most difference for me:

1. The basics: you can’t do a good job without the right
tools. So, I got appropriate bread making equipment
as shown in Eric’s videos, purchased off his website.
I also use quality ingredients, for example, purified water vs
tap water, KA unbleached bread flour, etc. Lastly, I add
ingredients by weight, not by volume, to try to get the
most consistent results from loaf to loaf.
2. I calibrated my oven using a good quality oven thermometer.
At first, I trusted my oven’s built-in thermometer, which is
accurate in the traditional baking regimes of 300-450. When
I started baking bread at 500, the loaves would be done
way earlier and/or be too dark. I found out why when I
calibrated my oven: at 500 setting, it was actually 550
degrees! For my oven, a setting of 455 yields 500 degrees
on the thermometer, and the bread comes out with a nice
golden color on time as expected.
3. When shaping the dough, it’s impossible to put “too much”
flour on your hands.
4. I use the recipes’ proofing times as a guide, rather
than having them as hard and fast rules. Sometimes
my kitchen is cold, and the dough needs a longer time.
I have waited as much as an extra hour, for example,
for the second proofing.
5. Transferring the proofed dough to the HOT baking vessel by
inverting the wicker basket and dropping the dough did not
work for me. The dough invariably landed off center,
sometimes even part way out of the vessel base. While
the dough was releasing fairly easily from the proofing
basket, it would not release uniformly, that is, one side would
let go before the other, which caused the dough to miss my
target. I also kept worrying about burning my fingers on
the bottom of the Le Cloche. What I do now is follow the
reader suggestion to proof in a parchment paper lined 13 C
Rubbermaid container. I then lift the parchment paper “cup”
and place it in the Le Cloche. Just before I transfer the dough
to the Le Cloche, I score the dough for a nicer appearance and
sometimes spray the top with water and then sprinkle seeds on it;
it’s hard to do either of these finishing touches using the “dump”
method.
6. I haven’t found an ideal way to score the dough yet. I
have tried a single edge razor blade, but it seems to catch
or drag on the dough surface rather then slice through. I’m
going to try a moistened sharp knife next.
7. I check for doneness by temperature, not by how long the
bread should bake according to the recipe. I start checking
about five minutes before the nominal end time, e.g., at
minute 40 for a 45 minute baking time. When I used time as
my target, the loaves often came out too dark or edges
would get singed.
8. I no longer uncover the bread at the 30 minute mark. I leave
it covered for 40 minutes (which as noted is when I check for
doneness). I bake uncovered for only a few minutes more
if the bread is not done or I want more browning. When
I used to uncover at the 30 minute mark, the crust would
get too crunchy for my family’s taste.
9. I splurged on Eric’s Kevlar oven gloves. I tried to get by with
cheap oven mittens, but they were not dextrous enough
to quickly and easily handle the hot baking vessels.
Eventually, I figured I didn’t want to drop and break one
of the ceramic lids just to save a few dollars on gloves.
10. Use a good bread knife. I do have one, but one time, I
brought a loaf to the home of a friend and I had to use
his plain jane serrated knife. Because his knife wouldn’t
“catch” on the crusty surface, we were basically crushing
the bread to slice it. (You’ll know what I mean when you
are subjected to this.) By the way, I later gave my friend a
Fiddle Bow bread knife and a sourdough loaf to practice on!

John

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Sherry January 20, 2010 at 5:47 pm

(Sorry for double-posting; meant to put this on the general list, not in response to Rookie.)
Here’s a great, slight variation on the cranberry-pecan sourdough. I found date pieces in bulk (at various healthy-foods markets) — they’re shaped like short worms & dusted w/ flour so they don’t stick together. I added a scant half-cup without changing anything else in the recipe. WOW!! Really yummy, festive bread, & addictive! It also seems to stay fresh & moist a little longer than my other breads, although if there are people around, this bread disappears faster than any other so far.

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Sherry January 20, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Hi to Gord, I just saw your Dec. 9 note w/ photo of your very pro looking baguettes, nice job!
Didn’t these comments used to be in reverse order? (newest at bottom)?
Ok I have a potentially blasphemous NKB story. Suppose you are spending a week or more away from home, visiting family or at a vacation house? How to bake bread without your special dutch oven or covered clay pot? First, thanks to Eric’s great instructions on drying & re-consituting starter, I managed to carry my starter from Pennsylvania to my mom’s house in Florida for Christmas week. Last year, to her consternation, I baked in her fancy ceramic bowls with plates on top. Results not ideal, & tho I told her an oven can’t damage a ceramic bowl, I’m not entirely sure I didn’t cause the crazing of the glaze. This year, I lined FOIL loaf pans (disposable type) with parchment, did the second rise in those pans, and then baked at 450 — (here’s the blasphemous part:) NO lids, NO pan of water; no lifting or dumping of dough from one container to another. Wonderful results!! OK, the crusts were SLIGHTLY less crackly — but still crispy. My 90+ mom preferred the less hard crusts and also preferred the loaf shape. So easy I’m going to try this at home. !

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Lisa January 20, 2010 at 9:58 am

Hi,
I love your site. I am just starting out with sourdough and have a clay baker that was given to me (Romertopf). I’m wondering how to use it with no-knead recipes. It is unglazed. I’m wondering if I should soak the top and bottom, what temperature to use (don’t want to crack it), and how to prevent sticking. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks,
Lisa

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Ted January 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Help!

I am on my third attempt at the No-Knead-Sourdough method, and the same thing is going wrong, once again.
I have developed a healthy starter over the last 2-3 weeks. Whenever I feed it (daily) in the last week, all goes well and it doubles (at least) in volume. (I have been discarding all but 50 grams, and then I feed it with 175 grams of 80 degree water and 135 grams of Giusto unbleached Old Mill bread fllour). So, this is the third time I have tried the above recipe . . . and I take a 1/4 cup of the starter (50 grams),

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Albert January 18, 2010 at 10:05 am

Why proof with the seam side down? This exposes the seam in the final loaf. Can it be that the seam takes the place of slashing befoe baking?

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Breadtopia January 13, 2010 at 6:27 am

Hi Susan,

The mere thought of pumpkin roles sure is appetizing.

Thanks for all the good info.

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Karen Adams January 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Just wanted to add my thanks for the great video; very helpful. Can’t wait to try it!

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VASusan January 7, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Eric,
Thanks for the video and for this recipe. It’s one of our very favorite breads now! I didn’t have a basket or any wheat bran so I had to improvise using what I had on hand. I thought I’d post this in case someone else wants to try it.

I’d made some pumpkin rolls for Thanksgiving and that gave me the idea to use waxed paper and flour to rise the dough on. The Pumpkin rolls are baked on waxed paper lined shallow pan. The paper is first greased and floured. When done you pick it up by the edges of the waxed paper and flip it over onto a sugar coated towel. The waxed paper holds it all together and then it is peeled off.

I made my no knead bread into two smaller boules because my Dutch oven is small and I baked mine one at a time. I prepared two bowls, smaller than the size of my Dutch oven. I sprayed the waxed paper with Pam and coated the wax paper with whole wheat flour then lined two bowls with the coated waxed paper. I put the dough in them seam side down and after they had risen, lifted the dough out of the bowl by the edges of the waxed paper. I had to place it on the counter so I could slide my hand under the wax paper right under the dough. Then I held the dough and paper over the hot Dutch oven and flipped it, letting the ball of dough fall gently into it, then peeled the waxed paper off the dough and discarded it. I jostled the dough in the Dutch oven to center it in the pan. It worked great.

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Breadtopia January 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Hi April,

I mix everything together at the very beginning. If you wait until after the long rise I think you’d be working (and degassing) the dough more than you’d want.

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April January 5, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Your website is the best! Forgive me if you have this information listed somewhere else on the site, but I wanted to know: when is the best time to add in mix-ins (nuts, raisins, dried fruit, etc.) if you are working with the no-knead sourdough recipe? I am assuming that it would be after the overnight rise, and before the final proof, but I may be wrong. Thanks!

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Margie January 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Thank you Vicki-
I think your point about the over proofing might really help me- I’m in Arizona so we have 70 degree weather today. I’m s5till in my Idaho mind set of the 18 hour time.
thanks again-
Margie

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vicki mccullough January 3, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Margie, I also love Eric’s recipe. I found that once I got my starter right, which came with time. Those wonderful holes also came. I use 3 1/2 cups of KA flour and 1/4 cup starter to 1 1/2 cup water 1 1/2 tsp salt. I proof it for 12 hours the first proof and 1 1/2 hours the second. 18 hours was to long. I live down south and it over proofs at 18 hours. Once I got my starter right everything just fell into place. You can see a picture of my bread on sept 9th above. I feed my starter the night before I bake and if it doesn’t double I feed it again till it does. I have had large holes wonderful chewy crumb, and crispy crust.Hope these tips help. v/

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Margie Craig January 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Hello Eric- I LOOOOOOOOOve your recipes & web site. I was wondering what I could do to the NK sourdough to get a more open holey crumb not as holey as a ciabatta but with more variety. If I add more water I find it doesn’t shape or rise as well- it’s more of a flatter blob. I would be so happy if you could give me some advice of tips! If I let it set for 18 hours then shaped ity & put it in the fridge for a day then proofed for 2 hours would that help?
thanks so much-
Margie

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Niklas December 28, 2009 at 7:41 am

Bill,

I only use white flour in my sourdough. Not sure what style I’m using cause I don’t know the difference between a “San Fransisco” starter and a levain style starter.

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H. Banat December 27, 2009 at 11:44 pm

I like all your recipes, they are marvelous!!! Good job and many thanks

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Bill December 27, 2009 at 10:46 am

Niklas,

A longer proof will certainly intensify the sour flavor, but I think the single most important factor in the flavor of your sourdough is the starter you use. If you’re using a “San Francisco” style starter, then you’ll get a very intense sour flavor. A levain style (French) starter will yield a much milder flavor which sounds more like what you’re seeking. There are many different styles of starters out there; you can even make your own. Also, none white flours (ww, rye) will intensify the sour flavor, especially if their contained within the starter itself.

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Breadtopia December 27, 2009 at 6:57 am

Hi Niklas,

Shorten the long proofing period from 18 hours to more like 12 hours and the short rise to no more that 1 to 1 1/4 hours. The bread should still turn out well but much less sour. The sour taste gets more intense the longer it proofs.

It may also help to feed your starter well the day before baking. The fresher your starter, the less sour taste it will impart.

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Niklas December 27, 2009 at 6:52 am

I baked my first loaf today(sourdough no-knead bread) and it turned out pretty good. I got nice hight on it but the taste was too sour. What can I do to make it less sour?

[img]IMG_1287.JPG[/img]

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Fred December 22, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Carol,
I had similar problems with my sourdough starter, yet when I used instant yeast I got a good rise. I finally started feeding my starter more frequently, and when it began to double in 12-18 hours I got good rise with it. (I put a piece of masking tape on the jar to note where it starts.) I also cut my proofing time down to an hour and make my dough a little goopy. I believe that keeping it on the wet side helps the yeast to travel.

It only costs about 5 cents to add 1/4 cup of flour to the starter, so it doesn’t pay to skimp.

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Carol December 22, 2009 at 12:32 am

Every single sourdough recipe I try, I end up with dense heavy inedible bread that smells great. What am I doing wrong?

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Andrew December 14, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Dear Eric,
I have been experimenting with cultured buttermilk . If you want more wholemeal flour in your bread, just increase the ratio of buttermilk to water. Proofing time is only 12 hours or less. Bread rose very high in the oven considering I used 2 cups wholemeal to 1 cup bread flour, the texture is very moist and the crust comes out much crispier.

[img]DSC02505.JPG[/img]

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Jacob D. December 10, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Just wanted to say thanks and give an update. I purchased a live sourdough starter and everything has come around!

My first loaf was so flat I threw half of it out (and I NEVER throw away bread). I think I used too much starter – giving it a very quick rise, but no time for bacteria development.
My second loaf tasted pretty good inside, but I burnt it terribly! My oven temp must be way off (can’t think of anything else?) because I followed your instructions and it was way too much. When I cut the crust off and ate what I could, I definitely had a good sour flavor.
Third times a charm! I used your recipe, but included the tip about stashing the dough in the fridge a few days before pulling out for the 18 hour proof. I baked it in a regular, loaf shaped, stone. WOW! I’m not even sure I’ve ever bought sourdough bread this good. Just perfect.

Thanks again. I continue to learn and modify. Maybe someday I’ll be confident enough to pass on the knowledge …

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Gord December 9, 2009 at 11:49 am

Sherry – the baguettes were a big hit. I did as you suggested – let them rise the second proofing in a parchment lined baquette pan, then baked them at 450 F with a pan of water in the oven.

They turned out super! Take a peek

Thanks a bunch.

Gord

Gord

[img]_GGP4008.jpg[/img]

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David B December 8, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Thanks ladies and gentlemen for the comments…My thinking was too back off on the temp, though I was going to try 400°, but I’ll try 450° first and see…I might try the pizza stone idea as well, since the lid handle is kind of tall so it prevents me from putting to high in the oven…

I’ll share my next experience…

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Bill December 8, 2009 at 11:05 am

Uh oh! More than one Bill registered here. Go figure. I thought it was a unique name!

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Bill December 8, 2009 at 8:05 am

I agree about the 450. Also, if your oven has it, use the convection feature – it will definitely solve the problem.
Diane’s pizza stone will also work. And it just now occurs to me that you don’t hear much about this problem with conventional bread because you will typically have a pan of water under you loaf if you’re not doing covered NKB. That may work if you don’t have a pizza stone.

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Diane December 8, 2009 at 6:03 am

I also had burnt bottoms to my bread. I wound up putting a pizza stone on the bottom rack, the second rack right above that. No more burnt loaves. I have a small oven and the bottom coil was too close to the bottom of my La Cloche.

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DG Allen December 7, 2009 at 11:18 pm

David B
I have to concur with Gord about you’re burned bottom :-).

I’m a relative newbie and my loaves were always to brown/burned until I lowered the temp to 450 degrees. Now, it’s just right. I had good luck with a dutch oven, but I don’t like the big round shape so I bought two rectangular cloche bakers with matching oblong proofing baskets. I’ve got my own factory going now.

The funny thing is, people try the bread and say it’s great and always aks “did you use a machine.” I just look at them blankly and say “no.” It seems odd that if something is good, it must have come from a machine.

DG Allen

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Gord December 7, 2009 at 8:31 pm

David – I had a slightly similar problem at the very beginning in that my loaves were a little more cooked (not burned though) than I wanted them to be.

I have since lowered the thermometer to 450 F and every loaf has come out just spectacularly. I suspect my/most oven thermometer isn’t precise enough at 500 F to be accurate to 50 degrees. Lowering the temperature though solved my problem.

I also have baked everything in a heavy cast iron Dutch over in the middle of the oven. You might try cooking lower in the oven (heat rises) as I suspect the very hottest spot will be at the top.

Have fun!

Gord

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David B December 7, 2009 at 8:06 pm

First off, thanks for a great site…I was referred by my CEO, who shared his starter with me…Coming from SF, CA and now living in TN, my wanting “sourdough” bread is overwhelming…

All went well with this recipe until the baking…I didn’t use a La Cloche, but a porcelain cast iron dutch oven (not le creuset, but the same type of vessel)…the oven racks were set to the highest position that would allow the lid handle not to interfere with the broiler unit in the oven…the bottom was burnt, while the top was an even brown color, and the middle was still a bit raw…when I removed the blackened bottom, (the texture and the crumb were superb) and placed back into the turned off oven to finish cooking…I allowed about 15 more minutes…

The flavor and texture is great (though could stand to be a bit more “sour” for my taste) and the burnt taste I assumed would permeate the dough has not happened…

My questions are these…could the quality of the cookware be at fault (I have cooked in these pots before and never had an issue)…or could it be that the oven is off, temperature wise (I’ve not really had any issues before) or do I just need to adjust the baking times?…if the latter, is it better to err on the side of the top on, or the top off?…I am thinking if I bake it at 500° for say, as a start, 20 minutes, then perhaps remove the lid for the last 15 minutes, that might work in this situation…

Any thoughts would be appreciated….

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Wil December 3, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Gord, 30 mins with lid on and 5 mins off. I had never made rolls before and was not sure how long to let them go. My 500 pre-heated oven was reduced to 450 during baking. I stuck a thermometer in the middle roll at 5 min w/lid off and it was 197 so I took them out. They cooled for about 1 hour before dinner and the crumb was great, still warm, soft but not overly moist.

DG, Thanks, I have been trying my slashing skills with every loaf. Some times I get it, most times I don’t. They have to be the right depth and from what I am experiencing, done at the right time.

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DGAllen December 3, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Nice Job Wil. Those both look great.

It looks like you did the cut along the top. I’m going to give that a try. I’ve been trying to make slashes, but they don’t seem to close up before the oven rise happens.

Rolls are great! I’m gonig to have to try those as well.

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Gord December 3, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Thanks Wil.

I am going to try that.

When you put them in the clay baker did you put the lid on or bake them withut a lid?

Cheers

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Wil December 3, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Hi Gord,

All I did was fold, shaped into a ball and then pulled off equal amounts and rolled them around in my hands. They were about the size of a large walnut. Then I arranged them on parchment. I only let them proof for about 40 mins since I keep my dough in the refrigerator until I am ready to bake. I then just lifted the parchment w/rolls and set them in my clay baker. I just brushed them with water just before I put them in the oven so the sesame seeds would stick. It all worked. I think if I added some milk or oil they may have stayed softer the next day. The crust was perfect. I actually made two batches and they both turned out well. Wil

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Gord December 3, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Wil – that is really neat.

How did you shape, proof and bake the dinner rolls. Simply roll them up into balls and lay them side by side in the dutch oven?

Cheers.

Gord

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Wil December 3, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Thanksgiving SD dinner rolls and Cranberry Pecan bread. The rolls were great for dinner but were a little dry the next day. The Cranberry Pecan was a hit as usual.

Wil

[img]SDdinnerolls.jpg[/img][img]CranPecan.jpg[/img]

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Bill November 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Looks like you have perfected the time and temperature problem, DGAllen! They look great.

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DG Allen November 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Here are my Thanksgiving loaves. They were great! I did a 24 hour retarded proof, about 14 hours regular proff and baked covered for 28 minutes and uncovered for about 7 both at 450. The center was just over 200 deg. Great crust and just enough sour flavor to make it interesting. Thanks everyone for your helpful posts.
Happy Baking and Eating,
DG Allen

[img]CIMG0199.JPG[/img]

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