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.

{ 1416 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori March 23, 2014 at 3:24 pm

I love the flavor of this bread! Still new to baking bread, and I was wondering if there’s a way to get the crust a bit softer? I have extensive dental work, and I’d hate to break a tooth on hard bread (as much as I love it.) Not eating the crust isn’t an option with me, it’s my favorite part.

Is there something I can add to my dough, or alternative baking times/temperatures? I have a LaCloche oblong clay baker.

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Ina March 21, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Hi, is it possible to leave out some of the sweetener? Sometimes I think the bread is a little too sweet for me.
Thanks.

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Greg March 21, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Hi Ina,

To which recipe are you referring? The one shown above has no sweetener.

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Ina March 21, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Oh sorry, meant to say spelt sourdough recipe!
Thanks.

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Greg March 21, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Hello Eric, All,

I’ve seen that rice flour is the recommended treatment for proofing basket cloths. What about rice flour makes it so effective?

If it’s because of it having little or no gluten, and/or high starch content, I wonder if powdered corn starch would be effective as well?

Thanks!

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Greg March 21, 2014 at 9:32 am

Hello Eric, All,

What is gained by keeping the starter thick (doesn’t pour out of the container and must be scooped) VS thin and runny (could be poured from its container, or dispensed from a squirt bottle)?

I’m thinking if I use a runny starter I only need to adapt the dough recipe to accommodate. Eg. Perhaps slightly less water is needed in the dough recipe when the starter is thinner?

Thanks!

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Breadtopia March 21, 2014 at 9:45 am

It’s not unusual to keep a more liquidy starter. Some recipes call for a “liquid levain”. The advantage of a stiffer starter, especially for a beginner or someone who’s not baking often is that a stiffer starter will trap the air bubbles and rise better so provides an easy visual of its health and readiness. In a thin starter, the bubbles will rise right through it so there isn’t much to go by visually to distinguish between a lively starter and one that needs help.

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Victoria March 20, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Hi Eric. I have been meaning to write for a couple of weeks to thank you SO much for your incredibly helpful videos and posts. I made my first sourdough starter (after one failed), based on your pineapple juice recipe. And I felt like a new mother! I now have several going—white, spelt, and wheat—and am baking your sourdough no-knead bread as often as I can. One question: The loaves aren’t very large, so they don’t last long in my houseful of boys. Can you suggest how I could increase the size of the loaf by, say, 50%? Is that possible using a sourdough starter? Thanks again. I am fully hooked!

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margaret March 25, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Make 2 loaves ! I cut them in quarters and freeze them. I take one quarter out at a time.

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Rachel March 11, 2014 at 7:37 pm

This was my first time baking bread outside of a loaf pan (and my second ever sourdough recipe – I just followed your directions to catch my own yeast for the starter with pineapple juice last week!).

It turned out amazing. I didn’t know it was possible to make bread like this at home! My brand new Dutch oven (cast iron, enameled) said it was only oven safe up to 450, so that’s as high as I dared to put it in, and I didn’t preheat it for half an hour. Just left the pot in there to warm up as the oven did, so it was probably a little cooler than it should have been. Then I lowered the temperature to 425 for the last 15 minutes. I also used 12 oz. of bread flour and only 4 of whole wheat, because I ran out of the whole wheat. Otherwise, I followed these directions exactly – no extra steps or tweaking measurements. The crust is perfect – not too dry and not too hard, just the right amount of crunch. The crumb is a little sticky, probably because of the lower cooking temperature (though maybe also because I only waited an hour to cut it open), but oh-so-delicious. I lightly toasted a slice to eat with my soup just now and it was incredible. Then my friend came over and had it lightly toasted, with butter and honey on, and apparently we’re now going to have a bread co-op, where my friends buy me flour and I give them bread.

This makes me very happy.

It reminds me of the bread I get in Greece. Next time, I’ll try leaving it at 450 for the whole baking time and see how that goes.

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Shan March 4, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Hello

Are there any alternatives to the equipment? I have a convection oven only and can I use loaf pans to bake them?
How can I use those instead actually?
Please help! I really want to try this!

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Sherry March 5, 2014 at 12:51 am

Hi Shan,
I don’t have experience with a convection oven, but I have baked no-knead sourdough bread in loaf pans & been quite happy with the result. If you have some way to enclose or cover the loaf pan (while leaving enough room for the bread to rise), great. If not, that’s ok. A pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven can substitute for the humid environment created by baking in an enclosed container. But you can get fine bread without this, too. There are always alternatives; when you don’t have the recommended thing, experiment!

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Shan March 5, 2014 at 9:47 pm

The bread rises while baking? Why do people use a dutch oven actually?

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alma March 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm

When using dutch oven, it accumulates heat on itself and the lid helps develop a crunchy crust. If you remove the lid, similar result can be achived by putting a cup of hot water in the oven.

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Greg March 5, 2014 at 5:02 am

Hi Shan,

Yes, do experiment and let us know how it goes. I don’t have Le Cloche, so I use large & med. oven proof mixing bowls (large on top is easier to remove). Place a lid to a small round casserole in the medium bowl to support the dough. I have a rye only starter that I’ve been feeding with India pale ale. I’m trying parchment paper as the proofing bowl liner, and simply lift the dough by the paper edges to transfer to my redneck Le Cloche. The p. paper doesn’t last long, unfortunately. You get maybe two or three uses at best. I use a little less water and a little less starter in my doughs, and let them ferment for 24 hours instead of 18. I bake a loaf every day and take it into work to share.

Enjoy!

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Eva March 3, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Has anyone tried using white whole wheat instead of bread flour in this recipie?

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Greg March 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Thank you so much for all the info you provide. I’ve always wanted to do sourdough bread, and this recipe plus your demo video is awesome!

I’ve been working on adapting the recipe to an approximately 24 hour fermentation period, and I simply bake a loaf of sourdough every day before I go to work, then share it at work.

I’m still tuning, and as the photo shows, need to remember to score the dough before I bake it.

Cheers!

Greg

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Greg March 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Update: Best one I’ve done so far.

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Jenny February 25, 2014 at 11:42 am

This was my first time using my new dutch oven to make bread and it turned out great. I had to add about a cup more flour but I live in a humid climate. Also I only had to let it rise over night about 10 hours, and formed it in the morning. My only problem was that my oven must run hot because when I took the lid off at the end, my loaf was on the verge of burning. So now I know to reduce the heat a little. I also made a second loaf exactly the same but baked it on a pan (I have a second oven) and it turned out great- the crust was just not crispy and it didn’t burn at all.

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Lucy February 19, 2014 at 2:55 am

Hi all,
This is my second attempt at the no knead method. Still I find it unsatisfactory. My crumb is dense and moist. I’ve used my own starter (pineapple) from just a week ago. Is my starter too young and shall I try to bake again in a week? I don’t want to be discouraged and am hoping for a fluffy loaf next time.
Any advice is welcome. Thanks!

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Eva February 15, 2014 at 7:09 pm

my no-knead whole wheat sourdough comes out great. Light with good holes, great taste and a nice browned crust. However, after the bread has cooled- the crust becomes soft. How do I keep the crust from getting soft while it is cooling down????

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Ina February 14, 2014 at 10:01 pm

4th loaf the rest were bricks, looks ok but still kind of wet doughy! When I buy a spelt artisan loaf it’s more fluffy! And drier any thoughts on how to attempt this?

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Evan February 14, 2014 at 2:08 pm

first attempt was successful. Tried to include a link to photograph but evidently HTML doesn’t work on this site. trying again

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Evan February 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm

First attempt at no knead sourdough with stiff starter

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Evan February 12, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Think I’ve solved my problem- according to Rose B a ‘scant’ cup of starter weighs 240 grams- therefore 1/4 cup would be 60 grams of which 30 grams would be flour and 30 grams would be water. To get 30 grams of flour 45 grams of ‘stiff’ starter would have to be used which would contribute the required flour but only 15 grams of water. To compensate I think I would have to add an additional 15 grams of water to the recipe making the water total 369 gr (1 .1/2 cups of water=354gr). Will give this a try and report back

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Evan February 12, 2014 at 4:41 pm

currently using a ‘stiff’ starter as per Rose Beranbaum’s Bread Bible. It is a 2/1 ratio by weight of flour to water. What would be the weight of stiff starter equivalent to the 1/4 cup of liquid starter in the no knead recipes ? I guess I can do the conversion if I know how much a cup of liquid starter weighs. Time for some research

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Larry Landon February 11, 2014 at 6:18 pm

I just want to say!
I use the sourdough starter with all my bread I make.
I use it in my sheepherder bread, and my bread machine.

I usually put in about a half cup along with my normal recipes.
It makes the breads, and my waffles rise so much it is hard to believe.

Thanks for being here and having such a easy way to make the starter, and have it work so great.

It is now in my fridge, and I take it out and feed, and use it as I need it.

Larry Landon

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Gail February 11, 2014 at 9:54 am

First time baking the “no knead” sourdough version and it came out beautiful. My kitchen here in Maine is so cold my husband bought me a Proofing Box which has been a great asset to my bread making. Thank you for the video it was so helpful. Homemade bread is such a joy.

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Coty February 9, 2014 at 1:57 pm

So I have been making this bread now for 6+ months. Every time it has come out perfect or next to perfect. This morning after the first rise and went to spread it out and it was a very wet glooey mess. Cooking it now, but any ideas why it is so different?

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Devon February 7, 2014 at 10:47 am

After rereading my recent post about how to avoid burning a sour dough boule, I realized the ease that I have found in baking bread only came with acquiring the right tools. I didn’t feel I was being completely honest.

Here is my list of things I have purchased to reach this place of bread baking nirvana:

Home Oven Baking Stone 15 X 20 for my oven (Breadatopia)
Proofing Basket (Breadatopia) or when making many loaves I proof in my Circulon 8” fry pan (nice design)
Bread Lame (Breadatopia) I love it for cutting cool designs into the boule
Baguette Pan (internet) My pan does four baguettes at a time.
Silcone Douge Scraper
Parchment Paper. I use this on my baking stone and to wrap loaves to give away. I use bakers string or ribbon.
4 Pyrex 4 quart bowls with lids. I love these. Everything is uniform and fits in the cupboard. I like using the plastic lid instead of running through rolls of plastic wrap.
Pizza Peel for larger French breads on the baking stone.
Long Oven Gloves (I burned my arms so many times when I first started baking)
Basting Brush
Danish Dough Whisk (Breadatopia) These are so worth their price. I give them to friends who are first starting out in the world of making no knead breads.
Plastic 1 quart measuring cup (local restaurant supply store)
6 cup dough and storage bucket. I buy bread flour in 25 pound bags. These buckets stack.
Lodge 6 quart Dutch Oven (Wallmart) Resists heat up to 500 degrees. I bought this because I was a little cautious about the money I was spending. If I were to start over, I might do more research and spend more money on a higher quality Dutch Oven. After 18 months, it looks like a war horse. The pretty blue enamel is dark and the creamy enamel inside is now permanently burned brown.

So, now, with the right tools, you see why making a loaf of sour dough bread is so easy.

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Stuart February 7, 2014 at 11:49 pm

I’m impressed, perhaps a little envious, of your baking arsenal! Frankly, these items might help, but all that is really needed is a mixing bowl, oven, and patience to experiment, determination to go forward having made a mistake, and confidence in one’s abilities to suceed.

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Devon February 6, 2014 at 10:20 am

For those of you who are struggling with no knead bread, don’t give up. I have run through 200 pounds of bread flour. I give 2/3 s of my sour dough creations away to my neighbors and co-workers. I have made great friends with this habit. They think I spend hours cooking bread. I won’t tell them how easy this is. I do put the dough together in the afternoon or evening. I leave it on the counter, covered, overnight under 10 watt lights. The next morning I score the bread, give it an egg wash and bake it while I am getting dressed. Easy breezy. Something about receiving warm bread in the morning rocks their boats.

Here is my no fail solution to burning boules. Put a non-stick cake pan in the bottom of your Dutch oven. Sprinkle corn meal in the pan for extra protection. I lowered the heat to 450 (for my oven ) for 30 minutes and then I uncovered the Dutch oven for the last 10 minutes. The sour dough bread comes out beautifully every time.

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Rich Price February 2, 2014 at 8:40 am

One of the main reasons I got into no knead and little knead baking is because it is quick and easy. It’s getting too complicated with the sourdough starter. I’m reading here about people going through like 100 steps to make it work. There has to be some simpler way to do it. In the meantime, I will keep trying, but I already made 2 bricks, so what I’ll do is make one sourdough and one yeast bread so if the sourdough flops, at least I’ll get 1 good bread.

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Regina February 2, 2014 at 9:02 am

I had a couple of disappointments (and I may again) but I now seem to have gotten the hang of it with no extra steps. The 2 things I’ve learned are to add a little water or flour to get a consistency that seems “right” and that the initial rise time should be determined by eye (when it looks fully risen). A little heat from above during both rises can help as well. I use my under cabinet lights.

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Regina February 2, 2014 at 9:04 am

Sorry. For some reason the iPad sometimes loads pics upside down.

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Sherry February 8, 2014 at 1:17 am

It really doesn’t have to be complicated. Don’t give up! Once you have a good lively starter, you can store it for months, pull it out & feed 2-3 times over a day or two, & then make up your dough. The most common goof when starting out is letting dough proof (rise) for too long, then it loses all its oomph & bakes into a brick. So try a shorter proof. There are folks who really like experimenting, measuring, documenting, etc., & they’re more likely to post here & discuss their detailed findings. Those of us who take the easy route have less to say. If you want easy, don’t be put off by the more detail-oriented bakers. It’s just what they enjoy, but you don’t have to do 100 steps to have success.

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Carolyn F February 8, 2014 at 8:19 am

I totally agree with Sherry! If I had to go thru all the steps put forth by some, I’d never be baking. For me, No Knead translates to No Fuss. I too have learned that having a strong active starter and not letting the dough rise too long are the keys to success. So before mixing your dough be sure your starter is at the point of being able to double in 4 hours when set in a warm spot. (I set mine in the microwave with the door ajar to keep the light on). In the beginning I used an oversized (8 cup) measuring cup so I’d know when the dough had actually doubled. It’s far better to under rise than over rise. These 2 things have made a really big difference in the success of my bread.

A couple of other things I’ve adopted.
1) I now use 1.5 quart bowls for the long rise. When the dough fills the bowl (or ALMOST fills the bowl) I know it’s doubled.
2) I don’t have a lovely cloche and I hated trying to get the dough into a scorching hot dutch oven. So now I do the final rise in light weight foil pans and simply set them into the cooking vessel. I spray and dust them with bran or flour just like Eric does the proofing baskets, but my dough stays put, doesn’t get deflated, and I don’t get burned. Unlike parchment paper, I use these foil pans many, many times.

3) I’ve created my own “Frugal Cloche” by using a terra cotta tray and clay pot from the hardware store. Although these are unglazed, and the dough never touches either the tray or pot, I use a lead testing kit to check. I like the ones marked “Made in Italy”. Of course the hole in the pot needs to be filled. At first I used a plug of alum. foil. Now I use a bolt, 2 washers and 2 nuts that create a handle.

Please don’t give up! I was never successful at baking bread until I came across No Knead Bread and Breadtopia!

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lise January 23, 2014 at 8:14 am

i am new to sour-dough and have had good results w. my first few loaves using the no-knead method. my one disappointment is that the ‘sour-dough tang’ is almost non-existent in my loaves. taste is good, crumb is nice but missing that tanginess characteristic of sourdough. anybody have any useful tips?? thanks!

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David January 23, 2014 at 9:38 am

The acetic level is where the sour taste comes from, but hard to analysis unless you have a lab or instruments. Sourdough cultures contain Lactobacilli (lactic acid bacteria) that produce both lactic and acetic acids. The acetic is produced at a lower rate than lactic. To increase the acetic use a lower level of hydration, more dough like than a batter and retard it in the fridge so that it has more time to increase the acetic level. If doubling your starter, say from 100 grams, then use 50 grams of flour and 50g’s of water, perhaps a touch less water each time until you get the level you wish. Also, depending on what brand of flour you are using, that might make a difference. Switch to a better flour, King Arthur, for example, and try that also.

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David January 23, 2014 at 9:42 am

Forgot to say. Also, let it stay on the counter top for 1-2 hours to start growth, then into the fridge. If making no knead, which I don’t do anymore as I’ve opted for poolish or biga’s, then put the no knead in the fridge overnight before letting it rise on the counter top………………and then let it rise to double or so…..

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lise January 23, 2014 at 12:08 pm

thanks for the input…i will try some of your suggestions. i use romertopf clay bakeware for bread and it works really well. i may try to omit the pre-heating of the covered vessel first and see how that works.

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DeKay January 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm

What I have started doing is keeping my starter in the fridge for five days and then taking it out for two on a weekly cycle. The lower temperature the starter spends most of its life in favors the yeasts that give the sourdough its tang. I just take it out at least a day before I use it to give it enough time to perk up again. Haven’t tried this bread yet but it worked great for the Sourdough Rye on this site, and for Tartine too.

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lise January 26, 2014 at 5:15 pm

thanks! i will try leaving it in the fridge and just taking it out when i’m ready to bake. i appreciate the tip!

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Carolyn F February 8, 2014 at 8:31 am

Hi Lise,
I really love the zing of the sourdough I got used to in the commercial breads at the grocery store. What I’ve since found out is that most of them rely heavily on additives for a much of their flavor. I still like it, but I don’t expect my SD bread to taste the same. That said, my experience in trying to get my SD as sour as possible has led me to the same method the others have suggested. As soon as I mix my dough it goes directly into the fridge for at least 12 hours, but 24 – 48 hours is even better. There’s no change in my procedure. Late in the evening, just before bed time, I set the bowl on my kitchen counter and it’s ready to go in the morning. (In winter the house gets down to 60. Summer is more like 68-70)

Best of luck with your quest to find sour! :-)

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ronald panzica January 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm

When I pre heat my cast iron dutch oven like you do my bread burns really bad on the bottom like really bad and yes I lower the temp. after I put it in ?also checking temp.500 at first then down to like 425 still burns my daughter does not pre heat her newer glazed dutch oven and hers comes out not burnt is it the old cast iron ?

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David January 23, 2014 at 9:50 am

Don’t heat your DO either and see how it goes. I went back to a pizza stone, rarely use a do anymore………..cash iron is a great conductor of heat, so if very hot, it will stay hot longer……..

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Tiffany February 5, 2014 at 8:16 pm

When I was making loads of regular (not Sourdough) bread I had the same problem and came up with a solution to prevent the bottom of the bread dough baked in the preheated Dutch Oven from burning to black. I made a several layer circle of heavy duty aluminum foil, kinda like a “trivet” that I placed inside the pot just before I baked the bread. I formed the round by turning over the Dutch Oven and shaping at least a couple layers to the outside of the DO. I then right sided the pot and began shaping the foil into a round with my hands and folding excess to bottom so I’d have a smooth top surface. Checking to make sure the round would fit the entire inside bottom surface of the DO and then took another piece of heavy duty foil and covered the “round” again. This is much like making a multilayered “trivet” for the dough to rest/cook on so it is not directly on the bottom of the very hot pot. Have several sizes of these aluminum foil “trivets” for all my different sizes of Dutch Ovens and saved them all from my No Knead (non-Sourdough) bread baking days. Now that I’m gluten free and have discovered that I can actually eat homemade Sourdough bread with no stomach issues at all, I’ve been so happy I found this no knead Sourdough recipe. I’ve made 4 loaves of Sourdough but in the traditional way and the kneading times are extensive and exhausting so I’m looking forward to less work with a great outcome. Try the aluminum foil “trivet” technique as it has always worked for me in all my Dutch Ovens and never ever a burnt bottom crust. If you find that after three layers of aluminum foil on your “trivet” that the bread still gets burnt then add more layers until you achieve the result you are looking for. Good luck!

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ronald panzica January 19, 2014 at 11:44 am

You talk about your favorite bread that uses 2 cups of starter but you show us only using 1/4 cup of starter ? which I just did waiting for second rising I hope that I did use enough starter or did I . And where is you favorite bread recipe that uses 2 cups of starter ! Are we having fun yet !!!! not yet but I am trying

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Karl January 2, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Made my 1st loaf yesterday, according to your video, Rich, and using your sourdough starter. Have had it for six months now. The sourdough taste of the loaf was outstanding. I have the superstone La Cloche for baking. Used all white flour and the times of 16 hours and 2 hours. The crust was a little hard. Should I cut baking time or temperature? Used your video numbers. I am at 5000 Ft altitude.

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Karl February 1, 2014 at 4:45 pm

What to about a hard crust on my sourdough bread.
Followed your suggestion of placing the baked loaf in a plastic bag. It softened the crust so that it was very edible.

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Sarah January 2, 2014 at 9:16 am

After several years I finally have an active, healthy sourdough starter. I’ve been baking my bread in a Dutch oven (per Lahey) but this Christmas I received a cuisinart combi oven and it has really changed my game. My loaves come out much, much nicer but I’m having to tweak the temps and times. Have you gotten any feedback from anyone else using a combi steam oven? I’d appreciate hearing from anyone who uses this oven to proof and bake bread.

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Rich Price December 24, 2013 at 7:07 am

Hi Eric,
I’m so excited! I’ve got my sourdough starter successfully started and I have my first sourdough loaf mixed and proofing. This is the 4th attempt at sourdough starter, every time I tried before, it got contaminated.
Here’s an unrelated question I think might be of interest. I’ve tried several times to make 100% sprouted bread like the Ezekiel Bread that is sold at health food stores. Sprouted grain bread is the ultimate for health and the Ezekiel Bread tastes great, kind of nice and crunchy, both plain and cinnamon raison. I’ve tried sprouting the grains, grinding them up into a dough, but I always end up either with a brick or a pile of mush that is unmanageable. Do you have any ideas or interest in this? Wish you happy holidays, happy baking and thank you so much for all the great videos and information!

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Breadtopia December 31, 2013 at 6:30 am

Hi Rich,

Use of sprouted grains is great but sprouting before milling does change the nature of the flour considerably. There are some recipes in Peter Reinhart’s whole grain baking book and in the new Tartine 3 book that talk about and use sprouted grains and it’s always just some relatively small percentage of the total flour. And in more cases, the sprouted berries are added whole or coarsely ground then added to the flour for flavor, texture and nutrition.

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Carmen December 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm

I LOVE your website! I have only baked 6 loaves in my whole life, but they match and even exceed most of the bread I ate while living in France and Italy – blows the bread here in Hawaii out of the water. Today I experimented by adding freshly sprouted wheat berries (25% of the recipe dry weight blended up with some of the water weight into a slurry in the blender, then added to the remaining flour and water before mixing and rising) and the result was amazingly good! Next time I will experiment by increasing the ratio to 50% sprouted wheat berries. You simply couldn’t tell the difference with my previous loaves. I assume this works with the no-knead recipe because it’s a rather wet recipe. I’ll post back with my results.

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Carmen January 2, 2014 at 10:04 pm

I just wanted to follow up with the results of my experimentation with sprouted wheat berries. I sprouted them and blended them up in the blender and used this as the liquid for the bread. The results were wonderful and chewy with both 100 and 200 grams worth. More than that and things just freak out. I did maybe 5 “stretch and folds” and they turned out great. I did one with rye, and it didn’t get enough lift, probably not enough gluten. This probably works best with white. I will continue adding sprouted grain in this way.

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Aubre November 29, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Received the starter Tuesday, and made a lovely loaf for Thanksgiving, and I hope that the photo loads. Everyone enjoyed the bread.

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Breadtopia November 30, 2013 at 6:23 am

Very nice!

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Matt November 23, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Hi, I am in the process of making a whole wheat loaf, it has been a year or so since my last. I made a starter about a week ago, looked great to start, seemed to slow down, then fed again before this loaf, looked ok. Did not get a great rise in first proof, I am just now going to place in Dutch oven and will see what happens.
What is the temp for the finished loaf?

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Mike Scott November 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Matt, I aim for 200F-205F internal temperature in a finished loaf…best wishes with your next loaf!

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David November 30, 2013 at 9:50 am

King Arthur site says for sourdough starter to hit 190, yeast bread 200-205.

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Sheila November 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm

OK, I’m getting demoralized. I’ve been baking no-knead with yeast for a couple of years….very simple, love it. Now I’m trying to get into sourdough, and I’ve made my pineapple juice starter. It was bubbly and sour…all good….but I can’t get a decent loaf of bread!!?? Why? It’s driving me nuts. My loafs come out flat, and burned on the bottom and gummy in the middle. Maybe the wild yeast in my house is no good? I have two stinky kids and a dirty dog so I assume my house is full of all kinds of great organisms but maybe not?

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Mike Scott November 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Sheila, I can empathize with your predicament…I started baking Breadtopia’s no-knead sourdough bread this past February and it wasn’t until July (after many, many failed loaves) that I finally was getting a decent loaf…here’s a summary of the key things I have learned (and am still learning) from all of the great folks here, that has contributed significantly to my current success:
1) I make dough only once my starter has ‘peaked’…I take a portion of my stored starter from the fridge and feed it three times, each time ensuring that it doubles in size before the next feeding…this takes about 5 hours for each of the three feeding cycles…during these feeding cycles, the starter sits in a temperature controlled (via a 40 watt lightbulb) kitchen cupboard of 80F degrees…my starter is whole wheat flour and water, at 100% hydration.
2) When making my 100% whole wheat dough, I add vital wheat gluten…this has made a huge difference in the dough achieving a decent structure…let me know if you would like my complete dough recipe for whole wheat no-knead bread.
3) I immediately retard the freshly made dough into the fridge for 12 hours.
4) It then comes out of the fridge and goes into the 80F cupboard for 6-7 hours…I know it’s peaked when it has doubled in size from when I first took it out of the fridge.
5) Then, it goes through three 10 minute cycles of ‘fold and rest’, using Breadtopia’s fold and rest instructions for no-knead bread…during the ‘rest’ portion of these cycles, the dough is back in the 80F cupboard.
6) Then, a final 30 minute proofing in a towel covered proofing basket, inside the 80F cupboard.
7) Then a 40 minute bake in a 450-475F oven, inside my La Cloche clay baker.
As a result, I now consistently get a loaf with great oven spring, a lovely open crumb, a golden brown thin crust and a nice, tangy sourdough flavour…my wife, Lorna and I feel like we are now finally in bread heaven…and our experimenting continues…very best wishes with yours!

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Sheila November 15, 2013 at 2:05 am

Mike, it sounds exhausting but I’m sure once you get into the rhythm of it it’s simple…right? I am going to implement your strategies on my next try and see what happens. I think I can replicate the hot cupboard effect by putting the dough in the gas oven with the pilot light on. Do you agree? I would be honored to have your recipe. Thank you for workshopping this with me!!

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David November 15, 2013 at 9:31 am

I used a 1/8 cup in the sourdough no knead bread. Left it for nearly days in the fridge, and then on the countertop until double, about another 6-7 hours and then back in the fridge overnight as I did not want to cook it then, back out on the counter to warm up and made the bread. No problems, thugh a tad wetter than I wanted, but came out fine.
As for the sour dough starter I have two. One in the fridge, feed weekly, and i leave on on the counter top which I feed 1-2 times a day, and usually don’t discard anthing and do about a 65-75% hydro, I just guess at it. There might two a cup to two cups in the jar, and I rarely ever put more than 1/2 cup of extra flour in. When it gets too full I either bake something or discard, which is rare, as I make pretzels, bread, buns and rolls, so usually in need of something. I just don’t fret over this starter, if it doubles, it doubles, if it doesn’t, don’t care. Just feed it something at leasat once a day. Heck, mine, according to all the data out there is unfed and under cared for. It’s alive, which is all I really care for and with each passing week, seems to be a bit better…sometimes I set the starter outside or in the garage to get some different air.

But the one thing I have learned is that there is not set rules or sourdough starter, but to let it set at least 24 hours in the fridge for a slow rise, 48 is even better…..heck, I even let my last pretzels go 24 in the fridge. See pic.

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David November 15, 2013 at 9:34 am

I should reread my posts. I left it in the fridge for 2 days after making. I used the no knead recipe here on breadtopia, just like the video. I also use a cast iron dutch oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes, and then remove the top for last 15 plus minutes, I start eyeballing there to get the darkest crust I can.

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Mike Scott November 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Sheila, yes, I agree, it becomes very simple once you find your rhythm with it…the 7 key insights I shared in my previous comment, were arrived at one at a time, very gradually over six months of much trial, error and experimenting with several of the helpful tips from our fellow bread bakers in this no-knead bread comment section…also, I talked to a very knowledgeable bread baker at the King Arthur Mills ‘bread bakers 1-800 free hotline’ to learn several of the key adjustments that I had to make throughout my journey to this point…hopefully, what I have learned can help shorten your learning curve.
Here is the current iteration of my whole wheat dough recipe:
Combine in a glass bowl:
1) 8 grams salt
2) 38 grams vital wheat gluten
3) 297 grams water – now whisk this all together before adding:
4) 200 grams of ‘peak’ sourdough starter – whisk this all together before adding:
5) 350 grams of whole wheat flour and whisk this all together to ensure all the flour is completely hydrated.
6) cover with a plastic bag or saran wrap and immediately place in the fridge to begin retarding for 12 hours.
Then follow the rest of the process I described in my previous comment to you from yesterday.
When the bread has finished baking, I use a thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the baked loaf is between 200F-205F…for my oven, that means a baking time of 40 minutes at 450F-475F.
Here is how the timing works for me:
1) 7am – 1st starter feeding
2) roughly 12 noon – 2nd starter feeding
3) roughly 4pm-5pm – 3rd starter feeding
4) roughly 8pm-10pm – starter has ‘peaked’, so I make my dough and into the fridge for the 12 hour retarding.
5) next morning, dough moves from fridge to 80F cupboard for 6-7 hours, till dough has doubled.
6) by mid to late afternoon, I begin the ‘fold and rest’ cycles, the final proofing and then baking.
7) by dinnertime, my baked loaf is cooling on a rack on the kitchen counter.
Best wishes again!

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Sheila November 17, 2013 at 2:28 am

I got a loaf! It’s not like a regular loaf of yeast bread but it’s not a hockey puck. I think feeding the starter several times and putting the dough in the fridge over night did it. There’s a strange thing happening with the crust though….it has large cracks and fissures in it…as though it pulled apart while baking….do you know what this means?
Thank you Mike for all the help!

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David November 17, 2013 at 9:48 am

Sheila,

One of the causes of the crust separating from the bread is a lack of degassing before the final proof. I notice that breadtopia only folds his over but I’ve had better luck doing just a bit of minor kneading to prevent the crust separation. Not exactly sure what you are describing, crust separating form bread or crust just cracking open like an earthquake, but make a couple of cuts in the dough just prior to baking so that gas can escape.

I would also suggest reading a book such as Peter Reinhart’s “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” or any other modern bread book.

Mike Scott November 17, 2013 at 11:48 am

Sheila, great to hear that you got a loaf!…I’m not certain what the large cracks and fissures in the crust mean…here’s two things that I do (that I haven’t mentioned previously), that ensure my loaf comes out of the oven with a good structure…this may help mitigate the issue you are having:
1) Like David mentioned in his reply, I do more than than just the simple ‘fold and rest’ steps that the Breadtopia instructions give (sorry, I forgot to mention this earlier)…I fold many times and with some vigour, probably 12-15 times at each of the three ‘fold and rest’ cycles…it’s not quite kneading, but pretty close to that…I have found that this makes a big difference to the final structure of the loaf when it comes out of the oven.
2) during each ‘fold and rest’ cycle, when I finish folding, I re-shape the dough into a boule and with my hands cupped around the boule, I apply a downward pressure on the sides of the boule towards the base of the boule, rotating the boule as I do this…this compacts the boule…then into the cupboard for it’s next ‘rest’ period…I have found that this too has made a big difference to the final structure of the loaf when it comes out of the oven…I also do this ‘reshaping’ of the boule just before it goes into the proofing basket for the final proofing.
Even better loaves await you!

charles November 17, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Sheila, I started thinking about your problem with the loaf splitting and I wonder if after final proofing when you put the loaf in the pot to bake maybe you had the seam up instead of on the bottom and if split open?

Sheila November 17, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Ok, like a real punch down before the final proof?
I will check out the book. I always have gotten by by getting the gist of something and running with it but I can see there are technical things going on….

Mike Scott November 17, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Sheila, yes, like a real punch down before the final proof…yes, there are real technical things going on…better bread through chemistry!

David November 18, 2013 at 9:40 am

Not sure that I would “punch” it, but more a gentle rub down when folding, perhaps even a second fold……….I don’t punch mine like recipes……….

Mike Scott November 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Sheila, putting the dough in the gas oven with the pilot light on, sounds like a good possibility…I’ve heard of others doing the same thing…great if you can put a thermometer in the oven to ensure you are achieving the right temperature…78F-82F is ideal from what I have learned from others thus far.

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Lori January 18, 2014 at 3:24 pm

I would LOVE your whole wheat no knead bread recipe! I make no knead white bread and regular sprouted wheat bread and would so enjoy learning how you do it! Thank you!

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Mike Scott January 18, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Lori, if you are asking about for my whole wheat no knead bread recipe, please see my posts above for November 14, 15 and 17. My recipe is explained fully in those three posts. Best wishes with your whole wheat bread baking!

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Sherry November 15, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Hi Sheila,
I don’t use a light box nor any particular set-up, just a bowl on the kitchen counter with a “shower hat” over it. Flat loaves are often due to letting the dough rise too long. (see “No Knead Revisited,” in the pink box above). Whatever timing you were using with yeast might not work with sourdough. Try shortening both proofs. It will vary each time you make bread, depending on the vigor of your starter, and the temperature of your kitchen. You can’t use a set number of hours, just keep an eye on the volume. The first proof should be doubled, or maybe not-quite-doubled in volume. The second proof may not show much visible rise at all; I find about an hour is usually long enough.

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Sheila November 17, 2013 at 2:34 am

This is always how I made my no knead yeast bread….I just slapped everything in a bowl, threw in whatever I wanted….hemp seeds, a grated carrot, etc….let it rise however long was convenient….and it was always good. I’m sure I’ll get to that point with this bread…and I’m totally going to get myself a shower hat!

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charles November 17, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Hi everyone, I agree with all the comments here. There is not set formula for how you treat your starter or how much you use. I just revived several starters I had in sealed canning jars in the Fridge for several years. I also started some new grape starters this year. Like David I don’t get overly obsessed with ” I have to feed it once a week in the fridge or twice a day on the counter”. Most of the time it seems to me I over Proof or I don’t have the proper temp. in the room when proofing. I like this time of year when its cool to make bread because its easier to make a warm environment as opposed to trying to bake in the Summer and control how warm it is. Sheila, with instant dry yeast its easier to know the proofing time as with starter you can do it not long enough or too long. I like the refrigerator method David uses and its means a little planning as it is over several days. Check out the website Northwest Sourdough. Just don’t let the talk about bakers percentages confuse you on the web site. My wife is a trained baker and she works with several other bakers who have never heard about working with bread recipes in percentages.

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David November 9, 2013 at 9:27 am

Though not aimed at this cook, I have been trying to determine the correct amount of sour dough starter to use per cup of flour. I know that there is usually a set amount of yeast to use, but what amount of starter to use? Any set standard that you know of?

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Breadtopia November 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I would vote that there is no standard. The range of what can work is quite wide.

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Russell McKinney November 3, 2013 at 12:25 am

No knead recipe was spot on. Crust was awesome!

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Suzanne October 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Hi there,

I am a long-time follower but a first-time commenter. Thank you so much for this website – I am currently nursing a healthy starter thanks to you! I’ve also made the Cook’s Illustrated Almost No-Knead and loved the results.

One issue that I keep having (with this Sourdough No-Knead, and the CI Almost-No Knead) is that my loaves come out burned on the top and the bottom. It almost seems like the cooking oil that I spray onto the parchment (to keep dough from sticking) and then plop into my Dutch oven pools and burns. Any bits that stick out on their own on the top also get burned. This happens consistently and is technically not a huge issue (I usually just grate off the burnt bits), but irritating enough that I wanted to ask about it. Is it just my oven that runs too hot? If so, should I do 20 min at 500 and 20 at 450? Should I not use oil? Should I not use parchment paper? Although I am clearly still getting the hang of shaping my loaf (see picture for bagel-shaped burn on bottom), I don’t think this is to blame as I’ve still had burning on the bottom of loaves that were flat on the bottom.

Thank you again for your help and hard work.

Suzanne

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Suzanne October 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Here is a picture of the top – thanks again!

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Suzanne October 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Here is a picture of the side. Thanks!

Suzanne

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ChilcotinBuddha October 28, 2013 at 9:14 am

I sprinkle cornmeal on the botton of the old crock pot I use for baking my bread in.
Never had it burn top or bottom.

Here is the link to the recipe I use as well as a vid of my
http://artistta.blogspot.ca/2011/11/easiest-sourdough-bread-recipe-i-know.html

Sour Dough Rye
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY_kKGi8NEs&index=2&list=PLp0j8HUI6vSJEY7LRuNNRVV09Ab3s1Y-l

Happy Baking!
Chilcotin Buddha

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Stuart October 29, 2013 at 2:16 am

Two things:
Bake at 450F if you baked at 500f. If you already baked at 450F, and the bread was still burnt, then your oven is “hot”i.e. it bakes much hotter than is indicated. Reduce the baking temp. to 425F.
Also, place an empty tray under the dutch oven; this will (hopefully) reduce the over baked bottom of the bread. I am assuming that the bagel shape on the bread’s bottom is an imprint from the oven’s heating element.
As for the top of the bread: Place folded parchment paper over the bread. Do not oil.
Best of luck…

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Angela Li October 20, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Thanks for breadtopia. I made my first oven baked sourdough bread ever. (made some bread by using bread machine before *_*).
I received my sourdough starter on Friday ( Oct 18). It is very healthy. I started my dough Saturday night after feeding the starter three times. I followed the breadtopia no kneading sourdough bread recipe word for word. Yes, the dough was very wet. I was worried it would come out flat, but it turned out great. We loved the taste and texture. My husband was so impressed. LOL..

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Angela Li October 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Probably I need to work on improving its looks to match its taste. :)

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Breadtopia October 21, 2013 at 3:42 am

Looks great to me. Nice going!

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charles McClintick October 5, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I am attempting my first loaf today. After reading people’s comments here I was concerned about having my dough become too wet after doing the first rise so I only went 16hrs. Also I seem to remember reading somewhere, either here or another site about adding some gluten flour so I did about 2 Tbs. I also cut back on the water by about 1/8 C So far the dough did rise on the first proof maybe not as much as it should and on spreading it out on the floured board I felt a few lumps of flour in the dough and it didn’t seem as sticky as in the video. I had the dough in a covered bowl and the temp overnight was about 67Deg. Today on the second proof I have it covered and in a plastic tent I use for a starter greenhouse and the temp is about 86 deg. today. I may go longer that the 2 hr proof (hoping the starter breaks down the flour more. Any suggestions from any one out there? Maybe I am over thinking this my first time doing the KNB. Any suggestions on the idea of using gluten and how much? I know it helps when doing low gluten bread like Rye.

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Fred October 18, 2013 at 7:02 am

Charles, I use 2 tbs. of gluten in my bread (300 gms white flour, 150 gms rye). I put in about 250 gms water and when I incorporate the water, flour and salt I want the dough to be dry enough so that it doesn’t stick to my hands. If is too sticky I add some flour to make it dryer. I let it ferment (first rise) 10-12 hours and then proof it for 1 1/2 half hours. I find that the rise during the fermenting and proofing is not as important as the oven spring. The ratio of water to flour varies from time to time, depending on the particular flour, humidity, room temperature and who knows what else. I find that my hands know better than my mind when the dough is right. It also depends on how wet my starter is and how much starter I use.

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Mike Scott October 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Charles, I too add vital wheat gluten to my NKB and it makes a big difference…I use 100% whole wheat in my NKB recipe, so I find that the extra gluten really helps the dough develop a good structure…another important adjustment I made a few months ago, was to put my starter (when feeding it before making dough) and then the proofing dough into a cupboard I fitted out with a small light bulb, to keep the temperature at between 78F-82F…wow, what a difference this has made…my dough rises wonderfully and I get much better oven spring and a lovely crumb when I bake it in my LaCloche clay baker…let me know if you would like my full recipe…best wishes!

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Mario September 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm

I just finished my starter yesterday and placed it into the frig. How long before the starter needs to be fed and can I use my starter straight out of the frig or should it be at room temp.

Thanks

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Breadtopia October 2, 2013 at 9:32 am

Hi Mario,

Typically, at least weekly feeding is sufficient. You can use it straight out of the fridge or at room temp. Either is fine. The info on this page may provide some more help: http://www.breadtopia.com/sourdough-starter-management/

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Mark September 22, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Used the breadtopia starter I’ve had for around a year now, and your ratios for the sourdough no-knead. Baked at 450F like on the NYTimes recipe, in a dutch oven. Turned out mind-blowing, best loaf I’ve ever produced, thanks!

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Regina September 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Success! Quarter cup less water and 14 hours fermentation rather than 18 hours. Perfect loaf of rosemary sourdough bread!

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Breadtopia September 19, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Great!

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Regina September 29, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Wow. This seems to be a very sensitive process. This time, following the exact same process, I’ve got zero oven spring.

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Bobbi September 15, 2013 at 2:12 pm

This is my first attempt at the No Knead Sourdough method. I live in the deep South. I started my sponge with what I thought was strong starter. I noticed that the sponge rose fine but then it looked like it was just sitting there after about 14 hours, concerned that it could overproof, I formed my loaf and let it rise in the basket. It did rise, doubled for sure but not much oven spring during baking, and the result is a very heavy loaf, and the taste could be better. I’m going to try again, but was wondering if anyone who lives in the deep South has any tips to share?

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Bobbi September 16, 2013 at 4:22 am

Second attempt, here is the sponge after 9 hours. It looks better than the first one at this stage.

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Bobbi September 17, 2013 at 3:58 am

I let the dough above rise nearly 17 hours and it was rather wet when I put it in the proofing basket. It never did rise in the basket, or not much to speak of. I threw the dough out and have continued to feed the starter, and I will try again this evening to mix up another bowl which can sit overnight. The starter is reacting well to feeding. I may try a bit more flour when I mix up my sponge tonight and I’m not going to let it rise the 18 hours tomorrow. Maybe 12 to 14 here in southern Alabama is enough. I will see.

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Breadtopia September 17, 2013 at 5:50 am

I think those adjustments are exactly what’s called for. With a healthy starter in a warm climate, the long rise can easily be in the 8-10 hour range and the second rise just a bit over an hour.

Adding some more flour will likely help too.

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Regina September 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Using the live starter, everything was going really well according to the directions in the video. I just uncovered the La Clouch and see that the bread did not rise well. Probably only about halfway. Don’t know what went wrong.

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Regina September 15, 2013 at 11:28 am

Made a second loaf today. Followed the instructions to the tee. Excellent initial fermentation rise. But dough is so sticky, it’s impossible to handle. And this time I noticed that the dough did not rise during proofing. I even waited 3 hours. Info on the web has many different opinions. What am I doing wrong? Too long fermentation?

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Regina September 15, 2013 at 11:29 am

Oh and same and first loaf, no oven spring.

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Rose Marie September 6, 2013 at 8:02 pm

What size round banneton did you use in the video for the no k rad sour dough recipe? I think mine was too large, 10 inches, and the bread rose but spread too much I think. Thank you

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Breadtopia September 13, 2013 at 9:34 am

Hi Rose,

Mine about 8 1/2 inches inside diameter at the rim.

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Regina September 4, 2013 at 12:13 pm

My starter was very active within an hour after feeding so I moved forward to step one (initial rise) of baking. It’s been 18 hours but there are only a couple of bubbles and it has not risen. Should I wait longer? It looks the same as when I mixed the ingredients. And it smells fine.

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Anita September 4, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Be sure that your starter has increased in volume by double (or more) a couple of times – after a couple of feedings- before you decide to use it in a recipe. Otherwise, it won’t be strong enough to make the dough rise well. I made this mistake and tried to remedy it by adding some honey and a warmer environment. It did finally rise, but the loaf wasn’t very high. The bread will turn out so much better when the starter is super strong to begin with.

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Diane August 26, 2013 at 9:48 am

This is my first and second efforts. The first had a great flavor, but was a bit dense. This second effort looks like it had a great rise. I have yet to cute into it. It’s just out of the oven. Thanks for all the helpful tips everybody!!

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Diane August 26, 2013 at 9:49 am

Second

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Marian Hale August 21, 2013 at 9:34 am

Stuart,

Thank you for your tips and very quick response, which I shall put into use this week.

Marian H.

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Marian Hale August 21, 2013 at 8:00 am

Stuart,
Can I pick your brains as well, my oven runs very hot about 15 degrees above normal. I make allowances for this but sometimes I still end up with a burnt top.
I always but things to be baked on a lower shelf but then I have to try and work out how much longer I have to bake things for.
Would you put things on the middle shelf and put a tray on the top shelf?
Also do you mean regardless of recipe cooking time, you bake the bread in a clay baker for 1 1/4 hours @ 190c ?
Thanks.
Marian H.

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Stuart August 21, 2013 at 8:26 am

In my oven, I place an empty tray above the bread as it bakes from the start of the bake up. That usually ensures that the top of the bread will not be over baked (i.e. burnt). But again, all ovens have their own character. Experiment.
Concerning length of baking time: It can vary rather dramatically. When I bake a Challa, 45 mins. at 180C is enough. In my oven, sour dough bread shaped into a loaf baked in a clay baker take 1 and 1/4 hours at 190C. If I form the dough into a boule (ball) and bake it w/o the clay baker, it takes one hour at 180C. Don’t feel intimidated by all this; all-in-all the baking part is easy! Experiment, and don’t get discouraged. Good luck…

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Sherry August 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Hi Diane, I often bake my no-knead sourdough bread in loaf pans, and yes, you can put it directly into the pan for the final proofing (I always line with parchment). It’s hard to say about the temperature; that varies a lot depending on your oven, & whether the pan is metal, ceramic or glass, but I don’t think the shape matters much. I’ll let others comment on the “ready” part, I’m still working on that myself. (I need to spring for a thermometer)
You have lots of fun & good eating ahead!
Sherry

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Diane August 20, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Thank you Sherry. I also need a thermometer I suppose.

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Diane August 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I am new to baking bread. I am trying my hand at sourdough for the first time. I have decided to use regular loaf pans before I invest too much money into a dutch over or ceramic. My questions are:

1) Can I put the dough directly into the loaf pan for the final (2nd) proofing after letting it rest for the 15 minutes??

2) If anyone else bakes in loaf pans, can you tell me if you have found a need to adjust temperature or baking time?

3) How is a good way to tell if your bread is ready? I have seen a couple references to internal temperature but it was mostly people suggesting that their never got high enough I believe.

Thanks in advance for any advice. I am trying to see that my first effort isn’t completely without reward. I am hoping for something edible this first go round.

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Stuart August 21, 2013 at 6:33 am

One factor most people new to the art of bread (or even cake) baking sometimes do not realize is that each oven has it’s own character. Some bake “hot”, others “cold” i.e. 200 degrees C might be 210 in another oven, or 190 in a third. Sometimes it is indeed 200!
If your oven bakes “hot” you obviously have to bake it at a lower setting. Plus, you may have to place an empty tray above the bread as it is baking to prevent it from burtning on the top. If your oven bakes “cold” then bake it on a higher setting, and also place the bread on a lower rack within the oven.
I generally bake all my breads (and I make several types) at @190 C. I place them in the oven at 225C to ensure “oven spring”. I then immediately lower the temperature to 190C. For sour dough breads (even this depends on the shape) I bake them for 1 and 1/4 hours using a clay baker; for a loaf, you might have to bake it 10 or 15 mins. less.
Experiment, and never be afraid of mistakes. It is how we learn.
Good luck.
Stuart

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Diane August 21, 2013 at 6:48 am

Thanks Stuart. My first attempt yesterday was a little dense but tasty. I had some problems getting my sticky dough where I needed it and I think I over handled it. However, the bread had a great flavor. I appreciate the tip about the oven rack on top. I did encounter a little bit of overcooking on the tops. I hope to post a picture later when I have a bit of time.

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