No Knead Sourdough Bread In a Dutch Oven (Cast Iron Pot)
- 100 g starter 100% Hydration
- 375 g Bread flour
- 75 g Wholemeal flour
- 300 ml Water
- 10 g Salt
- Cast iron pot
- baking paper
- Combine all dry ingredients and gently stir with a whisk. Using a whisk means there is no need to sift the flours.
- Add the starter to the water and thoroughly mix together.
- Pour the liquid into the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Combine all ingredients properly. At this stage the dough will look quite sticky and shaggy, this is exactly what you want.
- Cover your mixing bowl with cling film and leave the dough to rise for 12-18 hours. The bowl should be out of direct sunlight as you don’t want the dough to rise too quickly. The slower the rise, the more time the flavour has to develop. You will know when the dough is ready after it appears that the dough has stopped rising. For me, this was 12 hours, but it was a warm day and our kitchen is the warmest room in our house.
- Generously flour your countertop, and flour the dough in the bowl. This should prevent the dough from sticking to the side of the bowl as you scrape it out on to the counter.
- The dough will be quite loose at this point and you will be able to see it slowly spread across the counter.
- Add some more flour to the top of the dough then gently spread it out with your fingertips to flatten it out, and pop any large pockets of air. You might need to apply even more flour to the top if the dough is sticking to your fingers.
- Once you have a rough square shape, grab the far left corners of the dough, then give the dough a little stretch and fold from left to right so two-thirds of the dough is folded.
- Grab the two far-right corners and give the dough another stretch and fold so the remaining third is laying on top of the first folds.
- Then grab the bottom two corners, give a little stretch towards you, then fold into a third away from you.
- Grab the last two corners at the top, give a little stretch away from you and fold the dough towards you.
- With the aid of a board scraper, turn the dough over and apply some flour to the top of the dough.
- Cup both hands under the dough and rotate your hands. I do it anti-clockwise, but feel free to do it clockwise if it feels better. The point here is to build some tension into the dough so it holds its shape. Do this a few times until you have a round boule shape.
- Flour the boule, cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 -30 minutes.
- Generously flour a round banneton to prevent the dough from sticking during the second rise.
- Repeat the cupping motion to apply more tension to the surface of the dough. Apply more flour when needed to prevent sticking. With each turn you will see the surface of the dough pull tighter, the aim of this is to make the surface tension tight enough to hold the shape of the bread when cooking, and not make it so tight that the surface of the bread rips, so please don’t over tighten.
- Flour the top of the bread, and place upside down into the floured banneton.
- Cover so it doesn’t dry out (a shower cap works greats for this) and leave in the fridge overnight to rise again.
- Place a cast iron pot (with a lid) in an oven and preheat to 250 C for 30 minutes.
- While the oven is preheating take the dough out of the fridge to remove the chill.
- After 30 minutes turn the dough onto a piece of baking paper. This makes it much easier to place the dough into the cast iron pot.
- Score the top of the dough to allow the bread to expand in a controlled manner.
- Carefully place the dough on the baking paper into the cast iron pot, cover with the lid and place it into the oven. Bask the bread for 20 minutes at 200 C. Be very careful when taking the pot out of the oven and don’t forget to use gloves when putting the lid back on as it's very hot.
- After 20 minutes remove the lid and bake for a further 25 minutes.
- To check that the bread is thoroughly cooked, the loaf should have a hollow sound when you tap the bottom. It should also have an internal temperature of 93 C if you have an instant-read thermometer handy.
About the recipe
I really enjoy baking sourdough bread. People are often put off by the time they think it takes to make. While it is true that time is one of the most important ingredients, the actual “hands-on time” is relatively short. And there is something satisfying about baking a loaf at a fraction of the price where it would otherwise cost me £4 to buy from the shops. Plus, we should all be eating more fermented foods to improve our gut health.
There are two ways to make sourdough bread, the first is more labour intensive. This involves stretching and folding the dough every 30 minutes during the first rise. I have made bread this way many times before, and it makes a nice loaf, but I know not everyone has time to stretch and fold the dough every 30 minutes for two hours. However, the method described here in this post is the famous no-knead method which is better suited to fit around peoples schedules as you simply mix the ingredients and let time do the rest.
Don’t be discouraged by the fact that this is the “easier” method as you will still get a very tasty loaf.
While the ingredients in sourdough are very simple, you will need a starter before you can make the bread. I will soon write a post on creating your own starter from scratch so you can learn how to perform this vital step. This can take a couple of weeks before it’s ready to bake with, but once you have it, you won’t need to follow this step again as long as you don’t let it starve. In my opinion, its easier to maintain a sourdough starter than it is to look after houseplants as I have a starter that’s over 3 years old. Unfortunately, none of our houseplants has survived this long.
Anyway, once you have your starter, follow the recipe below and let me know how you get on.
I've just got my bead mixed for an overnight proof, I'm excited to see how the recipe turns out. I'm making double amounts because I like to keep one in the freezer if I don't feel like baking. I'll let you know how it turns out!
Thanks for sharing the recipe
Amy Hawksworth says
Just wanted to let you know that the recipe turned out to be delicious, I've got two huge loaves of very sour sourdough, it has the strongest flavour yet! Thanks for the recipe I'll be using it again 🙂
Thank you for the kind comments. I have made the same recipe many times and always get slightly different results based so numerous factors. I.e. Temperature of the water, the ambient temperature of the kitchen, how long I leave to the bread to prove in the fridge.
Hi Chris, I'd love to try this recipe. I have the starter which you kindly gave me. I forgot what I need to do with it so I can use it?
Do you have a section here please? Thank you. Jitka x
Hi Jitka, I need to make a post for this, but here are the instructions you can follow to wake up your starter.
Pour off any liquid that is sitting on the top of the starter. With a spoon scrape off and remove the top layer from the starter. Underneath you will see that the starter is a much lighter colour than the old starter that was sitting on the top. With a clean spoon get at least 15g of the brighter starter and place into a clean jar. You can do it with less, but it's easier to get an equal measure of water when you have at least 15g of starter. However much you rescue, find out how much it weighs as you will need the same amount of water and flour. So if you have 15g of starter, you will then mix it with 15g of water and 15g of flour. You can use plain flour, but I like to use a 50/50 mix of plain flour and rye flour. If you decide to do this you can mix 100G of plain and 100g of rye flour and store it in a jar and use it whenever you need it, rather than mixing it each time you need it. Once you have mixed your starter, water and flour (in equal proportions), place a lid on the jar(do not tighten as we want gas to escape from the jar) and store it in the cupboard. 24 hours later (or thereabouts), remove some of the starter (find out the weight of what's remaining), and mix equal amounts of water and flour with the remaining starter. You want to repeat the process for 3-4 days and after each day you will see that the starter will raise more and more in the jar. You will know that the starter is ready to use when it passes the "float test", this is when you get a blob of starter and drop it into a cup of water. If it floats, you know that your starter is ready to make bread with it. When you decide to make bread with it, instead of getting rid of some starter before feeding it, you can just add more flour and water so you get the desired quantity that you need for the recipe. Just remember to store some of the starter before using all of it in the bread.
When you have finished with the starter, give it a good feed (equal measures of starter, water and flour), then you can store it in the fridge until you need it again. I have stored mine in the fridge for about 3-4 months and it always comes back to life after a few days of feeding.
I will make a proper post (with pictures) soon, but let me know if you have any other questions in the meantime.
Thank you so much, that's all clear. I'll start on it tomorrow.
Amy Hawksworth says
Hiya! Not to come across as weird or anything but I just wanted to say I'm still using this recipe a d it's still the best and most simple 🙂
Thanks for your comment. I made this recipe after a lot of trial and error before I could make consistently good and simple sourdough. I'm really pleased that this recipe is working for you.