Sliced sourdough bread on a white linen tablecloth
Recipes,  Sides

Homemade Sourdough Bread The Easy Way

I’ve always been afraid of making bread. The whole rising and proofing process never works out for me, and I end up with tiny, dense sad biscuits/dinner rolls/cinnamon rolls.

Enter sourdough bread.

During the pandemic lots of people hopped onto the bread baking train, especially sourdough. I was not one of those people (busy trying to hold my life together). My first introduction to homemade sourdough was at a family gathering-my brother in law had set out two BEAUTIFUL loaves of bread with the charcuterie board. They were delicious. I left that day with a bit of starter and haven’t looked back.

Why Should I Try Making Sourdough Bread?

The no-knead recipe that I use has little hands-on time, uses minimal ingredients (most you already have, skip the one you don’t if you’d like), and turns out great EVERY SINGLE TIME. There’s no yeast (!!!) so no worrying about fickle temperature sensitivity. No kneading required, so for those with arthritis, decreased hand strength or even sensory issues with “slimey” textures, this is a great option.

My son, who is a selective eater due to the sensory input sensitivities with autism and ADHD, will eat an entire loaf of this bread by himself over the course of a week. It’s delicious, and everyone in our family loves it. When I bring it to family events, everyone is happy! I have even gifted smaller loaves to my son’s teachers for Christmas to rave reviews (I mean, how many Bath & Body Works gift cards does a teacher need, anyway?).

I love cooking, baking and being in the kitchen. The scent of baking bread fills the entire house with a cozy aroma that is just divine. Taking the cover off to see the golden loaf never fails to give me a feeling of pride and happiness.

Interested? Let’s get into it!

How to Make Sourdough Bread The Easy Way

I am going to take you through my personal process of making No-Knead Sourdough Bread. If you’re a home cook looking for an easy recipe, settle in because this is for you. If you’re a professional baker or a sourdough aficionado who believes in a “correct” way to make sourdough…just move along, there’s nothing to see here!

What Ingredients and Supplies Do I Need to Make Sourdough Bread?

I’ve listed the ingredients and supplies that you must have to make no-knead sourdough bread below. You probably have everything in your kitchen or pantry, and if you don’t, I bet you have something that will work. There are a few optional (but beneficial) items that I’ll list out for your consideration as well. Disclaimer-none of these are affiliate links, nor is this a sponsored post. These are the things that I personally use and love, and think you will like, too.

Supplies:

  • Digital kitchen scale that can measure grams and has tare functionality (if you recall high school chemistry, this allows you to zero out the current weight to add more ingredients instead of doing math in your head).
  • Two-cup measuring cup (a drinking glass will work in a pinch).
  • Small measuring cup (half cup or fourth cup, I use them for measuring flour).
  • Measuring spoons.
  • Kitchen shears (some people use a fancy lame or other cutting tool, I use what I have).
  • Mixing spoon (wooden or plastic).
  • Medium size bowl to weigh ingredients. It’s helpful if it has slimmer sides that don’t interfere with your ability to see the scale’s display.
  • Spatula (not the kind for pancake flipping, used for stirring the starter before adding it to the dough).
  • Parchment paper (non-negotiable).
  • Dutch oven with lid that is high heat and oven safe. A large bowl with a cover that’s high heat and oven-safe will work, too. I use this one, but it doesn’t seem to be available anymore. You can purchase the proofing lid on Amazon, but not the bowl. I got mine in a country market in a rural part of Ohio.
  • Wire baking rack for cooling.
  • Optional-a large silicone mat to spread out on your counter. If you don’t have one, you can use a large baking sheet sprinkled with flour or a sheet of parchment paper. This dough is really sticky, and it’s not something you want directly on your counter. I love my mat and use it for baking all the time.

Ingredients:

  • Sourdough starter (you have a starter, right? If not, stop, do not pass go, and go here. Once you have a starter, then come back here. You can also buy pre-made starter).
  • Bread flour (non-negotiable). I am not a brand snob with 95% of ingredients, but I will only use King Arthur bread flour.
  • AP flour (normal flour).
  • Table salt.
  • Warm water.
  • Optional-diastatic malt powder. Your bread will be delicious without it, but using it will give the outside a lovely golden color and get a bit more rise. It’s inexpensive and lasts forever.

How Do I Make No-Knead Sourdough Bread?

I love this No-Knead Sourdough Bread recipe from King Arthur Flour. Hop over there and read the recipe, then come back for my personal tips from making this almost weekly for a year. I recommend printing the recipe and making your own notes, or saving the search as an app shortcut or a favorite for easy access. If you use the webpage, it has a “bake mode” to prevent your screen from going dark while you’re using the recipe (love that!).

My Personal Tips:

  • Do pre-planning. You will need to plan for three and a half hours for initial mixing and folding (with easy access to fold once every hour for three hours), at least eight hours of proofing (I let mine sit in the fridge overnight), and another three and a half to four hours for additional proofing and baking. I set and label alarms on my phone to help me keep track of which step I am on and how long until the next one.
  • Your fridge needs to have a large space for the dough. Before you start, make sure that the bowl you will let your dough sit in will fit in your fridge. Move things around if it doesn’t.
  • Your starter really does need to be freshly fed. A happy, bubbly starter makes happy, lofty bread. I recommend adding whatever you need for a normal feeding plus what you need for this recipe. For me, this is 113 grams each AP flour, starter and warm water (my normal feed) PLUS 80 grams each AP flour, starter and warm water for the bread dough. Play around with the measurements to see what works for you, but stick to the 1:1:1 ratio of flour, starter and water.
  • You really have to weigh your ingredients. Don’t skip the scale. To get the best loaf of bread, accurate measurement by weight is a must.
  • Weigh ingredients, then put them in the mixing bowl. I use the same bowl for mixing, proofing and baking, and it’s a bit big and heavy for my scale. I use a lightweight stainless steel bowl for weighing flour and water, and a small bowl or measuring cup for weighing the salt.
  • Mix with a spoon, not a stand mixer. I have tried mixing this dough with my stand mixer using the paddle and dough hook as well as mixing with a wooden spoon. I recommend the spoon method; this dough is really thick and sticky and it was easier to get it to come together mixing by hand. My mixing spoons are all wooden, but the material doesn’t matter.
  • Rinse and dry the bowl while the dough rests for 15 minutes at room temperature. If you’re using the same bowl (or vessel) for baking as you did for proofing, do yourself a favor and rinse any dough residue from the inside and dry before adding parchment paper.
  • Don’t skip the parchment paper. I really hate using parchment paper because it seems wasteful to me. However, it’s the only way to go with this recipe. I’ve tried using non-stick spray and well….it was like trying to chip cement off of my bread baking bowl.
  • Use kitchen shears for scoring the dough. I have seen absolutely beautiful loaves of sourdough bread with intricate designs created using a lame. If you want to create artwork on your bread, go ahead and invest in a lame and learn! I just snip a bit of dough in four lines to create a disconnected square-it gets eaten so fast, no one has time to look at it!

How Do I Serve No-Knead Sourdough Bread?

Slicing a warm piece off of the loaf, slathering it in butter and eat it standing at the counter? Just me? OK, well if you’re going to be fancy, my favorite ways to serve it are with a hearty bowl of soup, with pot roast or any main that has moppable gravy, or as a good old sandwich. I prefer to eat it with butter to enjoy the bread itself. My son does too, but I remove the crust on his.

How Do I Store Homemade Sourdough Bread?

I wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then transfer to a gallon zip-top bag once a few slices have been cut off (it’s too big as a whole loaf). I leave mine on the counter, and it will keep for five days max. Storing it in the fridge would increase its lifespan, but I’ve never tried for fear that it will cause the texture to deteriorate.

What Variations of the No-Knead Sourdough Bread Recipe Will Work?

Gluten-free, please. You may be wondering if this can be made gluten-free. I’ve never tried, but the answer is (theoretically) yes. Follow the instructions for a gluten-free sourdough starter, then substitute gluten-free bread flour in the bread dough. Let me know how it turns out!

That’s a lot of bread…this recipe makes a large loaf of bread. I have successfully halved it for a smaller batch (remember, it’s all about ratios), and also divided a full batch into two standard loaf pans. It took a bit of creativity to figure out how to cover the loaf pans during baking (shaped aluminum foil), but it worked. I gave these to my sons teachers wrapped in plastic wrap and a pretty tea towel with a sprig of greenery tied in a ribbon.

Now Go Make Some Homemade Sourdough Bread!

Homemade sourdough bread using this no-knead method is easy, delicious and impressive. Perfect for gifting and family get togethers, people will think you worked a lot harder for this than you actually did. It’s versatile enough for every day noshing, and if you choose to eat it over the counter like I do-just don’t forget to clean up the crumbs.

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