No-Knead Bread

To make 1 smallish loaf

Necessary equipment:

  • Dutch oven or other cast-iron container with tight-fitting lid
  • Kitchen scale [7]
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Plastic wrap/tin foil
  • Parchment paper
  • Whisk
  • Large spoon
  • Non-stick spatula


  • 1 oz Sourdough starter
  • 11.5 oz Lukewarm water
  • 16 oz Bread flour [1]
  • 0.35 oz Table salt
  • Nuts and seeds to suit (typically: sesame seeds, whole wheat kernels, oats, poppy seeds, coarse salt, etc.)


  1. Mix starter and water together in mixing bowl with whisk
  2. Add flour and salt
  3. Stir with spoon until thoroughly mixed -- mixture will be wetter than typical bread dough [2]
  4. Cover and let rest until risen to 2x original size (typically 24-72 hours) [3]
  5. Pull and fold dough completely in bowl with spatula [4]
  6. Put dough on parchment paper
  7. Coat dough liberally with nuts and seeds [5]
  8. Cut slit across dough (not required)
  9. Cover dough with inverted bowl
  10. Let dough rise to 2x its original size (typically 1-4 hours) [3]
  11. Preheat oven to 500°F with cast iron container inside
  12. Once dough is risen and oven is up to temperature, place dough inside cast iron container and replace lid
  13. Immediately lower oven temperature to 440° F
  14. Bake for 20-30 minutes [6]
  15. Remove lid
  16. Bake for additional 10-20 minutes until golden brown [6]
  17. Remove bread from container and let cool for 1 hour
  18. Share and enjoy!


[1] For a more-sour dough, make the bread with an 80% bread flour, 20% dark rye flour mix. Use a starter made/fed with the same mixture.

[2] Don't go beyond "thoroughly mixed" for the dough -- the goal is not to knead it here, just to make sure all the ingredients are mixed together.

[3] Really let the bread rise to twice its volume each time. It takes a while. The longer it rests, the more sour it will tend to be. Rising time depends on temperature, so rising in the fridge may make sense if you want more sour flavor.

[4] Pulling and folding completely means that you should go around the perimeter of the bowl 2-3 times, pulling the dough across the diameter of the circle with each stroke. Again, the goal is to move the dough a little bit, but not to knead it. This should take 30-60 seconds.

[5] The nut and seed mixture is up to you. Anything from none at all to a contiguous coat of poppy seeds to a cacophony of different seeds on top may be pleasing. Adding coarse salt adds a nice zing.

[6] The proportion of lid-on to lid-off time while baking determines the crust thickness. The more lid-off time, the thicker the crust. I started with 20:20 minutes, and have lately moved to 30:10 for a thinner crust.

[7] Measurements are in weight rather than volume (cups and tablespoons) because weight automatically accounts for relative moisture of ingredients, and assures repeatability.

Copyright © 2017. Created by Ian Johnston. Questions? Please mail me at reaper at obairlann dot net.