I call this no-knead sourdough bread recipe, “Our-dough bread” because this truly was a family affair. There are very few things in life that we continue to eat that go back as far as bread. The combination of the most simple ingredients and skill can produce such a masterpiece that can rival any store bought or bakery bought bread that you can make at home.
Of the steps necessary and of most importance is time and patience, not expertise. Time to make the sourdough starter, which is preferable to using dry baking yeast. Our sourdough starter became affectionately know as “Ziggy”. “Ziggy” was made from nothing more than water, flour and time of course.
The following bread making technique known as “no-knead” was an amazing revelation to bread making and couldn’t have been simpler. What I needed most of all was faith that this wasn’t going to be a flop. I call this a family affair because weekly feeding and care of Ziggy was a joint activity but please don’t be afraid of this task. Even when we forgot regular feeding, (only occasionally) Ziggy stayed healthy. At one point we had so much extra sourdough starter we placed an ad in the neighborhood bulletin giving it away to anyone who wanted to enjoy the art of bread making for themselves. I hope that they enjoy the starter as much as our family did.
Now, on to the no-knead bread recipe. For the following recipe we made a unbleached organic wheat bread and a bleached organic wheat bread. Both used the same sourdough starter aka “Ziggy”, just different types of flour. This is why you will see two versions in my photos.
Begin with 3 1/2 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt in a large glass mixing bowl.
Then comes the sourdough starter, aka “Ziggy”. This is a substitute to dry baking yeast.
Now comes the mixing “no-knead” part.
Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl. Stir or mix together or use a spoon if you like.
Make a rough ball of the natty looking mixture. It will not resemble dough and may look like a complete failure at this point. Don’t worry, don’t give up.
Cover this blob of sorts with plastic wrap over the bowl and then top off with a tea towel.
I’m not sure what purpose the tea towel serves other than making it a dark environment. This is where the sourdough starter does it’s thing.
Place the bowl in a cozy, preferably warm place in the kitchen, under a sunny window, near the oven for between 10 to 24 hours.
When you open the bowl it should have doubled and will totally have transformed to a spongy fluffy dough ball.
The next step is to dust a surface with flour and scoop out the dough ball.
Without rolling it flat or pressing out all of the air in the dough, you will pull one end over from right to left, then pull the left side over on itself from left to right, then front to back and back to front making another ball.
You have the option to use a bread basket or leave it on the floured surface for another 2 to 3 hours for the final rise.
You have the option to place sesame seeds, rye or or any other seed mixture you like in the bottom of the basket or on the surface before this final rise. I did not use any seeds, preferring to keep it simple.
This is in the basket prior to the final rise.
This is after the dough has risen the final 2 to 3 hours.
In my oven we use a baking stone that is placed in the lower rack, it helps keeps the temperature at optimum. I preheated the oven to 450-500 degrees and place my large Dutch oven pot with the lid on into the oven, to also preheat. There is no need to oil, or add anything to the pot. Some bakers will place the loaves directly on the baking stone to bake. I haven’t tried that yet.
After 30 minutes of preheating, remove the lid and carefully invert the bread basket into the hot pot, and quickly cover it back with the hot lid.
Bake this for 30 minutes covered, then remove the lid and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes.
This is the organic whole wheat sourdough loaf.
This was the bleached organic wheat sourdough loaf.
Place the loaves on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before cutting.
The option to using the pot would be to place the risen loaf, seam side down, directly onto the baking stone. Some bakers use a spray bottle at this point to add humidity to the oven by spraying clean water with a clean spray bottle into the oven just before closing it, or place a baking tray with a cup of water on it to provide the humidity. I cannot vouch for this but I have seen it done and it makes sense to me.
Boy was it well worth it. For some reason this bread with the natural yeast culture was much more easily digestible and also lasted quite long in our pantry.
We made tartines, toast, sandwiches and simply enjoyed as part of an anti-pasti platter. I hope you get the courage to try it!
|No-knead Sourdough bread|| |
- 3½ cups organic whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1¼ cup warm filtered water
- ¾ cups of sourdough starter (Substitute for dry baking yeast)
- ½ cup of flour for surface to work dough
- Large Dutch Oven Pot or Baking stone
- Wood Baking baskets
- Place 3½ cups of organic whole wheat flour or organic bleached wheat flour in a large glass bowl
- Add 1 tsp. of kosher salt
- Combine ¾ cup of sourdough starter with 1¼ cups of warm water in a mixing bowl until the starter has dissolved
- Pour the Sourdough Starter/Water into the flour and combine to make a rough looking dough ball, do not knead or over mix.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rest in a warm place, (sunlit counter, near an oven) for 10 to 24 hours.
- On a lightly floured surface pour the dough ball out. It should have doubled or even tripled in size. Do not roll it out, knead or flatten this dough. Instead you will stretch first the left side over the other, then the right side over the left, then the front over the back and finally the back over the front.
- Place this ball under a tea towel or preferably in a well floured bakers basket for it's final rise time of 2-3 hours. Even 4 to 5 hours more is fine. You can also add sesame or rye seeds at this point to the bakers basket or on the dough ball itself while it does this final rise.
- Place the oven racks at the bottom in order to fit a large dutch pot inside or large baking stone.
- Preheat your oven to 450-500 degrees for 30 minutes. Place the covered dutch pot inside the oven to preheat for at least 30 minutes.
- Time this last step to the last 30-45 minutes of the final rise time.
- Next, open the pot lid and take the loaf and invert the bakers basket into the pot, dropping the dough ball into the super hot pot. Use oven mitts and be careful not to burn yourself.
- Quickly cover the lid and return to bake for 30 minutes covered and then 15 minutes uncovered to complete.
- Remove the pot, and take the loaf out and let cool on a baking rack for at least 30 minutes before cutting.