One of my proudest food-related accomplishments from the pandemic last year was learning how to bake my own bread. I tried several different recipes and methods, from sourdough to brioche to a French loaf. After all my experiments, this “Not Quite Sourdough” No-Knead Bread is my favorite.
I always said I was never going to learn to bake bread. I love bread, so I was afraid I’d just eat every loaf I made. Which wouldn’t be the worst thing, but also wouldn’t exactly be the best thing. Well, the COVID-19 pandemic had other ideas. With more free time at home on my hands, I learned how to bake sourdough bread. While I loved the process of growing my starter and experimenting with different flours, I wanted a bread recipe that wasn’t as complex. After more experiments, I created the happy medium between a sourdough and a plain, crusty white, no-knead bread.
I call it “Not Quite” Sourdough because it’s not 100% a sourdough bread. It’s got just enough of a sourdough flavor to taste, but the sourdough starter is aided by a good helping of active dry yeast. To me, this no-knead bread is the perfect balance between a more traditional white bread and a sourdough. It’s crusty, slightly tangy, and has a strong structure, but it’s not as tangy, dense, or heavy or crusty as a traditional sourdough. It’s the best of both worlds, if you ask me.
This no-knead bread recipe is great for:
- Pimento cheese sandwiches
- Chicken salad sandwiches
- Buttered toast with homemade jam
- Thick French toast
- Avocado toast
- Big club sandwiches
- And so much more!
When you make a sourdough starter, you have a “discard” portion each time you feed it. This bread recipe is a great use for the discard. If you don’t want to make this with sourdough starter, or don’t have any starter active, you can increase the active dry yeast to 1 teaspoon. If you don’t have sourdough starter and want to make one, follow this guide from King Arthur Baking.
The best thing about this bread, obviously, is that it requires no kneading. Instead, you’ll do a bulk rise at room temperature with a series of “stretches and folds,” followed by a longer rest in the refrigerator overnight. This slower, colder rest helps develop more flavor, and makes the dough easier to handle when shaping.
How to Make “Not Quite Sourdough” No-Knead Bread
It takes some time, but the end result is worth the wait! I recommend starting this in the evening the night before you’ll want to eat it, so you can bake it fresh the following morning.
You will need:
- All-purpose flour
- Whole wheat flour
- Ripe (active) sourdough starter
- Active dry yeast
- Large mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Bench scraper
- Dutch oven
- Bread lame or sharp knife
First, make the dough. In a large bowl, dissolve the sourdough starter in the water. Then add the flours, salt, and dry active yeast, and stir until the dough comes together. It will not be smooth, but it will be a dough.
Cover the dough and let it rest. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rest for a total of three hours. Every half hour, you’ll perform a set of “turns” by lifting each “side” of the dough, stretching it up, and folding it over onto itself. The Boy Who Bakes explains this really well in this post. After those three hours, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and refrigerate the dough overnight.
The next morning, shape the dough. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Begin preheating the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, with a Dutch oven inside. Shape the dough into a boule (use this as a guide) and place the boule onto a piece of parchment paper. Dust the top with flour and use a bread lame or very sharpe knife to score the top.
Bake the bread. Once the oven is preheated, carefully remove the Dutch oven and place the dough inside. Cover with the lid and bake for 22 minutes. When that time is up, remove the lid and bake uncovered for another 20 minutes.
Let the bread cool before slicing. When the bake time is up, carefully remove the Dutch oven and turn the baked bread out onto a cooling rack. Do not slice until it is completely cool, about an hour.
There you have it—my “Not Quite Sourdough” No-Knead Bread! If you’re willing to put the time in, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious loaf of bread. If you enjoy this recipe, follow me on Instagram and Pinterest for more simply delicious Southern recipes, tips, and more. You can also join my email list for even more recipes, tips, tricks, and goodies!
"Not Quite Sourdough" No-Knead Bread
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 tbsp ripe sourdough starter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- Add water and sourdough starter to a large mixing bowl. Stir gently to dissolve the starter into the water.
- Add flours, salt, and yeast. Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until a cohesive dough ball forms.
- Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and set aside to rest for 1 hour. After that hour, perform one set of "turns." Rest for another hour, and then do another set of "turns."
- After second set of turns, cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate the dough overnight.
- The following morning, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, with your Dutch oven inside.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Shape the dough into a boule, making sure to have a taut, smooth surface.
- Place the dough boule onto parchment paper. Dust the surface with flour. Use a very sharp knife or bread lame to cut a slash down the middle.
- When the oven is heated, carefully remove the Dutch oven and very carefully lower the bread boule inside. Replace the lid onto the Dutch oven.
- Bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake uncovered for 20 more minutes.
- Carefully remove the Dutch oven and turn out baked bread. Let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.