Ingredients

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 3 cups flour (1 cup can be rye or other whole grain flour)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups water (this may vary based on the weight of your flour and the wetness of your starter)

Introduction

This recipe is a sourdough adaptation, given to me by my professor, of a New York Times article for no-knead bread. The idea with this bread is that, instead of kneading, you just let it ferment for a long time. This straightens out the gluten and allows the yeast to do its work.

The following text is copied from the recipe given to me. I did not write it, I only changed the order of some paragraphs and added a few additional notes.

Making The Dough

Firstly, make sure that your sourdough starter is bubbly and active. You’ll need a cup of it for this recipe. A good rhythm is to take your sourdough starter out of the fridge in the morning and start feeding it, stir in a half cup of flour and some water a couple of times in the day and let it get nice and bubbly.

Mix up your dough in the evening. I like to mix the water and starter first, which allows the starter to dissolve a bit, and then add the flour and salt. The dough should be wetter than typical bread dough, but it should still be able to hold its shape without slumping too much. The amount of flour that you need to use to achieve this consistency may vary based on the type of flour.

I highly recommend adding one cup of water, mixing the dough, and then slowly adding the remaining 1/2 cup to achieve the desired consistency. The amount of water you actually need can vary considerably based on the type of flour you use, and the wetness of your starter.

This is about how your dough should look after mixing up. It will be wet but not watery!

Put some saran wrap over the top of the bowl and let it rise slowly all night at room temperature (about 10-12 hours). I would err on the side of less time, especially if you’re in a warm environment, to avoid over-proofing. Bake it in the morning.

Preparing To Bake

Put the pot and lid in which you plan to bake the bread into an oven and pre-heat to 500℉, or as hot as your oven can go. The best pan to use as a cloche would be a ceramic or cast iron casserole with a lid, but metal pots are OK too, so long as they don’t have any plastic or other pieces that could melt. You want to make sure that the pot is at least 5-6 inches tall from floor to rim to make sure there is enough room for the rising loaf.

Forming The Loaf

While the pots are heating, form the loaves. Sprinkle your surface with LOTS of flour. Dump the dough in the middle and carefully fold the four corners into the center. The dough will be too sticky to knead, so handle it minimally with well-floured hands. At this point, kneading the dough will destroy all those lovely bubbles that the yeast have worked so hard to create, so you really want to be as gentle as possible. The whole ball of dough should be well dusted with flour. Flip it over, folded side down, and put it on a piece of saran wrap and let it rest for a few minutes. You can use the same piece of saran wrap that you used earlier to cover the bowl!

Baking

When the oven is thoroughly pre-heated, carefully remove the pot from oven with oven mitts and remove lid. When you are ready to flip the dough into the pot, slide your left hand under the saran wrap and invert it into your right hand. Make sure you rub some flour on your hand first. Peel the saran wrap off your left hand and dump the dough, folded side up, into the pre-heated pan. Bake 30 minutes at 500℉ with the lid on and take it off for the last 15 minutes at 450℉ so that it browns on top. If your oven does not go to 500℉, just leave it at the hottest temperature it can do for the first 30 minutes.