Seriously easy maintenance-free, no-knead sourdough bread recipe
What makes this the BEST no-knead sourdough recipe?
It’s also extremely easy and the process is purposefully designed to avoid producing sourdough bread that’s flat. No special equipment or experience. No autolyse, windowpane test. Just time, your starter and some good flour.
Why is this the maintenance-free version?
Most people feed their sourdough starter daily but it’s possible to store sourdough starter that you never feed: Maintenance-free sourdough. It stores on your pantry shelf to grow only when you want to bake. The maintenance-free process is built into the recipe below.
My way of making sourdough bread is a little off-beat, but it works. I have been making sourdough bread for a third of my life, ever since a trip to France changed the way I see the humble loaf.
This recipe is designed to be as foolproof as making a loaf of sourdough bread can be. I’ve created a way to make sourdough bread that’s so easy, anyone can do it! I want you to have success making your own sourdough bread. easily, and be proud of the results.
All the recipes for sourdough bread across my website are the same. The difference between them is how often you feed your sourdough starter & how you store it. And whichever way you choose, the process is written into that recipe for you.
MAINTENANCE-FREE SOURDOUGH BREAD
48 hours to 4 days based on temperature. Tips provided
TOTAL HANDS-ON TIME
Less than 15 minutes
What your hands-on looks like!
|STEP||HANDS ON TIME||LEAVE TIME|
|Feed 1||1 minute||24 hours|
|Feed 2||1 minute||7-24 hours Varies due to temperature|
|Feed 3||1 minute||4-24 hours Varies due to temperature|
|Dough||5 minutes||5-12 hours Varies due to temperature|
|Shape||2 minutes||Refrigerate: 10-20 hours|
|Prep & Bake||2 minutes||45 – 60 minutes pre-heat oven|
45 minutes bake
THE IMPORTANT BITS!
Use bread flour only when making sourdough bread. Check the nutrient table for 12-13% protein content, don’t trust the name on the packet! No bread mixes. For a list of suppliers and more information see: All about bread flour.
Room temperature affects all sourdough – dictating how fast or slow it grows, directly influencing the timing between each step.
The warmer the environment, the faster your sourdough will grow. Conversely, the cooler it is, the slower. Cosy temperatures stimulate growth. It’s easy to hack warm temperatures without heating up your kitchen. See: How to keep sourdough starter warm. Some tips also provided below.
Timings provided are a guide to show how long it may take your sourdough starter, and bread dough, to grow directly impacted by temperature.
Example: If you
- Leave your dough to sit in an environment around 300C / 860F, you can expect it to double in roughly 5 hours.
- Leaving the same dough at 200C / 680F may take up to 10 hours to double in size.
I recommend warm temperatures, they not only cause sourdough to grow faster, but encourage a healthy, strong culture. You can create a warm spot easily at home by placing your sourdough near your internet router or inside your microwave with the door ajar, allowing the light to be on.
The downside to warm environments is that sourdough requires a little babysitting – you need to be available to continue with the process when the starter or dough doubles. The window for doing the next step in time is a lot smaller. This can be inconvenient if you need to work or leave your sourdough overnight.
💡 TIP: If the temperature of the water or environment you use for your sourdough is too hot or too cold for you to spend the day in, it will be too hot or cold for your sourdough too.
You can use temperature to hack the growth time of your sourdough to suit. Tips provided in the recipe below.
😎 Advice from a Pro
On the day you start, do Step 1 by 8am.
This will help avoid critical moments later in the process occurring overnight.
When your sourdough doubles, it’s ready for the next step.
Leaving it too long can cause it to deflate. Use our hints and tips to grow the sourdough starter and bread dough around your ability to continue the process.
The structure of your sourdough starter will reflect the structure of your finished loaf.
Once your sourdough starter is fully grown (after Step 3), what it looks like will be what your loaf looks like inside. Tips provided if things go wrong.
Puffy + airy starter = Puffy + airy sourdough bread
Flat starter = flat sourdough bread
Sourdough is a living thing, be patient with it and with yourself and you will develop a love story that lasts a lifetime!
⚡ FAST TRACK
Follow the lighting bolt to bake in as little as 48 hours!
🕔 WORK WITH YOUR 9-5
Follow the clock symbol to slow down the process to suit busy days.
To plan your bake day, check out our fuss-free timing guide
Let’s get going!
Room temperature thermometer (optional)
Medium-sized jar (or glass bowl with cling wrap)
Elastic band or whiteboard marker
Large non-metallic mixing bowl
Tupperware container (optional)
Spatula or spoon
Baking paper (parchment paper)
Oven gloves or thick tea towel
Dutch oven / casserole dish or pizza stone or fake both
Total ingredients ~ per loaf
Conversions for volume or imperial measurements are included below. Weighing ingredients will increase success.
For more info see: Why I measure in weight
*Flour, room temperature and time will make or break your loaf. Seriously! So take a moment to read the big deal about flour and sourdough bread and more importantly where to get it in Australia. It’s super easy to get the right flour! The recipe below will help you with temperature.
FEED 1 | Do this by 8am on the day you start
1. Soak 5g Maintenance-free sourdough flakes (0.17 oz) in 10g of warm water (0.34 oz) in a jar or bowl. Allow the sourdough to soak for a moment, then vigorously stir to dissolve as much as you can.
Don’t worry if the flakes don’t dissolve completely, they will dissolve by themselves during the day.
2. Add 10g bread flour (0.34 oz) and mix well to form a thick, almost dry, paste. Cover with the jar lid of the jar or cling wrap. Place somewhere cosy*.
3. Leave for 24 hours^ – so until this same time tomorrow!
This mix will be thick and you may not see it double or change during the first 24 hours. This is normal.
⚡ FAST TRACK: Leave at 30°C (86°F) for 24 hours ⚡
🕔 9-5: Leave in a cooler spot – under 21°C (70°F). Use max leave times as a guide. Check am/pm to see if it has doubled. 🕔
Set a timer on your phone if you think you might forget 🙂
*For a list of warm places around your home read: How to keep sourdough starter warm
^Feed 1 is always left for 24 hours regardless of the temperature
WATCH THIS STEP
Some recipe versions (including the video) say 5g/0.2 oz of bread flour which can be used, however, updating to the measurements in this post produces even better results!
1. Stir 20g warm water (0.7 oz) into the jar/bowl with the starter and mix vigorously, get some bubbles happening!
2. Add 20g bread flour (0.7oz). Mix well and replace the lid/cling wrap. Place an elastic band around your jar at the level of your sourdough (or mark with a whiteboard marker). This way you can see when the sourdough has doubled. Place somewhere cosy.
3. Leave 7-24 hours until starter has doubled OR you reach 24 hours.
After several hours your sourdough starter should show signs of activity: bubbles should be visible through the side, or bottom of the jar and the volume starting to grow. If it doesn’t show any signs, and you’ve used a recommended bread flour, the temperature is too cool. Move your starter to a warmer spot until doubled.
⚡ FAST TRACK: Leave at 30°C (86°F) until doubled: approx 7-8 hours⚡
🕔 9-5: Leave in a cooler spot, under 21°C (70°F). Approx 24 hours. However, check am/pm to see if it has doubled. 🕔