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No-Knead Sourdough Bread

by Victor @ Taste of Artisan

This no-knead sourdough bread is made with pure levain, bread flour, water, and salt. It’s a great bread for everyday baking if you like white bread, with a lot of flavor and very mild acidity.

Sliced sourdough bread on a cutting board.

Bread made with pure levain, or sourdough,  is not identical to bread made with baker’s yeast, or a mix of levain and baker’s yeast. Pure sourdough breads are typically rustic, denser, with bigger holes and a thicker, chewier crust. When baked to a darker crust, dark chocolate flavors will develop and permeate the crumb. Pure sourdough breads also have a pronounced acidic taste, where the degree of acidity varies depending on the amount of levain used, its age, fermentation time and temperature, and other factors.

This particular bread features a very light, open crumb, similar to white breads made with baker’s yeast, and very mild acidity.Slices of sourdough bread with large holes.

This is primarily because in this recipe I use double the amount of levain I typically use to make sourdough bread. This expedites fermentation and results in less acidity. I also use a fairly young, very active sourdough starter, about 8-10 hours after feeding. It has minimal acidity built up in it and is so active that the bread finishes bulk fermentation in about 3-4 hours and gets an outstanding oven spring.

Whole no-knead sourdough bread on a marble slab.

Baking the bread

There are usually 3 ways you can bake bread in a home oven. That’s assuming that you don’t own one of those fancy ovens with steaming and other cool functions, like proofing. Those are:

  1. Baking on a baking stone with a water pan, as described my previous posts, advanced no-knead bread and artisan sourdough bread.
  2. Baking in a cast iron combo cooker, popularized by Chad Robertson in his Tartine Bread book.
  3. Using a cloche.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with a fourth method, using a (un-preheated) stainless steel bowl and a baking stone. The results have been quite good. Baked this way, the crust comes out relatively pale and not as thick, but this is a great option for those who don’t own a cloche or a combo cooker, or don’t want to mess with a water pan. The oven spring with this method is quite good too.

Two loaves in oven, one in a cloche, one under stainless bowl.

Two loaves of bread in the oven on a baking stone.

Two loaves of bread side by side on a marble table.

Two loaves of bread, cut in half, side by side.

Bread Formulations

Levain Formula

Feed an active starter twice every 12 hours using the formula below. The starter will be ready for use 8-10 hours after the second feeding. It should increase about 3-4 times in volume.

80 gBread Flour
20 gWhole Wheat Flour
30 gSourdough Starter
100 gWater

Final Dough Formula

600 gBread Flour100 %
420 gWater70 %
200 gLevain33.33 %
12 gKosher Salt2 %

Overall Formula

680 gBread Flour97.14 %
20 gWhole Wheat Flour2.86 %
520 gWater74.3 %
12 gKosher Salt1.71 %



Try mixing in a cup each of chopped walnuts and quartered dried figs when you shape the dough. It makes an outstanding accompaniment for a morning coffee.

Close u p of slices of sourdough bread with chopped walnuts and quartered dates mixed in.

Before shaping, gently stretch the dough into a rectangle, spread the mix-ins and roll into a ball. Then proof, seam side down, and bake as you would regular bread. No knead sourdough bread with walnuts and date slices on a cutting board.

Slices of no -knead sourdough bread on a cutting board.

No-Knead Sourdough Bread

Print Pin Rate
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: No-knead sourdough bread, sourdough bread
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Fermentation and proofing: 14 hours
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 117kcal
Author: Victor


  • 600 g bread flour I use King Arthur Special (Bread) flour
  • 420 g water around 90F - 95F
  • 200 g levain (see levain formula and feeding schedule above)
  • 12 g kosher salt


The night before baking, around 6:00 PM

  • In a large bowl, dissolve the levain in water. Add the flour and mix the ingredients together. Cover and let rest for 1 hour.

Around 7:00 PM

  • Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Squeeze the dough between your fingers to distribute the salt evenly. Perform one set of stretch and folds.

Around 8:00 PM

  • Perform an additional set of stretch and folds. Cover and let rest.

Around 9:00 PM

  • Perform an additional set of stretch and folds. Cover and let rest.

Around 10:00 PM - 11:00 PM

  • Depending on your ambient temperature, the dough should increase by at least 50% to almost double in size by around 10:00 PM - 11:00 PM. When it does, divide the dough into two equal pieces. Shape into balls and place, seam side down, in proofing baskets. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, around 7:00 AM

  • Take the dough out of the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500F.
  • When ready to bake, prepare two pieces of parchment paper, turn the dough over on parchment sheets, score and load in the oven.
  • Drop the temperature to 450F and bake with steam for 20 minutes. Next, bake without steam for 30 minutes.
  • Remove bread from the oven. Cool on a cooling rack for an hour before slicing.


Calories: 117kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 234mg | Potassium: 30mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

This recipe was updated on December 21, 2019

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