Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sourdough Bread (no knead)

Growing up I loved to visit my Aunt Dina. She did her village part in helping to rear me by teaching me how to appreciate brands and shoes and food. When she lived near San Francisco we would usually take a trip across the bridge and into the city where we would hit our usual haunts: Chinatown, pier 49, Ghirardelli Square (which I still cannot pronounce or spell correctly) and of course The Boudin Bakery. A trip to The Wharf just was not complete without bringing home a loaf of sourdough from Boudin’s. Oh how I love that stuff. I LOVE sourdough (ok, true, I love all bread) but sourdough has a special place in my heart and today I’d like to share that little piece of my heart with you.

First of all you need to know this is NOT a Boudin Bakery Sourdough Bread knockoff. It’s not even close really, but it’s got the nice hard crust and soft chewy center. And when you toast it and butter it, the butter melts and fills in all the little craters and when you take a bite the integrity of the tiny butter pond banks are compromised and butter flows down your chin or arm and you can’t help but smile and love every single buttery bite!

I really like sourdough bread.

Thank you Heidi and Meal Swap (best two years of my cooking life - so far)
for passing on this recipe.

Some Notes to keep in mind:

You’ll need a 5 qt, round dutch oven with a lid. If you want to use a regular pot, go ahead…be the pioneer!  Then come back and let us all know how your adventure turned out. J

Start your bread 24 hours before you want to eat it.

When you get to the part about shaping the loaf. Don’t loose your head. This is an extremely wet and loose dough that does not hold its shape. If you are only preparing one loaf, then just carefully dump the dough directly onto the cornmeal-ed parchment paper. When I make this recipe I almost always make more than one loaf and that requires me to divide the dough before it’s final rise on the parchment paper. This can get messy. Use [well floured] hands to divide the sticky dough and get it to the parchment paper. Shape the dough as best you can into a round.

Getting the dough to the pan is a little trickier because you have to move quickly while the pot is hot. Also the more you move the dough around the greater likelihood you have of it falling (the bread will still taste great - it just may not look great – I know because its happened to me). Carefully use the parchment paper as a hammock and lift the dough into the pot.  The paper will cook with the dough and consequently leave indentation on the sides, but I like to tell myself it adds character.

Sourdough Bread (no knead)


1 ½ cups + 2 Tbsp lukewarm water
¼ teaspoon dry active yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
Cornmeal for dusting


  1. Dissolve yeast in water.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook or paddle attached, combine flour and salt. Turn mixer on to low speed and pour in yeast water until all ingredients are combined. (The dough is loose enough that I could use the wire whip attachment on my Bosch). Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap or transfer dough to a bowl with a lid, cover and let rise on your counter for 14-18 hours at 70 degrees.
  3. While the dough is still in the bowl and after the time has expired, use a wooden spoon to fold the dough over itself a few times to deflate. Cover again with plastic wrap or lid and let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. While the dough is resting, cover a cookie sheet or large plate with a 9x13(ish) piece of parchment paper and generously sprinkle the parchment paper with corn meal. Shape dough into a round and place on top of cornmeal-ed parchment paper. Sprinkle corn meal on top of dough, cover with a lint free bread cloth and let rise for 2 hours.
  5. Half-hour before dough is ready, put a 5-quart, round dutch oven pot with its lid into the oven and preheat the pot and oven to 450. After 30 minutes, take the dutch oven out of the oven and transfer the dough (parchment paper and all) into the warmed pot by gently lifting the sides of the parchment paper (not really a sling so much as a hammock) and lowering the hammock into the pot. Cook with lid on for 25-30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 5-10 minutes (varies with altitude).
  6. Remove pot from oven and then remove bread from pot and let bread cool on a wire rack before slicing - if you can wait that long.

Notes: This entire recipe can be prepared in a large bowl by hand however, I have a mixer, so I use it. The dough is EXTREMELY wet and loose and will not hold it’s shape until it is cooked.

Source: Family File / Heidi Skousen - meal swap


Unknown said...

Hello Gwenevere. Thanks for visiting my blog. Nice comment you left there :)
I love this no knead bread very much too, despite the fact that it takes tooooo long, and you have to plan baking it one day ahead.
Have a nice day

Brindusa @ Cooking with my soul

Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes said...

Oh my does this bread look good. Thank you so much for the recipe and tutorial! I can't wait to give it a try.

Frieda Loves Bread said...

I'm impressed! Like the parchment sling idea ~ if you don't have a 5 qt. dutch oven, you can use a round ceramic crock pot insert w/lid, providing that the lid is glass, not plastic.

Food Frenzy said...

Looks amazing. Thanks for sharing.

Camille said...

oh the meal swap . . .

Naomi said...

Yum! And I love that you have a food blog!

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking said...

What a lovely sourdough bread! I've always wanted to know how to make this, and I'll have to give your recipe a try. Thanks for sharing! You have a beautiful blog and I'm so glad to have found it. I'm looking forward to exploring your recipes and seeing more! :) - Georgia

All That's Left Are The Crumbs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
All That's Left Are The Crumbs said...

I love sourdough and this bread looks so crusty, exactly how I like my bread. I am going to have to jump in and give this a try.

Ju said...

HOLY YUM!!! that's all I have to say today...

Anonymous said...

Seems easy enough. Came to your blog via Food frenzy. I love baking bread myself. I have bookmarked this recipe.

Unknown said...

Great photos. Have you tried skipping the dissolve the yeast step.
Love your blog.

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