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Knead Not Sourdough Bread (originally from Alton Brown)

Find success baking bread at home with this simple Knead Not Sourdough Bread recipe originally from Alton Brown. A Dutch Oven and an overnight time period to allow the dough to rise are the keys to this beautiful loaf of no knead sourdough bread.
Knead Not Sourdough Bread or No Knead Sourdough Bread Recipe fresh bread on a blue checked cloth on a wooden cutting board

No knead sourdough bread: Little fuss, reliable results

Knead Not Sourdough Bread sounds like a lazy shortcut to making bread at home and I am all in with this no knead sourdough bread recipe! What, no fussing with the dough? No worrying about how the dough feels? No spending time forming the perfect loaf at exactly the right moment in the baking process? Yup, exactly that!

Alton Brown bread recipe

I found this knead not sourdough bread recipe from Alton Brown of Food Network and his ideas nearly always jump out at me because I like his scientific method of cooking.

There is a method to his madness, and he explains things clearly and logically. I like that approach.

Other easy bread recipes I like are made along the same lines– this no knead recipe from Jim Lahey and this no knead whole wheat bread recipe from King Arthur Flour are two favorites.

What is sourdough bread?

Sourdough bread is traditionally baked with a sourdough starter. The starter is a culture of yeast and bacteria that grows within a flour and water mixture. This starter can live for years and can make many loaves of bread. 

The technical side of a starter recipe is really interesting. You can learn more about sourdough from this How Stuff Works site.

In this Alton Brown bread, we take a shortcut. No sourdough starter is needed. Instead we let an overnight rise time develop the flavor of this easy bread recipe. The longer you let the bread develop, the deeper the flavor and the closer you’ll be to making a traditional sourdough bread.

Dutch Oven sourdough bread

Another strong point of this no knead sourdough bread recipe is that the bread cooks in a Dutch oven. 

A Dutch oven is a large, heavy pot with a lid. Some Dutch ovens are cast enamel and others are cast iron.

Back when I first tried this recipe in 2011, I wanted to share more recipes for my mom to try in her Dutch oven, so this was worth a go.

Today the same approach holds true. This recipe take a long time to create but nearly all of the time is hands-off; the dough does its thing and all the baker does is patiently wait and enjoy the results.

Overhead knead not sourdough breadon blue and white cloth napkin on a marble surface

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The Bread baking Method: How do you make No Knead Bread?

I’ll describe how I followed his instructions for knead not sourdough bread. Heads up: this is a long process. Don’t plan on taking the ingredients out of the pantry in the morning and having freshly baked bread that same night for dinner. Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl. Add the water and stir. The dough came together fairly easily. You don’t want to over mix it at this stage. Let it all sit in the bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap for 19 hours. Yes– 19!!!

Knock down the dough

After this long wait, the next step is simple but then you wait some more. Put the dough on a floured surface. The directions say to punch down the dough. This is also called “knocking down the dough”. I gave the dough a satisfying, solid punch in the middle, folded it over itself, and repeated this process a few more times. Straightforward and not difficult as long as I kept my hands floured. The dough rests another 15 minutes then is shaped into a ball and covered with a small bit of cornmeal. Time for this dough to rest again for another 2-3 hours.

Preheating the Dutch Oven is a key step

When you are ready for the next phase for this knead not sourdough bread, put your Dutch oven in the oven for a while to let it preheat. I set the delay function on my oven to turn on about 30 minutes before I expected to return home.

This plan worked really well. I walked in the door, had a hot oven and pan, baked the bread and enjoyed it for dinner less than an hour later.

The dough bakes for 30 minutes at 450 F degrees with the lid on, then another 15 minutes with the lid off.

Sourdough Dutch Oven Results

The results with this no knead sourdough bread were better than I had expected. The crust of the bread was crunchy and golden. The inside could have been cooked just slightly longer but was still soft and springy.

Other than the long waiting periods, this no knead sourdough bread recipe doesn’t call for any time-consuming effort. Plan ahead so that the initial rising period is overnight, the next phase occurs in the morning, then the bread will cook just before dinner.

Are you looking for more yeast bread recipes? Try hatch chile bread, simple pita bread, Chocolate Swirl Bread, and Italian Easter Cheese Bread.

 A Dutch oven is an excellent vessel for bread baking. Have you tried a cast iron pan too? This Apple, beer and cheddar bread is made in a cast iron pan. Or make a soup in your Dutch oven to go along with the bread.
Yield: 1 loaf

Knead Not Sourdough Bread (originally from Alton Brown)

Knead Not Sourdough Bread

Find success baking bread at home with this simple Knead Not Sourdough Bread recipe originally from Alton Brown. A Dutch Oven and an overnight time period to allow the dough to rise are the keys to this beautiful loaf of bread.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 22 hours
Total Time 23 hours

Ingredients

  • 17 ½ ounces bread flour
  • ¼ tsp dry active yeast
  • 2 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 12 ounces filtered water
  • 2 TB cornmeal

Instructions

  1. Mix the bread flour, active dry yeast and kosher salt in a large bowl. Pour in the water and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until the dough comes together. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with baking spray then cover the large bowl with it. Let the bowl sit at room temperature for 18-20 hours.
  2. Empty the dough onto a floured surface. I find a cold surface like marble or granite works well. Punch the middle of the dough so it deflates. Fold the dough onto itself and punch a few more times. Cover with a towel and let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Next, shape the dough into a ball. Coat the ball of dough with cornmeal. Place in a lightly greased bowl covered with the plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 2 to 3 hours. The dough will double in size.
  3. Now move on to the baking process. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and put your Dutch oven in the oven while it preheats. When the oven is hot (really hot!) remove the Dutch oven whlie wearing baking mitts and carefully place the dough into the hot pot. Put the lid on your Dutch oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for 15 minutes or until the internal temp is 210- 212 degrees F. Use a digital baking thermometer to ensure accuracy.
  4. Remove the bread and let it cook on a wire rack.

Notes

The original recipe is from Alton Brown at the Food Network.

If you don't have a digital baking thermometer try knocking on the underside of the loaf of bread-- if it sounds hollow then the bread should be baked through.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 154Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 487mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 5g

This data is provided by Nutritionix and is an estimate only.

Did you make this recipe?

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Note: Post originally from November 2011; Updated in January 2018.

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DeeDee Bryans

Saturday 28th of March 2020

After putting the mixing in the water, the dough seems quite dry. Is it supposed to? Thanks,

Holly Baker

Sunday 29th of March 2020

The dough shouldn't be dry. It should be a pliable and easy to work with dough. Since we all have different levels of humidity and other factors that affect baking bread, perhaps you need to add a small bit more of water? I would add a few teaspoons at a time at most. Also, coat the ball of dough with olive oil in a large bowl before covering it with plastic wrap which should also be sprayed with baking spray or thinly coated with olive oil. let me know how your bread turns out.

Jenn

Monday 3rd of February 2020

This is a fantastic recipe! I’ve made it 5 times in the last month with great success every time. The bread is amazing and disappears quickly in my house!

Terry

Wednesday 29th of January 2020

What size Dutch oven?

Holly Baker

Wednesday 29th of January 2020

A four to five quart Dutch oven works well.

Roxane

Monday 13th of May 2019

Can I substitute instant yeast for the active???

Holly Baker

Monday 13th of May 2019

Hello, while I haven't done that substitution for this recipe, usually you can substitute instant yeast for active dry yeast. A recipe with instant yeast might need less time to rise so you can try adjusting the rise time accordingly.

Dawn

Thursday 21st of February 2019

I seriously want to try this, Holly! Looks great and love all the detail here! Nothing like freshly made bread. The taste and smell is amazing! Delicious with a smear of butter :)

Holly Baker

Thursday 21st of February 2019

Yes, this recipe couldn't be a better place to start for making homemade bread. Nothing beats the smell wafting throughout your home!