The Year of Bread Part Sixteen: No-Knead Sourdough

I bought a loaf of bread last week. AND I bought another one the week before that. The shame! The horror!

Fact is, I don’t always have the time I would like for baking. Especially on weeks where there are birthday cakes or sorry you’re leaving cakes or some other kind of cakes to be made. Most weeks seem to be like that, just recently – by the time I get in from work there aren’t enough waking hours left in the day to put together all the home made things I’d like to. One day I’ll be independently wealthy and own that beautiful cottage by the sea… One day…

Anyway, I have bought some ready made bread, and I’m trying to make my peace with it as best I can. I did find myself with a whole day free last week, though, courtesy of the Queen’s Jubilee, and I put it to what I thought was good use – I made a sourdough loaf. And ice cream. But for now let’s just look at the bread. First of all, a quick look at how Louie’s doing these days. He’s been getting on really well, living in the fridge and coming out for a snack and a heat every couple of weeks.



The night before I had my day of rest and peace, I decided I’d do a no-knead loaf. Having made one before with great results, I was keen to try a sourdough version. Remembering my mistake from the first time round – namely, not reading the recipe properly and realising at the last minute that it needed an overnight rise – I was prepared this time and began the process at about 10pm. I found a likely looking recipe for no-knead sourdough at Nourished Kitchen. At first, all you have to do is mix some ingredients together into a ‘shaggy dough’.



I followed the recipe for the most part, but added about another half a cup of water to get what I thought was a good, rough dough. I also used a mix of wholewheat and brown bread flour. I’m really stating to understand the difference between flours, when it comes to bread – a strong flour (bread flour) will make a stiff, chewy bread, while plain flour (the kind you’d use for cakes) will give you a soft, fluffy bread.

I left the dough for fourteen hours before checking back in. There was quite a difference!




The next thing you do is fold the dough over on itself, I think this is to encourage height in the final bread.




Once the dough has doubled again, you shape it and let it rise for a final time. The recipe stresses that you should shape your dough very gently to achieve the best end result. I wanted to make bread rolls so I had to handle mine a little more than was ideal, but I still tried to use minimum force and be careful with it. I sprinkled some cornmeal over the worksurface to prevent sticking, and once they were shaped I sprinkled some more over the top.



After two hours the rolls had risen and cracked across the surface – this was unexpected but quite cool.



I put them in the oven to bake for fifteen minutes, at which time they were very browned and sounded hollow when tapped.




I was initially quite disappointed when I sliced into the rolls – they were extremely dense with tiny, tight air holes, and were still a little doughy in the middle. Still, they looked edible so I made up a cheese sandwich with one and took it to work for lunch.



I was apprehensive, come lunch time, but pleasantly surprised. Basically, I’ve accidentally made rye rolls without using any rye flour. The brown flour has a much stronger taste than the wholemeal, and the overall flavour and texture was very like my first sourdough rye loaf. I will say that the strong taste does mean it’s not ideal for a daily packed lunch, unless you really love the flavour of rye bread, but it’s good to know that I can get a similar taste with cheaper brown flour as with rye.



About Rock Salt

Seasoning while rocking out since 1983. View all posts by Rock Salt

14 responses to “The Year of Bread Part Sixteen: No-Knead Sourdough

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