No knead sourdough is a much easier way to make a true sourdough at home – this is my personal favourite, with honey, oats, and whole wheat spelt flour. The method is simple and you can use normal yeast instead of a starter if you don’t have one. Either way you end up with a beautiful crusty loaf.
I’ve been making sourdough for the past year and a half or so but haven’t quite gotten the hang of the whole folding and shaping thing yet. I think it’s partly because I use lower gluten flours like spelt and rye, which can be a bit trickier to shape and stretch. No-knead is ideal for people without a large breadth of knowledge about sourdough but who still want the health benefits, and ideal if you want fresh bread without the kneading time. I’ve started rotating between this honey and oat spelt sourdough and my overnight rye bread. For this loaf I used an old covered pyrex dish but a dutch oven is more effective if you have one, and I usually just use a plain old loaf tin. If you use a loaf tin it’s more like sandwich bread in texture as well as shape, because it doesn’t get as crusty on the outside. To make it fully vegan you just sub maple syrup or coconut sugar for the honey, no problem.
So why sourdough? This is a totally appropriate recipe for beginners, and sourdough has so many benefits. It’s much better for digestion and digestive health, can help to reduce inflammation, has a better flavour, and it’s ideal for people with some gluten sensitivity. This spelt sourdough is even better if you’re sensitive to gluten, like I am, because it’s an older grain variety and the longer fermentation time makes it much easier on your system. There was a study done a few years ago that showed that even celiac people may be able to consume sourdough – a true sourdough degrades the gluten enough to consume, and also reduces FODMAPs, and spelt is also low in FODMAPs. You can read more about that here. Regular bread gives me crazy bloating and stomach-ache but I feel good when I eat a proper sourdough like this. It’s a good source of probiotics and although I can’t prove it, I’m sure that eating sourdough and drinking fermented drinks like ginger beer and kombucha helped to clear my eczema along with other diet changes. There’s also some evidence showing infammation may be a cause of depression, so eating foods that reduce inflammation can help with mental illnesses like depression, and that’s been the case for me as well.
The method here is laughably simple. You just toss everything in a bowl, stir, and leave it overnight and part of the next day. So mix before bed, then bake it when you get home from work. I’ve given a couple variations on cooking – for a really crusty loaf you have to heat the baking dish along with the oven, and in a loaf tin the bread rises for another hour. Either way, super simple with great results. The crumb is good, the flavour is phenomenal, and it’s virtually impossible to find a homemade bread that’s less work!
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Easy No-Knead Honey and Oat Spelt Sourdough
- 600 grams / 4 cups whole spelt flour
- 130 grams / 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 500 ml / 2 cups water
- 50 grams / 1/4 cup rye sourdough starter*
- 3 tablespoons honey*
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Add the flour, oats, and salt to a large bowl. Mix and make a well in the centre, then add the water, starter, and honey. Stir until fully combined, at least 30 seconds. Cover (I use a plate) and let the dough sit for 16-20 hours at room temperature.
Once the dough has risen, place a heat-proof lidded baking dish* into the oven and preheat to 250C / 475F. Use a spatula to pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl. When the oven is hot, carefully remove the dish and place the coconut oil in it. The oil should melt instantly. Place/pour the dough into the heated dish, cover, and bake for 30 minutes, reducing the heat to 200C / 400F after 15 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes (45 minutes total) to achieve the gold, crispy crust.
Take the bread out of the oven and cool in the dish for 10 minutes before flipping it out onto a cooling rack, and cooling completely before cutting. I know it's hard to resist warm bread but cutting it too early can make the texture gummy. This bread keeps very well for a week on the counter, but avoid wrapping it in plastic as that ruins the crust. It's best stored in the dish that you bake it in.
• To make a regular sandwich bread, place the risen dough into a well-greased or lined bread tin. Sprinkle some flour over it, cover with a tea towel, and let it rise again for another hour. Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F and bake for 40-45 minutes, then cool for another 20 before removing from the tin. Cool completely before slicing.
• If you're unfamiliar with a sourdough starter, Nataša over at My Daily Sourdough Bread has a great step-by-step tutorial that'll show you how to make your own. I started mine a couple of years ago using her guidelines and it's still going strong.
* You have to use a minimum of 1/4 cup / 50 grams starter, but if you have some to use up, I often use a 1/2 cup / 100 grams, or even a little more. I don't find that it makes a difference in this recipe as it's not as exact as many sourdough recipes.
** I think that you can substitute normal yeast in this recipe, but I haven't yet tried it. I think 1/4 teaspoon of dry yeast or a pea-sized amount of fresh yeast in place of the starter will work. I'll update the recipe when I do try, but until then, substitute this at your own risk!
*** Maple syrup is an ideal substitute but you could also use date syrup, coconut sugar, etc.