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, honey oat sourdough loaf.
This post was originally published in January 2018. It has been updated with improvements to the text and recipe as of April 2020.
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 mildly sensitive to wheat gluten, like I am, because it’s an older grain variety and the long fermentation time makes it much easier on your system. Of course you can use regular wheat flour if you prefer (see the substitutions below). Either way sourdough is a good choice!
I typically rotate between this honey and oat spelt sourdough, overnight spelt rye, and my sourdough 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 often 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. More on that below.
Honey and Oat Sourdough
This is a slight variation from a typical no knead sourdough bread because the steps don’t require any shaping or folding. It was developed with absolute beginners in mind. It’s ideal for people without a large breadth of knowledge about sourdough but who still want the health benefits, and great if you want fresh bread without the effort of kneading.
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!
Sourdough versus yeast
Originally, this recipe called for a rye starter because it’s what I typically use. It’s been altered now to reflect that any gluten-containing starter will work – all-purpose, rye, spelt, whatever you usually make it from. It should be 100% hydration.
Alternatively, you can use yeast as outlined in the recipe. It still benefits from the long fermentation time and you only need a little bit. The flavour will be slightly different with yeast, rather less sour, so keep that in mind.
Stretching and shaping
It seems that now many more people are making sourdough and so it’s expected to see the usual stretching and folding, and shaping following the bulk fermentation. I’ve received a number of questions about this lately. Please note that this is a recipe for people who aren’t necessarily familiar with sourdough and has been developed specifically for that.
If you have more sourdough experience, you can do three rounds of stretches and folds, one every half hour, before the bulk fermentation. Following this, instead of baking the dough immediately, shape it into a boule and allow it to rise again for about an hour at room temperature in your banneton. You can, of course, do a longer second fermentation in the refrigerator if you prefer.
Since this is a low-gluten loaf, you won’t develop the gluten in the same way that you would with one that uses bread flour or even all-purpose. It is possible to shape quite easily, though, if you have some experience doing so.
Baking sourdough in a bread tin
To make a sandwich bread instead of a boule, line a standard loaf tin with parchment paper and scoop the dough into it following bulk fermentation. If your tins are rather small you may prefer to divide the dough into two loaves.
Cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rise at room temperature for about an hour, or until it’s just peeking over the top of the tin. Bake at 200C (400F) for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.
Using this method will result in a softer and lighter outer crust – not comparable to sourdough sandwich bread, but definitely not a crusty country style loaf. This is also a bit easier and safer if you’re hesitant about turning the bread out into such a hot container before baking, or if you don’t have a Dutch oven or other appropriate baking dish.
If you’d prefer a normal sandwich bread, try this healthy honey oat bread made with a normal yeast method.
The easiest and most applicable substitution for this honey oat sourdough is to use bread or AP flour in place of spelt. If you live in Europe you may also be able to get spelt bread flour (type 812, or 1050 in a pinch), which I recommend if you can find it.
You can use other types of wheat flour, as well – whole wheat, or other ancient grains. Whole wheat pastry flour is never a good choice for bread. If you have a bunch of different types of flour lying around and need to make up for part of the spelt, a combination is fine too.
To make this loaf fully vegan, use maple syrup in place of the honey.
More Bread Recipes
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- 600 grams / 4 cups whole spelt flour
- 130 grams / 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 500 ml / 2 cups water
- 100 grams / 1/2 cup active 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 rest 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 15-30 minutes (45-60 minutes total) to achieve the gold, crispy crust. The bread should be quite dark and golden when it's ready.
- 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 - at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. 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.
* A dutch oven is best for this, but for the loaf pictured, I used a Pyrex baking dish.
• 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 50-55 minutes, then cool for another 20 before removing from the tin. Cool completely before slicing.
• To make this with yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon of dried yeast (or a pea size of fresh) in place of the starter and follow the other instructions as written.
Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 138Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 321mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 5g
This data is provided by a calculator and is a rough estimation of the nutritional information in this recipe.