No-knead Spelt and Fig Loaf

Here’s a variation on my Ridiculously easy No-knead bread. It’s not a quick loaf, but it’s certainly easy. The result is a lovely, medium density loaf packed with luscious figs.

Makes: A medium loaf – about 12 slices.

Time: The actual hands-on time is very brief. It requires a long proving time, but can be left “to its own devices” while you get on with more exciting things.

Level: Easy

Need: A Dutch Oven is very useful, but you could make do with a lidded casserole tin.


  • 200g/7oz Sourdough starter* (assuming 100g/3½oz  flour & 100ml/3½fl oz water)                      
  • 210ml Water            
  • 200g/11oz Spelt flour                                                                                           
  • 100g/3½ozWhite bread flour                                                                              
  • 8g Salt                          
  • 2g Instant dried yeast                       
  • 7g Caster sugar (optional)                                                                                        
  • 200g/7oz Figs, chopped                 

*If you don’t have a sourdough starter, simply pre-mix 100g white flour with 100g water. Either leave for an hour or two or use straight away.


1. Tip the starter into large bowl. Add water and stir to mix well. Add in everything else except the figs and mix to a shaggy dough.

2. Turn it over a few times, cover and leave until well risen*.

*This could be 4 – 6 hours or even overnight, depending on conditions. A long, slow rise enhances the flavour. Except for during the height of the brief U.K. summer, a garage is ideal. Or you could even leave it in the fridge overnight.

3. When well risen, add in the chopped figs and mix. Cover and leave to rise again for a few more hours.

4. After a while – maybe  1 – 3 hours, depending on the speed of rise – put a Dutch oven in your oven and turn on to heat up to 230C / fan 210C / 450F / Gas 8.

5. Once the dough has risen again, cut a large piece of parchment then pour the dough onto it. Take the corners and lift it into the Dutch Oven. Snip off any excess parchment with scissors.

I also make a few vertical snips on top of the dough for extra crunchiness – it’s too soft too slash with a knife.

6. Bake for 20 min. with the lid on and a further 20 min. lid off.  

7. For an extra crisp crust tip the loaf out of the Dutch oven and put it back in the oven just on a rack for a final 5 min. Remove and cool on a wire rack. 

N.B. Many bakers like to get their hands in and feel the dough. That’s fine, but I prefer to use a bendy spatula, which lets me mix and bake the dough without even having to wash my hands afterwards.

I hope you have a go at this unusual but lovely loaf. If you want to see more of my bread recipes click This link. Here are three quite different breads that I’d love you try:

Cheese and Onion Soda Bread

Rye & Wholemeal Apricot English Muffins

Garlic Boxty Bread

Best wishes and Happy Baking