Sourdough Bread for Beginners

Looking to start baking sourdough bread but not sure where to start? Here’s a guide for beginners with all the recipes and resources you need.

Sourdough bread

We know you’ve seen them: those beautiful sourdough bread loaves popping up all over Instagram. And this is a trend Alex and I can absolutely get behind! Baking sourdough bread is not just a satisfying life skill. It makes bread that’s loads cheaper, a little healthier, and a lot tastier than store-bought bread. But honestly: we mostly do it for the satisfaction. There’s nothing cooler than pulling a loaf out of the oven, with that intoxicating aroma, and knowing that you made it yourself.

Aside from being passionate sourdough bread bakers, Alex and I want to pass on the art. It took us 2 years to perfect the craft of baking sourdough bread. So we wanted to find a way to simplify it so that everyone could do it⁠—not just super motivated sourdough nerds like us! Here’s everything you need to know about sourdough to get started. We think (hope) that it’s just the right amount of information and motivation to start your baking career.

“Your steps are so helpful. I’ve tried to make sourdough through the years and it’s never worked…until now! Your directions combined with video helped things click.” -Claire

Ready to get started?

Sourdough Bread Beginner Guide: Table of Contents

For more: Our book club read this novel called Sourdough: it’s fun if you like both fiction and baking!

More bread recipes

Love to bake? Here are some of our favorite bread recipes, from yeast breads to quick breads to focaccia to pita.

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    March 16, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    I followed the recipe and followed the instructions in the Sourdough Bread Checklist. Bread did not raise, it was very wet, did not hold shape. Was starter not good? I tried the float test, and it floated. But? What was wrong?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 16, 2020 at 2:51 pm

      Hi! Did you check the temperature of your proofing area? A warm temp is essential to getting the starter to work. Also, if you’re not using King Arthur brand flours, you may want to adjust the liquid down a little.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2020 at 1:47 am

    Hi, well I made it ?and despite that it did not rise so much….no crock pot and tried to adapt to other methods, happy with taste, crust crunch. I think it is definitely a process that you learn from and adapt to hone the perfect loaf and your checklist really help me to keep track of where I was up to. It’s great to do the research but actually making it is where you learn?. Would have included a photo but unable to do this here.

  • Reply
    Rachel L Kenison
    May 18, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Tried your recipe over the weekend and it turned out perfect! Thank you for all the information and checklist.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      May 19, 2020 at 8:53 am

      You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed :)

  • Reply
    July 22, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Hi there
    I love this recipe and have been using for months but I recently bought some fresh, cold milled flour and now it no longer works!
    My breads are flat and gummy
    I feel like perhaps it’s over proofing, but I’m really not sure
    Any tips??

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      July 23, 2020 at 8:21 am

      Hi! I’ve had this issue too and have been bummed. You’ll need to reduce the water content by about 40 grams to make it work (and still use bread flour along with it).

      • Reply
        July 23, 2020 at 8:28 am

        Ok thank you! Should I still follow along as per the recipe re timing?
        Thanks again for responding!

  • Reply
    July 24, 2020 at 9:08 am

    Thank you so much!!!
    Your recommendation of 40g less water solved the issue
    Wish I’d thought to write you two weeks ago 😊

  • Reply
    September 4, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Do you have recommendations for favored sourdough such as raisin or garlic?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      September 7, 2020 at 10:56 am

      We don’t have any recipes for this, sorry!

    • Reply
      Loretta Jones
      September 16, 2020 at 11:03 pm

      I have been successfully making 2 loaves at a time. Tried to up it to 3 loaves at a time and did not get the rise I’m used to. Do I need to change the proofing times?

  • Reply
    March 3, 2021 at 11:20 am

    A friend gave me all the tools needed, your directions and the checklist as a retirement gift July 2020. She has created a “sourdough monster” as I just baked my 57th loaf this morning. Your process was so easy to follow, and as you can imagine, I now have it memorized. I continue to use the checklist, to remember what fold I am on and also to keep count of the number of loaves I have made. Just wanted to say, Thanks. (All my friends who are the recipients of my loaves thank you too!!!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 3, 2021 at 4:04 pm

      This makes me so happy! Thanks for sharing and cheers to your next 57!

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