Best Sourdough Bread Recipe

Our best sourdough bread recipe is the ultimate guide! Easy to follow instructions, a printable checklist, and a step-by-step video help you master that tangy flavor, chewy crust, and perfect texture.

sourdough bread recipe

Ready to get your hands dirty? Making homemade sourdough bread is one of the most satisfying, transformative things you can do. It’s tastier, healthier, and cheaper than any bread you’ll buy at the supermarket. As two professional home cooks with previous careers in business writing, Alex and I leveraged our skills for making complex processes simple and created our best recipe: the Simplified Guide for Sourdough Bread. It has easy to understand steps, a video, and a printable checklist to make sure you’re able to master the process. Keep reading for our sourdough bread recipe!

Related: How to Make Your Own Sourdough Starter | How to Feed Your Sourdough Starter

Our master video: Sourdough Bread Recipe

In this video, Alex shows you everything you need to know about this sourdough bread recipe! Since so much of bread making is learning by watching, this video is crucial to understanding how to make sourdough bread.

Keep reading for more about sourdough starters, the necessary tools, and our sourdough bread recipe!

If you’re having issues getting your sourdough to work, check out our Sourdough Bread FAQ for all of our troubleshooting tips!

Our “pretty simple” sourdough bread recipe

This sourdough bread recipe is years in the making. For the past 2 years, Alex and I have been making sourdough bread every week. In that time, we’ve learned that making sourdough bread is an involved process. But we’re also passionate making cooking pretty simple. We wanted to simplify the process so that everyone on the planet could learn how to make sourdough bread. We set out to make the best sourdough bread recipe — that is, the most repeatable, easiest to follow recipe in the world. Our instructions are easy to follow, and complete with a printable checklist and a step by step video.

So here it is: our simplified sourdough bread recipe! It’s our original take on sourdough, though it was influenced by the Tartine cookbook and The Perfect Loaf. Our perfect sourdough bread? It’s got a chewy crust, tangy flavor, and just enough holes in the bread to be interesting but still hold up to a slather of peanut butter. Our sourdough bread recipe is the perfect everyday bread for snacking, sandwiches, and serving with soup. Ready to dive in? Before you start, read this post in detail so you understand the necessary tools and concepts! And if you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.

We’d love to see your loaf! Use #PrettySimpleSourdough to share on social media.

open crumb sourdough bread slices

Making sourdough bread: an overview

Making sourdough bread is a process that spans across 3 days. Here’s an outline of the tasks and approximate active time for how to make sourdough bread:

Day 1 Evening Feed the starter (5 minutes active time)
Day 2 Make bread and proof overnight (5 hours active time)
Day 3 Bake (1 hour active time)

What makes it simplified? Though it spans across three days, we’ve tried to simplify while keeping the integrity of the sourdough bread process. Our instructions are thoughtfully crafted to be easy to follow—and even memorize! The traditional method of cooking the bread using steam can be hard to create at home, so our recipe uses a Dutch oven. Best of all, we’ve created a custom video series and printable checklist so that you don’t miss a step. The hardest part is waiting for the bread to cool! Let’s get started with the tools you’ll need for making this sourdough bread recipe.

Intimidated? Start with our simple and easy artisan Dutch oven bread first.

beautiful loaf sourdough bread

Sourdough bread: what you need

Making sourdough requires some special equipment to get the job done. Here’s a list of the required tools. We’ve linked to the exact tools that we use, but you can use whatever suits you!

Required tools for this sourdough bread recipe

  1. Large dutch oven for baking the bread
  2. An active sourdough starter: here’s how to make it or buy one here
  3. Plastic bag for proofing (reuse it every time you make bread)
  4. 500 gram oval banneton proofing basket where the dough has its final rest
  5. Kitchen scale for measuring
  6. Our printable Sourdough Bread Checklist
  7. Parchment paper
  8. Bench scraper for shaping the dough
  9. Dough whisk for quickly and easily stirring the dough mixture (optional)
  10. Lame or sharp knife for scoring the bread
  11. Oven gloves for easily removing the bread from the oven (optional)

Related: 12 Easy Dutch Oven Recipes

materials needed for sourdough bread

What flours are used for sourdough bread?

You can make sourdough bread with many different types of flour. For our sourdough bread recipe, we use a mixture of all-purpose flour (for texture), bread flour (for strength), and whole wheat flour (for flavor). We find that this mix makes a moderately open crumb—those beautiful holes in sourdough, a chewy crust, and tangy flavor. Personally, we use King Arthur brand organic flour for all three of the flours. In testing many different flours, we find it has the best and most consistent results for our sourdough bread recipe. (Some other flour brands made for a denser bread.)

sliced sourdough bread with crispy crust

Proofing sourdough bread

So, what’s proofing? Proofing is when you let bread dough rest after you’ve added yeast so that it rises. In this recipe, there are multiple steps that involve proofing, some at room temperature and some in a warm area. What’s the optimal warm sourdough bread proofing temperature? For best results, your sourdough bread proofing temperature should be between 80°F and 90°F.

The recipe below calls for setting up a warm proofing area where the bread can sit at this temperature. If you have it, use the proofing setting on your oven for this step. Other options: you can turn on the oven to preheat for about 1 minute and then turn it off before you place the dough in the oven. Or, you can pour a few cups of boiling water into the oven beneath your bowl to raise the temperature. Whatever the case, while the bread is proofing, be careful not to accidentally turn on the oven for any other reason! (We’ve had this happen before, and it’s not pretty!) 

sourdough bread in banneton

What’s a banneton?

For the final proofing stage in our sourdough bread recipe, the bread proofs in a basket called a banneton. The banneton helps to shape the bread and also makes for those lovely decorative lines on the top of the bread. To ensure the bread doesn’t stick to the banneton, the inside is coated with a mix of 1/2 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup rice flour, a tip we learned from the Tartine cookbook. We keep a container full of this mix on hand for baking days.

When it’s not in use, you can store the banneton at room temperature. There’s no need to clean the banneton; simply let it dry out after baking. After every few bakes, we scrape out any excess flour with a spoon so that you can still get those nice decorative lines in the top of the dough.

sourdough starter in a jar with flour

Feeding and maintaining a sourdough starter

Sourdough bread is a naturally leavened bread, meaning that instead of using active dry yeast to rise, it uses a sourdough starter! The first step in our sourdough bread recipe is to feed the sourdough starter. The night before you decide to make bread, feed the sourdough starter following the instructions in the recipe below. Learning how to care for your starter is an important part of this sourdough bread recipe. To learn about how to feed your sourdough starter, see our post and video about How to Feed Sourdough Starter.

If you don’t have a sourdough starter yet, you can learn how to make sourdough starter at home. And it’s really simple. See our post about How to Make Sourdough Starter—Out of Thin Air! Or even easier, just buy a sourdough starter online: Buy a Sourdough Starter.

What is baker’s percentage?

If you’ve read up on sourdough bread, you may have heard of the terms “baker’s percentage” or “hydration level”. These terms refer to the amount of water in the recipe, as compared to the amount of flour. This sourdough bread recipe is a high hydration bread. The baker’s percentage for this bread is 78% hydration (350 grams of water / 450 grams of flour).

open crumb on sourdough bread

How to store homemade bread

Once you’ve baked your homemade bread, it is best eaten within 48 hours. We store ours wrapped in cloth at room temperature. You can use a clean dish towel; or, made a special bread bag for storage out of a large napkin. If you don’t think you’ll eat the entire loaf in 48 hours, you can freeze whatever you don’t think you’ll eat! Let the sourdough bread cool fully to room temperature, then cut it into slices and place it into a sealed bag or container.

sourdough bread checklist

Printable checklist for sourdough bread

Last thing: as we’ve honed this recipe through the years, we found that the hardest part of making sourdough bread was keeping track of which step we were on! To solve that problem, we created this easy to follow printable checklist so that you don’t miss a beat. Filling in the circles also adds satisfaction to each step! You can reuse the checklist five times—after that, print a new checklist and you’re good to go.

Are you ready? If you’ve made it this far, you’re ready to learn how to make homemade sourdough bread. See the master recipe below—and don’t forget that printable! Let us know any questions in the comments. Happy baking!

Related posts

This post is one of three in our series on how to make sourdough at home:

Best sourdough bread recipe
Best sourdough bread recipe | How to make sourdough bread | sourdough bread recipe with starter
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Sourdough Bread Recipe (with step by step video)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (54 votes, average: 4.37 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 6 hours
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 10 slices 1x

Description

This sourdough bread recipe is the ultimate guide to making your own sourdough bread! You’ll be amazed by the tangy flavor, beautiful chewy crust, and perfect texture. And don’t forget the printable checklist! Also, see our FAQ if you are having any problems.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 200 grams all purpose flour
  • 200 grams bread flour
  • 50 grams whole wheat flour
  • 350 grams purified water, room temperature
  • 80 grams active sourdough starter (make your own or buy one here)
  • 10 grams kosher salt
  • 50/50 blend of rice flour and all purpose flour, for dusting the banneton

Instructions

Day 1: Preparing the Starter

On Day 1, you’ll feed your sourdough starter the night before you prepare the dough.

Feed the starter: Remove the active starter from the refrigerator around 9:00 pm. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the starter. Add 50 grams of purified water and 50 grams of all purpose flour. Stir, cover, and leave at room temperature overnight. The starter should be bubbly and about doubled in size between 9:00 am and 11:00 am the following day. (More about feeding your starter is at How to Feed Sourdough Starter.)

Print the printable checklist: Print off our Sourdough Bread Checklist to use when preparing the dough tomorrow!

Day 2: Preparing the Dough

On Day 2, you’ll make and proof the dough. This is the most labor intensive day; the entire process will take around 5 hours. The step numbers correspond to the printable checklist; make sure you have it printed and ready to go!

1 Mix flour and water; rest for 1 hour at room temp (“autolyse”): In a small mixing bowl, combine the all purpose flour, bread flour and whole wheat flour with the purified water. Use a spoon or dough whisk to stir until all dry flour has been incorporated into a raggy dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or place the bowl in a large Ziploc bag and place leave room temperature. Set a timer for 1 hour.

2a Prepare the proofing area: Prepare a warm area for proofing before starting next step. For best results, the proofing should be in a warm location, between 80° and 90° degrees. (For more on creating a proofing area, see the section above, “Proofing sourdough bread.”)

2b Stir in the starter and proof for 30 minutes: Add the starter to the dough and stir until loosely incorporated; it does not need to be perfectly stirred in. Cover the bowl and place it in the warm area for proofing. Set a timer for 30 minutes. Watch the video instructions for about folding for the next few steps.

3 Add salt, mix with your hands, and proof for 30 minutes: Add the kosher salt evenly across the dough and mix the dough with your hands until the salt is incorporated. See the video above to watch how to mix the dough. Return the covered dough to the proofing area and set timer for 30 minutes.

4 Fold and proof for 30 minutes: Fold the dough: with wet hands, lift one side of the dough straight up so that it stretches and fold it across the center; turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat 4 times. Lift up the dough and wrap it onto itself until you have a smooth surface, then flip it over and place it in the bowl seam side down. See the video above to watch how to fold the dough. Return the covered dough to the proofing area and set timer for 30 minutes.

5 Fold and proof for 45 minutes: Fold the dough again in the same way as Step 4, wrapping it as much as possible without tearing the dough. Return the covered dough to a warm area and set a timer for 45 minutes.

6 Gently fold and proof for 1 hour 30 minutes: Gently fold the dough in the same way as Step 4, being careful not to deflate built up air in the dough. Return the covered dough to a warm area and set timer for 1 hour 30 minutes. Before you start Step 7, watch the video for instructions on pre-shaping and shaping the dough.

7 Pre-shape the dough and rest for 30 minutes at room temp: At this point the dough should appear bubbly on top and wiggle when shaken. (If it is not ready, proof for a few more minutes; the timing can vary depending on the temperature of your proofing and variations in the starter.) Turn the dough onto an unfloured countertop. Lightly flour the top of the dough and then use a bench scraper to gently scrape the dough into a ball, creating tension on top. Do not go so far that you tear the dough. Place an inverted bowl over the top of the dough. Set a timer and rest the dough for 30 minutes.

8 Shape the dough, place it in the banneton, and rest for 30 minutes at room temp: Prepare the banneton by rubbing the 50/50 rice flour mixture into all of the grooves of the banneton. Remove the bowl from over the dough; the dough should be formed into a gently rounded shape. Rub just enough flour onto the top of the dough so that it isn’t tacky. Use the bench scraper to flip the dough so that the floured side is down. Gently stretch the dough into a rectangle. Moving quickly, fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third up to create a packet. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and gently roll it into a log shape. Be careful to not press the dough or deflate it. Use your hands to gently pull the dough tight and pinch off the seams at the end of the dough. Rub a little more flour onto the top of the dough so that it isn’t tacky. Gently flip the dough into the banneton and pinch off the bottom seam. Place the banneton into the proofing bag and set timer for 30 minutes.

9 Refrigerate overnight: Place the banneton in a bag and refrigerate until the following morning.

Day 3: Baking the Dough

10 Preheat the Dutch oven at 515°F for 30 minutes: The following morning, place a covered Dutch oven on the center rack in your oven. Preheat to 515°F for at least 30 minutes. If your oven only reaches to 500°F, the recipe will still work, but you won’t get quite as much rise out of the bread.

11 Place on parchment, score, and bake for 17 minutes in Dutch oven:

  • After preheating, cut a piece of parchment paper the width of your banneton. Remove the banneton from the refrigerator and pull back slightly around the edge of the dough to release it from the banneton. Gently invert the banneton onto the parchment paper and reach your hand into the basket to release it from the banneton. Try not to deflate the dough. 
  • Using a lame or sharp knife, cut a shallow slit at angle across the top of the dough. You can also add additional small shallow cuts for decoration. 
  • As quickly as possible, remove the lid from the Dutch oven and carefully place the parchment paper with dough into the Dutch oven. Cover it and set the timer for 17 minutes.

12 Place the bread on the oven rack, reduce to 400°F and bake for 23 minutes: After 17 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 400°F. Remove the Dutch oven, carefully take out the bread. and set the bread directly onto the oven rack. Bake for an additional 23 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool on a cooling rack for at least 45 minutes. After cooling, the bread is ready to eat. Store the bread wrapped in cloth or in a bread bag on the counter for up to 2 days, or freeze wrapped in foil in a plastic bag for several months.

  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: Homemade Sourdough Bread, Homemade Bread, How to Make Sourdough Bread, Best Sourdough Bread, Easy Sourdough Bread, Homemade Artisan Bread

Last updated: July 1, 2019

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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.

129 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily
    October 22, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    I am so excited to try this! I recently decided I wanted to learn to bake sourdough this fall/winter and checked out several books from the library which seem rather overwhelming. This seems straightforward and easy to try!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      October 23, 2018 at 8:08 am

      We love hearing this! Let us know what you think when you try it, and if you have any questions! Good luck!

    • Reply
      Mabel
      October 11, 2019 at 9:02 am

      Hi Alex,

      Thanks for the awesome recipe. The video was amazingly easy to follow and I am so happy with my first sourdough loaf. The only thing is the open crumbs seems to have the shiny gummy gelatinized look. Are you able to advice how do I avoid that ?

      • Reply
        Alex Overhiser
        October 11, 2019 at 10:35 am

        Hi! The shine comes from the protein in the bread flour; you could try adjusting the ratio a bit!

        • Reply
          Jade
          November 1, 2019 at 2:29 pm

          Hi Alex! Couldn’t figure out how to leave an original comment so I’m just replying to your reply:) Loving trying out your recipe—I’ve made a couple loaves in the last few days. They look pretty good and taste pretty good but this last one was a bit salty. Any idea why? I followed the directions exactly. Thanks!

          • Alex Overhiser
            November 1, 2019 at 5:11 pm

            Hi! I’ve never had this issue. I’m wondering if you scale has a hard time picking up the low (10 g) amount of kosher salt and isn’t very accurate. If this is the case, you could just do 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt.

  • Reply
    Vickie
    October 25, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    This is a great article and I am trying the bread today! One question I have – Is it okay to go a bit longer on some of the rise times – the ones after dough folds and before the final overnight rise?

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 25, 2018 at 1:48 pm

      Hi! Yes, 15 minutes here or there doesn’t effect things too much ? if you need more time for one step, you can do a room temperature rise so that it moves slower as well.

  • Reply
    Vickie
    October 25, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    At step 6 my dough seems much wetter than in the video, and I couldn’t even lift it out of the bowl to turn and shape. I am afraid that when I put it in the banneton it is going to stick too much. Not sure what to do.

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 25, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      Hi! You can always add a bit of extra flour during the final shaping if the dough turns on wet. I hope it worked out!

  • Reply
    Vickie
    October 26, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    My bread came out really good. I have had a starter for a while, and have been making sourdough bread for a while, but my recipe didn’t have as many steps as yours and I think your process improved the texture of the bread. I was thinking it may not have risen enough – there are holes, but not as much as in your photo. I did have the issue with it being too loose and sticky, so I think next time I will add more flour as you suggested above. Thank you for this, and for the very helpful video!

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 26, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      I’m glad it worked out! The size of the holes can be greatly influenced by how gentle you are with the folds. I get a little more comfortable each time I make it!

  • Reply
    Vickie
    October 27, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Thanks Alex I will keep working on this bread recipe. I appreciate all your detailed instructions, the video, and your answering my questions!

  • Reply
    Vickie
    October 29, 2018 at 8:46 am

    How do you store this bread, if you want to keep it for a few days?

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 29, 2018 at 9:15 am

      We keep the bread wrapped in a clean dish towel on the counter for up to 2 days. Otherwise, you can freeze until using it!

  • Reply
    Michael
    February 12, 2019 at 10:53 am

    I think the hydration of this recipe is more like 79.6%, since you are adding 80g of starter at 100% hydration. That makes your water to flour ratio 390g/490g (79.59%).

    Looking forward to trying this recipe next weekend! I really appreciate the level of detail provided here.

  • Reply
    Meldy
    March 2, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    If I do not have whole wheat flour on hand, can I just increase amount of bread flour or all-purpose flour? Also why is rice flour and not all-purpose flour needed for dusting the banneton ?
    I’m new to baking sourdough.

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 3, 2019 at 2:36 pm

      Hi! You can just use more AP flour for the whole wheat if you want. For dusting the banneton, the rice flour almost acts like a “non-stick” surface. Standard flour would get kind of gummy and be more likely to cause the bread to stick to the basket.

      • Reply
        Meldy
        March 3, 2019 at 3:05 pm

        Thank you for your quick response. I can’t seem to find rice flour. Will brown rice flour work?

        • Reply
          Alex
          March 3, 2019 at 6:15 pm

          Yes, that should work!

  • Reply
    Meldy
    March 5, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    I made the bread yesterday/ Your instructions were so easy to follow and the checklist was great! Can I double the recipe?

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 5, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      That’s awesome! I usually just make two loaves the same day (separate) vs doubling. Let me know if you try otherwise!

  • Reply
    Jessie
    March 8, 2019 at 7:03 am

    Thank you for sharing. Can I Just bake on day 2 without refrigerate?

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 8, 2019 at 9:11 am

      Hi! You could bake on day 2, but the resulting bread would be a lot less tasty!

  • Reply
    Chris S.
    March 8, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    We love this recipe! The step-by-step instructions and checklist truly facilitate the whole process. It’s very easy to follow and the bread is fantastic. Do you know if it is possible to freeze this bread, perhaps after the first 17 minutes of baking at 515°, and then to thaw when ready to use, completing the baking process at that time, for the last 23 minutes at 400°? I haven’t tried it, but I’m wondering if this might work. Please let me know if you tried this or some similar process. I’m thinking this might be a way to quickly have a fresh loaf of fabulous bread ready to eat.

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 8, 2019 at 5:33 pm

      So glad you’re enjoying the recipe! We have had good luck with freezing the dough (tightly wrapped in foil and in a freezer bag) right after cooling the bread. Let us know if you try freezing it midway!

      • Reply
        Vanessa Tan
        May 21, 2019 at 10:23 am

        My oven settings are only up to 230C but I’m not sure if it really hits 230C when I turn it all up. What to do if I can’t get your minimum of 250C?

        • Reply
          Alex
          May 21, 2019 at 8:02 pm

          Hi! You can follow the same instructions but leave it in the oven an extra minute or two on the first bake before removing the lid. When you remove the lid, it should be fully risen and formed with just a light brown color!

  • Reply
    Lisa Jenks
    March 9, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    If my starter is sitting out and not coming out of the refrigerator, how do I adjust making the Levain?

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 9, 2019 at 2:02 pm

      Hi! No adjustment necessary. Just you the starter in the bread when it’s a peak activity!

  • Reply
    Lisa Jenks
    March 10, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    My eternal thanks for this recipe, video and worksheet. I have been working on this Labor of Love since December…so many failures. I finally achieved success with your help. I am over the moon!

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 10, 2019 at 1:58 pm

      I love this and it makes us so happy to hear! Happy baking :)

  • Reply
    Victoria Connors
    March 10, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Thank you for the step-by-step tutorial! I’ve been thinking about making sour dough bread for some time now – your guided video certainly takes some of the apprehension away! Much appreciated.

  • Reply
    Kristen
    March 12, 2019 at 12:21 pm

    If I want to shape this into a round to make a bread bowl, how would I adjust the cook times?

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 12, 2019 at 1:17 pm

      Hi!

      If it’s a lot smaller, I’d the same cook time in the dutch oven and then shorten the 400F baking time abit. You can use a thermometer to check for when the bread hits about 200F inside to make sure it’s fully cooked.

  • Reply
    Meldy
    March 23, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    I’ve made the bread a few times and it’s turned out delicious every time. I just have problem with the pre-shaping the dough into a ball shape. I didn’t have a problem the first time I made the bread, but with the subsequent 2 times, i could not get the dough into a ball shape. It just keep spreading out. What am I doing wrong? The bread still tastes delicious in the end, but I’m just frustrated.

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 23, 2019 at 1:25 pm

      Hi! Two things could be happening — it you changed brands of flour, you may want to decrease the water just a tiny bit because a higher hydration dough will spread out more. Also, it could just be that the dough didn’t build quite as much strength from the shaping process: you could be just a little more agrressive on step 5 and 6 to make sure the dough gets stretched out and folded across.

      I hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Chris
    March 24, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Thank you for this video and checklist. This is my 2nd attempt at sour dough and this recipe addressed the flavor (or lack of) and bake issues I had with my first attempt. Thanks again.

  • Reply
    H
    March 27, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    The answers on the comments are just as helpful as the instructions themselves. Thanks so much.

  • Reply
    Mindy
    March 28, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    I’m on day 5 for my starter and fed it this morning. (It’s still sitting out) Can I start my bread now? Or do I need to feed it tonight and shape tomorrow…?

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 28, 2019 at 4:34 pm

      If it’s really bubbly and active you should be able to use it now! It will continue to grow stronger over the next few days too.

      • Reply
        Mindy
        March 28, 2019 at 5:25 pm

        Thank you! Also what’s the best way to get 80 degrees for proofing? My oven doesn’t go that low….

        • Reply
          Alex
          March 28, 2019 at 5:33 pm

          You can turn on the oven to preheat for about 1 minute and then turn it off before you place the dough in the oven. Or, you can pour a few cups of boiling water into the oven beneath your bowl to raise the temperature. Whatever the case, while the bread is proofing, be careful not to accidentally turn on the oven for any other reason! (We’ve had this happen before, and it’s not pretty!)

  • Reply
    Mindy
    March 28, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you! One more question. What’s the best way to get a 80 degree temperature for proofing ? My oven doesn’t go that low…

  • Reply
    Joan
    March 29, 2019 at 8:58 am

    What size dutch oven is appropriate, and does it matter if it is cast iron, or ceramic coated cast iron? I’m anxious to try this recipe : )

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 29, 2019 at 9:39 am

      Hi! 5 qt or larger is ideal. Any type will work!

  • Reply
    Brigid Sealy
    March 29, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Hi. I noticed an inconsistency here it says set timer for 1 hour but, I think it was meant to be 1 hour 30 minutes. :
    6 Gently fold and proof for 1 hour 30 minutes: Gently fold the dough in the same way as Step 4, being careful not to deflate built up air in the dough. Return the covered dough to a warm area and set timer for >>>>> 1 hour<<<<<<<. Before you start Step 7, watch the video for instructions on pre-shaping and shaping the dough.

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 29, 2019 at 4:12 pm

      Thank you for catching that!

      • Reply
        Brigid Sealy
        March 31, 2019 at 6:20 am

        I made this bread and am delighted with the results! The lightest, airiest sourdough that I have ever made! I was wondering what adjustments I would need to make it with 100% white flour. Thanks

  • Reply
    Kristen
    March 29, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Hello! I don’t own a dutch oven, and typically bake sourdough in a cast iron skillet, adding cups of boiling water to a hot tray in the bottom of my oven to achieve the steam affect. Have you attempted this with this recipe? what might change about the bake temp/time?

    • Reply
      Alex
      March 29, 2019 at 4:13 pm

      Hi!

      Yes, this method should work as well. I haven’t checked it with the timing in this exact recipe, but I’d expect it to be similar. Just check it a little early on the 400F bake to make sure it doesn’t get too browned.

  • Reply
    Joan
    April 4, 2019 at 11:55 am

    I can stop searching for the perfect recipe…I have found it!!❤️Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Alex
    April 4, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Haha! You’re welcome!

  • Reply
    Brie
    April 5, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    What if I don’t have bread flour?? :0

    • Reply
      Alex
      April 5, 2019 at 9:37 pm

      Without bread flour you’d have a very hard time shaping the loaf! It will end up flat and very sticky :/

  • Reply
    Tiffany
    April 7, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Sourdough first timer here!!! Wow I’m so impressed with myself! I followed your video and instructions to the letter and it’s beautiful! I haven’t cut into it yet, but it looks really nice.
    Questions: If I just fed my starter, how long do I have to wait to use it? And if I don’t want to do an overnight proof, can I leave it at room temp for a couple hours instead?

    • Reply
      Alex
      April 7, 2019 at 8:55 pm

      Hi, I’m so glad it worked! You can use the starter once it’s reached it’s reached peak growth and is bubbly. For us, that’s about 12 hours at room temperature, but it would certainly be faster in a warmer environment.

  • Reply
    Debbie
    April 16, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    Not sure what a Dutch Oven is … (sorry!), but should I bake using convection heat or normal (top bottom sides) heat? I guess if convection, the temperatures should be slightly lower. Excited to try this recipe …. starter already blooming ;-)

    • Reply
      Alex
      April 17, 2019 at 10:05 am

      Hi!

      The baking timing is specifically for a dutch oven — if you are not planning on using one make sure to read some other sources for how to add steam to your oven. I would also just use the standard heat setting.

      Good luck!

  • Reply
    Cynthia Brosnan
    April 19, 2019 at 11:09 am

    Can I leave the bread to proof in the refrigerator longer than overnight, up to 2 days?

    • Reply
      Alex
      April 19, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      Hi! You can do this, but it will probably be a little over proofed and slightly flat.

  • Reply
    Amanda Mills
    April 20, 2019 at 11:48 am

    Hi, is there anything I can substitute if I don’t have a banneton?

    • Reply
      Alex
      April 20, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      Hi! You can use a bowl lined with a floured towel.

  • Reply
    Donna
    April 27, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    If I wanted to add herbs or cheese, at what point would I do this? The last set of folds before refrigerating?

    • Reply
      Alex
      April 29, 2019 at 9:04 am

      I’m not sure about cheese, but you can add the herbs during the first fold!

  • Reply
    Jon
    May 6, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    On Day 3 before baking, do you remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm up (1 hour?) before putting it into the preheated Dutch oven. OR does the dough go DIRECTLY from the refrigerator to the preheated Dutch oven?

    • Reply
      Alex
      May 6, 2019 at 7:39 pm

      Hi! The dough goes straight into the dutch oven! This helps it keep it’s shape.

  • Reply
    Brie
    May 7, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you so much for the quick replies! And the awesome recipe! So I tried it, turned out great! Except for one little thing..it seems to not have cooked all the way through in the middle. It’s a little doughy, what are you suggestions for getting it to cook all the way through? Should I try lower heat for a longer time? I feel like if I left it in any longer it would have burned. Also, is it suppose to grow at all while it’s proofing overnight in the fridge?

    • Reply
      Alex
      May 8, 2019 at 1:11 pm

      Hi! Yes, I’d try a little longer time on the lower temp. You can always stick a thermometer into the bread — it should be fully cooked at 190 degrees.

    • Reply
      Alex
      May 8, 2019 at 1:12 pm

      And yes, it will grow a bit in the fridge!

  • Reply
    Jenny Silhan
    May 12, 2019 at 11:46 am

    I’ve made this sourdough bread 5 times.. each time the dough was a bit different, looser, heavier…but after baking turned out delish each time. A couple of recommendations for us newbies: use a metal bowl. Dough sticks too much to plastic. Use a little less water next time if your dough is too runny. Adjust the proofing temperature so the dough doesn’t get too bubbly to manage. Cover with a towel overnight in the fridge (not plastic). Helps to set and come out of banneton easier.

    • Reply
      Vanessa
      May 22, 2019 at 2:12 am

      I just started making my first batch of sourdough starter, currently on my second day and I don’t know if it’s working or not, do you have any tips on it? And also, I do not have a Dutch oven for baking, is it fine to just bake it on a hot baking pan?

      • Reply
        Alex
        May 22, 2019 at 2:14 pm

        Hi! Just keep on waiting on that starter — no special tips. The sourdough recipe will not work with same timing without the dutch oven. You can use our recipe but try googling around for other baking methods!

  • Reply
    Jack
    June 4, 2019 at 9:55 am

    Hi cooks! I have now tried your recipe 3 times and each time have ended up with a brick albeit with a little larger rise each time. Now need to trouble shoot – starter is fine (nice and bubbly when used), using proofing setting in fridge so temp should be fine, getting much better at folding dough so losing less internal air. However when dough comes out of banneton it seems to not hold shape very long. Do I need to fold more or less? Could it be something with the oven? Do I need to preheat the Dutch oven for longer than 30 min? Your video is great but try as I can to follow exactly just can’t get the same results. Thnx for your help!

    • Reply
      Alex
      June 4, 2019 at 10:05 am

      It should be ok if it doesn’t hold it’s shape in out of the banneton. Just make sure to get it into the dutch oven as quickly as possible. Do you have any idea what the temperature is on your proofing setting? If it’s warmer than 90F you might want to reduce the proof times a bit.

      You also just might need a bit more practice on the final pre-shaping and shaping of the dough. After the final shaping and once it’s in the banneton, you could give it an extra 15 minutes in the fridge to allow it to get a bit more lift too. Let us know if any tweaks help!

  • Reply
    Jack
    June 4, 2019 at 9:56 am

    Meant using proofing setting in oven…

    • Reply
      Alex
      June 4, 2019 at 10:01 am

      I was wondering! :)

  • Reply
    Dave
    June 4, 2019 at 11:37 am

    Excellent recipe, and very helpful video! So I’ve made two loaves following your recipe so far. Both came out great, but… the bottom of the loaf is pretty burned. Any ideas why this is happening or how to prevent? I followed your recipe to the letter, not sure why my results would be different. I am using a La Creuset dutch oven (looks to be the same as yours). I checked my oven temp with a thermoworx thermometer, and it’s accurate.

    • Reply
      Alex
      June 4, 2019 at 1:34 pm

      Hi! That’s so weird. I’d try shortening the first bake 1 to 2 minutes and extending the second bake at lower temperature.

      • Reply
        Pinky
        July 18, 2019 at 11:57 am

        Hi Dave, Are you placing the loaf directly on the rack or using parchment during the final cooking time? I found that leaving it on parchment burns the bottom.

  • Reply
    Jack
    June 4, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Hi Alex, I’m assuming you mean let the dough sit out at room temp for an extra 15 min rather than an extra 15 min in the fridge. I’ll let you know how it all turns out. By the way your videos are great – terrific quality and easy to follow. Any problems are in my execution not the instructions! Turns out sourdough is a much trickier beast than one would think given that temp, time, flour, hydration, strength of starter, handling and more all have major impacts on success or failure.

    • Reply
      Alex
      June 5, 2019 at 7:15 am

      Yes room temp! And thank you. When we started on this recipe we thought it would be easy to simplify the process… but sourdough is such a wonderful and complicated beast :)

  • Reply
    Linda
    June 5, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    I’m curious on your time schedule. If you make the levain at night and leave it on the counter overnight, that’s Day one. Then in the morning you ‘make ‘ the bread and go through all the proofing stages for – according to your schedule – 5 hours, then into the fridge overnight until the NEXT morning. So for the overnight stage, it could be in the fridge from noon or shortly after (Day 2) until the NEXT morning (Day 3)…isn’t that a LONG time to final proof?? Can you tell me (approximately) YOUR time table? That would be very helpful!!

    • Reply
      Alex
      June 6, 2019 at 9:19 am

      Hi!

      Here’s my time table.

      Day 1: ~ 9pm build levain
      Day 2: ~ 11am-4pm build the dough
      Day 3: ~ 9am bake

      As long as your refrigerator is set to standard temp (37-38F) this long proof in the refrigerator is perfect.

      Good luck baking!

  • Reply
    Thu Hong Peck
    June 9, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Thank you, this is wonderful! Your instructions and videos are so helpful. But, I am having a bit of a problem. My starter is much more liquidy than yours so when I add it to the flour mixture, it makes the dough too liquidy. I use the exact measurements for feeding the starter as you so and it looks like yours when I mix it. I have been feeding it every 12 hours. It bubbles and is healthy, I do not allow hooch to form. But after 12 hours, it is very thin. Thank you in advance. I am determined to get it right :)

    • Reply
      Alex
      June 9, 2019 at 8:27 pm

      Hi! That’s weird about your starter! Maybe try using just a few more grams of flour than water in your next batch.

  • Reply
    Jack
    June 10, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Hi Alex, thanks for your help. I proofed the dough at a higher temp (thank you warmer weather) – around 80 degrees and created more structure in the bread by stretching the dough a few inches further when folding. Made all the difference. For the first time have a wonderful looking (and tasting) loaf of sourdough bread after many loafs with the density of bricks and the appearance of large cow tongues. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to repeat my success. Thanks again!

  • Reply
    Jared
    June 26, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Alex, I made my first time sourdough. It turned out so flat but the Structure inside looks ok but dense. I don’t use all your recipe ( I used 350g flour/260g water and 105g starter) but I follow your steps. It seems too wet and hard to shape. It grew but not so much and after I baked it, it only raised a bit. I don’t have Dutch oven. Instead, I use hot water to create the steam for my bread. I just don’t what happened to my bread. Too wet or not enough time to proof since its winter here. I did send the email to you with photos which would let you know my problem clearly. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Dave
    June 30, 2019 at 6:56 am

    This was my first attempt, this is the best tasting bread I had the pleasure baking. I followed your expert, very detailed guidance and the results are outstanding! The crust is crisp, the the inside is airy, chewy and not dense.
    The sourdough taste is spot on, the only problem I can see is not eating the whole loaf myself……..
    Question:
    – Can I double this recipe? I would like to get a loaf twice the size for obvious reasons. ‘Please advise”

    Thank you for recipe and instructions. (I am hooked)

    Dave

    • Reply
      Alex
      June 30, 2019 at 5:44 pm

      Wonderful! So glad you enjoyed it. You could double the recipe, but I would do two loaves and bake separately.

  • Reply
    Thu Hong Peck
    July 2, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    I have a friend who has a medical condition where she cannot have salt. Can this recipe be made without salt, or even less and if less,how much would the minimum be? Thank you!

  • Reply
    Diane
    July 4, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    I have the starter made and hope to begin the bread making process tonight. Can rolls be made using the same ingredient amounts and just shaping the dough differently? I want to make sourdough hamburger buns. Thanks for great recipes and website!

    • Reply
      Alex
      July 6, 2019 at 9:11 am

      Hi! I haven’t tried smaller rolls but I would think it would work!

  • Reply
    Pinky
    July 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    This recipe is the best. I made several loaves with it — my first bread baking ever— tried a couple new ones and they just didn’t compare! I have been adding raisins, dried cranberry and nuts along with the salt. *French chef kiss*. Thanks to both the cooks for such a great recipe and so much help. I am a breadbakin’ fool.

    • Reply
      Alex
      July 18, 2019 at 4:04 pm

      That’s awesome! I love that you are adding nuts and fruit! We’ll have to try it.

  • Reply
    Liz Sharpley
    July 19, 2019 at 7:20 am

    Hi Alex
    Loving your recipe and the video – best results yet. I do have a few problems with the dough never being as manageable as yours – way too sticky and this time i’ve left half of it in the bottom of the banneton despite using a rice four mix. I’ll reduce the liquid content next time but also wondering if i’m using the right flour. I’m in the UK so hoping that AP flour is the same as our Plain flour – and then using strong white and strong wholemeal bread flours for the other ones. If i’m doing anything wrong please tell me!

    Cheers and thanks again

    Liz

    • Reply
      Alex
      July 19, 2019 at 9:11 am

      That sounds like the right flours to me. I’d try going with a litte more percentage of the strong white and a little less of the plain flour. Hopefully that gets you a bit more dough strength!

      Good luck!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    July 19, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Thanks for the very quick reply Alex – i’ll give that a go with my next one :-)

  • Reply
    Jessica Gonzales
    July 24, 2019 at 1:58 am

    I have finally found the perfect recipe! I must’ve watched 20-30 different videos on making this bread and decided yours was the best one and I’m so happy! If we were doing this on a different schedule and didn’t want to refrigerate overnight, about how long do you think it needs to proof at room temp. before baking? (I started in the evening and just popped the dough into the fridge to proof until tomorrow evening to bake and would rather work in the morning and bake in the evening. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Alex
      July 24, 2019 at 10:28 am

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe! You’d probably want to bake the bread right after shaping it if you aren’t putting it in the refrigerator. Otherwise it will overproof! This should work, but the flavor wouldn’t be quite as developed as with the overnight.

      Good luck!

  • Reply
    Hana
    August 3, 2019 at 12:14 am

    Hello,
    Was hoping you would be able to convert the grams into cups. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Josephine
    August 3, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Hi,
    I would like to make the sourdough bread in a loaf pan. How would you do this?
    Thanks.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      August 3, 2019 at 4:30 pm

      Hi! You’d want to bake it at a lower temperature… probably 400 degrees but I’m not sure for how long!

  • Reply
    Josephine
    August 3, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    Thank you Alex. Would you just use regular aluminum loaf pan? Is it okay to use a nonstick loafpan? Do I need to cover it some how?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      August 4, 2019 at 9:48 pm

      I’m not sure, I’m sorry!

  • Reply
    Josephine
    August 4, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    Thanks for your response Alex.

  • Reply
    Prue
    August 17, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    Thanks for helping me tick an item off my bucket list! I’ve been meaning to learn the art of sourdough bread making for years but was turned off by complex looking recipes. This one really is simple and it works. Hooray for yummy bread.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      August 19, 2019 at 9:23 am

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    August 23, 2019 at 6:52 am

    Thank you so much for this post! I bought a grain mill a few months ago and didn’t have much success with my first few whole wheat or half whole wheat sourdough loaves. I decided to try your recipe and then slowly increase the amount of whole wheat flour to see what happens, and it has been working great! The 50% whole wheat loaf didn’t rise quite as high as your original recipe, but I am still very happy with the results. I did increase the hydration to 83%. Thanks again!!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      August 24, 2019 at 1:32 pm

      That’s awesome! I need to experiment more with whole wheat.

  • Reply
    Brit
    September 1, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Just made this and it turned out PERFECT! I used only white flour and it still was amazing! The checklist makes it 100% easier than any other recipe I’ve used. This will be my new weekend tradition ? and I’m pretty sure my husband loves me a bit more now haha

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      September 1, 2019 at 10:12 pm

      Awesome! So glad you loved it ?

  • Reply
    YT
    September 28, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Love this recipe! Makes such a great loaf every time. I’ve noticed my dough seems a lot wetter than yours so I’ve adjusted the water content down a bit (330 g). Could be I put too much water on my hands when folding. Also had to cut the salt in half due to my wife’s sodium restrictions, but it still comes out perfect every time. Even shared some starter and this website with friends at work. Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      September 30, 2019 at 10:04 am

      Awesome! I’m so glad the recipe is working for you!

  • Reply
    vanesha octania
    October 10, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Hi! so glad to have finally followed your guided recipe!
    Thankyou for sharing all the details.

    One question though :
    Is it necessary to bake it in cast iron dutch oven?
    Can I substitute to any other container or maybe no container at all while baking in the oven ?

    Thanks a lot!!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      October 11, 2019 at 10:36 am

      Hi! You need the container in order to get the steam required for the bread to rise. Something like a cast iron pan with a lid would work as well.

      Otherwise, you can search around the Internet for other ways to add steam to your bread baking!

  • Reply
    Vanesha
    October 11, 2019 at 10:40 am

    I’m baking the sourdough in a rational combi oven. I’m sure it has steam bake program. Can i just use a regular two handled pan and flip it over while baking in the oven ?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      October 11, 2019 at 10:48 am

      Well that’s cool! I’d just bake it on a pizza stone or on cast iron skillet. No need to flip :)

  • Reply
    Suzy
    October 28, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    This recipe is amazing! I’m so glad to have found it! My sourdough loaf came out looking so professional and tasting amazing. I wonder if you might have any tips on how to make it taste more sour or tangy?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      October 29, 2019 at 9:10 am

      So glad the recipe worked for you! For a stronger sour flavor, try adding some rye flour instead of all AP flour when building your starter.

  • Reply
    Henry
    November 4, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Hi Alex, I followed your recipe and everything was looking great. Got a really nice rise in the oven, and the crust was good. I let it cool and cut it open to find a massive cavity in the *bottom* of the loaf. Any idea what could have happened?

    It’s very cold here and the warmest place I could get for proofing was around 25ºC (77ºf) at ~30% humidity.
    I also used 100% bread flour instead of the wholemeal/rye/white mix. I followed everything else exactly.

    The bread has a really nice flavour and the crust is excellent, but the bread is very doughy and undercooked.

    Here is a photo if that helps: images.graniteoctopus.com/images/IMG_3441.original.jpg

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      November 5, 2019 at 10:59 am

      Hi!

      Usually when this happens, the dough is a bit underproofed. This is probably due to the slightly lower temperature for proofing. Maybe try an extra 15 minutes for each rest. Also, I’m not sure why the dough would be slightly undercooked, but maybe try an extra 5 minutes in the oven as well. If you have a stick thermometer, the bread should be fully cooked on inside at 208F.

      Good luck!

  • Reply
    Mouse
    November 11, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    At the end of day 1 you said “Print off our Sourdough Bread Checklist to use when baking the dough tomorrow!” But day 2 isn’t baking, it’s preparing.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      November 12, 2019 at 9:30 am

      Excellent point! It’s updated :)

  • Reply
    Bill DeWitt
    November 28, 2019 at 9:43 am

    How should I adjust bake time/temp for a 2x size loaf?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      November 28, 2019 at 1:56 pm

      I’m not sure! If you have a thermometer look for 208F interior temp.

  • Reply
    Bill DeWitt
    November 28, 2019 at 9:48 am

    How long before baking should the dough be removed from the fridge? Should the dough reach room temp?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      November 28, 2019 at 1:57 pm

      Hi! Straight from the fridge to the oven.

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