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.
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.
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.
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
- Large dutch oven for baking the bread
- An active sourdough starter: here’s how to make it or buy one here
- Plastic bag for proofing (reuse it every time you make bread)
- 500 gram oval banneton proofing basket where the dough has its final rest
- Kitchen scale for measuring
- Our printable Sourdough Bread Checklist
- Parchment paper
- Bench scraper for shaping the dough
- Dough whisk for quickly and easily stirring the dough mixture (optional)
- Lame or sharp knife for scoring the bread
- Oven gloves for easily removing the bread from the oven (optional)
Related: 12 Easy Dutch Oven Recipes
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.)
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!)
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 ½ cup all purpose flour and ½ 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.
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).
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.
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!
This post is one of three in our series on how to make sourdough at home:
- How to Make Sourdough Starter
- How to Feed Sourdough Starter
- Related: All our Bread Recipes!
- Related: If you’re into home baking, try our best pizza dough recipe!
Sourdough Bread Recipe (with Video!)
- Prep Time: 6 hours
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 6 hours 40 minutes
- Yield: 10 slices 1x
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.
- 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
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
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!
We love hearing this! Let us know what you think when you try it, and if you have any questions! Good luck!
This is awesome. You answered all of my questions, and made the whole process less intimidating. I was sort of resisting getting started, it felt like I was taking on another pet.
Can you proof or leave the sourdough in the refrigerator for two days instead of one?
Unfortunately not, it will continue to rise and eventually over-proof.
Is there a maximum number of hours in the fridge? For instance, if it goes in a 2 pm, will it be okay to bake at 8 am the next morning?
That should be fine! Just definitely try to keep it less than 24 hours.
Great video and recipe! Love the step by step instructions which made the process very easy to follow. First loaf was great. Just didn’t have as much sour taste as I prefer. Any suggestions on how to get more acidity? Also my loaf was a bit darker than I prefer. Should I drop the temp down some?
Hi! For the color, you could just pull it a bit sooner or drop the temperature for the second part of the bake. The sourness can vary a lot depending on your starter — they just have a lot of variation between starters and even the age of the starter. One thing you can do is let the starter going a little bit longer before adding it to the dough to increase the tartness.
Can you post the US measurement? Not just in grams?
Sorry, this recipe requires very specific quantities! Cups result in too much variablity for our sourdough method.
Your recipe is amazing. My bread turned out fantastic, truly artisan-style bread – it impressed my kids + husband, and me above all, it got gobbled up within the same day!
I’m making more to give to our parents too!
One comment/query though: my dough always turns out very runny, quite bubbly-looking, and hence very sticky and difficult to shape.
Should I reduce the amount of water, or the starter?
(Perhaps there’s a typo in the units of measurement in the recipe : 350 ml water instead of 350g?? Just a query! )
Grams and mL are the same for water!
The dough should be very sticky at shaping but still have some strength. There are a few things you can work through as you keep making it:
** more practice with the folding steps, this is where most of the strength comes from.
** a more mature starter can give more strength as well. Sometimes it just takes a few weeks to get it really roaring.
** adjust the ratio of bread flour higher (like 225 bread flour, 175 AP flour)
** if none of those work, you could just add an extra bit of bread flour, but don’t overdo it. The high hydration, sticky dough is what allows the beautiful airy crumb.
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 ?
Hi! The shine comes from the protein in the bread flour; you could try adjusting the ratio a bit!
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!
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.
Hi, I made my last loaves with table salt because I ran out of kosher and mine turned out saltier, what salt did you use?
This is my first time too my question is can I use my oven to proof and how would I cover it
i tried using less water and my dough is still crazy sticky!!
I used 250g of AP flour and 250 of BF as I had no Whole wheat. i used 300g of h2o, and still sticky!!!
Sticky is good! When doing the folds, just make sure your hands are wet and move quickly.
Is the bottom of the loaf always burnt? I made my first two loaves this week. Round 2 was definitely better than round 1. Looking forward to continuing the home the skill. Both loaves the Hom mom is totally burnt and not edible at all. Any way to over come that?
Hi! It shouldn’t be burnt on the bottom! You can try reducing the oven temp by 15 degrees.
Thank you! I have had success multiple times since watching your video and using the checklist. That has helped so much. I’ve also made sourdough crackers with left-over starter.
I use your recipe and checklist all the time and love it!
Question, can I double the ingredients to make 2 loaves? And at what point would I split it into 2?
Hi! I’ve always just done two separate loaves at the same time… There’s no reason you couldn’t double it though, I’d split it on step 7 after removing it from the bowl.
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?
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.
My first try resulted in a loaf not so pretty as it stuck to the banneton. My round banneton is too large (10”) and so the loaf was not very high. I will flour the top of formed loaf more next time. I’ve ordered a smaller banneton, too. I’ll keep trying. It’s also very shiny on top.
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.
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!
I had that problem with my first loaf, so just tossed it and decreased the h2o a tiny bit (339g) in the next one. That worked perfect. Maybe the elevation is a factor? Any way, I have done it successfully several times since. I’m new to sourdough & really love this method. You make it so easy & you are nice to look at ;)
Yes, I think the hydration level, at almost 80%, is rather high, even for accomplished bakers. I would suggest cutting it back to 70%-72%, which would give good results and be much easier to handle. (310g water + 40g water from starter) / 490 total flour = 71% hydration.
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!
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!
Thanks Alex I will keep working on this bread recipe. I appreciate all your detailed instructions, the video, and your answering my questions!
How do you store this bread, if you want to keep it for a few days?
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!
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.
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.
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.
Thank you for your quick response. I can’t seem to find rice flour. Will brown rice flour work?
Yes, that should work!
I make rice flour in the vitamix….perfect
I don’t have a banneton so I did my final prove in a glass bowl with a floured tea towel. Worked great and my bread came out perfect. Thanks for the clear steps in the video, it really helped!
I made the bread yesterday/ Your instructions were so easy to follow and the checklist was great! Can I double the recipe?
That’s awesome! I usually just make two loaves the same day (separate) vs doubling. Let me know if you try otherwise!
Thank you for sharing. Can I Just bake on day 2 without refrigerate?
Hi! You could bake on day 2, but the resulting bread would be a lot less tasty!
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.
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!
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?
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!
If my starter is sitting out and not coming out of the refrigerator, how do I adjust making the Levain?
Hi! No adjustment necessary. Just you the starter in the bread when it’s a peak activity!
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!
I love this and it makes us so happy to hear! Happy baking :)
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.
If I want to shape this into a round to make a bread bowl, how would I adjust the cook times?
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.
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.
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!
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.
The answers on the comments are just as helpful as the instructions themselves. Thanks so much.
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…?
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.
Thank you! Also what’s the best way to get 80 degrees for proofing? My oven doesn’t go that low….
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!)
I use my satellite receiver box and place a try on top with the dough,
close glass door and voila !
I turn the light on in my over the stove microwave. It creates just enough heat inside for perfect proofing.
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…
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 : )
Hi! 5 qt or larger is ideal. Any type will work!
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.
Thank you for catching that!
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
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?
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.
I can stop searching for the perfect recipe…I have found it!!❤️Thank you!!
Haha! You’re welcome!
What if I don’t have bread flour?? :0
Without bread flour you’d have a very hard time shaping the loaf! It will end up flat and very sticky :/
You can make bread flour from AP and vital wheat gluten. Google it for exact proportions.
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?
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.
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 ;-)
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.
Can I leave the bread to proof in the refrigerator longer than overnight, up to 2 days?
Hi! You can do this, but it will probably be a little over proofed and slightly flat.
Hi, is there anything I can substitute if I don’t have a banneton?
Hi! You can use a bowl lined with a floured towel.
If I wanted to add herbs or cheese, at what point would I do this? The last set of folds before refrigerating?
I’m not sure about cheese, but you can add the herbs during the first fold!
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?
Hi! The dough goes straight into the dutch oven! This helps it keep it’s shape.
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?
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.
Had the same issue, bread was undercooked and doughy. My dutch oven can only be heated to 500F.
Should the time in the dutch oven be adjusted/increased because of the lower temp? OR If I leave it longer at the lower temp… How much longer should I leave it in?
I’d give a few more minutes at the lower temperature. When fully baked, it should sound hollow when tapped or if you have a stick thermometer, the bread should be fully cooked on inside at 208F.
And yes, it will grow a bit in the fridge!
If you think it’s going to burn, loosely place a piece of aluminum foil over the top
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.
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?
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!
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!
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!
Hi! I’m trying to find whole wheat flour & rice flour but they’re sold out everywhere!!!! I have plenty of AP & bread flour. What are the substitution amounts for the bread recipe as well as the starter? Also, does the water need to be a certain temperature? Thank you very much! :)
Hi! You can just sub the AP flour for the whole wheat flour. For the rice flour, it’s not completely necessary, it just assists with releasing the bread from the proofing basket!
I have the opposite problem… I have plenty of whole wheat pastry flour, but no regular AP flour. I have some alternatives like cassava and a small amount of gluten free AP flour and regular bread flour. Will any of those combinations work in place of AP flour?
You can just replace the AP flour with bread flour.
Could I replace the AP flour with white wheat flour? And if it’s whole wheat bread flour, is that the same thing as the bread flour called for in the recipe? Sorry for the dumb questions, this is my first time doing this and I really want to get it right. Thank you!
Meant using proofing setting in oven…
I was wondering! :)
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.
Hi! That’s so weird. I’d try shortening the first bake 1 to 2 minutes and extending the second bake at lower temperature.
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.
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.
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 :)
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!!
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!
Due to my schedule, I built the dough through the morning and into the early afternoon. I put it in the fridge at 1:00 pm and won’t take it out until around 7 am tomorrow. Is that too long in the fridge proof?
That should be fine!
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 :)
Hi! That’s weird about your starter! Maybe try using just a few more grams of flour than water in your next batch.
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!
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.
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……..
– 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)
Wonderful! So glad you enjoyed it. You could double the recipe, but I would do two loaves and bake separately.
To clarify with the doubling, Alex, do you mean: 1) double the ingredients, mix everything everything together, and divide the dough into two loaves at the end? or 2) make two separate doughs using the ingredients as called for in the recipe and follow the steps for each of the two batches of dough.
Sorry for the confusion! I would try option 2 here (but I haven’t tried it).
ok – thanks!
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!
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!
Hi! I haven’t tried smaller rolls but I would think it would work!
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.
That’s awesome! I love that you are adding nuts and fruit! We’ll have to try it.
At what point in the proofing do you add the extra ingredients?
Hi! I’d add them in between steps 5 and 6. Let us know how it turns out!
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
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!
Thanks for the very quick reply Alex – i’ll give that a go with my next one :-)
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!
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.
Was hoping you would be able to convert the grams into cups. Thank you!
Hi! This recipe needs to be very exact in order to work. You’ll need to use the weights provided. If you’re looking for a great bread with cup measures, try this one! https://www.acouplecooks.com/artisan-dutch-oven-bread/
I would like to make the sourdough bread in a loaf pan. How would you do this?
Hi! You’d want to bake it at a lower temperature… probably 400 degrees but I’m not sure for how long!
I’ve had success by reducing temperature to 450–475°F for the first stage, and continuing per the original recipe.
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?
I’m not sure, I’m sorry!
Thanks for your response Alex.
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.
So glad you enjoyed it!
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!!
That’s awesome! I need to experiment more with whole wheat.
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
Awesome! So glad you loved it ?
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!
Awesome! I’m so glad the recipe is working for you!
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!!
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!
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 ?
Well that’s cool! I’d just bake it on a pizza stone or on cast iron skillet. No need to flip :)
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?
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.
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
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.
I tried again this week, using a temperature controlled area for proofing where it stayed between 30 and 32 Celsius. It came out perfectly, and is probably some of the best bread I have ever eaten. Thanks so much for your help!
So glad it worked out! Enjoy that bread! :)
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.
Excellent point! It’s updated :)
Hi! I just made this recipe and it had an amazing flavor and inside texture. The top crust however was not crispy and really flimsy. I cooked it exactly as recommended and even left it in a little longer at the end to see if I could get it a little darker. Is there something I did wrong or is the crust on this supposed to be a little softer? Thanks!!
Hi! The crispiness comes from the time in the Dutch oven. You could try a little longer for that portion.
How should I adjust bake time/temp for a 2x size loaf?
I’m not sure! If you have a thermometer look for 208F interior temp.
How long before baking should the dough be removed from the fridge? Should the dough reach room temp?
Hi! Straight from the fridge to the oven.
First time trying an artisan bread, let alone a sour dough and it came out perfect. Looks fantastic. It’s cooling down now and I can’t wait to cut it open. This recipe and video was fantastic. I followed it to a T and it came out great. So proud and happy. So much could of went wrong and thankfully it didn’t. Thank you so much for the instructions and advice.
I love this! So glad it worked out for you :)
Hello! First time sourdough baker here : ) I have all of the necessary items required, except for a kitchen scale. Is it imperative that I measure the amount of each ingredient in grams? Would it be okay if I just converted it to cups/tbs measurements? I realize that weight is different than volume, just didn’t know how serious it is that I use a scale. Your guys recipe is by far the best and most informative that I have found and I can’t wait to make it!!! Thanks for your help : )
Hi! You can definitely make the recipe without a scale, however, since the hydration level is so specific, you may have a very loose or very tough dough if you don’t get it quite right. There’s no harm in attempting it though, if it looks really loose compared to the video you can always add a little bit of flour in the folding stages.
I am searching for a glass container tp store my starter, and like the one in your photo. may I ask if that one is available anywhere to purchase. I have just received my starter. thank you
Hi! I use this one for our starter. https://rstyle.me/n/c8hbzycfipp
My first attempt at sourdough or any bread, there were a few times I thought it wasn’t going to turn out it was so wet. But in the end it turned out beautifully! So delicious
So glad it worked for you!
My third loaf and perfect each time because your instructions and video are so detailed. Love the checklist too! I substitute dark rye flour for whole wheat becaue my starter was raised on rye and AP flour and my thinking is not to switch the yeasts’ diet. Thank you!
So glad to hear this! Happy baking.
I haven’t made this yet but I LOVE your blog and the checklist is ADORABLE “the checklist adds satisfaction”- hahahahaha! I’m very excited to try this. I almost never bake with my starter but its almost two years old and impossible to murder at this point. It’s definitely become more resilient to me ignoring it and also when I do finally try to bake I’m getting much better results!
Haha! Good luck with the bread!
Thank you for all the good stuff you’re sharing! I’ve come across your site and look forward to trying your recipe today! With the high hydration level of my usual dough–for me that’s 75%–I have trouble scoring it and have pretty much given up on that step because the dough is way too sticky to release the blade. Any advice? I’ve tried dipping the blade in a bit of olive oil….
Have you tried just using a straight razor? I generally don’t have issue as long as the blad is super sharp.
After many successful loaves I learned yestereday the importance of always using the checklist. Everythiing was going great until I smelled something burning and realized I didnt turn the oven down to 400 degrees for the rack bake. Easy to forget any one step and every step is crucial for the final result. Thanks again!
This is just a thank you note for stumbling across your site Alex. I started this process only recently baking some artisan breads – all came out perfect. Then wanted to try sourdough and came across your site. Following your steps that first loaf came out amazing, simply amazing – best bread ever. A key question I had (not covered in the video) was whether we let the dough warm after coming out of the fridge – I didn’t know so let it warm up, but that first loaf came out with the best oven spring I have had yet. Next time it will go in cold. For people who don’t have Dutch Ovens – you have lots of questions on them. I have been using an 1800’s original cast iron pot (Hudson Bay Company era) with a tin-metal lid that works perfectly. Basically it is a “Dutch Oven”. However, I travel and can’t take cast iron with me. As an alternative – just for testing – I took a cast iron skillet, placed the bread on parchment and then slipped over the boule a stainless steel bowl. The bowl cost $13.00. I had the skillet. The result has been excellent – loaves come out just as perfectly baked as if in the full-on cast iron environment. So for those who don’t want to spring the for the Dutch Oven there are alternatives. Again, thanks.
Great tip on the skillet and bowl!
We do put the into the dutch oven cold, straight from the refrigerator.
Where the heck is the video for this???
Hi! The video is right at the top of the page, or you can find it on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRebuvd72Ck
The webpage is a little funky and the video doesn’t always show, I’ve noticed that too! I just went on YouTube, found the video and ace the link saved now :)
OMG! Over-the-top FANTASTIC recipe. I just finished making my second loaf. Both came out spectacular! I’ve had my sourdough starter for about 15 years and have never achieved the level of satisfaction that I have with this recipe. I wish I could attach a picture of both loaves. I’ll be using this no-fail recipe again and again.
I’m so glad the recipe is working for you! We’ve made it hundreds of times and love it each time :)
Good afternoon, this is the first time I’m trying to make your sourdough recipe.
I’m on my 4th day of my starter.
My question is do you have a print out of how to make the sourdough bread. I watch the clip, but thought I’d like to see it in print also.
The full recipe is here: https://www.acouplecooks.com/sourdough-bread-recipe-simplified-guide/#tasty-recipes-23323
Thanks for sending me the sourdough recipe it makes it easier for me while I listen to your video.
One more question I use King Arthur flour and I started there sourdough starter. It’s much more complicated then yours.
They a 2 feeding daily, does this make a difference.
I’m using your bread recipe though, and next time your starter.
Sourdough starters are a bit of luck and a bit of science. Many different methods will work! Once you have one going, you just need to keep it maintained. You can find our method here: https://www.acouplecooks.com/how-to-feed-sourdough-starter/
I baked a loaf according to your recipe and it was a great success. In fact it was my best ever bake of a sourdough loaf. My friends who tried it have begged me for the recipe and I gave them your website address.
it looks like my dough is a lot more wet than yours is during the folding phases.
it’s sticking a lot to my hands and bowl. am I doing something wrong?
about to take it out of the oven after the 45 min. proofing.
Also, do you think its the proofing temp? I’m using boiling water to get to what I think is 80 degrees.
Are you using King Arthur flour? If not, you may just need a little more flour. It also might just need a little more time proofing in the oven.
I used your recipe for the first time and my dough was also too wet. But I went through with the baking anyway and it still came out very good. However, it was not very sour despite the fact that the starter looked nice and bubbly. What else can I do?
For a bit more of a tangy flavor, use rye flour in the starter. Regarding the wet dough, you may just need to adjust water slightly depending on your brand of flour and environment.
I use all King Arthur. How much rye flower should I add to my starter?
I’d start with 50/50 rye and AP and go up from there!
I also use only King Arthur. I am going to use Rye flour to make my starter next time. BTW, I decided to make my started all over again because I am out of flour and I can’t get any anywhere. Because of the current pandemic situation I’m sure. What a shame. I even went right to the King Arthur website. I want my sourdough!!!!
My dough was too wet. I noticed this almost immediately, but wanted to stay true to the recipe to see how it went. I think I need to adjust the water amount. When I turned my dough out of the basket in the morning it just spread out flat ? I feed my starter with equal parts. I’m not sure what happened. Can you give me any insight on this?
Hi! What brand of flour did you use?
My bread sometimes comes out with large bulges around the bottom. Have you seen this before and what may be causing it?
Is a dough whisk essential for this recipe? Is there any other tool that I can use instead of a dough whisk?
Not necessary! A simple wooden spoon will suffice.
This recipe and all of the instructions are great, thank you so much for it and for helping everyone out here in the comments.
I followed it completely except two things: I used only AP flour and accidentally used cold water. I am right now waiting until tomorrow (day 3) to bake it but the dough seems very wet so far. Do you think any of the things I mentioned above might affected it? Or should I reduce water/add more flour for the next time?
The dough is supposed to be very wet, but without the extra protein in bread flour it will have trouble holding its shape. Try using the bread flour or a bit less water next time!
Thanks! I appreciate it
First attempt at SD. Thank you very much for the video. Fantastic job! My dough came out pretty wet and sort of spread out, however the flavor was wonderful!! So I will be doing this again and either become better at it, or accept the slightly flatter looking loaf that still tastes great and has a wonderful crumb!
My bread sometimes comes out with large bulges around the bottom. Have you seen this before and what may be causing it?
This is from any large air bubbles that form while doing the final shaping. If you see a particularly large one, you can try to flatten it (just don’t squeeze out air from the whole loaf.
Whats the chance of attempting this recipe with Gluten Free flour? I have bag of King Arthur gluten free flour and was going to give it a go but I worry it won’t be strong enough.
I don’t have any experience with this, but you are welcome to try! My guess is it would be very sticky and hard to work with.
I have never made bread from scratch. I was given a sour dough starter as a gift, I initially thought, “”Thanks, you’ve just given me a chore”. Well, I made one loaf it came out good. Made a second loaf, it came out great. I’m on my fifth now and so happy you’ve put together this step by step. I couldn’t have done it without the video. At least not on the first try and probably would have given up
Question, Covid-19, I would like to make some loaves for the neighbors and friends. Can I split this recipe into 2 after I add the starter? How would the timing on cooking change. The timing is perfect now and flour is in short supply so I don’t have much to test with.
Thanks so much for this gift you have given me.
I’m so glad you’re loving the recipe!
I haven’t tried splitting the dough, but I’d do the full size until pre-shaping (step 7) and then split it. The timing should be the same the shaping.
For baking, I’d guess 16 minutes in the dutch oven and 20 or so on the rack. You just need to bake until it’s 205F in the middle (if you have a thermometer) or until it feels light and hollow.
Thanks, once I can get flour again I will give it a try. I watched an episode of The Chef show on netflix last night and he was making sourdough, it looked like he put a real deep cut in his dough. What is a proper depth for the cut in your opinion.
I made this and it came out amazing! I had to use only half the amount of bread flour (replaced the other half with AP) because bread flour is a little hard to find right now. I will definitely be using this recipe in the future. Thank you!
Glad you enjoyed! :)
Is there a brand of Dutch Oven you recommend? I purchased an inexpensive one from Target – Threshold brand, only now realizing it is not safe above 450 degrees. After doing some research I also saw that Dutch Ovens made out of the UK and USA may not be safe to cook in either. What brand do you trust?
We use an enameled Lodge dutch oven. I think it recommends max temp of 450F but we haven’t had any problems. You could go all cast-iron if you desired: https://rstyle.me/+fBrm2yOQH-Q2XgiWyflpFQ
Hi there! I love this video so much!
I have one issue, my dough is very sticky, and it is really hard for me to mix it with the hands in between proofing.
I even used a bit less water than you did…
And I have 2 types of flour: one with 13 grams of protein and one with 10 grams of proteins. And put half/half into the bread…
I’ve just placed the salt now, waiting for the next step… But any advice would be more than welcomed :)
The dough should be very sticky. Just make sure your hands are wet and you move quickly.
what is the minimum amount of time needed for the final refrigerated proof?
I would do at least 10 hours.
Alex, THANK YOU! Your video, checklist and recipe make this so easy! My bread is in the oven right now and it looks and smells amazing! I really appreciate how everything is so clearly laid out.
Hi Alex and Sonja,
During this current lockdown a friend gave me a sourdough starter. Needless to say I am excited and it’s in the fridge right now in a baggie. The only flour I have at home is Jovial AP Einkhorn flour. IMG_7860.jpg. Any advice? Thanks
I don’t have any experience with einkorn, but I know that people love it! Maurizio has great recipes and has a recipe for einkorn sourdough here: https://www.theperfectloaf.com/einkorn-sourdough-bread/
I love this recipe! Thank you so much. If I wanted to make it more of a whole wheat sourdough how could I do that?
I would try 50/50 bread flour and whole wheat flour. It will be slightly more dense, but should work!
Hi! I am sooo excited for this recipe, I literally went to 6 different stores and I couldn’t find whole wheat flour!!! Can I substitute with a different flour! Please help!
Oh no! You can just use extra all purpose flour. The whole wheat just adds a bit more complexity of flavor. It will still be delicious!
Hi Alex, I normally use my Dutch oven for sourdough, but I like the ease of getting my bread onto the base of my clay bread cloche over trying to get it neatly into the Dutch oven. My only concern is taking the dough directly from the refrigerator cold and putting it onto a hot base. Any experience? Manufacturer instructions only say to avoid extreme temperature differences, but I feel like the bread would heat so quickly it might not matter? Have you ever used one? Thank you for your time. Stay well.
I don’t have experience with this, but I don’t think that the bread would cause any breakage issues because it heats so quickly. Good luck!
I use an Emile Henri cloche and have not had any problems.
Hi – Like many others, in this time of shelter-in-place I decided to try out sourdough…super thankful for your recipe. Q: Last night I was about to start the checklist and then realized it would be a 5-hour endeavor and WAY past my bedtime. Worried about what would happen if I left the starter as is over night, I chucked half and added 50 grams of water and 50 grams of flour and set aside for today. I’ll find out what happens when I get to the baking step tomorrow (I’ll post the result so any readers can know in case they find themselves in the same pickle…). Wondering what your wise counsel would have been…
That should work perfectly, please report back!
Thank you so much for the quick reply. I ended up using my Dutch oven because I know it works. However, I think I’m going to give it a go and see what happens. I’ll let you know how I make out. I found your site a while ago when I first started making bread, but I’ve never commented here. You are the soul reason I let go of my fears and intimidation of baking sourdough. Thank you for sharing the step by step directions and the checklist. I love that I don’t need it anymore, but it was my saving grace when I started making sourdough. I’ve even passed it on to my nieces. Thank you so much!
Sooo…my bread came out the height and density of a bagel (but tasty!). I made other mistakes (didn’t fold properly the last time…over-folded earlier…dough was super wet). Good news is that I have more starter and am trying again. Seems like my starter might also need extra time as it failed the float test this AM.
Thanks for your super speedy reply. And your helpful comments to all. You’re my new favorite cooking site!
I had the same issue. Waiting for post approval and response.
I had the same issue
I’m excited to try this recipe (I’m on step 4 now)! I forgot about a family dinner tonight and it’ll be around the time of step 6 – 7. I was wondering if proofing at room temp for step 6 or resting in the fridge for step 7 would be sufficient in giving me some extra time to sneak away?
I would proof at room temperature for step 6 — that would probably give you an extra 45 minutes to an hour.
Hey there! Question about flour. We only have AP and whole wheat flour. Do you have a suggested ratio?
I’d do 400 grams all purpose flour and also reduce the water quantity by 10 grams or so.
Me again. Today is day two for me. Question, I know there’s that little bit of starter left. Should I feed it or stick it in the fridge instead of discarding?
Love this recipe! Have now made 4 loafs that have all turned out pretty well! I’ve noticed that my dough tends to rise much more than the video, to the point where it takes up 75% of the banneton when I first put it in, and then grows to fill the banneton over night. Any suggestions? I’m using the oven proof setting, but I’m not sure what temperature it’s at.
Thanks so much for the helpful step by step!!
Hi! This shouldn’t be an issue unless the dough is collapsing when baking. If so, I’d just cut the proof time a little bit. My guess is your oven is a bit on the warm side!
Hi, thank you so very much for this amazing recipe and video. I have made it several times and now I make two at a time to give one away. My dilemma is that I have two neighbors who live by themselves. I was thinking I could cut one of the loaves in half and bake them separately to give them each a smaller loaf. It looks like you recommended keeping it in the Dutch oven with lid on the higher temp but then cutting down the bake time once you lower the temp. Is that correct? Would the loaves be too small to do it this way? Would they be little rock’s? ? Thanks!
Yes, this is correct. You won’t get the rise and crust without the dutch oven. I’d split them in half but bake separately and reheat the dutch oven in between. You’ll probably need to adjust the second baking time at a lower temperature (maybe 5 minutes or so) since it’s smaller.
Thanks so much for this extensive tutorial. Can’t wait to get started! Can I swap out the whole wheat flour for dark rye flour? Would I need to make any adjustments if I do?
This should work great!
Just wondering why you stir your starter in after the flour and water and not first ?
This is called an autolyse — it allows the flour to hydrate fully before the sourdough starts working on it. This allows for beautifully textured dough.
Sorry, my phone has autocorrect issues:
I’m on my 4th loaf and the first three were awesome (could’ve risen a little more).
My 4th loaf and it looks like maybe my 5th loaf didn’t rise at all and the loaf was dense and slightly doughy. Also, the dough seemed wetter than usually during and at the end of the proofing on day 2. I used all the same measurements.
Where did I go wrong?
This sounds like it was underproofed — either your starter wasn’t full strength for some reason or the proofing temperature changed?
Thank you. I’ll let you know.
Definitely going to try this recipe. I have not had much success yet. How come there is no kneading involved?
This uses a no-knead folding method because of the high amount of water in the dough. It would be way too sticky to knead.
Thank you so much!!!!!
I followed everything carefully, but the bread comes out too dense. There are a few large holes, but not very many small ones. It did not seem like the dough had risen enough while in the refrigerator. What am I doing wrong?
That definitely sounds underproofed! Are you performing each proof in steps 2-6 in a warm location? If not, they’ll need a little longer for each proof.
I have a 3.3lb oval loaf banneton. I’ve done my research on how to create steam in the oven, since I won’t be cooking in a dutch oven. So, assuming I proof it overnight, would the loaf hold its shape when popped right into the oven?
Also, I’ve made your recipe and degased it to make a sandwhich bread in a loaf pan (so my kids wouldn’t think its “weird”). It’s not the prettiest that way, but it really is good! Thank you!
Hi! Yes, you should be able to place it on parchment and go straight into the oven. If you have a pizza stone, bake it on that!
Im not sure if i am overthinking the recipe. but when it says 200g APF, does this weight include the flour used to feed the starter?
No! This is just for the additional flour. The 80 grams of starter in the recipe is separate.
Is it possible to over-autolyse? If I let it sit for longer than an hour, will it be a major problem?
Not really! A few hours should improve the dough even more.
Made my second sourdough yesterday. First was a brick. Second using this method much better. I do not have a banneton, do used a ceramic loaf pan lines with tea towel that I generously floured. This resulted in a lot of flour stuck to the loaf on the outside. Tried to brush off as much as possible, but still way too much. Resulting loaf tastes great, but chalky white covering on the outside. Will using a banneton resolve this or am I still missing something?
A banneton will help, but we use a 50/50 mixture of rice flour and AP flour to flour the basket. This allows it to release more easily!
My dough tends to be much stickier than what yours seems to be – what should I adjust?
Try reducing the water by 20 grams!
Hi Alex, this is my maiden experience baking SD. I followed your recipe but it super sticky, super gluey making such a challenge to do shaping and moulding – must be quantity of water. Ah, I see your April 16 message to reduce sugar by 20 grams. Had it come 2 days earlier, it would have been timely. Also, I wanted to find out what I could use if I do not have a banneton? Dutch oven – as I do not have one, I used an old enamel pot. It worked well. Thanks for the detailed step by step recipe, notes and video.
If you don’t have a banneton, you can place a well-floured towel inside of a bowl or bread pan. Regarding it being super sticky, you can try reducing the water or changing up your brand of bread flour (assuming you can find any!).
Hi! I’ve done this recipe twice now, and the most recent one was better than the first. However, my bread still looks kinda flat and was less stable (?) than yours. It wouldn’t really hold its shape before it went into the oven. Is there a way to fix this? Could it be my sourdough starter? I’m still new to all of this, and my starter is also relatively fresh, so I’m assuming that could be a part of the problem. Either way, this recipe was super fun to make and try and hopefully I’ll get it right next time!
Hi! What brand of bread flour are you using? They tend to vary in protein level / strength.
Also, I forgot to mention that when I created the slits in the bread they didn’t really hold/bake like yours did, they kind of just molded back into the shape of the bread.
You probably just need to go a little bit deeper!
Thank you so much – very happy with my result. First ever attempt. Bread feels a bit moist but seems cooked, not sure if it just needed a bit longer. Have tagged you in my Instagram post :)
So glad you enjoyed! Maybe could’ve use just a few minutes longer. If you have a stick thermometer, you can test it for 205F-209F interior temperature.
Hi!! I just have a new starter and I want to start making bread, thanks for your video! It was really useful! I have a question, can I use regular sourdough starter for making whole wheat bread?
Yes, this would work if you find a good whole wheat bread recipe!
I made this recipe. Everything was going good, until I got to the end of the 1.5 hour proof. The dough was super wet. I didn’t use a banneton, but proceeded as directed and ended up with a very soggy, sticky loaf. I think I’ve ruined my Dutch oven as well. Arg!
I’m so sorry it didn’t work! Were you using the bread flour as specified?
I had to use All-purpose flour due to the shortage.
For some reason I cannot get my starter to float. I have varied the amount of flour/water, used rye flour, elevated temperature (100 proof oven), everything I can think of. Are there trick of the trade?
When did you start your starter? Maybe it just needs to age a bit?
I find a putting the lid on my jar helps. If your jar does not have a lid you can make one with foil. Also are you testing the float 10-12 hours after your last feeding? I like testing the float in a bowl filled with room temp water (not a tall glass) and with about a teaspoon of stater. If you test with too little and its runny it might not float, for whatever reason… although if its mature it will usually float up to the top even if its just a small amount.
I made this sourdough bread today for the first time ever and I cannot believe how good it is! As it was my first time ever, it wasn’t the most attractive looking bread but it was delicious. I made a couple of mistakes during the process, so I was absolutely amazed when I cut into it and saw all of the lovely air bubbles! I also used your recipe and instructions for the starter, which I am also very pleased with! Thank you!
So glad to hear this! Keep working on that shaping and it will be perfect! :)
I can’t find bread flour anywhere! Is it possible to only use AP flour and whole wheat?
It’s possible but a lot more difficult to maintain the shape! If you try, reduce the water by about 30 grams.
I love your recipe, and the check list is right up my alley. I have a question. In your instructions where you describe how to prepare your starter for baking, you advise to take only 1 tablespoon, feed this with 50 gm water and 50 gems flour and discard the rest. My question: if one plans to use this in making the loaf of bread on Day 2 then there will be no more starter to make future breads or baked goods. Did I miss something? Shouldn’t one keep some and store in fridge feeding twice a day?
The recipe only uses 80 grams of starter, so you have plenty to start the next day’s feeding. We don’t do extra to reduce waste.
my sourdough bread wouldnt rise in the oven. what should i do?
Hi! Was it baked in a dutch oven?
Hi there! As a new sourdough baker I must say this recipe is pure gold. I’ve decided to try my hand at baking with the confinement here in Portugal. My starter took around 3 weeks to become gorgeous and bubbly, and since then I’ve been trying different recipes. This one tops them all! Thank you so much!
Awesome! Glad you enjoyed! :)
Hi Alex. I love your site and all of your advice. I just made my second loaf. The first one following your recipe exactly came out perfect. I tried the second one with half wheat and half white flour (organic). There is no bread flour in New Zealand where I live. It tastes delicious, very flavourful but is a little flat in shape — it didn’t rise as high as the first loaf. I suspect because of the heavier wheat flour? Any advice about resolving that? Thanks again!
This was the best tutorial/recipe I’ve ever followed. I was worried that the dough was too runny, but seeing your video showed everything so perfectly that I knew I was on the right track. My first ever sourdough bread from my first starter – such a fantastic result to start this hopefully life long journey.
Awesome! So glad to hear this “_
Hi – I am now at the last part of the recipe and have placed my dough in the refrigerator – is a (very large) ziploc bag okay to use overnight or is another type of bag better for the dough to remain in until tomorrow when I begin baking. My dough is in a large bowl inside the bag – I just was wondering if plastic works or is it supposed to be in a cloth bag? Thanks!
A large ziploc is perfect!
Well, pretty stoked by my first attempt. 95% whole wheat (5% rye) isn’t the lightest crumb, but it darn edible! The guide check-off was very helpful, I know there was some time spent putting it together, but well worth it.
Where I too had difficulty was with the stickiness. I realize now that you have to account for the water in the starter. If possible, it would be nice to see, especially for beginners, an update to modify for the starter. And as for starter, it was all about the flour. Finally found freshly milled Einkorn flour and wow, no longer issue with floaters and sinkers!
Thanks for all your help!
Hi! The stickiness is an issue with having enough high-protein bread flour in the recipe. This is what allows for the strength to use a high hydration and get the beautiful open crumb.
Thanks for making!
Alex, what (and where) would you suggest for that high protein flour? I’m an neophyte.
Hi! I made your bread over the weekend, and although the dough felt great the whole way through, not too wet, easy to handle, it came out of the banneton and immediately flattened out like a pancake on my counter. I baked it anyway and it tasted great (dense but yummy), but what do you think could have caused that? I used King Arthur bread flour and Gold Medal AP and wheat. That’s all I could get my hands on, given the circumstances.
Hi! That sounds like the final shaping could have been a little bit tighter, or possibly that it was underproofed. If you have a photo, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can check it out!
I didn’t take a picture before it was baked, but I’ll send you what I have from afterwards. Thanks!
Thanks for pulling this all together in one page with the helpful video. Q1: Everything was identical between first and second attempts with the only difference being the salt (V1: Kosher grain, V2: Kosher coarse). Both loaves looked great but the second loaf lacks flavor. Considering adding 20% more salt for V3 but wanted to see if that was a bad idea. Q2: I can’t find rice flour for the banneton with the recent run on baking goods. Any suggestions for alternative? I use semolina for dusting my pizza peel but wasn’t sure if that was suitable. TY!
Semolina/AP flour mixture should work for the banneton.
For the salt, if you’re doing it by weight it shouldn’t matter the coarseness of the salt. This recipe is 2.2%, which is pretty standard, but you could go up to 3% if you wanted!
It says it step 7 “Do not go so far that you tear the dough.” Well, I did. What now? Do I have to scrap the whole thing? Is it salvagable?
Haha! It will be fine, you’ll just have a little scar on the top of the dough. Keep on rolling with the recipe!
My Dutch oven says it is oven safe with a lid up to 375F and up to 500F without a lid. Any recommendations?
You could try it with a pan over the top. The main goal is to keep the steam inside the dutch oven.
On my fourth attempt at making the starter. Every time I I get to the stage of adding 50g AP flour and 50g water it “dies.” Help! :)
That’s really weird! You could try a few more days with whole wheat flour to see if that helps.
It is important to let the water gas off the chlorine as it will kill the yeast- if you are using tap water
Couple Cooks – thank you for the clear video and instructions!
Sometimes I lose track of the method (i really need to use your checklist) -and i may have done an extra fold step. Are you able to tell me what happens as a result of an extra fold? Does it improve the internal air structure? or collapse it?
An extra fold shouldn’t hurt anything or change too much. There’s a chance that it could end up overproofed and a little dense but it should be fine!
This recipe, video, checklist is a great way to dabble in sourdough loaves with how much information there is out there on sourdough-Thank you!
I have tried your 2 x recipe and run short on the fed starter. I noticed that the measurements for feeding the starter are the same in the multiplied recipe as the single loaf recipe. Is this an indication of how healthy my starter is that it doesn’t produce more, or should I be feeding it more for the multiplied recipes?
Sorry the multiplier isn’t working! You should have double the starter as well.
I’m making my second loaf following your recipe and it looks like this one will turn out like the first. My issue is the dough does not increase in size at all. It does have bubbles though. I did the float test with my starter which was all good. I’m proofing in a plastic bag in a warm place but it just doesn’t get any bigger, either during the proofing or in the fridge (I’ve marked the glass bowl with marking pen). It does look like your dough during the folding stages.
Any idea why it doesn’t grow?
Thanks for any help
Hi! I’d try increasing the warmth of your proofing area. It sounds like it’s just not getting quite enough to make it active.
Thanks for the instructions. Really good, but can you please review the wording for step 12.
– It’s confusing when to reduce to 400F (at the start or after 17 minutes)
– The 23 then 17 then 23 minutes – are these consecutive times, or is the 17 minutes part of the first 23? The comment to reduce temperature to 400F when the heading says to do the same makes it appear that it starts at 550F, and part-way through (17minutes) reduce to 400F.
– When does the second 23 minutes start? After the 17 minutes, or after the first 23 minutes?
Maybe I’m just slow :-) but it’s a little confusing to me. :-)
Sorry to confuse you! There are 2 parts of the bake:
515°F for 17 minutes in the dutch oven.
400°F for 23 minutes on the rack.
Hi Alex. not even out of the chutes yet. Received my sourdough starter yesterday. Fed with 50grams AP flour, 50grams water. Let sit out overnight. Slightly bubbly but not doubled in bulk. did not pass the float test. Our house is appx 65 degrees F. Now what? Wait, add, more warmth?
Yes, it could probably use a little warmer spot!
Hi! Excited to try this recipe! What size your oval banneton? Would a 10×6″ work or do I need larger? Thanks!
Ours is 8×6. Yours will work!
I made this bread three times and it came out AMAZING! Great rise and taste. However the last three times I have made it, it’s quite flat compared to the other times. The rise just isn’t there. I think I did switch flours somewhere in this process. What else could it be? Am I over proofing?
Can you email a picture of the cut bread?
Hi Alex, I’ve made two delicious loaves using your recipe and the very helpful video. Thank you for making it so easy! I think I may have just messed up my starter though…. I used all 20 grams of the starter that was leftover from my last loaf when I fed with 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of water. Should I add more flour and water to make up for it. If so, how much should I add? Thanks for your help.
You should be fine, but you can add additional flour and water if you want! Maybe 20 grams each.
Hi there, if my oven has a proof setting and I don’t have a banneton, can I just proof it in the oven with a metal pan?
Yes, that should work!
I’m a newbie and like my sourdough to taste as sour as possible! The first loaf I made with a starter from a friend was perfect but since then all of the loaves have been yummy but not as sour tasting…any suggestions?
I’ve tried using a mix of flours inc a mix of stone ground white + spelt and also sg white + spelt + rye but much the same results with all of them…
Thank you for your fabulously clear instructions and the checklist is amazing!
Have you used rye to feed your starter?I’ve had best luck with that.
Hi Alex…yep…I did an experiment and made 2 loaves…one with the starter I’d fed with rye and one fed with spelt and used the same flours in the loaves but pretty much the same taste…
I’d left the starters out overnight so they were definitely double in size and bubbly but didn’t pass the float test…some of the sites I looked at said that didn’t matter and the loaves definitely doubles in size etc even so…
Hi Alex, thank you for the detailed recipe and video – super helpful. Worked out wonderfully first time. Have been playing around with flours, more wholemeal and using rye too – always with a good base of Plain flour and Strong White Bread Flour too. These loaves don’t rise so much… should I vary the techniques with different flours. Also it is so warm in my kitchen that I fear that the dough is over proofing and is very sticky and difficult to shape without adding quite a lot of extra flour. Would this contribute to less rise? Or is it about the hydration levels? Any advice would be great. Thank you.
The extra flour is probably the culprit. The high hydration allows it to rise in the oven.
I’d try going to full bread flour as the base to add extra protein and leave out the plain flour.
Love your recipe and video! Have made many rounds of successful loaves. I’d like to double to recipe so I can make 2 at a time. What’s the best way to do this? Make 2 separate flour mixtures from the beginning. Or split it somewhere else along the way?
You can do it together and split before the pre-shaping step if you like. However, I prefer to do two separate bowls for ease.
Hi there! You’ve got a great receipe and easy to follow steps which I appreciate. I followed the receipe closely, but the end result after baking is that the inside of the bread is sticky. My dough was also sticky throughout all the steps. Tried to dust more flour but it still doesn’t work.
Do I need to cut down on the water level?
Less water will help with the stickiness, but will result with less rise in the final dough. I’d try again but bake 2-3 minutes longer.
Can’t believe all these replies you’ve made – amazing. So I tried this last night – followed all the steps, but soon ended up with slimy gloop. It stayed as a slimy gloop for most of the steps – admittedly a very airy gloop – like blancmange? Like a mousse stress toy 😂
So… my oven was at 30deg (86F) and I was using a mixing bowl with an air tight lid. It wasn’t long before there was water in the bowl with the dough. Too warm? Don’t use air tight lid?
Help! David – London.
Ha! Blancmange is definitely the fanciest complaint I’ve seen yet :)
Is this the first time the starter was used? If so, it may just need a little longer to gain strength.
Also, you may need to increase the amount of strong bread flour — the version you have in UK may be a bit different than US?
The lid shouldn’t make a difference, but I’d probably have that on loose as well.
My first time trying this procedure and recipe, looking forward to baking it tomorrow. I found the checklist very helpful, thanks for the detail.
Like many others my dough was very wet and difficult to shape, I’ve followed the recipe EXACTLY including the correct flours and measuring by weight.
Or so I thought.
What I didn’t notice, until I was reading through the comments, was that I should have only used 80 grams of the starter I fed last night! I put the whole lot in. No wonder it was so wet!
Maybe a note with the starter feeding that you’ll only be using some of it, not all, would be helpful for those like me who jumped to a wrong conclusion and didn’t do the math. ;-) Oh well, the proof will be in the pudding tomorrow. And next time I’ll know better because I marked up my copy of the recipe in REALLY big letters to remind me.
Thanks for the adventure!
Thanks for the note!
In spite of several “operator errors” my first loaf with your recipe turned out FANTASTIC. Just devoured a warm buttered slice with cheddar cheese for breakfast. Oh my. Thanks for sharing your experience and your recipe!
So glad it worked out!
I’m VERY new to sourdough baking as well but followed your guide as best I could and my results were similar to what David in London described. I ended up adding possibly too much flour towards then end so I could at least shape it somewhat. I couldn’t find Bread Flour so only used Whole Wheat and the AP for rest. Baked it this morning and it’s not bad — but very dense compared to your lovely photos and the crust is very hard to cut through. My started isn’t new but it had been in the fridge for over a week before I fed it a day or so before I started this process. Could both the starter and the lack of Bread Flour be my problem? I really enjoyed your video overall though!
Hi! The bread flour is essential for our version because it has a higher protein content. This allows it to stretch and open up into the nice crumb in the pictures. The starter should be ok if it was nice and bubbly.
Hi Alex, I’ve made this bread 3 times now & each time it’s been SO delicious and worth the effort. The video is priceless. Thank you! One question: I’d like to make two loafs on the same day from now on but does that mean that I need to create & feed a second starter? (I’d prefer to only have one starter to maintain.)
Hi! You can just double the starter quantities and maintain one :)
When figuring the hydration % aren’t you supposed to add in the starter? So wouldn’t it be 390/490 = 80%?
I’ve seen people calculate it both ways!
Hi Alex, just made a loaf of bread using your recipe and I couldn’t believe it came out gorgeous! I’ve tried other ways and recipes in making sourdough bread but yours works for me. Thank you so much for sharing the video I followed every single step watching the video. God bless!
So glad you loved the recipe! ☺️
I love your recipe and super-helpful video! But I have a question that I haven’t seen here yet.
How do you get the bread out of the DO and onto the rack at the 17 minute mark? I’ve tried lifting the parchment paper but it’s so baked that it tears. So I usually end up tipping it out onto my oven mitt, which always makes a big dent.
How do you get yours out without damaging the shape?
Hi! I just lift it out with oven gloves, as long as you pick it up from sides it shouldn’t collapse.
Hi Alex, I could only find Red Mill gluten free bread flour at the store. Will this be ok to use for the bread flour in your recipe? Thank you. We’re all loving this bread. Each time I make it I have an easier time. Although the process is long it’s worth the effort.
Hi! I’ve never tried it, but I don’t think it would be a great substitute. The gluten is pretty essential to this high hydration recipe.
I have tried this recipe a few times. Each time the crust is too tough and insides too chewy. How can I fix this?
Hi! Try doing a minute less in the dutch oven and a few minutes more at the lower temperature.
Thank you só much for the most wonderful recipe ever. I’m no cook, but followed your instructions carefully, and suceeded with 7 loaves already! Thank you so much. At the moment it is winter in South Africa and I struggled with my starter in the beginning. Took me 11 days. Once I moved it to a sunny room it suceeded. We do’nt have parchment paper here, so I use baking paper. It melts into the bread. Maybe I can go without? Thanks again for the best recipe and video ever!
So glad it’s working for you! You should be able to just skip the paper, but you’ll have to be very careful transferring it to the dutch oven.
I would like to thank you for the recipe and the very easy to follow steps. I tried other recipes but I never succeeded. Following your recipe, I have successfully been making sourdough bread, loved by my family as well as friends I have been having the joy sharing the bread with. If I were to reduce the recipe by a third, how would it affect the baking time both in the dutch oven and after when I take it out of the dutch oven?
Hi! I haven’t tested this, but I would assume the dutch oven time would be the same. The second bake would probably be reduced by 5 minutes or so. If you have a stick thermometer, check for an internal temp of 205F.
I’m in process of waiting the 45 minutes for the fold before letting it rise 1.5 hours. Can I stick this in the fridge right after I fold and pick up tomorrow morning with letting dough come to room temp, then rising the 1.5 hours and proceeding to shape? Or would it be better to refrigerate over night before the final shaping? I’m running out of time and wondering how flexible this schedule is…any help is appreciated!
I’d probably vote for option 1 if I had to choose. I hope it worked out for you!
This is a fabulous recipe! I have made several rounds. I want to make a loaf with cranberries and walnuts. How would I do add ins? What step would I be able to add things in?
So glad you’re enjoying it! I’d try between steps 5 and 6.
Oh my gosh! Such a wonderful recipe and video. I have had no luck shaping high hydration dough until now. I watched your video over and over and finally got it. My loaves don’t have as many big beautiful holes but I’m sure that will come with practice. Thank you too for the checklist. it was invaluable. I love this bread!
I’m so glad it worked for you!
Thank you for sharing this recipe and method! I tried a bunch of other recipes – flour types and ratios, timing, temperature, etc – and this one worked FAR better than any other. Super moist, sour, flavorful, and full of holes :)
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! :)
If I wanted to add zaatar into the bread, when and how would I add it? Would it be at the same time the salt is added?
Or do you not recommend adding any additional seasonings
Hi! I’d add it in between steps 5 and 6. Let us know how it turns out!
It turned out really well!! Thank you so much for replying.
Hi from Manila, Philippines! I used your recipe and I find it most “user friendly” amongst all the recipes I’ve used! This is my 4th attempt in making the sourdough bread! LOL! The last one was semi-successful. I got a good crumb, but my rise was not good. I used a little bit less water but I noticed my dough had a lot of gummy bumps, and is not coming out as smooth as what you have in your video. I used the same flour types and weights as suggested. But it’s still too tacky. I added 2 more stretches and folds (with 45 minutes resting in between), so let see how this goes. I am just waiting for my last stretch and fold before the bulk rise. Just wanted to say that your recipe is very easy to follow. Thank you.
You’re welcome! You could try using a higher proportion of bread flour next time too — there may be variations in Manila compared to our home in the US.
Hi, Alex! I adjusted water to humidity and increased bread flour by 15gms. The bread turn out was very good, best one I’ve made yet. So, again many Thanks for sharing all your tips and this recipe!!! Love, love, love it!
Love the excellence you guys put into everything!
Sourdough discard use suggestion:
Spread any excess sourdough starter onto a silpat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet, let it dry in the oven with the light on for a day or two.
First, this is dried starter to keep in a glass jar in case you accidentally destroy or ruin your starter (just reconstitute it…lots of sites to tell you how to do it).
Second, I use a spice grinder and powder the starter into flour (the bacteria and yeast have already done the work and the drying gets rid of the water) then, I use that flour to make anything from homemade ramen noodles to pasta to cookies and it has the benefits of sourdough breaking down the flour but doesn’t add any unnecessary water to the recipe…and no waste!
I love this idea. Thanks for sharing!
That is such a great tip! Will try that. My only problem is humidity. I cannot seem to make friends with it when making bread! LOL! Thanks again for this.
I did it!!! I followed your recipe exactly and something edible came out of my oven this morning. Thank you so much. I think I know my errors and fill try again next weekend.
Haha! Yay!! Happy baking.
After many many attempts, I finally got the perfect results. To do that, I modified the hydration percent by increasing the flour content by an additional 100 grams and keeping the water at 350 grams. Without this modification, the dough was always too wet and would spread out like a pancake. The finished loaf would then be flattened. Now, the bread comes out lofty and well textured however, still not very sour. Now I am working on making it more sour. I read a lot about this and besides adding rye flour to the mix, it is recommended to ferment the dough longer. In your instructions above (number 9), you say to refrigerate over night. Do you think it would be good to refrigerate an additional night which would amount to about 36 hrs instead of 12?
Hi! You can play around with a longer ferment but you need to make sure your fridge is at its coldest setting or the dough will over proof. Maybe start with an 18 hour ferment.
Ok I’m going try 18 hrs starting tonight (in process now). That should mean it will be time to bake at 11 AM tomorrow. If you care to know, I will let you know how it comes out. Thanks.
Thank you so much for the sourdough recipe! While there were a lot of steps and took a little bit of planning, this was by far the best sourdough I’ve ever made. It turned out beautiful! The check list is such a smart addition and really glad you also had a video. I had to reference it a couple times. I’m a newbie to baking and have been wanting to use my homemade starter more often. I did “accidentally” spray the top of my bread with water before baking because for some reason I thought I read that somewhere. However, it still turned out great.
So glad it worked out for you! Happy baking :)
Help, please. Your recipe was recommended by someone who mastered it. I know that I missed discarding starter at the next to the last feeding. Is that why it wasn’t very bubbly on bake day? The aroma and flavor of the bread are good, but it didn’t fully rise and the crust is tough. Shall I toss the starter and begin anew? Thanks,
Hi! If you starter is pretty new it might just take a little longer to get it to full strength. I’d keep feeding and try again!
After a year of trying I was pointed to your website and made a lovely loaf. I’m almost finished my second loaf and it too is looking hood. I have a question. The dough seems ok when I start but when I get to the golfing steps it seems quite wet. So I find it difficult to get tension on the surface. So shaping the loaf is not do good. I was wondering if I could a, add a few mls less water, b knead it a little after adding the starter, or c something else.
Any suggestions. Btw I’m using King Arthur bread flour which has a high protein content.
Kneading won’t help because it’s such a wet dough. I would try do about 30ml less water so it’s a more workable dough. Once you have a few good loafs you can start increasing the hydration (which allows for the beautiful open crumb). Happy baking!
It looks like my proof reading and my proofing could both use some work.
I am so happy to have found your checklist and recipe! I am using a dutch oven to bake and a round banneton.
Baked a loaf today and it did not seem to have much oven spring. the middle of the loaf had a lot of big bubbles, when i cut the loaf in half it was almost like a cavern in the middle of the loaf. I am trying to figure out what happened. I used the flours as you mentioned in the recipe. my starter is whole wheat. only king arthur flours. any thoughts? it tastes great.
Hi! That sounds like the dough was pretty under-proofed. Are you doing the rises in a heat-controlled area? They could use some more warmth.
interesting. For proofing I have been using my oven with the light on…Ok so large cavernous-like bubbles could be a sign of underproofing? Maybe I should stretch the times a bit along the way? I will keep playing with it. Thank you !
Your instructions and video were very helpful and my loaf came out okay and tastes great. My only issue is that the inside ended up a bit gummy and shiny. I was able to achieve all of the temperatures, including the inside being 208F when I took it out of the oven, but it just does seem fully cooked. Any thoughts or hints about avoiding that gummy texture? Thanks.
Hi! We’ve only had that issue when we used a higher percentage of bread flour. What brand flour are you using?
Hi Alex, Thanks for your reply. I am getting ready to bake again tomorrow so have just gotten back to this post. I live in Canada and the bread flour is from a bulk store, so I don’t have a brand name. It is just listed as hard unbleached bread flour. I also use Robinhood unbleached all purpose flour in the recipe.
I’d try just a slight tweak to the percentages. Maybe 225 grams AP flour and 175 bread flour. Happy baking!
Hi Alex, I tweaked the flour ratio and I took another shot at baking the bread. Everything seemed to go along as per your instructions and video. The loaf came out beautifully brown and crisp with a great spring / rise and nice ear. The internal temp measured 210F when I took it out of the oven. Unfortunately, after letting the loaf sit a few hours, I cut into a wet and gummy interior. It was full of nice air pockets and the color even looked okay to the eye, but it was just mushy and inedible. The one observation I had while working the bread is that when I shaped the bread it took a bit of work to get it to stay in a ball and when under the bowl for the 30 minutes it did loose its shape and flatten out. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.
Hi Jim, just thought I’d step in if you’re still baking, because I used to have the same issue. I now cook my bread to 211F. Also, I look at my thermometer and make sure there is no gummy-ness on the tip; you might have to leave it in the oven longer for it to dry out more. My oven doesn’t go to 515F, so I bake it at 500F in the dutch oven for 25mins, then just remove the lid and lower to 400F for 20-30 minutes…. ALSO check your thermometer against boiling water to make sure it’s accurate/precise :)
Awesome recipe and instructions…love the check off list! Thank you so much for giving our family a yummy project during the stay at home order. We’ve been making our friends on Zoom jealous! 😆
With the exception of the really hot few weeks during summer, your SD recipe has been a constant part of the family diet.😋 We’re into our 9th month making this recipe and have re-discovered our garlic roaster recently and started adding the roasted garlic (roasted in olive oil and sometimes rosemary) into step #8. We add the strained roasted cloves just before you fold and roll. We were afraid it might do something to the rise, but it did just fine. OMGness, the smell and taste are even more amazing! We give you many thanks for sharing and wish you both good health and happiness!
This makes me so happy to hear! Thanks for the comment and I’ll definitely try the roasted garlic version the next time we make a starter!
Hi Alex, I’ve been successfully baking awesome sourdough loaves since last April, thanks to your recipe and videos. My first three were disasters but after that, something clicked and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. My one problem: it is so incredibly difficult to slice once the knife gets to the bottom crust. We tend to leave the loaf unsliced, on the cutting board and wrapped in a linen dish towel. We slice as needed over a period of 2-3 days (before it’s time for the next one!) but the difficulty slicing does not change from newly baked to two days later. I couldn’t find any other posts mentioning this issue, so I’m wondering if you have any advice to help with my slicing issue? Thank you!
Hi! Is the bottom just very tough and the knife not going through? If so, I’d say your dutch oven is just a little on the hot side. I’d try reducing the first half of the bake to 500F rather than 515F. It might just be variation in temps at the super high heat.
I’ve tried at 500F and it’s still pretty tough to slice at the bottom – and I’m using an otherwise super sharp serrated knife to slice. Could I try even lower temp? Also, I’m preheating the Le Crueset Dutch oven that I use for baking the first 17 min. Any other variations you would recommend?
Hi – I tried reduced temp to 500F and still have a tough time slicing through bottom of the loaf. It’s ever so slightly better, but still a workout. I am using an otherwise super sharp serrated knife to slice. Also, I’m preheating my Le Crueset Dutch oven beforehand. Would you recommend reducing the temp further? Anything else I could try?
Yes – just very tough and knife not going through. I will try as you suggest and let you know how it goes. Thank you so much for your reply!!!
This is my go to recipe for sourdough bread. I’ve made this a bunch and the crust is nice and crackly and the crumb is excellent. However, the bottom crust is dark, tough and hard to cut with a serrated edge knife. I use the dutch oven and parchment and I put the loaf straight on the shelf for the 2nd bake (no parchment). Any tips on “softening” the bottom crust?
Hi! If the bread seems plenty hard when you are removing it for the second bake, you could shorten the first bake by 2-3 minutes. You could also try doing a double layer of foil under the parchment in the dutch oven to give it a bit of cushion during the first bake.
I have been making sourdough bread using this recipe for the past 10 months and its sooo easy and awesome! However I recently discovered (after doing a cleansing diet) that bread gives me an upset stomach! I’ve hear einkorn flour might be a good alternative– Have you make this recipe with einkrorn? Do you recommend I make any adjustments if I use 100% einkorn flour? I LOVE sourgdough bread and dont want to stop baking and eating it– I’m hoping this is a good option. Thank you for your help!!
Hi! I’m so glad you enjoy the recipe. Unfortunately I don’t have any experience with einkorn. My guess is that if you go 100% einkorn you’d want to decrease the water by 30-50 grams to make it workable. Please let me know if you try it!
Love this recipe, I have shared with friends who are looking to start making sourdough. It is something that requires patience and practice to really understand the science and to develop instincts. My starter survived the winter and is ready to go for summer 2021!
I’ve made this many times using the 3 Day process. I love it! My schedule next week will be busy. Is it possible to accelerate Step 9 (Store covered in fridge overnight) and do the bake late in the day on Day 2? Any suggestions on how I do that?
I haven’t tried it, but I would skip the banneton and fridge and just do one final rise after shaping. Use steps 2 & 3 from this post: https://www.acouplecooks.com/easy-no-knead-bread/#tasty-recipes-60435-jump-target
This recipe came out wonderful! I wish I could post a picture of my loaf. Definitely the best results and taste I’ve tried yet! Thank you!
So glad to hear this!
Hi! I’ve made your bread several times and it turns out well except it is so dark at the end. I’m not sure about the timing-put the dutch oven in the oven and then turn on oven- do I bring it to 515 and wait 30 minutes and add the dough or leave it in for 30 minutes and then turn it down to 400 and put the dough in the dutch oven. Hopefully you can understand what I mean. Thanks!
Hi! Place the dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 515, or at least 30 minutes. After that add the dough and bake 17 minutes, then reduce the heat, remove the bread from the dutch oven and bake additional 23 minutes.
What is the maximum hours it can sit in the fridge for the overnight rest? I have tried the recipe and love it, but wonder if I would get a better oven spring with less overnight hours?
We haven’t messed around with it too much. A tighter fold and shaping will probably give you more spring than adjusting the fridge time.
I can’t seem to get a very large ear on my sd. I have used your recipe and another one that had some ww flour with about the same result.
You probably just need to go a little bit deeper at a shallow angle.
This is the most wonderfully simple breakdown of how to make a sourdough loaf – thank you! My loaf came out 9/10 and I was so impressed. It was just ever so slightly dense in the very middle, about a 2inchx2inch area. I read that this could be from not letting the loaf come to room temperature before baking. I would love to hear your thoughts!
Hi! That sounds like you could just use a little more spring in the oven. Did you allow the dutch oven to preheat for the full amount of time?
Any way to shorten step 9 (store in fridge overnight)? Do steps 1-8 in the am, store in fridge for the day and bake in the evening?
You could try it, but it will end up with a more dense loaf.
I’m just about to start making this. My oven doesn’t only heat to 80 degrees. The lowest is 170. How should I proof my dough?
You can preheat the oven for two minutes and then turn it off just to make the space warm.
Its my first time making sourdough and I’m making it for a competition and it kinda just falls over itself and melts kinda do you know what I did wrong?
Hi! It’s really hard to get right on the first time. The folding technique is what builds the strength to prevent collapse and you need to have the proofing temperature warm enough for it to ferment.
What a great, easy to follow recipe! It’s been a while but I’ve done sourdough a few times in the past with mixed results. This was by far the easiest recipe to follow that I’ve tried and it turned out beautiful!
So glad it worked for you! :)
Can I double the recipe and make 2 separate loaves? If so, at what point in the process would I split the dough into the two loaves?
We haven’t had great luck with this! I’d recommend just doing to fully separate batches at the same time.
When you double the recipe, do you bake both loaves at the same time?
I don’t every double the recipe, but I would do separate baking if you do!
Hello! I made this recipe many times in 2019 and it always came out great and I had high rising loaves. I made a new sourdough starter recently and have attempted this recipe 4 times over the last few months, and my loaves are coming out really flat every time. I tried doing some extra folds last time but it didn’t help. I have tried doing the rising both at room temperature (77 in my kitchen) and in the oven after heating it for a minute. Nothing is working. Any ideas on why this would happen or what else I should try? I am using King Arthur flour. Thank you!!!
Hi! Your starter is probably just a little weaker than before. You could try some of these tips: https://crustylabs.com/strengthening-a-weak-sourdough-starter/
I’ve made this bread twice and it came out delicious. This last time, I had to let it rise in a bowl to keep it round to fit my Dutch oven. My banneton is the length to make more of a baguette style. It’s still thick enough to make a long sourdough loaf, so I’m wondering can I just bake it on a sheet? The first time, I used the banneton and my Dutch oven, and it was good but squished in the pot. LOL! I’ll buy the right size banneton next time. Anyway, I thought about baking the loaf on a baking sheet. Your thoughts?
Alex and Sonja, I have been using your recipe and checklist for over three years now and it’s awesome! I play around with substituting in spelt flour and rye flour and it has worked fine. I even take one batch and make two mini loaves instead which is nice for appetizers or as little hostess gifts. Thank you for sharing your gift of cooking and baking with all of us!
Love this! Thanks for making.
Way back in 1979 I lost my California grown starter due to hurricane David.
I tried to start my own using wild yeast, no luck after 5 tries.
Recently acquired a California starter, purported to be 70 plus years.
Folks ask me if the age is a reason, I reply, no the age has nothing to do with it.
If it’s a good starter, you keep it and share, if it’s lackluster, you discard it.
Being old is a good indicator of its quality and performance.
Love your checklist, seeing as I’m 70, a list is almost a requirement now.
I have been making a triple mix and bumping the WW to 250 grams and dropping the AP down to 400grams.
Cook off in a 12 qt oven, turns out great, with the timing adjusted accordingly.
Cut it into quarters and freeze, lasts the 2 of us a month.
I like to use a thermometer to gauge the doneness, for SD bread, 210 seems just right.
I have shared your checklist and my starter far and wide.
Daughter even took some BACK to California, lol.
So glad to hear this! Thanks for making the recipe!
If I don’t want to use whole wheat flour, or prefer to use rye or einkorn
with or some other flour is on how do I change the proportions?
You are going to need the bread flour for strength in this recipe, you can start playing with substituting portions of the other flours.
Thanks for this recipe. I’ve used it many times. It’s always a hit.
I want to make the crust a little less crusty😊. Should I just run the second stage in the oven at 350/375 instead if 400?
Actually, you can just put a damp cloth over it as it cools.
How long can you leave your sourdough in the refrigerator before baking it?
Just overnight or it will get too large!
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