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.
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