Sourdough Bread Recipe (VIDEO) (2024)

This Sourdough Bread Recipe makes the most incredible loaf of bread with a crunchy crust, airy crumb, an impressive oven rise and ‘ear’ using the right scoring technique. Discovering the art of baking sourdough bread has been such a gift for our family and I hope this video tutorial inspires you to dive in as well.

After making hundreds of loaves, I am confident this staple recipe has all the tips and techniques you’ll need to succeed whether it’s your first time or if you’re looking to refine your bread baking skills.

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Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe

Crusty sourdough bread is so beautiful, versatile, and crowd-pleasing. We love toasting a slice for breakfast with Honey Butter or Peach Preserves. It’s excellent for a BLT Sandwich for lunch, and paired with Soup Recipes. You can even cut it up for Homemade Croutons. With all these delicious possibilities, you can see why sourdough bread recipes have become so popular recently.

If you don’t already have a sourdough starter, you’ll be happy to know it only requires 2 ingredients to make one from scratch. See our tutorial on How to Make a Sourdough Starter.

Sourdough Bread Video

Watch Natasha make this easy sourdough bread recipe in just a few steps. Be sure to note the shaping and scoring techniques so your bread will look just as beautiful each time!

Why This Sourdough Bread Recipe Works

I love baking sourdough bread because it’s as fun as it is tasty. Here’s why we know you’ll love it as much as we do!

  • Beginner-friendly – If you’re new to sourdough baking, or just looking for a great, basic sourdough bread recipe, this is it!
  • Easy to double – this recipe makes 1 loaf of bread, but it’s easy to double which is what I do weekly (the bread freezes so well!)
  • Flexible timing – The final fermentation step before baking includes a long rest in the fridge (also called cold proofing). This final step gives you a 8 to 48 hour window to bake, making it easy to bake on your schedule.
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Ingredients

It’s amazing how simple the ingredient list is for this sourdough bread recipe since it has so much flavor and a nice chewy crumb.

  • Flour – we prefer organic flour, but regular will work as well. Bread flour has a higher percentage of protein than all-purpose flour, giving the bread a chewy texture, but both flours will work. My favorite is to order Central Milling Company Artisan Bakers Craft flour but I have also used Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour with great results.
  • Rye, whole wheat, or whole grain flour (optional)– these give the bread more flavor. You can substitute this portion with bread flour.
  • Fine Sea Salt – this ingredient is so important! It aids in fermentation, gives flavor and color, and gives a good oven spring (rise in the oven).
  • Water – filtered, bottled or dechlorinated water is best and should be room temperature or lukewarm (85˚F). You may need to experiment with water quantities. This recipe was made in an Idaho kitchen which is in a dry climate. If you live in a high-humidity area, use less water.
  • Active Sourdough Starter – this is a starter that has been fed within the last 6-12 hours, has more than doubled in size, and is bubbly. See my post on How to Make Sourdough Starter if you don’t already have a starter and How to Feed Sourdough Starter once it’s established.
  • Rice Flour (optional) – for dusting the bread basket, or use bread flour.
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How to Make Sourdough Bread

Timing Tip: The process of making sourdough is mostly hands-off rising time. To help you gauge – if you start with step 1 in the morning, say 10am, you should be ready to mix the dough by 2pm and in the fridge by 6-7pm for overnight cold fermentation.

Step 1: Feed your starter

For a single loaf, mix 50g of starter with 50g of bread flour and 50g of lukewarm water (up to 85 degrees). Scrape the sides of the jar, loosely cover, and mark the height on the outside of the jar with a rubber band or dry-erase marker. Let sit at room temperature for 4-6 hours or until it has more than doubled in volume.

Step 2: Make the dough

In a large bowl, whisk the flours and salt until mixed. Add the water and active starter and stir using a wooden spoon then use your hands until thoroughly mixed. It will be a wet and sticky dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel.

Pro Tip:

A kitchen scale makes the process so much faster, more precise (measuring in grams), and less messy – no need to clean any measuring cups. You’ll love sourdough baking more if you have a digital kitchen scale.

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Step 3: Bulk Fermentation Stage

Rest the dough for a total of 4 hours, performing a stretch and fold routine after every hour. Stretch and fold: Wet your hands so the dough doesn’t stick. Stretch or pull up gently on one side of the dough without tearing it. Then fold it over itself, turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the stretch on the other 3 sides until all 4 sides are stretched. Cover and repeat each hour for 4 total stretches. It will be tougher to stretch towards the end as the dough develops.

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Step 4: Shape the Loaf

After the 4th stretch and fold, lightly flour your work surface to shape the dough. Flour your hands, turn the dough out onto the surface, and gently stretch and shape the sourdough bread for your cooking pot.

  • Shape a Round Loaf: stretch the dough from the top down onto the center. Turn a quarter turn and repeat until all the sides are folded in.
  • Shape an Oval Loaf: Fold the sides of the dough alternating left and right from top to bottom. Then tightly roll the dough from the top to the bottom.
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Step 5: Bench Rest

Let the dough rest for 20 minutes. First, turn the dough seam-side down. Then cover with a towel. After 20 minutes, if it seems to have loosened up too much, gently re-shape it using the same process as above.

Step 6: Tighten the Loaf

Flour your hands and cup the outsides of the dough. Then tuck the sides of the dough underneath. Slide the dough down the counter in a circular motion about 6 inches, using its slight stickiness to tighten the ball/oval. Don’t over-flour your surface and try not to tear the dough.

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Pro Tip:

A banneton is a bread basket made to hold dough as it ferments. It should be shaped to match your pot (oval for oval baking dish, round for round baking dish). Before your first use, season the basket or liner by lightly spraying it with water, dust generously with flour (preferaby rice flour for a nicer crust and less sticking), let it fully dry then scrape out any excess with a spatula. Always let it fully dry after use and scrape out excess flour before storage.

Step 7: Cold Fermentation/Proofing

Flour the banneton proofing basket, or tea-towel-lined bowl generously. Place the dough inside seam-side up and cover with a towel. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours. It can stay refrigerated for up to 48 hours until you’re ready to bake the sourdough bread. It will rise slightly but won’t double.

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Step 8: Preheat Oven

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. This may take 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes for some ovens. If using a combo cooker with low sides, cut a piece of parchment to cover the bottom. If using a Dutch Oven with higher sides, lay a piece of parchment on the counter. Put the Dutch oven/combo cooker into your oven to heat (without the parchment) at least 30 minutes before baking. Set your pizza stone on the bottom rack, if using (a pizza stone helps to keep the bottom of the bread from getting too dark).

Step 9: Score the Sourdough Bread

Remove the dough from the fridge. If using a combo cooker, place the parchment circle into the hot pan, and turn out the dough into the hot pot seam-side-down. If using a Dutch oven, turn the dough out on the parchment paper. Using the lame (A curved lame works best to get the distinctive ear) or a serrated knife, make a crescent shape cut from the base of one side of the dough to the base of the dough. Keep the blade at a 45-degree angle to the dough and cut 1/4 to 1/2″ deep (it’s ok to go over it a second time, just be confident).

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Step 10: Bake the Bread

If using a Dutch oven, lift the parchment paper to place the dough (on the parchment) into the Dutch oven. Using hot mitts, cover the Dutch oven/combo cooker with the hot lid and place it into the oven. Reduce the heat to 450 degrees and bake for 20 minutes to allow the trapped steam to cook the crust of the bread. Then, remove the lid and bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer the finished sourdough bread to a cooling rack and cool completely before cutting.

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What is the Best Cooking Pot for Sourdough?

You can use a variety of pots. Either a 5 1/2 qt cast iron Dutch Oven or cast iron combo cooker with lid are great options. My combo cooker is my favorite because the lower sides make it easier to score in the pot, but you can score the bread on the counter and transfer the dough ball into a dutch oven using parchment paper

Pro Tip:

Dust the banneton with rice flour for a prettier, crispier crust. My cousin Enna introduced me to this idea, and while it’s not necessary, it makes for a beautiful loaf. The extra flour just brushes away after it’s baked. See the bread flour on the left and the rice flour on the right in the photos, below.

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How to Get the Best Oven Spring

Oven spring is the rise the dough gets when it’s in the oven, mostly occurring in the first 10 minutes. Here’s how this sourdough bread recipe creates the best rise:

  • Covering the pot – A Dutch oven or combo cooker helps trap the steam to create a good rise.
  • Bulk Fermentation and cold fermentation help to prevent over-proofing (exhausting the yeast), so the yeast has plenty of life left for a burst of activity as the oven heats the dough.
  • Tightening the dough is a critical step in getting the best oven spring. You want the outside of your dough to be taught to trap the air bubbles but not to tear it.
  • Scoring the bread is also important to help it open up and rise properly
  • Salt helps the yeast slowly ferment, creating a better crumb with more big and small bubbles and better oven-rise
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Do I need to “Slap and Fold?”

Some sourdough bread-makers will slap the dough against the counter and then fold it onto itself right after the dough comes together. This is called the ‘slap and fold’ and is supposed to tighten up the dough. I used to do it but found it to be unnecessary. It just makes you counter messy and the ‘stretch and fold’ during the bulk fermentation tightens up the dough without this extra step.

Can I Bake Right Away?

You can skip the slow fermentation in the refrigerator but your bread won’t have as much sourdough flavor. If you prefer to bake right away, you can cover and let it proof at room temperature for 1 to 2 1/2, depending on the room temperature, or until it is puffed but not doubled in size then score and bake as directed.

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How to Serve Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is so versatile! Use it in place of sliced bread for sandwiches, or as a crusty bread with soups. Here are some of our favorite dishes to serve with sourdough bread.

  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Beef Stew
  • Tomato Soup
  • Salami Cream Cheese Sandwich
  • Chicken Melts
  • Reuben Sandwich

Make-Ahead

Sourdough bread keeps well on the counter for up to a week wrapped in a bread bag, beeswax wrap, zip-top bag, or plastic wrap.

  • To Refrigerate: This is not necessary, but if you do, be sure to wrap it in an airtight container so it won’t dry out
  • Freezing: Wrap the boule (sourdough bread round) in foil. Then place in a freezer zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To Reheat: Thaw on the counter
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Our sourdough bread recipe is as easy as it is fun! You’ll love how this crusty, chewy bread looks like a work of art and tastes like one too. Share your creations with us in the comments and on social media. We’d love to hear how your baking went and see photos of your finished loaves.

More Homemade Bread Baking Recipes

Once you try baking this sourdough bread, you’ll be hooked on homemade bread! Try these delicious recipes.

  • Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
  • Crusty French Bread Recipe
  • Wreath Bread Recipe
  • Brioche Bread
  • Irish Soda Bread
  • Zucchini Bread

Sourdough Bread Recipe

5 from 18 votes

Author: Natasha Kravchuk

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Whether you’re new to sourdough or an experienced baker, our sourdough bread recipe is the perfect go-to recipe to make an amazing artisan loaf. You’ll love the beauty of this crusty and chewy bread, and the timing is flexible to work into your schedule. After the bulk ferment for just 4 hours, you will cold proof in the refrigerator for 8-48 hours then bake when you're ready. It’s also easy to double the recipe to make two loaves.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes mins

Cook Time: 40 minutes mins

Resting Time: 16 hours hrs 20 minutes mins

Total Time: 17 hours hrs 20 minutes mins

Ingredients

Servings: 1 loaf

  • 400 g bread flour, or all-purpose flour, plus more to dust
  • 55 g rye flour*, or whole wheat or bread flour
  • 10 g fine sea salt
  • 345 g filtered water, or dechlorinated water or spring water, luke-warm up to 85˚F.*
  • 100 g active sourdough starter
  • Rice flour, optional for dusting the bread basket

Instructions

  • Feed your sourdough starter 1 or 2 times before making your sourdough bread, depending on how healthy it is. For a single loaf, (using a kitchen scale to measure) mix 50g of starter with 50g of bread flour and 50g of lukewarm water. Cover with a loose fitting lid and let it rise at room temperature until more than doubled in size, about 4-6 hours.*

  • Make the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together bread flour, rye, and salt. Add water and sourdough starter and stir together with a wooden spoon then use your hand to thoroughly mix together, pinch the dough as you mix to make sure it's very well combined. It will be a very sticky dough. Scrape down the bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let the dough rest at room temperature for 4 hours in a warm spot (bulk fermentation).

  • Bulk Fermentation Stage: After every hour, do a round of “stretch and fold” – with wet hands to prevent sticking, gently lift up on one side of the dough and stretch it upwards (avoid tearing the dough), and then fold it over onto itself. Rotate the bowl a quarter turn and continue to stretch and fold about 3 more times or until the dough resists pulling. Keep the bowl covered with a towel between your stretch and fold rounds. After 4 hours, you’ll stretch and fold the dough for the fourth and final time to tighten it up.

  • Shape the Loaf: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (cut it in half if you’ve doubled the dough for 2 loaves). With floured hands, gently stretch out the dough then shape the dough to match the shape of your banneton (bread basket) and pot.(*see notes below)

  • Bench Rest: Turn the dough seam-side down, cover it with a towel, and let it ‘bench rest’ for 20 minutes.

  • Tighten the Dough: If it loosens up too much during the bench rest and loses shape, gently re-shape it again to tighten the loaf. With floured hands, cup your hands around the sides of the dough and tuck the sides underneath. Pull the dough down the counter towards you in a circular motion to tighten up the shape.

  • Cold Fermentation: Transfer the dough seam-side up into your floured banneton.* Cover with a tea towel and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 48 hours.

  • Preheat the Oven: At least 30 minutes before baking, set the Dutch oven or combo cooker into your oven (set your pizza stone on the bottom rack if using*) and preheat the oven to 500 ̊F.

  • Score your Bread: Turn the bread out into a parchment lined combo cooker or onto a sheet of parchment paper if using a Dutch Oven. Using the bread lame, score the bread starting at the base on one side, (keeping at a 45-degree angle and making a 1/4 to 1/2" deep crescent shape) cut around the top of the bread, from one side to the other. If using a Dutch Oven use the parchment to transfer your dough into the pot.

  • Bake: Using oven mitts, cover with the hot lid and put it into the oven. Immediately reduce heat to 450 ̊F, and bake for 20 minutes covered. Remove the lid and bake another 20-25 minutes uncovered or until it reaches your desired color.

Notes

*Feeding your starter – Whether you store your starter at room temperature or in the refrigerator, see our post on how to feed sourdough starter for a detailed tutorial.

*Water quantities –You may need to experiment with how much water you need for the dough. This recipe was made in an Idaho kitchen which is in a dry climate. If you live in a high-humidity area, use less water.

*Shaping the dough – For a round loaf, starting at the top, fold the dough onto itself, gently pressing down in the center, give it a slight turn, and fold over the next section, repeat until all 4 sides are folded in. For an oval banneton, alternate folding in the sides from left to right all the way down then starting at the top, tightly roll the dough from top to bottom.

*Baking Tips – I set my top rack in the middle of the oven and the bottom rack right below it. If you have a pizza stone, set it on the bottom rack which will keep the bottom of your bread from turning too dark.

*Banneton Maintenance – Before using, season the liner or the basket itself (whichever you choose to use). To do this, spray it lightly with water and use flour to generously cover. Shake and scrape out the extra with a spatula. Once you use the bread basket, be sure to dry it out completely and then scrape the extra flour from the basket before storing it. Rice flour works best, but you can use all purpose or bread flour.

  • Full Nutrition Label
  • Nutrition Disclosure

Course: Bread

Cuisine: American

Keyword: sourdough bread, sourdough bread recipe

Skill Level: Medium

Cost to Make: $

Sourdough Bread Recipe (VIDEO) (2024)
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