Sourdough bread is a crusty, chewy, tangy bread that is perfect for making sandwiches or dipping into your favorite soup.
This sourdough bread recipe will have you coming back for more! A nice hard crust mixed with that tangy and delicious bread is perfect for your next meal. Make this with some baked gnocchi, 40 clove garlic chicken, or dill pickle soup.
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Why you’ll love this recipe!
📌 Homemade bread is just that much better than anything store bought!
📌 Easy step by step instructions take out the guesswork.
📌 That amazing aroma of baked bread filling your home with all the best smells!
Sourdough Bread Ingredients
- Sourdough starter – Active and bubbly starter, taken when it’s at its highest peak.
- Water – Warm and filtered.
- Flour – Bread flour will work best for this recipe, all-purpose flour can be used in a pinch.
- Salt – Fine sea salt.
How do you make homemade sourdough bread? (step-by-step directions)
⭐ First, mix together the sourdough starter and warm water. Add the bread flour and sea salt and mix again. Cover with a thin, damp towel and let rest.
⭐ Next, fold and stretch the dough on all sides. Bring it back into a ball and let it rest again. Repeat four times. Cover bowl with a towel and rest at room temperature until dough has doubled in size. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, allow it to rest.
⭐ Then, place a towel on the bottom of a bowl and sprinkle lightly with flour. Transfer dough to the bowl and allow it to proof at room temperature. While dough is proofing, preheat oven with dutch oven inside.
⭐ Finally, turn dough out onto parchment paper and score the top. Use the parchment paper to transfer the dough to the hot dutch oven. Reduce the temperature, cover the dutch oven and bake. Remove lid and continue baking until browned and cooked through. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
Scroll down to the printable recipe card toward the bottom of this article for ingredient measurements and detailed cooking instructions.
How long does sourdough bread take to make?
The entire process can take up to 24 hours. We recommend making the dough in the evening before heading to bed so that the bulk fermentation happens overnight.
How long does bulk fermentation take?
Usually around 8-10 hours but is dependent on your home. If your home is in a warm, humid environment, it may go quicker than 8 hours. A cold, dryer environment might take longer to proof.
What should I use to cover my bread dough?
Tea towels or flour sack towels work great for sourdough bread making. The towel needs to be thin enough to allow the bread to rise underneath it.
How do I know my sourdough dough has doubled in size?
We found using a container with straight edges is the easiest way to track the dough doubling in size.
Leftovers and storage
How long does sourdough bread last?
The bread is best served the same day you bake it, but it will keep an additional 3 days if kept in an airtight container.
Can I freeze sourdough bread?
Yes, let bread cool completely and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Tips and tricks
✅ Maintain a Consistent Temperature: To ensure a successful fermentation, try to maintain a consistent room temperature. You can use a kitchen thermometer to monitor and adjust the room temperature as needed, especially during cooler seasons.
✅ Use a Kitchen Scale: For precise measurements, use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients, including the starter, water, flour, and salt. Accurate measurements are crucial in sourdough baking.
✅ Adjust the Hydration Level: Depending on the consistency of your starter and flour, you may need to adjust the hydration level. If your dough feels too dry, add a little more water, and if it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour during the mixing stage.
✅ Preheat the Dutch Oven and Lid: To create a strong initial oven spring, preheat both the Dutch oven and its lid along with the oven itself. This helps create a burst of steam when you place the bread inside, resulting in a better rise.
✅ Add Steam to the Oven: To enhance crust development, you can introduce steam to the oven by placing a heatproof container filled with water on the oven rack while preheating. Remove it when you put the bread in.
Frequently asked questions
Why is my dough soupy and hard to work with?
It’s possible the dough bulk fermented too long. Over fermented dough will not hold its shape and becomes very difficult to work with.
Do I need to use a proofing basket?
No, a proofing basket or banneton isn’t necessary. You can use a glass bowl instead just make sure to place a light floured towel on the bottom.
Can I make sourdough bread without a sourdough starter?
No, a sourdough starter is a crucial ingredient in sourdough bread. It’s what gives the bread its characteristic flavor and texture. You’ll need to have an active sourdough starter to make this bread.
What if my sourdough starter is not very active?
If your sourdough starter is not very active, it may not provide the necessary leavening for the bread. You can try feeding your starter and allowing it to become more active before using it in the recipe.
How can I tell when the bread is fully baked and cooked through?
The bread is fully baked when it has a deep brown crust, and it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom. You can also use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature; it should be around 200-210°F (93-99°C).
What to eat with sourdough bread (serving suggestions)
More delicious bread recipes
- Pumpkin cream cheese bread
- White chocolate banana bread
- French bread
- White bread
- Peanut butter bread
- Beer bread
- See all our easy bread recipes!
Tools we love
- Linen Proofing Cloth – There’s nothing worse than using a dish towel to proof and then having to pull little fuzzies off the top of your risen bread. Avoid that nonsense with this linen proofing cloth.
- Ateco Bowl Scraper – I feel like it’s our ethical obligation to make sure we’re getting every last bit of dough out of the bowl. Because bread is delicious.
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How to Make Sourdough Bread
- ½ cup active and bubbly sourdough starter (100 grams)
- 1½ cups + 1 tablespoon warm water (375 grams)
- 4 cups + 2 tablespoons bread flour (500 grams)
- 2½ teaspoons fine sea salt (12 grams)
- *Note: You may want to make the dough in the evening (2.5 hours) before heading to bed so that the bulk fermentation (8-10 hours) can happen overnight.*
- Make the dough: In a large bowl mix together the sourdough starter and warm water with a rubber spatula. Add in the bread flour and sea salt. Mix again until thoroughly combined. Cover with a thin, damp towel (like a tea towel) and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Stretch and fold: After 30 minutes, grab the side of the dough and fold it up and inwards toward the center (kind of like folding paper into an envelope.) Continue to fold all around the dough – about 4-5 folds. Allow it to rest another 30 minutes. Repeat this fold every thirty minutes for a total of 4 times – this step should take about 2 hours. (If you don’t have 2 hours to give you dough, just do it the first time and proceed to the next step.)
- Bulk fermentation (first rise): Cover the bowl with a thin, dry towel, and allow it to rest at room temperature around (70°F) for 8-10 hours, or until it has just about doubled in size. If your home is in a warm, humid environment, it may go quicker than 8 hours, and a colder environment may take longer to proof. A general rule of thumb is to go by visual cues rather than the actual clock.
- Shape: Gently turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Use your hands to cup the sides of the dough to form it into a round shape. You can gently pull the edges out and tuck it under to help shape it. A dough scraper may help you with this process. Allow the dough to rest for another 30 minutes.
- Proof (second rise): Prepare an 8” bowl or banneton (proofing basket) by placing a towel on the bottom, and lightly sprinkling it with flour. Carefully transfer your bread to the proofing basket, seam up. Allow it to proof in the basket for an additional 1-2 hours at room temperature.
- Cut parchment paper to fit inside the dutch oven. You want it to extend up the sides, but not get in the way when you secure the lid. The purpose of the parchment paper is so that you can transfer your dough to the hot dutch oven without burning yourself. Preheat the oven to 500°F and place the dutch oven inside to heat up.
- Score: Once the oven is preheated, place the parchment paper over the top of the proofing basket and flip the basket upside down to remove the dough carefully. Use a sharp knife to score the dough to help the steam escape while baking. A simple “C” or “X” on the top works well. Use the parchment paper to transfer the dough to the dutch oven.
- Bake: Lower the oven temperature to 450°F. Cover the top of the dutch oven and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Allow bread to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before serving.
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