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This delicious Sourdough Artisan Bread is crusty on the outside with a boyant crumb on the inside. It’s got a fairly mild sourdough flavor that we love. It’s become a staple at our house!

Have you jumped on the sourdough train yet? I’ve been learning how to make Artisan Sourdough Bread this past year and have fallen in love with it. Last fall I casually asked my dear friend and neighbor, Melissa if she’d pass on her Sourdough Bread recipe and a bit of starter to me, not having any idea what the process included. When I took a look at the details and realized the process to make 2 loaves, spanned 3 days…I was turned off to the idea. Time is precious after all. Who has 3 days to devote to 2 loaves of bread?

The answer was…I do.

And I suspect, if you are interested…so do you. 🙂

Every step is very short, most of them only take a few minutes to complete. Most of the time is spent hands off, with the dough resting and rising slowly over time. The whole process is therapeutic and lovely.

I feel like I learn something new every time I bake, which is 1-2 times a week, currently. My twin boys make gigantic sandwiches out of daily. (“Workout fuel”, they tell me). I’ve also experimented with add-ins and have a Cinnamon Raisin and a Jalapeno Cheddar version we adore. Watch for those recipes to come soon.

Throughout the process of learning how to bake Sourdough bread, researching and watching lots of you tube and Instagram tutorials, I’ve noticed that there are a TON of different ways to do it. Everyone seems to have their own method and practice. This is the method I’ve settled on and found to work, time and time again. Please note, that it does take time to learn. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t bake perfect loaves the first time. I certainly didn’t. It’s different than yeast bread, or any other kind of baking for that matter. Give it a little time and patience and you’ll get there. I’ve got you! You can totally do this. Lovely sourdough bread is in your future.

Lastly, before we begin I need to mention that I do not claim to be a sourdough expert. I feel like I’m just learning how to use it, but I do know the ins and outs of this process I’m showing you today.

Let’s do it!

For further information, check these amazing sources.

SOURDOUGH RESOURCES:

Amy Bakes Bread
The Pantry Mama
The Perfect Loaf

SOURDOUGH STARTER INFO:

How to obtain a starter:

  1. Ask a friend, which is how I came by mine. I would imagine there are many people around you who have a starter they’d be willing to share with you.
  2. Make one. Here is a link to a fabulous Sourdough website, (Amy Bakes Bread) that has been super helpful to me. She’s got some great details on how to cultivate your own starter.
  3. Buy one. There are all kinds of places to purchase a star. This one from Amazon has a ton of 5 star reviews.

SOURDOUGH EQUIPMENT NEEDED:

  1. Food Scale
  2. Dutch Oven (5-7 quart size works best)
  3. Proofing Baskets (or two small mixing bowls with kitchen towels)
  4. Danish Dough Hook (optional)
  5. Parchment paper

DAY 1: 10:00 PM

Grab some sourdough starter. I keep my starter in the fridge. I usually only feed it when I am ready to use it to bake with. Usually once or twice a week.

Measure out 200 grams of starter. This will give you enough to bake two loaves, have some to store in the fridge until next time, and should give you a bit extra if you are interested in trying any Sourdough Discard Recipes. (See Amy Bakes Bread for those).

Add 200 grams water (room temperature) and 200 grams of bread flour. Stir it well to combine. I usually use a rubber spatula to stir it together, and have heard it’s best to stay away from stirring it with any kind of metal utensil. Not sure of the reason behind this, but thought I’d pass it along.

Place the fed starter in two quart size mason jars. (You can also use a medium sized bowl or container). I like to place a rubber band at the level of the starter so I can make sure it has risen enough.

Leave the fed starter out on your counter overnight, or for 6-8 hours.

DAY 2: Morning (usually around 7:00 AM)
MIXING and STRETCH/FOLD CYCLE

Look how bubbly and wonderful the starter has gotten. We are ready to mix our dough.

Pour 200 grams of starter into large mixing bowl. (Put the leftover starter back into the fridge to use for next time).

Add 800 grams of water, room temperature.

Here are a few choices of mixing utensils. The Danish Dough Hook on the left is a dream, but totally optional. A wooden spoon, or strong rubber spatula will work as well.

Stir the water and starter together until mostly combined.

Add 200 grams wheat flour, 800 grams white bread flour, and 25 grams of salt.

Start to stir the dough into a rough, shaggy looking ball. See how dry the mixture on the left is? I’ve found I like the results of a pretty sticky dough, so I add a bit more water at this stage. Usually about 50 more grams.

Mix the dough until all the flour is absorbed and the dough is well hydrated. See how sticky it looks? This is going to create a beautiful, chewy, wonderful loaf. Stick with the sticky. 🙂

Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes. At this point I start to use my Alexa. “Alexa, set a timer for 30 minutes.” Is what I tell her. Then I don’t have to think about it again until the old gal rings.

After the dough has rested for 30 minutes, we are going to start a series of stretch and folds. Wet your hand and pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl, rewetting your hand if it gets too sticky. Then, reach into the bowl and pull up one side of the dough (this is the “stretch”).

Fold the dough across the bowl and tuck it in the opposite side (this is the “fold”). Turn the bowl a quarter of the way around and stretch and fold a new section of the dough.

Do this Stretch and Fold action 5-6 times, making sure you stretch the dough nice and high in the bowl. You have completed the first Stretch and Fold. Cover the bowl and let it rest again for 30 minutes, cue Alexa. 🙂

You are going to repeat the Stretch and Fold Cycle 4 times, allowing the dough rest, covered with a kitchen towel for 30 minutes between each cycle. These photos are of the last Stretch and Fold Cycle. Can you see how much the dough has changed. Stretching and Folding the dough gives it structure and strength. Beautiful!

Cover the bowl and allow to rest for about 8 hours.

DAY 2: Early Evening (Usually 5:00-8:00 PM)
SHAPING THE DOUGH

It will rise, nice and slowly. You are looking for it to become puffy with a few air bubbles here and there. Don’t deflate the dough, here. It’s different than working with yeast dough, you want it to keep it’s buoyancy.

Time to prepare your proofing basket or bowl. You can use either of these. The basket on the left with a linen liner is my favorite, but a regular kitchen bowl with a towel will work as well.

Dust the inside of the liner or towel generously with rice flour. (I’ve used bread flour for this step, and it works just ok. The rice flour is really the best way to go.)

Time to shape the dough! Spray your counter top with cooking spray, of dust it with a bit of flour so the dough doesn’t stick. (I use the spray). Gently pour the dough from the large bowl onto your counter. Again, you don’t want to deflate it. Use a sharp kitchen knife or dough scraper to cut the dough into two equal parts. Let it rest on the for 15 minutes. Don’t skip this step, friends. It will be much easier to work with if it rests here.

After the dough has rested for 15 minutes, pull the sides out carefully until you have a large thin rectangle.

Fold the right and left sides of the dough into the center, forming a long snake like object.

Start from the bottom and roll the dough up.

Look at that pretty ball. Pinch the top where the seam is, so it sticks together.

Carefully place it in the prepared proofing basket, with the seam side up. Give the dough a few more pinches along the center.

Dust the top of the dough with a bit more rice flour.

Loosely cover the dough. There are a couple options I’ve used here. These disposable shower caps are a great choice. Kind of unusual, I’ll admit…but I heard the idea at a Sourdough Class I attended at my church and I’m hooked. I buy them in bulk on Amazon and they actually come in handy for so many things. You can also use a kitchen towel that’s been dusted with rice flour.

Place your beautiful, ready to chill loaves in the fridge for 12-24 hours.

DAY 3: BAKING THE BREAD

A word about Dutch Ovens. I have one 5.5 quart (from Walmart) and one 7 quart (from Sam’s Club). Both sizes work great. If you only have 1, that’s totally fine. It will just take you longer to get both loaves baked, no worries.

Place your Dutch Ovens into your kitchen oven and set the oven to preheat at 425 degrees. Now, my oven tends to cook a bit hotter than most ovens. I’ve found it helps if I set a piece of foil on the bottom rack. I know many sourdough bakers bake at 450-500 degrees, but I’ve burned more loaves at this temperature than I’d like to admit. We also tend to like a less crusty, more chewy loaf…so 425 degrees suits us. Experiment with your own oven (and taste buds) to see what you like best.

Lay two large pieces of parchment paper onto your counter (I usually use about 24 inches wide for each loaf). You are going to use the parchment paper to lift the dough into the hot dutch oven. Carefully pour the shaped loafs out onto their own piece of parchment paper, with the seam side down.

Like this!

Dust with a bit of rice flour, spreading it carefully across the top of the loaves. Again, you want to treat them gently and not deflate them.

Use a sharp utility razor knife to make a large slash in the loaf, being careful to not cut super deep. You can also purchase a Bread Lame Scoring Tool, if you’d like.

You can be as creative as you like here.

When the oven has preheated and has stayed at the high temperature for about 30 minutes, carefully pick up your loaves (using the parchment paper as a sling) and set them into the oven. Cover with the lids and bake for 30 minutes. (It’s ok if the parchment hangs out of the ends a bit).

Remove the lids and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes…

…or until a thermometer reads 202-205 degrees. Again, we like a chewier loaf so I don’t let the crust brown too much. You do whatever you like best.

Use the parchment paper to lift the baked loaves out of the oven, and onto a cooling rack.

Try your best to wait for an hour or so before you cut into them. They hold their structure a bit better if they are completely cool before you cut. However, we usually cut into one about 30 minutes after baking. Who can resist warm bread, I ask you…:)

Also, we love this Electric Kitchen Knife.

You made it to the end! Well done. Best of luck to you, my friend. Hope you enjoy the process and the beautiful bread. I suppose there is a life lesson there.

Sourdough Artisan Bread

Print
Serves: 2 large loaves Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • 200 grams fed and bubbly sourdough starter
  • 800-900 grams water, room temperature
  • 200 grams wheat flour
  • 800 grams white bread flour
  • 25 grams salt

Instructions

DAY 1: About 10: 00 PM
FEED the STARTER

  1. Grab some sourdough starter. I keep my starter in the fridge. I usually only feed it when I am ready to use it to bake with. Usually once of twice a week.
  2. Measure out 200 grams of starter. This will give you enough to bake two loaves, have some to store in the fridge until next time, and should give you a bit extra if you are interested in trying any Sourdough Discard Recipes. (See Amy Bakes Bread for those).
  3. Add 200 grams water (room temperature) and 200 grams of bread flour. Stir it well to combine. I usually use a rubber spatula to stir it together, and have heard it's best to stay away from stirring it with any kind of metal utensil. Not sure of the reason behind this, but thought I'd pass it along.
  4. Place the fed starter in two quart size mason jars. (You can also use a medium sized bowl or container). I like to place a rubber band at the level of the starter so I can make sure it has risen enough.
  5. Leave the fed starter out on your counter overnight, or for 6-8 hours or until it has risen to double or triple the size. 

DAY 2: Morning (usually around 7:00 AM)
MIXING and STRETCH/FOLD CYCLE

  1. Pour 200 grams of starter into large mixing bowl. Add 800 grams of water, room temperature. Stir the water and starter together until mostly combined. (I like using a Danish Dough Hook, but a sturdy rubber spatula will work as well).
  2. Add 200 grams wheat flour, 800 grams white bread flour, and 25 grams of salt. Start to stir the dough into a rough, shaggy looking ball. See how dry the mixture on the left is? I've found I like the results of a pretty sticky dough, so I add a bit more water at this stage. Usually about 50 more grams.
  3. Mix the dough until all the flour is absorbed and the dough is well hydrated. See how sticky it looks? This is going to create a beautiful, chewy, wonderful loaf. Stick with the sticky. (See tutorial pictures above).
  4. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes. At this point I start to use my Alexa. "Alexa, set a timer for 30 minutes." Is what I tell her. Then I don't have to think about it again until the old gal rings.
  5. After the dough has rested for 30 minutes, we are going to start a series of Stretch and Folds. Wet your hand and pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl, rewetting your hand if it gets too sticky. Then, reach into the bowl and pull up one side of the dough (this is the "stretch"). Fold the dough across the bowl and tuck it in the opposite side (this is the "fold"). Turn the bowl a quarter of the way around and stretch and fold a new section of the dough. Do this Stretch and Fold action 5-6 times, making sure you stretch the dough nice and high in the bowl. You have completed the first Stretch and Fold. Cover the bowl and let it rest again for 30 minutes, cue Alexa. 🙂
  6. You are going to repeat the Stretch and Fold Cycle 4 times, allowing the dough rest, covered with a kitchen towel for 30 minutes between each cycle. The dough will become more strengthened and substantial after each Stretch and Fold Cycle.
  7. Cover the bowl and allow to rest for about 8 hours. Be patient here. It will rise, nice and slowly. You are looking for it to become puffy with a few air bubbles here and there. Don't deflate the dough, here. It's different than working with yeast dough, you want it to keep it's buoyancy.

DAY 2: Early Evening (Usually 5:00-8:00 PM)
SHAPING THE DOUGH

  1. Time to prepare your proofing basket or bowl. (Use proofing baskets with linen liners, or medium size (about 8 inches) kitchen bowls and a kitchen towel as a liner) Dust the inside of the liner or towel generously with rice flour. (I've used bread flour for this step, and it works just ok. The rice flour is really the best way to go.)
  2. Spray your counter top with cooking spray, or dust it with a bit of flour so the dough doesn't stick. (I use the spray). Gently pour the dough from the large bowl onto your counter. Again, you don't want to deflate it. You can use your hand or a rubber spatula to pull it from the sides of the bowl as you tip it, allowing the dough to "pour" our.
  3. Use a sharp kitchen knife or dough scraper to cut the dough into two equal parts. Let it rest on the for 15 minutes. Don't skip this step, friends. It will be much easier to work with if it rests here.
  4. After the dough has rested for 15 minutes, pull the sides out carefully until you have a large thin rectangle.
  5. Fold the right and left sides of the dough into the center, forming a long snake like object.
  6. Start from the bottom and roll the dough up, into a ball shape.
  7. Pinch the top where the seam is, so it sticks together.
  8. Carefully place it in the prepared proofing basket, with the seam side up. Give the dough a few more pinches along the center.
  9. Dust the top of the dough with a bit more rice flour.
  10. Loosely cover the dough. There are a couple options I've used here. These disposable shower caps are a great choice. Kind of unusual, I'll admit...but I heard the idea at a Sourdough Class I attended at my church and I'm hooked. I buy them in bulk on Amazon and they actually come in handy for so many things. You can also use a kitchen towel that's been dusted with rice flour.
  11. Place your beautiful, ready to chill loaves in the fridge for 12-24 hours.

DAY 3: BAKING THE BREAD

A word about Dutch Ovens. I have one 5.5 quart (from Walmart) and one 7 quart (from Sam's Club). Both sizes work great. If you only have 1, that's totally fine. It will just take you longer to get both loaves baked, no worries.

  1. Place your Dutch Ovens into your kitchen oven and set the oven to preheat at 425 degrees. Now, my oven tends to cook a bit hotter than most ovens. I've found it helps if I set a piece of foil on the bottom rack. I know many sourdough bakers bake at 450-500 degrees, but I've burned more loaves at this temperature than I'd like to admit. We also tend to like a less crusty, more chewy loaf...so 425 degrees suits us. Experiment with your own oven (and taste buds) to see what you like best.
  2. Lay two large pieces of parchment paper onto your counter (I usually use about 24 inches wide for each loaf). You are going to use the parchment paper to lift the dough into the hot dutch oven. Carefully pour the shaped loafs out onto their own piece of parchment paper, with the seam side down.
  3. Dust with a bit of rice flour, spreading it carefully across the top of the loaves. Again, you want to treat them gently and not deflate them.
  4. Use a sharp utility razor knife to make a large slash in the loaf, being careful to not cut super deep. You can also purchase a Bread Lame Scoring Tool, if you'd like. You can be as creative as you like here, by cutting decorative slashes along the tops.
  5. When the oven has preheated and has stayed at the high temperature for about 30 minutes, carefully pick up your loaves (using the parchment paper as a sling) and set them into the oven. Cover with the lids and bake for 30 minutes. (It's ok if the parchment hangs out of the ends a bit).
  6. Remove the lids and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 202-205 degrees. Again, we like a chewier loaf so I don't let the crust brown too much. You do whatever you like best.
  7. Use the parchment paper to lift the baked loaves out of the oven, and onto a cooling rack.
  8. Try your best to wait for an hour or so before you cut into them. They hold their structure a bit better if they are completely cool before you cut. However, we usually cut into one about 30 minutes after baking. Who can resist warm bread, I ask you...:)

Enjoy! 


Recipe adapted from my lovely friend, Melissa Achter

About Jamie

Thanks for dropping by today! I hope you find these recipes to be delicious!

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2 Comments

  1. I tried your Sourdough bread recipe and am thrilled with the results. My other recipe made one tiny hard hockey-puck size loaf which took a hack-saw to cut through. Your recipe is a hit. I messed up and didn’t read through before starting so ended up making two batches at once – four loaves. My neighbors were thrilled to receive the excess. Best sourdough bread recipe ever. Thanks.

    1. Ann,
      Hooray! This makes me so happy to read. I’m so glad it turned out well for you (and for your neighbors). 🙂
      Thanks!
      ~Jamie