Learn how to make consistently good sourdough bread!
You get to choose how.
Learn how to make sourdough bread!
Be sure to start with the artisan supply list to make sure you have the needed equipment.
I am including two sample time schedules. Which to use depends on whether you have more time in the morning or afternoon to complete the steps.
If you have more prep time in the morning.
If late afternoon prep time is better.
Details, pictures and videos follow this list. But, in a nutshell...
1. Make levain
2. After at least 5 hours you will mix your dough (autolyse stage) and allow it to rest.
3. About 1 to 2 hours later, add the levain to the dough and mix by folding the dough about 30 times.
4. 30 minutes later, add the salt. With a wet hand, mix by folding the dough about 40 times.
5. In 15 minutes, fold the dough four times.
6. In 15 minutes, fold the dough four times.
7. In 15 minutes, fold the dough four times.
8. Let the dough sit undisturbed for 4-6 hours starting from the time when you added the salt.
9. Gently dump the dough out onto a surface and shape into a ball.
10. 20 minutes later, reshape the ball, coat the top with some rice flour, and carefully place in a proofing basket so the top of the ball is facing down. Cover.
11. Refrigerate until the next morning.
12. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees for 45 minutes with the dutch oven and lid in oven.
13. Bake at 475 degrees with the lid on for 20 minutes. Then take the lid off and bake at 450 degrees for 25 more minutes.
14. Wait until it is cool before cutting and enjoying.
Just a heads up... in the videos below, the amounts may be different than on this page. I am constantly adjusting numbers. So, I would recommend sticking with the amounts posted here.
The first step in making bread is to make levain. This is a portion of the starter that you mix with your flours which you will make the bread with. This is the natural yeast that you add to your dough which will make it rise and taste wonderful. It is different from starter in that it will contain the type of flour which you will be using in your bread.
To make levain , we take 25 grams of the starter and put in a jar. Add 25 grams of Artisan or bread flour and 25 grams of whole wheat flour. Add to this, 50 grams of filtered water. Stir thoroughly.. Cover it without tightening the lid. I make this in the evening before going to bed or first thing in the morning (alternate schedule) It will double in size and then start to fall a little. This is when it is ready to be used.
Let’s make the dough
1. In the morning (or at least six hours after making levain), mix 400 grams of Artisan flour, 40 grams of whole wheat flour, and 375 grams of warm filtered water. Stir it up, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit for between an hour or two hours. Two hours is ideal. (Autolyse stage). If you are pressed for time, you can shorten this to about thirty minutes. I use my danish whisk for this.
(If you want a loaf with more whole wheat, mix 350 g of bread flour, 90 g of whole wheat flour, and 375 g of filtered water)
2. After that resting time, add 70 grams of your levain to this mixture. Stir it up and mix thoroughly by giving it about 30 turns, cover it, and let it sit for about a half an hour. This is when I like to use the gloves. That way I know its getting mixed well, and I keep my hand clean. Otherwise you can get your hand wet and just stick it in and mix it. After, use a paper towel to clean off your hand before rinsing. Add the leftover levain to your starter jar in refrigerator.
3. Add 9 grams of salt to the mixture. I use sea salt. Himalyan or any kind is fine too. To mix this, first I kind of claw it in and then grab a side and fold it over itself. Turn the bowl about ¼ turn and repeat. Keep doing these folds for about 30 times. You want the salt incorporated through. Cover.
4. Now, in 15 minutes, grab a side of the dough and stretch it and pull it over itself. Do a set of four folds until you are back to the starting point. Do this again in 15 minutes. Then in another 15. This will build it up and strengthen your dough. Cover.
5. Starting from the time you added the salt, it will sit on the counter for about four to six hours. The time spent folding is included in this period. If your kitchen is very warm, keep it closer to 4 hours.
Lets form the dough.
1. Dump your dough out onto a cutting board or counter surface. Use your plastic scraper to loosen if necessary. Grab the right side of the dough and turn it over 2/3 of the way to the left. Grab from opposite side (left) and fold that over to it’s opposite side on the right. Grab the top and pull down to the bottom and kind of roll it onto itself. Take your scraper, this is where the steering wheel turns come in. Put the scraper at about 11:00 and under it and turn it to the right to about 4:00. Keep repeating numerous times and your dough will take a nice circular shape.
2. Let the dough rest for about twenty minutes.
3. Give it a couple of spins on the board with the scraper or just your hands to tighten it up. Sprinkle rice flour all over the top and sides to keep it from sticking in your banneton. Pick up your dough ball and gently drop it into the banneton so the smooth, topside of the dough ball is down. You want those nice lines on the top of your bread. Cover it with plastic wrap. I let it rest for about 15 minutes and then put it in the refrigerator. It will continue to proof in there and more flavors will have time to develop.
4. I keep it in the refrigerator until the next morning.
Time to bake!
1. It's time!!! Place your dutch oven in the oven with the lid on. Set your oven to 500 degrees. It needs to get good and hot. Preheat the oven for at least 45 minutes.
2. Take your banneton out of the refrigerator. Put the parchment paper on top of the banneton and carefull flip it over and place on counter. I like to cut out handles on the parchment paper and remove the excess. If you don't cut it, its okay, but your loaf will probably crinkle some from the paper. The handles in this pic are a little wider than they need to be.
3. Take your razor, and with determination and quickness, cut a ¼ to ½ inch deep slice across the entire top of the loaf. This is, essentially, your expansion joint.
4. CAREFULLY, with a pot holder, take the lid off the dutch oven. Carefully set the dough with parchment into the dutch oven.
5. Grab your pot holder and use it to put the lid back on. Put the pan with lid on in the oven Drop the temperature to 475 degrees. Bake it for 20 minutes.
6. Once the timer goes off, drop your temperature to 450 degrees. Take the lid off of the pot. Bake 25 more minutes.
7. Use a spatula to remove your bread from the hot pan. Place the bread on a cooling rack.
Time to enjoy!!!
Listen to and enjoy the crackle and aroma.
Smile real big.
It’s always best to let it cool for at least an hour, but longer is better. It continues to cook during this time and will be gummy if it is cut too soon.
If uncut, the bread can sit on the counter for a day or two. Once you cut your bread, store it in a gallon size ziplock. Place a paper towel in the bag to absorb any moisture.
Sourdough bread freezes nicely.
If your loaf did not turn out to be as pretty as you would like, don't fret. It will still be delicious. Its really hard to ruin sourdough bread. They get better each time.
If you enjoyed this tutorial and have made bread, please email me pictures or give me a shout out on instagram - sourdough101. That helps with my decision to keep this site up. Also, please use my links on Amazon to purchase your supplies.