Heartbeet Kitchen
The Delicious Sourdough Bread Recipe I Make Every Week
April 8, 2020 (last updated May 19, 2020) in Dairy-Free · Nut-Free · Recipe Box · Sourdough · Vegan · 43 Comments

This straightforward sourdough bread recipe is a staple in our house. Made with sourdough starter, this naturally fermented bread has a fluffy, airy interior and crackly crisp crust. All the steps of making the bread are detailed out, as well as sourdough tips for beginners.

crumb shot of sourdough bread, holding in hands
Sourdough Bread Boule with a linen

You know those recipes you know by heart and never have to look up? For me that’s this basic sourdough bread recipe with starter, the one I make every week, that’s completely achievable for beginners too. If you’ve been dreaming of fluffy, bouncy, true sourdough bread, you can make that happen in your own kitchen! I promise you.

Sourdough is all about learning by doing, and every time you get your hands in the dough, each step will make more sense.

I made my first sourdough loaf over 3 years ago, and I haven’t stopped baking. In this post, I’ll coach you through the basic steps and leave you with my favorite recipe.

The basic sourdough recipe is made from mostly bread flour, with just a small amount of whole wheat or whole grain flour to give it some additional flavor and color. This small amount is super versatile depending on what flours you have in your pantry. I like to use einkhorn, spelt, red fife, or khorasan.

First things first: You’re going to need an active sourdough starter. I suggest asking a friend who has lovingly fed and maintained their starter, to give you some of theirs.

I also ship my 13+ year old starter to anyone in the U.S! You can order it here.

While you’re getting started, this post with 5 Essential Sourdough Starter Tips for Beginners that I wrote may be helpful. It should answer many of your questions!

It’s essential for your starter to be healthy and active, so that is has the ability to make your dough rise. If your sourdough has been in the refrigerator, take it out 2 days before you plan to bake and begin feeding it again.

sourdough starter in a mason jar

How do I know when my sourdough starter is ready to bake with?

The answer to this question comes from both experience and observing the starter behave, to understand how it reacts to feeding/not feeding, and temperature.

But you don’t need experience. You can just look for these hints that the starter will give you!

a. It will have at least doubled in size. This will take place over 4-6 hours if the temperature in your house is around 70 degrees. If it’s cooler in your house, it will take a bit longer. I put a rubberband around the jar, to mark the spot it’s at right after feeding. Then, as time passes, you’ll be able to keep track of how much it’s rising.

b. You will see bubbles throughout the sides of the jar, and on top. The top will be a bit poofy and domed.

c. The float test is very helpful! When you think your starter is at it’s peak, take a jar and fill with water. Then take a teaspoon of starter – you don’t need a lot – and place it on top of the water. It it floats, you’re ready to bake! If not, you’ll need to wait or go through another feeding.

With the final rise, how do I know when my dough has risen properly and can be scored and into the oven for baking?

There’s an easy test for this stage too, using a fingerprint. Gently press a floured thumb into your risen dough. You don’t need to press down further than 3/4 inch. If it indents and gradually releases, but still holds a finger shape, you’re ready. If your fingerprint indents and doesn’t bounce back at, it still needs time to rise. If your fingerprint jumps right back up to flat, your dough has been overproofed. (And that is okay! It will still taste delicious, it will just not rise as well while baking.)

Sourdough Starter Float Test

Once your sourdough culture is ready to bake with, here are the essential steps for this Everyday Sourdough Bread Recipe with Starter:

  1. Mix the dough, until shaggy.
  2. Let dough sit, covered with a cloth, for a half-hour to an hour. This is referred to as the autolyse, which allows the flour to absorb the water, and the gluten strands to develop.
  3. You will now perform 4 sets of stretch and folds, 30 minutes apart, to strengthen the dough and help it holds it shape in the future. Think of this as sourdough kneading. THIS VIDEO will show you how to do a stretch and fold.
  4. Now 2 hours have passed, and you will let your dough sit until it is doubled in size and puffy on the top. This is called the bulk ferment, and takes about 6ish hours if the temperature in your house is 70 degrees.
    • You can also complete the bulk ferment overnight in the refrigerator. The fermentation will not stop, but the cold temperature will effectively slow it down. This is also a way to get more of a sour flavor. If you do your bulk ferment this way, leave it on the counter for one hour before putting in the fridge so some activity can get started. Then cover bowl with a damp cloth. If you have a plastic bag of any kind, like shopping bag, covering the bowl and cloth with this will help ensure moisture stays in better, but not completely necessary.
  5. After the bulk ferment, the next step is to shape your dough. In THIS VIDEO, I will show you how to know if your bread is ready for shaping, and how to shape it into a round boule.
  6. Then the dough will sit in a banneton (fancy name for a bread basket) for another 2ish hours for it’s final rise.
  7. Then you’ll flip the dough out of the basket, and score the bread – that means using a sharp razor or bread lame to make cuts into the bread so that the steam can escape. You can watch a video of me scoring the dough, HERE. If you don’t score the bread, it will not rise. So make sure you do this fun step.
  8. Then, BAKE in a dutch oven, and await your golden loaf of sourdough!
close up of sourdough bread loaf
round loaf of sourdough bread
interior crumb of sourdough bread

This recipe is an adaptation from many recipes and techniques I’ve tried, starting first with Artisan Sourdough Made Simple, The Perfect Loaf, then Tartine, Bake With Jack, and the list goes on. You’ll find what works best for you over time, as well.

And the beauty of sourdough is that no bake with ever be exactly the same as the last, because you’re working with an amazing living culture.

Feel free to ask me any questions you might have, or reference some of my other sourdough resources:

crumb shot of sourdough bread, holding in hands

Delicious Everyday Sourdough Bread Recipe

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 55 minutes

A naturally fermented sourdough bread that has a fluffy interior and golden brown crust.

Ingredients

  • 45 grams active sourdough starter
  • 305 grams filtered water 
  • 370 grams organic bread flour
  • 30 grams whole wheat flour of any type - traditional whole wheat or einkhorn, red fife, spelt, khorasan
  • 7 grams fine sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix starter and water with a fork, until starter is dispersed.
  2. Add flours and salt, mixing with a spatula first. Then with your hand until a shaggy dough is formed, just enough so that flour is not visible.
  3. Cover with a damp cloth and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. Then perform 4 sets of stretch and folds, 30 minutes apart. You can see a video of how to do this, HERE.
  5. After those stretch and folds are completed over a 2 hour time frame, you will let the dough finish its bulk ferment. This means letting the dough rise on the counter for around 6 hours if your house is at 70 degrees. It will take more time if it is cooler, or less time if it warmer. When your dough has about doubled in size, it is ready for shaping.
  6. Once dough has about doubled in size, has a glossy top and is puffy, you'll gently move the dough out of the bowl onto a floured work surface. Let the dough rest there for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Then, shape the dough. You can watch THIS VIDEO to learn how to shape.
  8. Once shaped, use a bench scraper to put the dough into a flour dusted, linen lined banneton (proofing basket), seam side of the dough facing up.
  9. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise for a final time, on the counter. This will take about 2 hours, if your house is around 70 degrees. OR you can put it in the refrigerator and let the final rise happen overnight. The dough can be in the refrigerator for 10-12 hours at this stage.
  10. Once your dough has gone through its final rise and has risen slightly and is puffy on top, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. You can test to see if your dough is ready by doing gently pressing a floured thumb into the dough. If it indents and gradually releases, but still holds a finger shape, you're ready. If it indents and doesn't release at all, it still needs time to rise. If your fingerprint jumps right back up to flat, your dough isn't quite ready. Let it ferment in half hour more increments, until ready.
  11. Wait until oven is preheated, then place parchment over the top of your dough and flip over, so that the seam side is now on the parchment paper and you are able to score the top of the dough.
  12. Score the dough with a bread lame, making sure to go at least 1/2 inch deep in a few spots so that dough can release gases. Otherwise your bread will not rise.
  13. Place dough on parchment paper into a dutch oven, and put cover on it. Bake for 20 minutes, covered at 450 degrees F. Then remove cover, and bake for 25 more minutes, until bread is golden brown and crackly.
  14. Remove from oven and place load on a cooling rack. Let cool for AT LEAST ONE HOUR before slicing. Otherwise the crumb will be squished and the texture will be gummy.

43 thoughts on “The Delicious Sourdough Bread Recipe I Make Every Week

  1. Haley

    Sourdough starter ordered! Your bread looks so good, Amanda! I’m going to deep dive into all of your posts and try to learn as much as I can. Question: How long can the starter be stored in the fridge? Like, should I be making bread every week to keep it going? Thanks for all the info!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Haley!
      The starter can be stored in the fridge for 7-10 days without baking. Feed it before putting into the refrigerator, and then when you want to bake, I suggest taking out the day prior and feeding it at least twice to make sure it is nice and active.

      Reply
      1. Shannon

        Hi Amanda, it’s me Shannon from the Spicy Radish in Whitemouth, Canada. Your recipe is similar to the one I use and I have had success keeping my starter alive through extended bread baking hiatuses as long as 6 months at a time. With a few consecutive days of feedings, the starter comes back to liveliness and bakes up great loaves.

        Reply
        1. Amanda Paa Post author

          Hi Shannon! Such fond memories of cooking with you and picking vegetables together! You were one of the original reasons I became so interested in sourdough.
          Hope you are well. And so good to know that even after that long of hiatus, your starter still comes back to life!

          Reply
    2. Wanda Rabdgaard

      I am am so excited to order your starter and make sourdough for my gluten free husband.

      Do you use bread flour with another flour ? ( i.e. spelt)
      I am just clarifying.

      Reply
      1. Amanda Paa Post author

        Hi! So glad you’re going to start baking!
        To feed the starter you’ll use unbleached all purpose flour.
        For the bread recipe, you’ll use bread flour and other whole grain flour, like you mentioned – spelt.

        Reply
  2. Mercedes Kulkarni

    Hi! I’m halfway through my fold and turns, and it’s looking great. I want to make two smaller loaves instead of one big one. At what point do you recommend I divide the dough in half? Would it be after the bulk ferment stage?

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Mercedes!
      I haven’t tried splitting this recipe because it’s a smaller loaf to begin with. But if you wanted to try that, you would split it after the bulk fermentation. So when you put the dough
      on a floured surface to rest before shaping, split it in two. Then proceed to shaping and the final rise.

      Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Nannie! You’ll need a kitchen scale for making sourdough bread. Grams are the standard measurement across these these types of recipes so that your baking percentages are accurate. I highly recommend this scale, which is a good price and works very well!

      Reply
  3. Sheri Nix

    Hi Amanda, I’m making this sourdough bread recipe today with my homemade starter! I’ll let you know when it’s done!

    Reply
  4. Jane

    Hello, if so split the recipe and make 2 smaller loaves (I don’t have a large Dutch oven but do have 2 smaller ones) is the baking time the same, do you think? I’m going to bake them tonight. They are right now in the fridge for the final rise. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Jane!
      You’ll want to reduce the baking time, I’d say 20 minutes covered still, but maybe check at 20 minutes uncovered. You’ll want internal temp of the sourdough to be 208 degrees F.

      Reply
  5. Lise

    Hi! Do I have to preheat the Dutch oven? Rather new to this style of bread and my last recipe for seedy spelt with yeast had to go in a preheated Dutch oven. Thank you!

    Reply
  6. Cassie

    Hi Amanda!

    I have a question about letting it ferment in the fridge. In the post it talks about doing the bulk ferment in the fridge after you do your 2 hours of stretch and fold. In the actual recipe though it talks about putting it in the fridge overnight for the final rise. If I do my bulk ferment in the fridge over night do I need to do any additional steps before shaping the dough? Do I need to bring it back to room temp before I try to work with it?

    Thanks for the help!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Cassie!
      Yes, in the post I discuss a bulk ferment in the refrigerator. You can also do the final rise in the refrigerator overnight, which is how the recipe card reads because bulk ferment on the counter, final rise overnight in refrigerator is how I like to time things. But you can do either!
      If you do the bulk ferment overnight, take it out in the morning and let it sit on the counter for an hour to warm up. Then assess the dough to see if it is doubled and glossy, and bubbly. If it is, proceed to shaping, etc.. If not, you’ll need a little longer on the bulk ferment.

      Reply
      1. Cassie

        Great! Thank you for the information, I’m glad to know it can be done both ways. I’m excited to see how it turns out!

        Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Cindy!

      The day I cut the bread, I keep it stored cut side down with a linen covering it. This keeps the crust crisp.Then if there’s still bread the next day, I move it to a plastic bag.

      Reply
  7. Beth

    Hi – your sourdough recipe has yielded my best results for bread baking! I’m having issues shaping my dough after the bulk ferment. It is glossy and bubbly but when I shape it in ends up kind of deflating instead of holding a firmer shape. The dough feels very wet when shaping. Any tips on how to get my loaf to hold it’s shape better? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Beth! Sourdough is stickier in general compared to baking bread using commercial yeast. The dough should feel somewhat tacky and wet, but still workable. You also say that your dough is deflating. Both these signs are indicators that you are overproofing.

      Reply
  8. Brittany

    Hi! I’m working on learning sourdough craft but I feel like my dough is usually pretty sticky when it comes time to shape my loaf. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Brittany! Sourdough is stickier in general compared to baking bread using commercial yeast. But if you’re find your dough too sticky to work with, that means you are having a proofing issue. Typically it is a sign of overproofing.

      Reply
  9. Khairiyah

    i overproofed my first loaf. was a mess! did not give up and tried again and cut short the proofing to only 2 hours after 2 hours of stretch and fold and it turned out amazing! im from Singapore, very sunny and humid so maybe that explains how 6 hours did not work for me. thank you for the recipe! easy to follow. did not have to change anything else.

    Reply
  10. Clarissa

    Beautiful yummy looking sourdough, I will try this, thank you for your time and recipe! What a beautiful stove, what kind is it, please?

    Reply
  11. Isabel Kelly

    Hi Amanda! Just getting started with sourdough baking and your tutorials are super helpful. I have made two loaves and have turned out delicious! I have a question about the final step.

    I am doing my final rise in the fridge overnight. and I am confused as to how to go about baking it.
    Do I take the dough straight out of the fridge and put it into a cold dutch oven?
    Do I take the dough straight out of the fridge and put it into a preheated dutch oven?
    Do I let the dough get to room temperature before putting it into a dutch oven for baking?
    Thank you so much!!

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Isabel!
      Once your oven is preheated, you will take your dough out of fridge, score, and bake. You can preheat the dutch oven if you want, and you’ll get a tiny bit more rise, but if you don’t have time, it will still work extremely well baking in a cold dutch oven too.

      Reply
  12. Geri Patton

    I finally got a good load with your receipe! Thank you! Have another started since I know we’ll need it in a couple days. Can you do both bulk proof and final proof in the fridge? If not, how long can I leave bulk proof in fridge before I shape it? also, I tried putting in a cloth lined bowl to proof, I did flour cloth but the dough really stuck! Any suggestions since I don’t have a bannaton? Thanks again. Your videos were really helpful

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Geri! So glad you liked the recipe.
      If you do the bulk proof in the refrigerator, you’ll have to watch it to know when it’s finished with the bulk. It will also need to come to room temp before shaping.
      Since refrigerators and water temperature that you’re using in the dough will differ, it’s hard to put a time frame on it. Best way is to watch the dough for the indication signs.
      If you do not have a banneton, try liberally dusting a linen with rice flour.

      Reply
  13. Melissa

    1st off. I love this recipe. I made 3 loaves. I did a regular, added jalapeno & cheddar to the 2nd & folded apple pie filling to the 3rd. Major hits with the family. I gave my cousin some starter & shared your YouTube & website with her…. Anyway, I’m wondering if you have any tips about turning this into a loaf for sandwich slices?

    Reply
    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      Hi Melissa! I’m so glad you like this recipe! And those mix-ins sound wonderful. You’d probably want to google a specific recipe for sourdough sandwich bread, and those are typically lower in hydration and are made with different ratios that this recipe.

      Reply
  14. Betty Nesmith

    I was so excited after watching your videos. Had finally found help with my adventure in making sour dough bread. Ordered a bread bowl, knife and scales. You have your recipe in grams so I chose the g on the scales and the measurement could not be possible. I zeroed out the container for measuring the flour but a small amount of flour was a high count under g, Could you possibly put your gram measurement in ounces? I am disappointed. I finally have my starter looking good and ready to bake but I need help.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  15. Angela Yeung

    Hi again..

    I am about 2 hours in my bulk fermentation at around 78 degrees. My dough is not keeping its shape. What went wrong? :(

    Reply

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