My Everyday Sourdough Bread Recipe

By Amanda Paa – Updated March 5, 2024
4.89 from 167 votes
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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.

Sourdough Bread Boule with a linen

Sourdough Bread for Beginners

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 6 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. Then you can make your way to whole grain recipes, like my delicious rye sourdough and spelt sourdough recipes.

This 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 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 or purchasing mine so you can get baking right away instead of spending several weeks getting your started. You’ll be able to use to make sourdough english muffins, sourdough cinnamon rolls, and lots of sourdough discard recipes!

I 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 and this Sourdough Starter video. Both 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.

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 jumps right back up to flat, it needs more time to rise. If your fingerprint indents and doesn’t bounce back at, it is overproofed. That’s okay, just get it in the oven! It will still taste delicious, it will just not rise as well while baking

Sourdough Starter Float Test

Once your sourdough starter is ready to bake with, here are the essential steps for baking. You can watch this step-by step tutorial of me making this sourdough bread recipe to help you as well.

  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 72 degrees. It will take longer if your house is cooler.
  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:

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crumb shot of sourdough bread, holding in hands

Delicious Everyday Sourdough Bread Recipe

A naturally fermented sourdough bread that has a fluffy interior and golden brown crust. This is a great recipe for sourdough beginners, and walks you through the entire process of making a basic sourdough bread.
4.89 from 167 votes
Prep Time :10 minutes
Cook Time :45 minutes
Additional Time :10 hours
Total Time :10 hours 55 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 50 grams active sourdough starter
  • 305 grams filtered water at temperature, around 85 to 90 degrees F
  • 370 grams bread flour
  • 30 grams whole wheat flour*
  • 7 grams fine sea salt

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, mix starter and water with a fork, until starter is dispersed. Add flours, mixing with a spatula first. Then with your hand until a shaggy dough is formed, just enough so that flour is not visible.
  • Cover with a damp cloth and let sit for 30 minutes.
  • Once rested, add salt to top of dough and liberally knead the dough for two minute. Then perform your 1st of stretch and folds. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Then perform your 2nd set. Let rest for 30 minutes. Then perform your 3rd set. Let rest for 30 minutes. Then perform your 4th and final set. 4 sets of stretch and folds, 30 minutes apart. Here is a video of how to do a stretch and fold. It is easy!
  • After those stretch and folds are completed, you will let the dough finish its bulk ferment. This means letting the dough rise on the counter for around 6-7ish hours total (from 1st set of stretch and folds) if your house is around 72 degrees. It will take more time if it is cooler, or less time if it warmer. Your dough is finished proofing when: it has risen about 75% (not quite doubled in size), has a glossy top and is puffy, with a bubble or two around the edges of the bowl/bucket. It should jiggle a bit as well when you shake it. These are the signs to look for, rather than going off of time. Time is a general notation because the temperature of water you used and air temperature will be different for everyone.
  • Now you'll gently move the dough out of the bowl onto a floured work surface. Let the dough rest there for 10-15 minutes.
  • Then, shape the dough. You can watch the video below to learn how to shape it into a round boule.
  • Once shaped, use a bench scraper to put the dough into a banneton (proofing basket) that has been liberally dusted with rice flour, seam side of the dough facing up (so the top of the dough is what is touching the bottom of banneton) when it is placed in banneton.
  • 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 the banneton with dough, in a plastic bag or covered with a shower cap (this ensures the dough will not dry out) in the refrigerator and let the final rise happen overnight. The dough can be in the refrigerator for 10-12 hours at this stage.
  • Once your dough has gone through its final rise and has risen slightly and is puffy on top, preheat your oven with dutch oven in it 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 you press your finger in and the indent doesn't move or release, that means it is overproofed (but still bake it!). If your fingerprint jumps right back up to flat, your dough is underproofed (but still bake it!). Let it ferment in half hour more increments, until ready.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, turn heat down to 430 degrees F, and bake for 25 more minutes, until bread is golden brown and crackly.
  • 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.

Notes

*You can also use whole grain einkorn, spelt, red fife, or khorasan flour.

Did you make this?

tag @heartbeetkitchen on instagram and hashtag it #heartbeetkitchen

April 8, 2020

COMMENT & RATE

I look forward to your comments, reviews and questions! If you love this recipe, please rate it when you leave a comment. Star ratings help people discover my recipes. Your support means a lot; thank you for being a part of the Heartbeet Kitchen community.

Amanda

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240 comments

  1. Maddie

    5 stars
    Great recipe, I get good bread every time.

    • Amanda Paa

      so glad to hear that, thanks for making the recipe!

  2. Betsy Ratzsch

    5 stars
    This was a really helpful presentation. I baked sourdough bread 50 years or so ago and have returned to it again due to seeing the Japanese version called Sado or Japanese Milk Bread. I know it seems unlikely but it’s true. They use milk plus the starter has potato, carrot and rice in it. You have to blender the mixture and then add the starter. It is kneaded with the stretching technique you used but is shaped into 4 balls which are place in a Pullman loaf pan. The Japanese use it for sandwiches , which was new to me ! The resulting bread has a sweetness to it due to the carrots. You might enjoy trying it if you haven’t already. Thanks again

    • Amanda Paa

      oh, interesting! I will look into that!

  3. Jeanne

    Can you do bulk fermentation in refrigerator overnight? Do you then let it get to room temp before next step?
    Thank you

    • Amanda Paa

      Hello! Bulk fermentation needs to be done on the counter. The fridge inhibits the yeast activity, and it never becomes strong enough for proper rise and texture in finished loaf.

  4. Lisa

    Hi, In the everyday sourdough recipe can i use white wheat for the wheat portion?

    Thank you!!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yes, that will be fine!

  5. Karen

    5 stars
    Have only used sourdough for sandwich type loaves before. Bravely decided to double this recipe on my first try for a crusty loaf, so glad I did!! Ended up with 2 picture perfect, delicious rounds of heavenly goodness! I didn’t have all the proper equipment…used 2 small stainless mixing bowls lined with towels dusted with “rice flour” (white rice in my nutra bullet) ;) for the final raise. I had high hopes, but not expectations, ha, so was totally amazed when everything worked perfectly. Thanks for your detailed, easy to follow instructions!!!!

    • Amanda Paa

      Oh yay, love to hear your success and joy!

  6. Lauren B.

    This recipe is amazing, and I just got a cast iron bread pan to cook my sourdough in. Do the cooking instructions change at all when using a cast iron pan?

    • Amanda Paa

      They do not, I cook in all cast iron now too! So glad you like the recipe.

  7. Ryan

    5 stars
    I have made this recipe several times now always utilizing the measurements for two loaves. It is the best recipe I have used so far the only thing I deviate from is I typically add 130-150g of my ripe sourdough starter versus the 90g 2 loaves calls for. Other then that everything else is followed exactly and it comes out terrific.

    I even forgot to add salt until my last set of stretch and folds once and incorporated it then a little into each fold, and then did an additional 3 sets of stretch and folds and it still came out terrific.

    Highly recommend this straightforward and delicious recipe!

    • Amanda Paa

      So glad you enjoy it, Ryan! Thanks for leaving your notes.

  8. patrick gunn

    what is 45grams and y do i have to use grams usa is cups

  9. Sherry

    5 stars
    I’m very new at sourdough baking. I’ve watched a lot of videos. It can be overwhelming. Why do some recipes have olive oil and some do not? What does the olive oil do? I have 6 loaves under my belt is all but I want to learn the best way to make delicious sourdough bread

  10. Rosemary Tadlock

    5 stars
    First time making this recipe but second time making sourdough bread. Love this recipe and its flexibility as to flavors, refrigeration time and have in the oven now. Can’t wait to taste it because it smells amazing!!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay, thanks for this note!

  11. Cindy Pelz

    5 stars
    Tried this recipe the first time making sourdough bread turned out very good. Then tried a couple others and came beck to this one turned out best! I keep making every weekend so I can do it by memory, gets easier everytime! Thank you!

  12. Robert disalvo

    I have made this a bunch and is just awesome! But I was wondering if you can do bulk fermentation in fridge?

    • Amanda Paa

      So glad you enjoy this recipe! A bulk fermentation in the fridge will halt the yeast activity and will prevent the loaf from getting a good rise and fluffy crumb. I have tested it and do not recommend this.

  13. THOMAS David SOMERSET

    5 stars
    Insanely good recipe and bread Great looking, aroma is wonderful, crumb is perfect, taste is addicting and the crunchy crust . Perfect. Thank you so much. Came out PERFECT.

    • Amanda Paa

      Great to hear! Thanks so much for making the recipe.

  14. Rosie

    Thus recipe is great, and my loafs turn out perfect! Just they’re a bit small ;) if I wanted to make a larger loaf by doubling the recipe, how much longer should I bake it for? Thanks!

  15. Julia

    5 stars
    I’ve seen other recipes say that if doing the final rise in the fridge, it can be in there longer, 12-24 hours. Do you find this is too long for your recipe? Does it have to do with the starter % used? Thanks in advance!

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Julia! If correctly proofed when it goes into the fridge, it will be just fine for up to 24 hours in there.

  16. G

    5 stars
    Amazing recipe! Made it a couple times and it never fails 🤍

    • Amanda Paa

      So glad to hear that! Thanks for making it. 🩷

  17. Mary Stoetzel

    5 stars
    This was my first sourdough recipe I made. I left my loaf rise in the fridg. over night and seemed like it was ready for baking. However, it didn’t rise like I was hoping. It was delicious tasting though! Thank you for your video’s they were very helpful and will watch again before I make my next loaf.

  18. Diane

    5 stars
    Thank you for such thorough and detailed instructions I’ve been baking sourdough for a year and have had more unsuccessful loaves than good ones. I really appreciated the videos as I’m a visual learner. My loaf came out great!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay, so glad to hear the videos are helpful! Enjoy your next sourdough bake!

  19. Jenny

    5 stars
    this tasted delicious but i’m having trouble with my deep score- i am not getting a cut that expands and not getting a good ear, i’m a newbie somewhat but trying to uplevel my skills and trying new recipes (like yours) i love your work and so appreciate your videos and step by step instructions! Where am I going so wrong?? I also tried your rye recipe and it was so delicious too- i’m getting good texture and taste and little airholes but my loaves are flat and i’m not getting a good ear…. hmmmm??? Thank you in advance for any guidance!!!!!!! Jenny

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Jenny! If you are not getting a good ear and your loaves aren’t rise as you’d like, that sounds like an overproofing issue most likely. It could also be a weak starter. Both are common when you’re a beginner so just keep practicing! You can DM me on instagram some photos of the crumb and I can help assess better! @heartbeetkitchen

  20. Jon Madson

    5 stars
    Very user friendly, especially when your a newbie to sourdough making.

  21. Sharlott Lather

    It is my first time making the recipe. I was taking one side and stretching and folding over to the opposite side of the dough. Once each direction every half an hour 4 times. I’m actually really new to sour dough making. And loving it. But still don’t know a lot.