Learn how to make sourdough bread from scratch with a recipe that fits into your day to day life. It’s wonderfully fluffy with a nice crunch to it.
A couple of weeks ago I shared my guide to homemade sourdough starter. In that guide I talk about the history of yeast, the different terms you’ll come across, and my tips for a successful starter. So if you want to have a look at that, make sure to head here.
I’ve shared sourdough recipes before like my sourdough pizza crust recipe or the sourdough hot cross buns that I made last Easter. Today I want to share my sourdough bread recipe with you. And this one… has been a long time coming.
It has taken me over a year to finally feel like I’ve mastered a no-nonsense recipe that works for me and my lifestyle. Because the truth is, I’m not willing and able to spend hours on making sourdough bread.
No fancy temperatures, methods, or techniques for me. I wanted a recipe that fits into the rhythm of my day to day life and that would still work in the often colder climate of the UK. If that’s what you’re looking for too. Then make sure to read on!
When you acquire the skill to work with sourdough, you master a skill that was used in the time that Jesus was alive. This was their way to rise bread and therefore sourdough starters were passed on from generation to generation. They knew how precious a mature and established starter was.
When I searched for a sourdough bread recipe… boy was it overwhelming. There are a lot of terms, techniques, methods, and so fort out there. With some of the recipes I sometimes managed to create something that looked OK but I knew that I still didn’t really understand and grasped the concept of sourdough.
That was until I encountered the super useful videos that Abigail Dodds posted on her Instagram. One of her highlights has been dedicated to making sourdough bread and the videos explain the different stages of creating sourdough bread.
Finally I felt like I found a recipe that was no nonsense and that would work for me. And the great thing? It straight away prepares the dough for two breads! If you live in a house with hungry people, you’ll know how important that is.
I soon did notice though that my dough and therefore my bread, would never be as fluffy as Abigail’s bread. I think it may have to do with the colder climate here. So I made a few adjustments to the recipe and boy… this recipe works. It doesn’t matter whether it’s cold or warm, your bread will be fluffy.
I will go through the recipe step by step but if you want a handy dandy printable make sure to head to the end of this post. I’ve also created a Youtube video in which I show you how to make it. Some things are very difficult to explain so I wanted to make sure to create a visual aid!
Preparing the dough
- The morning before you want to start making the dough, make sure to dispose some of your sourdough starter until you have 50 grams left. To that add 100 grams of lukewarm water (so 50 grams boiled water and 50 grams cold water) and 100 grams of white bread flour.
Really make sure to add the water first and to mix it well with the starter before you add the flour. This will ensure that you’ll avoid clumps. After you’ve done that, make sure to put the lid of your storage container or jar on it loosely and to just let it stand on your kitchen counter.
- Repeat this process in the evening of that day but this time add 200 grams of lukewarm water and 200 grams of white bread flour. I like to use a bigger storage container for this to really allow the sourdough starter to expand.
- The next morning it’s time to start preparing the dough! But be aware, making the dough takes some time. I like to take a whole day for it and to then just plan to bake the dough the next day.
So I feed the starter two days before I want to bake the dough. Actually prepare the dough a day before I want to bake the bread. And bake it on the third day after keeping the dough in the fridge overnight.
It is possible to leave the finished dough in the fridge for only a couple of hours and to then bake it in the evening then. That would ensure your bread to be finished just a bit quicker. But I prefer to have fresh bread on the day.
- Start preparing the dough by adding 700 grams of lukewarm water to a large mixing bowl. Add 200 grams of the starter. If it floats then that’s a good sign. It means that there are enough bubbles to create a nice airy bread.
- Mix it by hand and make sure to really dissolve that starter in the water.
- Add 100 grams of flour. You can play around with what type of flour but I like to add 850 grams of white bread flour and 150 grams of whole wheat flour.
- Next add salt. You can choose however salty you like it to be. I like to add 35 grams of salt. But if you skip this step (which I have done a few times by accident) your bread won’t taste as good!
- Now mix it with a dough mixer or with your hands. I used to do it by hand but a dough mixer is so extremely handy! It speeds up the process and is just a lot easier in general. Especially when you are making enough dough for two breads. I bought mine from Amazon.
Allow it to rise
- When the flour is mixed well (don’t over mix it) make sure to rest the dough for 20-30 minutes. I put a wet tea towel on top of the bowl to make sure that the dough doesn’t dry out.
- After, do the stretch and fold method with wet hands. If you don’t know what the stretch and fold method is, make sure to watch my video! After having done that, I like to take the whole dough out of the bowl and to put it upside down. This way the folds end up on the bottom. Make sure to tuck the sides in.
- You will be doing this stretch and fold method two more times. But after each time you’ve done the stretch and fold, make sure to allow the bread to rise for about 2 hours. Again make sure to put a wet tea towel on top of the bowl while it’s rising to make sure that the dough doesn’t dry out. The warmer the spot where you let your dough rise, the better.
Shape the dough
- After the third stretch and fold and 2 hour rise it’s time to turn the dough out on the kitchen counter. Divide the dough into two portions. You can use a wet large knife for this but I decided to invest in a dough cutter. When you wet the knife or dough cutter the dough won’t stick to it so much.
- Once you’ve divided the dough into two portions, you’ll want to use a knife/dough cutter to create a tight ball. With the dough cutter and your right hand, you slightly rotate the dough clockwise. It’s tricky to explain so if you want more clarity make sure to watch the video. What you’ve just done is called the first shaping session.
You could put the dough in the proofing bowl straight away after this but I like to use a second shaping session to create more tight and tidy balls of dough. Put flour on top (regular flour is fine) and cover it again with a tea towel.
- You’ll want to leave the dough for 20-30 minutes. This is the perfect time to prepare your proofing bowls. Flour a proofing bowl or a bowl with a tea towel in it. You can use plain flour or rice flour for this. Make sure to use enough and you could mix the two types of flour up if you’d like.
- The second shaping session use a knife/dough cutter to turn the dough over. After, fold it on itself like and envelope.
- Once both portions of dough are nicely shaped make sure to put them in the proofing bowls with the seams on top. You can now just put it in the fridge straight or you can put plastic bags around them before you do. The dough will need to be in the fridge for at least two hours before you bake it. I personally like to leave it in the fridge overnight. The dough can stay in the fridge for up to 3 days. So you won’t have to bake the two portions at the same time.
- Heat the oven at 230 degrees Celsius and put your dutch oven in it for about half a hour. You’ll want the dutch oven to get really hot.
- After a half a hour has passed, turn the dough out on baking paper and score it with a razor or knife. The scoring will allow steam to escape from the dough while it’s baking. If you neglect to score your bread, it could burst anywhere it likes and that might not look too pretty!
- Next put the dough on the baking paper in the hot dutch oven and put the lid back on.
- Bake the bread for 25 minutes with the lid on the dutch oven. After 25 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 210 and take the lid off.
- An extra step that you could take to make sure that the bottom of the bread has been baked off fully is to put the bread upside down in the oven (without the dutch oven) and to bake it for another 5-10 minutes.
- After you’ve finished baking the bread you should be able to hear a hollow sound when you tap the bottom of the bread. Make sure to cool the bread down on a cookie rack for example. You want the bread to be fully cooled down before you start slicing it! If you neglect to do this it could end up a bit moist on the inside.
There you have it! Your very own homemade sourdough bread. It may not go well straight away (although I do hope that this tutorial and the Youtube video help you on your way) but it will be so satisfying once you master it!
If you would like to know which items I use for making sourdough bread make sure to head to the Youtube video. I mention them all in the description box there!
And as always, if you have any questions or recommendations, they’re very welcome 🙂
Sourdough Bread from Scratch
- Dutch Oven
- Proofing bowl
- Dough whisk
- Scoring knife
- Baking paper
- Dough cutter