Sourdough Bread Recipe

Sourdough bread slices | zi3000

Master the Art of Homemade Sourdough Bread with This Foolproof Recipe

There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked sourdough bread wafting through the kitchen. If you’ve always wanted to try making your own but felt overwhelmed by the complicated recipes and techniques out there, fear not. This foolproof recipe will guide you step-by-step, helping you master the art of homemade sourdough bread.

With just a few simple ingredients – flour, water, and salt – and a little bit of time and patience, you’ll be rewarded with a crusty, flavorful bread that rivals any you can find at a bakery. The secret lies in cultivating a sourdough starter, a mixture of flour and water that naturally ferments and gives the bread its distinct tangy flavor. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the process.

Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a complete novice, this recipe is designed to ensure success every time. Say goodbye to store-bought bread and embrace the satisfaction of creating your own delicious, homemade sourdough bread. Let’s get started on your sourdough journey!

The Science Behind Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is unique because it is made using wild yeast and bacteria instead of commercial yeast. The fermentation process is what gives sourdough bread its distinct flavor and texture. When flour and water are combined and left to ferment, naturally occurring yeast and lactobacilli bacteria in the air and on the flour begin to multiply. These microorganisms consume the carbohydrates in the flour, producing carbon dioxide gas and lactic acid. The carbon dioxide creates air pockets in the dough, giving the bread its characteristic open crumb structure, while the lactic acid contributes to the tangy flavor.

The wild yeast and bacteria in sourdough starter also have a slower fermentation process compared to commercial yeast, resulting in a more complex and flavorful bread. Additionally, the lactic acid produced during fermentation helps to break down the gluten in the dough, making sourdough bread easier to digest for those with gluten sensitivities.

Benefits of Making Homemade Sourdough Bread

Making sourdough bread at home not only allows you to enjoy the delicious flavor and texture, but it also comes with a range of benefits. Firstly, by making your own bread, you have complete control over the ingredients, ensuring that there are no preservatives, additives, or artificial flavors. This makes homemade sourdough bread a healthier option compared to store-bought bread.

Furthermore, baking sourdough bread can be a therapeutic process that helps reduce stress and anxiety. The act of kneading the dough and watching it rise can be meditative, allowing you to disconnect from the outside world and focus on the present moment. The satisfaction of creating something from scratch and sharing it with loved ones is also immensely rewarding.

Lastly, making your own sourdough bread is cost-effective in the long run. While the initial investment in ingredients and equipment may be slightly higher, once you have a thriving sourdough starter, you can continue to use it indefinitely, saving money on store-bought bread in the future.

Sourdough Bread Recipe

To make homemade sourdough bread, you’ll need a few basic ingredients and some essential equipment. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 500g bread flour
  • 350g water
  • 10g salt


  • Large mixing bowl
  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Plastic or glass container for sourdough starter
  • Kitchen towel or plastic wrap
  • Dutch oven or baking stone
  • Bread lame or sharp knife
  • Oven thermometer

Having these ingredients and equipment ready will ensure a smooth baking process and help you achieve the best results.


Before you can start making sourdough bread, you’ll need to create a sourdough starter. This is a mixture of flour and water that contains wild yeast and bacteria. Follow these step-by-step instructions to make your own sourdough starter:

  1. Day 1: In a clean container, combine 50g of bread flour and 50g of water. Stir until there are no dry spots. Cover the container with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
  2. Day 2: The mixture should have some bubbles on the surface. Discard half of the starter (approximately 50g) and add 50g of bread flour and 50g of water. Stir well and cover the container. Let it sit at room temperature for another 24 hours.
  3. Day 3: The starter should now be more active with even more bubbles and a slightly sour smell. Discard half of the starter again and add 50g of bread flour and 50g of water. Stir and cover. Let it sit at room temperature for another 24 hours.
  4. Day 4: The starter should be very active and ready to use. It should have a pleasant tangy smell and be full of bubbles. You can now proceed to use it in your sourdough bread recipe.

Remember to discard and feed your sourdough starter regularly to keep it healthy and active. This means removing a portion of the starter and replacing it with fresh flour and water. Feeding should be done at least once a week if you’re not baking frequently, or daily if you’re baking regularly.

Feeding and Maintaining Your Sourdough Starter

Once you have a healthy sourdough starter, it’s important to maintain it properly to ensure consistent results in your sourdough bread. Here are some tips for feeding and maintaining your sourdough starter:

  1. Store your starter in the refrigerator: Keeping your starter in the refrigerator slows down the fermentation process and reduces the need for daily feeding. It can stay in the refrigerator for up to a week without feeding. If you’re not planning to bake for an extended period, you can freeze a portion of your starter as a backup.
  2. Feeding schedule: If you’re baking regularly, it’s best to feed your starter daily or every 12 hours to keep it active and healthy. For those who bake less frequently, feeding once a week is sufficient. When feeding, discard a portion of the starter and feed it with equal parts of flour and water.
  3. Feed by weight, not volume: It’s important to use a digital kitchen scale when feeding your starter to ensure accuracy. Measuring by weight ensures that the hydration level of your starter remains consistent, resulting in consistent baking results.
  4. Adjust hydration level: Depending on the recipe and your personal preference, you may need to adjust the hydration level of your starter. A drier starter with less water will produce a denser bread, while a wetter starter with more water will result in a more open crumb structure. Experiment with different hydration levels to find the one that suits your taste.

By following these guidelines, you can keep your sourdough starter healthy and ready for baking whenever you desire.

Mixing and Fermenting the Dough

Once you have a mature and active sourdough starter, it’s time to mix the dough and let it ferment. Follow these steps to create your sourdough bread dough:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 200g of sourdough starter, 350g of water, and 500g of bread flour. Mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes to allow the flour to fully hydrate.
  2. After the initial rest, add 10g of salt to the dough. Using your hands or a dough scraper, incorporate the salt into the dough by gently folding and stretching it. Avoid tearing the dough. Once the salt is fully incorporated, let the dough rest for another 30 minutes.
  3. Perform a series of stretch and folds every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours. To do this, wet your hands and gently stretch one side of the dough and fold it over to the opposite side. Repeat this process from all four sides of the dough. These stretch and folds help develop the gluten in the dough, improving its structure and creating a stronger dough.
  4. After the final series of stretch and folds, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the dough bulk ferment at room temperature for approximately 4 to 6 hours, or until it has doubled in size. The exact time will depend on the temperature of your environment. During bulk fermentation, the dough should be left undisturbed to allow the yeast and bacteria to do their work.

Shaping and Baking the Sourdough Bread

Once the dough has completed its bulk fermentation, it’s time to shape it and get it ready for baking. Follow these steps to shape and bake your sourdough bread:

  1. Lightly flour a clean surface and turn the fermented dough out onto it. Gently stretch and fold the edges of the dough towards the center, creating tension on the surface. Shape the dough into a round or oval shape, depending on your preference.
  2. Place the shaped dough onto a well-floured banneton or a bowl lined with a clean kitchen towel. Cover it with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it undergo its final proofing at room temperature for approximately 2 to 3 hours, or until it has visibly expanded and feels light and airy to the touch.
  3. About 30 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C) with a Dutch oven or baking stone inside. This will ensure that the oven and the baking vessel are properly heated.
  4. Once the oven is preheated, carefully transfer the dough from the banneton onto a piece of parchment paper. Score the top of the dough with a bread lame or a sharp knife to allow for controlled expansion during baking.
  5. Carefully transfer the dough with the parchment paper into the preheated Dutch oven or onto the baking stone. Cover the Dutch oven with its lid or use a large oven-safe bowl to create a steamy environment for the bread.
  6. Bake the bread covered for 20 minutes. Then, remove the lid or bowl and continue baking for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  7. Once baked, remove the bread from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. This allows the bread to fully set and prevents it from becoming gummy.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Sourdough Bread

Even with a foolproof recipe, it’s common to encounter some challenges when making sourdough bread. Here are some troubleshooting tips for common issues:

  1. Dense or gummy crumb: This can be caused by under-fermentation, over-fermentation, or improper shaping. Ensure that the dough has properly fermented and doubled in size during bulk fermentation. Proper shaping and creating tension on the surface of the dough will also contribute to an open crumb structure.
  2. Lack of rise: If your bread doesn’t rise much during proofing or baking, it may be due to a weak or inactive sourdough starter. Make sure your starter is healthy and active before using it in your bread dough. You can also try using a higher hydration level in the dough or extending the proofing time.
  3. Sourdough bread with a strong sour taste: The sourness of the bread can be influenced by the fermentation time and temperature. Decreasing the fermentation time or fermenting at a cooler temperature can result in a milder flavor. Experiment with different fermentation times and temperatures to find your preferred level of sourness.
  4. Excessive spreading during baking: This can be caused by over-fermentation or improper shaping. Make sure the dough has not over-fermented during bulk fermentation. Additionally, ensure that you have created enough surface tension during shaping to support the dough’s rise in the oven.


Congratulations! You have now mastered the art of homemade sourdough bread. By following this foolproof recipe, you can enjoy the satisfaction of creating your own delicious bread with a tangy flavor and a crusty texture. Remember, making sourdough bread is a journey that requires time, patience, and practice. Don’t be discouraged by any initial setbacks; they are all part of the learning process.

Experiment with different flours, hydration levels, and fermentation times to create your own signature sourdough bread. Share your creations with friends and family and revel in the joy of homemade goodness. With this recipe as your guide, there’s no limit to the delicious bread you can create in your own kitchen. Happy baking!