How To Make Sourdough Bread: A Basic Recipe

By Emily Spacek


(This recipe is based on one given to me by an old college professor. Originally, it is based on a recipe from Chad Robertson’s famous Tartine books)

Time: Two days

Yield: Two loaves

Ingredients and Steps:

  1. 1,000 grams/35.3 ounces of flour (900 grams/31.77 ounces Bread Flour plus 100 grams/3.53 ounces of Wheat Flour). Mix to combine.
  2. Separately, weigh 750-765 grams (about 3 ¼ cups) of warm filtered water (110-115 degrees, anything hotter will kill the yeast).
  3. 250 grams/ 8.83 ounces of sourdough starter should be added to the warm water, then stir lightly to break up the starter a bit in the water. After gently combined, pour into flour mixture and stir with dough whisk until the flour is sufficiently wet but not soaked. Cover this mixture with a cloth and set aside for 30min-1hour.
  4. Next, you need to add salt. Heat 50 grams or ¼ cup of filtered water to 110-115 degrees and then pour a heaping tablespoon of sea salt over the bread. Use a pinching motion to help evenly distribute salt. Then, pour the warm water over the salt. For 3-5 minutes combine into the bread by lifting and turning the bread. Think of the bread as having four corners that you are lifting and bringing into the middle of the loaf. Repeat until the water and salt are 100% absorbed into the bread.
  5. Once you’ve incorporated the salt, you will then engage in the stretch&fold phase for the next 2 1⁄2 hours. Stretch & fold the bread every 30 minutes during that period. Once you’ve stretched and folded the dough every 30 minutes for 2 1⁄2 hours you should be able to tell that the dough has tightened considerably and that it’s more difficult to stretch. At this point, cover with a wet flour clothnd place in refrigerator overnight or for at least 12 hours and up to 20.
  6. After the dough has fermented overnight, flip the dough out onto your counter and cut into two pieces. Form each piece into a ball where it then needs to bench rest for 10 minutes.
  7. From there, flip the loaves into their prepared bread baskets sprinkled with rice flour. If you do not have bread baskets, any medium sized bowl will do. Flip the loaves with the tops facing the bottom of the baskets. Once safely in their baskets, cover with cloth for 30 minutes in warm place at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 510 degrees with the bread baker inside.
  8. After the bread has proofed, flip it out onto a cut piece of unbleached parchment paper where you will slice it with a bread lame or knife. Lower the bread on the parchment into a hot bread baker (Romertopfs and enameled or cast-iron Dutch ovens work great. You need something with a lid).
  9. Place the lid over the bread and bake for 15 minutes at 510, 15 minutes at 475, 20 minutes at 460, then remove the lid and continue baking for 10 minutes. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes before eating. Enjoy!

No starter? Ask around! These days, it seems as though everyone is making sourdough!

Here’s the video that will show you how:

This article was originally published on May 6, 2020.