Updated: Aug 9, 2020
This is the BEST Sourdough Bread recipe! Believe me, I've tested several recipes so far. Friendly
heads up, sourdough is time consuming. There isn't a lot of active time, but this takes place over a period of time, so be ready for that, and I promise, it's worth it. I've included a Dutch Oven baking version as well as a cookie sheet/pizza stone baking version for your convenience.
You will need:
270g (about 1-1/3 C) ripe sourdough starter
453g (about 2-1/4 C) water at room temperature or slightly warmer
765g (about 5 C) total flour (I use all-purpose flour but you can add a mixture of flours as long as they contain gluten - rye, wheat, etc)
20g (about 1 T) salt
Oil (for the folding stage)
Kitchenaid Stand Mixer (or other stand mixer or by hand!)
Large Bowl (for fermenting dough)
Cover (plastic wrap, towel or any other form of cover will work)
Tea Towel or Banneton
Dutch Oven (my all time prefered method), Baking stone, Cookie sheet or other means to bake your bread.
TIME - This is not hard, not a lot of active time, but over a LONG period of time
In the bowl of a stand mixer, weigh out the starter and then add the water. Stir the starter and the water together briefly to form a slurry and dissolve the starter into the water
2. Add the various flours you intend to use for a total weight of about 765g flour
3. Using the dough hook, mix together on low/med speed until combined and just pulled away from the side of the bowl (about 1-2 minutes). The dough will look shaggy (still sticky, gloopy - not smooth and creamy like most doughs you’re used to seeing)
4. Cover the bowl with a tea towel (cotton towel or plastic wrap works too) and let autolyse (rest) for 30 minutes
5. After autolyse stage, add the salt to the dough and mix on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until it looks nice and smooth (medium level gluten development)
6. While dough is mixing, coat your other large bowl with a small amount of oil (I use vegetable oil or whatever I have handy) so the dough doesn’t stick during bulk fermentation
7. Transfer your dough to the lightly oiled container and fold the sides over from the bottom up to form a very rough ball shape. Flip the dough ball over (making sure to coat all sides with oil) and place the cover over the container loosely (tea towel or plastic wrap)
8. Ferment for 2.5 hours or 150 minutes in a warm spot (folding every 50 min)
9. Perform envelope folds on the dough at 50, 100 and 150 minutes
10. Turn the dough out onto a clean, flour dusted counter and divide into however many loaves you want to make (I usually do two if I’m doing the dutch oven, three if I’m baking on a stone or cookie sheet). Pre-shape each piece into a ball or boule, gently working out any large gas bubbles as you shape
11. Let the boules bench rest, covered with a tea towel, for 15 minutes
12. Shape each piece into your final shape: batard (oval), boule (round), baton/baguette (long)
13. Place your loaves, seam side facing up, into your floured tea towel in a bowl or loaf forming dish (If you’re fancy enough to have a banneton, use that!).
14. Cover with plastic wrap or a plastic bag to keep the dough from drying out.
15. Place the loaves into the refrigerator for 12+ hours (I have successfully placed loaves in the refrigerator for 5 days before baking). The longer they sit, the more sour they become!
Dutch Oven Baking Option
16. After the refrigerator rest time, preheat your oven to 500 with the dutch oven IN the preheating oven. Preheat for AT LEAST 30 min, an hour or more is ideal.
17. When your dutch oven is preheated, take a piece of parchment paper (a little larger than the width of your loaf) and invert the “seam side up” dough ball onto the parchment paper.
18. Cut design into the top of the dough (I usually do a criss cross design)
19. Quickly remove the lid to the dutch oven, place the parchment paper with the dough ball in the oven, replace lid and back in the oven.
20. Bake at 500 degrees for 15-18 minutes, reduce temperature (DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR) to 450 degrees and reset the timer for another 15-18 minutes.
21. At this point, your bread is fully baked… You can remove the lid and continue baking until the desired crust is formed (longer = crispier crust). You can also remove the loaf from the dutch oven and bake the loaf on an oven rack for the remaining time.
22. Remove from the oven and let rest (if you can) until cooled.
23. Slice and ENJOY!
Cookie Sheet or Baking Stone Baking Option
16. After the refrigerator rest time, preheat your oven to 500 degrees
17. Place loaves, seam side down on the baking stone or cookie sheet. Place a pan (cookie sheet, muffin tin, oven safe bowl, etc) of water on the lowest rack in the oven, place the loave sheet on the rack above the water. Bake at 500 degrees for 20 min.
18. Without opening the oven, reduce temperature to 450 and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until desired crust is formed.
19. Remove from the oven and let rest (if you can) until cooled.
20. Slice and ENJOY!