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A loaf of baked sourdough bread on a cutting board
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5 from 2 votes

How to Make Sourdough Bread

Learn how to make sourdough bread from scratch with a sourdough starter. It is not as complicated as you might think to make beautiful and tasty bread. I will walk you through the process and give you tips, tricks, step-by-step photos, and a tutorial video so that you can successfully bake your own bread. This recipe is very beginner-friendly and perfect for a busy schedule as you only have to let the bread rise once.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Chill8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 55 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: making sourdough bread, sourdough bread from starter, sourdough bread recipe
Servings: 1 small loaf
Calories: 997kcal


Leaven* (see note)

Sourdough Bread

  • 168 g bottled or filtered water
  • 4 g salt
  • 250 g organic white bread flour
  • 50 g leaven


Prepare the leaven

  • Combine the sourdough starter, water, and flour and stir until no lumps remain. Let sit in a warm spot (68-75°F / 20-24°C) until it has risen by about 75% and passes the float test, about 4-6 hours.

Prepare the dough

  • Remove 1 tablespoon (15ml) of the water you need for the dough and mix it with the salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the water and leaven until dissolved. Add the flour and stir with a spoon or spatula until a shaggy dough forms. With slightly wet hands, knead the dough for a few minutes until there are no more lumps of flour. Cover and let rest for 60 minutes.
  • Add the salt-water mixture and knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and releases from the bowl. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • With slightly wet hands, grab one side of the dough, stretch it up, and fold it onto itself. Turn the bowl by 90° and stretch it and fold it again. Repeat this two more times. Then cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Repeat three more times until you have completed 4 sets of stretching and folding.
  • Transfer the dough to a straight-sided container and cover it. Let the dough rest at room temperature for another 4-12 hours or until you see lots of small and large bubbles and it wobbles like jellyfish when you gently shake the container. 

Prepare the loaf

  • Preheat the oven and a large Dutch oven (pot and lid) to 485°F (252°C) for 30-45 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the dough from the container with a dough scraper and place it on a work surface. Shape the dough into a round ball with as few moves as possible. This works best with a lightly floured bench knife in a rotary motion. Then lightly flour the top of the dough ball and cover with a dry and clean kitchen towel for 20 minutes.
  • Lightly flour the work surface and turn the ball over with the bench knife. Then stretch the half of the dough closest to you up and fold it over the other half of the dough onto itself. Stretch the right third of the dough horizontally and fold it over the center. Then stretch up the left third of the dough horizontally and fold it over the previous fold. Stretch out the flap of dough farthest away from you and fold it toward you and over the dough. While holding and anchoring the flap, turn the dough over that the seams are on the bottom and the smooth underside on top.
  • Gently cup the dough with lightly floured hands and move it around to build tension, stretch the surface of the dough, and close the seams at the bottom. Use as little flour as possible so that the dough can anchor to the surface while you move. Do this gently without deflating the dough, and don’t overwork the dough. Make as little movement as possible.
  • Cut a strip of parchment paper to fit your Dutch oven and easily lift the dough into the preheated Dutch oven without burning yourself. I prefer cutting a strip that is about 8-inch (20cm) wide. Lightly sprinkle with flour.
  • Transfer the dough ball with the bench knife to the prepared parchment paper and score. I like to make one cut lightly off-centered across the bread. Cut about ½ - 1 inch deep (1.3-2.6cm).
  • Open the Dutch oven and lift the bread with the paper in. Close it and bake for 20 minutes. 
  • After 20 minutes, remove the lid from the Dutch oven and turn the heat down to 400°F (204°). Bake an additional 15-20 minutes until the crust is hard, golden-brown, and it sounds hollow when knocking on the bottom of the bread.
  • Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Slice and enjoy.



This recipe makes a small loaf that a small family can eat on the same day. If you prefer a large loaf, double the recipe and extend the baking time after removing the Dutch oven lid to 20-25 minutes. You can use leftovers to make bread pudding.

* I feed my sourdough starter in a ratio of 1:5:5, 1 part starter, 5 parts flour, and 5 parts water and it doubles in 4-6 hours. If you feed your starter in a different ratio (1:1:1 for example), I recommend preparing the leaven in the ratio you would normally feed your starter. It has to be strong enough to double in 4-6 hours. Otherwise, the leaven may not grow as expected and the loaf may not rise properly.


Calories: 997kcal | Carbohydrates: 200g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1566mg | Potassium: 275mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg