- 125 g active starter (buy my dehydrated sourdough here)
- 380 g filtered, room-temperature water
- 500 g bread flour or all-purpose unbleached flour
- 15 g sea salt (I use Redmonds or French Grey Salt)
Mix Your Ingredients
- Add your active starter to a large bowl.
- Add in 380 g water & mix with a bread whisk until milky.
- Add in the flour and sea salt & mix with the whisk until combined (around 2 minutes). It will not be smooth. That’s ok!
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel & let it rest for 30-45 minutes. You don’t need to be exact here!
Knead. Stretch. Fold.
- Knead the dough with your hands for around 5 minutes until it’s really combined. I like to stretch the sides into the center repeatedly and then start picking the dough up and working through my hands.
- Now you need to stretch & fold your dough to get those nice big bubbles in it. Grab one side of the dough and stretch it up high, folding it over to the opposite side. Rotate the bowl 1/4th of the way around and do it again. I typically stretch and fold it four times to work all the way around in a circle. Cover the bowl with a tea towel & let it rest again on the counter for 20-30 minutes.
- Repeat the step above two to three more times depending on how much time you have on your hands, waiting for 20-30 minutes between each stretch & fold.
- You can leave the dough on the counter (in the bowl & covered) to let it double in size or put it in the fridge for around 10-12 hours. I like the fridge method because you will learn how long it will take and you can either make your dough in the am and bake in the evening or make your dough in the evening and bake the next morning. If you leave it on the counter to long proof then it gets a lot trickier to make sure it’s not under or over-proofed because the temperature in our homes fluctuates.
Shape & Score
- When you are ready to bake dump the dough on a slightly floured counter and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Now spread the dough out as far as you can like a pancake and do another series of folds.
- Now it’s time to shape and build tension in the dough. The best way I have found to do this is to take the dough and pull it towards you sliding it on the counter, slightly twisting it in a circle as you slide it. This creates a lot of tension not only on the sides but also keeps rotating the bottom around the center. The goal is to try and get the top of the dough really tight. Keep pulling the dough until you notice it starts to hold its shape.
- Using a bench scraper to pick up your dough, flip it into a proofing basket that is lightly floured or lined with a tea towel that is floured.
- I hate the final proof because once it is shaped I am ready to bake it!! And you definitely can skip this part if you are pressed for time. However, if you want to get a better rise and have better luck scoring, I recommend you do a final proof in the fridge. Cold dough is MUCH easier to score than room temperature dough! You can proof on the counter for around 2 hours or in the fridge for about an hour.
- I have put the bowl in the fridge with a towel wrapped over it and also put the bowl + towel + dough inside of a grocery bag, tied it and put it in the fridge. I can’t tell too much of a difference either way.
- When you are ready to bake, flip your dough onto a piece of parchment paper. If you have used enough flour or put it on a floured tea cloth then it should flip right out. If for some reason the dough loses its shape don’t give up, you can definitely shape it again!
- Lightly flour the top of your bread & score it in the design of your choosing with a bread lame. I think it’s easier to just hold the blade instead of using it on the handle. I’m saving some inspiration on this Pinterest board if you want to take a peek.
Bake & Enjoy
- There are a million ways to bake these loaves and you can test them to see what works for you. I like to skip the preheating and place the dough on the parchment paper in the Dutch oven when it is cold. Cover with the lid & THEN turn the oven to 450 degrees. Bake for 40 minutes, reduce the heat to 425 degrees, and bake for another 15-20 minutes with the lid off (watching to see how brown you want it).
- You can also preheat the oven during the loaf’s final proof. If you do this preheat the oven to 450 with the Dutch oven in there. You then add in the loaf on parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes with the lid on and 15-20 minutes with the lid off.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and lift it out of the Dutch oven with the parchment paper. Let it rest on the counter to cool. If you cut it too soon you could end up with mushy bread because the steam has to escape. If you listen closely you can hear tiny pops! For the best bread, let it cool as much as possible before slicing, even though it is kind of torture.
Here is the best schedule I have found for this to suit our busy life!! If I try to make the bread in the am and bake in the evening I typically end up messing it up because we leave the house or the girls need me, etc. For this reason, I prefer prepping in the evening & baking in the morning but you can absolutely flip that!
I made these estimates because you don’t have to be too precious with the timing. The long proof just needs to be 10-12 hours.
Feed Starter – around lunchtime (12-1pm)
*My starter usually doubles in 6-8 hours. I like to keep mine in the microwave with the light on to help keep it nice and cozy. Sourdough likes to be around 75-80 degrees to double so if it’s cooler than that it will take longer.*
Mix ingredients when starter is at peak – 6-7pm
*This time can varry depending on the temperature in your house. If your house is colder it could take as long as 10 so just feed it earlier to use this schedule.*
Stretches & folds (1.5 – 2 hours) – 7pm – 9pm
*Usually we watch a movie & I pop in the kitchen to stretch & fold*
Long Proof (10-12 hours) – 9pm to 6-7am
*Let it proof while we sleep*
Shape & Score + Final Proof – 7am – 9am
*I will start this as early as 6 depending on when the first kid wakes me up.*
Bake (1 hour) – 9am -10am
*I will typically prep on Saturday night & bake on Sunday morning since I know we will be home getting ready for church.*