Basic Sourdough Bread Recipe


1.       508 g flour (100%)
2.       355 Water (70%)
3.       102 g levain (20%)
4.       25 g water (5%)—added after autolyzation
5.       10 g salt (2%)—added after autolyzation


1.       The night before you bake, make the levain.  Mix 20 grams of starter with 50 grams of flour and 40 grams of water.  Let ferment until ready (about 8 to 12 hours).
2.       Mix flour, water, and levain until smooth and creamy (you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook on low speed or you can mix it by hand).
3.       Let rest for 40 minutes (autolyze)
4.       Mix in additional water and salt. 
5.       Pour into oiled bowl. 
6.       Let rest for 40 minutes.
7.       Work the dough by stretching and folding it over on itself.  Do this four more times and 40 minute intervals.
8.       Bulk proof until it’s at least doubled in size (8 to 10 hours at room temperature).
9.       Shape the loaves
a.       Pour the dough out onto a flat surface (don’t flour it; you will be tempted, it’s sticky, but don’t do it).
b.       Divide the dough (if making more than one loaf).
c.       Bench rest for 20 minutes (i.e., let it sit on the counter for 20 minutes).
d.       Shape the loaves by pulling the edges in to the center (imagine that it’s a square on you’re pulling each side into the center).  A bench knife will be invaluable because it will stick to the surface.
e.       Now sprinkle flour on and around each loaf.  Shape it into a boule or loaf or the shape you’re after.
f.        Turn over into a well-floured banneton, loaf pan, bowl, etc.
10.   Final proof on the counter for two hours or in the refrigerator for 12 or more.
11.   Put Dutch oven(s) in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
12.   When the oven is hot, turn the loaves into the Dutch ovens, slash with a lame, and bake for 30 minutes.
13.   Remove from oven.  Turn out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.

Weight Weight Weight Baker's %
Flour 1,270 508 231 100%
Water 888 355 161 70%
Levain 254 102 46 20%
Salt 25 10 5 2%
Water 63 25 11 5%
Total 2,500 1,000 454