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Beginner artisan sourdough bread

Learn how to bake homemade sourdough bread with a crackling crust and beautiful chew. This simple recipe is perfect for beginners learning how to make their first artisan loaf.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 45 mins
Resting Time 1 d
Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf


  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • Food scale
  • Dutch oven
  • Parchment paper


For the levain

  • 10 g starter
  • 25 g lukewarm water
  • 25 g bread flour

For the dough

  • 50 g levain (see above)
  • 175 g white bread flour
  • 75 g whole wheat flour
  • 5 g kosher or sea salt
  • 193 g lukewarm water
  • additional flour for dusting


Day 1

  • Create your levain. On the evening of day 1, combine starter, flour, and water together. Cover and let sit overnight.
  • Prepare your flour and water. In a large mixing bowl, add your flour and 188g of lukewarm water. Lightly mix together with your hands or a wooden spoon. Cover and let sit overnight.

Day 2

  • Perform a float test on the levain to make sure it is ready to use. If it's not ready, try again in 30 minutes.
  • Your water and flour mixture should now be soft and stretchy. Add 50g of the levain into the center and incorporate by pinching and folding over the dough. Add the salt and water and incorporate by pinching and folding again. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Knead your dough. Pour the dough onto a clean countertop and knead using the slap and fold method for about 10 minutes. It will be very wet and sticky at first. Continue to slap and fold and resist the urge to add flour. After a while, the dough will stick to itself more than to your hands or the countertop. Perform a window pane test to see if gluten has developed sufficiently. Return the dough to the bowl and cover.
  • Allow your dough to bulk ferment. Let your dough rest anywhere from 3 - 8 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen and the activity of your starter. Once every hour during the bulk ferment, fold and turn your dough. To do so, grab the edge of the dough and pull up until it has stretched out fully, the bring down to the center. Do this with all 4 edges. At the end of the bulk ferment, the dough should feel light and airy with visible bubbles on the top and sides.
  • Shape your dough. Pour your dough onto a lightly floured surface. Grab the edges of the dough and pinch them in the center of the dough so you have a roughly round package. Roll your dough over and let it rest on this seam for 10 minutes. This helps the gluten relax into the final shape. Then, using your hands or a bench scraper, shape into a sphere and let rest for about a minute.
  • Line a round bowl with floured kitchen or paper towels. Smoothly transfer your dough into the bowl, with the seam side facing up. Proof for 45 minutes, then cover and place in fridge and finish the proof overnight.

Day 3

  • Preheat oven. Place an uncovered Dutch oven in your oven and preheat to 500°F.
  • Prepare loaf for baking. Prepare a floured sheet of parchment paper. Towards the end of the preheat, remove your loaf from the fridge. Gently rub flour into the surface of the loaf, which will prevent sticking and burning. Quickly turn the bowl holding your loaf onto the sheet of parchment paper. Using a kitchen knife or scissors, quickly and confidently cut a straight slash on the top of your loaf.
  • Bake your loaf. After the oven is done preheating, place your parchment paper with the loaf into the Dutch oven. Cover the Dutch oven with its lid and bake for 25 minutes. Then, remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes until the crust of the loaf is browned and makes a hollow sound when tapped.
  • Remove from the oven and let completely cool (about 2 hours) before slicing. Cooling helps the final structure of the bread settle.
Keyword artisan, beginner, bread, sourdough