Make this amazing sourdough artisan loaf with just 3 simple ingredients! All you need is your sourdough starter, flour, and water. In less than a few hours, you will have the most magical loaf of bread!
Since making my homemade sourdough starter, I have made all kinds of delicious sourdough recipes. So far, we have tackled sourdough brownies, sourdough discard cinnamon rolls, sourdough dinner rolls, sourdough flatbread, and now this delicious authentic sourdough artisan loaf.
If you love bagels, be sure and check out my recipe for sourdough bagels also!
If you love fresh sourdough bread with a golden, crisp crust and a light, airy crumb, this recipe is for you. It’s one of the simplest homemade sourdough bread recipes, and one of the best, too.
What is Sourdough Bread?
Sourdough bread has been leavened naturally, meaning it has been leavened by a sourdough starter as opposed to by commercial yeast or a chemical leavening agent such as baking powder or baking soda.
Sourdough Bread: The Equipment
You do NOT need a bakery full of fancy equipment to make sourdough bread, however, there are a few tools that will make the process easier:
A large glass mixing bowl. You need a large glass mixing bowl for the dough. Since it rises overnight, you’ll want to use a bowl that’s big enough to avoid overflow. This is the bowl I use for mixing up bread dough.
Dough scraper. This is a super handy little tool that can help you get to scrape the dough out of the original large bowl without deflating it and ruining those precious air bubbles in the dough.
Bench Mixer. While you don’t need a bench mixer for making sourdough, it makes the process easier. I got this one for Christmas and it works like a charm. It's a complete kit with the scorer, bench scraper, and dough whisk.
Proofing basket. A proofing basket helps support the shape of the sourdough loaf during the final rise before baking. This awesome bread bakery set includes both a dough scraper and a proofing basket.
A Dutch oven. In my opinion, I think every home needs a Dutch oven. I also think that a Dutch oven does the very best job of baking sourdough loaves and producing and mimicking the environment of a brick oven by steaming the dough as it bakes. This helps your homemade sourdough bread end up with a crusty outside and a soft center.
Make Your Loaf!
To make the loaf, you need to create a leaven. Start with 3 tablespoons of your active starter. To that add 1/2 cup of bread flour and 1/2 cup of filtered water.
Let that rise in a warm space until doubled in size.
Once it has doubled, add the leaven to your glass mixing bowl. Now, add in 4 cups of bread flour, 1 and 1/4 cups of filtered water, and 2 tablespoons of salt, and mix well.
Use the dough whisk to mix well.
Now, stretch and fold the dough 16 times. This will activate the gluten in the bread. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove the cover and stretch and fold the dough 4 times. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. Do this 4 times.
Once you have completed all stretch and folds, cover the dough and allow it to rise until doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled in size, pour it out onto the counter and begin the molding process. Pull the dough to you and then turn. As it catches on the counter, it will continue to make its round shape.
Now that you have the dough in a nice round shape, grab the proofing basket and sprinkle flour on the inside. Make sure the cover is there. This will keep the bread from sticking to the wood banneton.
Place the smooth round top face down into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in the fridge overnight.
When you are ready to bake your bread, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the Dutch oven inside the oven to preheat also.
After 24 hours, remove the dough from the fridge and dump it out onto a piece of parchment paper.
Using the scoring tool, make a couple of deep cuts on the top of the bread. This will allow the bread to rise while baking in the oven. You can also make some shallow cuts along the sides as well for decoration.
Place the parchment paper and the dough into the Dutch oven and put the lid on. Bake at 450 for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for 20 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool for 1 hour before cutting into it.
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For the leaven
- 3 tablespoons of active starter
- 1/2 cup of bread flour
- 1/2 cup of filtered water
For the bread
- 4 cups of bread flour
- 1 cup of leaven
- 1 1/4 cups of filtered water
- 2 tablespoons of salt
- Extra flour for dusting
- To make the leaven, add 3 tablespoons of active starter to a cup with the flour and water. Mix well and let it rise until doubled in size.
- Once it has doubled add it to a large glass mixing bowl. Add the flour, water, and salt. Mix well together.
- Stretch and fold the dough 16 times. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, stretch and fold the dough 4 times. Cover and let rest. Repeat this process 4 more times.
- Once you have completed all the stretch and folds, let the dough rest until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, pour it out onto the counter. Pull the dough to you and turn the dough. Do this until the dough has formed a nice and smooth top.
- Flour the inside of your proofing basket. Place the dough into the basket with the smooth round side down. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, remove the dough from the fridge. Place the Dutch oven in the oven and preheat both to 450 degrees.
- While the Dutch oven is heating, take the dough and pour it out onto a piece of parchment paper.
- Use the scoring tool and score two deep cuts on the top of the dough. This will allow the dough to rise during the baking process.
- Place the parchment paper and the dough into the Dutch oven and then place the lid on top. Put back in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the lid and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the oven and allow the bread to cool for at least an hour before cutting it into the loaf.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 268Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1272mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 9g