Beginner’s Sourdough Recipe

This is my manageable introduction to baking sourdough bread. It’s low hydration and the dough is easy to work with. It’s mostly hands off, but you will need a four-hour block to work with the dough off-and-on once you start. After baking this a few times, you’ll have the tools to move on to higher hydration loaves.

Yield

One 500g Loaf

FEED

4-10 hours before PREP:
Into a clean jar, add 17g culture, 34g water, 17g bread flour, 17g whole wheat flour. Stir to combine.
Let it sit on the counter with a loose lid until it’s peaked and you’re ready to make the dough. This will make enough sourdough for one 500g loaves +20g.

Ingredients 

164g warm water (61%) (~95˚F/35˚C)

5g salt (2%)

62g culture (23%)

269g bread flour (100%)

PREP

8 hours before BAKE, with 5 hours to make the dough and a 3 hour rest in the refrigerator.

Target dough temperature is 79˚F (26˚C).

Combine water and salt in a medium bowl. Swirl to dissolve the salt.

Add culture and mix until water is milky in color. 

Add flour. Mix just until combined, until you cannot see any dry flour.

Cover bowl with a damp towel or lids and allow to rest for 1 hour.

[Feed the remaining culture for future use. You won’t need any more for this recipe.]

Stretch & Fold: Using lightly wet hands, pinch the edge of the dough in the 1 o’clock position between your thumb, index, and middle finger tips down to your second knuckle and pull the dough a bit and fold over the top of the dough, past the center, and release. Turn the bowl less than a quarter turn and repeat. Do this about 10 times, until the dough starts to take shape.

Pinch the side of the dough away from you and gently stretch the dough up and fold it back down towards you, and tuck under, so the seam side is now down and the smooth side is up. Turn the bowl a quarter turn, tuck the edge of the dough away from you under by pressing the edge under then pulling towards you, using the side of the bowl facing you as a backstop. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat. Do this a few times until the dough starts to resemble a smooth ball.

Rest, covered, somewhere warm, 1 hour.

Tuck & Rotate: With lightly wet hands, lift the dough up, and stretch the top layer of dough by gently pulling and tucking an edge under the dough, rotating, and repeating 4-8 times until the dough forms into a smooth ball with the seams tucked underneath. If the dough gets sticky, just set it down and come back in 10 minutes.

Rest, covered, somewhere warm, 1 hour.

Trim a piece of parchment paper to squares that will fit your dutch oven. Set aside.

Use the tuck & rotate method again, to shape the dough into a smooth ball.

If the dough feels a little lax and you aren’t confident it will keep it’s shape:
Put it back in the bowl for an hour rest. After the hour, perform one last tuck & rotate and then place onto the parchment, covered with an upside-down bowl for a final 1 hour rest. 

Otherwise, if the dough is feeling like it has enough tension to keep its shape:
Place the dough directly onto the parchment, covered with an upside-down bowl for a final 2-hour rest.

Move dough to fridge and allow to rest 3–24 hours, covered by an upside-down bowl.

BAKE

Leaving the dough in the fridge, preheat your oven with the dutch oven inside to 450˚F (230˚C).

When oven is preheated, remove the dough from the fridge, lightly dust with flour, and score the dough with a bread lame.

Remove the dutch oven and drop the parchment paper with the dough into the dutch oven. Bake for 35 minutes covered, then 10-15 minutes uncovered, or until dark golden brown.

Remove loaf from dutch oven and allow to cool on a rack for 1 hour.

I’ve updated the recipe since making this video, but the techniques shown are still helpful to see!

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