Renewing your spirit one bite at a time

Simple Sourdough Recipe


Discover the relief of my fuss-free sourdough recipe, a method so simple that you’ll keep returning to it! While many sourdough recipes can appear daunting, this one, which I bake weekly, follows the effortless “mix-it-all” approach, sparing you from complex steps and extensive time investment.

The outcome is a remarkably tender crumb encased in a flavorful, blistered crust—proof that achieving excellence need not be complicated.

I’ve thoughtfully included step-by-step instructions complete with images and videos to ensure your success. I genuinely hope you’ll cherish this uncomplicated sourdough recipe as much as I do!

sourdough crumb of simple sourdough

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Effortless Mixing: In my recipe, I embrace the “mix-it-all method,” where you blend all the ingredients, and that’s all there is to it. No waiting to add salt, no autolyse, and no time-consuming extra steps.
  • Simplicity in Ingredients: This sourdough recipe relies on just four basic ingredients, each measured in standard ratios. This ensures an uncomplicated balance between flour and water, resulting in a beautifully manageable dough.
  • Forgiving Nature: As is customary with all my recipes, room for error is always considered. The often tricky part of sourdough baking is the proofing time, but with 70 grams of sourdough starter, you have some leeway. If the dough sits a bit longer, no worries! All you need is a minimum 6-hour room temperature rest, and you’ll still achieve a delicious outcome.
  • Fantastic Results: What truly makes me cherish this simple sourdough recipe is the exceptional end result. A great sourdough loaf boasts a gentle tang, a soft crumb, and a delightfully crispy crust with just the right amount of chew. I assure you that this recipe delivers all of that and even teaches you how to attain those beautiful blisters, which not only add a fun visual element but also indicate a perfectly proofed loaf bursting with delectable flavor!
simple sourdough loaf

Expert tips before baking

It’s important to know that all my recipes are forgiving, so don’t fret if you deviate from the path or miss a step. I’ll offer handy tips along the way, but here are a few to keep in mind before you begin baking.

Essential Tools: Be sure to review the equipment list before you start baking. Some specific tools are necessary for a successful outcome.

A strong sourdough starter: Any decent loaf of bread is going to derive from a strong, well-maintained sourdough starter. Make sure your starter has been fed and is at its peak; meaning bubbly & active before using it in this recipe.

Proofing Time Insights: I may sound like a broken record, but proofing time is genuinely the most challenging aspect of sourdough. This recipe was tested at 70 degrees F and requires a minimum of 7-9 hours. Additionally, it needs at least 8-10 hours of refrigerated proofing. If your environment is colder than this, you will need to extend the time. The opposite goes for if it is warmer; you may need to shorten the fermentation time.

Tip: to create a warmer spot for your dough, turn the oven on & then off, or place the dough in the oven with the oven light turned on.

My recommendation is to always allow the dough an extra hour if at room temperature. This extra time ensures that the dough isn’t underproofed. Moreover, you can leave it in the fridge for up to 18 hours. I prefer a solid 12 hours in the fridge; this extended cold-proofing is where your bread develops its exquisite flavor.

Additionally because sourdough is so sensitive to temperature, my rule of thumb is to always: watch the dough, not the clock. You want the dough to increase in size by roughly 75-100% with air bubbles. Give it a poke test as well, it should bounce back slowly. Like with all things, learning your dough comes with some trial and error. This recipe is a great starting point to start learning!

The Importance of Quality Ingredients: I strongly recommend using high-quality, strong bread flour for several reasons, with the most crucial being gluten development in your bread. This development ultimately dictates the rise and structure of your final product. I prefer to use King Arthur organic bread flour, their all-purpose flour works well too!

simple sourdough bread slice

How to make simple sourdough

Baker’s schedule: Feed your starter in the AM or the night before. Mix your dough mid-morning to bake for the following morning. Ensure you are using a starter that is at its peak meaning it is active and bubbly. Mine usually takes about 4-6 hours to reach its peak after being fed.

For example: I feed my starter at 7 AM, I mix my dough at 11 AM, I place it in the refrigerator between 6-7 PM, and I bake the bread the following morning at 8 AM.

Ingredients & Equipment

  • 500 grams of bread flour
  • 70 grams of sourdough starter (active and recently fed)
  • 10 grams of salt
  • 350 grams of water (filtered)

You will need:

Mix the dough

  • To your mixing bowl add the water and sourdough starter. Whisk using a fork until the starter has dissolved.
  • Next, add the salt and whisk it into the mixture.
  • Lastly, add the bread flour and mix until all of the flour has absorbed the water. I find using a silicone scraper or your hands achieves this best. The dough will be quite shaggy and wet.
  • Then, cover the mixture with plastic wrap and allow it to rest in the warmest spot in your kitchen for 30-45 minutes.

Strengthen the dough

  • Once the dough has rested, come back to it and work it into a ball by folding it into itself for 3-5 minutes. Additionally, you can use the scoop and slap method where you slap the dough against the bowl repetitively. See the video below.
  • The dough will look smoother with some lines. It is okay if it is still a bit sticky. This will improve as time goes on.
  • Once complete, cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
strengthened dough

Stretch and fold the dough

  • After the dough has rested for 30 minutes, perform your first stretch and fold.
  • This is where you scoop your hand under a portion of the dough, stretch it a few inches, and fold it to the opposing side. You will stretch and fold all 4 quadrants of the dough. See the video below for reference.
  • Once complete, cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Perform 3 more stretch and folds within 30-minute increments, totaling 4 stretch and folds.
  • Once all stretch and folds are complete, cover the dough and let it rest for the remainder of the bulk rise or until it has increased in volume by 75-100% with a few air bubbles (about 3-5 more hours).

Tip: to create a warmer spot for your dough, turn the oven on & then off, or place the dough in the oven with the oven light turned on.

stretch and fold
Dough after all stretch and folds have been completed

Pre-shape the dough

  • Once the dough has finished its first bulk fermentation, it can be pre-shaped.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and create a round shape by using your bench scraper. See the video below for a demonstration.
  • To create a round shape place the bench scraper under the bottom part of the dough and use a circular motion. Do this repetitively until you get the desired shape. The tension will naturally settle in the middle of the dough, giving it a better oven spring when baked. You can also do this motion using your hands.
  • After a round ball shape has been created, cover the dough with a towel or bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Round pre-shape
Round pre-shape

Final Shaping

  • When it comes to the final shaping, you have the choice of creating a round boule or an oval batard.
  • I will offer instructional videos for both shaping options, allowing you to pick the one that suits you best.
  • After shaping, position the dough in a lightly floured banneton basket with the seam facing upwards. If necessary, you can gently stitch or tighten the seams while in the basket.
  • Now, cover the dough either with a cloth or by placing it inside a 2.5-gallon bag. Then, transfer it to the refrigerator and let it rest for a minimum of 8 hours and a maximum of 18 hours.

If you want more information on how to shape your sourdough bread you may enjoy my article Shaping your Sourdough Bread.

How to shape a round boule

How to shape an oval batard

Scoring the bread

  • The next morning place your baking pot in the oven and preheat it to 500 degrees F for at least 30 minutes.
  • When ready to bake, remove the bread from the refrigerator and invert it on a piece of parchment paper.
  • Using a bread lame or sharp razor score one slightly curved line down the middle of the dough (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep). Hold your tool at a 45-degree angle and start at the top of the dough going fast all the way to the bottom of the dough.

Bake the sourdough bread

  • Optional: spray your bread with room temperature water to create those beautiful blisters and a better oven spring.
  • Place the dough in the pan using the parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes covered at 500 degrees F.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the lid, reduce the temperature to 450 degrees F, and bake for another 17-20 minutes.
  • Once the bread is complete, allow it to cool on a cooling rack for 1-2 hours before cutting into it.
  • Sourdough bread can be stored in a plastic or bread bag of your choice for up to 4 days at room temperature.

More sourdough bread recipes

simple sourdough
Print Recipe
5 from 13 votes

Simple Sourdough Recipe

This straightforward sourdough recipe employs the "mix-it-all method" and provides clear, step-by-step instructions for ease and simplicity!
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Resting time1 day
Servings: 1 loaf
Calories: 180kcal

Equipment

  • Dutch oven or cast iron
  • Mixing bowl
  • Bench scraper
  • Scoring tool
  • Food scale
  • Parchment paper
  • Banneton Proofing Basket

Ingredients

  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 70 grams sourdough starter active and fed
  • 10 grams salt
  • 350 grams water filtered

Instructions

Mix the dough

  • To your mixing bowl add the water and sourdough starter. Whisk using a fork until the starter has dissolved.
  • Next, add the salt and whisk it into the mixture.
  • Lastly, add the bread flour and mix until all of the flour has absorbed the water. I find using a silicone scraper or your hands achieves this the best. The dough will be quite shaggy and wet.
  • Then, cover the mixture with plastic wrap and allow it to rest in the warmest spot in your kitchen for 30-45 minutes.

Strengthen the dough

  • Once the dough has rested, come back to it and work it into a ball by folding it into itself for 3-5 minutes. Additionally, you can use the scoop and slap method where you slap the dough against the bowl repetitively.
  • The dough will look smoother with some lines. It is okay if it is still a bit sticky. This will improve as time goes on.
  • Once complete, cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Stretch and fold the dough

  • After the dough has rested for 30 minutes, perform your first stretch and fold.
  • This is where you scoop your hand under a portion of the dough and stretch it a few inches and fold it to the opposing side. You will stretch and fold all 4 quadrants of the dough.
  • Once complete, cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Perform 3 more stretch and folds within 30-minute increments, totaling 4 stretch and folds.
  • Once all stretch and folds are complete, cover the dough and let it rest for the remainder of the bulk rise or until it has increased in volume by 75-100% and has some air bubbles (about 3-5 more hours).
    Tip: to create a warmer spot for your dough, turn the oven on & then off, or place the dough in the oven with the oven light turned on.

Pre-shape the dough

  • Once the dough has finished its first bulk fermentation it can be pre-shaped.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and create a round shape by using your bench scraper.
  • To create a round shape place the bench scraper under the bottom part of the dough and use a circular motion. Do this repetitively until you get the desired shape. The tension will naturally settle in the middle of the dough, giving it a better oven spring when baked. You can also do this motion using your hands.
  • After a round ball shape has been created, cover the dough with a towel or bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Final Shaping

  • When it comes to the final shaping, you have the choice of creating a round boule or an oval batard. I offer instructional videos for both shaping options, allowing you to pick the one that suits you best (shown above).
  • After shaping, position the dough in a lightly floured banneton basket with the seam facing upwards. If necessary, you can gently stitch or tighten the seams while in the basket
  • Now, cover the dough either with a cloth or by placing it inside a 2.5-gallon bag. Then, transfer it to the refrigerator and let it rest for a minimum of 8 hours and a maximum of 18 hours.

Score & bake the sourdough bread

  • The next morning place your baking pot in the oven and preheat it to 500 degrees F for at least 30 minutes.
  • When ready to bake, remove the bread from the refrigerator and invert it on a piece of parchment paper.
  • Using a bread lame or sharp razor score one slightly curved line down the middle of the dough (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep). Hold your tool at a 45-degree angle and start at the top of the dough going fast all the way to the bottom of the dough.
  • Optional: spray your bread with room temperature water to create those beautiful blisters and a better oven spring.
  • Place the dough in the pan using the parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes covered on 500 degrees F.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the lid, reduce the temperature to 450 degrees F, and bake for another 17-20 minutes.
  • Once the bread is complete, allow it to cool on a cooling rack for a minimum of 1-2 hours before slicing it.
  • Sourdough bread can be stored in a plastic or bread bag of your choice for up to 4 days at room temperature.

Notes

Baker’s schedule: Feed your starter in the AM or the night before. Mix your dough mid-morning to bake for the following morning.
My baking schedule: I feed my starter at 7 AM, I mix my dough at 11 AM, I place it in the refrigerator between 6-7 PM, and I bake the bread the following morning at 8 AM. 
Ensure you are using a starter that is at its peak, meaning it is active and bubbly. Mine usually takes about 4-6 hours to reach its peak after being fed.
Proofing times: If you are unsure about how long your bread should ferment, take a look at “expert tips before baking” above. This recipe calls for a 7-9 hour fermentation at 70 degrees F and an 8-18 hour cold-proof. You may need to adjust this depending on your environment. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 328mg
5 from 13 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Laurie hopkins Avatar
    Laurie hopkins

    This bread is beautiful looking and absolutely delicious.5 stars

  2. Joy Holland Avatar
    Joy Holland

    This recipe was easy and the loaves came out looking great! The bulk rise took longer then the 6-7 hours with my house at 68 degrees. The videos and photos included in the recipe are very helpful!5 stars

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback! I’m happy to hear that your bread came out great 🙂 happy baking !!

  3. CathyZoumis Avatar
    CathyZoumis

    hi! ive been baking with AP flour…and my batch mKes 2 loaves. thizntime i let it in the friedge for 2ish days…was quite sour butbnot bad but also gummy. is that due to the retardation?
    i want to try thisbrecipe….can i double this recipe?

    1. Hi Cathy! You can absolutely double this recipe. Anytime you leave a loaf in the fridge for a long time you will get that sour taste. However it can be gummy for many different reasons:

      – the dough was underproofed during the room temperature proofing phase
      – weak starter
      -undercooked
      -cutting into the loaf while it is still hot will cause a gummy texture
      -check the protein level of your all purpose flour. I usually recommend 11.7% or higher. Sourdough bread does need a strong flour. I use King Arthur all purpose or central milling.

      Hope this helps!

  4. I used your recipe to bake a loaf today.I am so excited that for the first time, I have a fantastic loaf of sourdough bread..I have been working toward this for a couple of months now and can finally say that I made a great loaf of sourdough…Thank you for an easy to follow recipe..I will be making this again…🙂

    1. I’m so happy to hear this recipe & method worked for you, Leslie! With each loaf it only gets better. Thank you for the feedback☺️ Happy baking!

  5. Hannah Masciovecchio Avatar
    Hannah Masciovecchio

    amazing step by step directions5 stars

    1. Thank you Hannah!