Beginners Sourdough Artisan Loaf

Beginners Sourdough Artisan Loaf

Ready to start baking sourdough? This loaf is one of the best places to start. 4 simple ingredients and most of your time is hands off, just waiting for it to rise.

If you'd like a printable version with other beginner friendly sourdough recipes, check out my free Getting Started With Sourdough Guide.



  • 100 g active bubbly starter
  • 350 g warm water (80°F or so)
  • 500 g all purpose flour
  • 10 g sea salt


  • kitchen scale
  • large mixing bowl
  • banneton or bowl with tea towel
  • dutch oven or small roasting pan
  • sharp knife, clean razor blade, or a lame


  • If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can use a roasting pan. Just don’t preheat it with the oven.
  • If you’re worried about burnt bottoms, you can place a cookie sheet on the shelf under the dutch oven.
  • Inclusions are fun! Cranberries and walnuts, chocolate chips, rosemary and garlic - are all amazing additions to your sourdough bread.


1. Combine warm water and starter and stir. Add flour and salt. Mix thoroughly to form a shaggy dough, making sure you don’t have any dry lumps of flour. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.


2. Form the dough by grabbing the dough from the outer edge, stretching it up and over itself, and pressing it back into the center, then rotating the bowl a quarter turn and repeating. This is called a stretch and fold. Continue doing stretch and folds until a smooth ball is formed. It should take 15-20 stretches to form the ball.


Once the dough is formed into a smooth ball, place the cover back on and let it rest for 30 minutes. Repeat step 2 THREE more times over the course of 2 hours.


3. Bulk Ferment (Proof). Once you’ve finished your stretch and folds, place cling wrap over your dough and let it rest until it has doubled in size. This can take 6-12 hours, (or more) depending on the temperature of your kitchen. The warmer it is, the faster the ferment. Be careful not to let it over proof.


4. Shape. Gently pour the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Dough should land sticky side up. Folding the two sides over to meet in the middle, pinch together and then repeat on the other two sides. This creates surface tension which helps give it a good rise.


5. Transfer to a floured banneton or bowl with a floured tea towel seam side up. Cover with plastic or place in a plastic bag (be careful not to the let plastic rest on the dough as it can pop the bubbles when removing) and place in the fridge for 12-24 hours.


6. When ready to bake, preheat a dutch oven to 450°F for 20 minutes. Make sure to put the dutch oven in while the oven is cold and preheat them together.


7. Remove dough from fridge right before baking and turn your dough onto a piece of parchment paper. You’ll want the seam side down. Score down the middle with a sharp knife, razor blade, or bread lame.


8. Carefully transfer the piece of parchment paper with the dough into the hot dutch oven. Place the lid back on and put the dutch oven back into the hot oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid. Then bake (without lid) for another 15 minutes or until center reaches 205°F.


9. Carefully remove from the dutch oven then let rest for at least 1 hour before cutting. The bread will continue cooking during this time, so try to be patient! Enjoy!


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