How To

How To Make Sourdough Bread


How To Make Sourdough Bread

Share this article
How To Make Sourdough Bread

How To Make Sourdough Bread

The Art of Sourdough Bread: A Comprehensive Guide


Baking sourdough bread is an ancient craft that has been passed down through generations. This fermented bread is characterized by its distinctive sour tang and chewy texture, a testament to the natural yeast and bacteria that give it life. While the process may seem daunting at first, with a little patience and practice, you can master the art of crafting this delicious and wholesome loaf.


  • All-purpose flour: The foundation of your bread.
  • Water: Essential for hydration and fermentation.
  • Salt: Enhances flavor and strengthens gluten.
  • Active sourdough starter: A culture of wild yeast and bacteria that initiate fermentation.


  • Large bowl
  • Dutch oven or baking stone
  • Parchment paper
  • Lame or sharp knife
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Digital thermometer

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Day 1: Feeding the Starter

  • Remove 1 cup of active sourdough starter from your refrigerator and feed it with 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water.
  • Stir well and let it sit at room temperature for 12-14 hours.

Day 2: Mixing the Dough

  • In a large bowl, combine 500 grams (4 cups) of all-purpose flour, 300 grams (1 1/4 cups) of water, and the fed sourdough starter.
  • Mix until a dough forms, about 5-7 minutes. It will be sticky and shaggy.

Day 3: Autolysis

  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature for 1 hour. This allows the natural enzymes in the flour to begin developing, improving the dough’s elasticity.

Day 3: Kneading and Salt Addition

  • Add 10 grams (2 teaspoons) of salt to the dough.
  • Knead the dough for 10-12 minutes by hand or using a stand mixer with a dough hook. The dough should become smooth and elastic, with a slight sheen.

Day 3: Bulk Fermentation

  • Shape the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl.
  • Cover and let it ferment at room temperature for 6-12 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Day 3: Shaping and Proofing

  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Divide it into two equal portions and shape them into loaves.
  • Proof the loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 1-1.5 hours, or until they have almost doubled in size.

Day 3: Baking

  • Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C) with a Dutch oven or baking stone inside.
  • Carefully score the loaves with a lame or knife.
  • Place the loaves in the hot Dutch oven or on the baking stone.
  • Cover with a lid for the first 25 minutes.
  • Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes uncovered, rotating halfway through.

Day 3: Cooling and Enjoying

  • Let the bread cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before slicing and eating.
  • Enjoy the tangy flavor and chewy texture of your homemade sourdough.


  • Dense Bread: Proofing was insufficient or the dough was over-fermented.
  • Flat Bread: Not enough kneading or the dough was under-fermented.
  • Sour Bread: Starter was too active or fermented for too long.
  • Tough Crust: Excessive baking time or high oven temperature.
  • Sticky Crust: Not enough scoring or not baked long enough.


Q: What makes sourdough bread sour?
A: Sourdough bread gets its sour flavor from lactic acid, produced by the lactobacillus bacteria in the starter.

Q: How do I maintain my sourdough starter?
A: Feed your starter regularly with equal parts flour and water, and store it in the refrigerator between feedings.

Q: Can I use regular yeast instead of a sourdough starter?
A: Yes, but the bread will not have the same sour flavor or extended shelf life as sourdough.

Q: Why does my sourdough bread crust become tough?
A: Baking the bread for too long or at too high a temperature can result in a tough crust.

Q: Can I add other ingredients to my sourdough bread?
A: Yes, you can experiment with adding seeds, nuts, fruits, or herbs to your dough for added flavor and texture.


Sourdough bread baking is a rewarding culinary adventure that combines science and patience. With careful attention to ingredients, fermentation, and baking techniques, you can create a wholesome and delicious bread that will delight your taste buds. Embrace the process, experiment with flavors, and enjoy the satisfaction of crafting your own sourdough masterpiece.