This sourdough bread recipe is the BEST that I’ve found. I don’t use that term very often, so rest assured that this comes with my highest compliments!
I’m about a month in to my sourdough journey. While I still have a lot to learn, it’s been an eye-opening adventure so far. I started with some sourdough discard recipes and then finally mustered up the courage to try some bread. And while that first loaf of bread was pretty fantastic, I was curious to see if there was something else out there that was even better. Plus, I wasn’t a huge fan of the wet, goopy mess that I had to deal with when I was trying to shape the dough.
I found a good basic sourdough bread recipe that is easy to shape and handle for a beginner like me. However, when it baked up, I didn’t get the high rise or the gorgeous holes in my bread. Don’t get me wrong – it was a solid bread recipe. But it wasn’t up to my high standards.
Luck brought me to this recipe, which I found on YouTube. Before I started my sourdough baking adventures, I watched a few instructional videos online. The author, Alex, seemed to know what he was doing, and his demeanor made the process look fun. What the heck, I thought. Might as well try it.
Much to my disappointment, this recipe also turned out to be a goopy mess. I don’t know if it was baker’s error or if the hot and humid temperatures also contributed to it. No matter how much I tried to fold the dough and shape it, it would look like it was a pool of melting ice cream. What started as a ball of dough ended up looking like a lagoon. In fact, I jokingly named this dough Jabba the Hut. After asking a friend for advice, she said to add as much flour as needed to get it back to “normal.” However, I was scared that adding too much flour would make my bread dense and brick-like.
Somehow, I plowed forward and hoped for the best. Like the first recipe I attempted, this sourdough baked up perfectly. My boule was tall, crusty and full of gorgeous holes from the yeast. The flavor was spot-on. Despite the Jabba-like shape of the unbaked loaf, this sourdough was downright perfect.
I’ll keep experimenting to see if I can find a recipe that doesn’t yield such a mess, but until I find that, this is my favorite.
Husband’s rating: 5 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 3 out of 5 (she is not a sourdough fan)
My rating: 5 out of 5
The best sourdough bread
- 200 grams sourdough starter fully fed
- 400 grams water
- 600 grams bread flour do not use all-purpose
- 12 grams (about 2 and ½ teaspoons) salt
- In a large bowl, mix together the sourdough starter, water and bread flour. You can alter the amounts as long as you use a 3-2-1 ratio (3 parts bread flour, 2 parts water and 1 part sourdough starter).
- Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
- Add the salt and a splash of water (about 1-2 teaspoons) and mix into the dough.
- Stretch and fold the dough for 10 full minutes. You will put the dough in front of you and take the longest end and pull it toward you. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat. What you're doing is building the gluten in the dough to build up its elasticity.
- Cover and allow the dough to rest for 4 hours in a warm spot.
- Now take the dough and fold it like a business letter - in thirds towards you. Cover with plastic and allow it to rest for an additional 30 minutes.
- Do the letter fold one more time. For this step, it's best to use a metal bench scraper to help shape the dough and push it towards the center. You're trying to push all of the dough into the middle and form a ball. (see the YouTube video below if you need a tutorial). Place the dough, seam side up, in a well-floured bowl with a kitchen towel on the bottom - make sure to flour the towel very well and cover the dough. Place this in your refrigerator overnight - 8 to 24 hours.
- One hour before baking, preheat your oven to 500°F. Place a dutch oven inside to warm it up. Keep the dutch oven in the heat for one hour.
- Grab the dough from the refrigerator and place it, seam side down, on a round sheet of parchment paper. Score the top of the dough with a very sharp knife, razor or baking lame. Remove the dutch oven (watch out - it is VERY HOT) and place the dough with the parchment paper into the dutch oven. Cover with the lid.
- Place the covered dutch oven into your oven and turn the temperature down to 450°F. Bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for additional 30 minutes or until the top is golden and crusty.
- Allow the baked bread to rest for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.