Basic Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread

The Magic of Basic Sourdough Bread

In the world of bread making, few things are as enchanting as crafting your own sourdough loaf. This timeless tradition, steeped in history and filled with the rich aroma of fermenting flour, connects us to generations past. A basic sourdough bread recipe is not just about following steps—it’s about embracing an age-old craft that transforms simple ingredients into a masterpiece of taste and texture.

At its core, sourdough bread is a symphony of flour, water, and salt, brought to life by the natural wild yeasts and lactic acid bacteria found in a sourdough starter. This starter, a living, breathing entity, is the soul of sourdough baking. It’s what gives the bread its distinctive tang, rustic appearance, and a crumb that’s both chewy and airy. The starter’s unique microbial ecosystem develops over time, resulting in a flavor profile that’s deeply complex and wonderfully nuanced.

The journey of making a basic sourdough loaf begins with the starter. This magical mixture of flour and water, nurtured with patience, becomes a bubbling cauldron of life, ready to leaven your dough. Maintaining the starter requires regular feedings, much like caring for a pet. With each feeding, the starter grows stronger, more vibrant, and capable of transforming dough into bread with a character all its own.

Once the starter is robust and active, it’s time to mix the dough. This process is both an art and a science. The right balance of flour and water creates a dough that’s just the right consistency—neither too wet nor too dry. This mixture is then allowed to rest, giving the flour time to fully hydrate and the enzymes to break down the starches into sugars. This rest period, known as autolyse, is crucial for developing the dough’s structure and flavor.

Kneading follows, a tactile and meditative process that strengthens the dough by developing gluten strands. These strands form the framework that traps the gases produced during fermentation, giving the bread its rise and airy texture. As you knead, you’ll feel the dough transform, becoming smooth and elastic under your hands—a satisfying indication that it’s ready for the next stage.

Fermentation is where the magic truly happens. The dough is left to rise slowly, often overnight, allowing the wild yeasts and bacteria to work their alchemical wonders. During this time, the dough ferments, developing its characteristic tangy flavor and complex aroma. The slow fermentation also enhances the bread’s digestibility, breaking down proteins and sugars that can be hard on the stomach.

Shaping the dough into a loaf is another artful step. It’s gently coaxed into its final form, mindful not to deflate the precious gas bubbles within. The shaped dough then undergoes a final rise, or proofing, where it reaches its peak readiness for baking.

Baking is the grand finale. The oven’s heat causes a rapid expansion of gases, known as oven spring, resulting in a lofty, beautifully scored loaf with a crispy, caramelized crust. The scent that fills the kitchen is intoxicating, a prelude to the sensory delight of slicing into a freshly baked loaf. The crackling crust gives way to a tender, chewy crumb, dotted with irregular holes—a testament to the wild yeast’s work.

The beauty of a basic sourdough bread lies in its simplicity and the rewarding experience of transforming humble ingredients into something extraordinary. Each loaf tells a story of time, care, and the age-old dance between nature and baker. It’s a tradition worth embracing, a craft that connects us to our ancestors and brings a slice of history to our modern tables.


Sourdough Bread

Basic Sourdough Bread

Whip up a loaf of magic with our classic sourdough bread recipe! Using our Celtic Sourdough starters, you'll enjoy a deliciously tangy, crusty bread with every bite. Perfect for sandwiches, toast, or simply savoring on its own.
Prep Time 2 days
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Bread
Servings 2 loaves


  • Dutch Oven
  • Parchment Paper


  • 1000 grams Bread flour
  • 700 grams Water
  • 200 grams Active sourdough starter
  • 20 grams Salt


  • Add water to large mixing bowl
  • Add starter to water and mix thoroughly
  • Add flour, and top with salt
  • Mix everything together – you will have a wet, shaggy dough
  • Allow to autolyze for 30 minutes
  • Do 4 sets of stretch and folds (or coil folds), allowing the dough to rest for 30 minutes between each set
  • Bulk ferment until the dough has risen about 75%. The timing depends on the temperature that you're dough is resting in.
  • Preshape dough. Let rest 30 minutes. Give the dough a final shaping and place it in a banneton.
  • Let the dough rise to about 1.75 times it's original volume
  • Pre-heat oven and Dutch oven to 450F
  • Invert dough from banneton onto a peice of parchment paper. Add a functional score, and any decorative scores you would like.
  • CAREFULLY place dough in the hot Dutch oven, cover, and bake for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove cover and aloow to bake an additional 10-20 minutes (depending on how dark you like your final loaf to be). The bread is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 205F.
  • Remove bread from Dutch oven and place on cooling rack. Allow to cool for a minimum of 2 hours before slicing into it. This keeps the bread from drying out.
  • Slice, and enjoy!

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