*edited | I’ve realized in the winter here in central california, it gets so severely dry that I’ve had to add hydration to my usual dough, so I’ve reflected those changes below.

Ok friends here it goes…

I get asked often for my sourdough recipe. The thing is, it’s just not that simple…but also it kind of is. I started baking sourdough a few years ago, and this year began baking a loaf every other day (or more for sharing). In doing so, I’ve had lots of practice in trial and error. Because interestingly enough, my summer sourdough recipe and process differs greatly from my wintertime process. The live starter really does have a personality all its own! Please know that I am not an expert, but I have found this process works really well for me! So here it goes – probably the least technical, but possibly the most tasty – instructions for baking your own sourdough bread!

Supplies: (all available on amazon)

  • mixing bowl

  • banneton

  • kitchen scale

  • dutch oven

  • thin kitchen towel

  • lamè

Make your starter:

You starter will be the natural leavening agent in your bread. There is no yeast in sourdough, but instead, you use a fermented flour + water + natural yeast mixture called your starter, to rise your dough.

To make your starter: combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup water ( I use organic, unbleached all purpose malted flour and filtered water), in a glass jar with lid.

Day 1: combine above ingredients and mix with a fork at 8am | at 8pm, discard half to he mixture, and add another cup of flour and 3/4 cup water, stir

Day 2: at 8am, discard half of the mixture, add 1 cup of flour, and 3/4 cup of water | at 8pm, discard half of the mixture, add 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup water

Day 3: repeat above

Day 4: repeat above

Day 5: just discard and feed in PM

Day 6: repeat above

Day 7: your started should be bubbly and lively and ready to use

Sourdough in a day

*the night before baking, just before bed, mix about 1/4 cup of your starter with 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water in a separate jar. This will be what you use for leaven in the morning.

For your sourdough: (I changed to this combination of ingredients in November when the temp dropped from The Clever Carrot and it has been great for the winter loaves)

8am: using a kitchen scale, mix the following in a large bowl ( I use a corelle bowl from target that I love for bread making):

  • 250g filtered room temp water

    (in humid climates and summer months)
  • *I use 325g water in the winter
  • 150g active starter (you’ll know it’s ready when its bubbly and floats in water…if it sinks it’s not ready)

    *(100g of starter in winter)
  • 10g salt

  • 500g organic unbleached malted flour

  • *475g flour in winter

With your hands, mix it all together just until shaggy… you’re not kneading, just a quick combine.

Autolyse: Let your shaggy dough rest for 30 minutes. I just place it on the counter uncovered

8:30am: you’re going to create a more incorporated ball of dough now. You don’t really want to knead it, but instead just stretch it and fold it over a handful of times until it’s a rough looking ball. Leave it in that same bowl, put a plate over the top, and set it in the oven (turned off) with the oven light on. You’re going to leave it for 3-4 hours.

Sometime between 11:30-12:30pm: pull your dough out and do a few stretch and folds. So for this you just kind of gently pull the dough on each side up and over to the other side. You will do this all the way around your ball. Place back in the oven with plate on top. Let proof for another 3-4 hours

3:30pm: Pull your dough out and plop onto a floured surface. For this last stretch and fold, you are going to really stretch it as far as you can between it breaks… this should be much more stretchy that it has been. Kind of form like a rectangle…stretched the sides, and top to bottom. Then you’re going to fold it like a trifold and then tuck the top and bottom under as well. the top will look smooth, but to make it even a smoother ball, you kind of push the ball on the counter in all directions while keeping the top on top… so basically the sides and underneath are all becoming smoother into a ball. After you do this you should have a really smooth topped ball of dough. I place this top side down into a banneton I line with a tea towel sprinkled with flour. I cover with the excess towel and then set on the counter for about 30 minutes while I preheat my oven.

Preheat oven to 450.

4pm: Once your oven is ready, get a piece of parchment and set it on the counter. Sprinkle with flour. Dump your dough ball out so the smooth side is on top, sprinkle for a little more flour, and then score with your lamè. (You can find some scoring videos on my sourdough highlight on instagram!) Place your parchment with dough in your dutch oven. Put the lid on. Bake at 450 with lid on for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake for 30 more minutes. 1 hour total. Then you’re all done! I like to let mine cool for at least 20 minutes so that it will cut easier. I use THESE reusable bags to store my loaves.

Now you have a beautiful loaf of sourdough to enjoy with dinner! I hope this has been helpful!