This sourdough bread is perfect for even the busiest of schedules. There is no strenuous kneading, just a few quick folds. It is crusty on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. Perfect for toast, sandwiches, patty melts, and even french toast!
Sourdough bread can either be very easy to bake or very nuanced. It can be simple because its just flour, water, and salt. It can be difficult because you want your starter and dough to be at the perfect point before moving onto the next step in the process.
Sourdough itself is a craft and it is something you will always be learning along the way. Once you get it down, you will want to start experimenting even more!
This recipe has been my go-to base for some time now. I have tried many different sourdough variations and I always come back to this one.
Multiple stretch and folds are not needed. It is a very easy dough to work with and also very forgiving, making it perfect for busy schedules!
What you need to make your rustic sourdough loaf
- Sourdough starter
- Flour – for my basic loaf, I use King Arthur organic bread flour
- Salt – I always use my Redmond’s Real Salt
- Kitchen Scale – I recommend snagging one of these as they are just wonderful to have in your kitchen for so many things
- Dutch Oven – I personally have both a cast iron and clay dutch oven (I prefer my cast iron)
- Parchment Paper – I tried it without and it stuck to my dutch oven
Tools I like to use for making sourdough bread
These are not required to make sourdough bread by any means, but they have been my favorite tools and gadgets to help with consistency in my bread making
- Proofing basket – These are specifically made for proofing bread. The material works well with the moisture from the dough. Flour is spread more evenly as to not create sticky parts when releasing the bread. It also gives the dough a nice design as an added bonus. I use them without the liners and there is no need to clean between uses. If you do not have a proofing basket, any bowl you have will do and you can even line with a tea towel.
- Scraper – This tool is great for separating dough when doubling or tripling a recipe. I use it more for scraping dough off my counters though.
- Scoring tool – You can use clean kitchen scissors, X-acto knife, or a plain, very dull, razor for scoring. I like this tool as its dedicated to bread making, is easy to use with the handle, and comes with a cover
- Proofing Box – This has helped with keeping consistent ambient temperature and humidity. My starter also lives in this box when I plan on using it within the week. Before I would just leave everything on the counter or use the oven with just the light on to create a warmer environment if needed.
- Danish Dough Whisk – I LOVE LOVE LOVE this tool. I use it all the time in the kitchen, not just for bread baking. It is super easy to clean.
How to make rustic sourdough
In a medium to large bowl on your scale, pour in starter and water. Whisk until incorporated.
Add flour and salt. Use whisk or hands to mix. Form until just combined and let sit for 20 minutes to an hour. Ideally you want to come back in 20-30 minutes to mix again, but like I mentioned, this is forgiving so sometimes I don’t come back for up to an hour (sometimes longer).
This is so the flour can absorb all of the liquid!
You want to run your hand down the side of the bowl under the dough, lift it, and push it into the center. This helps add air to your dough and gives it oomph to rise. Go around the bowl 1-2 times doing this.
Depending on how humid and warm your home is, put your dough (either covered or uncovered) in a warm place. I put mine in my proofer box with no added humidity (bowl of water) in the summer at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also place it covered with saran wrap in the oven with just the light on. This worked for me quite a bit!
Check back on it in about 5-6 hours to see how it looks. My problem was that I let it rise TOO long and when I would bake it, it would fall flat. It basically it would rise too much BEFORE baking.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, dip your finger in flour and quickly poke your dough down to the middle of your finger. The goal is for it to not really stick to your finger and spring back about 3/4 of the way. If it just leaves a finger sized dent, it’s “over-proofed” and won’t really rise in the oven (I have seen miracles though)
Once your dough gets to that point, sprinkle some flour onto a clean work surface and gently pour your dough out. I like to use a circular motion and tilt the bowl to encourage the dough to release. Gently use your hand to help if needed.
Here I do another motion of grabbing the dough from the side and pushing it into the center.Do this a few times around your dough until it becomes uniform. Then, gently flip your dough over and let rest for about 20 minutes.
After about 20 minutes, firm up my little dough ball by using the traction of the counter and pull it towards yourself. If you have a little extra flour on your counter it will just slide so maybe move it to where there is less flour and try this. This will help pull the dough taught and create a firm hold. Only do this 2-3 times, you don’t want to overwork it.
Prepare your proofing basket by dusting it with flour and making sure the whole inside is coated. Take your dough and place it upside down (crease side up).
Place your basket or bowl in a plastic bag and tie shut. Place in fridge and let proof for at least 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with your dutch oven inside.
Once preheated, take your dough out of the fridge and gently turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. This is where you can get creative on scoring your dough.
Scoring will help the steam release and help the bread rise.
Carefully take your preheated dutch oven out of the oven and gently lower your dough in using the sides of the parchment paper.
Cover and bake for 25-30 minutes.
After 25-30 minutes, remove lid and reduce heat to 475 degrees Fahrenheit and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until desired colour is achieved.
Store your sourdough bread in a plastic bag for up to 5 days. These also freeze wonderfully in freezer bags!