Classic Sourdough Bread Recipe

Classic Sourdough Bread Recipe

There are many recipes that are all very similar, the biggest difference being the size of loaf it produces.  Regardless of which recipe you choose, the order and methods are the same. 


  • Bobbie Jo Starter (or any active starter)
  • All-purpose Flour or Bread Flour
  • Water
  • Salt

Tools Needed

  • Bowl
  • Dough Hook (or something to mix with)
  • Bread Lame (or something sharp to score with)
  • Proofing Bowl or Banneton
  • Parchment Paper
  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven
  • Kitchen Scale

To make one large loaf:

100g - Starter

350g - Water

500g - Flour

12g - Salt

 To make two medium size loafs:

225g - Starter

600g - Water

800g - Flour

20g - Salt

To make two large loaves:

250-300g - Starter

700g - Water

1000g - Flour

25g - Salt


Directions (Each step is linked to a video that will help you through it)

STEP 1:  Getting Started

Combine your active starter and water in a bowl.  Mix until it appears milky; it doesn't have to be perfect, just mostly mixed.  We love our dough hook for this step.  If you use warm water for this step, your bread may rise at a faster rate.

Combine flour and incorporate (we love to use our dough hook for this as well).

Let dough rest for 10-30 minutes, covered

STEP 2:  Pinch in Salt

Add salt to your dough and stretch and fold over to mix in salt with your hands.  If you see pockets of salt, continue to knead the dough until well mixed.

PRO TIPS:  Folding dough over the salt minimizes salt getting all over your hands.  Wet your hands with cold water to help prevent dough sticking to your hands.

This was your 1st Stretch and Fold.  Let dough rest covered for 20-40 minutes

STEP 3:  Stretch and Folds

NOTE:  There is a fair amount of forgiveness in this series of Strech and Folds.  The timing does not have to be exact.  You only need to go around the perimeter of the bowl 1 time.  If you only do 2-3 stretch and folds, don’t sweat it.  It will turn out just fine!

Perform 2nd Stretch and FoldCover dough and let rest for 20-40 minutes

Perform 1st Slap and FoldCover dough and let rest for 20-40 minutes

Perform Final Slap and Fold.  Cover dough for bulk fermentation.

STEP 4:  Begin bulk fermentation

This can vary from 6-12 hours, depending on your schedule. If you start your dough at 5pm and finish your folds around 8pm, you can put the dough in the fridge until the next morning. 

NOTE:  Keep your dough in the fridge during bulk fermentation.

After bulk fermentation dough will have a smooth look and there may be some bubbles under the dough.  If you’ve used the recipe for 2 loaves, you will need to cut your dough in half prior to the next step.

STEP 5:  Shaping the Loaf and Proofing

There are multiple ways you can shape your loaf.  Here, we will discuss 2 of those. 

  1. Tension Pulls:  Remove dough from the bowl and complete a minute or so of tension pulls to create some tightness in the dough. It helps to think of the outside being like a balloon that’s holding all of the pressure in and the outside being tight. 
  2. Lamination:  NOTE:  This is the method you will use if you plan to mix in additional ingredients (i.e. herbs, cheese, etc.).  

Spread dough into the shape of a rectangle. The goal is to stretch it out as much as possible without ripping. If you do rip the dough, it will be ok, so keep going.  Tri-fold the dough and roll it up. 

From this point you will do tension pulls as above to create as much tension on the outer layer of the dough. Try not to tear the outer layer of dough. 

Allow the dough to sit on your counter for approx. 20 min and then shape it again to create more tension.  The purpose of this step is to give the dough some memory of the shape you want it to hold. 

After the final shaping, place dough into a floured proofing bowl, basket, or banneton.

PRO TIP:  Use a different type of flour than what you used for baking to minimize sticking.  I like brown rice flour.

Place the dough in your fridge and allow to proof for 2-4 hours.  This is also called the final ferment.  NOTE:  You can leave it in the fridge longer until you are ready to bake (even up to a few days).

PRO TIP:  Cover your proofing bowl and dough with something plastic (grocery sack or shower cap).  When placing it on the bowl, trap air under it to prevent it from sticking to the dough.

STEP 6:  Scoring and Baking

Once you’re ready to bake your loaf, place your cast iron dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 500F/260C (450F/232C if using convection).  Allow the oven to come to full temperature.  If you want it extra steamy, you can let the cast iron heat for an additional 30 minutes.  NOTE:  Your house will probably smell bad for the first couple times, especially if you aren't typically using this high of a temperature. 

Place loaf on parchment paper or corn mill, and score the dough.  This directs the steam to escape in the pattern of your choosing.  We recommend at least 1 deep score.

Place loaf and parchment paper in a cast iron dutch oven with the lid ON for 20 minutes.

Remove the lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove the loaf from the cast iron dutch oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.  

Wait 1 hour.  Enjoy!! 

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I was at the Pinterest conference in AZ, you made pretzel buns I’ve lost my recipe is there anyway you can sent it to me ? Thank you

Jean Bowman

Today I am making my 2nd loaf of sour dough and already planning when I’m making the next one!!

Sandra g Conti

I was at your class at the Pinners conference in Arizona. What would make my loaf doughy in the middle. Thanks for your help.

Karen Thew

I am trying my second loaf Sunday. My first loaf did not turn out correct. It did not rise. The starter I fed this morning (Saturday morning) has already doubled on the counter. I will get up early and start the bread. Hopefully this one will work :). I watched all the videos today a few times. Have you posted your chocolate chip cookie recipe yet? I think I am going to try to make some tomorrow. I’ll take them to school where I work and have people taste them. Thanks for the videos and all your help. I emailed you when my starter was not growing and you said feed it more and that worked. It grew but my bread did not rise. Maybe this time it will work. Have a good week!

Nanelle Houston

If you follow the Sourdough 101, there is a good recipe for making one loaf. I was in the class too and am making my first loaf today. Hoping it works.

Cherl Phillips

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