Artisan Sourdough Bread – An easy recipe for crispy bread

Once you’ve had real sourdough bread, there’s no going back. No, I don’t mean the stuff from the supermarket that’s made by adding citric acid and some yeast. No, I mean the kind that’s been allowed to develop taste over many hours, fermented to perfection and then bake until golden brown and super crispy. This is my recipe for artisan sourdough bread.

Over the last 6 months the interest for baking sourdough bread has developed almost into a collective insanity. I’ve been at it for years, baking, publishing recipes and videos about it.

Now I felt it was time to publish my updated Master Recipe for sourdough bread. This is used a base for any kind of lean sourdough bread recipe that I make, and it is now yours too.


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The background for this artisan sourdough bread recipe

When I first started out baking sourdough bread I read every site, book, blog and everything else I could get my hands on.

I wanted, nay, needed to know how it worked. I wanted a ‘sourdough model’ in my head and that culminated in my article ‘Sourdough bread for beginners‘.

It was by no means a bad piece of work. I’d worked on it for months, and everything I had learned was poured into this article. About 6 months later turned into my third video on my Foodgeek youtube channel.

a sourdough bâtard on a wooden board

Some time in May of 2019 I made a timelapse recording of my starter after a feeding and that became my first “Experiment Time!” video.

Over the next 15+ months I’ve made over 30 videos with different scenarios for baking sourdough bread.

I always tried to keep it based in science; trying to have a control and then only vary one variable at the time.

All of those experiments and their conclusions have been used to make this new Master Recipe.

The tools needed for artisan sourdough bread

Ad links! Links for ingredients/items in this section are affliate links, which means that I will a commission if you purchase the product!

To make artisan sourdough bread, you’ll need some tools. I’ll divide this section into what you need and what you probably want after hitting the ‘geek’ stage of baking sourdough bread.

The ‘essential’ list:

Bowl

Simple Bench Scraper

Simple Lame

Round Banneton

Oval Banneton

Dutch Oven

The ‘geek’ list:

Rosti Margrethe Bowls

Zatoba Walnut Lame

CDK Bench Scraper

Baking Steel

The techniques needed for artisan sourdough bread

Stretch and Fold

There are several ways of agitating a dough to promote gluten development, and you can say that the longer the fermentation is, the more likely it is to happen all by itself.

It’s all about hydrating the protein glutenin present in wheat flour (and to some degree other flours too) so that it will start forming gluten bonds with the other protein gliadin in the dough, helping us with the structure of the dough.

I hold an artisan sourdough bread made using my own hands

You can make sourdough bread with no agitation, kneading, machine mixing, stretch and folds, slap and folds, coil folds. and probably any other method you come up with that moves the dough around.

I’ve chosen stretch and folds for no other reason that it is a great way to feel the dough develop and it’s also super satisfying to do so.

Use whatever method that works best for you and your personality. They’re all good.

Boule shaping

Boules are a round type of bread.

Shaping boules is easy to do and easy to learn.

It should be done on a kitchen counter without ANY flour.

Basically you just put your bench scraper (or your hands) behind the dough and pull it forward so that the top is pulled down in front of the dough, tightening the top of the dough.

An artisan sourdough boule on a wooden board in front of a brick wall

You then turn the dough and proceed until the dough is sufficiently tight.

In the pre-shape I will go for just a bit tight, and in the final shape I will go for pretty tight (very scientifically accurate namings, right?). It’s just to give you an idea what to aim for.

Bâtard shaping

Bâtards are an elongated bread. The shape goes from long round over cigar shaped to torpedo which describes how tapered the ends are.

Bâtard shaping is a final shaping technique. It can be done in numerous ways and none are more correct than others.

An artisan sourdough bâtard on a wooden board in front of a brick wall

It’s about shaping a piece of dough so that it has tension around the loaf along the long side.

If you watch the video for this Foodgeek Master Recipe you can see in great detail how I do it.

Scoring

Scoring bread is a whole skill besides everything that goes into making bread.

Part of scoring is having the proper tool, but also learning how to use that tool.

The cuts need to be precise and decisive. Slash like you mean it.

I wrote a whole article about the subject that I think you should read.

The dough composition in this artisan sourdough bread recipe

Vitals

Total weight1400 grams
Prefermented flour9.1%
Hydration69.9%
Yield2 small boules

The dough

Hydration

The hydration of the dough in this artisan sourdough bread recipe is 70%. This is a high hydration bread, but in the lower end of that.

Flour selection

It’s based of off using bread flour from the supermarket that doesn’t have a super high absorption. The difference between speciality flours and supermarket flours with the same amount of protein, is often that the more readily available flour has a lower absorption, so you will need to work with a lower hydration.

An artisan bâtard on blue concrete

If you have a flour you know can take more water, you just scale up the hydration. The bread flour I usually work with, I can easily go to 80-85% without problems.

Whole grain

For my whole grain component I am using rye. I love the taste of rye, plus it give the bread much more tang. You can use any kind of flour you want though, or even just use more bread flour if you like the ‘plain bread’ more.

Inoculation

The inoculation is the amount of starter to flour ratio. Generally. the more starter you have in your dough the faster the dough will ferment (up to a point).

The inoculation in this artisan sourdough bread recipe is 20%, which suits a fermentation at a room temperature of about 21°C/70°F.

If your room temperature is vastly lower or higher than that you may want change the inoculation.

An artisan sourdough bread made with the Foodgeek Master Recipe

A good rule of thumb is for each 5°C/10°F the temperature is over 21°C/70°F decrease the inoculation by 5%.

Likewise, for each 5°C/10°F the temperature is under 21°C/70°F increase the inoculation by 5%.

That way you can keep about the same fermentation time.

Salt

The amount of salt in this dough is 2%. This is a good balanced number, which makes the bread taste good without tasting salty.

You can change this to suit your preferences, but under about 1% the elasticity of the dough might suffer.

WeightIngredientBaker's Percentage
593gbread flour80.0%
148grye flour20.0%
496gwater66.9%
148gstarter (100% hydration)20.0%
15gsalt2.0%

Tinkering with the dough formula

This dough is a great starting point, but meant to change and personalize.

To change hydration, weight, ingredients, inoculation and everything you can use this formula as a starting point in my Bread Calculator.

The conclusion of this artisan sourdough bread recipe

What kind of bread can you expect from this recipe?

You can expect a wonderful crispy sourdough bread with a a deliciously tangy and chewy crumb.

A bread that will stay fresh longer than you are used to if you bake yeasted bread.

The crumb of the artisan sourdough bread made with this recipe

A bread with a wonderful taste that’s developed over a long period of time. Then quintessential fermented bread taste.

If you are baking sourdough for the first time, go with your readily available flour.

Once you get a hang of the techniques, I’d suggest you try to buy different artisanal flours and see what you like, and how they work. Try different flours for whole grain: wheat, rye, buckwheat, spelt and so on.

Learn what suits your palette. This recipe is the basis for your sourdough adventure.

Please share this artisan sourdough bread recipe on social media

This is my recipe for artisan sourdough bread. If you like the recipe please consider sharing it with like-minded bread lovers on social media.

If you make it and post it on Instagram, please tag me as @foodgeek.dk so I can see it. That would make me very happy.

Foodgeek Master Recipe for Artisan Sourdough Bread

Course: All
Cuisine: Any
Keyword: brioche sourdough, crispy, foodgeek master recipe, sourdough, sourdough bread, tangy
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 20 minutes
Proofing: 3 hours
Total: 14 hours
Servings: 2 breads
Calories: 1396kcal
Author: Sune Trudslev
Nutrition Facts
Foodgeek Master Recipe for Artisan Sourdough Bread
Amount Per Serving (1 bread)
Calories 1396 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 2928mg127%
Carbohydrates 285g95%
Fiber 16g67%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 45g90%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This is the basis of how to make artisan sourdough bread. This is a much easier recipe than all the others. No fuss, just great bread.
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Ingredients

  • 593 g bread flour
  • 148 g rye flour or another whole grain
  • 496 g water
  • 148 g sourdough starter
  • 15 g salt

Instructions

Feed the starter – The night before

  • About 8-10 hours before baking feed your starter at 1:3:3. Meaning take 30g starter, 90g flour and 90g water mix it and let it grow at room temperature.
  • If you'd like a more sour bread, you can start earlier.

Mix the ingredients – Morning

  • Add 593g bread flour, 148g rye flour and 15g salt to a bowl.
  • Mix it with your fingers until it's well-distributed.
  • Add 148g of sourdough starter and 496g of water.
  • Mix with your fingers until no dry bits remain.
  • Leave the dough to rest covered for 60 minutes.

Bulk fermentation

  • Do three sets of stretch and folds spaced out by 30 minutes.
  • After the last set do a windowpane test, if the dough fails, let the dough rest 30 minutes more and do another set of stretch and folds and then go to the rising stage of the bulk.
  • Put the dough in a see-through container where you can monitor the bulk. Let the dough rise 25%.
  • The time varies on a lot of factors, so go by the rise, not time. For reference, at around 24°C/75°F it takes my dough 2-3 hours to rise to 25%. DON'T USE TIME!!

Divide and pre-shape

  • Divide the dough into two equally sized piece by cutting it with your bench scraper.
  • If you are great at eyeballing go with that, the rest of us will probably just use the trusty scale.
  • Preshape both pieces of dough into a boule.
  • Let the dough rest on the counter for 20 minutes.

Final shape

  • Final shape the breads to boules or batards depending on your preference. Boules are absolutely the easiest, so if you're new go for that. Watch the video to see how both are done.
  • After each dough is shaped dust a banneton with rice flour and add the dough.
  • Then put the banneton in a plastic bag and close it loosely by tugging the end underneath the banneton.
  • Add both bannetons to your fridge. You fridge should be ice cold. Mine's set to 2°C/35.5°F.
  • Let the bread retard for at least 8 hours, up to 48 hours.

Bake the bread

  • Heat your oven to 260°C/500°F with a baking steel and dutch oven inside. Heat for an entire hour to make sure both are completely saturated with heat.
  • Grab a dough from the fridge.
  • Dust it with rice flour on the bottom and put your peel over top.
  • Flip it over so the dough rests on the peel.
  • Dust the top with more rice flour and distribute it with your hands.
  • Score the dough.
  • Open the oven and take the top off the dutch oven.
  • Grab the peel and add the dough to the dutch oven.
  • Put the top on, close the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Then oven the oven and take the top off the dutch oven.
  • Turn down the oven to 230°C/450°F.
  • Bake for another 20 minutes until the bread is golden and crispy.
  • Take the bread out and put it on a wire rack to cool.
  • Reheat the oven to 260°C/500°F and bake the other bread.
  • That's how you make artisan sourdough bread.

Video

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  1. Christof Reply

    Love your content – I’ve been waiting for this updated recipe! 🙂

    Can I half the amounts in the recipe to only make one loaf of bread?

    Also I’ve always had trouble with my dough being too wet (with various recipes from the internet…) and not holding shape right from the very beginning. Might this be because my flour has a lower protein content (10 %) than recommended? Or should I knead it a little bit at the beginning to help it getting startet?

    • Wonderful <3

      You can use half of the amounts to make one bread.

      I’d recommend changing the hydration to a lower number. Maybe 65% or even 60%.

  2. QuentinB Reply

    Thanks for the tips Sune! Should I take my dough out of the fridge to rise to room temperature before putting in the oven? Or do I wait until after the oven is full heated for an hour, and then take the dough out of the fridge, then right into the oven?

    • I heat the oven. When it’s hot I take out the bread, score it and in the over in under 30 seconds 🙂

  3. Stefanie Reply

    When I score my loaf, I can see the bread deflating…..
    And, your loaf looks so much more firm than mine are, allowing you to score them more formally. Any idea what I am doing wrong? I followed the recipe exactly and was pleased with its progress. They also did not rise as much as yours in the fridge.

    • It sounds like you may have over proofed the dough before you shaped it. How did you measure the growth?

  4. Esmae Reply

    I’ve been looking for comprehensive instructions and recipe for friends I’m giving starter to. This article is so useful. Thanks Sune from New Zealand in the Spring!

  5. Cat Reply

    I am preparing to make my first sourdough loaf! When you say to feed the starter 1:3:3, are you saying that because the starter will sit overnight? If so, and I am planning to start my dough during the day, can I feed my starter 1:1:1 and use it when it peaks (around 4 hrs)? Thanks and love your videos!

    • I will usually find the proportion so that my starter will peak around when I plan to bake. So feed at night, get up at 5am and make dough. You don’t need to be super fussy about it.

  6. Jose Gallegos Reply

    Hi Sune! Great videos. Thank you for all the effort, after watching your videos I was finally able to achieve a sourdough bread that I could send pictures to my friends! LOL
    I have to say that my bread came out better with your previous recipe, not sure what happen there. Maybe the room temperature affected the stretch and fold process because it is getting colder here.

    Question, any idea on how to achieve a less hard bottom of the loaf? It makes it difficult to cut and eat sometimes.

    • It’s hard to tell without more information 🙂

      To get a less hard bottom you need to even out the heat. I like to use a baking steel for that 🙂

  7. Dave Reply

    Hi Sune, I’m really enjoying your youtube videos. Quick question – your recipe totals don’t seem to add up to 2 x 700 gram loaves. Am I missing something?

    Thanks,
    Dave

    • You have to be a little more specific. What numbers are you adding? Because all the numbers I add turn into 1400 🙂

  8. M Reply

    Looking forward to bake this bread tomorrow.
    I had trouble shaping it though, it was really hard to get it firm/tight. What could I have done wrong?
    Another thing I am struggling with is that my bread often get very hard, the crust is just too thick after baking. 🤔
    I bake it on a baking steel with lid on first half and lid off second half.

    • It sounds like you may have over proofed it.

      Try and leave the lid on the entire time 🙂

  9. Cat Reply

    Just curious if you think it’s okay to leave in the fridge for >48 hours? I had one in the fridge for over 72 hrs (though it had higher hydration than your recipe) and it came out very tasty, so was thinking of trying another long proof. Just wondering if you would caution against it for some reason? Thanks again!

  10. Josh H Reply

    This is great! I noticed that you autolyse in the original recipe, but you skip that in this recipe. Why is that? Is it because the autolyse isn’t helpful at all in this recipe, or just because the benefit is small enough not to justify the extra work? Are there certain types of recipes where you think autolysis is more helpful? Perhaps higher-hydration recipes?

    • Autolyse is more helpful in yeasted recipe where fermentation is fast. Sourdough bread is left alone so long that the gluten can develop with the starter mixed in, that is unless you are fermenting somewhere warm 🙂

  11. Sandra Reply

    Hi Sune….Just wanted to point out that in the video of this recipe, you SAY 539g of flour, yet this recipe states 593g. Which is correct please?

    • 593g is correct as it also states on the pinned comment on the video. With 539g the hydration will be around 75% which won’t be horrible 🙂

  12. Kim Reply

    Straight out of the fridge and into the hot oven? No rise in the room between?

  13. Joy Reply

    Making this for the first time, straying from my usual Lemon Blueberry foolproof loaf of yours! It seems quite wet & hard to handle though I will keep trying. I added some Parm cheese at 2nd stretch – am now going to leave for bulk fermentation. Is it supposed to feel so sticky? Thanks – will update tomorrow.

  14. Spenc Reply

    Is your oven a convection oven or standard?

    • Both. I can choose and fan and non-fan mode.

      I use fan when I bake in a dutch oven and non-fan when I generate steam myself.

  15. Lisa Reply

    I just made this recipe, and it turned out looking exactly like yours! Everything went just the way the recipe and video said. I even like the smaller size of the boules. This recipe will replace the one I’d been using for a couple years. Thanks! The videos are very helpful.