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 artisan sourdough bread recipe.
Over the last 6 months, the interest in baking sourdough bread has developed almost into 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 as a base for any kind of lean sourdough bread recipe that I make, and it is now yours too.
If you are just here for the recipe, you can press the button underneath to be automagically transported to the recipe:Jump to Recipe Jump to Video
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.
Sometime in May of 2019, I made a timelapse recording of my starter after 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 on science; trying to have control and then only vary one variable at a time.
All of those experiments and their conclusions have been used to make this new Master Recipe.
That being said, you will need a sourdough starter to be able to make this bread, so if you’re new to sourdough baking, go read my article on making your own sourdough starter.
The tools needed for artisan sourdough bread
Ad links! Links for ingredients/items in this section are affiliate 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:
The ‘geek’ list:
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.
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 than 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.
A boule is a round shape 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.
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 of what to aim for.
Bâtards are 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.
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 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 as 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
|Total weight||1400 grams|
|Yield||2 small boules|
The hydration of the dough in this artisan sourdough bread recipe is 70%. This is a high hydration bread but at the lower end of that.
It’s based on using bread flour from the supermarket that doesn’t have a super high absorption. The difference between specialty 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 lower hydration.
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.
For my whole grain component, I am using rye. I love the taste of rye, plus it gives 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.
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 to change the inoculation.
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.
The amount of salt in this dough is 2%. This is a 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.
|148g||starter (100% hydration)||20.0%|
Tinkering with the dough formula
This dough is a great starting point but is 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 deliciously tangy and chewy crumb.
A bread that will stay fresh longer than you are used to if you bake yeasted bread.
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
Feed the starter – The night before
- About 8-10 hours before mixing, 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 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.
- Do three sets of stretch and folds spaced out by 30 minutes.
- After the last stretch and fold, do a windowpane test; if the dough fails, let the dough rest 30 minutes more and do another set of stretch and folds the rising stage of the bulk.
- Put the dough in a see-through container where you can monitor the bulk. Let the dough rise by 25%.
- DON'T USE TIME!! Time varies on many 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%.
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 the bread into boules or bâtards, depending on what you prefer. Boules are the easiest, so if you're new, go for that. Watch the video to see how you do both of them.
- 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. Your 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 the 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 open the oven and take the top off of 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.