The secret of the elusive sourdough bread oven spring

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  1. Barry Sufrin Reply

    Is the starter feeding ratio 1:5:5 above an error? If not, when does 1:2:2 apply and when does 1:5:5 apply? Thanks for this excellent article.

    • Well, once you want to optimize your starter, feeding 1:5:5 is more effective. When it triples in a feeding you have enough yeast in your starter, then you should use feeding proportions to time when to use your starter.

      If you want to bake a quickly as possible, feed it 1:1:1, if you want to let the starter grow overnight you’d feed it to stretch the growing out over the whole night.

      Watch my timelapse here what difference it makes: 🙂

  2. Rebecca Reply

    Hi. I enjoy this blog and appreciate your guidance and expertise. Thanks for the advice about putting a baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven. I’m new to baking bread and use a Dutch oven. I’ve been struggling to get the loaves nice and dark, which I prefer, without burning the bottom crust. I’ve moved the DO to the next rack up after the first 20 minutes, and that helps, but it’s a real pain to do mid-bake.

    I just baked a loaf of white, whole wheat, and dark rye sourdough, and it turned out beautifully. I got great oven spring, a gorgeous crackling crust on the top and sides, and no scorched bottom crust. Now I just need to be patient and wait another hour before I can cut into it.

    • I’m glad that it’s working for you. Domestic ovens are pretty fickle in how it heats, and figuring out where to bake in your particular oven can be a bit of a struggle 🙂

  3. Barbie Degen Reply

    Amazing instruction! Thank you sooo much!

  4. Nicholas Reply

    Hi Sune, I have a question about building my starter, which you talked about in this article.

    You mentioned 1:5:5 at 5g:25g:25g as a way to build up strength, and also a 3-feed schedule (6:00/6 a.m., 14:00/2 p.m. and 22:00/10 p.m.)

    At 6am you do the 5g:25g:25g, then once it’s peaked do you take out 5g and do another 5g:25g:25g at 2pm and the same at 10pm?

    The next day when you want to make bread, do you do a 1:5:5 on what you need for baking, so if I need 100g for baking, I would mix at 6am a 9g:45g:45g?

    • You may wanna make a bit more so you don’t bake off your starter in the bread.

      Do a 12g:60g:60g so you have a little bit of starter to keep the starter going 🙂

  5. korean Reply

    Your channel is so useful! I only have a air fryer but I can bake some bread rolls now. you make bibimbap better than my mom. keep going man!

  6. Thijs Bonten Reply


    Thnx for the tips, most of them i am already aplying. One thing that really triggered me was the scoring and baking the cold dough, as i read somewhere else that you should not because the crumb will not set. Neverheless i have usually a reasonable bread but it will not spring as much as i want. Do you mean with cold straight from the oven or like half an hour/hour out of the fridge in comparison with the 2,5, 3 hours most recipies recommend?

  7. Jody Ho Reply

    Thank you Sue for all your wonderful tips, I followed your advice today and made a beautiful super oven spring loaf. I am so happy it is such a beauty!😘😘

  8. Tina Pretty Reply

    Do you spray the dough with water before placing the cover on and placing in the oven?

    • I don’t usually, but it makes these gorgeous blisters on the bread, so do it if you want that 🙂

  9. Jordain Reply

    Hey Sune, first of all thank you for all the experiments that you do. I am always excited when you upload a new youtube video. I have been baking sourdough for about a year now, but I have a problem. My first bread always turns out great and has amazing oven spring, but that’s because I only leave it in the fridge for the day and bake it the following day. I like making enough bread to last the week so I have 2 other sourdoughs. I’ve tried both the fridge and the freezer. Normally it sits 3 days in the fridge before I bake it, but when I take it out of the bowl it is more liquidy and makes it more difficult to score. It seems like it was overproofed and I get very limited oven spring from it. I’ve also tried freezing the dough and put it in the fridge an day before I bake it to warm it up, but I find that it’s even worse off and it gets a little raw inside after I bake it. What would you suggest to maintain that oven spring when storing it in the fridge/freezer?

    Also I would also like to note that I use a dutch oven and I find that my breads are done after 25 mins at 500F and 5 mins at 450F with the lid off. I recall watching one of your videos saying 20 or 25 mins at 500F and another 20 to 25mins at 450F with the lid off. Why would mine be different? I followed your sourdough recipe for that one as well.

  10. vicki Reply

    For what length of time do you retard the shaped loaves in the frig before putting them directly into the oven?

    • Often about 8 hours, but sometimes days, 2-3 days is fine 🙂

  11. Robert Snelgrove Reply

    Which is it, 1;2;2 or 1;5;5?

    • When optimzing your starter for maximum yeast. After it’s established use whatever proportion that fits with when you need your starter to be ready 🙂

  12. Tina Reply

    Thanks for the tips, they have been very helpful. I read you place dough in refrigerator for up to 36 hours. How do you keep the dough from overproofing? Also, do you bake directly from the fridge or let the dough come to room temperature first?

  13. Thanks for this document. Here you mention not to mix in salt at autolyse step but in most of your videos you mention adding salt at the autolyse step. Has the tip about tightening the gluten changed?

  14. Terry Schlender Reply

    Are you baking your sourdough bread on the steel in a fan/convection oven?

  15. Kate Reply

    Is there a trick to baking sourdough bread straight onto a pizza stone in the oven? Mine work perfectly when I put them in a pyrex dish with a lid, but if I try and free form them onto a hot stone in the oven (with a tray of water at the bottom of the oven), they just don’t work out quite as well – they’re edible but don’t have that lovely rise and split at the top (and I have to almost saw through the crust).

  16. Jas Reply

    Thank you so much for providing such a great site and am loving all your videos. I have baked a few times but am still struggling and havent achieved a loaf that I could be proud of. I have a few questions and I hope you can shed some light on them.

    How can I determine if my flour is well hydrated? Since all different branded flours have different water absorption, is there a way we can determine how much water each kind of flour can absorb?
    What is the minimum number of min hours needed for bulk fermentation if my average temperature here is 31 degree celcius?
    When I shape my dough, it could stand and the surface seems to have enough tension (or so I thought), but when I score, the dough kind of sinks. Is that overproofing?
    How do you know when to stop kneading the dough after adding the salt? Are there any indications from the dough that we should pay attention to? One time, I was kneading (probably slightly too long), and my dough became over stretchy and soft.
    What temperature should the fridge be? My dough came out almost triple the size the next day and it’s wobbly. When I score it, the dough sinks.
    Lastly, how do you determine the number of folds your dough need?

    Thank you so much once again!

  17. upasana agarwal Reply

    hi, when i put my loaf in a deck oven, i get cracks all over the place. Why is that happening? i even tried putting in a dutch oven but its making my loaf fall flat. I used to be able to bake beautiful loaves at home but the deck oven doesn’t seem to be working. Please help!

  18. Roy Reply

    Ever tried a slightly smaller granite slab on bottom of Dutch oven to create a reservoir for boiling water.

    • No, but I’ve never had to add water to the dutch oven 🙂

  19. Marianne Toftegaard Poulsen Reply

    Hi Sune – kan se på seneste video at du har fået en Challenger! Har du en affiliate aftale med dem? Hvis ja – så køber jeg den igen dig;)
    Tak for alle de gode sourdough tips og opskrifter! Hilsen Marianne

  20. Neida Billings Reply

    Hi!! I created steam in my oven, but I didn’t have a baking stone. I used a baking pan instead. I didn’t get the oven spring or ear that I usually get when using the Dutch oven. I want to make a larger bread this time. Does it make a big difference using a baking stone vs sheet pan?

  21. Jessica Reply

    This was so helpful! Thank you for sharing!

  22. Sophie Metlewsky Reply

    I had been baking sourdough bread for about 3 years. I thought I was happy with the outcome, until I saw your bread! I have been using your Master recipe for Artisan Sourdough bread for about 3 months now and am absolutely amazed with every loaf. They come out beautiful and light and wonderful open crumb. Thank you! I have shared the recipe with friends and family.