Easiest sourdough bread

The world’s easiest sourdough bread

To make sourdough bread involves a lot of different techniques and a long list of things to do. Looking at the dough, touching it, waiting for it, streching and folding it and lot of other things. Sometimes you have other things to do, but you still want a fantastic sourdough bread with a holey crumb and a dark, crispy crust. Here is the solution. This is my recipe for the worlds easiest sourdough bread.

I love to bake. Cakes are fun, but bread… bread is everyday food. There isn’t a day in my life where I don’t eat bread. My favorite is sourdough bread. The crunch, the tangy and well-developed taste. Yum.

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I’ve loved baking since I was a child

I’ve been baking since I were nine years old and I found my mothers blue baking book. This is a book that was probably in every home in the 1970’s in Denmark. One day after school I grabbed the book and followed on the the recipes. I don’t remember what recipe it was, but I do remember my Mom being excited about coming home to something home baked and possible less excited about the near-exploded kitchen.

The easiest sourdough bread on a Foodgeek board

Since then I’ve baked a myriad of things. Layer cakes, bundts, cakes, muffins and buns for my and my kids birthdays. Every kind of bread for everyday use. The last year I’ve become pretty obsessed with sourdough and I’ve taught myself to make the most delicious breads with just three ingredients (flour, water and salt).

You need an active sourdough starter

To bake this bread, you will need to have an active sourdough starter. You are in luck though, because I have made my own guide to how to you make your own sourdough starter right in your own kitchen.

Why ‘the worlds easiest sourdough bread’?

The biggest problem for me, when it comes to baking sourdough bread, is that I have to use an entire day to make one bread. It’s super nice and meditative, but I don’t always have that kind of time to spend.

Sourdough bread out in the sun

That is the reason that I’ve developed a recipe for the worlds easiest sourdough bread. It requires about 20 to 25 minutes of active work. The rest of the time the dough will just be hanging out on the kitchen counter, in the fridge or in the oven.

The tools you need to make the worlds easiest sourdough bread

When you create things you need tools. I’ve assembled a list of tools you need when you create sourdough bread.

Ad links! Most of these links will give me a bit of commission if you buy it. If you are not interested in doing that, find the tools using your favorite search engine.

As a minimum you will need:

  • A good bowl – This bowl is incredibly beautiful, but whatever you have in your kitchen that is big enough to hold the dough
  • A bench scraper – This is used to move the sticky dough around and also to help shape it
  • A dutch oven – You need a dutch oven (basically a pot that can go into the oven), because then you won’t have to have to make steam the oven, because the bread will essentially be steaming itself
  • A lame – You need a super sharp knife to score the dough. This one uses a razor blade that can be replaced
  • A good oven – Preferably one that can get super hot. I have one that can go to 300°C/572°F that can also steam, which is quite basic in features, because I want to do everything manually

The formula of the worlds easiest sourdough bread

This is a pretty simple bread. 80% high-protein flour for good oven spring, 20% whole-grain wheat flour for delicious taste, 75% hydration for lots of holes in the crumb.

WeightIngredientBaker's Percentage
100gsourdough (100% hydration)10.0%
760gbread flour76.0%
190gwhole-grain wheat flour19.0%
700gwater70.0%
22gsalt2.2%

If you want to change the formula, you can do it here in my bread calculator.

Great sourdough bread takes time

There is no doubt. Great bread takes the time that great bread takes, but it is absolutely possible to cut down on the amount of work.

My regular method for making sourdough bread consists of a lot of steps:

  1. Create and mature a levain (3-4 hours)
  2. Autolyse (½-1 hour)
  3. Mixing the dough (20 minutes)
  4. Bulk fermentation including stretch and folds (3 hours)
  5. Diving and shaping the dough (30 minutes)
  6. Retard (8-10 hours)
  7. Baking (1½-2 hours)

All that will be replaced by these easy steps:

  1. Mixing the dough (10 minutes)
  2. Bulk fermentation on the kitchen counter (8-10 hours)
  3. Dividing and shaping (25 minutes)
  4. Quick retard while the oven is heating (1 hour)
  5. Baking (1½-2 hours)

That means that you can just mix the dough at night and shape and bake it the next morning.

All you need is one advanced technique

The only advanced technique you need for this recipe is shaping the dough. In this video I use my hands to fold the dough, but when you get to higher hydrations you should use your bench scraper.

You can get a good idea how to do it here:

The conclusion of the worlds easiest sourdough bread

Compared to how you create a classic sourdough bread, this is an extremely easy recipe. It really delivers in both crust, crumb and taste.

The crumb in the easiest sourdough bread

It is not going to be the only sourdough bread in my arsenal, but it is really great to have a great bread that can be done with a minimum of work and time

The active time investment is really so much lower than the regular sourdough bread, so it will be easy to find time to bake on a more regular basis now.

Please share on social media

This is my recipe for the worlds easiest sourdough bread. I hope you will try to make it. If you post it on Instagram please tag med as @foodgeek.dk so I can see it. That would make me very happy.

The world’s easiest sourdough bread

Course: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: All
Keyword: sourdough, sourdough bread, the easiest sourdough bread
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Fermentation: 8 hours
Total: 9 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 2 900 gram breads
Calories: 1784kcal
Author: Sune Trudslev
Nutrition Facts
The world's easiest sourdough bread
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1784 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 4290mg187%
Carbohydrates 361g120%
Fiber 19g79%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 60g120%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Sourdough bread is the perfect bread – crispy crust, soft crumb with lots of holes – but it takes a long time to make. Here is a recipe where it goes as fast as possible without compromising the quality
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Ingredients

  • 760 grams bread flour
  • 190 grams whole-grain wheat flour
  • 700 grams water
  • 100 grams ripe sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 22 grams fine salt

Instructions

Ready your sourdough starter – in the morning

  • Feed your starter so it is ready to be used in the evening
  • You need enough starter to use 100 grams and something to continue your sourdough with
  • I usually take 50 grams of unfed starter, 100 grams bread flour and 100 grams of water

Make the dough – in the evening – about 21:00/9 p.m.

  • Put 100 grams of starter and 700 grams of water in a big bowl
  • Mix until the starter is dissolved
  • Add 760 grams of bread flour, 190 grams of whole-grain whole-grain wheat flour and 22 grams of fine salt
  • Mix the dough with your fingers until it is well mixed
  • Put a wet dish cloth over top and leave it until the next morning
  • Note that the recipe assumes your kitchen to be about 21°C/70°F. If it is a lot warmer the dough may be ready sooner and if it’s a lot cooler it might take much longer
  • The dough should be about doubled in size and should jiggle slightly when you wiggle the bowl.

Divde and preshape – next morning – between 6:00/6 a.m. and 8:00/8 a.m.

  • Pour the dough onto an unfloured table and divide it in two using your scraper
  • Grab a piece of dough and push your scraper under the front of the dough. Lift it up and fold it over the dough away from yourself
  • Repeat from the top, from the left and from the right. This creates tension on the dough that is facing the table
  • Using your scraper, in one swift motion, push the scraper underneat, lift the dough and turn it upside down
  • Put your scraper behind the dough and drag it towards yourself. Use your other hand to guide the dough, so that the front of the dough is pushed underneath the dough ball, thus creating tension on the top of the dough. To release the scraper, pull it backwards quickly
  • Now put the scraper in front of the dough and push forward and turn it around until the scraper is behind the dough again. Repeat these two steps until you have a reasonable ball
  • Repeat with the other piece of dough and let the dough balls rest on the kitchen table for 15 to 20 minutes
  • While waiting mist your bannetons and sprinkle with rice flour

Shape the dough and refrigerate

  • Shape the dough as described above, making sure the surface is very tight
  • Using the scraper, flip the dough into the banneton. Seal it using a plastic bag and put it in the fridge
  • Repeat with the other dough ball

Bake the bread

  • Put a dutch oven in your oven and turn the oven on to 260°C/500°F
  • Let the oven heat for at least one hour
  • Cut two pices of parchment paper that should be big enough to fit over your bannetons. If you are using a regular ducth oven, you may want to make pieces that are much longer so you can use it as a sling to lower it into the pot
  • Take a banneton from the fridge
  • Put the parchement paper over the banneton, put your peel on top and flip it over
  • Lift the banneton off the dough carefully
  • Score the bread using a lame og a very sharp knife
  • Open the oven and place the dough inside the dutch oven. Put the lid on and close the oven
  • Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on
  • Open the oven and take the lid off. Close the oven
  • Lower the temperatur to 230°C/450°F and bake another 25 to 30 minutes until the crust is dark and crunchy. Don’t be afraid if the edges get a bit dark
  • Take the bread out of the oven and place it on a wire rack
  • Turn the oven up to 260°C/500°F and repeat with the other bread once the oven is warm again
  • Let the breads cool to room temperature before you cut into them

Video

Skriv et svar

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  1. Norm Reply

    Hi Sune, Can I replace 190 grams of whole grain flour in this easiest sourdough recipe with 190 grams of rye flour?
    Thanks

    • Absolutely. Rye is delicious is sourdough bread 😀

  2. Teresa Reply

    How long do you refrigerate your instructions do not say.
    Also my dough was still very sticky the following morning after 11 hrs was hard to do the turns

    • Minimum of 8 hours, maximum of.. unclear, the longest I’ve gone was 48 hours, but I am sure you can do longer 🙂

      If you dough is very sticky, you either didn’t develop your gluten enough, or you over proofed the dough (let bulk go too long). Also the dough is MUCH more sticky before you start shaping it, but it comes together quickly 🙂

  3. James Reply

    Hi Sune, a bit confused by your last reply saying a minimum of 8 hours to retard the dough in the refrigerator but your easy step instructions, #4 gives 1 hour retard while the oven preheats. Would you please clarify?

    • Well, that’s because that one hour rest in the fridge is just to firm it up to make it easier to score. The dough won’t fully get cooled in that hour, so it doesn’t really count as a retard. 🙂

  4. Lfenner Reply

    You saved my love for sourdough! It was way too time consuming but I tried your recipe and my loaves turned out great and it was so much easier. How would I make this recipe with no whole wheat flour? What would that change? Sorry do this is a silly question, I’m quite the beginner!

    • That is wonderful to hear <3

      You can make it as is, without whole wheat. It may become a bit more slack, so if the version with whole wheat was slack for you, you may want to hold back on the water.

      No question is ever silly. That’s what makes us learn 🙂

  5. 416dude Reply

    Tried this today with the exact same recipe and my dough is such a sticky mess! Any advice?

    • What kind of flour are you using?

      When you feed your starter, how high does it grow? Double? Triple?

  6. Hendrikje Reply

    Hi Sune,

    Thanks a lot for this recipe! Google brought me here (“easiest sour dough recipe”) and following your recipe I made my very first sour dough bread. It came out just perfect! I love the crust and the chewy texture. This is a bread-level non of my yeast breads ever reached. I will definitely keep this recipe in my baking and I am looking forward to trying out other recipes!
    I wonder whether there are possibilities with higher percentages of whole grain wheat flour? Or even only whole grain flour? Do you have any tips or experience on that?
    However, thanks a lot for this blog!

    Greetings from Netherlands,
    Hendrikje

    • I’d try to increase the whole grain flour gradually and see what works for your flour.

      Otherwise I will soon be making a video on what adding more and more whole grain will do for a free standing loaf.

      If you wanna go 100%, I’d just make the dough with the same amounts, but add it to a tin instead. It will still rise and be delicious, but the lack of gluten development will not allow the bread to stand up by itself 🙂

  7. Yam Reply

    Should I feed my started before using it for this recipe?

  8. Ian Klein Reply

    Hello Sune,

    I’ve been following your videos in youtube for long time. One month ago i started my sourdough starter and now im experimenting with a couple of recipes.
    I wanted to ask you, what is the main difference between this recipe and the one that has more steps like stretching and folding? What will be the main difference in the final product?

    Thank you so much for your your knowledge and this recipes!

    Best Regards

    • This will probably not be as tangy. Also, chances are that the crumb will not be nearly as open as you could get with the other one. Still delicious sourdough bread though, with minimal work. I use this recipe all the time. 🙂

  9. Ian Klein Reply

    Hello Sune, thank you so much for your reply.
    I did this recipe yesterday. Indeed the crumb was in the compact side and mostly dense. How can achieve a lighter bubbly bread? Is it high hidration and more stretch and folds?

    Thanks in advance.
    Best regatds

  10. Wally Fandrich Reply

    In your comments you mention the hydration rate of 75% increases the amount of holes in the crumb. Does this mean if you want a denser bread (a consistent crumb without the large holes) you just have to reduce the hydration?
    Is there a minimum hydration level that must be maintained to keep the dough supple enough to work?
    Does the amount of starter effect The crumb, is there a minimum level of starter you must have?

    • Higher hydration helps with a more open crumb, but handling is also key. If you want a sourdough bread with a uniform crumb, you can degas the dough before shaping and you’ll get a uniform crumb with smaller holes.

      Minimum hydration is very dependant on the flour that you use. For some flours it’s 60-65%, but for others (whole grain) it may be 80% 🙂

      The amount of starter does nothing for the crumb. The less starter you use the longer the fermentation. I’ve heard of some people that use 1-2%. Never tried it myself 🙂

  11. Jeannette Reply

    Hi Sune!
    Do you have any tips on how to make this into dinner rolls? should I just make smaller balls of dough, or is there something else I should know? Thanks!

    • Yes, try to shape them like mini boules and then bake them right away. I’d lower the hydration to 70% though.

  12. Viktória Reply

    Hi Sune, I do not have Dutch oven, but I have bread program with max 230C in my steam oven. How should I change the baking process? Thanks a lot! Viktória

    • Does you oven go higher than 230C?

      You can bake fine sourdough bread at 230C, so maybe try it out?

  13. Hi Sune,

    I tried your recipe twice but was not able to achieve a firm bread. Once I flipped the baskets onto the parchment paper, the dough was quite flat and not really able to stand up. The bread was on the kitchen counter for over 9 hours, around 20 degrees celcius. Do you have any tips? Do I need to keep the dough longer on the kitchen counter?

    Kind regards,
    Ton

    • It sounds like you need to keep it a shorter time, but also the flour you need might not support 75% hydration.

      I’ve changed the formula for your here: https://fgbc.dk/4uh

      That’s 70% hydration. If that still doesn’t work, then try to go to 65% 🙂

  14. Barry B Reply

    I just made this…it was my second attemp at SD…and this recipe/method worked so good. My problem lies with the bottom of the bread…it was black and hard to cut through. I dont have a baking steel…so DO right on the oven rack.

    • Try to move the dutch oven on a higher shelf. I’ve heard some people have luck with putting the dutch oven on a trivet on the baking sheet instead of directly.

  15. Hello, thanks for this great recipe, and also for the calculator, genius, my question, using my own yeast method, i normally make bread with 70% bread flour and 30% Semolina flour, i love the colour and texture this produces, i now have my own starter, do you think this will work with your method?

    Many thanks

    • Yes, I’m sure it will 🙂

      If you have problems with oven spring, try to reduce to 20% and see if that helps.

  16. Barry Steyn Reply

    Hi, I tried this recipe. Even though my starter doubled in size, the dough came out way to wet and sticky and I got zero rise. I did let it sit on my counter for about 20 hours. Any advice?

    • 20 hours is way too much, unless your kitchen is unbearably cold.

      It sounds like it over proofed, which means that it might have been okay during the night. Is your kitchen very warm?

  17. Heather Reply

    This is the first sourdough bread I’ve ever made and it came out amazing! It was delicious and got a great rise!

    I wanted to ask, is it ok to do a few rounds of folds during the bulk fermentation if you have the time, or will that speed up the fermentation? Is the main thing about this recipe that makes such a long bulk fermentation possible the fact that it contains less starter than other recipes?

    Thanks for your great blog and youtube channel! I’m currently following your recipe for ‘easy beginner sourdough bread’ and can’t wait to see how it turns out!

    Cheers,
    Heather

    • No, that’s perfectly okay. It just makes the dough more cohesive 🙂

  18. You said that the fermentation/bulk rise takes between 8 to 12 hours at 70 degrees room temperature. I use my cold oven at room temperature for the bulk rise which is around 80 degrees so I’m afraid that it would be over-proofed when I get up in the morning. If I’m mixing dough earlier in the evening, can I start the rise then, then retard it in the fridge overnight and resume the next morning to get the timing correct? When it’s retarding, fermentation doesn’t quite stop so I’m hoping there is a formula to end the rise at the optimum amount of time. Is another option just to retard the whole rise for a much longer time? Thanks, Sune.

    • Retarding almost stops fermentation, so it probably wouldn’t be done next morning if it spent the entire time in the fridge. If you put it in a clear contain where you can monitor the growth it should grow about 25% to be done.

      There’s no formula, only senses. Your eyes, fingers and your brain is the guide.

  19. Flo Reply

    Hi, Thanks for this recipe and the excellent instructions and videos. Can I leave the dough overnight in the fridge rather than on the counter? My kitchen temperature is typically 25C which might cause the dough to overproof overnight.

    • I am sorry. I have 100’s of comments that I need to answer. The price of popularity I guess 🙂

  20. Peter Reply

    If you are making just one loaf do you cut all ingredients in half? I have not heard back on this, so I am thinking cut the flour and water in half but keep the starter amount the same. I have seen this in other recipes.

    • Yes, just divide everything by two. Note that it can be more difficult to stretch and fold a small mass of dough though 🙂

  21. Peter Henderson Reply

    If I am making just one boule do I use half of all ingredients including the starter?

  22. Judith Murfett Reply

    Hi Sune,
    I’m making the quick bread tonight and I’m interested to see how it goes. I’m wondering why your recipes always make 2 loaves?
    I guess we don’t eat as much bread being just the two of us. So I always halve your recipes and they still work. With the quick and easy sourdough though, I am going to still use 100gms of starter (not 50gms) as it is cool overnight in Melbourne, Australia and I want it to be ready by morning. Like you, I keep experimenting even with your recipes!
    I have made your danish rye bread, and the cheese and paprika loaf as well as the knackebrod, all delicious so far.
    I love your experimental approach, keep it up!
    Jude

    • I make two because it’s less work than making 2 separately.

      I’ll slice and freeze the bread, and it’s still great after defrosting in the toaster 🙂

  23. Jamie Reply

    I am going to be using 100% fresh ground flour. Would you recommend any changes that might help my chance of success.

  24. Jeannette Reply

    Hi Sune, I’ve made this recipe several times this year and it’s my favorite because I don’t have to spend so much time babysitting it. Can it be adapted to make baguettes? I know I would need to use steam, but I’d love to not have to spend an entire day stretching and folding. Thanks for your tips.