Beginner's Sourdough Bread

Beginner's Sourdough Bread

This recipe is brought to you by sourdough blogger and New York Times Best Selling Author, Maurizio Leo. This recipe will give you confidence as you take your first steps in baking sourdough bread. For videos taking you through each step of the sourdough bread-making process, find this recipe on Maurizio's sourdough blog, The Perfect Loaf.

What You'll Need


Kitchen scale


Dough Scraper

Tea Towel

Oval or Round Proofing Basket

Parchment Paper

5-quart (or larger) Dutch oven


76 grams The Perfect Loaf flour

76 grams water

38 grams ripe sourdough starter

Bread Dough

938 grams The Perfect Loaf flour

18 grams fine sea salt

653 grams water (divided)


Levain (8:00 a.m.)

In a small container, mix the levain ingredients and keep at 74-76 F for 5 to 6 hours.

Autolyse (12:00 p.m)

In a medium mixing bowl, mix the flour and 603 grams water (50 grams is reserved until the next step). Cover and let rest for 1 hour.

Mix (1:00 p.m.)

To the mixing bowl holding your dough, add the salt, ripe levain (from first step above), and reserved 50 grams water. Mix by hand until incorporated. Transfer your dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.

Bulk Fermentation (1:10 p.m. to 5:10 p.m.)

Give the dough 3 sets of stretch and folds at 30-minute intervals, where the first set starts 30 minutes after the start of bulk fermentation.

Divide and Preshape (5:10 p.m.)

Lightly flour your work surface and scrape out your dough. Using your bench knife, divide the dough in half. Lightly shape each half into a round shape. Let the dough rest for 25 minutes, uncovered.

Shape (5:35 p.m.)

Shape the dough into a round (boule) or oval (batard)—place in proofing baskets.

Rest and Proof (5:40 p.m. to 9:30 a.m. the next day)

Cover proofing baskets with reusable plastic and seal shut. Let the dough sit out on the counter for 20 minutes. Then, place both baskets into the refrigerator and proof overnight.

Bake (Preheat oven at 8:30 a.m., bake at 9:30 a.m.)

Place Dutch oven on middle rack of oven and preheat your oven to 450 F. When the oven is preheated, remove your dough from the fridge, score it, and transfer to the preheated Dutch oven. Place in the oven, cover with the lid, and bake for 20 minutes. After this time, remove the lid (you can keep it in the oven or remove it) and continue to bake for 30 minutes longer. When done, the internal temperature should be around 208 F. Let the loaves cool for 1 to 2 hours on a wire rack before slicing.


While the recipe calls for 16 hours of total proof time, you could extend this time and bake the loaves in the morning, afternoon, or even the evening on day two. Leave the proofing dough in the fridge until ready to bake.

Makes 2 loaves.

Recipe courtesy of The Perfect Loaf blog. Visit The Perfect Loaf for a more detailed beginner's guide for this recipe.

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