We are ready to hit the first sourdough bread, and let's do it properly! I will be using some words here that you might want to get clarified, so have a look at for some insight.
The first thing we need to make sure of, is that we have an active levain, double check to make sure you have prepared the levain and that it is active.
I have to say, there is no one way to rule them all. The following process is something that works well for me, and a good way to start. I try to teach you why I do the different things so you can take the decisions you want on what to follow when you gain more experience!
After the starter is has been prepared go to for some inspiration of flour mixtures, see the comments on each bread for inspiration. It is worth mentioning that the amount of flour, water and salt is not finite, and even if I use 1000g flour in many of my breads, it comes only down to the percentage mix, See for more info. For a really nice bread it is good with 2% salt, around 77% hydration(meaning water) and around 16-20% starter mix.
I use 1000 grams of flour to be able to split my bread up in 2-3 pieces, meaning I have fresh bread 2 or 3 days in a row.
Lest begin with the first process
Autolysis
I usually prioritize this, and see . But if you dont have the time, there is no need. I like to autolyse the bread. That means mixing the flour and water together before setting in any sourdough starter. So lets begin there. You have chosen a flour mixture of your liking from the internet or . Use a weight to get the proper amounts. The reason I mix really well is that I want to avoid any lumps in the dough.
The most important thing here, is to make sure that all the flour is mixed in properly. After it is done, you can let it stand for 1-4 hours, does not really matter, I have not noticed much difference, but just depends on the amount of time you have.
Sourdough mixing
This is a super important step in the process. Without this our bread will not get any size, air or sour goodness. So double check and to make sure we are ready to mix in the sourdough. This step is also super important because now we are starting the bulk fermentation process, which builds our openness and crumb mastery. See for more deeper insight
After this step we also need to be tend to the dough for the next 2-3 hours at least as mentioned the proof section. We cannot let it be on its own for a longer time period, after mixing in the . Here is a video of how it looks:
After all is mixed in let this stay at room temperature for about 45 minutes, getting . Give or take of course, but we dont want it to stay alone for too long, because then we might let our bread become over fermented, and then it is a possibility that our bread becomes flat when baking.
Adding salt
If you are curious to why we add salt, have a look over here . With that covered, you can either pinch in the salt as done in this video, or even try to mix the salt out with a bit of water which makes it easier to incorporate. We dont need to add the salt in this step, we can do it in autolysis, or even when adding the starter, but . I like to add salt in this step, as that is what I learned and have not tried the other way around. Usually 2% of the total flour amount, is good bet! See
After that is done, we let it rest in room temperature for about 30 minutes. Remember that this will include in the bulk fermentation time. You can do between 15-45 minutes, I like to follow the steps I learned for now. But as we say in , this whole step can be skipped, as the salt can come at different stages.
3 x stretchings
Time to exercise the bread, want to understand why, head over to . This process we repeat usually 3 times, can be two, or more, depending on if we feel that the bread has enough structure. If we need some more structure to the bread, we can stretch a couple of times more
PS: It is important to make your hands wet before you stretch, because then it is easier to handle the dough, avoiding the dough to stick
After each stretching, remember to wait around 30 minutes for letting the gluten relax so it is ready to be stretched again. This helps us build the structure we want and avoiding a ripped dough.
Last duration of the bulk fermentation
We need to know how much time we spent on the dough up to now to understand if we have done enough bulk fermentation. As I mention in , there is a lot to think about. But if we go for the rule I follow, 25C we need a period of 4 hours of bulk fermentation. The lower the temp, the longer the period.
So dependent on the time spent waiting after the levain was added, waiting after the salt was added, or between each stretching, we let our bread rest until we have nice duration of bulk fermentation.
Go to to have some simple tests to see if it is ready to be shaped.
Shaping
We have our dough ready to be made into a lump of bread. Independent on how much flour you used, how big bread you want or how many, the shaping process is the same. I will show a process where I split my 1000 gram flour bread into two pieces of 500gram, and shape them. Where you can create a 1000 gram bread, or maybe just made a 500 gram bread.
First we prep the bowl(s) and the shaping ground.
After we have prepped the table and our leaven(rising) bowls we go at the prepping itself. This procedure is important to get right if you are working with a high

Now, dependent on when you want to let it bake, we need to proof our bread. The time depends on what taste you want to achieve, but a nice time is in a cold temperatur for about 10-12 hours. It can be in the fridge for 36 hours, and I have even done more than 48 hours, and it was still good. For a deeper explanation head over to
Baking the bread
The final mile of this process. Our bread has now , and we are ready to bake. I suggest using a for baking, because then you dont have to worry about generating steam and all that trickery. If you dont have a dutch oven, you can always try to do what
Heat your oven, with the dutch oven inside, to 250°C, and let the dutch oven become properly heated up. If you have a fast oven I would let it heat up some extra minutes so the dutch oven gets heated up.
Bring the bread out of the fridge and do the scoring of the bread. . And prepare it for the dutch oven, its easier to do this with some baking paper. See here for scoring and baking paper
When scored we are ready to take out the pre heated dutch oven from the 250°C oven. And throw in the bread
Let it cook at 250°C for 20 minutes
Lift the lid
Turn down the heat to about 235°C. We turn down the heat because we dont want to burn the crust before the bread itself is properly baked.
Do another 10-20 minutes, dependent on your oven. Keep checking the crust on the top and the sides to make sure it is properly cooked. If the crust is still soft, on certain areas, add some minutes between each check. You can also look at the color to see it darken properly!
If you turn down the heat even more, you need to add more baking minutes.
After this your beautiful bread is ready to be brought out of the oven.
Your bread needs to rest. The experts suggest at least 1 hour rest or even 2 hours, before cutting into the bread! This is to avoid the bread to be soggy and sticky when cutting, but get the right firmness. Also it is mentioned that you get a better flavour and aroma by letting the bread settle more.
But to be honest, I only let it rest for 15 minutes or a bit more before I start cutting in it, because I’m so hungry when I bake!
Again, look at for some inspiration


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