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28 November, 2017

Sourdough Bread

Comments : 2 Posted in : Recipes on by : Chef Spaulding

Makes 2 loaves approx 1 lb each



  • Sourdough Starter ||  3 Tbsp  ||  I often use a little more
  • Water  ||  75 grams
  • Flour  || 75 grams

Salt Addition

  • Water  || 50 grams
  • Salt  || 1 Tbsp or 16 grams


  • Water || 475 grams
  • Flour || 700 grams



  • The night before, mix the Starter, Water (75 g),  then mix in the Flour (75 g) in a 1-2 pint container.
  • Set aside overnight. If your place is cold, you can put it in an unlit oven with the oven light on.


  • In a large (metal or glass bowl) mix the Water (475 g) with the Leaven.
    • (Note: active, ready Leaven should float on the water, you can try a little to make sure.)
  • Mix in the Flour (700 g). Combine using a rubber spatula until all the Flour is combined, no dry flour. You will have a coarse, shaggy dough.
  • Cover loosely with cellophane or a kitchen towel.
  • Let sit for 2 to 4 hours (I typically do 4 hours, unless the kitchen is quite warm and the dough is rising too much).
  • NOTE: Alternatively, cover and put in the fridge overnight for a slower rise and more complexity.

Flippies and forming

  • Add the Water (50 g) and dissolved Salt (16 g) to the Dough. Work in the salt water with your hands until fully incorporated.
  • “Flippies”. Every 30 mins for 2-1/2 hours (i.e., 6 times total), grab the north corner of the dough in the bowl, pull up half the dough and fold over the other half. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat the lift / pull fold. Rotate 90 degrees and repeat again. One more time. This whole process takes 15 seconds. Re-cover and let rest until the next time.
    • Note: each time, you will notice the dough becoming smoother, more “silky” in texture and softer. Learn the textures.
  • After the 2-1/2 hours (6 flippies), let the Dough rest for 20-30 mins.
  • On a lightly floured (I use all purpose flour for this) cutting board or counter top, gently dump the Dough out. With a pastry blade/scrapper, divide the Dough into 2 equal portions.
  • Form into loose balls and let reset for 20-30 mins.


  • For each of the 2 loaves, you will need a proofing basket. I still use a medium wire colander. And a cloth napkin.
  • Flour the face of the cloth. The “top” of the loaf will rest on the cloth during proofing and the flour helps prevent sticking.
  • Flour the top of one of the rested dough balls. With the pastry scraper, turn over the dough onto the floured surface.
  • Picture two images:
    • 1. You want to draw the outer surface of the dough, like stretching a balloon; a smooth, taut surface; and
    • 2. This last folding will create additional pockets for the large, “artisanal” holes to form in the crumb.
  • For each ball, fold the top third down over the dough. Fold the left third over the the dough. Fold the right third over the dough. Fold the bottom third over the dough. You should have a nice, tight ball. I pinch the seams together (this will be the bottom of the finished bread).
  • Put the folded ball on the floured cloth and into the proofing basket.
  • Proofing. Either (1) Approx. 4 hours at room temperature, or (2) Approx. 12 hours (overnight) in the fridge.
    • The longer, slower proofing can yield a bit more complex flavor.
    • If you have only 1 Dutch Over, you can do one with the 4 hours proof that night and the other from the overnight fridge proofing the next morning.


  • Bring Oven and Dutch Oven & Lid to 500F
  • Take the proofed dough ball from the proofing basket, make sure the bottom is dusted with enough flour so it will slide in the Dutch Oven. Invert the dough so the seam side is now down.
  • Score the top with a Lame / Razor blade.
  • Put the (very hot) lid back on the (very hot) Dutch Oven and place the sealed Dutch Oven back in the 500F oven.
  • Bake LID ON (no peeking) at 500F for 20 mins.
  • Drop the temperature to 450F, continue baking LID ON (do not peek) at 450F for 10 mins.
  • Remove the lid, the loaf should have “popped” up and should be straw colored.
  • Bake (lid off) for 25 mins more — check every few minutes towards the end. I’ve taken it out after only 20 mins, and gone as long as 30+ mins. depending on how dark and crispy I want the crust.


  • The “freshness” of the starter, older and/or more starter should make for relatively more sour bread (but there’s a lot more to this subject!)
  • In the recipe and description at The Kitchn.com, Emma Christensen is very dogmatic about using weight measurements for bread making. So much so, that I finally broke down and got a proper electronic scale. She’s right! 100% Weight-based (don’t use ‘cups’ and ‘oz’) for bread making. And the virtue of using grams instead of oz/pounds makes it easy to scale bread recipes.
  • This, like the Tartine Bread recipe is a “75% bread dough” … Flour:Water is 100:75… Tartine’s 1000g Flour/750g Water makes 2 loaves of 1-1/2 lb each; The Kitchn’s 700g flour/525g water is also 75% and makes (a more modest for smaller households) pair of 1 lb loaves.


  • The Kitchn.com by Emma Christensen – “How To Make Sourdough Bread” (link here)
    • This site inspired and gave me the confidence to try sourdough. This is a great recipe, lots of pictures and very helpful explanations.
    • Great site! and, she’s also got a very good “Make your own sourdough started”, which I’ve done twice.
  • “Tartine Bread” (reference here)
    • After years of eating at Bar Tartine and enjoying their bread, I’m finally making sourdough.
    • Emma Christensen modified the Tartine recipe, in part to make smaller (1 lb vs 1-1/2 lb loaves) and some simplifications. After doing 5 or 6 batches, I wanted more background and understanding of some of the variables. Tartine Bread has that next level, and some fun and motivating stories of 4 amateur bakers who tested the recipes.
  • “The Sourdough School” by Vanessa Kimbell (reference here)

    • The next level
  • “Bread Science : The Chemistry and Craft of Making Bread” by Emily Buehler
    • Out of print, but I found a few excerpts that turned out to be very helpful.
    • One bit explains experiments that showed the yeast/CO2 process is not strong enough to *create* bubbles/holes in rising bread dough. But that the folds (and folds and folds), e.g., from “flippies” create layers with small air pockets with the yeast/CO2 process *fills*. This visual model has changed how I do the folds (“flippies” and forming)… not about “drawing out gluten strands”, but now about “creating layers and air pockets”.
  • “Tassajara Bread Book” by Edward Espe Brown (reference here)
    • This was my introduction to making bread at home more than 20 years ago.
    • Loaf-pan breads, the sponge method — a Sunday night ritual for many years.
  • “The Village Baker”
  • The NY Times No-Knead Bread Recipe. I’ve never tried it (I might be the only person who  hasn’t; a buddy is a master!) I jumped right from Tassajara pan loaves to some failed attempts at “french loaves” to TheKitchn’s sourdough.
  • “Do You Even Bake, Bro?” on Eater.com (link here)
    • Goofy article on the nerd, Silicon Valley Bro world stepping into “craft bread” with (too much) geek-elan…

Some photos


2 thoughts on : Sourdough Bread

  • Richard Boly
    September 16, 2018 at 3:13 am

    4 days into making my starter – bubbling up nicely.

    Wish me luck in a week 😉

  • riffadmin
    September 16, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    I should have sent you home with a take from “Frank”… But it is really fun to start you own Starter!

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