Simple One Day Sourdough Bread

So your sourdough starter is ready to go and you’re excited to bake your first loaf of sourdough bread.  I was. So what are you waiting for?  If you’re like I was, you are going all over the internet asking what to do with the starter.  What is the magic formula for creating a fancy artisan loaf of sourdough bread?  The answer is, there isn’t one.  Play and experiment.

But, to help you out, I can pass on the recipe for the first loaf I made. Yes, I will tell you how to prepare the levain from your sourdough starter.  Nope, I am not going to get into the arguments about sourdough starter not being levain and levain not being sourdough starter.  Simply put, this is a simple way of making a loaf of great bread, using your sourdough starter, and sticking to a process you are probably already comfortable with.  Indeed, you can go straight to using the sourdough starter as a dry yeast substitute, but why screw with a good process.

Just a word of warning.  This dough is going to be WET WET WET.  It has a hydration ratio of about 75%.  Don’t let that scare you.  With all the folding, the water is going to incorporate and you will end up with a nice smooth dough.  Also, don’t expect huge rise during fermentation.  If you see the dough has grown, then it is working.  The big rise will come from the oven spring.  Yes, this baby may triple in size in the oven.  So don’t, like I did, panic.  Just know it is going to work. Oh, and don’t forget to score the bread to allow for huge oven spring.

You can also use your sourdough starter to make just about any of the no-knead recipes.  Simply calculate the hydration in a quarter cup of starter, and adjust your no-knead recipe accordingly.  Hint:  If you don’t mind doing “some” folding, you can make a poolish to incorporate into your no knead recipe, again you need to do some math so the hydration isn’t screwed up, but it will create a beautiful loaf of artisan sourdough bread, worthy of any home kitchen.

The measurements in this recipe are simply a guideline.  The recipe can be upsized or downsized to meet your needs.  Remember, this recipe calls for a hydration ratio of 75% of the flour weight (100%).  If you want to make a smaller single loaf, for instance, you can simply change the amount of flour.  For example, if you change the flour to 600gr, adjust the water and levain accordingly.  Water would then be 600*75%=450gr. Salt would be 2% of flour weight, or 12gr.  You cold keep the levain the same or adjust it down a little.  It’s all up to you.

4 from 1 vote
Simple One Day Sourdough Bread
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Fermentation Time
8 hrs
Total Time
20 hrs

This is a simple one day sourdough bread.  It can be made into 2 small loaves, or one large loaf of bread.

Course: Breads
Cuisine: any
Author: John Winslow
  • 75 gr White AP Flour
  • 75 gr filtered water
  • 1 tbsp Sourdough Starter
  • All Levain
  • 700 gr White AP Flour
  • 525 gr Water divided
  • 14 gr Kosher Salt
  1. Mix 75 gr of white ap flour, 75 gr of water, and 1 tbsp of your sourdough starter, loosely cover with plastic (it has to be able to breath).  Place in a warm dark location.  Let it ferment for at least 12 hours.

  1. Divide water so you have a container with 500 gr and a container with 25 gr of water.  In the larger container, combine your levain with the water and stir to dissolve the levain as much as possible.  Don't worry if it doesn't completely blend in.  

    In another small container, dissolve the salt into the 25 gr of water and put aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 700 gr of flour with the 500 gram of water and levain.  This is going to make a fairly loose sticky dough.  Don't worry, this is what we want.  Cover with a towel and let sit for 30 minutes up to 2 hours. This is the autolyse time.  All we are doing here is allowing the flour to fully absorb the water.

  3. After at least 30 minutes, pour the salt water compound on top of the ball of dough.  By pinching and gently folding the dough, incorporate the water and salt into the dough ball.  This is going to leave a very wet ball of dough.  Don't fret.  This is what we want.  Cover and place in the oven with the light on for 3 hours....  BUT...

  4. After 30 minutes, remove the bowl from the oven and do a stretch and fold of the dough.  Stretch the far side out and away from you, then fold it ¾ of the way toward the side of the dough closest to you.  Take the side of the dough closest to you and pull towards you, then fold it ¾ of the way toward the side furthest from you.  Do the same to right and left sides of the dough.  Replace the dough in the oven.  Repeat this stretch and fold every half hour for 3 hours. Note:  If the dough gets to a point where it doesn't want to stretch, stop folding it.  Also note:  When stretching do not tear the dough.

  5. After three hours the dough should be looking smooth and more bread like.  Lightly flour a board and turn the dough out onto it.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and just let it sit for 30 more minutes.

  6. (Optional) After the dough has rested, divide it in half with a dough cutter.  Using your bowl scraper, form the two pieces of dough into rough balls.  This is not the final shaping.  Cover the balls again and leave to rest for another 30 minutes.  IF you are only making one large loaf, skip this step.

  7. After resting for thirty minutes, turn the balls over gently.  Try not to flatten the dough or push the air out of it.  Gently, using the folding technique, shape the balls into the classic boule shape.  Place the boules top down into a proofing basket, or a strainer lined with a smooth well floured cloth. Let proof, in the oven with the light on, for 3-4 hours. Note:  The balls will NOT double in size.  You will notice some growth, but not a huge amount.

  8. During the last 45 minutes of proofing, remove from the oven.  Place a cast iron or regular dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 500ºF. 

  9. During the last 15 minutes or so of proofing, turn the dough out onto a sheet of bakers parchment that has been sprinkled with corn meal.  NOTE:  IF you find the dough is sticking to the towel, gently peel the towel while using your bowl scraper to gently pull it away from the cloth. At this point you can decide if you are going to flour the bread or leave it au naturel. Using your lame, score your loaf as usual.

  10. Remove the dutch oven from the oven.  Remove the lid and place your boules, parchment and all, into the pot, cover and place in the oven.  Bake at 500ºF for 10 minutes.  Turn down to 450ºF and bake for a further 20 minutes.  Resist the urge to open the lid before this stage is done.

  11. After thirty minutes, remove the lid.  Be prepared for the WOW moment when you see how much oven spring there was.  Bake for another 15-30 minutes, depending on how dark and crunchy you want the crust.   Internal temperature for this dough should be at least 205ºF when done.

  12. Remove from dutch oven to a cooling rack.  Fight the urge to slice the bread until it is completely cooled.  Slicing ANY bread while it is still hot renders it doughy and may make the bottom crust too chewy.

Recipe Notes

Folding Artisan Bread:  Folding, for the most part, replaces kneading.  It is especially handy if you have arthritis, or you are working with higher hydration levels in your dough.

My favourite technique is to simply imagine my dough as a clock.  I fold the 12 o'clock ¾ of the way down to the 6 o'clock position.  Then I fold the 6 o'clock position ¾ of the way to the 12 o'clock position.  Then repeat for the 9 and 3 o'clock positions. When doing sourdough loaves, make sure you stretch the dough opposite to the direction you are folding it.  Do not tear it.  If the dough won't stretch, stop folding.  And move to resting instructions.  Here are some handy images.  If you are doing a high hydration sourdough recipe, these folds with be done in the bowl.




  1. John Winslow says:


  2. […] *Folding the dough technique can be found here […]