Simple Sourdough Bread {Using Starter!}

filed under: Bread on March 23, 2020

This Simple Sourdough Bread is just that…simple! It is made using my homemade sourdough starter that is just as easy! So, after your sourdough starter is ready to go, be sure to make this crusty and chewy (in the best way) bread. This bread is certainly delicious on its own, but use it for my Crispy Cheese Sandwich or Apple Gouda Grilled Cheese next time to really make the sandwiches stand out! 

Simple Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is one of those loaves of bread I always get from the bakery or in the bakery department at my local grocery store. It’s also my bread of choice (when it’s an option) at my favorite restaurants. There is just something special about the somewhat fermented taste of it. So, once I figured out the sourdough starter, I knew I had to use it for this simple sourdough bread!

Plus, there are never too many bread recipes to have at your fingertips, especially when we may be home more than normal!


Loaf of Sourdough Bread Cut Into

Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe

This Simple Sourdough Bread recipe takes a little patience to let the dough rise a couple of times before baking it. But, if you were patient enough to get your sourdough starter ready to go, then a few hours is nothing! Plus, it is SO worth it to have freshly baked bread! There are only five ingredients to this recipe, so you more than likely have everything you need on hand.

Ingredients (full recipe below)

Sourdough Bread in Bowl of Stand Mixer with Dough Hook 

How to Make Simple Sourdough Bread

Get out your stand mixer (or get your muscles ready) to mix the ingredients for the dough.

  • Combine all the ingredients together in the bowl from your stand mixer. (Learn how to make a Sourdough Starter here)
  • Use the dough hook attachment and mix the ingredients together on medium-low speed (or no higher than a ‘2’ setting). If you are mixing by hand, knead everything together for about ten minutes.
  • After you have mixed the dough (it will be sticky), place it in a lightly oiled bowl.
  • Cover the dough with plastic and let it sit for about 3 hours to let it rise.

Sourdough bread that has risen and is on parchment with flour

After the dough has had time to rise, gently fold up the sides of the dough, rotate the bowl, and fold again. Continue to do this until you have folded and rotated the dough a few times.

Did you know that using your hands this way and baking bread, in general, is very therapeutic? It involves patience and it can be very calming. Speaking of patience, after folding and rotating the dough, you need to cover it again to let it rise. It may not take the full 3 hours this time; it depends on how warm your kitchen is. Check it after a couple of hours.

After a couple of hours, sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and place the dough on the flour. Pull up the sides of the dough, pressing them into the center. You may need more flour, so keep that nearby! Continue to pull and press for a while. Finally, flip over the dough. The top should be smooth. Sprinkle some flour on it, and place it on a piece of parchment paper.

Baked Sourdough Bread in a Dutch Oven with Parchment Paper

How to Bake Simple Sourdough Bread

Once the dough is on the parchment paper (or you could do this before you pull and press the dough the final time), put a Dutch oven–lid ON–into a cold oven. Set the oven to 450°F to heat up the Dutch oven. Once the oven has reached the temperature of 450°F, carefully remove the hot Dutch oven and take off the lid (setting the lid on the stovetop).

Grab the parchment paper that is holding the dough and place it (again, carefully) into the hot Dutch oven. Cover it, and bake the bread for 15 minutes, with the oven still set at 450°F. After fifteen minutes, remove the lid of the Dutch oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the top is a nice golden brown. 

When you tap on the top of the bread, you should hear a hollow sound. Then, you know it is ready to be taken out of the oven. Let it sit for about 20 minutes before taking it out of the Dutch oven and sliced. Enjoy!

Overhead Image of Sourdough Bread and Two Slices

How to Store Simple Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread usually lasts for 4-5 days at room temperature. Do not store it in the refrigerator. Instead, keep it covered with a towel or in a zipped plastic bag someplace that is relatively cool. A bread box also works well. If you want to freeze the bread, be sure to let the bread cool completely before freezing!

The same advice goes for when you are going to cut into the bread–wait until it has cooled. Anyway, to freeze the bread, seal the loaf into a zipped plastic freezer bag, making sure to let all the air out. You can store bread for up to 6 months in the freezer, but the longer you keep it in there, the less fresh tasting it will be. (And be sure to label it with the date!)

Looking for Other Homemade Bread Recipes?

Simple White Bread

Amish White Bread

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Sweet Bread

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

4.79 from 14 votes
Simple Sourdough Bread
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
6 hrs
Total Time
6 hrs 50 mins

Using a sourdough starter, you can have freshly baked sourdough bread with just a few ingredients!

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Simple Sourdough Bread, Sourdough starter
Servings: 8
Calories: 175 kcal
Author: Amanda
  • 4-5 cups all-purpose flour, I prefer unbleached
  • 1 1/2 cups (355g) warm water
  • 3/4 cup active sourdough starter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Add all ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook.
  2. Turn the mixer on 1-2 (never higher than 2 or medium-low) and let the mixer knead the dough for about 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky and doesn't quite form a ball. (If making by hand, knead for about 10 minutes.)
  3. Turn off the mixer and scrape the dough into a medium bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Cover with plastic and set aside for about 3 hours while the dough rises.
  4. After 3 hours, turn the dough and gently start folding up the sides. Grab the dough at the side of the bowl and lift up and towards the center of the bowl. Press down, turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat this several times.
  5. Cover again and let it rise for an additional 2-3 hours. (This will depend on the temperature of your home. A warmer kitchen will need less time.)
  6. After the 2 hours, lightly dust your countertop with flour. Press the dough down with your fingers then start pulling up the sides and pressing into the center. You may need to add more flour as this can be a loose dough. Keep pulling up the sides and pressing into the center then flip the dough over. The top should be smooth. Dust with more flour and set the dough onto a piece of parchment paper.
  7. Place a Dutch oven (make sure you have a lid) into a cold oven and heat to 450°F. Once heated, carefully remove the hot Dutch oven from the oven. Remove the lid and set it somewhere heat resistant. (I set the lid on my stove.) Pick up the parchment paper with both hands and place inside the Dutch oven. Carefully replace the lid.

  8. Place into 450°F oven and bake for 15 minutes.

  9. After 15 minutes, carefully remove the lid and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the top is nicely golden brown (don't worry if it is darker brown, you just don't want it burnt) and when you tap on the top the bread sounds hollow.
  10. Set Dutch oven to the side and leave the bread alone for about 15-20 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Easy Homemade Sourdough Starter Recipe:

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  • KAtie says:

    My dough is ever so sticky and I didn’t use all the water I can’t rotate it to lift the side should I start again or can it be saved

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions.
      Hi, Katie! You could add a little more flour, but not too much. The dough should be loose, but not runny. I hope this helps. Have a great day!

  • Bonnie says:

    I really feel like it should have been given a chance to rise again before baking because it had risen wonderfully the 1st 2 times. But,after pulling and adding flour it did not set very long before it went into the oven so looked small. Did I miss something? Please advise.

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Bonnie! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. It sounds like you did everything right. This recipe produces a small to medium-sized loaf. Hopefully it tasted great! Have a great day!

  • Tina says:

    This recipe was an epic fail. 3 cups of flour, 1 1/2 cups of water? It made soup! Wasted a day, wasted ingredients.

    After mixing and waiting for the 3 hours I went to stretch the dough and it was like thick pancake batter. Thinking the recipe would be fine I mustered thorough and let it sit 2 hours. After that I added a bunch of flour to hoping to remedy the situation and form a loaf.

    I dumped it out onto a floured board and added at least a cup more of flour trying to form a loaf. Finally baked off what I had and it looks awful.

    This recipe cannot be correct.

  • Tiffany Marie says:

    Hi Amanda and Elizabeth! What size dutch oven would you recommend for baking the bread?

  • Tiffani says:

    I have been reading sourdough starter recipes for almost a year now, but felt intimidated by the process—-until I saw yours—Thank you for this simple recipe and tutorial. I have just finished baking my 10th loaf in the past two weeks, and I am obsessed! I am making this bread and some homemade jam for my mom and sisters for Mother’s Day! I love your blog and your recipes. So delicious and of course you’re hilarious.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Thrilled to hear that Tiffani! And sounds like you are blessing others with your baking gifts! <3

  • Alison says:

    I have been making this for the last 6 weeks, and I feel like the recipe called for 3 cups of flour. Today it says 4-5? Did it change? By adding in extra flour during kneading,it has always worked out; but today, I’m not so sure.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Yup, it changed. I got 4 separate emails telling me that they dough was so liquidy it was inefficient and unusable. I had tested the method thoroughly with 3 cups and had no issues, so thought they were experiencing user error. I tested several more times and found that 4 cups produced a more consistent result and a higher rise. I was hesitant to change the recipe, as 3 cups also works for me (in my kitchen, in my circumstances, and seemed to work with others as well) but 4 cups of flour was more consistent. I had a foodie friend in Seattle (different climate) test the recipe with 4 vs. 5 cups of flour and she found 5 cups worked best for her. So! I made the recipe with 4 cups one more time, determined that it worked, and changed the recipe.

      HOWEVER, if 3 cups works for you (as it did me) don’t change. My goal is for EVERYONE to be able to produce high-quality bread in their own home so this is the recipe that seems to work best for the majority. You and I may be the exceptions that got really good bread with 3 cups…

      I will continue to test this recipe with other flours, waters, starters, and try to make sure I always have the best (most accurate) information moving forward. Apologies for any confusion!

  • julie says:

    If I dont have a dutch oven will this be an issue?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Julie! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can use an oven-safe large stockpot or oven-safe soup pot. Just make sure you have a cover for the pot. I hope this helps, and have a great day!

  • Elaine Harrington says:

    What size dutch oven should be used?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Elaine! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. A 5-7 quart Dutch oven is an average size and would work for this recipe. I hope this helps, and have a great day!

  • Aldona says:

    Maybe someone will explain how to make it starter for this recipe?
    I don’t know how to do it and recipe asking for 3/4c I’d starter.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      That information is listed above the recipe as well as there is a link to a blog post with DETAILED information on how to make a starter.

  • Dana says:

    The recipe turned out great. Even though it was a tad dense. I think I could have left it to rise a tad bit longer and maybe cooked it a tad bit longe too. Thank you for sharing.

  • Joan Knox says:

    I don’t want to make bread in Dutch oven but regular bread pan. How do I do that?

  • Lea says:

    I’m really pleased with how this turned out! I’ve made a lot of sourdough breads that have ended up heavy, dense and flat despite good flavor. This is the first one I’ve made that was perfect! But, I did apply a few hard lessons learned from my past mistakes. 1. I used 5+ cups of flour to get the right consistency. 2. I didn’t add the salt until after the first rise. I’m not sure why that helps? Something about the salt hindering the action of the wild yeasts? 3. I gave it a final rise of about 2 hours before putting it in the dutch oven and baking. On a cool spring evening, it really helped. The loaf is light, good crust and deliciously sour! Also, this is the first time I’ve baked bread in a dutch oven. I think that is a good call! I will do that from now on. Another note I would make about quantity of flour, especially after reading Tina’s notes, sourdough starters vary greatly! Some people keep theirs quite thin, others, rather thick. This should be factored into any sourdough bread recipe and adjust the amount of flour you need accordingly- the dough will let you know!

  • Kathy Williams says:

    I loved this recipe. So easy. So delicious. So soft and chewy,

  • David Bailey says:

    Amazing recipe, followed it to the letter, the resulting bread turned out perfectly. Thank you x

  • Z. Smith says:

    I’ve made this loaf 3 times. Love it. I’m learning. First time I didn’t bake it quite long enough and it was very heavy and a bit uncooked in middle. I still feel it is a tad bit undercooked, so will try linger next time. Two questions: Do you use freshly fed starter? How long of a final knead and sit time before placing in oven?

  • Kaycee says:

    Your bio is rather impressive, so I don’t understand why the recipe is not listed in grams. The answer that you have successfully baked the recipe several times with 3 cups of flour, yet your friend used 5 cups is a huge difference. By not listing what you consider to be 3 cups (in grams) would account for why some people are not having success making this recipe. I would like to try it, but I really would need to know how many grams of flour to use. I don’t really feel like experimenting.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      It is not listed in grams because I use cups for measurement. As I mentioned, the difference is doughs can be in the hydration of the starter. The truth is that every sourdough bread recipe will be a “test” of sorts because every kitchen is different; different water, different flours, different temperatures, different levels of humidity. I would start with 3 cups and then if your dough is still to wet, you can add more. Sorry if that is not enough detail for you.

  • Deborah says:

    Glad I used the 4 cup recipe as it worked perfectly. Added a little more flour for kneading. Yummy too.

  • Robin says:

    This was my first attempt at a sourdough bread. It turned out tasty and beautiful. I was pleased, and my family was jumping for joy.
    It definitely needs more salt. One teaspoon is not enough. Having consulted with others who bake with sourdough they said something closer to a tablespoon would be better. Next time.
    Otherwise the recipe is brilliant.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Thanks, Robin! I will definitely test with more salt. I am a fan of the idea! 🙂

  • Ashley says:

    Can I split it in half and make two small loaves? It’s just about done rising and I’m concerned it will be too big for my pan to bake it in… I’m assuming if I make a smaller loaf the cook time would be adjusted some. Thanks so much! I’m so proud that my homemade sourdough starter is working thanks to you!!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      You can break it up if you prefer! If it comes to the top of your pan that is good, but it shouldn’t spill over. Hope it all worked out for you! 🙂

  • Lauren says:

    This was my first time making sourdough and it turned out great with this recipe! I’m not used to using dough this wet so I’m glad she noted the consistency we should see throughout. I used AP flour and followed the recipe pretty closely. Can’t wait to experiment with it! This would be a great holiday gift.

  • Lucy says:


    Can you substitute whole wheat flour?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      You should be able to, yes. 🙂

  • Julie says:

    My dough looked ok after the first and second rise, but after shaping and placing on parchment paper it spread back out into what looked like a very thick pancake. Did I need to add more flour during the final stretching to make it hold its shape better?

  • Kathy says:

    I made this for the second time today. So good I could eat the whole loaf in one sitting. I made two small loaves. Turned out perfect. The only change I made was to add 1/2 teaspoon yeast. Perfectly risen.

  • Melissa says:

    Hi Amanda, I had the same experience as Alison – had made this recipe 2x with 3 cups of flour and then came back and saw the switch to 4-5 cups. That was definitely too much and really changed the consistency of the dough (and bake). \I’ve gone back to the 3 cups but was going to say you might consider 3-5 cups with a note about zones? I’m in central TX where there’s plenty of humidity 🙂
    Aside from that – thanks for a great tasting and well-explained sourdough! Great blog and I can’t wait to try more recipes.

  • Melissa says:

    Forgot to leave my rating!

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