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How to Bake Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread

Discover the joy of baking homemade sourdough bread with this easy step by step Dutch oven recipe, featuring a starter gifted by a friend. This method yields a beautiful, classic round loaf with a light and fluffy interior and a perfectly crisp, toasty crust. While it requires minimal hands-on time, there are several waiting periods between steps—testing your patience but rewarding it with every delicious bite. Embrace the process and transform simple ingredients into an artisan masterpiece right in your home kitchen.

Why you’ll LOVE this sourdough bread recipe

There’s only 3 simple ingredients. Yes, you read that right. Although sourdough bread looks complex and complicated, it’s made with only 3 ingredients – flour, water, and salt! But, if you’re a newbie like I am, I totally recommend getting started making sourdough bread using starter that has been gifted by a friend.

It’s absolutely delicious. Classic sourdough bread is soft and tender on the inside and has a delicious, tangy flavor. The crust is toasty and crisp. Having a piece toasted and hot is comfort food at its finest.

You can work full time outside the home and still make this sour dough bread method work! There are a TON of ways to make sour dough bread, and some of them involve a daily routine with the sourdough starter. This sour dough method is a once-a-week routine that can be fit into your work schedule. I love that!

You don’t need a bunch of specialty equipment or tools. Although there are various special tools that work well for making sour dough bread, I’ll show you how I make mine with minimal extra “gadgets”. You probably already have these in your kitchen supplies.

Kitchen Tools Needed for this Dutch Oven Sour Dough Bread

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.

  • A dutch oven. A cast iron dutch oven is the perfect place to bake up this classic round sour dough bread loaf so that it has a crispy crust and tender inside. A 7 quart cast iron dutch oven with lid is most recommended, but mine is a 5 quart dutch oven and it has been working just fine.Most people use a round dutch oven, but I use an oblong one and it still works great.
  • Digital kitchen scale. You’ll need this to measure accurately.
  • A metal mixing bowl. I use a metal bowl when I feed my sour dough (so I don’t wake up to bubbly sour dough starter on my counter if it rises beyond the top of the mason jar). The metal bowl helps make the plastic wrap stick well on the top!
  • A wood spoon with holes in the middle – or a Danish dough whisk. You can use any other sturdy utensil to stir your dough together, but I find the hole in the wooden spoon seem to help. The Danish dough whisk is on my wish list!;)
  • Stand mixer with a dough hook. – I bought my Hamilton Beach stand mixer many, many years ago and have rarely used the dough hook attachment. But, now I use it every week. If you have a Kitchenaide mixer with dough hook, it will work fabulous, too.
  • A large dishtowel. If you don’t use a dough batten for the final rise of your dough, you’ll need to line a bowl with a floured dishtowel.
  • A bread lame or straight razor blade. You’ll need something sharp to score your bread before baking. I use a straight razor and it works fine. You will need something sharper than just a basic paring knife, though.
  • Sourdough Bread Proofing Baskets (optional)- Bread proofing baskets are totally optional. I just use a bowl with a large dishtowel in it instead. But this bread proofing basket set is a nice one with lots of other helpful tools included.

To find all these sourdough bread baking tools in one handy spot, be sure to check out my Amazon Shop.

Sourdough starter in a mason jar.
It is easiest to begin your sourdough bread journey by using sourdough starter given to you by a friend! That’s what I did…

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR DUTCH OVEN SOUR DOUGH BREAD

The following instructions is for a long ferment sour dough bread loaf. The process takes place over the course of 3 days – which sounds overwhelming, but stick with me! The hands on working time is actually just minutes. There is lots of patient waiting time, so you can time it so that it works well with your busy schedule. I’m going to lay out this process as if you are working a 9-5 job.

Ingredients you’ll need for this Dutch Oven Classic Sourdough Bread

  • Sourdough starter from a friend
  • Flour – approximately 6 cups
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Cold tap water

Day 1: Feed the starter- 9 pm

Right before you go to bed, take out your sourdough starter from the fridge and feed it by following these instructions:

  1. Zero out your kitchen scale with a metal bowl on the top. Pour all the starter into the bowl and take note of the measurement (in ounces).
  2. Add equal parts cold tap water and all purpose flour. For instance, if you have 6 ounces of starter, add 6 ounces of water and 6 ounces of flour.
  3. Stir together well using a sturdy utensil. The mixure will be bumpy and not smooth. That’s ok.
  4. Cover the fed sourdough starter with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter overnight while you sleep.

Day 2: Make the Dough- 8 am

Before you leave for work in the morning, mix up the dough using the following method:

  1. Zero out the kitchen scale with your stand mixer mixing bowl on the top. Add in 8 ounces of starter. Then add 14 ounces of cold tap water, and 1 tablespoon salt. Mix together well by hand using a wooden spoon with holes, Danish dough whisk, or other sturdy utensil. Pour the remaining starter back into the mason jar, screw on the top, and put it in the fridge until next week.
  2. Add 26 ounces of unbleached all purpose flour to the sourdough and water mixture all at once and mix with a stand mixer using a dough hook. Start the mixer speed at low until the dough is mostly combined, and then turn it on higher to get it mixed together. The dough should pull away from the sides totally, and will be just a little sticky when it is all mixed together.
  3. Pour the dough out onto the counter and knead just a few times with a sprinkle of flour to get the dough a bit smoother. Transfer the dough into the clean metal bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set it to rise for about 6-8 hours. At that time, it should be at least double in size.

Note: You can set it to rise on your countertop. However, if your house tends to be really cool (like ours is in the Winter), you may want to put it into your cold oven with the oven light on. That will provide an even temperature throughout the day. The time it takes to rise to double will vary based on many factors – like the temperature of your house and the humidity in the air.

Day 2, Part 2 – Stretch and Fold the Dough – 5 pm

  1. Once the dough has doubled in size (after approximately 6-8 hours), you’ll move on to the “stretch and fold” step. The stretching and folding is what makes the dough rise so nicely. To do the “stretch and fold”, pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl using your fingers. Take one side of the dough in two hands, stretch it upwards and then tuck it down underneath the other side of the dough. Cover the dough back up with the plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter for 30-60 minutes. Repeat this process 4 times in total rotating the bowl each time so each side is stretched and tucked.
  1. After you have folded the dough 4 times, shape the dough into a ball on the counter without using flour (if possible). Stretch and tuck the dough so there is a nice smooth, rounded top and round shape.
  2. Place the dough with the pretty rounded and smooth top face down in a bowl that has been fitted with a dishtowel that has been floured.
  3. Cover the bowl and dough with a tea towel and place in the fridge over night.

Day 3: Bake the Dutch Oven Sour Dough Bread – Morning

The morning of day 3 is baking day! Ideally, I think it’s nice to time this process so that your sourdough baking morning is on your first morning of your day off. During the night your bread has been hanging out in the fridge and proofing beautifully. So, when you wake up in the morning:

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees fareinheit with the empty dutch oven in it. Once the oven gets up to temperature, leave the dutch oven in the oven for at least 30 minutes. Then, turn the oven down to 450 degrees.
  2. Prepare a flat baking sheet by covering it with a piece of parchment paper. Take the sourdough loaf out of the fridge and uncover it. Place the cookie sheet facedown on top of the bowl or basket of sourdough bread so the parchment paper is touching the bowl. Then, carefully flip the bowl over so the bread flips onto the parchement paper.
  3. Then using a bread lame or straight edged razor, slice a design on the top of the sourdough bread loaf. It’s easiest to do this right after you take it out of the fridge and it is chilled. Cut at about a 45 degree angle, and move quickly so the bread doesn’t pull and rip. It should slice smoothly.
  4. Grab the parchment paper and lift the bread loaf and carefully place it into the (extremely hot!) dutch oven.
  5. Bake with the lid on for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake 20 more minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Once baked, remove the bread from the dutch oven and let cool on a wire cooling rack.

A few tips for baking sourdough bread in a dutch oven.

  • Clean up all your sourdough utensils and containers right away. Once the dough dries, it is very difficult to remove it!
  • Remember, parchment paper usually only has a temperature rating of 450 degrees, so I trim the edges of it so it doesn’t extend outside of the dutch oven. If it does, it will disintegrate in your hands when you try to pull the parchment out of the pan!

How To Cut This Classic Sour Dough Bread Loaf

  • Wait until the bread is fully cool before slicing. Use a sharp sereted edged knife to cut this sourdough loaf.
  • Cut the loaf in half first (like pictured above). Then lay the cut side down on your cutting board and slice. I try to slice them thin enough to fit in the toaster.
  • I place my cut slices of sourdough bread in zip-loc bags and store them in the freezer. Because this bread doesn’t have any preservates in it, it only lasts about 3 days on the countertop before it starts to spoil – depending on how warm it is in your house and the humidity level. If your family eats a whole loaf fast, you won’t have to worry about it spoiling. But, with the just the two of us at home, we put it in the freezer and toast the slices we want throughout the week.

Other Bread Recipes

Although these aren’t sourdough bread recipes (they use yeast), here are some more popular bread recipes on the blog:

Save this to remember it later!

Sour dough baked in a dutch oven

Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread Loaf

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 1 day 11 hours
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 11 hours 40 minutes

Discover the joy of baking homemade sourdough bread with this easy step by step Dutch oven recipe, featuring a starter gifted by a friend. This method yields a beautiful, classic round loaf with a light and fluffy interior and a perfectly crisp, toasty crust. While it requires minimal hands-on time, there are several waiting periods between steps—testing your patience but rewarding it with every delicious bite. Embrace the process and transform simple ingredients into an artisan masterpiece right in your home kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz active starter
  • 14 oz cold water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 26 ounces all purpose flour

Instructions

Day 1: Feed the starter- 9 pm

Right before you go to bed, take out your sourdough starter from the fridge and feed it by following these instructions:

  1. Zero out your kitchen scale with a metal bowl on the top. Pour all the starter into the bowl and take note of the measurement (in ounces).
  2. Add equal parts cold tap water and all purpose flour. For instance, if you have 6 ounces of starter, add 6 ounces of water and 6 ounces of flour.
  3. Stir together well using a sturdy utensil. The mixure will be bumpy and not smooth. That’s ok.
  4. Cover the fed sourdough starter with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter overnight while you sleep.

Day 2: Make the Dough- 8 am

Before you leave for work in the morning, mix up the dough using the following method:

  1. Zero out the kitchen scale with your stand mixer mixing bowl on the top. Add in 8 ounces of starter. Then add 14 ounces of cold tap water, and 1 tablespoon salt. Mix together well by hand using a wooden spoon with holes, Danish dough whisk, or other sturdy utensil. Pour the remaining starter back into the mason jar, screw on the top, and put it in the fridge until next week.
  2. Add 26 ounces of unbleached all purpose flour to the sourdough and water mixture all at once and mix with a stand mixer using a dough hook. Start the mixer speed at low until the dough is mostly combined, and then turn it on higher to get it mixed together. The dough should pull away from the sides totally, and will be just a little sticky when it is all mixed together.
  3. Pour the dough out onto the counter and knead just a few times with a sprinkle of flour to get the dough a bit smoother. Transfer the dough into the clean metal bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set it to rise for about 6-8 hours. At that time, it should be at least double in size.

Note: You can set it to rise on your countertop. However, if your house tends to be really cool (like ours is in the Winter), you may want to put it into your cold oven with the oven light on. That will provide an even temperature throughout the day. The time it takes to rise to double will vary based on many factors – like the temperature of your house and the humidity in the air.

Day 2, Part 2 – Stretch and Fold the Dough – 5 pm

  1. Once the dough has doubled in size (after approximately 6-8 hours), you’ll move on to the “stretch and fold” step. The stretching and folding is what makes the dough rise so nicely. To do the “stretch and fold”, pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl using your fingers. Take one side of the dough in two hands, stretch it upwards and then tuck it down underneath the other side of the dough. Cover the dough back up with the plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter for 30-60 minutes between each stretch and fold session. 60 minutes between each stretch and fold is recommended. Repeat this process 4 times in total rotating the bowl each time so each side is stretched and tucked.
  2. 2. After you have folded the dough 4 times, shape the dough into a ball on the counter without using flour (if possible). Stretch and tuck the dough so there is a nice smooth, rounded top and round shape.

    3.Place the dough with the pretty rounded and smooth top face down in a bowl that has been fitted with a dishtowel that has been sprinkled lightly with floured.

    4. Cover the bowl and dough with a tea towel (or plastic shower cap) and place in the fridge over night.

    Day 3: Bake the Dutch Oven Sour Dough Bread – Next Morning

    The morning of day 3 is baking day! Ideally, I think it’s nice to time this process so that your sourdough baking morning is on your first morning of your day off. During the night your bread has been hanging out in the fridge and proofing beautifully. So, when you wake up in the morning:

    1.Preheat the oven to 500 degrees fareinheit with the empty dutch oven in it. Once the oven gets up to temperature, leave the dutch oven in the oven for at least 30 minutes. Then, turn the oven down to 450 degrees.

    2.Prepare a flat baking sheet by covering it with a piece of parchment paper. Take the sourdough loaf out of the fridge and uncover it. Place the cookie sheet facedown on top of the bowl or basket of sourdough bread so the parchment paper is touching the bowl. Then, carefully flip the bowl over so the bread flips onto the parchement paper.

    3.Then using a bread lame or straight edged razor, slice a design on the top of the sourdough bread loaf. It’s easiest to do this right after you take it out of the fridge and it is chilled. Cut at about a 45 degree angle, and move quickly so the bread doesn’t pull and rip. It should slice smoothly.

    4.Grab the parchment paper by the corners to lift the bread loaf and carefully place the parchment paper and bread into the (extremely hot!) dutch oven.

    5.Bake with the lid on for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake 20 more minutes, or until golden brown.

    6. Once baked, remove the bread from the dutch oven and let cool on a wire cooling rack.

    7. Let the bread cool completely before slicing with a sharp serrated edge knife.

Did you make this recipe?

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