Pt. 4: Recipe for Classic Sourdough Bread

There’s simply nothing better than the smell of a freshly baked loaf of homemade sourdough bread right out of the oven! 🤤 Below you’ll find my current go-to recipe for homemade sourdough bread. This recipe is simple to follow and requires no traditional “kneading” of the dough. Instead, it uses a technique called “stretch and fold” which is super low-fuss and kind of fun and yields a more open “crumb” with nice air pockets.

Painted Fork | Classic Sourdough Table Loaf Recipe

Recipe: Classic Sourdough Bread

(makes 1 loaf; recipe doubles well; based on “Table Loaf” recipe by Sarah Owens & Food52, adapted/simplified to keep me sane.)


  • 60g “ripe” sourdough starter aka levain (fed within last 12-24 hours and kept at room temp; I like 50/50 AP flour + rye)
  • 300g water (approx 74°F)
  • 350g bread flour (unbleached)
  • 40g rye or whole wheat flour
  • 10g salt


    • Prep the Levain: Feed sourdough starter and leave to ripen overnight at room temp.
    • Mix Dough: Mix ripe starter + water + flour and set aside for 30 minutes. Mix in salt with your hands — dough will be sticky, so I recommend always having wet hands when handling sticky dough.
    • Bulk Ferment: Cover dough with plastic wrap and set aside for 3-4 hrs to bulk ferment. Set a timer to “stretch and fold” every 30 or 40 mins during this fermentation. Again, wet hands are your friend here!
    • Pre-shape: Lightly flour a work surface and gently turn dough out. Pull corners of dough to the center. Repeat, turning dough clockwise, until you have created a smooth-ish circle. Use a dough scraper to scoop up the dough and flip it seam-side down on a small pile of flour (to prevent sticking to surface.) Rest for 30 minutes.
    • Final Shape: Flip the dough back onto your work surface, seam-side up, and finish shaping the dough into a loaf form. I personally really love this technique – so quick! Place dough seam-side up in a generously floured proving basket or bowl lined with generously floured tea towel. Cover with plastic to prevent dough from drying out.
    • Cold Ferment Overnight: Place proving basket in the fridge overnight up to 24 hrs. The longer the fermentation, the more developed the flavor will be. 20-24 hrs has been working great for me!
      **At this point, you could also leave at room temp for ~4 hrs instead of fermenting overnight**
    • Final Prove: Before baking, bring loaf out of the fridge and let rest at room temp for 1 hour.
    • Bake: Preheat oven to 450°F.
      • Have a dutch oven? Preheat oven with dutch oven inside. Transfer dough to a sheet of parchment paper and score. Once oven is hot, carefully remove the dutch oven and use parchment paper to lift dough and lower gently into the pot. Cover with lid and bake for 20 mins with the lid on. Carefully remove the lid and bake for another 20 mins or until desired color has been achieved.
      • Don’t have a dutch oven? Preheat oven with a small roasting pan (not glass!) inside. Line a baking sheet with parchment or sprinkle with flour. Transfer dough to center of the pan and score. Place in the oven and CAREFULLY pour water into the hot roasting pan in the oven to create steam/moisture inside the oven. Close the door and don’t open again for at least 25-30 mins. Bake until desired color has been achieved.
    • Remove bread from oven and immediately transfer to a wire cooling rack (failure to do so will result in a soggy bottom.) Resist the urge to dig in right away and allow the loaf to cool completely.

What to read next:

  1. Intro: My Sourdough Journey
  2. How to Maintain a Sourdough Starter
  3. A Guide to Baking with Sourdough 
  4. Recipe: Classic Sourdough Bread


Want to see more? Follow my sourdough baking journey on Instagram @paintedfork!

Painted Fork | Classic Sourdough Table Loaf Recipe

8 Comments Add yours

  1. monte says:

    Heather I have 150g of whole wheat starter that passes the float test. Can I use 60g of that as my levain for the classic sourdough recipe described above? I ask this as your normal levain recipe is to feed 50g starter with 100g water and 100g flour…so this beginner is confused. Use my starter as is or split off 50g of starter and feed it with 100g water and 100g flour?


    1. Hi Monte! Sorry for the SLOW reply. :) There are few questions in here, so hopefully I addressed all your concerns below!
      Yes, you would use 60g of your “ripe” floating starter (aka levain) for this recipe. If you have 150g total, then you’ll have 90g of leftover starter (aka “discard”) with this recipe.
      What to do with the discard? You have a few options here… feed it, throw it away, or use it for another recipe.
      My starter and levain recipes are always equal parts starter + water + flour unless otherwise specified. So, for your 90g of leftover, you can either feed equal parts starter + water + flour (total 270g) OR only use 50g worth of the leftover starter + 50g water + 50g flour if you’d like to keep a smaller volume of starter, like me. Either way, this would be stored covered in the fridge until you’re ready to “feed” it in a week.
      Hope that helps!


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