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Easiest Sourdough Artisan Bread EVER!

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I am always looking for the easiest ways to make our sourdough bread. Especially in spring, I need our bread recipe to be the least hands on as possible. A few days ago, I had a happy accident in the kitchen. I was getting ready for church and realized we were almost out of bread. So, I took a chance and just mixed up the ingredients, shaped it, and put it in the oven when we got home. You know what? It was a wonderful loaf of bread! So, let me show you the easiest sourdough artisan bread EVER!

When I put that loaf in the oven, I was biting my nails a little, ha ha! I had never been so careless in my bread making! At the very least, I always try to either knead it, stretch and fold it, or give it 2 rises. Well, I broke all the rules with this one.

It occurred to me that maybe, just maybe we don’t have to fuss AT ALL with our bread. What if we just mixed it and waited on it to rise and bake it?

This particular recipe uses mostly all purpose flour with a little freshly milled whole wheat.

I will be developing this technique for 100% whole wheat next.

So, for the beginner sourdough baker, this couldn’t get any easier. I wish I would have known this when I first started making sourdough!

What you need for this recipe:

  1. Flour
  2. Water
  3. Sourdough starter
  4. Salt

For the rise, you need a tea towel and a banneton basket, or, alternatively, you can use a medium colander.

***NOTE: Using 1 cup of starter is for a same day loaf. If you wish to allow this to ferment overnight, add only 1/2 cup starter and adjust the flour in the recipe by increasing it 1/2 cup***

As spring gets busier and busier, I need a recipe that literally takes the least amount of my time to make. But, I obviously still want a delicious and nutritious loaf.

This one checks all the marks! So, let’s get started.

The night before, feed your starter. Alternatively, if you are like me and keep your starter in the fridge, as long as it was fed in the last few days, it will be fine. You won’t have to feed it prior to this recipe.

The morning of the day you want to make the bread, barely warm the water to lukewarm. Pour it into a large mixing bowl. Add the starter and mix well.

Add the flour and salt and mix well. You may need to use your hands to get it mixed completely.

Once it is mixed well, turn onto a very lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Roll the ball around the surface to tighten the seam and build some tension.

Take your banneton basket or medium colander and line it with a tea towel. Generously flour the towel. Add the ball of dough, seam side up, to the colander or banneton basket.

Cover and allow to rise for 4-8 hours. You will know it is ready to bake when an indention made with your finger stays in the dough. If it springs back, cover and allow to rise a little longer.

Preheat your oven with the dutch oven inside to 450 degrees F.

Take a piece of parchment paper and turn the dough, seam side down on the paper. Take a sharp knife or razor blade and slice the top of the dough. You can get fancy with this or just one slice into the dough will work fine.

Place very carefully into the dutch oven, place the lid on and bake for 20 minutes.

Take the lid off and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool completely before slicing.

That’s it! The easiest sourdough aritsan bread recipe, EVER!

loaf of artisan bread on a striped blue kitchen towel

Easiest Sourdough Artisan Bread, EVER!

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 40 minutes

To say this is an easy recipe is an understatement! This sourdough artisan bread is not only easy, but, delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 3 1/2-4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the water and starter. Mix well.
  2. Add 3 cups of the flour and the salt. Mix well.
  3. Add the additional flour 1/4 cup at a time until a soft ball of dough forms.
  4. Turn the dough on a very lightly floured surface and shape into a ball of dough.
  5. Pull the dough along the surface to tighten the seam and build tension of top.
  6. Take a banneton basket or colander and line it with a tea towel.
  7. Generously flour the towel and add the ball of dough seam side up. Cover.
  8. Allow to rise 4-8 hours. When an indention made with your finder doesn't spring back quickly, it's ready to bake.
  9. Preheat oven with Dutch oven inside to 450 degrees F.
  10. Turn the dough onto a piece of parchment paper.
  11. Slash the top of the dough with a very sharp knife or razor blade.
  12. Add the dough (with the parchment paper) into the Dutch oven very carefully.
  13. Put the lid on and bake for 20 minutes.
  14. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  15. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Did you make this recipe?

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28 Comments

  1. I tried the recipe today. While I questioned the amount of starter, thinking there was a typo error, I made it anyway. Not sure where the problem is but I used your recipe exactly and the dough remained sticky even though I did use the 4 cups…and then some. I baked it just as your recipe called for and found the inside quite doughy so baked it for another 15 mins and it could have baked another 20 instead. A full cup of starter seems like quite a bit when the other recipes I’ve used call for between 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup. Is there something I missed?

    1. I’m not sure what could have happened. I always use 1 cup starter for same day recipe and 1/2 cup for overnight ferments. I make this quite often and have never had an issue like that. It may be that your starter is much thinner than mine and made the recipe a bit more hydrated. You can try the recipe with 1/2 cup starter and see how it goes. It will still rise, it will just take longer.

  2. Made my very first sourdough bread ever today, and your recipe was amazing! I have been nervous for the past 10+ days working my starter but it actually came out. We are thrilled for your website, thank you!!

  3. 5 stars
    I made this bread with 1/2 cup organic rye flour instead of whole wheat, which was still amazing. I did not need the full 4 cups (I’m in the Seattle area in February). The crumb was pretty tight but it was yummy.

  4. If I am worried about over fermentation on bulk rise, can I put it in the refrigerator till I’m ready to bake?

    1. Absolutely. I would say the fridge is your best friend with sourdough. You can leave it in the fridge for up to a week even if you need to.

      1. Thank you so much! I baked this morning. I let it sit at 75 degrees for 8 hours. It looked doubled I put in fridge till this morning. And baked in cold oven method @ 450. It didn’t spring much but the texture and taste is good. I wasn’t sure if I should do a second rise. I had better luck when our climate was cooler.this bake was better than the last soupy few.

  5. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh just did this recipe with some whole wheat as suggested, it is THE perfect texture and crispiness of the crust, amazing! This is my second loaf ever made!

  6. I absolutely want to try this…if it’s anything like yr sandwich loaf…I cant wait…but I’m worried that I’m ysed to baking more advanced sourdough with all the stretch and folds…so wont this bread be a bit more of a tighter crumb having not had the work of required of a normal sourdough…?
    Still I cant wait to try it…thank you.
    Mary also are you affiliated with Healey Homestead…another sourdough baker.. ok thanks…much

    1. It is a bit of a tighter crumb, for sure. But makes a wonderful bread especially for someone new to making artisan bread. I haven’t heard of Healey Homestead. I will have to check them out.

  7. Thrilled to have found this unfussy sourdough recipe! My first 2 (ever!) loaves have both turned out great following this method. Thank you for making a simple beginner friendly recipe!

  8. Good Morning,
    I am attempting to make your Easiest Sour Dough Bread recipe. If I may make a suggestion to your instructions…when adding the starter it would have been nice to know that the one cup starter amount is for the same day bread option, and if you want to let it rise overnight use 1/2 cup of starter. I’m a novice at this sourdough fermentation process so any helpful tips are appreciated. I will see what happens with this first loaf. It may not be Artisan Bread.
    Lol

  9. I am brand new to sourdough and have been trying a few ideas and techniques I’ve found on Facebook. I saw your video of you making this gorgeous bread in an oblong banneton basket. The loaf had minimal folding and stretching and rested in the frig overnight. When baked, it was a beautiful golden brown loaf. I signed up for your emails just to find that recipe, but I don’t see it. I know it started with water and starter mixed, then the AP flour and salt added. And any one help me find that recipe, I want to make it to show off, but need the rest of the instructions.

  10. Hi Mary, this will be my next bread to make soon! My ? I was thinking to ferment over night & as you mentioned 1/2 cup is ample for the starter. But should I change the water amount to 1 1/4 cups & flour to 3 or 4 cups. I’m beginning to understand more & sense if I cut back on the water, I should cut back on the amt of flour too. Is that correct. I think I will also use some rye flour too. Tks so much, I appreciate your insights!

    1. Yes, add an additional 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup flour at first to make up for the 1/2 starter you took out. Then add up to another 1/2 cup of flour just until you get a dough you can work with. A good way to look at it is 1 cup of starter is equivalent to 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water. So adjust your recipes according to the amount of starter you use. 1/2 cup starter is 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water. I hope that helps!

      1. Thank you Mary for responding! So please let me know again to clarify. This way I can do it your way & always refer. To ferment over night I use 1/2 cup of starter:
        How much water & how much flour. If I do not want to ferment over night, 1 cup starter & how much water & how much flour. If I
        Can get the very basics down, it will help me which way I decide to make the bread. Also this time I want to add some rye flour, & bread flour & some whole wheat. You have been an inspiration to me & my daughter in law wants to learn as well! She also liked watching your videos! I bought the round green banniton & will use that one at this time. Thanks again 💗 I feel a bit silly about asking again because I did seem to understand when watching the 2 different vids: for the basic beginner bread I used as you directed 1/2 cup starter, 1 1/4 cups water & 3 cups of flour & fermented over night. For the other recipe for same day baking you said 1 cup starter, 1 1/2 cups water & 4 cups flour. Basically I just want to confirm with you. Thank you for your patience 🙏 💗 🙏

  11. Hi Mary! I’ve been following your channel for a few weeks now. I made my own starter with your help and today I made my first sourdough loaf! It was a little sticky for me but I know my starter is more watery than yours. I’ll use less water next time. But this bread came out amazing and everyone loved it. I appreciate you!

  12. Hi Mary!
    Yesterday I made this bread! It turned out amazing! I used whole wheat, bread flour & rye flour. I also placed it in a cold oven & baked it on 450 for 55 min & top off for about 5-8 min I’m so enjoying your method! Thank you again 💓 😊 💗

  13. I made the overnight-rise version and baked it this morning for breakfast, and I’m so excited that it came out edible and tasty! It wasn’t nearly as pretty as yours. My dough was still too wet using only three cups of flour. I did add extra, but was afraid to keep adding so it was still a bit sticky when I decided just to leave it be and cover it for the night. Thank you so much for showing us how to make bread!

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