I am dying over this bread. It is the yummiest, and most versatile bread ever! This dutch oven sourdough bread is easy to make, with less than an hour of active work, and the reward is just about the most gorgeous and most amazing bread I have eaten in a long time.
Now, when I say these things you can believe me. You see, I was never really a fan of sourdough bread. Honestly, I thought it was gross. It always had a strong flavor that just didn’t sit well with me. But, that was before I started making it for myself. The things about sourdough is that the bread flavor is dependent on how long the bread ferments, and how sour the sourdough starter is to begin with. My starter isn’t very sour, which makes for a very pleasant flavor.
There is also that tendency to fall in love with those tings you make. The time spent working with the dough, spending quiet moments kneading and caring for it. It really can become such a calming time. You can fall in love with your food during these times. When you create a gorgeous loaf of bread, you literally cannot wait to eat it.
This sourdough bread, or sourdough boule (ball) is simply scrumptious.
Yes, I may be getting a bit excited about a loaf of bread. Baking for me is one of my escapes. I love to create, build, and DIY but I also love to bake and to cook. Creating in the kitchen is equally as satisfying to me as DIY is.
This dutch oven sourdough bread takes time, lets talk about how to plan it out:
Let me stress that this bread does not take a lot of effort or work, but you just need to plan when you are going to make it. Its all about the timing. Once I figured that out, this was one of the easiest breads to make, but there are a couple times when it needs time to sit and rest.
Let me explain.
You want to make sure that your sourdough has recently been fed and that it is active.
How do you know if your sourdough starter is active and ready to be used?
Get a small cup of water, and drop a small dollop of your sourdough starter in the water. If it floats, it is ready to be used. If it sinks, it is not active and needs to be fed.
If this happens, feed your starter and let it sit for about 3 hours. It should be good and active by then. You can test it again, but if it is rising and falling, you are good to go.
Now, once you are ready to make your bread, you need to know that it needs anywhere between 4-6 hours on the counter and then another 12-24 hours in the fridge before baking.
Let me give you the timeline that I use.
I get my sourdough active and begin to make the dough around 2 pm in the afternoon. This is a time of day when I am home so it works well for me. The reason is, that you need to give your dough some attention for about 1 hour. That is all.
How do you make the dough for this dutch oven sourdough bread?
I will take you step by step on how to make this dough and how to make this amazing bread.
YOU CAN ALSO WATCH THIS VIDEO BELOW TO SEE EXACTLY HOW I MAKE IT:
- Put your flour, water, sourdough starter and salt in a bowl. Mix it with a wooden spoon or dough spoon until it is combined. Once it is combined, its time to get your hands dirty. Get the tips of your hands wet(simply dip them in a cup of water) and knead the dough until there is not loose flour left. You will keep the dough in the bowl and pull one side of the dough up and push it into the center. Then you will turn it and repeat this 4 more times.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes. (You are now going to knead the dough every 10 minutes 5-6 times. So you will want to be available for that time)
- After it has sat for 10 minutes, knead it the same that you did at the beginning. Leave the dough in the bowl and pull one corner up, pulling and stretching the dough. Then push it down into the center of the dough. Rotate and do the same action all the way around the dough about 4 times.
- Cover with plastic wrap and wait 10 minutes
- Repeat the kneading
- Wait 10 minutes
- Repeat the kneading
- Wait 10 minutes (you get the idea) you can do this anywhere from 2 times to 7 times. The more you do it, the more the gluten will develop which means that it will rise more too! So even if you can only get a couple kneads in, it will still be great bread.
- After you have finished kneading it, it is time to let it sit on the counter covered with plastic wrap for anywhere from 3-6 hours. You want the dough to double in size. Mine usually takes about 3 hours.
- Once it has doubled in size, it is time to do your last knead and shape the dough.
- After you have kneaded it, you are going to shape it into a ball. You are going to flip it over so that the finished top part of the dough is up. You are going to create tension by pulling the dough ball towards you while rolling it under. This gives the builds up the outer layer.
- Let the dough sit and rest for a couple minutes while you prepare your banneton basket, or bowl. I use a bowl because I haven’t gotten a basket yet. But you will want to put a towel in the bowl, and make sure to give it a good dusting of flour. so that the dough wont stick to the towel.
- Lay the dough in the bowl with the smooth side of the dough down.
- Cover with plastic wrap and put a rubber band or something to secure the plastic wrap to the bowl. Put it in the fridge and let is sit for anywhere from 12-24 hours.
- This is where my timeline comes in handy because it will be evening by this time and you can put it in the fridge overnight. It will be ready to come out in the morning or early afternoon to be baked. You can leave it even until the next evening.
- I usually leave mine in the fridge until about noon and take it out.
- Turn your oven on 450 degrees and put the dutch oven in to preheat. When the oven is ready its time to get your dough ready for the oven.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and lay it seam side down this time on top of a piece of parchment paper.
- Pull the towel off carefully. Sometimes it can stick a bit. I have found wheat flour to be the best because it does not absorb as much.
- Use a bread lame or sharp knife to score some designs or slits in the dough so that it will rise even more, plus it makes it look pretty~ I like to do a swirl pattern
- Take your dutch oven out of the oven and lift off the lid. Pick up the dough by the parchment paper and carefully set it in the dutch oven. You can place a couple ice cubes between the parchment paper and the dutch oven to create steam inside the pan. This will help the bread rise even more.
- Put the lid on the pan and put it in the oven to bake for about 35 minutes. I like to check it after about 25 minutes and see how things are going. If it is looking more done on the bottom you can leave the lid off and let it a bit more brown on top.
- Take the bread out carefully using hot pads. I like to grab the parchment paper and pull it straight up and out. Let it cool completely on a rack.
- Enjoy it as toast, dip it in balsamic vinegar and oil, french toast is amazing, and so much more.
This bread has an amazing crust, with a sift pillowy center. You can push down on the bread and it will spring back up. It has amazing structure.
WANT OTHER GREAT SOURDOUGH RECIPES?
GET THE ENTIRE DUTCH OVEN SOURDOUGH BREAD or SOURDOUGH BOULE RECIPE HERE:
Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread
Make this amazing sourdough bread by using your dutch oven! This requires little work on your part, and you just have to time the bread and give it time to sit in the fridge! Its flavor is amazing! The soft pillowy crumb of this sourdough bread is perfect! We love this bread as toast and with its crusty outside contrasting the soft inside and its chewy texture, you will want to make an entire meal of it!
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 cup active sourdough starter
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup water odes not need to be warmed
To begin this bread, you need to set aside about 1 hour at least to take the time to knead and let the dough rest. The rest of the time will be more passive time.
This recipe only has a small amount of active effort. You need to let the dough sit and take its time. You also need to plan time for this bread. It needs at least 12 hours in the fridge and at the least 3 on the counter.
What I like to do is to start this dough in the afternoon around 1. I can get all the kneading in by 1:30 and then it needs some rest time. After that it will be sitting in the fridge overnight.
Take your ingredients and put them in a large mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon or dough spoon to mix the ingredients together
It will begin to be too sticky and dense to manage with a spoon.
Wet your fingertips and begin kneading the dough in the bowl. Lift on corner of the dough and push it into the center of the dough. Rotate the bowl and repeat this process all the way around the dough. If it begins to stick to your hands, dip your fingers in water and repeat. Do this until all the flour is incorporated. `
Once it is at this point, cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes
After 10 minutes, remove the plastic and knead. Take one corner, lift it up and push it into the center. Rotate and repeat this all the way around the dough, 4-5 times. The stretching helps develop the gluten
Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for another 10 minutes.
Take the wrap off and repeat the kneading.
Cover and let sit another 10 minutes.
Repeat this 5-6 times total
I like to set a timer and go about my business doing other things and then knead when the timer goes off.
Once you have done the kneading 5-6 times, its time to let the dough sit and rest for 3-6 hours. Yes hours!
I put the plastic wrap over the bowl and set it somewhere with ambient temperature. It needs to rise. Double in size.
I find it takes about 3 hours for mine, but it could take longer depending on your circumstances.
Once it had doubled in size, its time to shape your dough and prepare it for the fridge!
First, you will do your last knead and pull. Do this 4-5 times. Take the dough out of the bowl. and lay it on the counter
Now, you are going to form a ball, first by rolling the dough in on itself. Then flip it over and use the countertop to create tension. Push on the dough ball while rolling it under. You want to turn and roll. You can watch my video to see how to do this. This creates tension on the dough surface and gives it that good crust.
Let the dough sit and rest for a couple minutes.
While it rests, its time to get a bowl ready. You can use a regular large mixing bowl, but it is recommended to use a bread banneton proofing basket.
If you use a bowl, line it with a towel, and flour the towel heavily to prevent the dough from sticking. I like to use wheat flour for this because it tends to not absorb into the dough.
If you use a bread banneton basket, flour its heavily as well.
Take the dough and lift it up, flip it over and put the finished side of the dough down into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and use a rubber band to secure the plastic wrap around the bowl.
Put the bowl in the fridge and let it sit in there for at least 12 hours. You can go as far as 24 hours.
When you are ready, take the bowl out of the fridge and let the dough sit on the counter for about an hour. I like to let the oven preheat to 450 degrees while this is happening. Put your dutch oven in the oven to preheat with the oven. You want your pan to be hot.
Lay out some parchment paper, and take the dough gently out of the bowl and flip it over so the smooth side of the dough is on top. Lay it on the parchment paper
Cut some slits or designs in the dough to allow for more of a rise. I like to make a swirl. You can use a scoring lame or a sharp knife.
Immediately take your hot dutch oven out of the oven and take hold of the parchment paper with the dough. Put it inside the dutch oven and carefully place the lid on and put it in the oven to bake.
If you want, you can add a couple ice cubes on the outside of the parchment paper between the pan and the paper. This will give the crust a bubbly surface and allow more of a rise!
Bake the dough for 35 minutes. Check around 30 minutes and see if it is done. Tap it, it should feel hollow. You can take the top off of the pan and let it bake if the top is not golden brown.
Take ti out of the oven when it is done and let it cool completely on a rack before cutting.
This bread makes the most amazing toast, french toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, and it is fantastic with olive oil and balsamic vinegar!
I HOPE YOU WILL TRY THIS AMAZING SOURDOUGH BREAD RECIPE!
While there are so many people telling me how daunting and intimidating this kind of bread is, broken down into steps it is simple. It is 4 simple ingredients. Only 1 hour of your time, and you get the most amazing bread. Yes there is the 12-24 hours of sitting and waiting for until you can bake it, but my gosh, it is so worth it!
This has become a regular at our house. You can easily find a schedule that will work for you! I tell you it is by far one of the easiest breads I make, despite all the time you wait.