Classic Sourdough Bread: time steps in for added yeast.

Sourdough bread.

For many, it’s the Mt. Everest of bread baking.

If you can “conquer” sourdough, there’s nothing you can’t do, bread-wise.

Not surprisingly, many new bread bakers want to jump right in and begin with sourdough. After all, it’s so distinctive; so delicious; so… well, trendy.

But tackling sourdough bread your first time out of the gate is like nosing into traffic on the Indianapolis 500 speedway when you’ve just gotten your learner’s permit.

Trust me – not a good idea.

Sourdough baking has a long (but ultimately simple) learning curve. If there was ever any process that should be taken one small step at a time, it’s baking sourdough bread.

First, you make your starter. Then, you feed it regularly until it’s strong and vigorous. These first two steps may take up to a week or more.

Then, and only then, do you bake bread.

Attention, sourdough newbies: don’t be discouraged. Our posts on creating your own starter and maintaining your starter take you step by step through the process.

Plus, if you run into a challenge along the way (a crevasse on the trail up Everest), our bakers’ hotline folks are ready to help – 855-371-2253.

Once you’re ready to bake, Rustic Sourdough Bread, with added yeast, is a pretty fail-safe way to start.

And once you’ve mastered THAT, you’re ready to plant your banner on the Summit of Sourdough:

The classic sourdough loaf, leavened simply with the starter you’ve been so lovingly feeding and growing – no Red Star, no SAF, just your own wild yeast.

So, whether you’re a seasoned sourdough trekker looking for a chewy, moist, richly flavored loaf of “natural” sourdough; or a sourdough neophyte who’s ready to take your baking above treeline, enjoy this recipe.

We call it Extra-Tangy Sourdough Bread, but that’s really a misnomer. Extra-flavorful would be closer to the mark; because there’s nothing like the nuanced, complex flavor of sourdough bread made simply with flour, water, salt, starter… and time.

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can enlarge them to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it’ll work for any of our gridded photos.

First, make sure your starter has been fed, and is good and vigorous: if not ready to leap tall buildings in a single bound, it should at least be prepared to raise bread dough all by itself – without the benefit of added yeast.

Place 1 cup (about 8 ounces) fed, vigorous sourdough starter in a bowl.

Add 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water, and 3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. Beat vigorously.

Cover, and let rest at room temperature for 4 hours. Then refrigerate overnight, or for about 12 hours.

The dough will expand a bit during its overnight rise, but don’t expect it to go crazy. You may see some large, lumpy bubbles trying to emerge – kind of like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Add 2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour and 2 1/4 teaspoons salt.

Mix and knead to form a smooth, satiny dough. The dough may seem dry at first; but keep kneading.

It’ll eventually become very stretchy (albeit still a tiny bit sticky), and will have a lovely sheen.

Allow the dough to rest in a covered bowl until it’s relaxed, smoothed out, and expanded somewhat. Depending on the vigor of your starter, it may become REALLY puffy; or it may just rise a bit. This can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours.

Understand this: sourdough bread (especially sourdough without added yeast) is as much art as science; everyone’s timetable will be different. So please allow yourself to go with the flow, and not treat this as an exact, to-the-minute process.

Gently divide the dough in half. Shape it into two oval loaves, and place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 2 to 4 hours. Don’t worry if the loaves spread more than they rise; they’ll pick up once they hit the oven’s heat.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Gently spritz or brush the loaves with lukewarm water…

…and quickly give each one three 1/2″ to 3/4″-deep slashes, diagonally across the top surface.

This is scary, I know; you think you’re going to deflate your lovely loaves.

Guess what? You will. But if you get them into the hot oven IMMEDIATELY, they’ll pick right back up.

Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until its interior registers at least 190°F on an instant-read thermometer.

The loaves may brown beautifully.

On the other hand, depending on how long you’ve let the dough/shaped loaves rise, they may brown very little.

Why does sourdough bread often not brown as well as a standard, non-sourdough loaf?

Well, while the dough is going through its prolonged rises, lactobacilli has been helpfully converting starch in the flour into simple sugars for the yeast to consume. Eventually, though, the yeast has been working in the dough for so long, it consumes just about all the sugar there is.

Which means there’s none left for caramelization on the loaf’s surface: browning.

If they appear to be browning insufficiently for your taste, and you don’t mind a bit of oil, remove them from the oven with about 5 minutes left in their baking time. Brush or spray with olive oil, and return to the oven.

The loaf on the left is untouched by oil; the one on the right, sprayed with olive oil. Your choice.

Here’s the loaf without oil. It’s not a deep golden brown, but hey, it is what it is – sourdough.

Cool completely before cutting.

Nice crumb, eh? Love the big holes.

You’ll find this loaf is very chewy, somewhat dense, and nicely moist.

Best way to store this bread: cut-side down on the counter.

That’s right – no bag, no refrigerator. It’ll stay pretty fresh for several days. If it feels weird not bagging it (or if you fear the cat may give it a lick), place it in a bag, paper or plastic, but don’t seal it up; sealing will turn the crust rubbery.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Extra-Tangy Sourdough Bread.

Print just the recipe.

Note: for added sour tang, try adding 1/2 teaspoon to 5/8 teaspoon sour salt (citric acid) to the dough.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. marcin

    I’ve been making this bread every week for the past three months, and I’ve learned a lot. One thing I learned from you on some other post is to add flour 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough has the right amount, not too much and not too little. I now have control over the process. And I use the paddle attachment on my mixer for a minute or so both days to make sure the dough ingredients are mixed well. Sometimes I have to add more water, sometimes more flour. Also, I now make it in 8 1/2 by 5 inch loaf pans so we can get the slices into the toaster. Also, with great success, I have been combining the two recipes that came with my starter. So I do everything the way you have written here, but I add 2 teaspoons of instant yeast the second day because my dough was not rising without it. I’m wondering, hoping, that the problem was the dry winter air and that now that it is warmer and more humid, I won’t need the yeast the second day. We’ll see next week. I have been making bread for over thirty years, and this is spectacular. The flavor and texture are so wonderful. Now we are waiting for our homegrown tomatoes. What a perfect sandwich that will be! Thank you, PJH and KAF. Your instructions make it so easy and successful.

    And thank YOU, Marcin, for carrying on the great cultural tradition of bread-baking. Sounds like you’ve become a seasoned sourdough baker; it’s certainly interesting, isn’t it? A little tweak here, a little change there, and you can produce subtle changes in your bread. Glad we could be a small part of your journey. PJH

    1. Lisa Brooks

      First time. Nailed it! Wish I could post a pic. It’s not rocket science folks. It’s common baking sense. Looks pretty much like your pics and tastes phenomenal.

    2. PJ Hamel, post author

      Ah, thanks for checking back in, Lisa – yes, I wish we could see your wonderful loaf! Glad it was a success for you. PJH

  2. fredericahuxley

    You are absolutely right: You have to be comfortable with bread making before attempting sourdough! The timings all change with the seasons, and the different flours used, and you have to just go with the flow, and let the dough tell you when to proceed to the next step. It is such a satisfaction, making sourdough bread, and it is the way that bread was made for millenia – no timings, no yeast, no oven temperatures – just the incredible fusion of water, flour and salt. My particular pleasure is to convert recipes back to sourdough.

    So beautifully put, Frederica – sounds like you’ve really embraced the sourdough spirit… Thanks for your words here. PJH

    1. Latimer

      I beg to differ in the politest way possible. Prior comfort is not a necessity. Just dive in and start making terrible, flat loaves that are depressing but still pass as edible. And then one time you’ll nail it, and maybe you’ll remember what you did that time…maybe.

    2. Kelster

      I agree with Latimer. I started with sourdough and it was 3 years before I used commercial yeast.

    3. Eric

      I agree with Latimer: “Prior comfort is not a necessity”. I’ve tried the KAF sourdough recipe for the Zojirushi a half dozen times with no successes. Finally decided to try this the old fashioned way, in the oven. Viola! Worked the first time. Appearance wasn’t brochure quality but still beautiful and flavor was outstanding. Thanks for the recipe and step-by-step pictures.

    4. Nicole

      So sorry if this question has already been asked; I promise I did try to actually read through all the comments but they are extensive!! (Though quite fascinating; I learned a lot was definitely getting sucked in and realized my time was ticking away!).

      I have been baking various types of sourdough loaves for the past 4 years or so. Mainly pure sourdough for the first several years, which was delicious, thanks to my trusty and very hardy starter (i.e. I no longer really measure out the flour/water ratios, I just do it by sight and feel, and it seems to be flourishing and working great). But I switched to a yeasted sourdough sandwich bread several months ago, so that a)we could have loaves on a slightly faster timeline (imperative with 3 kids ages 4 and under) and b) I could make a really huge loaf, to fit into a Pullman loaf pan (again, so that it will make enough bread to feed my super bread-hungry toddlers, preschooler, husband, and self!) and only have to make bread every 5 days or so.

      Would this recipe work ok in my Pullman loaf pan? The pan does have really high sides and it is quite long, so I’m wondering if the sourdough will have enough rising power to reach the top of it? (For reference, the pan dimensions are 4 in. deep, 16 in. long, 4 in. wide). Can I use the amounts in the recipe as is? Any tips to making this work for my pan/adapting it? Thank you!

    5. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Nicole, this recipe might be just the right size for your 16″ loaf pan, as it makes about 2.5 pounds of dough (which is also the right amount for that pan). How high it will rise depends upon the health of your starter. If it’s quite vigorous and is fed regularly, you shouldn’t have any trouble with the dough rising. You should feel empowered to give this recipe a shot and see what happens. We think you’ll be pleased! Kye@KAF

  3. lowneyshopping

    Could you explain the ‘brushing with lukewarm water’ step? That is not on the directions which come with your sourdough starter, so it confused me.


    Everyone’s different in their approach to sourdough; there’s no one right or wrong way. I like to brush my shaped loaf with warm water because my theory is that the water will 1) keep the crust just moist enough that it doesn’t set until it’s done rising fully; and 2) will create steam as it evaporates, creating a crisp/crackly crust. Try it and see if you like it – PJH

  4. Candace

    Recipe looks good but it sure isn’t Heirloom Tomato Pasta Salad. I clicked on today’s KAF email (yummy looking photo!) “see how it’s done” and got this!

    I know – has to do with when each blog is published. Unfortunately, there was a mixup with when the pasta salad blog was published (several weeks ago). Long story short – sorry about that! PJH

  5. Candace

    Without having used this recipe I have to comment. Sourdough is the most wonderful stuff! We have been using our starter for nearly 40 years, since we got the starter packet while living in San Francisco. It is so forgiving, which is not the general comment one hears about sourdough starter. We have forgotten it for months in the back of the fridge, freshen it up, and off she goes! We don’t use it much in the summer, but winters in our house involve sourdough bread, pancakes, waffles and so much more.

    I agree, Candace – my sourdough must feel pretty abused at times, but some TLC seems to bring it back to health just fine… PJH

  6. JuliaJ

    Your recipe for pane francese makes a very similar loaf, using a lump of “old dough” as a starter, and no pre-bake slashing. I find it simpler to hold back a ball of dough for the next loaf than to maintain a starter. As with this recipe, the long rise is essential–I’ve rushed the 3-step rise for a pane francese from start to end in 8 hours but it’s a much better loaf with a 12-18 hour total rise time.

    Julia, thanks for the reminder – that pane francese recipe is indeed a good one… PJH

    1. Monique

      Doesn’t a very long rise cause all the yeast to eat up all the sugars, which in the end decreases the rise? I’m asking as I’m new to sourdough, but have been having great success for 2 months now. I never get the “verticle” rise that I would like, but get the “horizontal” rise always.

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Monique, this is true, but the long rise that JuliaJ is referring to involves several stages where the starter is refreshed with more flour and water. Extended fermentation can also take place in the refrigerator, which will slow down fermentation. For more help achieving the vertical rise you’re looking for, please call our Baker’s Hotline at 855-371-2253(BAKE). We’d love to help! Barb@KAF

  7. meganpcannella

    I’ve been making this bread for several months now. It comes out differently every time. My big question is: after you let the starter, flour and water sit overnight, you add 5C more flour the next day. Do you then add more water? I’ve found it impossible *not* to add more water…up to 1.5cups. Is this a huge no-no? I’m mixing this bread on my own–no mixer.
    Thanks for the advice and fantastic website and recipes!

    Megan, if the bread’s texture seems right to you, then I guess you’re managing to balance your flour and water, somehow. The recipe as written (1 cup fairly liquid starter, 1 1/2 cups to 1 2/3 cups water) makes a dough with a minimum hydration of about 63% – which is about average (not too stiff, not too soft). If you add an additional 1 1/2 cups water, that would bring your hydration up over 100% – which is basically pourable liquid. Are you using King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, rather than bread flour? Are you measuring your flour by weight (5 cups = 21 1/4 ounces), or by the “sprinkle and sweep” method? I’m guessing either you’re using a high protein flour, or measuring it differently than we do here. You may want to speak to the folks on our baker’s hotline about this – a two-way dialogue might get to the bottom of this more quickly than posting here… So give ’em a call, OK? 802-649-3717. Thanks for connecting here – PJH

    1. SkiIdahonorthsouth

      If you are adding 5 cups the second day, you have mis-read the recipe…

      Starter, water, 3 cups (of the total of 5 cups) flour sits overnight.

      Then, the next day…

      Add the remaining ingredients including approx. 2 cups of flour to get a 5 cup total. It might need +/- a little bit and is indeed effected by humidity. But the +/- will be less than 1/2 cup usually.

  8. glpruett

    I made sourdough weekly for many years, and then got out of the habit. When I saw this post last week, I thought it would be great fun to make a couple of loaves of sourdough, sans added yeast, to complement my Father’s Day gift to my husband of a grill pan and press. What a sandwich!

    The results were fantastic! I must admit that I wasn’t too optimistic when I saw those two roughly-oval-shaped lumps lying there on my parchment paper lined pan, but when I slashed it and put it in the hot oven, the oven spring I got was incredible! It probably would have been even more impressive if I had remembered to spritz the dough with the warm water prior to putting the bread in the oven, but mistakes just HAPPEN! At any rate, the bread had a fantastic tang, chewy crumb, and was beautiful to boot! Thanks again!

  9. pmartin

    I think the problem meganpcannella may be having is by adding an additional 5C of flour on the second day. Wouldn’t it be 3C first then an additional 2 the next?

    You’re absolutely right – I completely spaced on that detail of what she wrote. Thanks so much, I’ve rewritten that recipe step to make it clearer. Sometimes it takes a community to write a recipe! PJH

  10. pschapman

    The may seem like a really simple question but can you give any tips (or links to tips) for shaping an oval loaf? All the tutorials I see are for boules and batards. I have baked this recipe several times but always end up shaping as 2 boules because it’s what I feel comfortable with. I’ve been reluctant to mess around with something new because the dough always seems very “fragile”. Thanks!
    I found just what you are looking for here. ~Amy

    1. Jen B

      Oh wow! Being a neophyte (which doesn’t stop me from trying this anyway after I successfully made starter) I had no idea how to shape a loaf. I thought I just split it in half and kind of shaped it with my hands. Watched the video. Now I get it! No wonder my dough was so weird. Punched it back down to rise a bit and did it according to the video this time. Loaves look much better although they are spreading. Oh well. First time so we’ll see what happens! I can always do it again. It’s only bread and water (and starter) after all.

  11. ImADoughDoughBird

    My first screaming success with a sourdough recipe – I’d been trying and trying and faithfully tending to my starter, but every loaf had something wrong. I had almost changed my mind about sourdough and resigned myself to making all bread in the house except for sourdough. I thought maybe my plants would appreciate the starter I had left as a nice nutritious meal, and I would wash my hands of this whole sourdough business. Until these two beautiful loaves came along and changed my mind BACK and I’m right back where I belong – on the sourdough wagon! DELICIOUS – crusty – tangy – holes where there should be holes and none where there shouldn’t…maybe it had a little to do with all the practice but I’m giving the recipe the credit! Thank you!!!

    I am SO GLAD this worked out for you! We love reading about our customers’ successes, so thanks so much for sharing here. And – enjoy your newfound status as a sourdough expert. 🙂 PJH

    1. P.t. Ragland

      I’ve been making / experimenting with sourdough for about a year, and loyal to an original recipe I found, but because I had mixed results (mostly edible, mostly) I googled around and found THIS site! Its encouraging to know that sourdough without yeast is a challenge, and to read all the comments–I’ve learned a lot already and am switching my allegiance to this recipe for a tryout! I had just fed my starter, but now i’m going to wait another day and use your tips for the complete process. Thanks PJH, and everybody who commented. I feel charged 🙂

  12. Tall_Hall

    I bake non-sour dough bread using a clay pot to achieve an artisan crust. Is this possible/necessary with the sour dough recipe?
    Yes, you could use your clay pot for just about any bread. Let us know how it comes out! Elisabeth

  13. Renee G.

    I live at 6,800 ft and am curious about any changes I should make to this recipe for high altitude?

    I’ve got a starter going and it will be ready to bake with in about 4 days.
    Hi Renee
    We have a wonderful chart for high altitude adjustments on our site. It tells you what to change, how to change it and why. It’s an excellent resource for our fellow bakers in the clouds. ~ MaryJane

  14. Emma

    I’m in the middle of my second attempt at this recipe. The first try wasn’t bad, the loaves just didn’t rise much in baking, so they came out more like sourdough flat breads (very tasty, though). In re-reading the recipe, I wonder if I should have let them rise another hour before baking or if my terrible NYC apartment oven with no window wasn’t yet hot enough. I also have a couple of questions: 1.) When you knead the dough, do you do a full-on kneading session, or is this more of a gentle incorporation of the ingredients? I can’t tell how long or vigorous the kneading should be from the recipe or blog posting. 2.) When you shape the loaves, do you punch the dough down first or do you try to preserve the bubbliness by handling it gently? Thanks!

    Sourdough is a real learning experience, Emma – you may try letting the loaves rise more next time; and you might also try letting the dough rise LESS prior to shaping, as it’s possible the flatness comes from the gluten having become so tenderized by the sourdough’s acids over time, it just starts to give up the ghost… The kneading should be full on; knead as you would any yeast dough. And I never punch dough down; I gently (but thoroughly) deflate it. Doing this expels the CO2 and gives the yeast new oxygen to “breathe.” Please call our hotline, 802-649-3717, if you’d like an easier way to back-and-forth about sourdough bread. Good luck – PJH

  15. Ann

    I’m trying this out for the first time, but my starter’s been really vigorous so I have my fingers crossed.

    I’ve halved the recipe since I wanted to just try it with one loaf of bread.

    So I’ve just added the first portion of flour–1.5 cups for me–along with the water and the starter. My dough is…doughy. Relatively stiff in that it maintains it shape overall. Is this what I’m going for or next time should I try adding more water? The picture you have posted looks pretty watery.

    Also, tips on what to cover it with? I need to buy saran wrap…so currently I’ve just been putting a pan over the bowl as a lid.

    If the dough seems rather stiff (and not elastic and stringy like the pictures), you can add a few tablespoons of water to loosen it up and knead another few minutes to get it incorporated. It is also possible that the dough wasn’t quite done kneading (but again, a little extra water is FAR better than too little!). To cover, a pan lid will work great! I also use a (clean!) shower cap as it fits most any round vessel in my kitchen!! With a stiffer dough, you’ll likely to let it rise longer in order to get it up to that “doubled” stage–a stiffer dough requires more time since the yeast can’t move around quite as well. Hopefully this helps! Kim@KAF

    1. Rich the cook

      I see some instructions call to let dough rest/rise in a greased bowl but this one doesn’t. Is oiling a bowl left out or do you not do it? Why the 2 different ways? Also when after the loaf is formed and you say to “cover and let rise 2-4 hours what do you cover it with and does it need to be oiled so the covering doesn’t stick?

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Rich, it’s fine to grease your bowl to prevent sticking. Some bakers don’t want to add the traces of oil from the bowl, but I think it does help the dough release. If you’re covering free standing shaped loaves you can use an oiled piece of plastic wrap. Barb@KAF

  16. Barbara

    This was my first attempt at making bread…I actually sprouted some wheatberries and rye, dehydrated them, and ground into flour… and mixed with water kefir for a sourdough starter. I was excited..and did not wait long enough…so my bread is very dense..but VERY tasty….i followed your directions after the starter….and added your unbleached flour. I generally don’t eat a raw vegan chef – but have wanted to try sprouting my own grains and using water kefir for sour dough starter. Anyone ever do this? I’m having a hard time finding good instructions for amounts…so I just used half rye flour(sprouted) and half wheat. for starter.

    When subbing recipe ingredients it’s good to do them one at a time – then if the recipe results are poor, you can pinpoint the culprit. This may be a terrific topic for the community part of this website. There are some other threads there that may be helpful in your quest. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

  17. Brigit

    I made sourdough bread in Spain for three years when I lived there in the early nineties, using a starter created from Carol Field’s excellent book “The Italian Baker,” I was limited with the flour I could get, but my results were spectacular, once I learned about my starter. Since then, um, I’ve been too busy. Now, I’m back! The embarrassment of riches available via mail-order here in the USA makes me curious but almost like a kid in a candy store – unable to decide. I mistakenly ordered a large quantity of active dry yeast (from KAF), for those times when I wasn’t confident enough in the naked starter. But, I don’t want to have to proof it in warm water. I see that most recipes call for instant/quick-rise, if yeast is needed. With the long ferment time, will active dry yeast eventually become, um, active? Even if it’s mixed in with the room-temp starter and flour? Or, should my water addition be quite hot?
    Definitely avoid hot water, as you don’t want to kill off the yeast. The active dry will definitely take longer to get up and running, and it can throw off your proofing times. I’d really say stick with the proofing step if you can. As little as 10 minutes of pre-planning can keep your recipe on track, rather than having to play catch-up while you wait for your yeast. ~ MaryJane

  18. Julianne

    I’d tried making sourdough bread twice with other recipes and they turned out flat and horrible. This recipe, on the other hand… wow, what a revelation! The instructions were spot on and it was so helpful to have the photos as a reference point. As you suggested, as soon as I slashed my loaf (I halved the quantities and made one boule), it flattened to only an inch high but after two minutes in the oven it had risen incredibly.

    I expected the crust to be quite thick and crisp, but it was soft and chewy (still nice!), even though I left it to cool in the turned-off oven to evaporate any remaining moisture (internal temperature 200F). I thought that spraying with water, adding steam etc was done to get a crisp crust, but this is obviously not the case, so how would I achieve that result, please?

    Steam does indeed help with creating a great crust. However, I find that if you do not allow the steam to escape once the bread begins to brown then the extra moisture will soften the crust. This can be done by simply opening the oven for a few seconds to allow the steam to escape!-Jon

  19. eselleme

    So this was my first whack at sourdough ever. I know, you guys advised for this not to be the first sourdough to take on, but I was feeling confident! Honestly, it paid off! I made the first batch over the weekend and both loaves were gone within 24 hours from when they came out of the oven. I used my Zo for when I mixed/kneaded everything in and my second rise and it came out beautifully. Awesome sour, tangy flavor with a great, thick crust.
    The second batch I made this week and added garlic and rosemary. I brushed the top with a tiny bit of garlic oil in the last 5 or so minutes then sprinkled with sea salt. Wow, this was AMAZING. I’m saving one loaf for Christmas dinner!
    In case anyone can use this tip: I’m having trouble proofing things in my drafty kitchen. I actually proofed them in my oven. I took a pot of boiling water and put it on the bottom rack. I put my shaped loaves on the top rack then shut the door quickly. I turned the oven to 400 degrees and started it, and turned it off once the preheat was on for a minute in a half. I left the oven door shut until they were proofed. This worked out great! I also baked them with a pan of ice cubes in the bottom of the oven to get a nice, hard crust on the bottom to create steam 🙂
    Thanks for posting this, I loved the detailed instructions for someone who is a beginner at sourdough.

    Wow, great job – as you say, this is a challenge for beginners, but it sounds like you pulled it off wonderfully well. Thanks for the tips, too – so helpful to others following this recipe. Enjoy – PJH

    1. happy baker

      Thanks for the details. I have a question: why ice rather than a pan of water?

      Some background: I’d really like the crackly crust of the good baguettes in Paris, & understand the result comes from steam. I’ve toyed with a few approaches (covered pot, spritzing the loaves, spritzing the oven). I’m tempted to get a steam oven, but can’t quite justify it. I’ve seen the ice idea around & wondered what the reasoning is.

      happy baker

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Happy Baker, some people use ice, thinking that this will provide a more prolonged steaming process. Since you really only want steam during the first 15-20 minutes of baking time, I’ve found the method that works best for me is to bake on a hot stone, covering the loaf with a large metal bowl for the first 15-20 minutes of the baking time. Place the bowl over the loaf, with the front of the bowl overhanging the stone a bit. To add steam, place a preheated cast iron frying pan on the shelf below the stone, and once the loaf is loaded and the bowl is in place, pour 1/2 cup of bowling water into the frying pan in such a way that it vents directly into the bowl. Be sure to wear good oven mitts to avoid a steam burn! This method, along with baking in a Dutch oven, is illustrated in our Artisan Sourdough Bread Tips post. Barb@KAF

  20. oliverhsg

    Do you recommend kneading in a mixer or by hand–or a certain combination of both? In the photos, it appears as if the dough is always in a mixer bowl. I figure you KAF folks have some pretty great equipment but my KitchenAid could handle it. However, I just made my KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer overheat and release some pretty acrid smelling smoke (!) by kneading the extra-tangy dough. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!

    Oh my! That sounds like your dough might have been too stiff while mixing–the pictures above show how supple and slack the dough should be. Your mixer should not struggle while beating and kneading this particular recipe; rather, the dough stays quite “loose”. Perhaps try working only on very low speeds–I usually never take my mixer beyond the 3rd power setting with doughs–and ensuring your dough is as slack as ours is (a bit more water might do the trick!). Best, Kim@KAF

    1. Kathleen Price

      Had the same problem with my Kitchen aid overheating – so I called them. NEVER use the 1st power for longer than one minute and never for kneading – this is a mixing speed only to moisten ingredients- kneading dough should be done on 2nd power only . Kitchen Aid told me that 2 minutes with dough hook on 2nd power = 10 minutes of hand kneading – I make sure all the flour is caught up and a ball starts to form before I start timing for 2-3 minutes. No more problems overheating! and no problems with proper formation of dough ball. This info came straight from the Kitchen Aid company.

  21. kaf-sub-kimat32779

    I have made this recipe many times and all have turned out quite tasty and get a good oven spring and nice crumb using the tips in the blog. I have a couple of nagging questions about dough temperature. After you put the super starter in the fridge overnight – do you finish the dough cold right out of the fridge or let it come to room temp? I have made mine right out of the fridge and still have it double in less than 5 hours but the dough is still pretty cool. I have read recipes that say the dough should be at 78 degrees after kneading. Second question: After shaping into loaves – if you retard the second rise in the fridge for a day or two – ideally how long should it “proof” before baking? I let mine proof a couple of hours after shaping and before putting into the fridge and let them proof after taking them out until they start to be “puffy”. Thanks!
    Thank you for trying this recipe! After the overnight rest, you may mix the dough straight out of the frig. If the loaves are retarding in the frig for that amount of time, I advise to put the loaves in the oven right from the frig. However, if what you are doing is working (nice oven spring and color) by all means, continue. The extended rise time can be a concern for 2 reasons. If over risen the loaf may spread out rather than up while baking. Also, an extended rise time could effect the caramelizing. The yeast consumes all the sugars if given the chance! Elisabeth

  22. Emily, Grass Valley CA

    Question related to the relative liquidity of the starter. I received some for Christmas (yay!) & the KAF recipe says to “pour a cup”…it MIGHT pour, if I stayed a while, but it’s a pretty gooey starter. I know it’s alive & well (having successfully baked some bread with it), but when I’m using the Super Sour recipe (no extra yeast), there is no way that I can add the full amount of flour. I start out okay, but after the 12 hour slow rising, it calls for 2 more cups flour…the most I’ve gotten in is 1, maybe 1 1/4. I’ve let the dough warm up after removing from the fridge, but that doesn’t really change things.
    Is my starter perhaps too stiff? And what can I do about it?
    Congratulations on your new starter, Emily! All you have to do is bump the water amount in your next feeding if you would like it to be more runny. Your starter is probably very happy with all that extra food (flour) but boosting the hydration will not hurt it a bit. As you noticed, the thicker the starter, the less flour you may need in a given recipe. I am glad you did not try to force the full amount in the recipe! Often our baking decisions are based on “feel” and “appearance.” Happy Baking! Elisabeth

  23. bcorrigan

    I am new at making the sour dough bread. I made the rustic loafs a few times and they came out great. I then wanted to try the extra-tangy. To my shagrin, I fed the sour dough the night before and was ready to start at 10:00 a.m. I added the proof and the 3 cups of flour, let it sit for a few hours but then was instructed to leave in refridgerator over night or 12 hours. This would take me to 3 a.m. I had to leave for work in the morning so I left it in the refridgerator until I get home from work. Will it still be usable or do I need to restart. What is the best timing to make this bread and do it in a reasonable amount of time, not 3 days? Thanks, Brenda

    Brenda, 3 days is what gives it the extra-sour flavor and the good rise, without added yeast. Not knowing your schedule, I’d suggest doing it around a weekend would work better than weekdays. You can speed each resting time up a bit to fit your schedule, but you’ll be sacrificing a bit of both rise and tangy flavor. As with any sourdough bread, experimentation is key – it’s flexible, and you simply have to discover what works best for your schedule, with your starter, in your kitchen. Sorry I can’t be more specific’ but sourdough, esp. sourdough without added yeast, simply doesn’t work like that… PJH

  24. Wrangell_Dale

    I added the 2 Cups of flour, sugar and salt BEFORE the 12 hour rise in the fridge. I missed that line. Did I kill it? It’s going in the fridge while awaiting the bad news.
    Grumble, grumble…I should learn to read…

    I’ll bet it’ll be just fine, Dale – the rising times might be thrown off a bit, but persevere – I’m guessing you’ll end up with a good loaf of bread in the end. PJH

  25. Wrangell_Dale

    I was amazed! My messed up sponge actually made great bread. Not as sour as I want, but it was tall, beautifully browned, crunchy/chewy top crust and chewy sides and bottom crust. A nice crumb, a little moist inside, but only 3-4 minutes shy of perfection.
    I’ll try my technique again this weekend but with adding the salt, sugar and final 2 cups of flour at the right time!
    Can I post some photos of my first sourdough bread in 30 years?

    You are welcome to send them along to our Bakers email OR post on the Community part of the site! To increase the sourness of your starter, you can feed it with half-AP flour and half-whole wheat (or rye) flour. This will boost the nutrients to the yeast and get them super active! Also, you would want to bake your bread to a minimum internal temperature of 190F . If the crust is fully browned before the middle is done, simply tent the loaf with foil and keep baking until the temperature inside reaches that 190F! Best, Kim@KAF

  26. captlynhall

    I have made five loaves of sourdough bread over the past 4 weeks. I use only my starter, no baker’s yeast and bake them in my dutch oven. They come out looking beautiful, taste good, have a nice crispy crust, but the crumb feels a bit rubbery to the touch. My recipe says to cook until the internal temperature is 210 degrees, but I have never been able to get to that. About 205 is the most. Could the crumb be that consistency because it is not being baked long enough to reach 210 inside?

    Sounds to me like you might try taking the cover off your Dutch oven sooner; a rubbery interior is often the sign of too much steaming. You might also try not baking in the Dutch oven at all, unless the dough is so soft it needs the support… Good luck – PJH

    1. Jibsman

      I realize captnhall may never read this since he posted in 2013, but make sure you let the loaves cool COMPLETELY before cutting into them. Cutting too soon can lead to gummy, rubbery bread. I have to keep a wooden spoon handy to keep thieves out of the kitchen! (just kidding of course)

  27. mikeoak840

    I have two beautiful loaves of this sourdough bread doing their last 2-4 hour rise before a few quick slashes and into the oven. I haven’t made sourdough in YEARS, but the feel, the look and so forth of this bread appears to be fantastic. I’m not sure if it’s YOUR sourdough starter, your bread flour, dumb luck or some mystic combination of the three, but I can already tell this is a winner.

    One thing I noted – the instructions here on the website and those on the back of the starter instruction sheet differ. Some of the rise/rest times are different, the instruction sheet doesn’t include spritzing or brushing the loaves with water just before slashing & baking, and so forth. When I sat down and fired up the computer, I thought I’d perhaps goofed. I know it will all come out in the end, but getting the instruction sheet and website in sync as much as possible would, I’m sure, be helpful for other bakers.

    In looking at some of the reviews here on the website and the recipe here, it appears some things have changed – the recipe above says bake to an internal temperature of 190, but a 2/12/2013 post says their recipe says 210 degrees…and the baker is only able to get it to 205. Another post says 190 degrees minimum. This will be the first time I’ve baked bread to a certain internal temperature – in the past it’s been time and look. Again – I’m sure it’s all going to work out fine in the end.

    Mike, sourdough is SO flexible that it can become confusing. Let me check with our customer service team about the “starter instruction sheet” – I’m not sure what that is or what it says, but I’ll find out. As for the 2/12 review, my impression was the writer was citing a different recipe, not the one here in this blog. I like to bake any dense, whole-grain loaves to a higher temperature, but sourdough is usually light-textured enough that I keep it between “at least 190°F” (as the recipe says) and 200°F. I’m betting your bread is going to come out just fine… welcome back to sourdough baking! PJH

  28. traisi69468

    Terrible outcome. Flat, thick crunchy crust that is not easy to break, doesn’t cook on the inside and no rise. Flavor was terrible, no sourdough taste at all, just a bit of tang is all. I used KAF sourdough starter which was very active. 2 days of work for these paperweights and several dollars of expensive KAF flour wasted.
    I am so sorry this was not a good experience for you! Sourdough can be a challenge and we certainly understand these challenges. We want to help and would really love for you to call and speak to one of our bakers. We are not able to compensate for your time but can for the materials. Our toll free number is 1-855-371-2253 and are here every day until 9pm during the week and 5pm on weekends. You’ll be back in the saddle soon! Elisabeth

    1. Kevin57

      Don’t be discouraged, traisi69468. Try it again. 🙂 Sounds like the kit was OK but somehow got less active….


  29. kkmbakes

    How much flexibility is there in the rise and fermentation times e.g. Can I feed the starter for 16 hours instead of 12 hours? Can I leave the first dough in the fridge for 20 hours instead of 12 house? And so on. I can understand that the times given should be minimum times, but are they maximum times too?

    Waiting for the prescribed times can restrict your daily schedule.

    Sure, give anything you want a try. You’ll figure out how to adjust to your schedule as you go along. Since none of us has tested every variation, every time you bake it’s research: record what you do, and the results. That way, you’ll soon find your “sweet spot” of rise/temperature/flavor. Good luck – PJH

  30. M&M

    I’ve been baking sourdough bread for over a year, but it has been a very hitty missy affair!.. However thanks to your wonderful site I have gained a lot of knowledge i.e. why we need to divide the starter, how rye flour will revive a starter that was decidely unwell and the photos are such a great help, as well. Now I have a question – is it possible to plait sourdough? I have tried previously, but I think “disaster” would be the word to describe my efforts. I think that what I want is a challah recipe with a sourdough riser. By the way, I don’t use sugar in my recipe, I use agave syrup. Thanks again for a really wonderful site.

    To work with extra-sticky doughs, especially a sourdough-challah, I suggest checking out our no-knead challah recipe. It shows how to braid the dough even with it being very sticky. You could use the no-knead recipe for challah and swap 2-3 cups of flour+1-1.5 cups water for 2 cups of sourdough starter (unfed starter would be best, I think, to keep the dough from rising too quickly initially). Keep the rest of the ingredients the same and be sure the dough texture is very sticky when mixed. Also, check the dough as it rises since the sourdough starter might give the dough some extra rising power! If you notice the dough rising too quickly, simply punch it down once or twice during the first rise to keep it under control. Please send any questions on if you still need some pointers! Kim@KAF

  31. Ann

    The recipe that came with the starter did not mention the parchment — is that just an extra precaution?

    The Extra-Tangy Sourdough Bread recipe advises to use lightly greased OR parchment lined baking sheet for the shaped loaves – you know we love the parchment covered sheets for the ease of clean up! Happy Baking – Irene@KAF

  32. Gambles

    Thank you so much for this blog and the recipe. I read everything I could find before my first attempt at a sourdough only risen loaf! My poor starter has been used for quite a few unfed recipes (the soft rolls are my favorite), but eventually I just got lazy and missed several weekly feedings. So…. more reading to refresh my mind and out on the counter it came to be “rebooted.” Since I spent 3 days feeding it twice a day, that seemed the perfect time to try this recipe since my sourdough was vigorously overflowing the crock! I followed all your directions. I was terrified when I had to “gently form loaves” but I soldiered on. My overnight was more like 18 hours, my next rise was 4 hours, and my last was also 4 which brought my to bread being ready for dinner – which was just a lucky coincidence!

    2 ? though: Hopefully I didn’t miss of forget this from my reading, but since I can’t find the answers I’ll ask:
    1: Why do I have to wait for the bread to cool completely? Warm is so much more fun! 🙂
    2: I used a loaf pan for one of the loaves. The crust is, of course, not as hard, but the shape is much more convenient. Since the crust is softer, would that affect storage? Should it be wrapped, bagged, or still just left with the cut side down on the counter?

    Thanks so very much for all this help. I decided to tackle yeast baking about 8 months ago. I’m disabled so I can only bake when my body allows my too which is a problem with multi day recipes. Still with every recipe I have tried, and there have been a lot, THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST!!

    Oh sorry, another question: Where is your sourdough starter originally from? Since I know they taste different from all different places, I was shocked when this bread tastes exactly like SAN FRANCISCO sourdough bread!

    Thanks again,

    Great questions Suzanne. Here are my responses:
    1.) Waiting for the bread to cool completely allows the crumb to set fully. When the loaf gets pulled from the oven, the starches have fully gelatinized but haven’t had a chance to cool and set into their shape. Thus, when you attempt to slice the warm bread, you often “mush” the bread down and it can turn out squished pretty flat! Best to cool completely and then slice it up (warming them after if you wish) or cool the loaf, re-warm a bit and slice to serve.
    2.)The bread baked in a pan will show a sign of softer crust because the pan insulates the dough as it bakes, trapping in more moisture. If this moisture remains in the loaf after you pull it from the oven, you will have a soft crust and perhaps a pretty damp bread inside. Next time, you may want to tip the loaf out of the pan when it is done baking, and place it in the turned-off oven to dry it a bit and set the crust better–I’d keep it in for 5-8 minutes, being sure to check that it doesn’t burn if the oven was really hot!

    The softer crust (i.e. damp loaf) will mold quickly, especially if you store the loaf in plastic. I always keep my bread loaves cut-side down in a heavy paper bag (a clean paper grocery bag is best!).

    3.) Our sourdough starter comes from a starter first created in the 1700’s in New England. I was told it actually belonged to one of the former owners of King Arthur Flour, the Sands family! The starter will certainly take on the yeast spores of your home environment, so do be aware that it will evolve over time as it gets fed and used. Best, Kim@KAF

  33. Ann

    I love love love this recipe. Has anyone used it for rolls? Any other uses for this slow rise technique? I guess it would make a pretty spongy pizza crust…
    Hi Ann,
    Have you checked out the no-knead recipes we have online? You can do so much with no-knead doughs, it’s great! ~ MJ

  34. LiseB

    Wow, I have to tell my bread story – inspired by landing on this recipe page.
    I lived in Vermont (East Dover) from ’79 to ’89. Bought 10 acres, built a house, had 2 kids, baked all our own bread, pizza dough, etc. My motto was, if ya want good bread ya gotta do it yourself. I have to have good bread.

    Then I discovered Hamelman’s bakery in Brattleboro. My epitaph was shot. So was my drive to bake bread while raising two young children. I no longer had to! One day while there, I had a funny feeling I’d seen the gal waiting on me before. It didn’t take long to realize we had gone to grade school/high school together in upstate NY! Small world.

    Fast forward: have been living in Boulder, CO since 1994. As a teacher, I have time in the summer to follow inspirations, and I was hit with the sourdough bread bug. Researching online, I discovered starter from Ischia, Italy. What!!! I lived there as a child on this small island for half a year. I even took my husband there, and we went to my old house. Who’d have known they had their own sourdough starter! Small world. So of course I ordered some.

    I found a recipe on a good website, and once I gave birth to Luigi, my vigorous sourdough, I launched my first bread in years. But frisky as Luigi is, I wasn’t patient enough, and could have donated my first loaf to a discus thrower. I read some more, and landed on this page. My first loaf – about 4 hours from baking, (but we’ll see)…looks very promising. As I was reading down the list of authors, I saw – what? Jeffrey Hamelman? Could it be…MUST be. I read his bio on the KA site, and yes, it IS! Small world! And bread karma makes that world go round. My new motto/epitaph: Life is too short to eat bad bread. Cheers to all you bread people, and especially to Jeff Hamelman who has NO idea who I am 🙂

    Regardless of whether or not Jeffrey knows you, this is a fantastic story! In terms of mastering sourdough, it really comes from trial and error/success! If you ever happen to come back to Vermont, you should certainly stop by and see if Jeffrey is in–I’m sure he’d love to hear this right from you. Final note: the more you bake, the more adept you will become at creating wild yeast breads. Practice makes better, not necessarily perfect! Let the wild (yeast) rumpus start!! Happy Baking, Kim@KAF

  35. SonitaClaire

    Have tried this recipe twice. Followed recipe as best I can. both times no oven spring. My bread is as flat as a ciabatta (may be even flatter). The taste and texture were great, though. My dough was rather wet. Could this be the problem? Should I bake it in a dutch oven/ clay pot? Would that help? Any thoughts?

    It’s probably a shaping thing…..for best advice – call our Baker’s Hotline at 855-371-2253 or check the Baker’s Companion cookbook on page 281 for “shaping boules”. You can shape ovals or rounds and they should spring up fine both in the shaped rise and in the oven. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  36. LisaB

    My loafs are on their 2nd rise, but I’m just not real confident about them. Sour dough is very different than regular yeast baking…and I’m just not confident in reading the signs. My starter was very vigorous, bubbly and tangy smelling. When I put the dough in the fridge last night for the overnight rise, I was on top of the world. It looked just like the pictures this morning. And there’s where I started questioning myself. Mix in all 2 cups of flour at one time? In the stand mixer or with a spoon. Look at the video again. Not the same recipe. Put it in the mixer with hook. Knead. It was no where as loose as the pics! But it did spring back like the video said, even if it was really stiff. I let it rise for 3hrs….it did puff up, so I divided and shaped. It’s still a very firm dough….not at all soft like the pictures. We’ll see later after this final rise and baking, but something tells me I’m going to have a nice tangy,heavy, pack-ey two loafs of bread.:((

    Lisa: yeast bread recipes should always be taken with a grain of salt (no pun intended): you should always feel free to adjust a dough by adding a bit of flour or water to get the right texture. NEVER assume that the way a recipe is written is exactly how it will perform when it comes to bread. There are simply too many factors that can get in the way: humidity, temperature, air pressure, altitude, etc. Even the way you measure flour one day can vary the next. If you noticed the dough was too stiff and not looking like the pictures, you have freedom to add some water (2-3 Tbs to start) to get the dough to the right texture. At this point, you might do best to use that dough to make some buttery sourdough rolls OR some cheesy rolls with the dough Best, Kim@KAF

  37. terri

    I made this bread yesterday and have, what appears to be two very pretty, but very dense, loaves of bread. They didn’t appear to rise much after I shaped them… maybe not at all. Question – between the second rise and the shaping, should I have punched down the dough at all? I simply cut the dough in two and shaped.

    Great questions, sourdough baker! With sourdough it’s sometimes best to fold (in thirds like a business letter) instead of knead. Shaping the bread is also important. There are some great tips on the video page of our website (Baking Skills, Sourdough Bread: shaping and baking the bread). Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  38. DailyBread

    Thank you for an excellent recipe! This bread turned out beautifully despite a number of first-timer mishaps along the way. (First starter from scratch, first sourdough, first overnight rise…)

    I used the maximum given rising time for each stage, and put the rising dough in a lightly warmed oven (set to WARM 5 seconds, then off, prior to using). Sometime I’d like to try this with honey, molasses, or maple syrup as yeast food instead of white sugar.

    Kudos to you on your inaugural sourdough experience! I hope you have many more enjoyable journeys. Substitute any sweetener you like – all are fine. Enjoy – PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Tom, thank YOU for choosing to invite us into your kitchen and (virtually) stand beside you as you bake. There’s no “just” in being a home baker; creating something using your hands and heart, then sharing with others, is truly a gift. Enjoy – PJH

  39. Anu Nigam

    I bought the Artisan bread baking crock and Dutch oven from your website and would like to use it for this recipe. Could you please tell me how?- as in when to keep the lid on and when to take it off?also, will the temp and time for baking vary?
    Looking forward to hearing from you and using my bread baking crock!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can create that brick oven effect by baking in a covered baker – use the recipe temp. and time as a guideline. Keep the lid on for the baker – and remove the last 10 minutes to brown the top of the bread. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  40. Judy Testa

    Can you bake bread dough that is already been shaped in a loaf and frozen, and only half thawed and have it turn out well?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Lots of variables in that question, Judy. Depends on your definition of “turn out well:” how slack the dough was; how it was wrapped and frozen; how hot your oven is… I’d say give it a try, recording what you do. If it’s good, then simply put a check mark next to your data; if it’s not, write down what was wrong, and see if you can correct it next time. Good luck – PJH

  41. Cliff

    I’ve made this recipe several times in the past and have gotten so so results…..never truly satisfied with the end result……until today. I watched your instructional videos again and realized I was “scooping the flour” as opposed to gently filling the measuring cup and leveling as you recommend. My previous doughs were very dry and I could never figure out why……until I learned how to properly measure the flour. The bread I made today is perfect….looks and tastes like bread from a professional bakery! Thank you!!!

  42. Jolly

    So what would the cooking instructions for using a dutch oven for this bread. Would you put the bread in a dutch oven for the final rise and then put them in a hot oven or would you place the dutch oven in the oven while its preheating and then place the bread in a hot dutch oven? Would the cooking times vary and do you remove the lid at a certain time? Thanks

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Jolly, some like to preheat their Dutch oven or crock before adding the risen dough, but we find it less troublesome to start our crock bread in a cold oven; less chance of it deflating, and we really don’t see any difference in outcome. Follow the instructions for this recipe, as far as when to remove the cover. Good luck – PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Absolutely! I tend to suggest to add 1-2 tsp of extra water per cup of bread flour. Jon@KAF

  43. Carolyn

    This is my go-to recipe for sourdough bread. The flavour is second to none. I struggle with the rising and baking schedule and wondering if you have any suggestions. I would like to bake my bread mid-morning, so it can be served at lunch. In order to do that, it means I have to get up in the middle of the night to start the day 2 process. Any suggestions would be hugely appreciated.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Carolyn, I’d say your best bet is to shape the loaves, and let them rise in the fridge overnight, rather than for several hours at room temperature. Next day, take them out of the fridge as soon as you get up (preferably by 7 a.m. or so), and let them warm to room temperature, plus rise any more, if they need to. Then you should be able to bake them mid-morning for lunch. Enjoy! PJH

  44. Katrina Hardeman

    I’ve read through the responses, and decided to share a bit of “help”.
    I made this recipe a few times and was having issues with the dough not doing a whole lot of rising, and producing rather small and dense loaves. I tried using this on a regular cookie sheet, with a loaf pan, different sizes, letting it have more rising time, less proofing time, more kneading, less kneading, etc. It was getting frustrating to say the least, as I wanted to share it with my in-laws and was too embarrassed to do so. I still ate it, and it’s delicious, it just wasn’t the right texture/crumb etc…
    Then I recalled my grandmother’s way of baking sourdough bread. She always put the sugar in with the the starter and first few cups of flour and the salt in the second second “flouring”. Her reasoning back then was: “You’ll always catch more flies with honey than with salt”. I never understood what she meant by that when it came to bread making. Social graces yeah I understood, but, with bread? So, I tried putting the sugar in with the starter and first bit of flour, and voila! It works really well, IMHO.
    Hope this helps those who say they “tried it all”. Never give up, there’s always a way to make your starter earn it’s keep in your pantry. 🙂

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I’m glad to hear your found a method that works for you! Also, a big help to achieve a more open crumb is to have a dough that has a higher hydration. Jon@KAF

  45. Susan

    I just got some new starter from a friend (after killing my through neglect) and pulled out my 25-year-old KAF sourdough recipe. I’m now looking for some different recipes on your website but was interested to see that this recipe is almost the same as my old one. The old recipe calls for a 12-24 hour first fermentation, slightly more salt, and a hotter oven but it sure makes some good bread. I make the loaves in a baguette pan because I’m not so fond of the free-form flattened ones. Mine never seem to puff up so much in the oven

  46. Matt

    I must say my sourdough experience has been quite the journey. It started (no pun intended) just a few short weeks ago when I began my own starter (thanks to PJH’s great blog post). Being my first time having anything to do with sourdough the first few days were terrifying (“Ewww, why does it smell like THAT?”) but eventually after about 8 days the starter was doing quite well. It smelled wonderfully yeasty to boot. When it came time to make this bread I, stubbornly, tried to work it into a weekday schedule I was so excited! I made the overnight starter late last night, and all seemed great. This afternoon I added the flour (I added KAF Unbleached Bread Flour instead of AP for the second flouring), salt, and sugar and was ready to knead. It was quite stiff, probably because of the bread flour, so I added some water after trying desperately to get it to work out the way it was. The water helped but made the dough seem very sticky, despite it looking stiffer still than the photos. I left the dough as it was and didn’t add any more water. I left it to rest in the bowl for about 3 hours and saw a modest at best rise or “puffiness”. Being impatient as I am, I turned the dough out onto parchment and shaped it into one long, rather large loaf (it didn’t seem like that much dough to me, until it spread). When the shaped proofing came around I was quite worried to see almost no vertical rise. The dough spread out significantly but never rose above maybe 1.5″. I stuck it in the 425 oven anyways and BAM! Oven spring galore! I was amazed to see the loaf pop up to a reasonable size. It’s still in the oven right now, and is browning beautifully. I may update later. Thanks for the amazing recipe! Even me, the beginner, can bake sourdough!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Wow, Matt, I was reading this with some trepidation, hoping the story would have a happy ending. Sounds like it did! Yes, sourdough often has incredible oven spring; I’ve put many a flat, sad-looking loaf into the oven, only to see it blow up like a balloon within 10 minutes or so. I hope your bread is as delicious as it no doubt looks. Thanks for sharing here, and best of luck as you continue down the sourdough path. PJH

  47. Nancy

    I love the Pain Au Levain recipe in the KAF book and have been making this bread, using starter from another KAF recipe that has matured nicely, for quite a few months now. It is such a tasty bread and I find it satisfying making bread using only flour, starter, salt and water. NO SUGAR!

    Anyway I am curious about bubbles in my dough. I fold the dough after an hour, then let rise again an hour before shaping, and I am starting to get large bubbles. I kind of think this is a good thing, but I wonder! I can see them on the surface of my shaped boules and I’ve been popping them…. what do you think??

    thanks for the wonderful bread and your support – Nancy

    1. Amy Trage

      Be sure to gently de-gass the dough before shaping to avoid these larger bubbles on your shaped boule. ~Amy

  48. Carol Vlasz

    I have a question, how wide is the King Arthur flour sour dough starter crock. I can’t find the width anywhere on line or in catalog, it only gives height and how much it holds. I would like to order one but need to know the height.

    Thank You,
    Carol Vlasz

  49. Cynthia

    I really want to send you a picture of this sourdough baked in long cloche with top on
    How do I do this? The picture is on my iPhone. . I will try to send it to this web address. It is spectacularly tall!!


    I have got the sour dough rustic bread recipe down. I use my KA to do the mixing and kneading using the dough hook only. I am looking at the extra tangy now because I just can’t get enough of the sour dough flavor and thought this would be the next recipe. Odd note: a cup of fed starter in the Rustic Recipe is 8 oz when you set it to oz measure but is 8.5 oz in the Tangy recipe. I have been using 8.5 in the Rustic as well and with great success (for our house bread). I have been using the KAF “Brotform” and “Dough Hammock” for lack of a better term again with great success. I have been using the Emile Henry Cloche (again from KAF) and it has been 1 recipe of dough for one loaf. Aside from playing with temperature, baking time, and “remove the lid for finish” I have stopped playing with this recipe.

    Now, the extra tangy uses a touch less salt and no yeast. Except for technique timing and “reading the rises” are there any other “surpises” to be watched out for? Still ok for a single loaf raised in a brotform and cooked in the cloche?

    thanks for all you offer to this community.


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I’m glad you enjoyed our rustic sourdough and the extra tangy should hopefully work out just as well for you using the same method. There shouldn’t be any surprises, and the removal of the yeast as you took diligent notice of will allow all the rise to come from the starter culture, which can take longer to complete the rise and therefore result in a “tangier” loaf due to the longer period of fermentation. I hope the new loaf goes well for you and let us know how it turns out! Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF


    Sort of successful but I’m back with a couple of questions.
    1. On the first round with my sponge, My last feed of my starter had only been a couple of days, so, I used 8.5 oz of 2 day unfed starter. In the 4 hour rest at room temp before the refrigerator the sponge tripled. In the next 12 hours in fridge, it really didn’t do much more, but, didn’t deflate either. (OK?)

    2. Next morning added flour, salt, sugar, kneaded it 8 min with the KA and again put it to rest for the 4 hours. Again, this went to almost to triple during the rise. Should I have taken this dough under control at the “doubled” size and proceeded to the final rise rather that waiting the 4 hours?

    3. I took my tripled dough and folded it to collapse it a bit and then tucked and formed it into a single loaf and dropped it into my brotform. for the final 4 hour rise. My monster climbed out of the KAF brotform by about 3 inches and looked sort of like a big mushroom. I am guessing that I should have reigned this in, but, I wanted the full sour dough experience.

    4. I floured my cloche and dropped the monster in the center and with floured hands again tucked and formed it into a boule shape and deliberately degassed it more that a little to get it under the bell. I put the cold cloche it into a 450 degrees oven for 40 minutes, then uncovered the cloche for 5 minutes. I was still a little shy of 190 so I gave it another 5 minutes and pulled the whole thing at about 199 (thermopen).

    My loaf had a really chewy texture and the crust was brown not burned. Now, you really need to use your teeth to eat this bread. It is moist, it is chewy, and not like jerkey, but, it is significantly tough if that is a word. My wife and I agree that it is good, but, not like anything we have made so far. Slices perfectly, makes a great sandwich, and toasted it is mindful of an English muffin in texture.

    The color of the bread itself is a browner color that the Rustic with the yeast which is I pretty white dough. I am guessing that the color (like a 20% whole wheat loaf) is due to the fermentation. Fascinating and delicious with butter.

    Please give me your opinion. Should I just let it run like this or should I start shortening the rise times to when the dough has doubled. This was fascinating. Should I have split it after the final rise or just gone with a sheet pan rather that degassing it and getting it to fit under the cloche.

    I know this is long, but, I am going to start this again later in the week because this loaf is being eaten at an alarming rate.

    thanks rch

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If your bread is “fascinating and delicious”, it sounds like you are doing everything just right – even if you have taken the recipe and changed it, made it your own. ~Jaydl@KAF

  52. Shelby

    I apologize if this has been asked before but I’ve looked on the site and not quite found an answer. I’m fairly new to baking sourdough, and I’m not sure what it means when the recipe calls for “fed” starter. My starter is nice and active now, I’ve been following the article on maintaining my sourdough starter. I have been keeping in it the fridge Sunday-Thursday, taking it out Thursday night and then feeding every 12 hours through the weekend (I only have time to bake on the weekends). So at what point in the cycle of feeding it every 12 hours is it considered “fed”? Immediately after feeding it? Or should I let the “yeasts” work for at least a few hours after feeding it? Or is it “fed” all the way up until the next feeding time 12 hours later?

    1. Susan Reid

      “Fed”, for the purposes of recipes, means moving and active, with that hypnotic, slow-motion bubbling going on. Susan

    2. Jason

      Love the blog. I am a professional baker, and this one threw me for a loop as well. In my circle we use the term “Active”, when referring to a starter that is alive and well. Just a thought to try to reduce confusion. Again, so glad to see good folks like you helping so many home bakers learn the joys of baking. There is nothing like homemade bread, especially sourdough.


    I feed it per KAF with 4+4+4 oz – Starter, flour, water. I mix it in a clear pyrex bowl and leave it on the counter. I have used it in as little as 4 hours as long as it has at least doubled. I have also used my starter at the 12 hour end of the feed when I am trying to get the max sour dough flavor out of it.

  54. LauraG

    I’ve been baking sourdough bread for a few years now, and have success now that I’m using a bread proofer. I live in a cold climate, and had disasters with rising. I LOVE that nice gadget!

  55. Nehal

    Thank you for the wonderful post with easy to follow steps for making sourdough bread. I baked the bread last night following your recipe very closely, but the bread came out a bit dense. No big holes:(. Can you provide some insight on what might have happened? The dough did double in size both time when I left it to rise. I kneaded the dough with hands for a good 10 minutes and left it to rise. It doubled in size in 4 hours. Then, I gently deflated it and shaped it and let it rise again (in my bread loaf pan). Again, it took 4 hours, and it double in size. The only thing I did differently was that I used a bread loaf pan, instead of a flat baking tray for baking the bread. I did this because, I had halved the recipe because I was trying it for the first time, and didn’t want to make 2 loaves.
    Please let me know what I can do differently next time, to get big holes(like the ones you have shown in pictures) and not very dense bread next time.

    How wet is your dough? The stiffer the dough is, the less likely you are to have big holes, and the slower the dough will rise. 4 hours to double hints that the dough may be on the dry side. Try leaving 1/2 cup of the flour you used last time out of the recipe next time, and see if it a) rises faster and b) has larger holes. Susan

    1. Nehal

      Thank you Susan. I think my dough wasn’t as wet as your’s. I will try to use less dough next time and post here with my new result.

  56. Cindy

    I made my starter (it took 9 days) then I made this recipe….it was AWESOME!!! My kids didn’t like it much (they have never had sourdough and they are only 13 and 12, its an acquired taste I guess)….I had a few issues with it….1. I added the 5 c. flour (as stated in the recipe, used 3 c. AP and 2 c. bread flour)…and only 1.5 c water….which was the minimum. The dough was sooo sticky and hard to knead. How ‘sticky’ is the dough supposed to be? 2. I forgot to spritz it with water. 3. I forgot the slices in the top. and 4. I used my casserole dish because I was afraid it was going to expand off the cookie sheet too much (I made it into a boule) ….and it stuck like cement to the bottom of it, so technically I only got half a loaf outta the whole thing….flavor-wise my starter ROCKS!! I will try this recipe again. I really just want to know if I should add more flour if I am having to pull dough off my hands when I knead it, ya know what I mean (it was basically swallowing my hands!)…Thanks for all the helpful advice! 🙂

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Cindy, a trick you may find very useful is to mix the ingredients just until the flour is moistened, and then to cover the bowl and let the dough rest for a half hour. After the rest period, return to the dough for kneading. The dough will still stick to your hands a bit – certainly at the start – but the dough will have absorbed some of the liquid during that rest period and it will be much easier to handle. I like to keep a dough scraper nearby when kneading. You can scrape the dough from your hands easily that way. By the end of the kneading period, the dough should be tacky, but much easier to handle.~Jaydl@KAF

  57. Jayne

    I’ve tried this recipe several times, with mixed results. I find the dough gets too sticky to handle and the last time the bread didn’t rise at all, but just spread out all over the pan. Thoughts?

  58. Valerie Cranmer

    I never slash my loaves because they deflate and stay that way. For the most part, they rise beautifully both times before baking. I bake in either a cast iron Dutch oven or a stoneware bread pan. After reading some of the comments I’m starting to think that my oven might not be quite hot enough (425F). Comments/observations would be appreciated! Thank you.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      That may be part of the problem, but it sounds like your loaves are a bit over proofed. It is generally best to not allow your dough to rise a huge amount during the last rise, maybe 1.5 in bulk. This way, when you score your bread it will not deflate as much and it will have more oven spring. Jon@KAF

  59. Cindy

    ok, I have another question. I have some friends that live in NC….Can this bread be MAILED, would it survive the trip? If so, how would I do that? any special packaging (like for example I have a food saver machine I could vacuum pack it but I would be afraid it would get squished). I know it would take a day or 2 to get to its destination unless I went with next day….would I HAVE to send it next day mail?? (I would rather not send it that way….more money than I have…but if I must I would).

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Cindy, sourdough bread travels better than most yeast loaves. Wrap it airtight; then my advice would be to mail it USPS Priority Mail, which will probably cost you $12.95. If that’s too much, go with regular mail, and I’m betting it would survive a 3-4 day trip just fine. Reheating the bread just before serving (e.g., toasting it slightly) will help refresh it. Good luck – PJH

  60. Ann H

    I got distracted last night and left the dough mixture out rather than putting it in the refrigerator. When I checked it this morning, it had clearly risen very high, and then fallen, I assume in some kind of yeasty frenzy. So…. I put it in the fridge while at church, then took it out, added the remaining ingredients plus YEAST, thinking that it probably had depleted its supply. I will see how this works out, but is my logic sound? I also had to add extra flour as it was very sticky….. thanks!!!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Ann, it probably would have recovered without the yeast, but adding it definitely didn’t hurt. Adding extra flour might make your loaf denser/drier; the best-rising doughs are sticky. Without knowing the exact appearance of “very sticky,” I can’t tell you whether you did the right thing, adding more flour. But – the proof is in the pudding (er, bread). So hopefully it turns out just fine. Enjoy – PJH

  61. Ann H

    Thanks PJ! I have made this bread (correctly 🙂 ) many times, and this time it seemed much stickier. not sure why — but I am glad to know that it probably won’t be a total loss!

  62. Shiho

    I’m a regular baker so I felt confident enough to try sourdough even though it was my very first bread making attempt. The instructions for this recipe, along with one for creating your own starter was extremely straightforward and easy to follow. The advise about this being more of an art than a science was one I kept in mind and as a result did not add all the flour as the dough didn’t seem to require it. I baked half the dough in a loaf pan and the other rolled out into a baguette. Bread turned out great and am seriously thinking from now on to make my own bread weekly because of this recipe. The sourdough starter should continue to age and hopefully motivate me to keep up the effort weekly. Thank you!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I’m so happy to hear of your success, Shiho! Keep it up and you will be a bread baking master in no-time. Jon@KAF

  63. Kim

    My starter is pretty new- I’ve been keeping it in the fridge for about 2 weeks now (3 weeks old in all); I have made the Rustic Sourdough Bread and it came out great, but I am looking for a stronger flavor. So my question is, do you think my starter is old and vigorous enough to make this bread, or should I let it age more?

    Thanks for all your help!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Kim-
      You can use your starter as long as it has gotten active and bubbly, but you do want to make sure you are feeding it at least once, but preferably twice a week and certainly before you use it. If you are looking for a tangier loaf, you can allow your bread to do its rises in the refrigerator and that will help to promote a fermentation that will produce “tangy” acids. I would also recommend giving this recipe a try: Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Jamie, sorry the parchment stuck – I’ve never had that happen. But since you’re happy with how your Dutch oven works, stick with it! Good luck – PJH

  64. Kim

    I tried this recipe today but my it came out pretty flat. Any ideas on what might have gone wrong? Also, I’m always a little confused with rising times because my dough always tends to rise a lot faster then the recipe suggests. Is there a specific way to tell when the dough is ready after the first and second rise? Thanks!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This bread dough will nearly double during its rises. Please give our Hotline (855 371 2253) a call for help troubleshooting. We will be much better able to offer ideas about your flat loaf with a little more information about your dough’s feel, your kitchen’s temperature, your methods, etc.~Jaydl@KAF

  65. dbg100

    I’ve made this recipe once, it come out pretty good. Now I’m on my second try.

    I was wondering whether you can provide a little more guidance as to what to look for during the 2 to 5 hour rise to determine that it’s ready to shape into loaves. The recipe says it becomes relaxed and expanded but maybe a bit puffy.

    Also, in some recipes that have a long rise time, the instructions were to fold into thirds every hour to expel any gas – is that needed here ?

    Last question, any other indicators for determining when the loaves are ready to bake, again there’s a 2 to 4 our window with guidance for them to become very puffy.

    I’m used to instructions such as “doubles in volume,” here it seems a little different. By the way I used the max on my first try, the loaves came out pretty good, though a little denser than I expected.

    Thanks for your help !

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello David,

      I feel like we will be able to answer your questions more thoroughly if you called our Baker’s Hotline. We can troubleshoot all of your questions and more over the phone. Our number is 855 371 2253, we hope to hear from you soon. Jon@KAF

  66. Patricia

    I made Extra Tangy Sourdough bread a few times, the final crumbs gets better every time but my dough is always too sticky to handle.
    Today I tried again. After removing the overnight dough from the fridge, I left it at room temp for 3 hours before adding the flour to make the final dough. Should I have mixed it immediately from the fridge?
    After mixing the flour and knead the dough is very stretchy and sticky which I think is good,
    I let it rest for 30 mins, gave it a fold, let it rest again for another 30 mins before 2nd fold and then left it to rise for 90 mins to double before dividing.
    The divided dough was very soft and real difficult to shape. What is it that I am not doing right?
    It was just not possible to make a good slit on the dough before baking as dough was so soft and the slit disappeared almost immediately after I made it. Why is this?
    During baking the bread took it shape very well although I would have prefer it to be higher than bigger in diameter.
    The crumb is good but overall I think I can do better but not sure how and what.
    My husband and I love this sourdough and as said so far it has been good but I am sure it can be better and easy to shape.
    Thanks for helping

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Patricia, that your dough is soft and stretchy when you finish kneading does sound like a good sign. Did the dough gain in body and strength with each fold? At the time of shaping, the dough should still be tacky, but easier to handle than when you first finished kneading it. You might find that giving the dough a little preshape after you divide it and before you shape it will help. We have a short video of Jeffrey Hamelman dividing and preshaping dough: Take care, Jaydl@KAF

  67. Brinn Clayton

    I have tried this recipe 3 times. The first time was good. Though the crust was not thick like I have had at other places.
    The second time it bubbled but did not rise. It flattened out on the cook pan. I was serving it for a family dinner. After it cooked and painted it with olive oil, sprinkled it with parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper. We dipped it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was great, but I don’t know who I did it.
    The third time was this past weekend. It was good, but did not rise well. I cooked it in bread pans because I was afraid it may spread again.
    I have been working with sourdough starter for over a year. I’m not getting much consistency in the outcome. Any suggestions? Any articles I could read?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You’re using a fed sourdough starter to make your bread… that will help – along with some shaping details. Here’s a link to a great series of videos about the sourdough – I’ve linked you to shaping here but it may be helpful to look at the other videos that start with the title “sourdough bread”: Happy Sourdough Baking! Irene@KAF

  68. Charlotte

    I’ve been making this recipe for 2 years now, using Butterworks Farm flour. It’s stone-ground, very hearty wheat flour. My family like the bread a lot, and I love the simplicity of sourdough! Instead of kneading, I give it a “stretch and fold” treatment, and it really rises quickly.

    Today, just for kicks, I made it with your white flour. I wanted a light, fluffy loaf for company. It’s like a totally different bread (of course!), and behaved just as the recipe describes. I usually feel that the dough is too dense, and have thought about adding more water. Maybe this is silly of me to not realize for so long, but do I need more water for a whole wheat loaf? Once, when I had store-bought whole wheat (not fresh or stone ground, hardly any bran compared to Butterworks) the dough was more springy and light like this AP flour one. Now I wonder if there’s a certain way to make this type of loaf with my flour.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You’re correct in your assumption, Charlotte. Whole wheat flour absorbs more water in comparison to white flour. As such, we suggest to add about 1 tablespoon of water per cup of whole wheat you are substituting. Jon@KAF

    2. Charlotte

      Thank you! I tried it with the extra water, and that little bit really did make a difference. We were fine with the bread before, but this loaf was better!

  69. Melinda

    In the Extra Tangy Sourdough Recipe, it calls for 1 cup of starter — is that by volume and, if so, liquid or dry? I notice it also says 8 oz. elsewhere — again, does starter count as a liquid or is this a weight measurement? Thanks!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Melinda, a cup is a cup, liquid or dry; dry measuring cups and liquid measuring cups are different only in that the liquid cup includes some extra real estate (breathing space) around the top, to prevent spillage. Sourdough starter weighs about 8 to 8 1/2 ounces per cup – and yes, you can call it a liquid if it helps you conceptualize the whole thing. Good luck with your bread! PJH

  70. Ashley

    I have never been able to make bread–any homemade bread–before this recipe. I’ve utterly failed with getting anything to rise, using packaged yeast or not. This recipe and its starter, followed to a T with a couple of weeks of patience, worked out perfectly. Perfect crust, big holes, tangy taste. I couldn’t believe it. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom about all things sourdough (I’ve come to love my little yeasty babies!) and for making yourselves available by phone to answer my many questions! I feel like I finally have some control over the dough and love having a little taste of San Francisco in my SC kitchen!

    1. Susan Reid

      Congratulations, Ashley, and good for you for sticking with it! Any new skill is that much more valuable when you work to acquire it. We’re sure you’ll be delighting all your friends and family with your bread! Susan

  71. Gayle

    Why not use yeast in this extra tangy sourdough recipe? Does it cancel out with the acetic acid?
    Thanks, and sorry if someone else already asked this–I can’t do a word search on this ipad!

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      HI Gayle,
      You could use some extra dry yeast with the recipe. Your rises will be faster with the added yeast, compared to this classic starter-only version. ~ MJ

  72. Gayle

    Two questions: Why not use yeast in this extra tangy sourdough recipe? Does it cancel out with the acetic acid? And are the slits necessary or just for looks?
    Thanks, and sorry if someone else already asked this.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You certainly may use some yeast but the idea is to produce a bread that is leavened by the starter only. Slashing helps the bread to expand as it does its last rise (oven spring) just as it goes into the oven. Looks great too! Elisabeth@KAF

  73. Ann H

    I have made this recipe many times but this time I have timed it badly – it only sat out for about an hour last night before I put it in the fridge before going to bed. I took it out late morning today but am realizing that I may not get it made before going out this afternoon. Can I just pop it back it the fridge and make it tomorrow? I would think so…. it hasn’t risen very much, though.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello Ann-
      If you keep your dough refrigerated, it will help to hold it somewhat, but you are really stretching this recipe out if you are not going to bake it off until morning. What you may find, is that your dough has exhausted a good deal of its rising power and may not leave you with as nice a rise in the oven as you are use to. I would certainly keep it refrigerated for the full holding time, and the sooner you can get to baking it off, the nicer the final product will be I think. I hope that helps and if you have any further questions, please feel free to call our Baker’s Hotline at 1-855-371-2253. Happy baking! Jocelyn@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sure, Ann, no Baking Police here! Do whatever you like to make the loaf that satisfies YOU. Enjoy – PJH

  74. Diane D

    Thought I’d let you know that this bread, in addition to being delicious, is very forgiving. I started my starter about a year ago and usually bake the Rustic bread recipe with some added sour salt. Yesterday I left my discarded starter in a bowl on my counter (I always feed the discard in case I want to use it that day). It was bubbly and aromatic by evening, so I decided to go for the Classic recipe for the first time. It was too late to give it a full 4 hours at room temp so refrigerated after 2 hours. It almost doubled in 12 hours. After adding the remaining ingredients and kneading, I had a meeting to attend so it sat on the counter for almost 4 hours and was fully doubled when I returned and shaped it. After a 2 1/4 hours rise the loaves were puffy. They did flatten somewhat when I made the slits, more than the Rustic dough does, but I could see they were making a nice oven rise. Here’s where I made my big mistake. The timer was set and I went downstairs to work in my home office. I told myself to turn off the radio so I could hear the timer. Suddenly I realized I hadn’t done that and ran upstairs, hearing the buzzer going. I don’t know how much longer than 25 minutes they baked but when I took them out the internal temp was over 200 degrees and the crust felt very hard. I was sure I had ruined them after all of hours of babying the dough! Let me tell you, they are as close to perfect as I could imagine. Beautiful crumb, soft, moist and chewy inside with nice holes and heavenly fragrance. Thanks for such a great recipe and next time I will follow it more exactly, although I can’t imagine getting better results!
    PS. I added an additional 2 Tbsp of flour, just enough to make it not quite so sticky to handle.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Lori, I’d say the baking time would be roughly the same. I don’t generally bake crusty loaves in a pan (since being in the pan means their sides will steam rather than become crisp), but the time/temperature seems like it would work. Just keep your eye on them, as you may need to tent their tops with aluminum foil towards the end, especially if they’re not baked through after 30 minutes. Good luck – PJH

  75. Jennifer

    Hi! I’ve been baking bread since I was a kid but only branched out into sourdough the last couple weeks…I bought some starter from your store, made a couple Rustic loaves that were gone nearly overnight, then tried the Pain as Levain recipe from the cookbook. It turned out amazing and I’m going to make another batch today. I’m wondering if there’s a way to make more of a sandwich loaf shape somehow, rather than a boule or large loaf, without adding instant yeast? There’s a recipe in one of the cookbooks for a sandwich loaf, but it calls for extra yeast. I’m on a special diet for a while where I’m trying to avoid yeast, but wild yeast in sourdough is fine. Thanks for your help!

    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Jennifer. Sandwich loaves are largely a matter of shaping. I’ve baked plenty of sourdough in a loaf pan and the world didn’t come to an end :-). As a rough guide, if the recipe is using 3 cups of flour, you can bake it in an 8 1/2″ x 4″ loaf pan. 3 1/2 to 4 cups, go to a 9″ x 5″ pan. Hope this helps. Susan

  76. "Baker Boy Jack"

    Brand new to baking and went right for this recipe to try and approach my memories of San Francisco sourdough! I have made this 4 times to date, slightly varying the type and ratio of flours ( AP & First Clear) as well as the wetness of the starter and the dough.
    I have extended the refrigerator rising time to 18 + hours to see if I could get more acetic acid forming and hence a more “assertive” sour! No citric acid for me thanks!
    Results: All 4 batches were excellent with a bit of variation on rise and sourness and crumb structure!
    So far what seems to work for me is: a wetter starter, a 2/3 flour ratio of FC & AP with a wetter mix – used 2c FC and 1c AP on first 4 hr rise and 18 hr fridge rise, then 2c AP on 2nd rise, shaping loaves is critical (watched KAF video several times!) and letting the loaves cool before eating…. very tough to do!
    Thank you King Arthur, I pledge my fealty to the baking quest!!

  77. Dave

    Hi! Getting ready to try this recipe for the first time in my new home – about 7600 feet higher than my last kitchen… Wondered what surprises I might be in for – are there any hints for doing the sourdough at altitude? Thank you for your time and advice!

    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Dave. The altitude baking I’ve done has taught me a couple of general things to keep in mind. You’ll likely have to use up to an ounce more water than flour when feeding your starter, because the air is so dry at your altitude. Consider, for your dough, using bread flour instead of all purpose. The bakers I talked to in Colorado at 8,000 and above all swore by it. Increase the oven temperature for the recipe by 25°, and decrease your baking time. Consider doing the second rise for the bread in the refrigerator; it will slow things down and give you better flavor. Good luck, and let us know how it goes! Susan

  78. Shannon

    I really appreciate your recipes/tutorials for sourdough! I tried making my own starter for the first time, and the bread turned out great! Do you have any suggestions for getting a finer crumb? My kids like to use it for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but they don’t like sticky fingers. Can I knead it more after the bulk fermentation (right before shaping the loaf?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Since we encourage people to use a wet dough to make larger holes, let’s use the reverse. Use slightly less water in the recipe to make a dough that is a bit more firm. You can also strongly press and fold the dough as your shape it, which will aid in creating a more even, fine crumb. Other things that create a finer crumb would be oil or butter, or milk powder. You may want to play with those ingredients until you reach your dream loaf. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  79. Kathy Maxwell

    I’ve been using my starter for over 20 years. It’s still very active and healthy. I refresh it every few weeks, because I make bread every two weeks. The last two batches have been disappointing. They lack the flavor and tang that the bread usually has. Suggestions?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Kathy, it’s really difficult to diagnose a problem like this that seems so random. I think it would be best for you to call our hotline, 855-371-BAKE (2253). A back-and-forth dialogue may get to the bottom of this. PJH

  80. Julie

    I’m currently making this recipe and it’s the first time I’ve ever made sourdough bread. A friend gave me some of his starter. I’ve used it for waffles (mmmmmm..) and now finally, bread! After kneading, the dough was very sticky.. so sticky that it was sticking to my hands. I thought I should knead it some more, but didn’t since otherwise, it looked ok. Is that the reason for the stickiness? When I shaped the loaves, my hands were covered in dough. I’m new to bread baking, so I didn’t want to start adding more flour or kneading longer, since I’m still inexperienced. I wanted to have some sort of baseline to work with for next time. They are currently rising. I hope they turn out well!! I’m excited!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Even though you are a self-proclaimed beginner bread-maker, it sounds like your baking instincts are right on track–the dough should be slightly tacky but not stick-to-your-fingers sticky. Some sourdough starters are more “loose” due to their feeding ratios, so you may need to compensate for this when using it in a recipe by adding extra flour, one tablespoon at a time. Don’t be afraid to work with the dough until it reaches the proper consistency (should feel soft and tender and feel almost like a post-it note being pulled off the tips of your fingers when the dough has come together). You’re right that over-working the dough can lead to bread that is more tough, but you have to exceed 10 minutes of kneading for this to become a real problem with most sourdough recipes. See how your first round of bread comes out and then make some adjustments next time to see which techniques give you the loaf you are looking for. Good luck and happy baking! –Kye@KAF

  81. D Zavarise

    About to start on my first rustic sourdough recipe. The starter has been refrigerated for about a week. You mentioned to make sure the starter is “fed and vigorous” before using. My question is how soon after feeding can I use the starter? Is the intent to feed it and then use it immediately? Typically my starter does not appear very active immediately after feeding. Your help is appreciated.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello Dean – If you are feeding your starter regularly (once a week) you still may need to feed the starter 2-3 times before seeing any vigorous activity. It should be bubbly and be rising up in its container anywhere from 2-12 hours from the last time of feeding. It is important to keep the starter at room temperature during this prepping process before baking. Try to grab the fed starter for baking when it has risen to its highest point in the container. It should have a wonderful sour aroma at this point also! Enjoy! Elisabeth@KAF

  82. cphair

    I finally decided to make sourdough bread, I’ve had KAF starter for over a year…Friday I gave it some TLC and then on Saturday I made the dough let it set out for 5 hours then put it in the fridge overnight. Sunday I added the rest of the flour, and finished the recipe instructions. Honestly I wasn’t sure how it was going to come out, it was very sticky and difficult to knead, but I persevered. I could NOT believe how gorgeous they came out! Thanks for the great step by step!

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Congrats to you! We can show you how, but the real magic is right in your kitchen. 🙂 ~ MJ

  83. Ann H

    Hi. I followed your tip (I think it was PJ’s tip for rye bread?) about substituting 8 ounces of sourdough discard for 4 ounces water/4 ounces flour in a non-sourdough recipe, and it worked great. Is there any reason why I cannot do this same swap in this recipe, at the point when the flour and water are added in? Thanks!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Ann, the Extra-Tangy Sourdough recipe relies on the yeast activity of a fed starter in order to get a nice rise and texture to your bread. We don’t recommend adding an additional cup of discard to this recipe as it may disturb the fermenting action of the wild yeast in the fed starter. You can however, add 8 ounces of sourdough discard to most any recipe that does not already call for starter to use up any excess starter and to also give your baked goods a surprising tang. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  84. josh

    Did you forget or purposefully not include steam in the process of baking?
    I find it easy, even at home, to pre-steam the oven with few ice cubes on the bottom and spritzing some water over the loaves after 3-4 minutes into the bake. That yields a crusty, crackly and beautiful crust.
    Thanks for the recipe

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Didn’t forget, Josh; I just prefer not to use it in this bread, which has a very thin, “cohesive” crust – in other words, it doesn’t flake off in shards. You can absolutely steam for a shinier, “flake-ier” crust – go for it! 🙂 PJH

  85. Jeni in Maine

    Okay, you folks convinced me to measure my flour by weight rather than volume, and I discovered I was adding more flour using the volume method than the weight method.

    The resulting bread is a lot moister than it was with the volume method, but the unbaked loaves are not holding much of their shape and the result is a flatter loaf.

    So I guess I need to try adding more flour than the weight calls for while, without adding as much as I would measuring by volume.

    And I’m further guessing your only advice will be to try a little at a time until I hit the sweet spot?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Jeni, there are always variables – especially at this time of year, when the weather’s warming up and becoming more humid. Flour is like a sponge; it absorbs humidity, and during the summer you generally want to add less water to your bread recipes. Are you using King Arthur Flour? That makes a difference, too, as other flours are lower protein, and thus require less liquid. If you’re using KA flour, then yes, experiment until you recognize what the “ideal” dough looks like – soft, but not sticky. To me, the best description is it feels like a baby’s bottom when you poke it: firm, yet nicely yielding. Glad you experimented with weighing, anyway – keep at it, because I think in the long run you’ll find it a lot easier/more useful. Good luck – PJH

    2. Jeni in Maine

      Yes, I use KA flour — in fact, I am now using the bread flour and have been very happy with it.

      I definitely like weighing the flour, and it will help me be a lot more exact with the adjustments I make.

      Thanks for reminding me about the effect humidity has on all this!

    3. PJ Hamel, post author

      Jeni, thanks for getting back with that info. As you say, I think you just need to fine tune your flour/liquid ratio a bit – and the more you bake bread, the sooner you’ll be able to recognize dough that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Enjoy your experiments! PJH

  86. Maureen

    Never having used sourdough before I am so pleased with the KAF starter recipe and the resulting sourdough bread, I am now in the process if making sourdough Rye bread. I have kept the starter in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Your instructions for getting it ready for baking are complete and my starter, after 12 hours and the second feed was bubbling our of its container. I will let you know how the Rye bread turns out; my husband can’t waite.

    Thank you!!

  87. zydecopolka

    Just wondering if this recipe can 1) be halved, and 2) be shaped into a batard without excessive degassing. This is my third or fourth attempt at sourdough, no success yet, but my starter looks freaking awesome at least. Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      I’d say yes, and yes. It’s pretty much a batard, anyway – you’d just need to stretch it a tiny bit more. Good luck with your sourdough baking – I’m sure you’re having a good time exploring! PJH

  88. Seattle Sue

    I am new to baking sour dough. It took several tries before I got it right. On the first try, the loaves were rising beautifully but the dog ate them. The next time, the dough spread out and the loaves were flat. Then I tried a proofing basket but the dough stuck to the basket and deflated. Then I made a thin paste of water, rye and potato flour to coat the baskets. I did 4 coats. (Only need to do this once with new baskets or after you clean them). Then I dusted the baskets and boules with rice flour. The boules popped right out but no oven spring. So I did less proof on the next batch. Those loaves came out perfect. Great oven spring. Delicious bread, nice appearance. Thank you, KA, for precise recipes and posting comments so that I could improve each time.

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Sue,
      Well, you certainly stuck to it through a lot of trial and error, and we’re so glad you were rewarded with great bread!~ MJ

  89. Jim Dickinson

    I have been baking this bread successfully for 3-4 years now. But in the last few months I have developed a problem that I can’t seem to solve and I would appreciate any ideas that anyone can provide.

    When my loaves are rising the outer surface does not remain smooth and intact, but it develops holes in it. This makes the loaves lump and ugly, but even worse without an intact skin the loaves fail to raise properly.

    The flat dense loaves make pretty good croutons but for the first time in many years I am going to have to start buying inferior bakery sourdough rather than making my own!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jim, it sounds like your loaves may be over-fermenting if the surface is bubbly and the bread does not rise well. It may be that the changing weather has affected how quickly the bread rises and ferments and it may be time to make some summer adjustments. I would recommend using cooler water and cutting down the rising times. Keep an eye on the dough. When it becomes sticky and the surface rips easily that is a sign of over-fermented dough. Please give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-2253 for more help troubleshooting this recipe. Barb@KAF

  90. Peggy Ingalls

    Hi, I’m going to try this recipe soon. I have been feeding your starter for a couple years now and enjoy baking with it. Can I substitute whole wheat, hi-fiber for any of the flour in this recipe? Can I add harvest grains? I will appreciate your advice on any ways to add more nutrients to the bread. Thanks.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Peggy, when I meet a recipe for the first time, I prefer not experimenting with any changes. Then I have a baseline of expectancy of which to work from and I am ready to roll! With this recipe, you may replace up to half the flour with whole wheat flour. In addition, adding 2/3 cup of Harvest Grains to this recipe would be nice, too. Happy sourdough baking! Elisabeth@KAF

  91. TC

    I have been making Sourdough loaves every week for the last 6 months with my own starter . Having just come back from Italy, and having sought the advice of a couple of Bakers over there, I’m letting my dough prove for 12 hours. It rises beautifully. I then shape the dough and put into a banneton. On this second rise, even after 3 or 4 hours,it just doesn’t rise much. I then put it into a very hot oven with ice cubes into a tray beneath, and it does rise a bit when I hits the heat, but by the time it’s cooked , it’s gone pretty flat. The loaf is always pretty tasty, and the crust is lovely, but I don’t get that lovely big holey irregular crumb. It seems a tad dense and doughy. I’m certain it’s not underdone, because I do it for 250c for 15 mins and 200c for another 35 mins. I admit that seems high, but our oven is pretty old and I don’t thinking it gets to temperature.
    Any ideas on what I can do to get that soft big hole crumb? Thank you.

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Sounds like a great time to send an email to our baker’s hotline Tony. They can help troubleshoot with you to help you get the texture you are looking for. ~ MJ

  92. Kristen

    Hi! I was wondering if you would recommend baking these loaves on a pizza stone as opposed to a pan? I often find that I get a much better crust with my stone but true sourdough may be a whole different process! Thank you for the recipe!

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Kristen,
      There is no rule saying that a bread *must* be baked a certain way, but some techniques work better than others for certain doughs. Rustic, artisan breads with thicker, crisper crusts tend to do better on very hot baking stones. They get good oven spring and that crackly exterior that is so outstanding. However, even here in our bakery we bake some of our baguette dough in loaf pans to make French loaves. You still get the open crumb structure, but the crust isn’t as firm and crisp.
      So, feel free to use your stone for some, or try them in a pan to see which you prefer. You may like both!
      One thing to keep in mind though. Most sandwich bread recipes with sugar, butter, etc. won’t perform well just on a stone. They really need the structure of the pan to keep them in shape. ~MJ

  93. Leslie

    i have now made 3 loaves of the sourdough bread. The last two are just gorgeous and have the most wonderful texture . My problem is none of my loaves have that tangy sourdough taste I’m trying for. My starter is aggressive and lovingly tended…. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      What luck! We just published a post that talks about increasing sour flavor in the sourdough- as well as a bit of the chemistry behind it: Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  94. Ann

    Help! 🙂 I am low on KAF APF – can I substitute KAF bread flour for the last 2 cups, and do I need to make any adjustments?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Ann, you can certainly substitute our unbleached bread flour for the all-purpose flour in this recipe. The only adjustment you’ll need to make is to add a bit more water because the bread flour will absorb more liquid than the AP flour does. Try adding an extra tablespoon per each cup of bread flour substituted. Barb@KAF

  95. Julie DB

    My dough is stringy, almost like taffy. Just making sure that is right. Any tips for dealing with the stickyness of the dough? I ended up wetting my hands and that seemed to help. I’m wondering if maybe they’re is a genius tip I’m missing. My loaves are rising now. Can’t wait to bake them.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Julie, wetting your hands is a tried and true method of dealing with sticky dough, so you came up with a great solution! Flouring your hands and the tabletop is also fine, as long as you avoid incorporating too much raw flour into the dough. However, the dough you describe sounds like it might have been allowed to ferment too long. That taffy, stickiness is typical of over-fermented dough, as the proteins will begin to break down after an overly extended fermentation. Without knowing more about your process it’s difficult to say if this was the cause of your very sticky dough, but you may want to give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE(2253) for more help. Barb@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Molly, wetter dough will lead to a more open crumb (lots of holes), so adding a bit more water to the recipe may be helpful. Also, all-purpose flour is a better choice than bread flour when trying to achieve an open crumb. Stay tuned for a future sourdough blog coming out mid October that will offer some tips in this regard. Barb@KAF

  96. Amanda

    I’m trying this as my first starter only dough(yay!) Based on your pictures it looks like your dough stayed nice and moist the whole time. Mine developed a hard ish crust during all the rises. I am covering the dough with a fairly thin cloth towel, should I use something else? Could that be the reason it was so difficult to add the last cup of flour?

    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Amanda. We’re fans of spraying plastic wrap with some pan spray and covering bowls with that; much less likely to have dry dough that way. Towels were what was available “back in the day”, and also provided a bit of a blanket in drafty houses. Also, if dough is dry enough that it won’t take up more flour, don’t add more flour. Susan

  97. Craig

    For a great starter I buy an Artesian San Francisco Sourdough bread that you have to finalize the baking in your oven. I taste it to see if it is a fantastic sourdough.. I then take 1 3/4 cup of unbleached flour and 1 1/2 cups of water and mix it up. Then I cut the Sourdough bread in half. I don’t finalize bake it. I then pull the inside of the bread half out in small pieces and add it to my starter and mix in. I let it do its thing and I just then feed and stir it as needed.

  98. Helaine

    I am a very sad Baker this evening! I had a nice healthy starter, bubbles after the first rise…then nothing!! I read so many comments on this blog about being patient and so I kept thinking that I would be surprised when it magically poofed up in the oven. Except that it didn’t rise in the oven either. I have 2 loaves sitting on my kitchen counter that look more like 2 giant pita breads and the inside of the loaves are flat, dense and hard to chew. I live in the desert in S. CA, so I can definitely say that it wasn’t too cold in the house, and I followed the instructions implicitly so I could use the results as the baseline if something went wrong. So now I am back to the drawing board… Again. I do not want to make sourdough bread by adding fresh yeast when I went to all the trouble of capturing wild yeast, but my loaves are just not rising and I am beyond frustrated with the whole process, lol!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Oh, Helaine! I can read the frustration in your words. You may try letting the loaves rise more next time. Or you might also try letting the dough rise less prior to shaping, as it’s possible the flatness comes from the gluten having become so tenderized by the acidity. Gently, deflate the dough after each rise. The CO2 gives the yeast new oxygen to begins its next rise. How about oven temperature? Are you sure the temp is correct? An oven thermometer is a great investment. Helaine, please call our hotline, 855-371-BAKE(2253) so we can have a conversation on sourdough. We are here Monday-Friday 7:00am-9:00pm EST, Saturday & Sunday 8:00am-5:00pm. It may be a real simple fix! Elisabeth@KAF

    2. Kathleen Price

      Never use metal spoons to stir starter – only use spring water – chlorine kills wild yeast- keep the house at least 74 degrees. By using these techniques I have a healthy starter that has been going for almost 2 years. I refrigerate mine and feed at least once a week or right before I want to start making bread. I use my starter 3-4 hours after feeding – I have been turning out perfect beautiful bread using these little tweeks. Note: If you leave starter on the counter feed every 12 hours and change containers daily. I have dedicated plastic spoons and bowls for mixing – Seriously metal can react with the starter and cause it to die. Also if you do get a good batch going, instead of discarding starter when feeding, dry it and freeze it – I just spread mine out thinly on parchment paper on a cookie sheet, put it in the oven with only the oven light on. It will dry in about 24 hours. Then I crumble and and put it in a blender to get a fine powder. Put that in a freezer safe container and freeze for 10,000 years or more! Seriously it will not die! Here is a link where I learned to dry and re-hydrate my starter:

      I have shipped my dried starter all over the country to people who want to start their own!

  99. Zina

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I am having so much fun playing with the starter a friend gave me on Thanksgiving day.

    My first try at this was good, but, one, I think my starter was too stiff for this recipe if going by exact measurements (I live a mile up on the high plains, so that likely didn’t help either) and so there wasn’t enough moisture in the dough, and two, I got interrupted/delayed during the last proofing and there was little bounce or rise, so I think it was over-proofed. However, it was still really good food if not the acme of the breadmaker’s art. (It was gone within 34 hours–both loaves!–so I consider that a respectable attempt.

    Today is my second try, and thank you for the many pictures in your blog–I’m going home on lunch to rescue the dough from a second rest in the fridge and a little proofing time before forming loaves, which will then proof while I work a couple more hours this evening before eagerly running home to bake.

    I am having SO. MUCH. FUN. And then I get to eat the bread! What could make it any better? Thank you again!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Zina, your enthusiasm is amazing! As Julia Child said “never apologize for your cooking mistakes!” Happy baking! Bryanna@KAF

  100. John

    I’m in the middle of my cold rise when I had it out for my first 4 hour rise it almost doubled in size and grew a little over double the size in the fridge I’m about to start kneeling it even though the 12 hours hasn’t come quite around I want to make the loaves long and thing so it can fit in a toaster will that effect my cook time and as for the ice in the oven while cooking it what are some things to look for to see to much moisture in the oven while cooking or bid versus too little

  101. LauDon

    I am setting my dough for the final rise and wondering, as I prepare it, does one compress out all the bubbles from the rise, as one would with regular dough, or as the instructions, “handle gently and shape into a loaf”? My dough more than doubled in bulk but is much firmer than the pictures and not at all loose, is this a problem?
    Thanks! Laura

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you’re looking for the signature sourdough with creamy interior and large holes, then the dough should be looser than a typical yeast dough. Using a folding sequence instead of kneading helps achieve that interior as well. There’s a baking skills video from our website or pages from the Baker’s Companion (pg.280) that may also help in your sourdough journey. Happy baking! Irene@KAF

  102. Kathleen Price

    Well, extra tangy sourdough bread the first recipe I tried and I had never made bread before! I put mine in loaf pans and make beautiful bread – I have quite a few followers and both my daughter and step daughter make it weekly. I get demands for my bread all the time and my brother pays shipping so I can send him four loaves a month. My biggest hurdle was getting the started going but now I am going on almost 2 years with “Sourdough Jack” and have 2-3 jars in the fridge. I also make sourdough English muffins. Every now and then I have a “boo boo” but this website chat line helps me through. I would recommend using this recipe right away – I have climbed Mount Everest and you can too!… and try it in loaf pans!!

  103. Sandra

    At 68 I am baking Sourdough Bread for the first time, never too young to learn! New at making bread. Can you leave the 1st part in the mixing bowl that I added the 3 cups of flour etc., – it is stainless steel. Can I put this in the fridge in the same bowl & then add the last items & knead it with a bread hook. So far I have being using a glass bowl for rising & then placing it back in the KA mixer bowl to need & then back in the glass bowl to rise again before shaping them. So far I am on my third time making this bread, each time it seems to get better. I really enjoy your blog. & I have learned a lot. Thanks so much, I only wished I had found your site years ago.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Anytime is a good time to learn about sourdough! For ease, you can definitely keep your dough in the same bowl all the way through as long as it’s large enough to accommodate the potential rise during proofing. Cheers to your increasingly delicious loaf! Mollie@KAF

  104. Morgan

    SO! I think I’m a fan of this recipe, but I have questions. I successfully cultured a starter using the pineapple juice method, but the recipe I used for that doesn’t seem to result in the near “liquid” starter that you reference. I think it was quite pliable before I placed the sponge in the refrigerator. Do I need to allow the sponge to come to room temp before adding the remaining ingredients to achieve this consistency again? This time I didn’t, and the dough was quite thick when kneading, not as pictured above. Since all the ingredients were added as the recipe calls for them, I imagine I’ll need to give it extra time to rise, and take a nap so I’m not tempted to jump the gun on proofing?

    I don’t know much about using sourdough, and in truth I’m a novice bread baker. I love to be in the kitchen though, so I’m excited to see how this recipe turns out either way! Happy baking and may your loaves always rise! MTP

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The starter does not need to come to room temperature before you feed it. In maintaining or feeding our starter, we take 4oz of starter and add 4 oz of water and 4 oz of flour; discarding the balance of the original starter. We recommend using a scale for weighing ingredients. The consistency of our starter is like thick pancake batter. I recommend that you call in to our Baker’s Hotline to have one of our Baker Specialists troubleshoot your starter. We look forward to hearing from you. JoAnn@KAF

  105. Dale

    I live near Boulder, CO which is over 5000′ in altitude. I have been trying to make altitude adjustments. I’ve been feeding a KA starter for almost a week, and this morning decided to try a loaf from the normally thrown away part. I am continuing to feed twice daily. I used the Rustic Sourdough recipe. Things were going good until after the second proof. The loaf took a nose dive and flattened out. I had proofed for 60 minutes..the first proof only takes about 25 minutes to double so I a wondering if I went too long on the second proof. On baking the loaf regained some of its lost shape but not near enough. I called your Hotline and we thought, I went too long. When I did cut into the loaf the holes looked on the smallish side not huge. I am wondering if other avenues to try for better loaf shape.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Dale, it sounds like your altitude is making your sourdough baking even more challenging! I would definitely recommend shortening your rising time. And it may also be helpful to allow some of your rising time to occur in the refrigerator. Cutting back on the yeast and using fed sourdough starter may also be helpful. Try using one teaspoon of yeast for the Rustic Sourdough recipe and add your starter when it’s at its peak of rising after being fed. This should help slow down the fermentation to a more manageable rate. Barb@KAF

  106. james

    thank you for so much great sourdough information, can i use whole wheat in place of all purpose ?
    my starter is whole wheat .

    again thanks

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      James, you can certainly use whole wheat flour in this recipe instead of all-purpose, although you should expect a denser result. You may want to try using half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose and see how you like the results. It’s helpful to add an extra tablespoon water per each cup of whole wheat flour substituted, because whole wheat flour soaks up more liquid than all-purpose flour does. You may also notice that this recipe ferments a bit more quickly when using whole wheat flour, as the added nutrients in the whole wheat flour will promote fermentation. Barb@KAF

  107. Lisa Brooks

    I love baking! Although I’ve never attempted sourdough, so far its coming along as planned. I used whole wheat organic for my starter and boy it was lively. Great rise, great sheen, fantastic elasticity after hand kneading for about 15+ minutes. Music helps 🙂 Now its on its first rise. I’m very optimistic. But the finished product will tell. I find the process you’ve lined out very helpful and simple. Oh and I made a batch of waffles with the extra starter. OMG! Delicious!
    I’ll let you know how it comes out. Thanks for the recipe and easy to follow instructions.
    Off to Seamart for minestrone ingredients to accompany my beautiful bread.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Lisa, sounds like a wonderful day of baking – and eating! I hope everything came out as well as you envisioned it, including the soup. There’s nothing like a soup and bread supper on a cold March day, is there? Thanks for sharing – PJH

  108. Jill

    Thank you so much for your amazing steps to make your own starter and then this fantastic bread recipe! I had my doubts after a weeks’ work, putting these little lumps in the oven. It was magical – I actually jumped up and down when I opened the oven. The rose beautifully. They have a great tang and a wonderful crust. Thank you also for the high altitude help in the comment section, I’m at 3500 ft in Alberta, Canada. I’m certainly passing on starter to friends and family and sharing this page for the wonderful recipe.

  109. Jibsman

    Once you feel comfortable making Sourdough it’s time to get uncomfortable again and toss the measuring cups for a kitchen scale and measure by weight; a cup of flour can vary from scoop to scoop by how you sprinkle / pour flour into the measuring cup. Different flours weigh differently too. However when you weigh your ingredients you can get very accurate, and can soon stop adding flour or water by the tablespoon. Once you convert to weighing instead of measuring the only variable is the starter hydration percentage. If you don’t know what that is google it!
    Once you figure out the hydration percentage of your starter, and always feed it the same amounts, you can get your weights down and not worry about adding any water or flour at all.
    Then learn about autolyse. There’s always more to learn!

  110. Mary Heffner

    I have been making French bread, which requires 18-20 minutes of kneading, brushing with egg then slashing, and baking on a pizza stone. I want to make Sourdough French bread, but the kneading appears to be completely different. Do I still knead a long time for the resulting chewy, or do I skip that part now?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Mary, kneading time for each recipe is indeed going to be slightly different. And of course it depends if you’re kneading by hand or mixer; the times will vary, it takes longer to knead by hand. So I would suggest following each individual recipe for the very best results. Bryanna@KAF

  111. Jenny

    Love this recipe! Could I use my round brotforms and make round loaves instead?
    Absolutely!! You can use the brotform for your Classic Sourdough Boule. It will make the crust into a beautiful design. Just turn out the boule top side in the brotform, to be bottom of your loaf on your stone or pan. Happy baking! JoAnn@KAF

  112. Havarah

    I just pulled my first two loaves of sourdough bread out of the oven and I’m so pleased! I used a starter that I began about a week and a half ago and had been feeding twice a day. The bread I just made with it is so tasty! I wish it had risen a little higher, but i’m okay with it for now. I was wondering, can I use this dough in loaf pan or baguette pan, so help shape it? Where can I find shaping tips? Thank you!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Havarah, you can certainly bake your sourdough bread in a loaf pan or baguette pan. Grease your loaf pan well and bake the bread at a little lower temperature (375-400) so the top of the loaf doesn’t brown too much before the interior is baked. Baking time should be about 35-45 minutes, but check early and then reset your timer. If you have a metal baguette pan with holes in it, you can keep the baking temperature the same. Baguettes should bake more quickly than a larger loaf. For shaping tips, check out our Baking Skills Videos. Barb@KAF

  113. Meme

    If I substitute whole wheat flour for 1/2 the total flour, what can I expect to change? I was thinking I would add 1 cup to the first part of the recipe (before refrigeration), and all whole wheat in the second part of the recipe.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Try adding all the whole wheat flour (2 1/2 cups) along with the 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour to the preferment. This way the bran will have some time to soften. In addition, add more liquid to the preferment since there is a whole grain now being introduced to the recipe. An additional 1-2 T. should do it. End result? Your dough may be a little more dense but with a little more tang. Enjoy the experiment! Elisabeth@KAF

  114. Meme

    Thank you for the advice on using whole wheat. Would the same be true of whole grain rye flour (adding 2 1/2 cups to the preferment and a bit of extra water).

    Unrelated, but would adding twice the sugar 2 T. Instead of 1 T. ) help to increase browning? I was thinking that if the sourdough beasties eat up the sugar and thus the bread browns less, wouldn’t more sugar (perhaps post ferment) help?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes, you could add some additional water to the pre-ferment. You may want to consider blending some bread flour with AP flour in the final dough for a more impressive rise. Yes, adding more sugar can help with browning. But, maybe instead or in addition, increase the oven temperature to 450 or 475. High oven temperature is so important with a dough that is considered lean. Consider checking the oven temperature with an oven thermometer. Once I got one, I was so surprised how poorly my oven did. I need to increase the temperature by 25 degrees and wait up to an hour before it hits 450 degrees. Good luck! Elisabeth@KAF

    2. Meme

      Hello again,

      I have a couple additional questions. 1) What would you have to change if you didn’t use the fridge? My friends are challenging me to do it all old fashioned! And 2) by “lean” dough, do you mean no oil, or lower gluten because of the addition of whole wheat?

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      Meme- A lean dough has no fat, sugar, milk or eggs- it’s simply flour, water, salt and yeast. Now, if you didn’t want to use the fridge, you would want to let it rise in a cool place, or mix it cooler, or work with a sponge to develop more flavor before making the final dough. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

    4. Meme

      Hello Elizabeth and Laurie,

      SUCCESS!!!!! I used 1/2 whole wheat flour and, as suggested, used bread flour for about 1/2 the white flour. I upped the sugar to 1 1/2 T. I did raise the temperature as you suggested to 450° and had the oven on for about 45 minutes before putting the bread in. Totally impressed. The loaves rose wonderfully and browned nicely.

      I have to say that without this blog I would not have succeeded. I’ve read a lot of different recipes for starter and SD bread. This is the only one that made sense. The pictures were essential! Thank you so much for the help.

  115. gloria rice

    I am excited to make my first sourdough bread with the extra sour recipe! I just beat up the 3 cups of flour with the starter and water. It is in hour 2 of the 4 hour resting stage. It is beginning to bubble.
    Is that supposed to happen?

  116. Christine A

    Thank you for taking the time and posting your recipe. Just wanted to let you know my loaves turn out great!!!

  117. NKD

    So I just made this thread for about the 30th time in the last 29 months. My starter was vigorous and happy. The overnight rise in the fridge with the first 3 cups of flour yielded a bubbly and wonderfully aromatic start. This morning I added the remaining ingredients and mixed then kneaded by hand until glossy and relaxed. It rose in a bowl for about 2hrs and was almost double it’s size. I split in half and shaped into 2 boules, covered and let rise on cookie sheets for 1.5 hrs. The loaves spread more than they rose. I was fearful but I made the cuts in the tops and put in preheated oven. Sadly they didn’t really rise. So frustrating! However they have a lovely, chewy crust with a crunch, a beautiful crumb and they taste delicious. In the last 5 mins of bake time I gave them a light spritz of cooking spray to give the finished product a nice brown color. My question — am I just hoping for an unrealistic rise of my sourdough? I want a fat beautiful boule like I can get when visiting the bakeries in San Fransisco. It seems that the best rise I can get is 2 or 3inches. Is it me or does yeastless sourdough just not get the same lift as yeast breads? I wish I could post the picture but can’t figure it out. Thanks!!!!

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi there,
      It sounds like things are going really well with your breads, aside from that last little bit of oven spring. Have you thought at all about investing in a baking stone? That may be just the boost that the loaves need. Baking sheets are great, but nothing really beats the hot, direct heat of a stone. ~ MJ

  118. Sharron Powers

    I made my starter a week ago (first attempt ever)! I’ve made 2 loaves of bread in the past 2 days that while not a 100% success, tasted good and toast nicely. The dough was stable enough and when it rose above the loaf pan, it deflated.

    So today I decided to try and convert my tried & true recipe and it is currently resting – I think I have several hours ahead of me before this is done.

    And then I came across this site! I will definitely give this one a try as everyone seems to have had success. Some recipes just seem so convoluted and complex and this sounds very straight forward.

    Once done I will come back and report! 🙂

  119. gloria rice

    Just made my 3rd try of this bread today. First try a month ago was too flat, but quite tangy. I was told I over kneaded it and hurt the gluten with my kitchenaid dough hook since it did get some oven spring. 2nd try kneaded by hand was perfect in height, but no air holes and no tang-I did dump all 2 extra cups of flour in though and the dough was a bit dry. 3rd attempt today: In between flat and normal, a bit tangy, and a few of the desired air pockets. I now incorporate the sugar and salt into the 4th cup of flour and knead it in. I’ve noticed I don’t “knead” all 5 cups of flour and I measure mine to 4.2 oz. per cup. Also I let mine bake to 205 degrees and it is super moist. I’m still having raising and tang issues, but that is a work in progress!! I’m going to keep trying until I get the tang AND the rise!!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This is a perfect example of using our bakers hotline (855-371-2253) to talk through the sourdough dilemma. Consider these tips: fold the dough instead of kneading it during the process, shape the dough by gathering the dough and tightening the loaf to prevent spreading loaves. Do check the 2 short sourdough videos on our website for tips that will bring you closer to sourdough success. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  120. Tiffany Anne

    First time making bread and I nailed it! I used King Arthur’s starter and then immediately made this bread. It turned out so delicious and crispy.


    I baked the Rustic Sourdough for a couple of years now. I use a lined brotform and a cloche which really standardized my results. I am now switching to the Extra Tangy because it lets me use my “unfed” starter each week and results in a loaf of bread.

    I feed my starter weekly, so, my “unfed” is still active. I pour off the hooch, take 8 oz of the starter and put it in my KA mixing bowl. I feed the balance of my starter with the 4/4 that I learned from KA. I then “feed” my mixing bowl 12 oz of water, stir it till the starter is suspended, then add 12.8 oz of AP, stir it up by hand, cover and let sit.

    Next morning, add sugar, salt, 8.5 oz AP and mix/knead with my KA on 2 for 9 minutes. Into the 2 Qt rising pitcher (KA supplied) cover, and give it 5 hours. Brotform for 2 hours or so, then into the cloche, brush with water, slash, and into the oven preheated to 430 degrees (adjusted temp for my oven). I pull the cloche cover at 30 minutes and the bread in 10 more minutes.

    Results, good sourdough bread and no wasted starter.

  122. Karly Siroky

    Hey PJ! Thanks so much for this recipe. Just want to make sure I’m reading it correctly, shouldn’t “2 cups (8 1/2 ounces)” should be “2 cups (16 ounces)”?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for checking, Karly! When we’re talking about ounces in baking, we’re talking about metric ounces (or weight) rather than fluid ounces (or another volume measurement/what you see labelled on your liquid measuring cup). Different ingredients weigh out differently, so while 1 cup of water does weigh 8 oz, 1 cup of All-Purpose Flour actually weighs out at 4.25 oz, so two cups would be 8.25 oz. Our ingredient weight chart may also help to illustrate this: Mollie@KAF

  123. S Paukan

    I tried this no yeast recipe after trying others and ending up with poor results, seems like my sourdough bread always came out too heavy. I was a little apprehensive about the long wait times (4 hours, then overnight, then 2-5 hours, then 2-4 hours); and mixing in flour, sugar and salt after resting in the reefer (seemed like the dough was too cold to mix); and after final shaping my dough didn’t rise too much. I was pretty sure I’d end up with the same heavy results as before. Man was I surprised and happy after cutting into the first loaf and the bread turned out great, nice chewy crust with a light flavorful middle. I used AP flour and a mixer and had to add 3 Tbls of water after the second flour, sugar, salt mixing to get some sort of resemblance to your pics. Next time I’m thinking of using little less flour and taking the dough out of the reefer about an hour before the second mixing.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can, Amanda! You’ll likely find that you need a little additional liquid (~1Tbsp per cup of whole wheat) and you’re likely to get a slightly denser crumb structure. Some people don’t find the textural trade-off worth it, while others find it negligible and love the added flavor you get with whole wheat. For that reason we might recommend starting with a smaller substitution like 3/4 AP and 1/4 WW. Either way, we hope you’ll give it a shot and let us know what you think! Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Stacy, do you mean to ask if honey can be used in place of the sugar in this recipe? If so, yes! Since it’s such a small amount, you can successfully sub 1 Tbsp honey for the 1 Tbsp of sugar called for here. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

  124. April Swift

    This has been an amazing recipe. I am new to bread making but I did the starter like you said (though it took me 10 days to get vigorous starter) and my loaves rise about double every time. my husband loves this bread. And I substitute whole wheat for about 1/2 of the flour. And I have left it more or less time depending on my schedule during the 4 hr and 12 hr rises and it still does well. I think as long as your starter is vigorous, it is very forgiving.

  125. Kelsey

    I love this recipe! I must admit, I was terrified to make sourdough bread after reading the horror stories online. I found this recipe and post so helpful. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly and the second time, I halved it to only make one loaf. Still great!

  126. Amanda

    I mistakenly made my dough too dry and am having trouble with it smoothing into that lovely sheen. Is it worth it to try adding a little water to fix the dryness?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Amanda, while there is a set ratio for water:flour indicated in the recipe, think of this as more of a guide than a hard and fast rule. Bread is very affected by ambient temp and humidity as well as the way you measure your ingredients (when measuring by volume, it’s really easy to get a heavier cup of flour than intended), so it’s not at all unusual to find that you need small adjustments to get to the desired dough consistency. Bottom line, while the dough will continue to come together and soften up as it kneads, if it feels dry, it probably does need a little additional liquid. We suggest adding this a small amount – say 1 Tbsp – at a time. Hope this helps next time around! Mollie@KAF

  127. Davita

    Hi! i have two questions: I’ve made a few no-knead sourdough loafs before and i was wondering when you say knead the dough, do you mean in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or the dough hook? is it possible to do by hand without a stand mixer? and if i chose not to put the dough in the fridge, how long do i leave it out for? the recipes i used before left the dough out overnight to ferment.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for checking in, Davita. You can indeed knead this dough by hand, in a bread machine or in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment–baker’s choice! Whichever kneading method you use, you’ll want to knead until you have a smooth, satiny dough. For a visual explanation of how to know when your dough is fully kneaded, check out our video tip: (use this as a guide for kneading technique, which starts around 2 minutes, not necessarily for the rest of the process, as they’re using a different recipe). With this recipe, we call for an overnight refrigeration because it slows down the fermentation process, allowing the dough to ferment for longer and thus develop more flavor; and because we like the tangier flavor that comes from a cooler rise (different bacteria develop well under these conditions vs. room temp). If you prefer to leave the dough out at room temperature for that full first rise, we’d recommend no more than 8 hrs total (remember the fermentation is faster at room temp). Hope this helps! If you have additional questions, feel free to give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE. Our bakers are here everyday of the week and happy to help! Mollie@KAF

  128. Ruth S.

    This is one of the simplest and best breads I make. I feel like I’m creating one of the elemental components of nature–like water, air or earth–when I shape a beautiful white loaf with my floury hands. I have a very forgiving starter that has been neglected and revived numerous times and seems to spring to life inside my loaves. Even though you say this bread may emerge pale from the oven, mine seldom does, even though I baste it only with water, not oil. I’m always getting my timing wrong and often refrigerate the first stage for several days before getting around to adding the additional flour to make the loaves. Other times, I’ve refrigerated the second stage too, and somehow the loaves just do their thing, rise above their misbegotten origins and come out gorgeous. I’m a proud mama and get many kudos from folks who receive the loaves and consider them miraculous–as I do. Thanks for sparking a glorious passion!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sourdough can be such a joy, can’t it? We’re honored to play a part in your journey, Ruth. Happy baking! Mollie@KAF

  129. Chuck

    I made this bread a week ago using a new starter (1 week old and strong). As an experienced bread maker, I made one change, I added about 1 TB of cooking oil to the dough. The two loaves came out wonderfully.

    I have another batch rising now. This time I substituted molasses for the sugar given the dough a slightly darker color. I will be interested in the result.

  130. Carol Anne

    Yes! At last I’ve found a sourdough recipe that makes the big bubbles and chewy texture I’ve been trying to achieve, along with the authentic flavor. I came close a month ago using your Rustic Sourdough Bread recipe, but I was looking for the big bubbles, and this recipe finally delivered. It’s only a smidge away from being perfect (bubbles not quite as big as I want), but next time, I’ll add a little more water for a softer dough, and I think I will have it then.

    I did make a couple of variations. I put a pan on hot water in the bottom of the oven to make steam to make the bread chewy, and I brushed on an egg wash before slashing the loaves to get a golden-brown color in the crust.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Carol Anne, we’re so glad to hear this recipe worked well for you! If you’d like to try another sourdough recipe that offers a nice open crumb, you might enjoy our recipe for Artisan Sourdough Bread and it’s accompanying series of 3 blogs. There’s lots of great sourdough baking tips included in these blog posts. Barb@KAF

  131. Lisa

    Is there a benefit or different result achieved by brushing the bread with water versus pouring water in the bottom of the oven to create steam?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Pouring water into the bottom of the oven or spritzing the dough with water repeatedly tends to create the best crust. Sometimes the water can get absorbed into the dough if it’s brushed on top, whereas pouring water into a hot pan or spritzing it guarantees an immediate burst of steam. You can always give both methods a try and see which one you prefer. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  132. Mark

    My first time making sourdough, and so far so good each step was a different time for me with the rise but overall the recipe work great. One step I added was after the bulk fermentation overnight in the fridge I let the dough warm up a bit 30 min then added the salt an sugar and folded that in well. Then I added 2 cups of flour folded/kneeded that in as needed. Ended up using 1 & 3/4 cup this time. Is the final Temp 425 I had to lower mine to 400.

  133. Mark

    Okay, I just posted and I would like to post a picture of my bread. I had one more variable I didn’t post earlier cause not sure how it would turn out. But WOW! I cooked one on the baking sheet as the recipe calls for and the other in a Dutch oven and uncovered it with 10 min left on the timer. Also I extended the time by 5 min. The loaf in the Dutch oven even rose a little more but the color and crust is way better than just open in the oven.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Mark, we’d love to see a photo of your sourdough bread! Consider sharing it on our Facebook page so fellow bakers can enjoy it and be inspired as well. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  134. Cindy

    I am having a hard time with my bread getting done all the way through. I have tried to bake at 350, 325…. the top of my bread gets too brown, I put ten foil on top of bread and bake at 325 for 40 minutes. Still doesn’t get done all the way through. The bottom is not done. Should I try a high temp? help

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Cindy, sourdough bread often needs to bake at a high temperature to achieve both a crispy crust and a pleasant texture all the way through, which is why this recipe calls for a 425°F oven temperature. You might also want to try baking on a pizza stone, which helps transfer heat directly to the bottom of the loaf. You also might want to check the temperature of your oven to ensure it’s heating to the temperature shown. An instant read thermometer inserted into the center should read 195° to 205&def;F when it’s done. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  135. Nancy

    Mine didn’t rise… 🙁 Happy sour dough starter bubbling away before I started. It tastes really good, has a nice brown color, & lots of air holes but it’s only about 2″ – 3″ high. I used a silpat instead of parchment so the bottom wasn’t browned and I turned it over and put it back in for a couple of minutes which worked fine. I called and the woman I spoke to told me to just add yeast. I can do lots of things with yeast but I really wanted to do it w/o yeast!! UGH… try, try again…

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Have patience, Nancy, you’ll get there! It can take some time to REALLY get to know your starter–to know how long it takes to reach its peak activity level and what it looks like when it does–which is why we sometimes encourage bakers to start with a combo of starter and commercial yeast. The added yeast can act as an insurance policy, while you and your starter get better acquainted. Of course we understand if you prefer to forego the added yeast, just know that it may take a little more time to get to a perfectly risen loaf. If you’re new to free-from shaping, you might also check out our video on shaping and baking sourdough for some extra tips for encouraging your loaf to rise up, rather than out. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

  136. Ann

    I’ve been making this great bread for years but am wondering if instead of 2 loaves I can make 3-4 smaller loaves with the same recipe to give as gifts – any downside?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      No downside at all, Ann. Just know that small loaves tend to bake more quickly than large loaves, so check for doneness about 5-10 minutes before the recipe calls for it, depending on size. The internal temperature should be at least 190-195°F when it’s done. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  137. Amy Sterling Casil

    I did it! Looks, smells, and tastes so delicious! Very easy and best bread I have ever made. Thank you King Arthur!

  138. Bev Kroeker

    I am excited to try this recipe. I have been experimenting with sourdough starter on less intimidating things such as the waffles, yummy. My husband bought me a ridiculously expensive Staub casserole pot, specifically for baking my bread in. Could I use this recipe but cook it in the closed pot,,,,,, I feel I need to use the pot now I have it😬

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Your Staub will be perfect for making this bread! Let the shaped loaf rise in the pot, and when the dough is about 3/4 of the way risen (which will take about 2-3 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is) put the pot into a cold oven. Set it to 425 degrees F, and start timing the loaf once it has reached full temperature. Take the lid off after about 20 minutes and let it finish baking for the last 5-10 minutes. Enjoy! Kye@KAF

  139. Jay

    I have been baking authentic sourdough breads for 2 years. This recipe is somewhat different from what I have been doing, particularly the long rising times. What I think I have learned from this experience is that the dough needs to be much firmer as the loaves basically look like flat bread after baking. The dough looked very soft and wet and I wondered about that. I will add additional flour next time. Also, I may try all purpose flour as opposed to bread flour.

  140. Mary Miller

    Hi there, I am confused by your measurements. you say 3 cups of flour but then in parentheses (12 3/4 ounces). when i use 3 cups of anything, it is 24 ounces. also, 2 cups is 8 1/2 ounces. can you clarify, please?


    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sure, Mary — 3 cups of water is 24 ounces, but other ingredients weigh different amounts. Think about it: 1 cup of popped popcorn doesn’t weigh the same as a cup of mashed potatoes, right? So 1 cup of all-purpose flour weighs 4 14 onces, which translates to 3 cups weighing 12 3/4 ounces. Check out our handy weight chart for more information. Hope this helps — PJH

  141. Heidi

    What will happen if once the starter and flour have been refrigerated for the 12 hour (overnight) period and then you find yourself with no time for the subsequent rise periods? I should have started this on Saturday instead of Sunday evening and now with the work week, I can’t make the other rise times fit in to the 2-3 hours I have available in the evenings. Will it still be ok in several days when I can be home for 6-8 hours to finish the other two rises? Thanks.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      There is a learning curve to maintaining sourdough culture as well as using it in your baking. When you read a recipe or method that includes a time span that’s 8 – 12 hours, try to do this step at night. While you get your rest the sourdough will do it’s part and you’ll both be ready to bake in the morning. Best to you and your sourdough as you work it into your schedule – not become a slave to it! Irene@KAF

  142. Pamela

    I’ve been making sourdough bread, pancakes and today will be pizza dough. I love the taste and the bread is breathtaking. I’m not sure why your recipe calls for all-purpose flour instead of bread flour. Can you explain?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      All-purpose flour makes yeast bread and rolls that are soft and supple. Using bread flour in the same recipe will make baked goods that are firmer and with more chew. If that’s what you’re looking for, consider making one of those successful all-purpose recipes with bread flour and then you’ll be able to taste and see the difference in flavor and texture. Happy baking! Irene@KAF

  143. Becky

    I hand kneaded my bread. It rose unbelievably in the oven! Like twice as high as any other loaf I have made! And to think I was worried my starter might not have been active enough! My timeline was,
    Mix first ingredients – sit 4 hours
    Refrigerate overnight (9 hours)
    Rise 4 1/2 hours (was away from home)
    Shape into 2 loaves, rise 2 1/2 hours (they rose a LOT)
    Brush with water. Slash. Bake.
    So my only complaint is the crust is not very crispy, it is crispy but so thin. The loaves are light and airy but don’t have any real holes in them. I love the bread and will make it over and over but was wondering about the crust/holes? Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Becky, if you’re looking to make bread with a crispier crust, check out this article on our blog: How to make crusty bread. It highlights a few different techniques to try. As for the inside crumb, you can try holding back a bit of the flour to make a wetter dough, and also allow the rise to extend a big longer than you’ve previously allowed. Be careful not to let the dough overproof, but you can also experiment with an overnight rise in the fridge to see if that gives you the result you’re looking for. I hope that helps! Kye@KAF

  144. Michi

    This dough got too dry with the amount of flour in the recipe. I weigh versus measure by cup. I’m 5400′ altitude. Would that make much difference?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Michi, liquid tends to evaporate more quickly at high altitude, so we typically recommend adding 1 to 2 additional tablespoons of liquid at 3,000 feet. Increase the amount of extra liquid added by 1 1/2 teaspoons for each additional 1,000 feet. (You can also use extra eggs as part of this liquid, in other recipes like cakes, muffins, quick breads, etc.) The should should feel slightly tacky to the touch, so feel free to adjust the consistency as necessary until you achieve this result. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    2. Michi

      The good news is that the bread came out decent. The end result was a uniform tight holes more like sandwich bread texture. Definitely not airy big holes with a chewy crust. The crust is good and it’s good enough but I now know to add more water. Thanks!!!

  145. Richard Heine

    I’ve done this recipe twice now. And both times the bread just has not tasted sour! My starter is active and has a nice sour smell. I’ve added sour salt, the bread rises nicely, everything is wonderful except for the lack of sour in the finished loaves! The bread tastes great, but is is more like eating sheepherders bread than sourdough! Help!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Richard, we’re glad to hear that you’re having such success with the rise and the texture of this naturally leavened loaf. Since the flavor just isn’t hitting the spot, we’d recommend trying another recipe, like our Artisan Sourdough Bread Made with a Stiff Starter. We think you’ll be pleased with the balance of strong sourdough flavor and high rise, as well as the experience of making a new recipe. Mollie@KAF

  146. Mary

    I haven’t tried making sourdough yet, but just got a starter kit. This recipe and the detailed instructions with pictures have made it seem much easier and less scary than the book I got. I will be using this recipe for sure. My question is can I use my kitchen aid mixer to knead the dough like I do with other dough? I only ask because I have arthritis and it is very hard for me to knead by hand. Thank you, Mary

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for asking Mary, we’re glad to hear you’re eager to bake with your starter! While you could use your KitchenAid to mix your starter, it should be the consistency of thin pancake batter (not a dough that requires kneading). If this presents a challenge, the paddle attachment on your mixer might be just the right tool for the job. (Just don’t mix it too much–just combine the ingredients). I hope that helps, and happy baking! Kye@KAF

  147. MessyJess

    THANK YOU. I have been trying to work with the sourdough starter a friend gave me a couple months ago and after multiple failed attempts I FINALLY made a successful loaf because of your recipe. I use all gluten free flours (the friend I got it from is celiac), I tried to slowly change the recipe over to a more wheat-based dough but that didn’t seem to be rising with the recipe I had UNTIL I read this recipe and tried it out. My mix has been converted back to a mix of mostly gluten free flours but the bread still comes out great! Next I will have to get my hands on some King Arther Flour and see what sort of magic I can create!

  148. Camille

    I got a late start this morning (day 2) and realized I won’t have time to bake my loaves later tonight… So that leaves me with a few questions:
    1. Should I shape them into loaves and put them in the fridge and bake tomorrow morning?
    – If yes, do I let them come up to room temperature before baking?
    2. Or should I shape them tomorrow and let them puff up and then bake?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Camille, if you don’t have time to bake on day 2, we recommend shaping the loaves and then covering them gently with greased plastic wrap before putting them in the fridge to complete an overnight rise. The next day, take the loaves out of the fridge and take a look at them. It’s likely that they’ll be pleasantly puffy and be ready for the oven. If not, let them rest at room temperature while the oven preheats (or longer) until you can poke the dough with your finger and the indent stays without springing back. Happy sourdough baking! Kye@KAF

  149. Paula

    I am using King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour. The dough is a little dry. I am assuming I can add water till it seems like the right consistency. I kneaded for a good half hour, but it doesn’t have that shiny stretch consistency. I have made a lot of homemade bread, but this is my first attempt at sourdough.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Welcome to the wonderful world of sourdough, Paula! Whole wheat flour does tend to absorb more liquid than white flour, so when subbing it into a recipe calling for white flour, we find we need to add up to 1 Tbsp extra liquid per cup of flour. From your description, it sounds as if your dough may have simply been too dry and that this slight adjustment might make a big difference. All whole wheat doughs do also tend to be a bit heavier and denser than white loaves, so you may also want to try using a combo of All-Purpose and Whole Wheat rather than all Whole Wheat. We hope you’ll give it another try with these tips in mind and let us know how it goes! Mollie@KAF

  150. Andrew

    I just wanted to say thank you to KAF for helping me in the bread making world. I started baking bread about 6 months ago when someone gave me their bread machine, and started making sourdough starting with your rustic sourdough recipe and this one. My first true sourdough loaf was about a month and a half ago, and I’ve been making this recipe every week since without fail. Lovely bread! It’s been interesting trying to adapt this recipe’s mixing times to do it by hand since I don’t own a stand mixer, using the typical stretch and fold technique I’ve read about elsewhere, and that seems to work wonders! Still haven’t had a failed loaf, although I have had some rather funky shaped ones.

  151. Douglas King

    I just completed my first sourdough bread. Having been brought up on sourdough bread as a native San Franciscan, I couldn’t wait to try making it. The bread came out of the oven with a nice browned crust, but not nearly as crunchy and brown as the sourdough bakeries in North Beach. I can live with that because I believe they use special ovens with misters built in. My problem with the result is that the bread did not seem to rise enough to create the air holes typically seen in San Francisco bread and was too “heavy” and dense. I need to find out how to make it lighter . . Any thoughts? I had the sourdough starter nice and bubbly and fed as instructed in the KA booklet. Would appreciate your advice on this and thank you in advance for any help you could offer.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Douglas, lots of eager bread bakers like yourself are in search of the crusty, crackly, light bread that’s made at home. To help with this pursuit, we’ve put together a number of articles on our blog that might help. The first one is about baking with steam, so you can recreate those special ovens that bakeries use. Steam is the key to the crispy crust. As for the large holes in the bread itself, you might want to consider using a recipe with a higher hydration (more water), which helps create the open crumb. We have one article appropriately named, “How do you make that bread with the large holes,” featuring a Ciabatta recipe, or you can try using the No-Knead Crusty White Bread using this baking method to make an artisan-style loaf. The key is to make a relatively wet, sticky dough that goes through a long fermentation period (rise time). We hope these tips and resources help steer your bread baking in the right direction! Kye@KAF

  152. Renee Meyer

    I use my sourdough maybe once a week and if not I make sure to feed it and leave on fridge. When making a loaf of bread is it safe to leave the sourdough overnight after I fed it so I can make the bread in the morning?

  153. Caleb Logan

    I’m very new to baking and even more inexperienced with sourdough. Im learning a lot as I go, however I keep seeming to over knead the dough after the 12 hour rising process. The dough seems like it’s a good texture but I can still see that the ingredients haven’t fully been blended together so I keep kneading it, next thing I know the dough is very tough and dense. How can I prevent this from happening? (I am using a mixer)

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Interesting question, Caleb. It’s a little tough to answer without knowing more about the dough and the ingredients that aren’t pulling together. Flour, salt, water and yeast should generally blend together pretty easily, unless the balance of liquid and flour is off. When baking with anything with yeast (commercial or wild), it can help to think of the liquid and flour amounts as being slightly variable, depending on the ambient temperature and humidity. In warmer, more humid months, you might find that you need less liquid than the recipe calls for to achieve the desired dough consistency, while in the drier, colder winter months, you might need more than what’s called for. Using cold water, rather than the lukewarm water that’s most often called for can also make the dough feel “harder”. If the problem is simply dry flour sticking to the side of the bowl, try using the paddle attachment on your mixer for the first 15-30 seconds in order to better combine the ingredients, then swap it out for the dough hook to knead. Given the number of possibilities, it may be more helpful to talk through this directly with one of our bakers. We hope you’ll consider giving our free Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE. We’re here seven days a week and happy to chat! Mollie@KAF

  154. star stern


    finally got my jar and
    Airlock Lids
    ,and sourdough piece
    please now refer me to a step by step guide how to make from it bread and challah

    will knead together organic whole wheat stone ground flour with spring water ,.
    add sourdough how much ?? ,
    place into jar with pickle it cover ,
    keep it there 3 days ,
    take it out ,form it ,
    and place into oven ,
    and bingo “??

    miss stern

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Miss Stern, we’d love to help get you on the right track to using your sourdough starter. It might be best to go over some sourdough basics in our full guide to baking with sourdough to learn how to feed and maintain your starter. Then you can choose to use it in any recipes that call for it, like these. If there’s a recipe (like challah) that you’d like to add your sourdough starter to, you can use the guidelines provided here to successfully make the swap. I hope that helps, and happy baking! Kye@KAF

  155. Mike

    Two tries (Rustic w/added yeast, then Tangy). I’m pretty happy with both. The Rustc loaves were larger than the Tangy. I probably should have had more patience before baking the Tangy recipe. Never got the “big bubbles” to bake into the bread, but did achieve the right taste and texture. Any hints?

    Oh. The third try was the charm for my starter. Found success weighing the ingredients rather than measuring, and used your flour!

    Bought some Sour Salt to try in the next batch. EEEYOW is that tangy!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Mike,
      We’re glad you asked his question here as well as on Facebook so fellow blog readers who might be wondering the same thing can benefit from the tips we have to share. As we let you know, one of the keys to getting large open holes in your bread is making dough with just the right consistency— sticky dough tends to yield the largest holes on the inside, so you might want to try holding back some of the flour next time. Also, if you’re not already doing so, be sure you’re using King Arthur All-Purpose Flour rather than bread flour, which will create a tighter crumb. We hope that helps! Kye@KAF

  156. KJR

    Hi! Is it possible to use a gluten-free starter, and then make this recipe with it (with the regular flour and all)? Here’s my dilemma: I live in Southeast Asia (hubby is an English teacher), and the flour here has been imported, and usually radiated and/or kept at really hot temperatures, thus killing all the natural yeasts. I have attempted a basic flour sourdough starter twice, with no results (and the same method/formula was working perfectly in the U.S.!). I’ve tried it in the fridge, out of the fridge, etc. It’s the flour that’s void of natural yeast. 🙁 However, I can get rice in pure forms, grown right here, and grind it into flour myself (or even get better quality rice flours). So my question is, could I make a starter out of rice flour, and make this (non-gluten-free) recipe when I’m ready to make the actual bread? (In other words, never putting white flour into the starter, only into the bread dough.) I’m really missing my homemade sourdough bread. I LOVE this sourdough recipe, and have had such success with it before. I really want to have it back! Thank you!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi KJR, your question has our baking brains spinning (in a good way!). We’ve never tried anything like what you’ve described: combining a gluten-free starter with a gluten-full recipe. However, we typically use a French-Style Sourdough Starter (powdered) to inoculate gluten-free flours, which you might consider ordering if you’re really determined to have success. You can also try using our Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter recipe as a base to work off of and replace the Ancient Grains Flour with whole brown rice flour. Once you have an active starter, you’re welcome to try using it in a recipe like the Extra-Tangy Sourdough Bread to see what happens; since you’ll have about 5x more regular flour, there should be enough gluten to support the dough structure. Be sure to let us know what happens if you do give it a shot; we’re so curious to hear. Good luck and happy baking! Kye@KAF

  157. star stern

    your recipes calls for adding yeast ,don’t you have one without any addition of yeast ,just and only the sourdough added ?

    a unfed sourdough is dead ?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Try our Extra-Tangy Sourdough Bread, Star — I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Unfed sourdough starter isn’t dead; it’s just sleeping. I sometimes use it simply for its flavor, not its leavening capabilities. PJH

  158. Kevin57

    A recipe is resting now before shaping into loaves. About 70°/70% humidity here. Will post back with the results.


  159. Kevin57

    Well, the two loves were beautiful. They browned very nicely. Kinda flattish. Taste was excellent but not very sour. Maybe the lacto side of my starter is not up to snuff. Very lively it was, it doubled at both rise times. Didn’t pick up very much height in the oven though. Of course I will try again. 🙂

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Kevin, if you’re looking to make your loaves more sour, you can try letting the shaped loaves rest in the fridge overnight to encourage development of the acid that tastes sour to us. You can also try using a bread baking bowl or another bread baking crock like a Dutch oven to support the sides of the dough upwards as it rises. Either that, or try using a higher protein content flour, like bread flour for additional support. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  160. JC

    Hello. I’m new to baking bread and I really like this sourdough recipe. I’ve made couple loaves with some success. Do I need to deflate the dough before I shape it or try to retain the volume when I shape the dough? My goal is to have many big holes after baking.

    If I bake this in a ceramic loaf pan, do I need to change the baking temperature and time? Do I need to grease the loaf pan?

    Thank you!!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi JC, in order for the dough to have oven spring, you’ll want to gently deflate the dough before shaping. Don’t worry, the yeast will do some serious work and create all those little air pockets again during the final rise. If you’re too gentle and don’t deflate it, you risk having the loaf deflate once it’s in the oven. It’s an important step! Kye@KAF

  161. JC

    Another question. I have a stiff starter I’m converting to liquid starter via 3:1 starter to water ratio for the extra tangy sourdough recipe. However, I feel like the dough is too wet and sticky. I’m having very hard time shaping the dough. Is the dough supposed to be wet and sticky or should it have enough structure to be shaped into a batard or baguette?

    Thank you.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi JC, it sounds like you might want to reduce your hydration slightly or add more flour. Recipes that call for liquid starter assume a 100% hydration, equal parts flour and water by weight. Once the dough in this recipe is mixed and kneaded, it should be just slightly tacky to the dough. It should have enough strength to be formed into a boule, baguette, etc. You may also consider using a higher-protein flour like our bread flour or even our High-Gluten Flour for extra strength. We hope that helps! Kye@KAF

  162. Andrea

    Hi there, I need a little help. Made this last week (half recipe). My started is all organic rye and I used Unbleached flour for the bread.

    Mine looked like your photos until I took out of the fridge to shape. It was just to soft and loose. Spread all over like pancake dough. I covered and left it to rise for ~4 hours and it really didn’t do much so I poured into a parchment lined saucepan and left it rise for about 7 hours, it did rise but nothing crazy and yes deflated when I tried to slash it. Flavor is wonderful and a lot more tender then I was expecting, just not many air bubbles or rise. Any thoughts?

    BTW, I have photos if that helps. Thanks in advance for the guidance.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Andrea, we’re wondering what kind of unbleached flour you used to make the dough — if you used a lower protein content flour, it may have caused the dough to be slightly more loose than it otherwise would be. You can try using King Arthur Bread Flour to help strengthen it. Also, we’ve recently updated the instructions in the recipe to now include a series of stretch and folds during the bulk rise. This process helps you get a feel for how quickly the dough is rising, and it also adds strength. The additional gluten development should help keep the dough rising upwards and also capture more air (create more holes) on the inside of the loaves. Check out those instructions and give it a shot! Kye@KAF

  163. KJR

    Hello, again! A little update on the gluten-free starter in a gluten-full bread. The rice flour starter didn’t work either. I tried grinding my own brown rice flour, but it was still too coarse to actually rise; the water just kept separating out. So I bought a cheap bag of white rice flour and tried it. Though it bubbled up a little, it never rose much; after a few days, it actually became a gelatinous lump, like those cornstarch science experiments in grade school. 🙁 So, I’ve never been able to see what would happen if I used a gluten-free starter with a gluten-full recipe. Sorry I have no results to give. I’m pretty bummed.

    But I’m not giving up on sourdough completely here. Would there be a way to make a “sour-faux” starter with yeast, and keep it going? Would I have to keep adding yeast every time? (Keeping in mind that the flours here all seem to have dead yeast.)

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We applaud your committed sourdough spirit! Some bakers have been known to use a bit of commercial yeast to get a starter going, so it may be worth it to give it a try. We’re not quite sure if or how often you’d need to give it another dose of commercial yeast, and you might just have to give it a try to see. One other idea that comes to mind is including something else in the mix that would contribute wild yeast…whey perhaps or wild grapes? While you can see in this blog article that we didn’t find that wild grapes contributed much to a sourdough starter in our kitchen, something like this may offer more of a boost in your case. Best of luck and keep us posted! Mollie@KAF

  164. KJR

    Okay, I have made homemade cheese from milk before, and have used the whey for different things. Do you guys think it would work to make a starter using only flour and whey (instead of flour and water)? This would be a fantastic way to use up the whey, if it works. Maybe give the starter whey every other day, and using water on the other days? FTR, I am using boiled water that has been cooled, since I’m not certain how “clean” the water is. Also not sure about chlorine content. Sounds like I’m about to make multiple sourdough starters, with my original formula that has flopped here as a control. Kitchen Chemistry 101! My kitchen is going to stink so bad…

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sometimes a smelly kitchen is also a happy one! We’ve experimented with feeding sourdough starters whey, and boy do they like it! Typically we’ve seen a notable increase in the activity of the starter after it’s fed with whey. You may consider only feeding your starter with whey during the feeding before you’re ready to bake (unless you have copious amounts of whey on hand, then feel free to use it as regularly as you like). The one thing to consider with using whey is that it can go bad (get smell) faster than a flour/water starter. Be vigilant about your feedings and check your starter often to make sure it’s not showing any signs of excess fermentation (colored spots, rotten smells). You can always slow this process by putting your starter in the fridge periodically. We hope that help! Kye@KAF

  165. Reece

    boy i had a good time working with this! i started my starter about 2 weeks ago and have been working on the sourdough bread for the last 2 days. i changed up the recipe a tad by adding more salt, a bit of basil, and a tablespoon of olive oil. i also brushed the bread with olive oil and a pinch of salt before baking. the crust came out nice and crunchy with a beautiful, soft inside. i certainly appreciate the instructions to “go with the flow” versus sticking to an exact time clock. i went with my gut the whole way while using the instructions as a baseline and had a ball. check out my instagram @bradysbakery for a picture. xxxxxx

  166. KJR

    Hi, again! Good news (I think)! I made 3 starters, and I think all of them have worked! One with boiled-then-cooled water, one with whey, and one with pineapple juice. For each feeding, I poured off any hooch, added 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, about a tablespoon of ground brown rice, and 1/4 cup liquid (I needed to use more liquid, since the brown rice adjusted the absorption, and I’ve had good success with a wetter starter before). So, I didn’t really make a control! Oops. I did not discard half the starter for each feeding, just poured off hooch, and honestly, I haven’t seen a whole lot of hooch. After a few days, all of them are rising almost double (I think they’re a little denser from the rice), and have lots of small bubbles (not the initial big soapy-looking bubbles from when you first get the starter going). The boiled water starter smells nice and yeasty, the pineapple juice has a tangy but still yeasty “wang”, and the whey is somewhere in the middle, but also yeasty smelling. I think all 3 will be ready to bake with soon. I may give them another day or two to mature. I think the simple addition of the rice gave the flour enough yeast to work with. The brown rice “flour” on its own didn’t have the right texture to rise, but adding it to flour did the trick. Or maybe I actually have a good bag of flour this time. Who knows? I’ll have to bake and see which one works best; different starters may function better for different recipes. I suspect that the pineapple starter will make some mean pancakes… Any thoughts before I start baking?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      KJR, you’re into uncharted territory here. You’re using combinations and methods that we haven’t tried before, so we just hope you’ll share your results with us. Be wary of any funky smells or spots of discoloration, as those are signs that your starter has been inocculated with a harmful bacteria and should be thrown out. Good luck! Kye@KAF

  167. KJR

    Oh, also, I wanted to mention that I only have a large toaster oven here, so I can only really bake one loaf of bread at a time, which forces me to half a lot of recipes. Is there any way to freeze some bread dough, and if so, at what stage of the kneading and rising process? I know I can always freeze a baked loaf, but I have a 2-month-old, and sometimes it’s hard to find time to bake one loaf, much less two! 🙂

    Also, I have to say, I really miss being able to go to the grocery store and buy King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour! 🙁 You guys are great, and have definitely earned my trust and business. When we’re back in the US, I think I will make it a point to only buy King Arthur. 🙂

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you’re looking to freeze unbaked dough, you can use the method shown in this blog. It specifically uses no-knead dough, but you can use the same method and see what kind of results you get. If you’re making sourdough bread that’s only naturally leavened (no commercial yeast) you may not experience much of a rise because the yeast can die during the freezing process. Consider adding a few teaspoons of commercial yeast to ensure a nice rise post-freezing. Thanks for baking with King Arthur Flour! Kye@KAF

  168. KJR

    SUCCESS!!! 😀 I’ve now made 4 loaves of sourdough bread! All 3 of the starters worked, so I ended up combining them, and I can feed it either whey or juice when it needs a boost. The bread turned out delicious, even when I got too anxious and didn’t let it finish rising. 🙂 It makes mean French toast, and I really look forward to trying out other sourdough recipes. Thank you guys for your input. I’m really not sure if it was the added ground rice or just better flour that did the trick this time, but I’m happy to be baking this recipe again! I feel like I have enough experience with the recipe to even “eyeball it”, and adapt it for other recipes. I did a happy dance when I ate the first piece of bread! Victory!!

  169. Timothy Cargain

    I started baking bread about a year or so ago although I have been baking other goodies for a number of years now. I tried this sourdough recipe today and was lucky enough to hit it fairly well on my first try (not always the case with attempts at other endeavors) so am happy and pleased. Between my wife and myself, this loaf doesn’t appear to be long for this world. Even with a fairly young starter, the taste came out really well, got good oven rise, good structure overall. As mentioned, your environment will dictate timing and proportions, but over all follow the recipe and you should come out with a outstanding loaf of sourdough bread.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sheri, if you add the citric acid, add it on the second day during step 3 when the remaining flour is added. It will add a pleasant tang. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  170. Elena W

    I absolutely cannot get the dough to be “smooth and satiny with a lovely sheen” after the kneading step. I try and try and try, and it just goes from very dry to very sticky and a quite firm ball of dough. What am I doing wrong? I tried using my mixer like in the photo, but it just gums up the attachment and doesn’t actually mix together, so I just use my hands. I’m sure I’m over-kneading the dough because the bread always ends up being super chewy. 🙁

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’d be a little surprised if you were over-kneading the dough by hand, Elena, as it’s pretty hard to do, but it may be that you’re working too much flour into the dough because it’s so hard to handle when sticky. To help avoid this, you might try using an alternative kneading technique that’s geared towards wetter dough. If we can offer more guidance, feel free to give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE. Mollie@KAF

  171. Cameron Gurley

    I actually used my bread machine to mix the first dough ball, (used 1/2 the recipe). Then I removed it, divided in half (for 2 1/4 loafs) then froze both before they could rise. Removed one yesterday, let it thaw, used the stretch and fold method several times and got a really good rise. Cooked it at 425 til done, this is one beautiful loaf of sourdough. Will be making and freezing more!

  172. Suzanne

    I used to make this recipe frequently, but I neglected my starter. I just started a new one so I was excited to be able to make my go to sourdough recipe again.
    I immediately noticed the hourly folding that had been added to the recipe which, frankly, I don’t completely understand. Any chance this technique could be added to this blog page?
    Here is my big ?: Why is the 1T of sugar deleted? At 1st I thought I must be wrong so I didn’t put in sugar, but the 1T of sugar is mentioned in quite a few comments. My dough is halfway through the 1st rise currently. I am trying not to panic, but my every instinct wants me to go back and add the sugar. This was always a foolproof recipe for me.
    The last mention I could find about the sugar was about a year ago. Any idea exactly when and why it was changed?
    What difference can I expect in sugarless loaves?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Suzanne, we’re happy to answer your questions. First, regarding the folding: this was added to the recipe to address some of the concerns bakers were sharing about their dough rising outwards rather the upwards. To prevent flat loaves, the dough should be strengthened through developing the gluten during folding. While we don’t have plans to change the blog that was originally published about this recipe, we do have a full article that demonstrates folding here.

      On to your big question: the sugar! It was removed from the recipe simply because it’s not a necessary addition in order to make a successful loaf of sourdough bread. There are natural sugars present in the flour that the yeast can consume and use as fuel. However, if you’ve made this loaf in the past including the sugar and you’d like to continue that practice, you’re more than welcome to continue using it. No harm done. It might be interesting for you to bake a loaf without sugar to see if you notice any difference. We think you’ll be hard-pressed to notice any difference at all, but it could be a helpful learning experience. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  173. Rizza carina malingin

    Hi, i just want to ask what happened to my sourdough. My dough was so wet. I followed the recipe by ounces. I could not manage my dough. It easily spreads out when i take it out from the bowl to fold. I could not shape it. I refrigerated it for 12 hours, by the way. I would say taste is good but I did not have a good shape. I cannot even score it. Huhu

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re glad you reached out to us, Rizza! It sounds like it just needed some extra flour in the dough. Maybe there was some humidity in the house that day? Humidity can take a big toll on doughs as the flour just absorbs everything it can from the mixture and from the air. We encourage you to reach out to our friendly Baker’s Hotline staff to help troubleshoot further at 855-371-BAKE (2253). Kindly, Annabelle@KAF

  174. Claudia

    So excited. I’ve been baking bread for years, but this was my first ever with a pre ferment and no commercial yeast. Definitely worth the two days it took to make. I was going to add a little citric acid but I was out. So glad I didn’t, because the tang in this was perfect. Made me think I was in San Francisco! Thanks, again, KAF for another fantastic recipe.

  175. Ally

    I love this recipe! I’ve been making the Extra Tangy Sourdough recipe about weekly for the past month and a half, since I started my first sourdough starter in January.

    The only thing I do differently is bake the final risen loves (which I keep round) inside a closed, preheated dutch oven. Lid stays on for about 25 minutes while it cooks, then removed for the last 10 minutes cooking.

    Gives the loaves a nice oven spring, resulting in taller loaves = better sandwich bread! (IMO, anyway :)). Also, I brush the tops with water before scoring + baking, gives the crust a wonderful chewy texture.

    I’m still very much a beginner! But I wanted to share the couple small tips that have really helped my bread from those first few terrible loaves.


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