Skip to Content

How To Bake The Perfect Sourdough Boule In Your Dutch Oven – Recipe + Video Instructions

I may receive commission if you purchase through links in this post.

Learn how to bake a soft and chewy, traditionally fermented Artisan Sourdough Boule at home. This easy recipe and instructive video will take your bread to a whole new level! #sourdough #nourishingtraditions #wisetraditions #fermentation #wildyeast #masamadre #sourdoughstarter

Over the last few years I’ve made it my mission to learn how to make the softest, fluffiest, chewiest, naturally leavened and fermented bread with my fifteen year old sourdough starter.

This easy sourdough boule is the result of much practice and formula testing. I wanted to keep the recipe very simple and straightforward so that even an amateur sourdough baker could reproduce this bread with beautiful results! If you follow my recipe and learn the technique from watching my video you will definitely be able to master baking an artisan sourdough boule at home in your Dutch oven.

 

This artisan sourdough boule fits perfectly into a Dutch Oven for baking!

 

Are you interested in the science of sourdough?

I’ve written a comprehensive guide to sourdough. It answers questions about what sourdough is, why it’s better for your body, how to talk about sourdough and understand common terminology, and how to save yourself years of trial and error.

 

Demystifying Sourdough – Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Sourdough Starter – Why It’s Better For You – And How To Start One

Sourdough starter that is active and fresh makes wonderful artisan bread!

 

One of the first steps to making great bread is having a great starter!

Learn how to feed your starter for optimal performance and successful baking in my easy visual guide,

 

How To Feed Your Sourdough Starter For Successful Baking

The key to really great sourdough bread and other baked goods is a lively and active sourdough starter. Learn how to properly feed your starter for the most successful bread baking. #fermented #naturallyleavened #masamadre #motherdough #sourdough #leaven #slowfood #realfood #nourishingtraditions #wisetraditions

 

Once you’ve mastered the sourdough basics you will be ready to bake an incredible loaf of bread like this one.

 

A soft artisan sourdough boule cut in thick slices perfect for toasting.

 

This recipe uses the stretch and fold method of kneading. 

What I love about stretch and fold,

  • It’s easy.
  • It can be done over a period of time and at your own pace.
  • It develops an insane amount of gluten, making your bread reach for the clouds with the absolute BEST oven spring.
  • It’s flexible (Only have time for two stretch and folds? No problem, you will still have an awesome bake!).
  • It can be done in the bowl, keeping your workspace clean.
  • You don’t need a stand mixer, stretch and fold is a “by hand” method, uniting you to your food!
This video will walk you through the steps of the recipe and stretch and fold method.


 

Learn how to bake a big beautiful loaf of sourdough bread in your Dutch oven at home. This formula is perfect for beginners and advanced bakers and yields consistently fabulous sourdough bread! Get the easy visual instructions now! #realfood #realbread #fermented #wisetraditions #nourishingtraditions #starter #masamadre #motherdough

 

The 7 most important tools to help you achieve a perfect sourdough boule in your Dutch oven.

Click on the photo to be taken directly to the product I recommend.

  1. Baking scale

2. Covered bowl for mixing and proofing

3. Dough whisk or wooden spoon

4. Banneton

5. Parchment paper

6. Bread lame for scoring

7. Dutch Oven or fancy Bread Cloche

Learn how to bake a big beautiful loaf of sourdough bread in your Dutch oven at home. This formula is perfect for beginners and advanced bakers and yields consistently fabulous sourdough bread! Get the easy visual instructions now! #realfood #realbread #fermented #wisetraditions #nourishingtraditions #starter #masamadre #motherdough

This artisan sourdough boule fits perfectly into a Dutch Oven for baking!

How To Bake The Perfect Sourdough Boule In Your Dutch Oven

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 1 days
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 days 40 minutes

Learn how to bake a big and beautiful loaf of real sourdough bread. This formula yields a soft and pillowy crumb perfect for slathering with real butter!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Weigh all ingredients into a glass or ceramic bowl.
  2. Mix the ingredients into a loose shaggy dough with a wooden spoon or dough whisk.
  3. Wet your hands and gently knead the dough in the bowl by hand until it comes together with no excess flour.
  4. Let the dough rest covered for 10-15 minuets. 
  5. Start the first stretch and fold by wetting your hands and lifting one side of the dough and folding it toward the middle. Repeat this stretch and fold process in all four directions.
  6. Sometimes you can get away with an extra one or two folds depending on the elasticity of the dough. It it wants to stretch, stretch it! If it's tearing or breaking it needs a rest!
  7. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Start the second stretch and fold by wetting your hands and repeating the same folding motion in (at least) all four directions. 
  9. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  10. Repeat the stretch and fold and resting process up to 5 more times for a total of 7 stretch and folds (or as many as you are able). I have made great bread by just just doing two stretch and folds. But remember, the more stretching and folding, the more gluten will develop, and the higher your bread will rise!
  11. After the last stretch and fold cover the dough and allow it to double in size. This can take anywhere from 3-6 hours depending on starter strength and ambient temperature.
  12. Prepare your banneton (proofing basket) with a coating of flour. My trick is to use sprouted wheat flour. Sprouted wheat does not develop gluten so it will keep the bread from sticking to the basket. Rice flour, buckwheat or other non glutenous flour can also be used. 
  13. Working with the doubled dough, start the final stretch and fold. This will act as the "punch down" of the dough, deflating the gasses trapped inside the gluten network. Stretch the dough several times toward the center, each time pressing down on the dough to remove air bubbles.
  14. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. 
  15. Lightly wet your hands and remove the dough from the proofing bowl onto your work surface. Shape the dough by repeating the same folding toward the center action. Once a tight ball is achieved flip it seam side down and push it gently in all directions across the work surface to build tension in the outer layer. (please see attached video)
  16. Let the dough rest seam side down for 5 minutes.
  17. Transfer the dough to the banneton basket. This time you want the seam to be up and the tight surface to be down in the basket.
  18. Sprinkle the seam side of the shaped dough with a light dusting of flour and cover it securely with wrap and a rubber band.
  19. Place the banneton basket in the refrigerator overnight for at least 10 hours. 12-24 hours is my preferred proofing time.
  20. Once the dough has crested the edge of the banneton it is ready to bake. But you may keep it in the refrigerator for a longer period of time. 
  21. Preheat your oven to 450° with your covered Dutch oven inside!
  22. Cut a piece of parchment paper big enough to overhang your loaf's circumference by a few inches.
  23. Remove the banneton from the refrigerator, remove the wrap from the dough and place the parchment sheet over the exposed dough. Hold the parchment in place with your hand while you flip the dough onto the counter. Now the parchment is on the bottom.
  24. Carefully ease the banneton off the dough. Sometime it takes a little coaxing. Use your fingers to gently work between the dough and basket. Hopefully  the basket will lift away clean!
  25. Using a sharp razor blade, score the dough along the top. There are so many scoring patterns to practice with, but a good one to start with is a simple slash or a cross. Score the dough about 1/2 inch deep.
  26. Using baking gloves remove the Dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid. 
  27. Working quickly pick up the boule by the parchment paper edges and place it into the Dutch oven on top of the parchment. 
  28. If desired add a few ice cubes to the Dutch oven between the parchment and the wall of the Dutch oven, or spray the boule with a few spritzes of filtered water. Adding additional moisture will keep the crust soft allowing for more rise and give a nice blistered texture and appearance.
  29. Cover the Dutch oven and place it back in your preheated oven. Bake undisturbed for 25 minutes!
  30. Open your oven and remove the Dutch oven lid. Bake an additional 15 minutes!
  31. Remove your Dutch oven from the oven and gently lift the boule out using the parchment paper as handles. Remove the parchment paper and cool the boule on a wire rack. Cool the boule completely before cutting (possibly the hardest part of baking this incredible loaf of bread!).

Notes

Beginners: Start with 275g water, about 1 1/5th cups.

Also note that all cups and spoons measurements are approximate, for best results please weigh your ingredients!

This recipe yields a boule that has a hydration percentage of 73.3%

Higher hydration doughs will have a more open crumb (bigger holes). Want to play around with hydration? Use this website to calculate the hydration percentage of your dough! Bread Hydration and Conversion Calculator

 

Learn how to bake a soft and chewy, traditionally fermented Artisan Sourdough Boule at home. This easy recipe and instructive video will take your bread to a whole new level! #sourdough #nourishingtraditions #wisetraditions #fermentation #wildyeast #masamadre #sourdoughstarter

 

Because you are awesome and read all the way to the bottom of this post you get my “Pro Tips” for this recipe!

Pro Tip #1 You can use up to 60% whole wheat or other heirloom or ancient grain in this recipe. But be aware that you may want to add additional water because whole grains absorb more water in the dough. Start with 10 additional grams of water per 50 grams of whole grain flour used. 

Pro Tip #2 If you are baking in an electric or gas oven with a bottom heating element, always use a baking stone, pizza stone, cast iron griddle or cast iron frying pan on the rack below your Dutch oven! Position the Dutch oven directly above the barrier pan or stone, this will help keep the bottom crust from getting too dark!

This guide to Sustainable Kitchen practices will help you make green choices in your kitchen. Learn how to ditch plastic and opt for more healthy longterm kitchen products and ideas. #greenhome #eco #kitchen #tools #castiron #stainlessteel #sustainability #green
Previous
The 5 Most Sustainable Kitchen Practices You Can Put Into Place Right Now - No More Rebuying Or Replacing - Plus My Top 3 Inexpensive Eco Gifts
The perfect gingerbread cut-out cookie that is refined sugar free and made with sprouted whole wheat in your food processor!
Next
Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies - Date and Molasses Sweetened - Made With Sprouted Wheat - In Your Food Processor

Susan Chan

Tuesday 22nd of September 2020

Hi Courtney, I got your email about fire close to your home. So glad your are spare of losing your home. I have never commented in any website before, but I truly appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us. I am a sourdough beginner. Made boule with another receipt once before . My second boule is with your receipt. I want to share my mistakes, 1) my starter out of refrigerator in room temp was still growing, 5 days old. I wanted to try using it as active starter in your recipe, I weighted it, it was 250 grams, so it should be classified as discard (only your website have really good specific information). 2) I use 315g water instead of 275g as you stated for beginner, Everything went well until after proofing in room temperature size doubled. Final stretch and fold tells me I have a problem. dough was wet and sticky. 3) I closed tight seal with plastic top on glass bowl, which doesn't allow air. Dough was so soft and mushy that it was impossible to get it off my hand. I panic, and then I remember what you said, "it is only flour", I added flour to glass bowl and work surface until it can look and feel like dough. Scape to banneton and refrigerated for 12 hour. Very happy it grown to edge, still flat when I put it in Dutch oven, baked and boule rise to 3 1/2" high, not as soft as it can, but it tasted good! Finally, I have to try my third boule immediately, corrected all above mistakes. When I was able to shape and pick up dough with my hand and put in banneton, smiling face.

Susan Chan

Sunday 27th of September 2020

My starter is very gummy. When I take it out of refrigeration and feed it, I waited 7 hours for it to fall. It still didn't go down. I think it is best to use for bread when it start to fall. It did double in 4 hours. Next 3 hours it increase half an inches. Maybe I changed feeding from 1:1:1 to 120/160/160?

Butter For All

Wednesday 23rd of September 2020

Hi Susan!

Thank you so much for the kind words. Your note made me so happy.

It sounds like you did just the right thing to correct your second loaf. I love how intuitive you are, and I know you will just get better and better results with such a positive and adaptable approach! Keep up the amazing attitude and enjoy every moment of your sourdough journey. I'm here if you need me!

Happy baking!

Courtney

Mary

Monday 14th of September 2020

Hi Courtney, planning on making your sourdough boule in the morning. Hoping I can get an answer before I start making it. My question is regarding the leaving. Recipe calls for 250 grams os leaving, which is just a bit over 2 cups (120g per cup). In parentheses It also says 1 cup hydration starter. So is it 250g (2 cups) or 1cup starter? Thank You, Mary

Butter For All

Monday 21st of September 2020

Hi Mary,

Sorry I couldn't respond sooner, we have been evacuated for two weeks do to fire.

If stirred down, 1 full cup of starter should weigh 250g by my calculation. But if you have the ability to measure by weight then you should just do that. Active sourdough starter should always be stirred down to remove all gas before measuring by volume. That and the hydration level is the only way to get an accurate measurement. I hope your bake was a huge success!

Courtney

Robert

Tuesday 8th of September 2020

I am new to sourdough. I developed my starter and am very happy with it. My reluctance has always been that I don’t like the sour tang of sourdough bread. I decided to try this. The loaf came out well and looked just like your photos. My problem is the tang.

Are there things I could do to minimize that or eliminate it?

Butter For All

Sunday 13th of September 2020

Hi Robert, The short answer is yes! You need to feed your starter more often and bake with it at least twice a week. You want to encourage the yeast over the bacteria. If the yeast is strong there will be less sour tang. When the bacteria is stronger the the yeast it makes the bread more sour. You are looking for a balance. So encourage the yeast by feeding the starter more often!

Hope that helps,

Courtney

Sheri-Lee Youmans

Tuesday 8th of September 2020

HI...Such wonderful information! I read below about someone struggling with dough not developing and not being able to form it and that about sums up my experiences. When I first used my starter I had no problem getting it to rise but trouble with it cooking through even though temp was good and black on the bottom. I really couldn't leave in any longer. Now, it really isn't rising as much as it should But other problem as mentioned was underdeveloped when I went to form it. You asked if it developed hooch when unfed and mine does. If this is my problem, how can I correct it? Thank you so much for your help. Sheri-Lee

Butter For All

Sunday 13th of September 2020

Hi Sheri-Lee,

This sounds like the most common problem with new or underdeveloped starters. It just needs more food. The yeast is weaker than the bacteria and isn't getting enough food. Discard at least half and feed it every 12 hours until it starts to double in volume within 4-8 hours. Then it will be ready to use!

Good Luck!

Courtney

Kaori

Monday 31st of August 2020

Hello, This was the first time I tried this recipe. I tried your sourdough discard crackers and English muffins, and they were delicious! I was so excited to try your bread recipe, but unfortunately it didn’t work out well and I don’t think it will even make it to the oven... the dough is too soft and sticky and I cannot shape if at all. I have baked a few sourdough bread successfully but also had a few failures. I noticed that if I waited till the dough was doubled in size during the bulk fermentation, like this recipe, it becomes too sticky and I can hardly shape the dough. It sticks to my hand, the counter surface, and my bench scraper no matter how much rice flour I used. Do you think I over fermented the dough? I had a success with high hydration dough before, so I don’t think it’s the hydration ratio. It felt really good with good gluten development while I was doing stretch and fold. Did I wait too long before shaping? Is there any way to turn this sticky dough into a bread?

Kaori

Sunday 6th of September 2020

@Butter For All, Hello Cortney, Thank you so much for the advice! I used a starter from local artisanal bakery for this bake. I bought it about a week ago and kept it in the fridge till three days before I used it. I then I fed the starter 10:20:20 ratio twice a day for three days before baking. It responded pretty well but I noticed the starter wan’t as strong texture-wise as my own starter; a bit runnier even after a few feeds. It never developed hooch but probably wasn’t as fresh as it should be when I bought it. I started another dough this morning and used my own starter. This time, after the bulk fermentation, the dough was very easy to shape and it is resting in the fridge for final proof! I’m so looking forward to see the result tomorrow morning. So you are right, It must have been the starter! Again, thank you so much 😊

Butter For All

Tuesday 1st of September 2020

Hi Kaori,

Gosh, I'm sorry to hear that. It can be a few things: too much hydration for your specific flour, unbalanced starter that is favoring bacteria over yeast, climate... Unless it is very warm where you are, it would be doubtful that it is overproofed. I often let dough ferment overnight at room temperature, upwards of 12 hours and am still able to shape and have a successful second proof. I would lean more toward an unbalanced starter. How old is the starter? Does it develop hootch when not fed? If so how long does that take? I'd love to be able to help you figure this out, so feel free to leave more specifics about your starter and we can get to the bottom of this!

Best,

Courtney

shares