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How To Bake the Perfect Sourdough Boule in Your Dutch Oven – Recipe + Video Instructions

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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 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


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 day
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 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!



  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 minutes. 
  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. If 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 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-glutinous 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. Sometimes 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 giving 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 for 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!).


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
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!
Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies - Date and Molasses Sweetened - Made With Sprouted Wheat - In Your Food Processor


Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

Could I use a clay cooker instead of a dutch oven? Mine is rather large and my last attempt making the boule was more flat than tall. In fact it never retained its height after I removed it from the banneton and instead flattened out. I'm using King Arthur bread flour and I think my starter is good. I am trying again using your recommendation using less water. Hopefully this will work. Any advise you can give would be appreciated. Thank you.

Butter For All

Wednesday 3rd of March 2021

Hi Natalie!

Yes, you can of course use a play baker. You just need to follow the manufacturer's instructions for how to use it. Many can't be preheated and need to come to temperature with the oven.

It sounds like to may need to be building a little more tension at time of shaping. Really try to pull the outer skin of the dough tight. That technique is key for getting boules that don't flatten. A lower hydration dough will definitely be easier to handle and is a great place to start. A lot of the hydration issues arise with different brands of flour. Start with the lowest amount of water, and let the dough tell you if it can take more. It should be tacky, but not very sticky to dampened hands.

Hope that helps!


Arwen Fine

Friday 26th of February 2021

Does anyone know where I might get a Dutch oven for baguettes? I live in Israel, so preferably Europe?

Butter For All

Wednesday 3rd of March 2021

Hi Arwen.

Emile Henry makes a beautiful baguette baker. They are a French company so you could probably buy it direct! See it here.


Monday 1st of February 2021

First off thanks for your super detailed instructions and video! I tried making a sourdough boule and it was a complete fail... this is my second attempt. And overall theme is the dough wasn’t rising much. During the 10min stretch and folds things were still going well, until I got to shaping. Dough was too wet so I added some flour so I could work with it better. I was finally able to get it to a shape, in the benetton, and in the fridge. When I went to take it out this morning to put in the oven, the dough hadn’t risen at all and became very hard. Not springy at all. Any thoughts and advice for my next try? One thing I know for sure is I’m definitely going to try the beginner amount of water. But what else should I change so I can get better results next time? Thank you.

Butter For All

Friday 5th of February 2021

Hi Christine!

It sounds like you might need to be working on your starter first. Very active and healthy starter will start to develop gluten and carbon dioxide quickly enough that your dough will feel more elastic while you're doing stretch and folds. The fact that the dough didn't rise makes me think that your starter is not adapted well to a cold environment or ready to proof in the refrigerator. I would personally feed your starter every 12 hours for two days before baking, let your dough at least double at room temperature before shaping, try doing your second proof at room temperature as well, and make sure that it's actually doubled in the banneton before you bake it.

I agree that for now you should use the beginning amount of water, and really get a feel for handling the dough before you move to a higher hydration.

To get your starter adapted to a colder environment so that proofing in the fridge becomes easier, you need to use your starter more often, and put it away in the fridge well fed. Over time this will encourage the yeast that do well at colder temperatures.

Hope this helps and I hope you get a great loaf next time!



Monday 25th of January 2021

My daughter wanted to bake during the lockdown so we decided to go with our favorite bread, sourdough. We purchased a starter and found this step by step recipe and the accompanying video. How could you go wrong with the precision of the steps and clarity of the video. First loaf was a spectacular success which got a lot of kudos from others. After I baked my first loaf (still just one),I reached out to Courtney with a couple of clarifying questions with photos. She responded within a few hours with tons of tips. Great business woman and I will always use her recipes and website for futures baking adventures. Thank you, Courtney, for making a great father/daughter adventure such a success. Too bad I the comment won't let me upload the photo...

Butter For All

Tuesday 26th of January 2021

Hi Kyle!

I was seriously so impressed with your first loaf! Thank you for sending the photos to my email. You are doing your daughter a great service encouraging her to bake bread. It's a wonderful skill to have. And you two obviously make a great team. I can't wait to see your next creation!


Dorothy Stephenson

Sunday 24th of January 2021

Thank you for your informative website. I started making sourdough this past February and while the bread was good I wasn’t pleased with the crust and texture. Now my loaves rise beautifully and brown perfectly. I do take them out of the Dutch oven and put the loaf on the oven rack for the last 3-5 minutes of baking to even out the browning. I’ve also made your crackers with the discard starter and they were great!

Butter For All

Sunday 24th of January 2021

Hi Dorothy!

I got your email! Fantastic looking loaves! I'm so happy you are having such great results. Really well done :)