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Baking Sour Dough Bread in a Dutch Oven

If you haven't already please read my notes in the sourdough page on starter and leaven before you begin. You will need to have a mature starter and active leaven before you get going on any sourdough recipe. Let’s start with a basic single loaf recipe, from here we can add extras and get more creative. Not to say this isn’t an exceptional loaf to serve; you will love the taste and texture that sourdough brings to the table.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Resting Time2 hrs
Total Time4 hrs
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: baking bread in a dutch oven, Baking Sour Dough Bread in a Dutch Oven, cooking ideas with bread, Dutch Oven, how to bake bread, how to make bread in a Dutch oven, kneading, sour dough bread
Servings: 10 slices
Cost: $4.00


  • Dutch Oven, Measuring Cup, Mixing Bowl, Thermometer, Scale, Scoring Knife, Banneton Basket or Proofing Bowl, Wooden Spoon.


  • 370 gm White flour organic
  • 30 gm Rye
  • 90 gm leaven
  • 10 gm fine Sea Salt
  • 280 gm water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil virgin


  • Add 225 gm of water of your total water at 28 – 32 degrees to flour; mix well so no flour is left unabsorbed. It is common practice to use your hands for this, but you can use a wooden spoon if you prefer.
  • This is where we let the mixture sit and develop before adding salt; which is called autolyze; autolyse lessens the time needed to knead or fold and stretch your dough as it helps develop the gluten in this stage. The dough temperature needs to between 23- 28 degrees to develop gluten so once you add the water kept in a warm spot. You can use a common trick of turning the oven light on and placing inside. The temperature should be monitored as you do not want to hot or too cold. Let the mixture sit for 30 - 60 minutes.
  • Now add your leaven, mix well with your hands, then let it sit for another 30 minutes; making sure to monitor dough temperature, keeping it between 23 – 28 degrees. If you are using the oven by turning on the light, make sure you monitor as it can get to warm; so turn off light if the temperature starts to gets too high (26). Now add your salt by sprinkling it evenly over your dough; then add 20 gm of water (28-32 degrees) and mix well with hands. This is now considered to be the end of the autolyze; this is also where I start to fold the dough in bowl; folding it back on its self and push down; do this until the mixture starts to get sticky again.
  • Continue to add the remaining water in 15 -20 gm’s in allotments, allow the dough to rest for 10-15 minutes in between. Continue folding the dough back onto itself repeatably until it starts to be sticky again; essentially you are kneading the bread, continue to do this until all your water is gone. Let dough sit in the same warm spot for another 30 - 45 minutes allowing it to settle and ferment.
  • Now you can now start to stretch and fold the dough. To stretch and fold, grab one corner of dough starts pulling up as much as the dough will allow then fold the dough back onto itself, rotate 90 degrees and do the same for several rotations; this is done 3 – 4 times at regular intervals, I use 15 minutes in between each. After folding and stretching is complete let the dough sit for 1-2 hrs allowing the dough to rise by roughly 30-40%, before shaping.
  • Take the dough out of your container; place on a lightly floured countertop. Fold the dough back on itself, taking care to be a little gentler with dough now. Turn the dough over with a dough knife (if you have one); sprinkle a little flour on top; and tighten up by pushing in on the bottom and rotating at the same time. Let the dough sit for 15 minutes (bench rest).
  • Flip the dough over seam side up and stitch the bread. Stitching is taking a small piece of the outside part of your dough and pulling it back to the middle of the dough; applying a little pressure so that it sticks to itself. This procedure tightens up your dough and makes for a better rise. Place on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal or lightly covered with olive oil. You can add some garnish at this point as well, seeds, nuts, rosemary whatever you fancy. As always leave in a warm spot (oven) until you have a rise; roughly 30- 40%; ensure to catch on the rise, do not let it over proof; give it a poke with your finger if it gently responds it is ready, and now place in the fridge for the night.
  • Next day, preheat oven to 550 degrees F and place the Dutch oven in to for 45 minutes. In the meantime you can now easily score your loaf with a scoring knife, if not available just use a shape knife. Scoring allows the dough to open up on your cuts during its oven rise. Take the Dutch oven out and place dough in the Dutch oven with the parchment paper. Take a spray bottle and give it a couple of sprays of water; this helps in keeping the crust soft. Place in the oven for 5 minutes; then turn down the temperature down to 450 degrees for 30 minutes; these times will vary as ovens vary. Take out of the oven and remove lid; loaf should be golden brown at this point. Pour a little olive oil over top and use a brush to spread over the top of the loaf; this aids to a nice soft crust. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes without a lid; remove from oven, the loaf should be a darker brown now; if not place back in for 5 minutes or so until it is. Remove from oven and let sit on a grid or rack for 1 hr before cutting. Enjoy!
    dough dutch oven