Artisan Sourdough Bread Recipe (a beginner’s loaf)

This artisan sourdough bread recipe made simple is a bread recipe perfect for beginner’s. With a developed sourdough taste, a soft crumb, and the perfect crust, you’ll be surprised it was made at home! Unlike most hydrated sourdough bread recipes, this one is broken down into simple steps, making it perfect for beginners. It contains only 15 minutes of hands-on time!

pinterest pin for bread
Source: Plum Branch Home

Disclaimer: The content I share is based on personal experience and opinions. Some links may be affiliates like Amazon, but I only recommend what I find valuable. I’m not responsible for linked products/services, allergies, or dietary upsets. Consult a professional for any medical advice. Read our full privacy policy here.


When baking artisan sourdough bread loaves, it’s important to remember some loaves won’t turn out perfect. Sometimes your starter will be less hydrated, or the dough doesn’t ferment enough, or even the oven temperatures drop without you knowing.

These things aren’t necessarily problems but rather circumstances that happen when baking with sourdough. It’s both an art form and a science so don’t beat yourself up when things aren’t perfect. I still have occasional weird loaves but, you know what they still taste amazing!

Artisan Sourdough Bread Recipe Inspiration

I started my sourdough starter at the beginning of January 2023. Since then I’ve developed many sourdough bread loaves for the blog such as a no-knead loaf, a cinnamon raisin loaf, and a seeded whole wheat loaf. They’re all fantastic but I wanted a simple artisan loaf to add to the list.

The inspiration behind this bread was to create a simple recipe that tasted like it was made in a bakery. After a little research, trial and error, and a whole lot of testing, this loaf has become our go-to! I’ve continually baked this recipe over and over again, it’s that dang good.

loaf of artisan bread
Source: Plum Branch Home

What is Artisan Sourdough Bread

Artisan sourdough bread is simply homemade bread made with a sourdough starter instead of yeast. It’s usually shaped into a boule, round shape, and baked in a Dutch oven or bread cloche. Baking in either of these vessels gives the loaves that artisan flair: a soft crumb and a developed crust.

Health Benefits of Sourdough Bread

  • High-quality ingredients to protect your body from harmful dough conditioners and additives
  • Natural fermentation of the sourdough cultures adds gut health benefits to each loaf
  • Doesn’t spike blood glucose, or sugar levels, like regular bread because of the fermentation
  • Contains healthy carbohydrates to feed your brain unlike regular bread
  • May improve digestive health, lower disease risk, and promote healthy aging
loaf of bread with slices in a tin
Source: Plum Branch Home

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Simple steps make this recipe easy to understand
  • Only 4 ingredients are needed
  • The amount of hands-on time is a total of 15 minutes
  • Tastes wonderful every time you make it

Artisan Sourdough Bread Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fed sourdough starter (feed starter 4-12 hours before using)
  • 1 1/4 cups room temperature water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

How to Feed a Sourdough Starter

Feed your sourdough starter 4-12 hours before using it. To feed it use a 2 parts flour to 1 part water ratio. For example if you feed your starter 1/2 cup flour, you’ll want to add 1/4 cup water. Learn more about starter feeding with this post: The Best Sourdough Starter Feeding Ratio & Guide

Things To Avoid With The Ingredients

Never use bleached flour or city water that’s not filtered. Both of these items can kill your sourdough starter which will cause bread not to rise. Also never use hot water or cold water, it needs to be room temp or slightly warmed to protect the sourdough cultures.

Helpful Sourdough Baking Tools for This Recipe

For baking tool substitutes and an explanation of how to use each of these listed above, checkout the blog post a Complete List of Sourdough Baking Supplies You Need

How to Make Artisan Sourdough Bread Recipe

  1. Mix Ingredients: In a big bowl, stir together sourdough starter, water, and salt until well combined. Add flour and mix until it forms a slightly shaggy dough. Use your hands to form the dough into a loose ball. 
  2. Rest the Dough: Cover the dough with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes on the counter.
  3. Stretch and Fold: After 30 minutes, stretch and fold the dough by pulling a section upward, folding it into the center, and pressing it down. Repeat this around the dough for 1-2 complete circles.
  4. Rest Again: Cover the dough and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Then repeat the stretching and folding process.
  5. Bulk Ferment: Cover the dough and let it sit on the counter for 10–12 hours until it doubles in size.
  6. Shape the Dough: Gently turn the dough out onto the countertop without adding extra flour. Pick the dough up in the center letting the dough ends fold underneath. Then use your hands to sweep the dough in circular motions while tucking underneath to create tension.
  7. Create More Tension: Let it rest for 5 minutes. Repeat the circular motions again to create more tension, then place it upside down in a lightly floured rattan basket or bowl.
  8. Cold Ferment: Put the basket with the dough in the fridge for 3–24 hours.
  9. Preheat and Prep: Preheat the oven to 425°F with a Dutch oven or bread cloche inside. Place the dough seam (bottom) side down into the vessel. Make some cuts on top with a knife to score it.
  10. Bake: Bake covered for 35 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 15 minutes to develop the crust. Note: If you don’t have a Dutch oven or bread cloche, bake for 50–55 minutes, covering the bread with foil during the covered portion of the baking process.
  11. Cool and Enjoy: Let the bread cool on a wire rack before slicing and enjoying!
how to stretch and fold sourdough bread dough
Source: Plum Branch Home

Stretch and Fold Dough Infographic

This infographic above is showing you the steps of a sourdough stretch and fold technique through imagery. I’ve created this to give you a visual when making this recipe. It’s super simple to do!

Tips for the Best Artisan Sourdough Bread Loaf

  • Don’t skip a step of this recipe or rush any part of the process
  • Check out the sourdough sample baking timeline below to help you plan your bake ahead of time
  • Always do the poke test before baking
  • Don’t knead this bread dough
  • Feed your sourdough starter 4-12 hours before using
  • Never let your dough bulk ferment or sit on the counter for more than 12 hours. You don’t want it to over ferment.
loaf of sourdough bread
Source: Plum Branch Home

Example Baking Timeline for Busy Weekends

Saturday Night:

7:00 PM: Mix ingredients in a bowl. Rest dough for 30 mins.

7:30 PM: Stretch and fold dough. Rest for another 30 mins.

8:00 PM: Stretch and fold again. Let dough sit overnight on the counter.

Sunday Morning:

7:00 AM: Shape dough and put in the fridge.

Sunday Evening:

7:00 PM: Preheat oven with Dutch oven inside.

7:30 PM: Bake covered for 35 mins.

8:05 PM: Bake uncovered for 15 mins.

8:20 PM: Let bread cool before slicing and enjoying!

Artisan Sourdough Bread Storage

Store bread for 2-3 days at room temperature in a bread box with ventilation or 4-5 days in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. For longer-lasting bread, store it in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. If you want to freeze baked bread, package it in an air-tight bag or container and freeze it for up to 3 months.

Recipe FAQ

How long will sourdough bread keep?

In an air-tight container or a bread box it will keep for about 3 days at room temperature or up to 7 days in the fridge.

How to know when my sourdough starter is ready to use?

Just feed it 4-12 hours before using and it will be good to go.

What is artisan bread?

Artisan bread is bread that contains sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast.

Can I use different flours in this recipe?

I haven’t tried different flours with this recipe but I’m sure you can. Just know different flours call for different ingredient ratios. If you’re looking to use whole wheat flour, try this recipe: Simple Seeded Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread

How do I get the crispy crust on my bread?

You’ll need a Dutch oven or bread cloche do achieve the sourdough crust.

The bottom of my loaf burnt, what happened?

Next time you bake a loaf you can either move your oven rack up one notch or sit your baking vessel on a cookie sheet while baking to protect the bottom from burning.

Is sourdough bread healthy?

Yes! Sourdough bread is one of the healthiest options due to natural fermentation.

More Sourdough Bread Recipes To Try

Full Printable Recipe

If you enjoyed this recipe or have a question be sure to leave a comment below! 😊

loaf of artisan bread

Artisan Sourdough Bread Recipe

Molly LaFontaine of Plum Branch Home
This artisan sourdough bread recipe is perfect for keeping a homemade loaf on hand. With a developed sourdough taste, a soft crumb, and the perfect crust, you'll be surprised it was made at home!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Bulk + Cold Ferment 15 hours
Total Time 16 hours 5 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine Sourdough
Servings 1 Loaf

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup fed sourdough starter (feed starter 4-12 hours before using)
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Instructions
 

  • Mix Ingredients: In a big bowl, stir together sourdough starter, water, and salt until well combined. Add flour and mix until it forms a slightly shaggy dough. Use your hands to form the dough into a loose ball.
  • Rest the Dough: Cover the dough with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes on the counter.
  • Stretch and Fold: After 30 minutes, stretch and fold the dough by pulling a section upward, folding it into the center, and pressing it down. Repeat this around the dough for 1-2 complete circles.
  • Rest Again: Cover the dough and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Then repeat the stretching and folding process.
  • Bulk Ferment: Cover the dough and let it sit on the counter for 10–12 hours until it doubles in size.
  • Shape the Dough: Gently turn the dough out onto the countertop without adding extra flour. Pick the dough up in the center letting the dough ends fold underneath. Then use your hands to sweep the dough in circular motions while tucking underneath to create tension.
  • Create More Tension: Let it rest for 5 minutes. Repeat the circular motions again to create more tension, then place it upside down in a lightly floured rattan basket or bowl.
  • Cold Ferment: Put the basket with the dough in the fridge for 3–24 hours.
  • Preheat and Prep: Preheat the oven to 425°F with a Dutch oven or bread cloche inside. Place the dough seam (bottom) side down into the vessel. Make some cuts on top with a knife to score it.
  • Bake: Bake covered for 35 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 15 minutes to develop the crust. Note: If you don’t have a Dutch oven or bread cloche, bake for 50–55 minutes, covering the bread with foil during the covered portion of the baking process.
  • Cool and Enjoy: Let the bread cool on a wire rack before slicing and enjoying!

Notes

Sample Baking Schedule for Busy Weekends

Saturday Night:
7:00 PM: Mix ingredients in a bowl. Rest dough for 30 mins.
7:30 PM: Stretch and fold dough. Rest for another 30 mins.
8:00 PM: Stretch and fold again. Let dough sit overnight on the counter.
Sunday Morning:
7:00 AM: Shape dough and put in the fridge.
Sunday Evening:
7:00 PM: Preheat oven with Dutch oven inside.
7:30 PM: Bake covered for 35 mins.
8:05 PM: Bake uncovered for 15 mins.
8:20 PM: Let bread cool before slicing and enjoying!
Keyword artisan sourdough bread, artisan sourdough bread recipe, plum branch home artisan sourdough bread

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Great recipe, crunchy on the outside but soft inside!! Easy recipe and worth the wait for the cold ferment over night for homemade bread.

    I don’t have a Dutch oven or bread cloche.
    I covered the bread up with tinfoil towards the end of baking so it wouldn’t get to brown.

    PBH thanks for the tips, notes and timeline of the recipe!! I love those about your recipes, they sure help a lot!!

    1. I am so happy to hear you love this bread recipe and enjoy those sections of my blog posts! Anything to help cut confusion and overwhelm with sourdough! Thank you for sharing that tip for anyone who doesn’t have a bread cloche or Dutch oven!!