Basic Sourdough Bread - 1, 2, 3 Method

READY IN: 6hrs 35mins


  • Starter Sponge or Poolish
  • 2
    tablespoons sourdough starter (1 oz)
  • 14
    cup water (2 oz room temperature)
  • 23
    cup flour (3 oz all purpose unbleached flour)
  • Dough
  • 1 13
    cups water (a little less than 1 1/3 cup, or 10.5 oz room temperature)
  • 3 12
    cups flour (15.75 oz unbleached bread flour)
  • 1 12
    teaspoons salt (0.32 oz table salt)


  • Starter Sponge: Add starter to the water and wisk together. Add flour, mix well, cover and let sit at room temperature (70 to 75F) until doubled in volume (6 hours or overnight).
  • Dough: Wisk starter sponge into the water and add enough flour to make a thin batter. Wisk to aerate dough, forming some bubbles. Add the rest of the flour and mix well to incorporate.
  • Cover the bowl and let rest for 20 minutes to 30 minutes.
  • Add salt and knead for 8 minutes. Cover and let rest 5 minutes.
  • Stretch and fold the dough once by stretching dough into a rectangle and folding letter-style side to side and top to bottom.
  • Place in oiled container (straight sided is best) and mark the point on the container when the dough is doubled.
  • Let rise in 75 to 80 F area for 1 hour.
  • Stretch and fold the dough for the second time.
  • Let rise in 75 to 80 F area for 1 more hour or until doubled in volume (total time may be 3 hours).
  • Remove dough and divide into 2 pieces weighing 1 lb each and one piece the size of a ping-pong ball.
  • Form smooth balls as a pre-shape and rest covered for 10 minutes.
  • Shape into batards or torpedo or boule shapes. If resistant to stretching, let rest for 5 to 10 min and repeat.
  • Place loaves on a parchment covered cloth folded to support all sides of each loaf and cover with oiled plastic.
  • Place the small piece of dough in a small, straight-sided glass and mark doubled volume point with tape or marker or rubber band.
  • Preheat oven to 425 F and add a cast iron skillet near the bottom of the oven to preheat as well.
  • Let rise until 1 1/2 times the original volume. Watch the small piece as a guide.
  • Add 1 cup of hot water to the skillet carefully to avoid breaking the oven door glass.
  • Score the loaves with a double edged razor blade.
  • Place parchment paper and loaves in the oven and using a flat baking sheet or a peel.
  • Bake for 12 minutes and rotate pan for even cooking.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 more minutes until browned or 205 F internal temp Cool on rack.