Basic Sourdough Bread - 1, 2, 3 Method

"This is a simple recipe of 1 part by weight starter, 2 parts by weight water and 3 parts by weight flour. Salt is 2% of the flour weight or 0.06 parts by weight. This recipe can be enriched for sandwich bread or buns easily by using milk instead of water and adding sugar and oil. This makes two 1 lb loaves. To make 2 medium loaves, increase ingredients by 50 %. This recipe as written can also make 1 large, 2 lb loaf free-standing or in a 9" x 5" loaf pan. Flo is a pretty french lady on another site who developed the 1-2-3 formula."
photo by Red_Apple_Guy photo by Red_Apple_Guy
photo by Red_Apple_Guy
Ready In:
6hrs 35mins
2 1 lb or small loaves


  • 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.

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My wife and I live just outside of Atlanta, GA. Two daughters live in town, one with my two grandsons. My son is living in California. I'm a retired environmental manager at a manufacturing facility. My Mom and Dad would have loved this site. Dad was a huge collector of recipes and was in the food industry. Mom was a terrific cook as well. Another influence was a roommate at the Universtiy of Arkansas that was an excellent cook. Today I enjoy barbecuing and grilling year round and cooking in general. My latest adventure is in bread baking. I'm loving it and going to school on it right here on the bread forum. I'm active in a terrific church and also love fly fishing and fly tying.
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