Sourdough bread making has been a staple in kitchens for centuries, and its popularity has only risen in recent years. With its tangy flavor and chewy texture, sourdough bread is a true delicacy, and making it from scratch can be both rewarding and satisfying. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the art of sourdough bread making, and share tips, tricks, and techniques to help you bake the perfect loaf every time. Whether you are new baker, or have been making sourdough a long time, this complete guide is an easy way to start making your own bread today.

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Materials for sourdough bread making:

There is some special equipment you’re going to want to have to begin your journey on “the art of sourdough bread making”. I’ve compiled some of my favorites here for all things sourdough!

Step 1: Creating a Sourdough Starter

The first step in making sourdough bread is creating a starter. We have a whole step by step guide to making your own sourdough starter from scratch. A starter is a mixture of flour and water that contains wild yeasts and bacteria. Making your own starters is a great way to wrap your head around the whole process from the beginning. A starter is the foundation of sourdough bread, and it needs to be nurtured and cared for to ensure that it remains active.

To make a starter mix equal parts of flour and water in a jar and let it sit in a warm place for 2-3 days, stirring it every 12 hours. The mixture will start to bubble and ferment, which means that it is ready to use. If you don’t have the time or patience to start your own there are some available. We have a wonderful sourdough starter for sale that includes everything you need to get your sourdough journey going. A little bit of sourdough starter will need to be discarded each time you feed your starter, this can be a delicious step. An added bonus to sourdough making is that there are additional recipes for using sourdough discard, which incorporate the incredible flavors of sourdough into your daily meals without all the wait time.

Large glass jar and small glass jar of sourdough starter with the lid off looking down

Step 2: Mixing the dough for your sourdough bread making

Once you have a healthy sourdough starter, you can start mixing the dough for your sourdough bread. To make the dough, you will need flour, water, salt and your starter. That is the most basic form of bread making. We love to get a little more fancy than that. There is a huge variety of artistic flair in the sourdough world. We add in honey like in this “perfect sandwich loaf recipe”. Even eggs and milk and cinnamon go in this “delicious sourdough cinnamon rolls” recipe.

But for your first loaf, we’ll stick to the basics. You will need to “feed” your starter before baking bread. We do that by just adding equal parts of Starter : Flour : Water. Some people choose to weigh it out to be precise, but I find that for me…just eyeballing it works quite well. If you do choose to weigh your flour water and starter, I highly recommend getting a digital scale for this purpose. Most recipes you can get away with just winging it, but for some…you’ll want to get it really precise. Once you have fed your starter and it gets nice and bubbly, that’s called “active sourdough starter” and will be referred to a lot on your sourdough journey.

Step 3: Fermentation process

The next step in making sourdough bread is fermentation, which is the process of allowing the dough to rise and develop its characteristic sour flavor full of good bacteria. To ferment the dough, place it in a large, covered bowl (we love ceramic bowls for this) and let sit in a warm place for 8-12 hours, or until it has doubled in size. By this point you want to stretch and fold the dough in phases to develop those luscious large bubbles in your bread recipe.

Step 4: Shaping the Dough

Once the dough has fermented, it is time to shape it into whatever you’re making. Let’s say a loaf of artisan bread. Gently shape the dough into a ball, then place it on a sheet of parchment paper. Let the dough rest for another hour to allow it to rise further.

Step 5: Scoring the Loaf

When baking sourdough bread, you want to “score” the loaf before putting it in the oven. This is because as the bread bakes, it expands. Before you score your loaf, you want to sprinkle a little bit of all purpose flour on top so that your scoring design stands out. You can use a sharp blade, such as a razor blade or a scoring tool to make little cuts along the bread so that it has room to expand without cracking that precious crust. Over time, you can make some really beautiful bread.

Sourdough bread loaf with scoring lines cut in it

Step 6: Baking Sourdough Bread

The final step in making sourdough bread is baking. Preheat your oven, then place the loaf into the dutch oven with the parchment paper, and bake in a hot oven with the lid on! When making a sourdough loaf, you want to bake it until the crust is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. To get a really delicious crust, take off the lid for the last few minutes of making. Don’t cut it open right away. Let your loaf of bread sit at room temperature. The timing of your cuts really matters in maintaining that delicious moisture within.


Making sourdough bread is a rewarding and satisfying experience that takes time and patience, but the end result is well worth it. By following these tips, tricks and techniques, you can bake the perfect loaf for sourdough bread every time. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or just starting out, sourdough bread making is a true form of art that is worth mastering. Once you get the basic breadmaking techniques down, start delving into some more delicious sourdough recipes!

Follow along for the best tips for sourdough beginners.

More Sourdough Recipes:

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