Baking Your First Sourdough Bread, Guide

Home 9 Sourdough Bread 9 Baking Your First Sourdough Bread, Guide

So, you have made your starter and it is nice and active. Now you are ready to bake your first sourdough bread. It is simpler than most people think.

Follow my easy instructions for success. This recipe is as easy as it gets. Just keep an eye on it as it ferments. The times given in any bread recipe are to be taken with a grain of salt because the conditions in every kitchen are different. Your bread might take longer to rise, or it may rise more quickly. You must react accordingly.


For the levain:

20g (0.7oz) sourdough starter

40g (1.4oz) strong white bread flour

40g (1.4oz) room temperature water


For the main dough:

400g (14.1oz) strong white bread flour

50g (1.75oz) wholemeal flour

10g (0.35oz) salt

100g (3.5oz) of levain

265g (9.3oz) water at around 20 – 22C (68-71F) if your kitchen is 20 – 22C (68-71F), if it is warmer then lower water temperature by 1 – 2C (2-3F) and vice versa.

To learn more about dough temperature when using a preferment click here.


  1. Make the levain by mixing all ingredients and leaving out for 12 – 16h.
  2. In a bowl add the water, levain and salt and mix well.
  3. Add the flour and mix until no more dry flour left.
  4. Knead the dough for around 5 – 7minutes until decent gluten development.
  5. Place in bowl and ferment for 1 hour.
  6. Fold.
  7. Ferment for 1 more hour.
  8. Fold.
  9. Place in the fridge for 12-16 hours to cold ferment.
  10. Shape the loaf and place it in the basket.
  11. Final proof for around 3 hours until nicely puffed up. During the final hour of proofing pre-heat your oven and baking vessel to 240C (460F) no fan or 220C (430F) fan on.
  12. Score the dough and bake for 20 minutes with the lid on.
  13. Remove lid and bake for a further 20 minutes.

Let cool down on a rack or lean it against a wall.

Watch the video here

Understanding the principles of bread making will let you be in complete control every time you make bread. It will reduce the failure rate and turn you into an even more confident home baker.

I highly recommend you check out the Learning page where I have detailed, easy to understand explanations on each step of the bread baking process and the principles behind it. You can find all the equipment I use and recommend in the Shop (UK) & Shop (US) pages.

Show/Hide Comments (4 comments)


  1. Martha Wong

    Hi Charlie

    I’m new to baking and have been confused by most recipes calling for the use of warm water for bread. Hence, I’m glad that you have specified what is room temperature in your context and shared about the importance of temperature.

    As I live in the tropics with average night temperature from 26 – 29 degrees and day time temperature of 30+ degrees, may I know if I should leave the levain at room temperature overnight.

    If I make the levain in the day time, I definitely don’t think it will take 12 hours to be ready. Should I slow it down by letting it develop for a while at room temperature then stick it in the fridge?

    Thanks for sharing.


    • ChainBaker

      Hi Martha,
      Yes you can leave it to rise for a couple of hours and then refrigerate it. Another option would be to use cold flour and cold water and leave at room temperature. This may work with some experimentation. Another options is to add 2% salt to the leaven to slow it down. This salt should be taken from the total salt of the recipe. Hope this helps 🙂

      • Martha Wong

        Thanks, Charles I successfully made my first sourdough bread using your recipe. My levain was left at room temperature till triple in volume. I don’t have a Dutch oven so used a cast iron roasting pan and covered it with a disposable roasting pan. I’m very pleased with the results. Really appreciate your clear instructions!

        • ChainBaker

          That is awesome! I’m happy for your baking success 🙂 On to many more great loaves!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

More Posts

A note to our visitors

This website has updated its privacy policy in compliance with changes to European Union data protection law, for all members globally. We’ve also updated our Privacy Policy to give you more information about your rights and responsibilities with respect to your privacy and personal information. Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our updated privacy policy.