Rustic Sourdough Bread

by Erin

Sourdough bread – the classic recipe everyone has to make if they’ve ever had their own sourdough starter. Nothing beats fresh baked bread!

Rustic Sourdough Bread Baked in a Dutch Oven

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I have not slept well since Thursday last week. I wake up almost every day at 4am and then toss and turn until my alarm goes off at 6:30 am.

Then the other day I ran over a 4×4 on the highway so I went to get my tires checked out and ended up not only needing an alignment, but was past due for breaks and rotors. I can actually do brakes myself (I thank my dad for that), but since they were already doing the rest I didn’t feel like messing with it.

So I’m exhausted with $500 less to my name. And then I realized I did not write up a post last night for today.

How to Bake Sourdough in Dutch Oven

Thankfully I made this bread awhile ago, but keep forgetting to post about it (hooray, saved by back posts!). I love a good sourdough bread. It’s just so damn good!

Even though this bread is now long gone, I now crave it looking at it in remembrance. Will you make one with me too? Maybe I can sleep tonight after having some good fresh bread.

Rustic Sourdough Bread Cross Section

Fast forward 10 years and I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count, often with slight flavor variations by adding different herbs into the bread itself or just the outside coating. You should try everything bagel seasoning on the outside. I’m just saying.

But over the last 10 years I have also learned new tricks to improve this recipe even further and have updated the recipe to reflect my new discoveries. I thought about creating an entirely new blog post, but Google doesn’t like repeats, so here we are with a refresher!

Post updated 3/31/21, all photos below are previous versions.

Rustic Sourdough Bread #sourdough

My original recipe did not call for baking inside of a Dutch oven. Don’t have one? Feel free to bake on a regular baking sheet, just be aware that the baking time will be slightly shorter, around 25-30 minutes instead of 40 minutes. I also let the recipe rise twice now instead of just once, which allows for growth of bigger bubbles! I prefer to let the second round rise in the fridge overnight. I’m convinced it comes out better.

But if you really want a killer bread, I strongly recommend investing in a Dutch oven. You will love using them for low and slow cooked soups or roasts as well. Just make sure it can handle being heated up empty! I actually leveled up again and bought an Emile Henry bread baker (which can be preheated empty).

Don’t believe me that all these modifications are worth it? Just compare these photos down here with the newer ones at the beginning on the post. Sure this earlier rendition tasted good but you cannot compete with the crust you get from baking in a Dutch oven!

Rustic Sourdough Bread #sourdoughstarter

Fed or unfed?

By the way, there is a difference between using unfed, straight out of the fridge, sourdough starter and fed. In order to make this transition you must first use or remove 1 cup of the unfed (which I used to make sourdough pizza crust since that’s what it calls for). Add a little water and flour, wait a few hours and now you have fed your starter! For complete directions refer to King Arthur Flour.

Rustic Sourdough Bread #sourdoughbread


Rustic Sourdough Bread Baked in a Dutch Oven


Yield: 2 loaves Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


  • 1 cup "fed" sourdough starter
  • 1-1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast*
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 cups bread flour (or all-purpose)


  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough. Cover and allow to rise until it has doubled in size, about 90 minutes (or let rise in fridge overnight).
  2. Gently divide the dough in half and into two loaves. Place on two separate parchment-lined baking sheets (or banneton basket). Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour (or let rise in fridge overnight). Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees with Dutch oven** placed on bottom rack.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut slashes on top of one loaf. Pick up all four corners of the parchment paper (transfer from banneton to parchment), and place inside the hot Dutch oven. Close and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat with second loaf.


*Don't have yeast? Use equal parts baking soda and lemon. Or skip it an rely on the yeast in your starter, but it will rise slower. **Don't have a Dutch oven? Use baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Did You Make This Recipe?
I want to see! Tag me on Instagram at @TheSpiffyCookie and hashtag it #TheSpiffyCookie.

Source: Adapted from The Baker Chick, originally from King Arthur Flour.

Did you make this recipe? I want to see!

Tag @THESPIFFYCOOKIE on Instagram and hashtag it #THESPIFFYCOOKIE

Post updated 3/29/20, photo above is the original.

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Food Snots September 23, 2011 - 11:35 am

This turned out so Gorgeous!! Gotta love sourdough bread :)

Tracey September 20, 2011 - 10:25 pm

Bummer about your car, I absolutely hate paying to get my car fixed. And I am super impressed you can do your own brakes. I need to acquire that skill! Sourdough has been on my to-do list forever, but I’m afraid of it for some reason. Yours looks so good!!

Audra@The-Baker-Chick September 19, 2011 - 9:04 pm

What are you talking about- this looks perfect! Yummy!

Tracy September 17, 2011 - 1:04 pm

Your bread looks perfect! I JUST posted about sourdough starter, although I have yet to make an actual loaf of sourdough bread. Can’t wait to make this!

spiffycookie September 18, 2011 - 5:35 pm

I think I new a new starter. Last time I used it, and then fed it, it didn’t bubble up at all. I think my little yeasts went caput :-(

Erin September 16, 2011 - 11:50 am

The bread looks great! I have been itching to make some sourdough recently!

Baking Serendipity September 15, 2011 - 10:53 pm

I love homemade bread. It’s such a simple pick me up. I hope you’re able to get some sleep some and knead another loaf of bread to relax :) (It’s what I always do!)

Kita September 15, 2011 - 5:49 pm

I’ve been sleeping like poo lately too. I wonder if its the weather? I hate when things pile up and get you all at once too! Im sure you car appreciated the maintenance though. I need to scratch a sourdough bread off of my to make list. Thanks for the tips about the difference in the starters.

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts September 15, 2011 - 2:31 pm

Sucks about your car! bread looks great! My husband love sour dough bread. I really should make some for him. Thanks for the recipe!

Jennifer @ Mother Thyme September 15, 2011 - 2:14 pm

Oh yum! I have not made sourdough bread in forever, so I will have to try this. It will be perfect on these fall days with a nice bowl of soup! Now I am off to make your Peanut Butter Hummus! Thanks for sharing! :)

Liz @ Southern Charm September 15, 2011 - 1:12 pm

I. Love. Sourdough! Don’t believe me? Check out my blog to see what bread I used for my recipe today! LoL. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Hope you can get some sleep soon. Trust me, I know how frustrating that is and how it can build up.

Steph@stephsbitebybite September 15, 2011 - 12:44 pm

I haven’t been able to sleep well either!! I’m thinking it’s the change in the weather. But, this bread (if I eat enough) might put me right to sleep. It would be a food coma sleep, but hey, sleep is sleep!


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