A customized print-friendly version of this recipe is available by clicking the "Print Recipe" button on this page.

Artisan Sourdough Bread made with a stiff starter

in quick and easy whole grain dairy free gluten free overnight guaranteed classic

Author: Barb Alpern

Artisan Sourdough Bread made with a stiff starter Recipe

This bread has it all: great sourdough flavor, an open crumb, and a wonderfully crisp crust. Before you make this bread, you need to create a slightly different starter from your existing sourdough starter; please read our Stiff Sourdough Starter recipe for the information you need.

View step-by-step
directions on our blog

At a glance

1 large loaf
Nutrition information


Choose your measure:




  1. Pour the water into a large mixing bowl. Add the ripe starter to the water by ripping it into small pieces.
  2. Add the flour and salt, and stir the ingredients (a dough scraper works well here) until the dough becomes shaggy.
  3. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and smear the dough with the heel of your hand, so that all the flour hydrates and the starter begins to break down. This should only take 1 to 2 minutes. Make sure there are no remaining dry pockets of flour. Return the dough to the bowl. To use a stand mixer, simply mix 1 minute on lowest speed, scraping down the bowl to be sure all the flour is hydrated
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Knead the dough by hand for 2 minutes (1 minute on speed 2 using a stand mixer), then place it in an oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
  6. Let the dough rise for 1 hour at warm room temperature; 76°F is ideal. If your room is cooler, let it rise for 75 to 90 minutes.
  7. Gently deflate the risen dough by folding it; please watch our video on how to deflate yeast dough for details. Place it folded side down in the bowl, and let it rise for another hour.
  8. Fold the dough one more time, and let it rise for 90 minutes. The dough should feel light and airy. If it still feels stiff and cool, give it another fold and one more hour of rising time.
  9. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Cut off 8 ounces (about 1 cup, lightly packed), round it up, and place it in a lightly oiled, covered container. Keep it in your refrigerator for up to a week; feed as directed in our Stiff Sourdough Starter recipe when you want to bake bread again. Don't want to maintain another starter in the fridge? See "tips," below.
  10. To preshape the loaf, give the dough a light fold. Place the loaf fold side up on a floured surface, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  11. Shape the dough into a large round, and let it sit on the table for a minute or two to seal the bottom seam. For details, see our video on how to shape bread.
  12. Place the loaf seam-side up in a floured brotform or in a bowl lined with a well-floured dishtowel or cloth napkin.
  13. Refrigerate the loaf, covered with plastic wrap, overnight or for up to 24 hours. About 16 to 18 hours of refrigeration is ideal.
  14. The next day, preheat the oven to 450°F. If baking in a Dutch oven or other covered baker, gently turn the loaf into the prepared pot, replace the lid, and allow the loaf to rest at room temperature for at least 45 minutes before baking. Loaves baked on a stone or on a baking sheet can be loaded into the oven directly from the refrigerator.
  15. Just before baking, brush or spray the loaf with water, and sprinkle it with artisan bread topping or the seeds of your choice, if desired. Use a lame or a very sharp knife to score the bread several times across the top.
  16. Bake the bread for 30 minutes. Remove the lid (if baking in a covered baker), and continue to bake for 20 minutes, or until the loaf is a rich golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. A loaf baked on a stone or baking sheet will be done in approximately 40 to 45 minutes.
  17. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool on a rack before slicing.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 81g
  • Servings Per Batch 16
Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories 170
  • Calories from Fat 5g
  • Total Fat .5g
  • Saturated Fat 0g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 370mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 35g
  • Dietary Fiber 6g
  • Sugars 0g
  • Protein 6g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.