Instructions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough.

  2. Allow the dough to rise, in a lightly greased, covered bowl, until it's doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

  3. Gently divide the dough in half; it'll deflate somewhat.

  4. Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves; or, for longer loaves, two 10" to 11" logs. Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

  5. Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.

  6. Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.

  7. Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Why the range in yeast amount? If you're sure your starter is healthy and vigorous, and you don't mind potentially extending somewhat the rise times listed above, use 1 teaspoon yeast. If your starter seems a bit lethargic (or you want to keep your rise times on the shorter side), go with 2 teaspoons.
  • For an assertively sour loaf, read our recipe for Extra-Tangy Sourdough Bread.
  • Want a brick oven effect? Rather than dividing the dough into two separate loaves, shape it into one large ball, and place it in the base of a round covered stoneware baker, such as a cloche. Put the lid on, and let the loaf rise for 1 hour. Make two slashes on top of the bread, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, removing the lid of the baker for the final 5 minutes of baking.

  • Don’t have any starter? Here’s a recipe for homemade sourdough starter. If you're making it from scratch, you'll need to feed it for 5 to 7 days before it’s ready for baking. Want a head start? Purchase our classic fresh sourdough starter – it’ll be ready for baking about 24 hours after it arrives at your door. Looking for tips, techniques, and all kinds of great information about sourdough baking? Find what you need in our sourdough baking guide.