My Artisan Sourdough Bread Base Recipe

Tartine’s percentages:

  • 250 g flour (100%)
  • 5 g salt (2%)
  • 50 g starter (20%)
  • 175 g and 12.5 g water at approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit (70% + 5%)


Inspired by Tartine

Prepare the autolyse
  • Weigh 175 g of water at approx 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add starter and stir to disperse (I just jump in and use my hands because…).
  • Add flour and mix by hand.
  • Rest the autolyse 20-60 minutes.
Mix the dough
  • Add salt and the rest of the water, massage salt into dough squeezing the dough between your fingers (this is what makes it artisan bread 😉 ).
  • Fold dough x 4 then transfer to clear glass dish so you can watch your sourdough get to work during the bulk fermentation (or first rise) stage.
Bulk Fermentation
  • Continue to perform folds every 30 minutes somewhere between 3-4 hours.
  • Be more aggressive the first two hours, then fold more gently the next 1-2 hours as to not let those precious gas bubbles pop.
  • You will know it is time to move on to the next step when the dough becomes more airy and holds its shape after folding, no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. The dough will be 20-30% larger than when you started.
  • Transfer dough to cutting board for shaping and developing the crust.
  • Rest 30 minutes. If you are not satisfied, you can repeat this step as necessary.
  • Prepare your dough’s final resting place for the overnight proof – this is where I flour my bread basket.
  • Now it is time to shape the dough into a boule:
  • Flour top of the dough and flip it over
  • From the side closest to you, flip 1/3 of the dough just past center and gently press down, repeat from the right side and again from the left side to create an open envelope.
  • Grab the furthest side of the dough and pull over the previous folds to seal by anchoring the dough using your fingers.
  • From the closest side, again stretch dough completely over while rolling the dough away from your body while creating tension in order to smooth out what will become the crust.
  • Cup your hands around the dough and pull back towards yourself.
  • Rest 1 minute.
Proof and prepare to bake
  • Flour dough to prevent sticking in the final resting place of choice.
  • This is where you have some choices in regards to the final rest, depending on when you want to bake. This is where I choose to place my boule in the fridge for 8-10 hours.
  • Make sure your oven is set up for baking; I make sure my cast iron dutch oven and lid are on the center rack and the upper rack is removed for easier access later on.
  • I choose to spray my bread to facilitate a golden crust and good oven spring, so this is where I make sure my spray bottle is clean and full of water, placed close to the stove.
  • I also set up a cooling rack for when the bread is ready to come out of the oven.
It’s baking time!
  • When ready to bake I preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit – once up to temp, I continue to preheat at least another 20 minutes.
  • I perform a poke test to determine how soon to start baking. Once ready I turn my bread over onto a cutting board, score it, and get ready to open the oven.
  • Quickly remove lid, place boule in center of cast iron dutch oven, spray generously, place lid back on and close up oven.
  • Turn off oven and preheat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Start a 20 minute timer.
  • Prepare for your first real feed back: oven spring! *crosses fingers* Good luck – remove lid, (give the bread another spray if you like a crispier, darker crust,) close oven and reset timer for another 20 minutes.
  • This is where I turn on my oven light and begin to watch the food channel. You determine how dark you want your crust. I usually turn the oven off 15-25 minutes later.
  • I choose to turn off the oven, crack the door and let the bread rest 20 minutes before placing the read on the cooling rack for an additional 1.5-2 hours rest.
  • Reap the fruits of your labor! Don’t forget to slice through the center of your loaf and get a picture of that crumb!

Now what?

Ideas for what to do with your fresh bread:

  • Dip into EVOO seasoned to taste with spices such as salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika, garlic powder
  • butter, jam, cheese, charcuterie

What to do with your stale bread:

  • breadcrumbs
  • croutons
  • stuffing
  • french toast
  • grilled cheese

How do I store leftovers?

Just leave slice-down on the cutting board and place a tea towel over top if it will be no longer than just over-night. Any more than that, plastic bag into the fridge for short-term, or freezer for longer storage.

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