This is the recipe & schedule I have started my sourdough journey with, the one that has always been my reference point.

For more detailed instructions & explanations, plus a long list of troubleshooting questions, you may want to check my Sourdough bread guidebook.

Some considerations before I share the recipe & schedule

🌾My kitchen temperature most of the time varies between 22 – 24°C / 71 – 75°F, so please keep this in mind

🌾The quantities stated are for a final dough before baking of ~950g dough before baking and around 820g once baked

🌾This recipe calls for cold proofing also known as overnight in the fridge. Should you want to go for ambient proofing, the starter should be fed the night before, and the dough prepared first thing in the morning to allow same day baking. Replace the overnight cold proofing with a 2.5h ambient proofing.

🌾Use % to scale up or down should you want to prepare a smaller or bigger loaf.


100g starter

500g bread flour (Strong White in UK, Tipo 1 in Italy, T65 in France, Euro 650 in Europe)

350g water

10g salt


9am: take the starter out of the fridge and refresh it

Keep 15g and discard the rest. Mix it with 60g water and 60g flour. Leave on the counter until it reaches its peak. If you haven’t used your starter in a while (> a week), give it an additional feed the night before.

5pm: start making the dough

Take 100g starter and mix with 330g water. Stir well (by hand or using a whisk) until it dissolves. At this point the rest of the starter can go in the fridge until next bake. Add 500g strong white flour (or bread flour) and mix until there is no dry flour and no visible lumps. This marks the beginning of your bulk fermentation.

6pm: add 10g salt + the rest of 20g water (which you save at the beginning)

It is important to refrain from using the entire quantity of water stated in the recipe at the first step. This is because different flours have different absorption rates. While you can add more water if needed at the end of the autolyse, you cannot take it back.

If the dough at this stage is rather liquid, refrain from adding more water to it. If it’s rather stiff, add the 20g water and mix it in together with the salt.

7pm: first stretch & fold

You will perform 4 sets of stretch & folds, at 30 min intervals each

This a technique used during bulk fermentation to strengthen the dough, help with the development of the gluten network, equalising dough temperature and trapping little air into the dough. It also gives you the opportunity to check on the progress of the dough regularly

To do the fold, grab one side of the dough and pull it up by stretching it gently and then over itself. Repeat on the other three sides. This will be one set

Fold the dough 4 times in total = 4 sets at 30min intervals.

30 min after the last set, the dough should now be ready, feel lighter and airy. It will have risen (probably not doubled) and feel like a pillow.

If after the 4th folding the dough hasn’t moved much, give it another fold and wait another half an hour. This can happen especially in winter, when ambient temperature is lower. You may have to give a second extra fold or just leave it some more time to rest before pre-shaping. Especially in winter, the bulk fermentation should be longer (an extra 60-90min) to ensure the dough develops properly.

If it feels fragile and wobbly it has fermented too much. It can happen if too warm in the room, especially in summer.

As a folding technique, instead of stretch & folds, you can also try the coil folds. These are just different techniques to strengthen the dough and help with the gluten development. You may want to check this video or this one for my folding technique.

9pm (or later if you give it some extra time): pre-shaping time

It marks the end of bulk fermentation

Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it gently into a ball

First, bring all the sides of the dough in the middle, then flip it over, pulling it towards you. Repeat until you have a relatively tight ball

Dust it with a bit of  flour, cover it with the kitchen towel and let rest for 30 min

The time between pre-shaping and final shaping is also called bench rest. This gives the chance for the dough to relax, so that you don’t tear it when giving the final shape.

Check this video for my pre shaping technique.

9.30pm (or later if you have given extra foldings during bulk fermentation): final shape 

Flour your banneton generously

Flip over the dough and repeat the above if you want to give it a round shape. Should you want to give it an oval shape, this video should be useful.

9am (or later, roughly 12h after dough has been placed in the fridge): preheat the oven at 250°C. 

If you use an oven stone or a dutch oven, please ensure these are placed in the oven during the pre-heat. Preheat for at least 30 min to ensure the dutch oven or stone reaches the desired temperature.

9:30am score THE DOUGH and put it in the oven

Using a dutch oven: 

Bake for 20 min at 250°C / 480°F with the lid on. After 20 min remove the lid and bake for another 25-30 min at 200°C / 390 °F

Using a baking stone: 

Bake for 20 min at 230°C / 445°F, with steam. Release steam, bake for another 25-30 min at 200°C / 390°F, top – bottom setting. Avoid fan mode, as this might burn your loaf more than you would like

Unlike the iron cast pan or a dutch oven that holds in the steam released by the dough, when using a baking stone/steel you need to create the steam using some tricks:

  • pour boiling water in a hot tray at the bottom of the oven, the wider the tray the better
  • spray the dough with water just after placing it in the oven
  • add ice cubes on the baking stone, next to the dough. Making sure the ice cubes are not getting into contact with the dough

For information on the tools I use and books that have inspired me, you can check my Amazon Storefront (UK here, US here– which should redirect you to the Amazon in your country, where present).