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Basic Sourdough Bread

Basic Sourdough Bread

By: Cecilia Buyswheeler-Gunther (Read Bio)

Basic Sourdough Bread
This is our favorite bread here at Janie's Mill, made with our top-selling High Protein Flour. Other ingredients are simply wild or store-bought Yeast, Water,  and Salt. Yields 2 loaves. 


250 g (1 1/4 cup) active sourdough starter You may use 1 Tablespoon of store-bought dried yeast if you prefer - a little more if you are in a hurry.

680-720g (2 1/2 to 3 cups) tepid water

1000g (8 1/4 cups) Janie’s Mill High Protein Flour

25g (1.5 Tb) fine sea salt


  • If possible, weigh everything as volume measurements are not as accurate.

  • Salt is important for gluten development so don’t skimp.


Not pretty right? No worries we will make a swan out of this duckling.


Mix starter (or yeast) and tepid water together.

Add Janie’s Mill High Protein Bread Flour.

Mix only until all the flour in incorporated, no longer. Cover and let the dough rest in the bowl for one hour.

Tip -

  • Do not over-mix stoneground flours. The dough develops better if you use a light touch.

  • Stoneground flours take a while to absorb water so a rest period before adding the salt allows the water to be absorbed and the bran particles to soften.


After an hour of rest, turn your dough out onto the counter and pat until it's about an inch thick. Then sprinkle 25g salt all over the dough and lightly press the salt in with your very wet fingertips.


Using the Tartine Bakery method of folding, begin to work your dough. Moving around your dough, gently pull out a section and then stretch and fold the dough back onto itself. I find one cycle of four stretches is enough at this point.

Tip -

  • Janie's Mill stoneground flours do not like to be punched or pushed about. It responds much better to a gentle stretch and fold or coil fold approach.

  • Make sure not to tear your dough as you stretch it.

  • Use wet hands to stretch and fold.


Stretch and fold once every thirty minutes for the next two hours.


  • I usually turn my mixing bowl upside down over the dough as it rests.

Looking better. Now time for bed for this baby. This dough proofed for eight hours. 


Once my dough is satiny and pushing back, I set it into a lightly oiled bowl, put the lid on and leave it to rest and grow for between six and twelve hours in the fridge. In high summer, this period can instead be two to four hours on the counter.


  • It is better to under-proof your dough than over-proof it. Give the tub a tiny shake as you go past, if it wobbles it is almost ready. If you see bubbles it is ready to bake. If you place your floury finger on the dough and it leaves a dent- it is ready to bake.

Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide it in half. Gently make each half into a tight boule. To do this, use floury hands to turn and tuck the dough under, like tucking a sheet under a mattress.  

Then place each boule upside down in your proofing baskets to puff up during the time it takes your oven to heat up to 500F. Make sure your dutch ovens are in the oven heating up as well.


When your oven is good and hot and your dough is looking puffy (usually about an hour) turn the dough back out onto your counter. Give it one more gentle turn to tighten the ‘skin’ of the dough. Then score and bake.

  • To get a good "ear," you need a tight skin and then score one deep cut around half of your boule.

  • You need to score (cut) lines or designs in the surface of your loaf so it can expand in a controlled way, rather than crack open in a random manner.


After placing the boule in the oven turn the oven down to 450F and bake the bread for 25 minutes with the lid on. Then take the lid off, turn the dutch oven to ensure even cooking, and bake for another 20 minutes. The bread is done when the internal temperature reaches 200F.

  • Move fast so as not to let your oven cool too much. I have bricks in the base of my oven to help wit maintaining a constant temperature

Cool your loaves before slicing. (This is the hardest part of bread making!).

Baker's Notes

There is so much to discuss when we enter the world of bread baking, but my advice is to keep it simple and take your time. You can’t rush bread. Be gentle.

I bake for taste and nutrition.  I love how the Janie’s Mill flours give my breads a delightful light airy slice with a lovely elastic moist interior sporting a few well rounded holes. The loaves crackle when they are cooling and crunch when you bite the crust and they taste really good.

My favorite loaf is baked with Janie’s Mill High Protein Flour. I use a Kitchen Aid mixer that my Mother-in-Law gave me 10 years ago, with a regular paddle for the first mix (which takes literally seconds) everything else is on my counter by hand. I bake my bread in old cast iron Dutch Ovens.

Posted on October 12 2019