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There is nothing quite like a slice of warm and fluffy, deliciously tangy sourdough bread. And of course, it’s even better when made from scratch at home! This classic sourdough bread recipe uses a dutch oven to make a perfectly tender loaf every time. You only need 3 ingredients, including a sourdough starter and all-purpose flour, and the no-knead dough is left to rise throughout the day or overnight. Dutch oven sourdough bread is baked and rests in under 2 hours – so before you know it you’re enjoying soft and flavorful bread homemade with love.
What’s Covered in This Post
- Easy Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread
- Ingredients You Need to Make This Recipe
- Sourdough Bread Equipment and Supplies
- How to Make No Knead Sourdough Bread in a Dutch Oven
- Recipe Tips and Suggestions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Sourdough Bread in a Dutch Oven Recipe
Easy Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread
I have long loved sourdough for making all kinds of tasty baked goods. From sweet treats like Apple Cake to savory Pizza Crust, a good sourdough starter is about the most versatile of ingredients in the kitchen!
And, of course, there is classic sourdough bread. Super soft sourdough sandwich bread is great to keep on hand for lunches (kids love it!), and a rustic sourdough loaf is always welcome on the dinner table. Plus you’ll love these almost no-knead sourdough bread recipes.
To me, there is something appealing about having extra tangy sourdough bread as toast in the morning. This sliced sourdough bread is ideal for toast in the morning or sandwiches for lunch.
This recipe I’m sharing with you today is a classic all-purpose flour sourdough bread recipe baked in a dutch oven. This method yields a rustic loaf that is slightly crispy and chewy on the outside, and fantastically fluffy and soft on the inside.
Each bite has that signature sourdough tanginess that has you wanting more.
For those who live in colder climates, you’ll love that the no-knead sourdough dough can be left to rise during the day versus overnight – when it’s typically colder and therefore more difficult to get a great rise in the evening.
Warmer daytime temperatures are more ideal for rising a loaf of no knead sourdough.
Start this recipe in the morning, let it sit, and it’ll be ready to bake up fresh in time for dinner!
Ingredients You Need to Make This Recipe
There are only 3 ingredients (plus water!) needed to make a delicious loaf of sourdough bread from scratch:
- Sourdough starter – absolutely necessary for this recipe; try my easy homemade sourdough starter recipe
- All-purpose flour – see recipe for bread flour and whole wheat flour
- Sea salt
- Warm filtered water – not hot!
Sourdough Bread Equipment and Supplies
I recommend a 4-quart to 5-quart size dutch oven for baking this sourdough bread recipe. The smaller size supports the bread during its fast rise in the oven and provides a taller loaf.
A dough whisk is handy for stirring the thick batter.
Using a clear bowl for rising makes it easier to see the fermentation activity going on below.
How to Make No Knead Sourdough Bread in a Dutch Oven
Below are the foolproof step-by-step directions for making this amazing bread. You’ll love how easy (and delicious!) this bread is!
Mixing the Dough
- Add the sourdough starter to a large glass bowl. Stir in the water until the starter is completely dissolved. Now add the flour and salt. Use a dough whisk or wooden spoon to stir until a thick and shaggy dough forms. If it’s too thick you can finish mixing the dough by hand. Leave the dough in the bowl, and cover with a clean and slightly damp kitchen towel. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
- Next, activate the gluten by stretching and folding the dough for 15 seconds within the bowl. Here’s my technique (see video below): Grab the edge of the dough, stretch it up and press it down into the center of the dough, then turn the dough 1/4 a turn. Continue stretching the dough as you move in a clockwise rotation.
- Then cover the bowl with a clean damp towel, and let it rise in a warm area (75º to 85º F) for 6-8 hours. The dough should double in size and look bubbly as shown below.
Shaping the Dough for Baking
- Now let’s shape the loaf. First flour your countertop, and tip the dough from the bowl onto the countertop. Stretch and fold the dough again as you did before. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, line a medium bowl with a towel or use a banneton with linen cover (see photo), and dust heavily with flour. Transfer the dough into the bowl and let it rise for 30 – 60 minutes.
Baking the Bread
- Preheat your oven to 450º (without the dutch oven). Cover the dough bowl with a long piece of parchment paper, and turn it over onto the countertop so that the dough is on top of the parchment paper. It should hold its shape well.
- Next, slash the top of the loaf with a lame or sharp serrated knife. This will allow the steam to escape and crust to expand without cracking. Gently lower the parchment paper with the dough into the dutch oven.
- Bake the dutch oven with the bread covered for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes. Use oven mitts to carefully remove the bread from inside the pot (on the countertop using a trivet is best) and bake the loaf it directly on the oven rack for 10 minutes. This is essential to create that perfectly crisp exterior.
- Remove from the oven and let the sourdough bread cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.
Recipe Tips and Suggestions
A round dutch oven will give you the typical round sourdough loaf. But, you can use an oval pot instead for oval-shaped sourdough bread.
- Use the same brand of flour for consistent results. I like recommend King Arthur All Purpose flour (I prefer organic), and Arrowhead Mills Organic All Purpose Flour or Wheat Montana Premium All Purpose Flour (I get them from Walmart).
- If you prefer extra tangy sourdough bread, replace 1/4 teaspoon (up to 1/2 teaspoon) of the salt with citric acid or sour salt for a tangy kick to your sourdough.
- A round dutch oven will give you the typical round sourdough loaf. However, you can use a heavy oval pot instead for an oval-shaped sourdough bread.
- Use a glass bowl to proof the dough. This will let you see the bubbles throughout the dough that let you know the dough is ready.
- Keeping the bread warm (75º to 85º is ideal) during the bulk rise (6-8 hours) is key for proper fermentation. See the tips below for how to keep your sourdough dough warm.
- Let the no knead sourdough dough rise longer (10 hours or more) for the bulk rise if the ambient temperature is less than 75º.
- If your dutch oven has a dark bottom, like Lodge or Staub, use an oven safe trivet or round silpat liner (the one I use is linked) to keep the bottom from darkening
Suggestions for keeping the dough warm in cooler months:
- Place it above your refrigerator (if there’s room). There is typically a good bit of heat that gets trapped up above the fridge.
- Use the “proof” setting of your oven (I set mine to 85º) and set a timer.
- You can use a pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, to proof the dough. Use the yogurt setting (don’t use the warm setting – it’s too hot!) and adjust the timer for 6 hours.
- If there is a a sunny room in the house that stays warm, keep the dough covered in that area.
- Place the bowl in the oven with the door closed and light on to create a slightly warmer climate without actually turning the oven on.
Get More Sourdough Recipes!
- Sourdough Pancakes
- Sourdough French Bread
- Soft Crust Sourdough Sandwich Bread
- Sourdough Pizza Crust
- Sourdough Stuffing
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use a heavy pot with a lid to make this recipe.
When ready the dough should be about double in size, with a softer and smoother top. You should be able to see bubbles in the dough – this is where a glass bowl comes in handy.
Yes, you can substitute all-purpose flour 1:1 with bread flour. For a recipe that specifically uses bread flour, I suggest you check out my Easy Overnight Sourdough Bread post.
Substitute up to 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour with bread flour, but I do not recommend using all bread flour as this yields a denser loaf. Also, add 1 Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to get a higher rise.
Store sourdough in a sealed bag or container and keep it at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Sourdough Bread in a Dutch Oven Recipe
Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread
- 4 quart to 5 quart Dutch oven with lid
- Parchment Paper
- 1/4 cup (60g) sourdough starter, room temperature (fed within 12-24 hours)
- 1 1/2 cups (350ml) warm filtered water (95º to 100º F)
- 4 cups (540g) all-purpose flour (see notes for bread flour and whole wheat flour)
- 1 ½ teaspoons (9g) sea salt
- In a large bowl, add the sourdough starter. Mix in the water, stirring until it is completely dissolved. Add the flour and salt. Stir with a dough whisk or wooden spoon until a thick, shaggy dough forms. If the dough is too thick to stir, finish mixing dough by hand. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
- Stretch and fold the dough for 15 seconds within the bowl. Grab the edge of the dough, stretch it up and press it down into the center of the dough, then turn the dough 1/4 a turn (see video) and continue stretching the dough in a clockwise rotation. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, and let rise in a warm area (75º to 85º F) for 6-8 hours. The dough should double in size and look bubbly on the surface and under the dough.
- Lightly flour your countertop and pull the dough from the bowl onto the countertop. Shape the dough by stretching and folding it again as you did before. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Line a medium bowl with a towel or use a banneton with linen cover, and dust heavily with flour. Let dough rise for 30 – 60 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 450º (without the dutch oven). Cover the dough bowl with a long piece of parchment paper, and turn it over onto the countertop so that the dough is on top of the parchment paper.
- Slash the top of the loaf with a lame or sharp serrated knife. Gently lower the parchment paper dough into the dutch oven.
- Place the dutch oven in the oven and bake with the bread covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for 20 more minutes. Using oven mitts, carefully remove the bread from inside the pot and bake it directly on the oven rack for 10 minutes to crisp the exterior.
- Let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.