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.
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What’s Covered in This Post
- Easy Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread
- Ingredients You Need to Make This Recipe
- Kitchen Tools Needed
- 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
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!
If you are looking for a soft sourdough bread that is not baked in a Dutch oven, then I have the perfect recipe for you! Super soft sourdough sandwich bread is great to keep on hand for lunches (kids love it!), and a is always welcome on the dinner table. Plus you’ll love these almost no-knead sourdough bread recipes.
Everyone loves a traditional rustic sourdough loaf. Or serve up some delicious garlic sourdough bread as the perfect side for dinner. Like this easy dutch oven sourdough bread recipe, they are baked in a hearty, cast iron Dutch oven.
Easy Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread
To me, there is something appealing about having extra tangy sourdough bread as toast in the morning. This sliced sourdough bread (baked in a Dutch oven) 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!
Kitchen Tools Needed
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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.
I have linked what I use in all of my sourdough recipes here in my sourdough recommendations list.
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 recommend King Arthur All-Purpose flour (I prefer organic), 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 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
- ¼ cup (60 grams) sourdough starter, room temperature (fed within 12-24 hours)
- 1 ½ cups (350 ml) warm filtered water (95º to 100º F)
- 4 ¼ cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour (see notes for bread flour and whole wheat flour)
- 1 ½ teaspoons (9 grams) 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.
36 thoughts on “Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread”
This was such an approachable sourdough bread recipe! I have a 3-year-old starter that I’ve used to make foccacia and flatbreads, but tackling a “real” loaf of bread seemed intimidating. I came across this recipe and gave it a shot. I did about half whole wheat flour and added a bit more starter to prevent the whole wheat flour from drying out the dough. I also added a tablespoon of honey. The bread came out incredible! I had always preheated my dutch oven for breads, but I followed the instructions here and did not preheat it. Bread came out perfect and crusty. I took some of the bread to work to share, and a couple of coworkers begged me to make a loaf for them. I have a loaf rising right now, now I just need to make more for myself!
One comment: please don’t use citric acid. It is no longer made from citrus – lemons/limes etc. It is made from a fungus. It causes many allergic reactions. It’s similar to xanthan gum which is made from the black rot on carrots and other cruciferous vegetables – the sign that you should throw the vegs out – they dry it and powder it and add it to everything. It also causes bad allergic reactions. It gives me horrendous gut problems. You would not believe what crap they are willing to add to our food.
If you want to add tang to your sourdough, just let it ferment at room temp longer. Possibly add some lemon juice or vinegar?
Thank you for a fantastic sourdough process! The bread turned out fantastic. I made 50/50 whole wheat/white. It didn’t seem to rise enough overnight so I formed the loaf and put it into the dutch oven. I left it in a warm oven for about an hour, then baked it. MARVELOUS! It actually rose to the lid! Thank you for the info on using the pot cold. We live full time in a tiny 19′ travel trailer (with no slides). I replaced my microwave with a nice Oster convection/air fryer oven that makes fantastic bread! But lifting a heavy pot up to balance it into an oven that is up at eye-level while everything is 450 degrees HOT was tricky! It is great to be able to make it with a cold pot! Thank you for posting this!
Just made yesterday and it was my best bread yet! Trying out lots of recipes and this is a keeper. For those if you with a larger Dutch oven, I rolled up some nieces of parchment int long tubes and placed in bottom of my 7 qt Dutch oven. This reduced the bottom surface and it cooked up beautifully!
Question. If I wanted to cook in my 2.5qt Dutch oven, when should I halve the dough?
That’s a great idea for using a larger pot. To make two smaller loaves, cut the dough after the first long rise. You will need to shorten the baking time, too. I would start with 1/2 the time called for in the recipe and check the loaf at each step to calculate the time needed for the smaller load.
I made this recipe for the second time this week, and it’s the most beautiful sourdough bread I’ve ever made! The first time around I under definitely proofed it, but learned my lesson lol. I wish I could post a picture of this one! I literally can not wait to eat some! Thanks so much for sharing and for making the video to go along with your recipe, it’s so helpful!
This bread came out beautiful!!
If I were to halve the loaves for some smaller options, what bake times do you recommend?
This bread 8s better than Panera! Makes great toast, BLT, or top toast with Brie. Best sourdough bread I have EVER tasted!
The crust is very tough! The flavor is good but I have to saw through the loaf to get a slice. Where did I go wrong?
I have no idea, as in the countless times we’ve made this recipe this has yet to occur. Possibly you skipped the stretch and fold? Maybe it overcooked? There are a lot of variables.
I love this recipe and make it at least twice a month.
The only place where I run into a problem is that I don’t think it gets as airy as your look. It rests for the proper amount of time, my sour dough is very active (even tried adding more than the 60g to see if it made a difference). Don’t get me wrong, the bread looks and tastes amazing. I even have had several work renowned chefs visit my house and they always compliment it. I just can’t seem to get it airy enough.
Maybe I fold it too much?
Folding it too much shouldn’t make a difference. The size of my loaves (including how airy they are) differs from loaf to loaf. I attribute it to how active my sourdough starter is and even the season of weather. I live in a pretty dry climate and that might play a factor, too.
I forgot the salt. Is it ruined
I’ve done this before, too! No, I don’t think it’s ruined. Use the bread for French toast (we have a recipe for this!) or turn it into croutons by cubing the bread, tossing it with olive oil, salt, and garlic powder then baking at 400ºF for 10-15 minutes.
My dutch oven can only withstand up to 400° F how long would you recommend baking this bread at 400°F? Would this dramatically change the outcome of the bread?
Hi Hailey, can you use another pot (like a soup pot or stock pot) that is rated higher? If not, and you still want to use your Dutch oven, I suggest baking it covered at 400ºF for 30 minutes, then 25 minutes without the lid. After that, bump up the heat to 450º to bake it for 15 minutes once you’ve removed it from the pot.
By the way, if your pot has a plastic knob, just the knob is likely rated to 400ºF because cast iron can handle much higher heat. If so, you could bump the heat up and use 450ºF once the lid is removed. Or avoid the issue entirely by replacing your knob with a metal knob. Williams-Sonoma has a nice variety of them for sale.
I am new (3 months) to sourdough baking, and I have made this recipe from the beginning. I started putting a baking sheet on the rack below my Dutch oven and it works to keep it from burning the bottom. This recipe is easy to follow and it comes out nicely every time! Thank you.
Oh, I love that idea! Thanks so much for sharing it. I can’t wait to try it myself.
Love this idea! Will definitely try it out.
Hello!! I love this recipe and was wondering if you had any measurements i could use for my 5.5 quart dutch oven?
You can use this recipe with your larger Dutch oven. I have used a 5 quart (and 5.5 is only slightly larger). If you are worried about the dough spreading too much then you can use a smaller 4 – 4.5 quart oven-safe inner pot inside your Dutch oven.
I have some questions! Is it okay to proof it longer than 6-8 hours, like for a full overnight or ~10 hours? When I reach step #4 to let rise an additional 30-60 minutes before baking, would it be okay to cold proof it until I’m ready to bake for about a day or two?
Yes you can! I have a very similar overnight sourdough recipe you might want to check out https://thefeatherednester.com/sourdough-recipe/ that has an overnight rise. As for the cold proof, I don’t recommend it for the second rise. Rather, it would best if you used the cold proof as your fermented rise for 1-2 days, then follow the rest of the recipe when you’re ready to bake.
this recipe is tried and true for me…. this was the recipe I used for my first ever sourdough loaf. I haven’t strayed from this recipe yet bc it comes out great every time!! thank you
Thank you! I never get tired of hearing how people who are new to sourdough have baking success with this easy recipe. Happy Sourdoughing ❤️
I have a question. I make a similar recipe – but non-sourdough.
1. You do not preheat your dutch oven?
2. After the first rise, I like to refrigerate my dough for a few days. (I punch down after the first 12 hours.) Have you tried that with this recipe?
I know I can test this myself, however, no knead to reinvent the wheel.
No preheating the Dutch oven and no refrigeration of the dough. The sourdough bread from this recipe, as written, comes out perfectly.
This is the best sourdough recipe! I’ve tried a lot!!!! Thank you for all the best tips and tricks!
Can I used spring water for the started or it has to be purified water?
Hi there! You should be able to use spring water. The point of using filtered water is to avoid chlorine that could be in tap water, and I doubt that spring water has chlorine.
Love this!!! My daughters sent this to me, and I tried it. It has worked great!!!
I love hearing this! Thank you.
I live in MN where it’s very cold in the winter.. can I use my proofing oven over night if I leave the door slightly open?
I’ve tried it in the oven with the light on and on top of the fridge to no avail.
I love the over night concept but have to get my proofing right.
I appreciate any help or suggestions you can offer!!
Yes, I think you could use your proofing oven. Even here in California, it has been difficult with my sourdough overnight rise as we keep our house at 63º to 65º at night. I have been tempted to let it rise in my wall oven at 85º overnight. Instead, I have been letting it rise about 12-14 hours for the fermentation bulk rise. I’ve been testing this recipe with whole wheat flour, so I have been making bread regularly these last few weeks.
I’ve failed at making bread over the years, mainly due to not having enough patience and not paying attention to the details.
This method worked for me, twice so far and is so easy, I am ecstatic. If I can do it it must be impossible to get wrong.
I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear this!