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Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread

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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.

a loaf of dutch oven sourdough bread cooling before slicing
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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.

a collage of my favorite sourdough supplies
See my recommended sourdough essentials: https://liketk.it/3zt4F

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.

a loaf of overnight sourdough bread in a green bowl

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 rising in a banneton bowl
Sourdough bread dough rising in a banneton bowl

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
sourdough bread dough rising in a bowl

Shaping the Dough for Baking

  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove from the oven and let the sourdough bread cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.
a sliced loaf of sourdough bread baked in a dutch oven
A loaf of sliced sourdough bread

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:

  1. Place it above your refrigerator (if there’s room). There is typically a good bit of heat that gets trapped up above the fridge.
  2. Use the “proof” setting of your oven (I set mine to 85º) and set a timer.
  3. 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.
  4. If there is a a sunny room in the house that stays warm, keep the dough covered in that area.
  5. 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.
dutch oven baked sourdough bread

Get More Sourdough Recipes!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make this classic sourdough bread recipe without a dutch oven?

You can use a heavy pot with a lid to make this recipe.

How will I know when the dough is ready?

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.

Can this classic sourdough bread recipe be made with bread flour?

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.

How do I make sourdough bread with whole wheat flour?

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.

How long does homemade bread last?

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

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5 from 7 votes

Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread

Fluffy, tender and perfectly tangy dutch oven sourdough bread. This classic no knead sourdough recipe uses 4 simple ingredients, including all-purpose flour, for a perfect loaf every time!
Course Bread, Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword sourdough bread, homemade bread, no knead bread, dutch oven recipe, Breads, Sourdough
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
includes combined rise times 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 292kcal

Equipment

  • 4 quart to 5 quart Dutch oven with lid
  • Parchment Paper

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

What size dutch oven for sourdough bread? I recommend using a 4 to 5-quart Dutch oven for this sourdough bread recipe.
To make 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.
You can substitute bread flour for all-purpose flour, using a 1:1 ratio. Or use this overnight sourdough recipe which uses bread flour instead of all-purpose. 
Want to use whole wheat flour? Substitute up to 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour and add 1 Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to get the best rise.
Store sourdough bread at room temperature in a bag for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 242mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 4mg

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26 thoughts on “Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread”

  1. 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?

    Reply
    • 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’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.

  2. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

  3. 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.

    Reply
  4. 5 stars
    Hello!! I love this recipe and was wondering if you had any measurements i could use for my 5.5 quart dutch oven?

    Thank you!!

    Reply
    • 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.

  5. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

  6. 5 stars
    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

    Reply
    • Thank you! I never get tired of hearing how people who are new to sourdough have baking success with this easy recipe. Happy Sourdoughing ❤️

  7. 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.

    Reply
    • No preheating the Dutch oven and no refrigeration of the dough. The sourdough bread from this recipe, as written, comes out perfectly.

    • 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.

  8. 5 stars
    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!!
    Thank you!
    Colleen

    Reply
    • 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.

  9. 5 stars
    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.

    Reply

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