Rustic Sourdough Bread

6 minute read

A crusty and chewy outside with a tender and fragrant center, this simple artisanal sourdough bread is what dreams are made of! To me there is nothing better than a thick slice of fresh sourdough bread with a generous pat of grass-fed butter, because I’m definitely a little bread with my butter kind of gal. Although this bread take a little patience and love, it is worth every savory and delicious bite!

This is my favorite homemade bread to make when we are entertaining or having a special meal for Christmas, Easter or just because.  If you love a more sour sourdough loaf like me, the higher amount of whole wheat flour in this recipe helps to enhance that beautiful mouthwatering flavor when compared to my 24-hour artisan sourdough bread.  This aromatic bread has a nuttier and more rustic flavor and texture and is truly is a special bread that is very easy to master, and I promise, your whole family will absolutely love it!

Why Sourdough is So Good for You!

Have you ever wondered why sourdough is considered a healthier bread?  There are several reasons why sourdough is a great choice when looking for a tasty and nutrient dense bread.  Sourdough bread is rich in fiber, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, vitamins B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin), B5 (riboflavin) and B9 (folate).

Sourdough bread can be easier to digest for those with gluten sensitivities.  I do NOT recommend eating sourdough bread if you have celiacs disease or any type of severe sensitivity to gluten without checking with your physician first.  One of the reasons sourdough can be more digestible for those with gluten sensitivities is due to the long fermentation process that sourdough bread undergoes. This allows for the wild yeast and bacteria present from your starter to break down proteins and carbohydrates (fructans) found in the flour [1].

Sourdough bread can be helpful for individuals working to maintain more stable blood sugar levels as it has a lower glycemic index, which supports healthier blood sugar regulation by reducing the potential for a severe blood glucose spike due to its slower absorption.  This is thought to occur due to the fermentation process and how the carbohydrates are broken down and changed [2].

Why Organic Unbleached Flour vs. Conventional Flour

If you do a lot of home baking like do it’s important to choose your ingredients wisely, let’s unpack why I only buy and use organic unbleached flours when I bake.

Why Organic?  Organic flour is milled from grains that have been grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.  By using organic flour in your baked goods, you are also increasing the nutrition found in the foods you create.  Organic grains have higher levels of zinc, magnesium and protein than their conventional counterparts [1].

Why Unbleached? Bleached flour is refined, and that is enough reason to cut it out of your diet!  During the processing of refined foods such as flours, sugars and oils, the key and essential nutrients get stripped away, yielding a product that is nutritionally void.  Chemicals you say?  Why yes! Bleached flours are full of chemicals, such as potassium bromide which has been shown to be a carcinogen linked to kidney and thyroid cancer [2]. 

So grab your starter and let’s get baking!

Rustic Sourdough Bread Ingredients

Makes 1 large or 2 medium loaves


25g Starter

75g Organic Unbleached Bread Flour

75g Cool Filtered Water


300g Organic Unbleached Bread Flour

200g Einkorn Whole Wheat Flour

350g Cool Filtered Water

125g Leaven/Starter

10g Real Salt

Flour or Rice Flour for dusting and shaping

How to Make Rustic Sourdough Bread

Day 1: Two Nights Before Baking

Add the ingredients for the leaven to a small bowl and mix well to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight OR discard and feed your started so that you have 125g to use for the bread.  *Ideally, you want to be using your started when it is the most active, around 4-12 hours after feeding.

Preparing the Leaven

Leaven after 12-hours

Day 2: Working Day

1. In a large bowl add the 350g of water, 125g of leaven and stir with a spatula to dissolve. 

Water, salt, and leaven

2. Add the Einkorn wheat flour, stir with a spatula until well combined.

Einkorn Flour Added

Einkorn Wheat Mixed with Leaven

3. Add the bread flour and mix until a rough dough comes together, it will be a shaggy looking dough. Cover and set side 1-hour to 90-minutes for the autolyse process to occur, this is where the flour absorbs the water and is hydrated.

Adding the Bread Flour

Shaggy Dough

4. After the dough has rested, it should be looser and ready to be folded. First, add the salt to dough and gently incorporate it in.

Rested Dough

5.  Next, fold the dough by grabbing the top of the dough (at the 12 o’clock position) and gently stretching it over the dough towards the bottom (6 o’clock position) and pinch it together. 

  • Turn the bowl 90 degrees and do it again, keep going until you make a complete circle with four folds total.

After the 1st Fold

After the 6th Fold

6. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.  Repeat this process 3-5 more times every 30-minutes for a total of 2-3 hours of folding.

7. After the last folding. cover the dough and set on the counter for bulk fermentation.  This can take anywhere from a few to several hours.  You’ll know it’s ready when the dough has doubled in size and has a nice dome shape to it. This will be dependent on the climate/elevation/temperature you have it fermenting at, cooler temperatures will take longer than warmer. Ideally, I like to have my dough bulk ferment overnight at around 68-69 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. After the bulk fermentation, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape the dough using a pastry knife.  You will tuck the dough under as you spin the dough in a clock wise motion to strengthen it.  Do this until the dough is shaped then prepare it for cold fermentation.

Ready to Shape

9. Transfer the dough to a generously floured banneton proofing basket or a floured tea towel lined colander.

10. Cover or set into a proofing bag and set overnight in the refrigerator*. When you are ready to bake, follow day 3’s instructions.

*Cold fermentation can be as short as 12-hours up to 72-hours.

Day 3: Baking Day!

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with your Dutch oven or baking dish** with a lid inside.

2. Gently flip the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper on the counter. 

Almost Ready!

3. Brush off the excess flour and using a sharp knife or bread lame, cut a pattern or a large gash along the side of your dough (classic style).

Choose Your Pattern!

4. Place the bread with the parchment into the Dutch oven and bake covered for 25-minutes to allow the bread to steam while baking. 

5. Remove the lid and bake another 20-25 minutes until browned.  Remove and cool completely.

So Steamy!

So Toasty!

**If you don’t have a Dutch oven or baking dish with a lid, add a heat safe pan to the oven while preheating with the baking dish or a baking stone. When ready to bake, add some water or ice cubes to the heat safe dish to create steam in the oven.

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Q: Will the seasonal temperature outside impact the rise of the dough?

A: Yes it will. Warmer temperatures will result in a faster rise and cooler ones will result in a slower rise. Adjust rise time accordingly.

Q: What if I don’t have a Dutch oven?

A: Try to use an oven safe pot with a heavy lid to trap in the steam as best you can giving the bread it’s nice chewy-ness.

Q: How do I know if my dough has over proofed?

A: Your dough should have a domed structure to it, if it has collapsed then it has over proved.

Q: How do I get a more sour loaf of sourdough?

A: If you want to enhance the sourness of your sourdough bread, reserve some of your daily discard into a clean jar and feed it, placing it in the refrigerator for a week. Using a starter that is hungry and has sat for a few days really enhances and brings out the complexity of a savory and pungent sourdough. If you are a weekend baker like me, take some of your starter before discarding and feeding to make your leaven and you’ll get that beautiful pronounced sour flavor in your loaf of sourdough.

Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to the products and kitchen gear I love. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting Almond Milk and Cookies!


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Welcome to Almond Milk and Cookies where good food, health and lots of flavor go hand-in-hand!

I am a holistic nutritionist with an auto-immune disorder, a love of cooking, and a passion for holistic health.

Sharing what I make and eat with all of you…in hopes that you find inspiration here to fuel your body and feel your best with nutrient dense whole foods and clean eating.

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