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Skip-a-Step Sourdough: My Fool-Proof Method (No bulk fermentation)

I have been working on making the "perfect" sourdough loaf for about 6 months now. Of course everyone has different preferences, but my definition of a "perfect" sourdough loaf includes an airy crumb, crisp crust, noticeably sour flavor, and most importantly a simple recipe to follow.

The main struggle I have always had is timing the bulk fermentation step correctly. I have tried watching for bubbles, using a thermometer, doing the thumbprint test, and following charts based off of times and room temperatures without ever getting consistent results. I often ended up with a loaf that was dense, flat, gummy, or severely over proofed. This recipe skips that bulk-fermentation step by using a large amount of active starter (250g).

This recipe was created through months of trial and error and a little bit of math to make it 70% hydration. It has given me beautiful, "perfect" (by my definition) loaves every time. Please try it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Skip-a-step Sourdough: My Fool-Proof Method


  • 250g - active sourdough starter (starter that has doubled in size 4-8 hours after feeding)

  • 250g - room temperature water

  • 200g - all-purpose flour

  • 225g - bread flour

  • 10g - salt


  1. Stir active sourdough starter and water in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Add flours and salt. Combine with a straight spatula or hands until a shaggy dough forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let dough rest for 30 minutes.

  2. Perform four sets of stretch and folds with 30 minutes between each one. Shape the dough by placing on a clean, flat surface and gently pulling it towards you with both hands with a light twisting motion (this should create a ball that is relatively easy to handle). Carefully place in a banneton or lightly floured bowl. Cover and let rest at room temperature for another 30 minutes.

  3. Refrigerate dough for 12-24 hours (I find scoring easiest if dough has been in the fridge for at least 18 hours).

  4. Preheat oven to 450F with the Dutch oven inside of it. When oven is up to temp, take dough out of the refrigerator and pour it out onto a clean surface. Gently shape again using the technique from step 2. Place dough on a piece of parchment paper and score. (My favorite way for a beautiful score is to moisten top of dough and sprinkle with rice flour before scoring)

  5. Bake sourdough loaf covered in Dutch oven for 35 minutes. Remove lid and continue baking for 15-20 minutes or until desired doneness is reached. A thoroughly golden crust is ideal.

  6. Let cool completely before cutting, about 2 hours.


Thanks for being here.  -Rachel
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