Stiff Dough Sourdough Bread

This week’s theme is ‘Breads of a kind’ and it is as if this theme was picked just for me. I was so ecstatic to see this and the buns theme in the same month. That just means more baking and it got a spring to my step. As I continue discovering innumerable things about sourdough baking, I figured I would post three sourdough breads with differences in methodology and ingredient proportions.

Today’s post is about a stiff dough bread. I adapted this recipe from Trevor Wilson’s with changes for time because the weather here is warmer. Usually sourdough breads, especially the artisan boules that are all over Instagram are high hydration doughs i.e. water around 80% or more of the flour. But this one is a stiff dough bread with a hydration of only 60%. It is a good place to start before going on to handle higher hydration doughs.

This recipe has an extended autolyse time and only 16% sourdough starter. I was quite worried because I usually use 30% starter but decided to go ahead with this. Though my scoring skills needs some improvement, otherwise I was quite happy with this loaf.

Makes one ~400 gms Boule


36 gms Sourdough starter, fed and active

225 gms Bread flour

135 gms Water

8 gms Salt


  • To get a fed and active sourdough starter, feed the mature starter in the ratio of 1:2:2 (8 gms of mature starter : 14 gms flour : 14gms water)
  • Cover and set it aside till it becomes active and bubbles form well. Sourdough starters usually rise in volume but that is not mandatory for it to be active and ready to use. If it is as bubbly as in the picture below, it is ready to use.

  • Mix the flour and water in a bowl ensuring no dry flour remains. Do not knead only mix the 2 ingredients. Cover and set aside for 5-6 hours at 23C temperature. If the weather is warmer then set aside for 3-4 hours.

  • As seen in the picture above the water and flour mixture has attained good extensibility in 6 hours.
  • Add the starter and salt to the flour mixture and knead them into the dough.
  • Cover and set aside for 5-6 hours at ~24C.
  • In the first 2 hours, perform 4 sets of stretch and fold to the dough at 30 minute intervals.
  • Strech and fold is a technique by which you aid gluten formation and help trap the gases in the dough for a good rise
  • As the name suggests, strech and fold involves stretching the dough on one side and folding it on top of the rest of the dough. This needs to be done on all four sides like an envelope
  • When you stretch be careful to not tear the dough. Stretch gently only till you feel resistance and then fold it on top of the rest of the dough.
  • At each stretch and fold, you will feel the dough developing and the gluten network getting stronger.
  • In the next 3-4 hours the dough will double.
  • Once the dough doubles, transfer it to a lightly floured surface
  • Handle the dough gently and shape it into a sphere
  • Transfer the dough to a floured container and cover it
  • Transfer the dough to the refrigerator for 8-10 hours

  • Preheat the oven at 230C
  • Transfer the dough to a Dutch oven or any covered oven proof container
  • Make 1-2 cuts with a blade on the top of the dough
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes
  • Cool on a wire rack for an hour
  • Enjoy!


  1. Bread flour can be replaced with all purpose flour


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