Ben Starr

The Ultimate Food Geek

Simple Sourdough in a Hurry

Ben Starr, the Ultimate Food Geek, shows you a “cheat” method for getting a loaf of “sourdough” on the table in 2 hours, for those occasions when guests are suddenly coming to dinner and want your famous bread, but you didn’t start a loaf yesterday. Microwave-haters…beware!!!

Related videos:

How to make sourdough starter.
Troubleshooting Simple Sourdough (for correcting starter hydration).

Toys in this video:

Kitchen Scale (Takes AA batts or plug in)
Clear plastic bowls with fitting lids
Beeswax cloth
9″ Parchment Rounds (Better to line the bottom of your Dutch Oven with, than larger sheets of parchment. Be sure to measure YOUR Dutch oven’s interior diameter before ordering, and adjust the size accordingly.)

4 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
(This is the closest Dutch Oven available on Amazon to the model I am using in the video. The product description says this is black enameled on the inside, and in my video I reference raw but seasoned cast iron. This is the closest thing you can currently get. It’s the perfect size and functionality for this loaf. If this link doesn’t work, search for a 4-5 quart Dutch oven, approximately 9″ in diameter and 4″ deep.)

*I am an Amazon affiliate, and if you buy something from one of my links, I’ll get a few cents. Thanks!!


In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer, if you have one), combine:

10oz / 283g warm water (90-100F/32-37C)
1 pkg (2 1/4tsp / 1/4oz / 7g) rapid rise yeast (or active dry, which will take a bit longer to rise)
8oz/227g sourdough starter (at 100% hydration) cold, unfed, straight from the fridge

Mix to distribute the starter into the liquid and dissolve the yeast. Then add:

18oz/510g all purpose flour (or bread flour)
1/2oz/14g salt (any type)

Knead 10-15 minutes by hand, or in the stand mixer for 5-7 minutes, until you have a pliable, smooth dough that can stretch a few inches without tearing when you pull a portion off the main dough ball with your fingers.

Cover and rise until double, 60-90 minutes. (Or, microwave on LOWEST power setting in 5 minute increments, with about a minute between each cycle to rest, until double…about 5 cycles, 25-30 minutes.)

Prepare your baking vessel by spraying/oiling and/or lining with parchment. Preheat the oven to 475F and place the rack in the spot that will hold the vessel in the center-most part of the oven. (For Dutch ovens, this will be one or two levels above the bottom of the oven. For loaf pans, it will be in the center or just below the center.)

Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a tight boule or loaf. (If the dough is too sticky to work with, your starter is likely overhydrated and you ended up with too much water in the recipe. Watch Troubleshooting Simple Sourdough for a fix. ) Place in the baking vessel and cover with a kitchen towel to rise until almost double, another 30-45 minutes. Score the loaf as desired, then cover (if using a Dutch oven) and bake 30 minutes covered, 15 minutes uncovered. (For loaf pans, bake uncovered 45 minutes.) Internal temp should be above about 200F.

Let cool before slicing. (Poke holes through the crust with a knife to speed cooling, if desired.) If you must serve the bread hot, tear it apart rather than slicing.

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