Everything You Need To Know About Sourdough (Part 2)

Chaya Suri Leitner May 22, 2024

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In my previous episode, I talked all about the need for an active starter. Today we’re getting to the fun part- making the dough and getting it ready for baking!

What You Will Need:

For this recipe you only need a scale, bowl, flour, water, salt, and your starter. That’s it.

You can find my Basic Sourdough Country Loaf recipe here, but let’s walk through it together.

Let’s Walk Through My Recipe Together!

You’re going to start by putting your bowl on your scale. Make sure the scale says “0”, and then add the water, starter, and flour. After each ingredient goes into the bowl, reset the scale so you can add in the correct amount of grams. If you get a little extra starter in the bowl than the recipe recommends, it’s okay! A few grams won’t make a difference in the end result.

For my recipe you can either add all white flour, or use a combination of white flour and whole wheat flour.

With your trusty hands, mix all the ingredients. It should look shaggy. It should not look like a smooth dough.

Wait 30 minutes and now it should look like a nice dough.

Add any salt of your choosing, as long as it’s not iodized salt. 


Add a drop of water on top of the salt to help dissolve it.

Knead the salt into the dough.

Cover the dough and let it sit at room temperature for 4-6 hours. Every 30 minutes to 1 hour, we will come back to our dough to stretch and fold.

How To Do A “Stretch and Fold”

First, dip your hands in water so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. 

A stretch and fold is exactly what it sounds like. You stretch the dough and you fold it over. This will help to strengthen the gluten in the dough so when you shape the dough it will keep a really nice round shape.

When Is Your Dough Ready To Shape And Bake?

You will know that your dough is ready to shape when:

-It’s almost double in size

-It has a little bounce-back to it when poked with your finger

-There should be air bubbles throughout the dough (if you have a glass bowl, you can look underneath and see the air bubbles there too)

The “Assurance Test”

Now it’s time to do what I like to call ”assurance test”. 

Put a little flour onto your counter and then move your dough out of the bowl and onto the counter. Sprinkle the top with more flour. With a bench knife, pick up your dough and turn it over.

Stretch and fold your dough and let it sit for ten minutes. If your dough looks flat and is very sticky and wet after 10 minutes, it means that you let your dough ferment for way too long. You can use this dough as a pizza dough, or put it into a loaf pan to hold its shape.

If you come back after 10 minutes and it’s flat but not sticky, it means you didn’t work the gluten enough in your dough. In this case, you’re going to do another stretch and fold, which will work that gluten, and you’ll give it another 10 minutes.

If your dough holds its shape, it’s ready to move on to the next step!

How To Shape Your Dough

I like to do the stretch and pull again to get a ball shape, and as I fold the dough back over, I’m going to pull it along the counter to tighten the ball. Make sure there is no flour on your surface because you want that resistance against the dough.

Put a nice coating of flour into your baking basket so the dough doesn’t stick, then put the dough upside down in your basket. Cover it and let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours. Alternatively, you can put it in the fridge overnight and bake it the next day.

On my next episode of Now You Know I’ll teach you how to bake your dough. See you then!

Watch my complete episode on prepping your dough here!