Dutch Oven Sourdough Boule Recipe

by Kaitlynn Fenley
sourdough boule cut into slices and stacked on a white background.

This recipe is perfect for beginners to learn how to make a classic dutch oven sourdough boule. Once you make this bread you won’t be able to stop. It’s perfect for breakfast toast, sandwiches, and on the side of soup. I love to eat a slice with avocado and kimchi on top.

Dutch Oven Sourdough Boule Ingredients & Supplies

  • Sourdough Starter: We have an easy sourdough starter recipe HERE. You’ll need to start this 7 days before baking, or 2 days before baking if you use our quick recipe option! I like to feed my starter 100% rye flour, or a 50/50 rye all-purpose mix.
  • Flour: For my dutch oven sourdough boule I use organic bread flour.
  • Water: You can use tap water to bake bread, I do. But if you prefer bottled or filtered, that works too! 
  • Salt: Unrefined sea salt, please! Just make sure your sea salt is unrefined and free from anticaking agents. 
  • Spray Bottle Filled with Fresh Water: This is a must-have for stretching and folding the dough. (see section below)
  • Dutch Oven: a 6-quart dutch oven with a lid works best for this recipe.
  • Proofing Basket: You can use a proofing basket like this one, or you can use a bowl with a tea towel coated in flour.
freshly baked bronze sourdough round loaf in a white Milo brand dutch oven.

The Hardest Step to Making a Dutch Oven Sourdough Boule

The hardest step to making a dutch oven sourdough boule is the stretching and folding. It takes patience and a gentle touch. For a video tutorial on how to stretch and fold and shape the dough, I suggest checking out Bake with Jack on youtube.

I have three main rules for stretching and folding my sourdough loaves:

  1. Don’t use a floured surface. To stretch and fold you have to turn the dough out onto a clean surface. Some people suggest sprinkling flour on the surface but DO NOT. Get yourself a little spray bottle and fill it with fresh water. Spray your surface and hands with water before turning the dough out on the surface. This prevents sticking without making the dough dense with too much flour. The more hydrated your dough, the greater the rise will be.
  2. Make sure it doesn’t get too warm. While you’re waiting between stretch and folds, your dough needs to be at a cool temperature, about 70-76 degrees max. Cooler proofing temps will prevent over proofing the dough.
  3. Do at least three wet surface stretch and folds in a 6-hour span. You can do a stretch and fold every hour for six stretch and folds total, or every two hours for three stretch and folds minimum.
two halves of sourdough round loaf stacked at slightly different angles on white background.

Sourdough Digestability

Sourdough is the oldest form of bread. Experts say that the bread originated in Egypt long ago… as in 1,500 BC. Since commercial yeasts were obviously not available back then, bread products had to be naturally leavened using wild yeats. 

Wild yeasts are captured in a sourdough starter along with flavor developing microorganisms, like lactic acid bacteria. When I say “captured” I mean they come from the flour you use to make it. The wild yeats are significantly more acid-tolerant than packages of baker’s yeast. So the yeasts in sourdough are still very active and able to produce carbon dioxide to make the bread rise even when they’re in the presence of acid-producing bacteria. Visit our sourdough starter blog to learn more about the microbiology of sourdough starters.

Since sourdough ferments during a longer rise time than traditional bread, it’s much easier to digest and more flavorful. The flavor comes from the wild yeasts and bacteria metabolizing the sugars in the dough during the long rise times and producing acids as byproducts. This is also why the bread is easier to digest! Essentially the microorganisms do some of the digesting for you in this sourdough bread recipe.

two halves of sourdough round loaf stacked at slightly different angles

Sourdough Bread Nutrition

Sourdough bread is made out of flour, just like regular bread. However, the fermentation process makes the nutritional components of the flour more bioavailable. Lactic acid bacteria in sourdough starters are able to reduce phytic acid, the compound that can prevent nutrient absorption in regular bread. Without the phytic acid, binding to the minerals, you can absorb more potassium, phosphate, magnesium, folate, and zinc from the bread. Those amazing little lactic acid bacteria also produce antioxidant compounds (postbiotics) and SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids) during the fermentation process. Aren’t lactic acid bacteria awesome?!

slices of a sourdough round loaf in a white bowl with a pink cloth.

Sourdough Starter Problems?

Do you want to make this recipe but you’re struggling with your starter? CLICK HERE for our blog on The Most Common Sourdough Starter Problems and How to Fix Them.

hands using a knife to spread vegan butter on sourdough toast
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Dutch Oven Sourdough Boule Recipe

Use this easy recipe to learn how to make a classic dutch oven sourdough boule. Once you make this bread you won’t be able to stop. It’s perfect for breakfast toast, sandwiches, and on the side of soup. I love to eat a slice with avocado and kimchi on top.

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 8 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 9 hours
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: Sourdough
  • Method: Fermentation

Ingredients

Scale
  • 500 Grams  Organic Bread Flour 
  • 300 grams Water
  • 100 grams Sourdough Starter
  • 1015 grams  Sea Salt 

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the starter, flour, salt, and water. 
  2. Knead the ingredients together until a uniform dough ball forms. 
  3. Using a spray bottle filled with water, mist your clean countertop. Wet your hands and wet the top of the dough ball with the spray bottle. Turn the dough out onto the wet counter surface. Scrape out the bowl and rinse the inside of the bowl really well. Leave the bowl wet. 
  4. Stretch and fold the dough. Stretch the top of the dough over the bottom, side over side, and bottom over top. Place the dough back in the bowl with the seam side down. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. 
  5. Stretch and Fold 1: Using a spray bottle filled with water, mist your clean countertop again. Wet your hands and wet the top of the dough ball with the spray bottle. Turn the dough out onto the wet counter surface. Scrape out the bowl and rinse the inside of the bowl really well. Leave the bowl wet. 
  6. Stretch and fold the dough. Stretch the top of the dough over the bottom, side over side, and bottom over top. Place the dough back in the bowl with the seam side down. Let the dough rest for 2 hours. 
  7. Stretch and Fold 2: Using a spray bottle filled with water, mist your clean countertop again. Wet your hands and wet the top of the dough ball with the spray bottle. Turn the dough out onto the wet counter surface. Scrape out the bowl and rinse the inside of the bowl really well. Leave the bowl wet. 
  8. Stretch and fold the dough. Stretch the top of the dough over the bottom, side over side, and bottom over top. Place the dough back in the bowl with the seam side down. Let the dough rest for 2 hours. 
  9. Stretch and Fold 3: Using a spray bottle filled with water, mist your clean countertop again. Wet your hands and wet the top of the dough ball with the spray bottle. Turn the dough out onto the wet counter surface. Scrape out the bowl and rinse the inside of the bowl really well. Leave the bowl wet. 
  10. Stretch and fold the dough. Stretch the top of the dough over the bottom, side over side, and bottom over top. Place the dough back in the bowl with the seam side down. Let the dough rest for 2 hours. 
  11. Clean and dry the counter surface you’re working on. Sprinkle some flour on the surface of your counter and coat your hands in a bit of flour. Gently flip the dough out onto the floured surface so that it is seam side up. 
  12. Pre-shape: Gently stretch out the dough, and fold it again. Fold side over side and top over bottom. Then flip the dough over so that the seam side is down on the counter. Tuck under any parts of the dough you need to form a nice circular shape.  Leave the dough on the counter,  sprinkle some flour on the top of the dough, and cover with a tea towel. 
  13. Let the dough rest for 1 hour. 
  14. Sprinkle a little more flour on the top of your pre-shaped dough and on the counter around the dough. With your hands coated in flour, flip the dough over so that the seam side is up again. 
  15. Gently stretch out the dough, and fold it again. Fold side over side and top over bottom. Then flip the dough over so that the seam side is down on the counter. Tuck under any parts of the dough you need to form a nice circular loaf shape. This is the final shaping so take your time with it. 
  16. Coat a proofing basket with flour and bread toppings (optional). You can also use a bowl lined with a towel and a generous amount of flour. 
  17. Flour your hands and swiftly pick up and flip your dough into the basket. Smooth side down, seam side up. 
  18. Cover and place in the fridge overnight for 8-12 hours. 
  19. After the 8-12 hours in the fridge, preheat your dutch oven with the lid, in your oven at 450 degrees F. 
  20. Once your oven is preheated, carefully remove your dutch oven and place the lid to the side. *Don’t forget that it’s very hot!*
  21. Cut a large square of parchment paper and place it on the counter. Turn your dough out onto the paper so that the seam side is down and touching the parchment paper. 
  22. Score the dough using a very sharp knife or a scoring tool. 
  23. Picking up all four corners of the parchment paper, move your dough into the dutch oven. 
  24. Place the lid on the dutch oven and bake at 450 F for 30 minutes. 
  25. After baking covered, remove the lid and bake for another 20-30 minutes at 450 F. 
  26. Remove your finished loaf from the dutch oven and allow it to cool for at least 1 hour. 

Notes

*when flouring your proofing basket, it helps to use a coarse flour like rye, cornflour, or rice flour.

*For toppings I like to use sesame seeds

Keywords: Sourdough, dutch oven

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1 comment

Abby July 26, 2022 - 9:41 am

I’ve tried my hand at a few sourdough boules but none have turned out as good until I used this recipe. I’ve made it twice in three days because we ate it so fast!

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