Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread Recipe (Master Recipe)

by Kaitlynn Fenley

This Dutch oven sourdough bread recipe is perfect for beginners. Learn how to make a classic Dutch oven sourdough boule. This is my master recipe for Dutch oven sourdough bread, which means you can use this as a base recipe for any sourdough bread you want to make.

Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread Master Recipe

This is my master recipe for Dutch oven sourdough bread. This is the recipe I use to develop all my other Dutch oven sourdough bread recipes with fillings incorporated.

So think of it as a base recipe. If you would like to fold in herbs or more ingredients, you can! See the tips in the sections below.

Here are the ingredients and things you need to get started:

  • Sourdough Starter: We have an easy sourdough starter recipe HERE. You’ll need to start this seven days before baking or two days before if you use our quick recipe option! I feed my starter 100% rye flour or a 50/50 rye all-purpose mix. 
  • Flour: I use bread flour or unbleached all-purpose for my Dutch oven sourdough bread. 
  • 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 anti-caking agents. 
  • Spray Bottle Filled with Fresh Water: This is a must-have for stretching and folding the dough. (see the section below) 
  • Dutch oven: a 6-quart Dutch oven with a lid works best for this recipe. (see more details on the size below)
  • Proofing Basket: You can use a proofing basket like this one or a bowl with a tea towel coated in flour.

What Size Dutch Oven for Sourdough Bread?

I think the best Dutch oven size for baking sourdough bread is 5.5 to 6 quarts. Now, what size you can use depends on the size of the loaf you are baking, though. Smaller loaves can, of course, be baked in a smaller Dutch oven.

For this master recipe and all of my Dutch oven sourdough bread recipes, a 5.5-quart Dutch oven works perfectly.

The Best Dutch Oven for Sourdough Bread

Here are my favorite Dutch oven options. These all work great and last forever if you care for them properly. Strictly follow any care instructions you receive with your Dutch oven. You can use an enameled or a non-enameled Dutch oven:

Over time, it will change colors if you bake a ton of Dutch oven sourdough bread in a light-colored enameled Dutch oven. As you can see in the picture below, my Dutch oven has gone from pristine white to what I call “lived-in” white lol.

freshly baked dutch oven sourdough bread, still in the dutch oven lined with parchment paper.

Before Baking Sourdough Bread in a Dutch Oven

The hardest step to making a Dutch oven sourdough boule (boule = round bread) is stretching and folding. It takes patience and a gentle touch. I suggest watching Bake with Jack on YouTube for a tutorial on stretching, folding, and shaping the dough.

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

  1. Don’t use a floured surface. You must turn the dough onto a clean surface to stretch and fold. 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 you adjust the time with the temperature. The time you need to wait between stretch and folds depends on the temperature in your house. If your house is above 75° F, you may be able to reduce the amount of time between stretch and folds to one hour. 
  3. Do at least three wet surface stretch and folds in 6 hours. You can do a stretch and fold every hour for six stretches and folds or every two hours for three stretches and folds minimum.

What Makes Sourdough More Digestible?

Sourdough is the oldest form of bread. Experts say the bread originated in Egypt long ago… as in 1,500 BC. Since commercial yeasts were obviously unavailable back then, bread products had to be naturally leavened using wild yeasts. 

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.

Dutch Oven 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?!

Sourdough Starter Problems?

If you have trouble with your starter rising, check out this blog: Why is My Sourdough Starter Not Rising? How to Fix a Flat Starter. You can also read about Sourdough Starter Mold: Common Sourdough Starter Problems and How to Fix Them

If you are looking for an easy-to-follow sourdough starter recipe, I have two:

Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread Recipe Variations

You can fold many things into sourdough bread. My favorite things to fold into Dutch oven sourdough are herbs, nuts, seeds, cheese, and dried fruits.

To fold ingredients into sourdough, wet your counter and gently stretch the dough out without breaking the dough.

Then, you will carefully sprinkle the additions over the dough before you roll it up into the dough and fold the sides over each other for the stretch and fold.

Then you will knead the dough again. It will get sticky, and some ingredients may tear through the dough, but that’s okay.

Here is a great video from my favorite baker on youtube, Bake with Jack, to help you learn how to incorporate fillings without breaking the dough. CLICK HERE.

A dutch oven sourdough bread, cut in half in a white dutch oven. Half the loaf is facing upward to show the crumb texture of the baked bread.

More Sourdough Bread Recipes to Try

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Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread (Master Recipe)

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This Dutch oven sourdough bread recipe is perfect for beginners. Learn how to make a classic Dutch oven sourdough boule. This is my master recipe for Dutch oven sourdough bread, which means you can use this as a base recipe for any sourdough bread you want to make.

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  1. It’s best to start the sourdough process before 9 am so you have enough time. Please check the notes section of this recipe for tips.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the starter, flour, salt, and water. 
  3. Knead the ingredients together until a uniform dough ball forms. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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. 
  7. 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. 
  8. 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. 
  9. 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. 
  10. 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. 
  11. 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. 
  12. 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. 
  13. 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. 
  14. Let the dough rest for 1 hour. 
  15. 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. 
  16. 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. 
  17. 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. 
  18. Flour your hands and swiftly pick up and flip your dough into the basket. Smooth side down, seam side up. 
  19. Cover and place in the fridge overnight for 8-12 hours. 
  20. After the 8-12 hours in the fridge, preheat your dutch oven with the lid, in your oven at 450 degrees F. 
  21. 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!*
  22. 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. 
  23. Score the dough using a very sharp knife or a scoring tool. 
  24. Picking up all four corners of the parchment paper, move your dough into the dutch oven. 
  25. Place the lid on the dutch oven and bake at 450 F for 30 minutes. 
  26. After baking covered, remove the lid and bake for another 20-30 minutes at 450 F. 
  27. Remove your finished loaf from the dutch oven and allow it to cool for at least 1 hour. 

Notes

  • The time you need to wait in between stretch and folds depends on the temperature in your house. If your house is above 75° F, you may be able to reduce the amount of time between stretch and folds to one hour. 
  • You can also speed up the time in between stretch and folds by using a bread proofer or heating pad near the dough. Just stretch and fold when the dough has risen a bit and relaxes out into the bottom of the bowl, and make sure you do at least three stretches and folds. Monitor the dough to make sure you do not over-proof. 
  • when flouring your proofing basket, it helps to use coarse flour such as rye, masa, or rice flour.
  • Depending on your oven, you can bake at a lower temperature. Some ovens run hotter than others. 
  • When baking with the dutch oven lid off, check every few minutes. Some ovens run hotter than others, so check to see when the loaf is golden brown.

 

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a 5-star review below if you loved it! Tag @cultured.guru on Instagram

 

Nutrition information is auto-calculated and estimated as close as possible. We are not responsible for any errors. We have tested the recipe for accuracy, but your results may vary. We are not liable for any damages caused by your use of this content.

author avatar
Kaitlynn Fenley Author, Educator, Food Microbiologist
Kaitlynn is a food microbiologist and fermentation expert teaching people how to ferment foods and drinks at home.

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37 comments

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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sandra October 11, 2022 - 5:10 pm

It is the first time ever I bake with homemade sourdough starter, I followed your recipe and was very skeptical because my starter was not really bubbling (or at least not as much as I thought it had to). But I decided to trust the process and just see what happen… I was afraid I was going to end up with a heavy chunk of cooked dough because once again I couldn’t really see any raise or air in the dough.
But I stucked with it, baked it and… It’s UNBELIEVABLE!! This bread is soooooo good! I am French, live in the US, and really miss the good “baguette tradition” you can find in Paris, and this bread tastes exactly the same!
Thank you so much for sharing your recipe, it almost brought tears to my eyes!






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Kaitlynn Fenley October 19, 2022 - 10:37 am

Sandra, Thank you so much for leaving this review! I’m beyond happy to hear that your first-ever boule came out so wonderful with my recipe.

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Leah October 19, 2022 - 12:39 pm

I was so excited to get back into sourdough baking, and this was the perfect recipe to start with! I used Kaitlynn’s recipe for the 7-day sourdough starter and then made this boule, and it was the sourdough I’d been dreaming of. It didn’t last very long in my house . It’s such an easy recipe to make, it just takes time. Just trust the process! We will definitely be making this one on a regular basis!






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Millie October 20, 2022 - 7:05 pm

This was the most straightforward and easy-to-follow sourdough boule recipe I’ve found. This was only my second time ever making a sourdough boule and it came out sooo good. Can’t wait to keep practicing with it!






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Annella January 31, 2023 - 10:25 pm

Since sourdough bread is baked does it still have probiotics or is it considered pre/postbiotic or something else? On a side note, I just baked some sourdough I had in the fridge for an extra extended fermentation (over 72 hours) for my sister-in-law who hasn’t eaten gluten in years but she wanted to try my sourdough. The bread did rise but less than it does with a shorter fermentation. The texture was great with a moist, chewy crumb and light crisp crust – yay! When the fermentation is so long, do the health benefits or nutrition change beyond the digestiblity? At which point is it considered the healthiest amount of fermenting time? Hope that my questions make sense!

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Kaitlynn Fenley February 1, 2023 - 6:47 am

There are no probiotics in sourdough because it is baked. There are many pre-biotics and post-biotics, though! The longer sourdough ferments, the more time the microbes in the starter have to eliminate hard-to-digest FODMAPs and anti-nutrients. Anywhere between 24 and 72 hours in the fridge before baking is fantastic.

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Danielle October 9, 2023 - 9:46 am

I have tried my had at some of the most popular and recommended sourdough recipes. NONE of them have turned out. The bread was always gummy, no matter how long I proofed my dough. This recipe, absolute perfection!! I will always recommend this recipe from now on!






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Kaitlynn Fenley October 10, 2023 - 9:35 am

that’s wonderful! I’m so glad you gave my recipe a try

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jose lima October 30, 2023 - 10:19 am

hi, can you make this recipe with poolish instead of sourdough starter?

thank you!






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Kaitlynn Fenley October 30, 2023 - 1:27 pm

Yes, it should work, but it will probably ferment and rise much faster.

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jose lima October 31, 2023 - 11:52 am

thank you!!!!!

my sourdough never seems to rise, I follow instructions to the teeth, but doesn’t work.

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Terry November 17, 2023 - 9:58 am

Hello ,kaitlynn been trying to get a good bake for a few months now. Tried your recipe and I think I am on my way to some beautiful sourdough bread. Thank you for sharing. Wish I could post a picture of the bread






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Kaitlynn Fenley November 17, 2023 - 11:17 am

It’s lovely to hear that you found success with my recipe!

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a December 30, 2023 - 6:47 pm

if we’re going to use a 3.5qt dutch oven, could we just half the recipe above?

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Kaitlynn Fenley January 4, 2024 - 9:13 am

sure, you can make a smaller loaf.

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Kari January 17, 2024 - 2:41 pm

This was a very well explained recipe! I baked my first loaf of sourdough bread today and it was a success! Side note: I use a very simple roasting pan that is lightweight to bake my bread and it has worked very well for. me (successful with overnight no knead bread also). I do put a cookie sheet underneath the roasting pan to help prevent the bottom of the bread from overcooking. Thank you for a very well written and detailed recipe.






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Airyonna January 23, 2024 - 8:06 am

Hello! When does the bulk fermentation happen during this recipe?

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Kaitlynn Fenley January 23, 2024 - 8:53 am

During/between all the stretch and fold steps.

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Samantha February 4, 2024 - 3:52 am

Have you tried doubling the recipe? Does it still turn out the same? I’ve found that some recipes
Work when doubled and
Others don’t.

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Kaitlynn Fenley February 5, 2024 - 8:51 am

yes I’ve doubled the recipe many times. Then I split it into two loaves before pre-shaping.

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Hannah February 15, 2024 - 7:30 am

How smooth should the dough be after the initial mixing and kneading of the ingredients?

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Kaitlynn Fenley February 15, 2024 - 8:01 am

it should be somewhat shaggy, and it will smooth out as you do more stretch and folds.

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Sarah February 25, 2024 - 4:02 pm

Absolutely full proof and perfect bread every time! Is it a simple adjustment if we want to add flavors or toppings? For instance cinnamon raisin or olives?






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Kaitlynn Fenley February 26, 2024 - 8:11 am

Check the body of the blog post above the recipe. There is a section all about folding in ingredients and a link to a youtube video I really like that shows you how.

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L. Keith Brown March 10, 2024 - 9:27 pm

I’m new to sourdough baking. I fed my starter in 4 Weck jars and had a ton of discard. So I fed it in a large bowl. Next morning was putting jars back in fridge. There in bowl was a beautiful bubbly starter, probably 6 cups. So I had to start.
6 cups flour
2 heaping cups fed starter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn oil
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups warm water

Mix all in stand mixer with dough hook on level 2 for 2 to 3 minutes, until sticky dough started climbing the hook. Rested 30 mins then began stretch and fold I think 6 times. Then overnight 10 hrs to rise. Bubbles on top, pushed down and pull and fold 2 times. Then cut in half to make round loaves for 6 quart Dutch oven. One was enamaled and one plain. Proof in tea towels resting in glass bowls. 6 hours later doubled in size. Heated 2 ovens 500 degree for 30 minutes.
Took dough rounds out of the proof towels. Nice pattern from the towels. Parchment paper and transferred to Dutch ovens. Put top on and placed in a 425 degree oven. Bake 30 mins then remove lid. Baked 30 mins more. Out of oven looked perfect.
After 10 minutes of rest, family couldn’t wait any more so we cut one.
UNBELIEVABLE!!
Whole loaf gone in 10 mins.






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Liza Ledet April 10, 2024 - 7:31 pm

Can you make this recipe in one day like your sandwich bread loaf? The other recipe I’ve tried where I’ve done the final proof in the fridge doesn’t work when I put the loaf straight in from the fridge. It doesn’t rise at all in there but the sandwich loaf i made all in the same day rise beautifully.

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Kaitlynn Fenley April 15, 2024 - 9:23 am

I find the fridge proof really helps it hold its shape when scoring and transferring to the dutch oven. But sure! Instead of putting it in the fridge, let it sit in the proofing basket for a little bit then move on to the baking steps.

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Brittney April 16, 2024 - 9:35 am

I am so happy I stumbled upon your site! I am new to the sourdough-making world and, I will admit, this is only the third recipe I have tried. However – I love everything about it! The technique was simple, and it was the first loaf that held it’s shape and that I was actually able to score easily. I couldn’t believe how great it looked after baking – it rose beautifully and was still very round. I was so anxious to cut it open – I thought for sure it won’t look right on the inside or won’t taste the best – but the look and texture is exactly as I had hoped, AND it tastes amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing – after hours of reading blogs and watching videos I have finally found the perfect sourdough recipe! I am looking forward to trying your other recipes!






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Kaitlynn Fenley April 16, 2024 - 9:38 am

YAY!! I’m so happy for your sourdough success! Thank you for leaving a great review.

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Heather April 18, 2024 - 1:03 pm

I’m pretty new to SD and this is the 3rd or maybe 4th recipe I’ve tried. I have finally had success!! This process is the easiest to time and the boule is so good!






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Ashton April 25, 2024 - 10:13 pm

I have made this 3 times, and it’s always came out great! Definitely the most reliable recipe I’ve ever used. Thank you for sharing!






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Alicia May 6, 2024 - 1:08 pm

So delicious! I’ve made this 4 times in the last 10 days and I love it. I’m new at the whole sourdough world and these instructions are so easy to follow.






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Marla May 15, 2024 - 1:48 am

Great recipe! I left out a stretch accidentally but turned out fantastic!






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anthony c May 20, 2024 - 1:15 pm

Top of my list.






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Linda VanHorne May 27, 2024 - 8:26 am

Do you cover the bowl in between stretch and folds or leave it open to air? Hope this isn’t a dumb question! I’m new to this whole sourdough journey

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Kaitlynn Fenley May 27, 2024 - 9:28 am

I like to cover the bowl with a damp tea towel! or I set a plate on top the bowl to act like a lid, if the bowl is the right size for it.

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