If you are anything like me, you want the best results with minimal effort. The good news is that sourdough baking is a lot less complicated than the internet wants you to think. Even if you are crazy busy, you can squeeze batch baking sourdough bread into your weekly routine.
In this post, I will guide you through how to make a bigger batch of sourdough bread. You can then store it in the fridge and bake it when it's convenient for you! I usually make my basic sourdough loaves on Sundays when we are home and then bake them on Mondays and Wednesdays. That way, I deal with less discard and have fresh sourdough bread throughout the week!
The important thing to note is that you have to do all the steps below THE DAY BEFORE you want to bake the first loaf. This method assumes the final rise happens in the fridge overnight. An example of a baking schedule is included at the end to simplify everything for you to make batch baking sourdough bread easier. As opposed to commercial yeast, sourdough can take its time, so it is essential to start early enough.
- Make Your Favorite Bread Dough
- My Favorite: No-Knead White Sourdough Bread
- Why are sourdough recipes in cups AND in grams?
- How to batch bake sourdough bread
- Do a Bulk Ferment (or The First Rise)
- Divide the Dough And Prep it For The Final Rise in the Fridge
- Score and Bake
- Cool and Slice
- Baking Schedule
- Pin It For Later
- End Notes
- More Sourdough Recipes:
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Make Your Favorite Bread Dough
Start with a tried and true basic sourdough bread recipe you like and MULTIPLY it when batch baking sourdough bread.
Hint: Use a HEAVY bowl for mixing the dough and doing stretch and folds. I love using this natural ceramic bowl from Amazon (also in the pictures above!). When I stretch the dough, no matter how dense it is, the bowl stays on the counter. And I can make big amounts of dough in it when I'm batch baking sourdough bread.
If you do not have a favorite yet, you are welcome to try my most basic white sourdough recipe (that is also no-knead!), I already multiplied it to yield two medium loaves instead of one:
My Favorite: No-Knead White Sourdough Bread
- 2 ¼ cups (about 555 grams) water
- 2 ¼ cups (about 270 grams) active sourdough starter
- 2 ¼ tsp (about 13 grams) salt
- 7 cups (about 870 grams) flour
WATER: You can use tap water if you want your starter to start working a bit faster (if you are in a hurry), use warm water (not too hot or you will damage your starter! Think lukewarm). You do not have to use filtered water.
STARTER: Use an active, bubbly starter. It does not have to be very mature. The amount of starter you add greatly contributes to the rising time and the flavor. More starter in the recipe means faster rising time and more subtle flavor. Less starter means your dough will rise a bit slower and have a more distinct sourdough flavor. I usually add a bit more starter so I can speed up the bulk rise. That way I have the whole process done in one day, and the first loaf can be eaten for breakfast the next day.
SALT: Regular table salt is fine. Any salt is fine, really.
FLOUR: You can use all purpose flour, bread flour, regular white flour, whole wheat flour, any other type of flour (spelt flour, rye flour, etc.), or your favorite mix of different flours! Just keep in mind that wholewheat flours tend to need more water since they are a bit more absorbent.
Why are sourdough recipes in cups AND in grams?
The reason I use grams along with cups for my sourdough recipes is that starters will have a very different weight depending on the hydration level. Basically, the more air bubbles it contains, the lighter it will be by a cup measurement (and less hydrated starters are usually more bubbly and have a nicer structure). Then there is a question of how much a cup of flour weighs, which depends on how you scoop it (do you press it in the cup or not?). If you want to avoid those dilemmas altogether, grab a kitchen scale, and weigh out the ingredients.
How to batch bake sourdough bread
We multiplied the ingredients for the purpose of batch baking sourdough bread, so you'll end up with a quantity of dough that will suffice for 2 to 4 loaves of bread (I usually make 2, but if you have a large family or eat a lot of bread, feel free to do 4!). Mix all the ingredients together by hand or using a stand mixer. Just keep in mind that if you use a recipe that makes very high hydration dough (very sticky dough), you will probably have to do it by hand and not with a stand mixer.
I always mix ingredients in the order as they are listed above: water first, then I add the starter and mix it in the water so it dissolves. I continue with adding salt (yes, you can do that, you will not kill your starter!) and then flour in the end.
- I recommend making the dough in a very heavy, large bowl. Heavy, because it is easier to stretch and fold the dough. Large, because we are making a big batch of dough here, so a large mixing bowl is recommended.
- adding the starter into the water is great practice because you can easily see if it passes a float test!
(a float test tells us if the starter is ready to bake with or not. If it floats on the water, you are good to go! If not, it will probably not raise your bread very well. But the test is more a guideline than a rule because it is not always right.)
Do a series of folds or just knead the dough, depending on the type of recipe you picked (mine calls for about 6 stretch and folds over the course of 2-3 hours).
Do a Bulk Ferment (or The First Rise)
When the dough is uniform and all ingredients are nicely incorporated, let the dough rise at room temperature for the first rise. If you did stretch and folds, you'll want to let it rise for 2-3 hours, if not, leave it for 4-5 hours. The goal is not to ferment it too much, because the final proof will happen in the fridge and will last a few days for the last loaf. Therefore, I recommend not fermenting the dough for too long before putting it in the fridge. But let the wild yeast do its thing, you still want the volume of the dough to almost double in size at the end of bulk rise!
Divide the Dough And Prep it For The Final Rise in the Fridge
Now that the dough has gone through bulk fermentation, transfer it onto a lightly floured surface. If you have time, let the dough rest for a couple of minutes to half an hour so it relaxes a bit. Divide the dough into 2-4 loaves (in my case, 2) and shape them, one by one. Put each one into a "proofing basket" lined with a lightly floured tea towel. Put each basket in a plastic bag and close it tightly. The idea is to put them in the fridge in something airtight. I do not like plastic wrap for that purpose, because the dough will rise a bit in the fridge. To avoid plastic wrap containing your dough too much, put it in a simple plastic bag from a grocery store. Put all of them in the fridge for the second rise.
- Try not to flour your work surface too much. I find that if I use a little less flour, I am able to shape the loaves better. That is because they remain a bit sticky and it is easier to create surface tension when forming a dough ball.
- You don't need a "proofing" basket specifically, any basket that lets the air circulate is okay! I have one actual proofing basket and a few random ones.
Score and Bake
The following morning, your loaves are prepared to be scored and baked! Of course, you do not need to bake them all at once (unless you host a picnic at your house). Pick a loaf you want to bake and take it out of the fridge right before putting it in a hot dutch oven. That means you need to preheat your dutch oven in your home oven beforehand.
I use this beautiful red one from Lodge, which is available on Amazon. It's on sale half the time, so be sure to check it out if you're looking for one!
SCORE: If you want to successfully score your bread, I strongly suggest you transfer your loaf from the fridge onto a piece of parchment paper and score it while it is still very cold. Use a razor blade or a very sharp knife. You now have the loaf on the parchment paper, which makes for an easy transfer into the dutch oven. Pour just a bit of water between into the dutch oven between the sides of the dutch oven and parchment paper. Close the lid quickly to catch as much steam as possible.
BAKE: Baking time depends on the size of your loaf of bread. If you followed my recipe from above, bake the bread for 30 minutes at 460 F/240 C with a lid on and for 10 minutes at 440 F/230 C with a lid off. If your loaf is bigger/smaller, adjust the baking time accordingly. You want to bake roughly ¾ of the time with a lid on and ¼ of the time with a lid off.
Cool and Slice
Take that beautiful loaf out of the oven and transfer it to the cooling rack. If you prefer your crust softer, cover it with a wet tea towel and let it cool covered. If not, just let it cool uncovered.
I try to cool my bread completely before slicing into it but sometimes someone gets too hungry and we end up eating it still warm.
The best thing about batch baking sourdough bread is that you can have freshly baked bread available in under two hours, anytime throughout the week. So when you are in the mood for a new loaf, just repeat the process from point 4. onwards!
7.00 - 8.00 AM - feed the starter (always the first thing!)
12.00 - 4.00 PM - start mixing the dough, let it autolyze, do what you do before a bulk rise
7.00 PM - divide the dough and prep it for the final rise in the fridge
Sometime in the next few days: score and bake!
Pin It For Later
You are probably wondering how much time the dough can sit in the fridge. According to many people, only overnight. But in my experience, it lasts up to a week. If you want really good results, I strongly recommend you have the bread dough in the fridge for no more than 4 days. Batch baking sourdough bread is a dream when you figure out exactly how much you can push it.
Until day 4, the bread really is as good as freshly made. Do not be afraid if you take it out of the fridge to find it a bit deflated. After an oven spring, it will poof up!
After day 4, the bread will have a bit more sour taste, but will still be a good sourdough loaf (at least in my experience). I find it tasty, but the rest of my family prefers it less sour, that is why I try to not leave it for more than 4 days.
DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OF COMMENTS?
Feel free to comment down below if something did not go according to plan or if you tried to batch bake sourdough bread and I will try my best to get back to you. Or just leave your comment and tell me how it went! I love getting feedback from you.