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How to Make Sourdough Bread Using a Foolproof Starter

How To Make Sourdough Bread Using a Foolproof Starter video
Watch the How to Make Sourdough Bread Video

Now that you’ve made your Sourdough Starter, you’re ready to make sourdough bread!

Mary's Nest Baked Sourdough Bread
Fresh Sourdough bread out of the oven.

First, you’re going to make a “sponge” using your sourdough starter, which I explain in detail in this video. If you need a refresher on making your sourdough starter, be sure to watch my How to Make a Foolproof Sourdough Starter video.

Once you make your sponge, you’ll be ready to make your sourdough bread.  It’s a no-knead bread, so it will come together quickly and be ready to bake in no time at all.  And best of all, it will have a nice crisp crust, a soft tender crumb, and be enjoyed by all!

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How to Make a Sourdough Bread Using a Foolproof Starter

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 8 hours 45 minutes
Yield: 2 loaves
Follow this easy recipe to make a delicious sourdough bread that starts with making a sponge. The benefit of using a sponge is that you never have a large amount of starter that you have to tend to. Your actual starter will never be more than a few tablespoons contained in a jar no larger than 8-ounces. No more feeling guilty for throwing out cups of starter before each feeding!


  • 2 tbsp Rye sourdough starter
  • 1/3 cup Rye flour
  • 2 1/3 cups Filtered water lukewarm, divided
  • 4 1/2 cups Bread flour
  • 1 tbsp Fine ground sea salt
  • Additional bread flour for dusting


  • Make the “Sponge”. Add the starter to the rye flour and 1/3 cup of the water. Mix well and allow to rest for 6-10 hours. It should become bubbly and foamy.
  • Add the bread flour to a clean bowl and add the salt. Mix well. Make a well in the center of the bread flour and pour in the remaining 2 cups of water and the sponge. Mix well using a wooden spoon or spatula. You can also use your well-floured hand. The dough will be sticky. (You can use an electric mixer to do this, but it really isn’t necessary.) All the flour should be moistened and pull away from the bowl, leaving the bowl with a clean appearance. This takes approximately one minute to do.
  • Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm (approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit), undisturbed place for approximately 6-8 hours.
  • At six hours check the dough to see if it has doubled in size. If so, it is time to check the dough to see if it has risen sufficiently. The easiest way to do this is with the “Finger Test”. (See the recipe notes.)
  • Once the dough passes the finger test, you are ready to transfer it from the bowl to a well-floured board. Divide the dough into two portions and shape each portion into a round “boule” loaf. Watch the video for a detailed demonstration on how to do this.
  • Place a dish towel on a wooden cutting board and flour the dish towel. Flour the top of each round loaf and cover with a second dish towel. Allow each round loaf to double in size. This will take approximately 1-2 hours depending on the temperature in your kitchen.
  • While you are waiting for the round loaves to rise, preheat the oven to 475°F (246°C) for at least 30 minutes before baking the round loaves.
  • Once the round loaves have doubled in size, transfer each one to its own parchment-lined and floured baking sheet. (You can also transfer them to a baking stone that has been sprinkled with cornmeal or wheat bran to prevent sticking.)
  • Once you place the round loaves in the oven to bake, immediately turn the heat down to 450°F (232°C).
  • Use a lame to make some cuts on the top of each round loaf to allow for proper baking. If you do not have a lame, use a sharp knife. If you would prefer to skip this step, invert your loaf and place it on the parchment-lined and floured baking sheet with the seam side facing up.
  • Bake the bread for approximately 30 minutes. You can tell that it is done when it is nicely browned on top and when it has a hollow sound when you tap on the bottom of the round loaf. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least one hour.
  • After one hour, you can slice and enjoy the bread. It will stay relatively fresh on the counter for a few days (if it’s not all eaten by then!!) or you can transfer it to a plastic bag and refrigerate it. It will stay fresh for about one week. You can also wrap the bread well in plastic wrap.



Use the “Finger Test” to check your dough before baking. This determines whether or not the dough has risen properly and is ready to bake.
Don’t worry if your dough overproofs. While it won’t make a light bread you can use it to make a flatbread like pizza or focaccia, and it will be fine.
Your homemade bread will stay relatively fresh on the counter for a few days (if it’s not all eaten by then!!)
To store longer than a few days transfer it to a plastic bag and refrigerate it. It will stay fresh for about one week. You can also wrap the bread well in plastic wrap.
Find this recipe and video at
Copyright © 2019 Mary’s Nest, LLC, All Rights Reserved
Course: Breads
Cuisine: Americana
Keyword: Breads, Rye Sourdough Starter, Sourdough Bread, Sourdough Starter
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Disclaimer:I am not a medical doctor, a medical professional, a dietician, or a nutritionist. All content found on the website, including text, images, videos, eBooks or eGuides, social media, or other formats, were created solely for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or proper nutritional advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have watched in a video or read on this website. Use caution when following the recipe in this video. The creator and publisher of this video and website will not be held responsible for any adverse effects that may arise from the use of this recipe and method or any other recipe and method on this website or corresponding video channel.

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  1. Wood Chalene says:

    Do you think your no knead sourdough recipe for beginners would turn out if I used white whole wheat instead of all purpose flour? Thanks

  2. Cindy says:

    5 stars
    Can I put this in two traditional loaf pans instead two of free form loaves?

    1. Mary's Nest says:

      Hi Cindy, I haven’t tried that but I think it will work. Love, Mary

  3. Joe White says:

    5 stars
    Mary, in your video you mentioned adding Malt to increase your rise with sourdough. How much do you add for a dough this size, and can you also add apple cider vinegar and malt in the same dough?

    1. Mary's Nest says:

      Hi Joe, Great question! If you add malt, start slowly. I would use only a teaspoon in this recipe. And I would go slow about the vinegar too – just start with a teaspoon. As to using both, I would first try one or the other and see if you like the rise and the texture. Using both or using too much of either can create a sort of wet, gummy, interior. Keep me posted on how it all turns out. Love, Mary

  4. Lori says:

    5 stars
    Hi Sweet Mary! I just made this sourdough bread recipe using your sourdough starter. Oh my goodness! It was amazing! I made it exactly as the recipe stated. Is there any reason after shaping my loaves that I cannot place them on a floured parchment lined baking sheet covered with a tea towel to rise? I had a difficult time removing them from from the tea towel to place on the parchment. I’m learning so many new things even though I considered myself a somewhat traditional cook. Thank you so much for sharing with all of us! Love, Lori

    1. Mary's Nest says:

      Hi Lori, I understand completely. Yes, you can place them on a flour lined parchment. So happy they turned out great for you!! Love, Mary

  5. Kathleen Callicoatte says:

    Hi Mary! Do you make a sponge with a non sourdough starter as well? I start with wheat flour and feed with AP, discarding half each time. Do I take some of this and make a sponge before making the bread? Another recipe I follow doesn’t have the sponge process. Thanks for your help!

    1. Mary's Nest says:

      Hi Kathleen, Thanks so much for your comment. As to a sponge, yes, sometimes I do make a sponge without a sourdough starter. I think it really helps with both the rise and the final flavor of the bread. But you do not need to make a sponge if you do not want to. There are all sort of recipes and variations out there and all can work. But if you do decided to make a sponge, yes, you would take some of your wheat flour and AP flour and use that to make your sponge. Hope this helps.

      Have you seen my “Complete Guide to Sourdough”: I think you will enjoy some of the videos in this playlist.

      Do you enjoy making other traditional foods? If so, I have a playlist of some of my videos titled “Mastering the Basics of Traditional Nutrient Dense Foods Cooking”. It’s a series of 15 detailed videos that covers How to Make Bone Broth, Cultured Dairy, Ferments, Sourdough Starter (my foolproof stater), Sourdough Bread, Soaked and Sprouted Nuts and Beans, and How to Soak and Sprout Grains to Make your own Sprouted Flour at Home. You can watch it here: And please share the playlist with any other folks you think might be interested in learning about these types of things. I’m passionate about the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (of the Weston A Price Foundation) and want to help as many people as I can learn how to make Traditional “Nutrient Dense” Foods.

      Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m so happy to help! And I’m SO glad you’re here!! Love and God Bless, Mary❤️😘❤️

      PS – Do you know about our FB group? It’s called Mary’s Nest Modern Pioneers. Come join us! We have a lot of fun chatting about Traditional Foods:

  6. Wood Chalene says:

    I found your videos and I love them. I am trying sourdough bread for the first time. My starter is not a rye starter does that matter for this recipe. Also do you have any tips for first time bread makers. Thanks

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