80% Hydration Sourdough Bread


Homey, heartful bread.



Serves Many

Ready In:

Many minutes



Good For:


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About This Recipe

By: Noriko Shindo

If you don’t have a sourdough starter, try to get one from someone, or make your own (recipe here). Also, I suggest you look through my intro on Starting Sourdough, and Understanding Sourdough to get acquainted with the tools and terms in this recipe. I would also note that this is just one of many ways (and schedules) to bake a loaf of sourdough bread; Something I have landed on that works with my temperament (I can’t do “exact” timings over a long period of time), lifestyle (I have a small baby and a dog that needs attention at specific times of the day), and preferences (I like to eat whole-wheat over processed wheat). The recipe is for 80% hydration which is what I bake, and what I recommend when using majority whole-wheat. However, you can tweak the amount of water vs the indicated flour to 70% if this is your first time as it would be a lot easier to handle with lower hydration.



  • 350g Strong whole-wheat flour
  • 150g Strong white flour
  • 400g (ml) distilled water at room temperature
  • 75g Levain (Starter of 30g Rye Flour, 18g white flour, and 48g water)
  • 10g Kosher or Non-iodized Salt (Sea salt)


This will depend on your flour type, but below is what you get for a large slice of this bread (assuming you get 8 even slices). One fat slice, is more protein than an egg!

  • Protein (helps strengthen bones, heart, and muscles) 30% 30%
  • Iron (Helps function of hemoglobin) 6% 6%
  • Dietary Fiber (helps lower blood cholesterol and aids with constipation) 3% 3%

Step by Step Instructions


On the night before working on the dough, activate the starter (take out of the fridge and feed). You can refer to the sourdough starter recipe to jog your memory of what I mean here.

If you already have an active starter, skip this step.


On the morning of working on the dough, empty your starter jar leaving 5-10 grams of the starter still inside, and add 30g Rye flour, 18g white flour, and 48g water to the jar and mix thoroughly. This should yield at least 75g of levain. In a separate large mixing bowl, add the whole-wheat, white flour, and water and mix thoroughly to autolyse. Leave both the jar and the bowl (covered) in a warm place until the levain has risen to 2-3 times the original height (see picture).


On a warm day, STEP 2 takes 2 hours. On a cold day, it may take up to half a day. Once you see that the levain is 3 times the original height, add 75g of levain to the bowl, as well as the salt. Mix the dough using the stretch and fold; Stretch a handful of the dough up (see picture), then fold it over the dough and let go (see picture again). Turn the bowl 90 degrees clockwise and repeat this stretch and fold 4-5 times until you have ‘turned’ the dough 360 degrees (see photo for finished state).


Repeat STEP 3 every 30-45 min until the dough has developed. You can test using the windowpane method. I usually require 3-4 cycles. Once the dough is developed enough, leave covered for 3-4 hrs, or overnight in the fridge to ferment. Once you see bubbles on the surface, the dough has achieved minimal fermentation. I like to leave for longer, slower, hence the overnight stay in the fridge.


On the following morning, empty the bowl to a floured surface and gently flatten into a square. Lightly flour the surface of the dough and shape the dough by folding from top to bottom, then turning that in to form a ball (see picture). Leave for at least 20 min.


Flour the banneton (or basket with a cotton pillowcase) generously and gently flatten out the dough again on a floured surface. Lightly flour. Again, fold the dough from top to bottom, then turning that inside itself. This time, also turn the dough using the spatula, to make the surface of the dough ‘tight’. You should end up with a smooth surfaced ball (see picture).


Transfer the dough to the banneton with the smooth surface down, and the bottom of the dough facing up. Flour generously, cover with a cotton towel, and leave in the fridge for 2-3 hrs. Do a poke test every hour to capture when the proofing is complete.


Pre-heat the oven (including the empty Dutch oven if you are using it), to 250c. Transfer the dough (with bottom facing down) to a baking tray or the Dutch oven, score with a sharp knife or lame, and bake in the oven for 20 min. Take the lid off the Dutch oven, and bake for another 20 min at 230c degrees.


Take out of the oven. If you knock the underside of the bread, and it sounds hollow, you are done baking. Leave to cool on a rack for at least an hour before cutting/eating. This last step is still important to thoroughly cook the dough.

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