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How to make sourdough bread with only 4 ingredients | the easy sourdough recipe for beginners

Posted by Laura Wrede on

One good thing to come out of 2020 was a nationwide bread baking fest. It seemed everyone sought comfort through food. Hot buttered bread is like biting into a delicious taste of home, wrapped in a warm blanket of yummy goodness.

Here at The Tiny House Farm, we have been making simple and nutritious home cooked meals for over thirty years now. We love to cook, bake, ferment, can, and grow as much of our own food as possible.

Baking can feel a little intimidating because, unlike cooking, baking requires precise measuring. 

Don’t worry though.

If we can make it, you can too! With a little practice and all the love you put into your cooking, your family will be coming back for more, time and time again!

The recipe we use to make sourdough is really simple and only takes a few ingredients (and a little time).

So let’s get started.





Items you need to make sourdough bread-

  • A large mixing bowl
  • Scissors, lame (pronounced laah-may), or sharp knife 
  • A food scale
  • A Tiny House Farm flour sack towel or other lint-free towel
  • Cling film
  • A wooden spoon or spatula
  • Measuring spoons 
  • Kosher or sea salt (like pink Himalayan)
  • Regular all purpose flour (we use unbleached)
  • Sourdough starter - activated
  • A dutch oven or bread pan (we prefer the dutch oven because it makes  crispy crust

 Sourdough RECIPE Ingredients:

  1. 4 OZ active sourdough starter (not dry)

  2. 12 OZ spring water (chlorine in water affects the rise so avoid tap water)

  3. 20 OZ (1 lb. 4 OZ) all purpose flour

  4. 1 1/2 TBL Kosher or sea salt (not table salt)


"Tare" your scale with the bowl on it. This will zero out the weight of the bowl.

Now weigh out 12 OZ of water into the bowl.



Tare your scale again to zero with the bowl of water on the scale.

Weigh out 4 OZ. of active starter into the water in the bowl

Mix the starter into the water until incorporated


Now tare the scale to zero again and add 20 OZ of flour and 1 1/2 TBL salt.

easy sourdough recipe, beginner sourdough

Mix the flour and salt well. 


Now lay cling film over the bowl and place on the counter. Let it set overnight.

It should double in size by tomorrow morning. (This is a long proofing time and allows the bread flavor to develop).

Ideal temperature is about 70 degrees but don't try and speed up the rise. 

If the bread still hasn't doubled by the next day, you can place it in your oven with the light on. Leave it for a few more hours and it should rise.

Good night little bread ball. See you in the morning.


The next morning your bread should look something like this:

Now it's time for the second rise (proof).


Line a bowl or a banneton basket with a lint free towel.

Flour the towel well so the bread doesn't stick.

Now remove the bread from the bowl. It will look shaggy and sticky and feel like a fluffy pillow of goodness. Don't punch it down to deflate, just work the dough gently in the next step.


Place it on a floured counter and shape into "boule" (fancy word for ball).

We use a tuck and roll method to shape the dough.

Cup both hands around the dough ball, tuck the ends under and rotate. 

 Keep doing this until you have a smooth tight ball.

Put the shaped dough ball into the banneton basket (or bowl) lined with a generously floured tea towel.

Cover and place in a warm (approx. 70 degrees) area for the second rise (proof). About two hours.


Your dough ball should have doubled in size after about two hours.


It's time to bake!

Place your empty dutch oven in the baking oven. Preheat to 500 degrees F.

Once it's preheated, carefully remove the dutch oven from the baking oven, place on a heat proof surface and remove the lid. 

Gently drop your dough ball into the dutch oven by grasping the corners of the towel and letting it plop into the pan.

Score the dough with 2-4 slashes around the top using a sharp knife, lame razor, or just snip with a pair of scissors. This is an important step as it allows steam to escape when baking.

Place the lid back on.

Reduce oven heat to 425 degrees F and place dutch oven on middle rack.

Bake with the lid on for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake uncovered for about 20 more minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown. The darker the crust, the more flavorful.

Remove the bread from the dutch oven and place on a cooling rack.

Once cooled, you can slice the bread and enjoy!

Congratulations! You've made sourdough bread.

Homemade bread makes a welcomed gift too. Fill a basket with a few homemade jams or jellies and a fresh loaf of bread, cover with a flour sack towel and ...ta da! A beautiful made-with-love gift.

How to reconstitute starter from dehydrated (dried) sourdough starter

If you have The Tiny House Farm dried sourdough starter, you will need to activate it before using. This will be a process that will take about 4 days to complete.


Start by placing 1 TBL of dried starter in a clean jar. Add 1 TBL spring water and 1 TBL all purpose flour. Mix well. 

Place a loose lid on top and set in a warm place until day 2.


Add 2 TBL spring water to your starter mix from yesterday. Add 2 TBL flour. Stir well and cover loosely. Set in a warm place until tomorrow.


Add 1/4 cup flour and water to the starter mix. Stir well. Tomorrow we will be looking for the mix to double in size, be full of bubbles, and have a thick consistency. (thicker than pancake batter but not as thick as cookie batter).


Today your mix should have risen at least double and then fallen back down. There should be a film layer of starter on the side of the jar indicating how high it rose. Once you get your starter to double, it is ready to be used to make bread.

If the mixture didn't double, keep going. Each day take out 1/2 cup of mix and repeat the 1/4 cup flour and water. If the weather is cold, it may take several days longer to activate. 

After it doubles and you use 4 oz to bake bread, add another 1/4 cup water and flour to the mix to feed it and keep it alive. Place in the fridge and repeat the process every week to feed and keep it alive. When you are ready to bake another loaf, just take it out the night before, feed, and then start the bread making process after it doubles again.

NOTE: don't put your jar lid on tight when feeding. The jar could burst under pressure. Just loosely lay the jar lid on top of the jar so that dust and insects can't get in.

 We hope you enjoy making bread as much as we do! 


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