Basic Sourdough Boule - 70% Hydration


This is a scalable recipe designed to yield one large sourdough boule. This is the exact recipe used in our "How To Make A Basic Loaf of Sourdough Bread Video." Please see video and show notes for further information. Also, if you have a smaller dutch oven (this recipe calls for a 7qt), try halving the recipe by clicking on the appropriate button in the yield box to the right.


275 g
Warm Water (Filtered)
500 g
Poolish Starter
400 g
Bread Flour
100 g
Whole Wheat Flour
15 g


  1. Make sure you have an active poolish sourdough starter that has been recently refreshed. I prefer to discard most of my sourdough starter the night before and refresh with cold water and flour at a 1:1 ratio of flour to water, with half of my flour being bread flour, and the other half being whole wheat. I will then set the refreshed starter our at room temperature overnight, or for around 8-12 hours. For this particular recipe, you want to have at least 600g of sourdough starter, 500g for the above recipe, with 100g leftover which you will then feed and store for later use.
  2. Whatever method or schedule you use to keep your sourdough starter strong and full of life, test it's strength right before baking by dropping a tablespoon's worth into room temperature water. If it floats, then you know your starter is active enough to levin a loaf of bread. If the starter sinks to the bottom of the container, it is not yet active enough for baking and will likely need a few more hours of fermentation at room temperature.
  3. Combine warm water and poolish starter together, mixing with your hand or a wooden spoon to evenly distribute the starter throughout the water.
  4. Place bread flour and whole wheat flour on top of water/starter mixture, mixing with your hand to thoroughly combine. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to autolyse (rest at room temperature) for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minute autolyse, measure out 15 grams of kosher salt and mix into dough.
  6. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface. DO NOT use flour or non-stick spray. Embrace the stickiness of the dough, slapping, folding and stretching the dough on your work surface to form a strong gluten network. For further explanation of this technique, please view the video above.
  7. Once the dough has a strong gluten network, very lightly dust your work surface with flour, place the dough on top of the flour and perform a standard stretch and fold, resulting in a rounded, cohesive piece of dough (see video).
  8. Repeat stretch and fold every 10 minutes for a total of 3 times.
  9. Bulk ferment at room temperature for 2-4 hours, or until the dough's volume has increased by 1.5 times its original size.
  10. After bulk fermentation, gently turn dough out onto your work surface, being careful not to compress or overly "de-gas." Over working or "flattening" the dough at this point will yield an undesirably dense crumb.
  11. Form dough into a round boule, using tension pulls to to create a tight gluten structure on the surface of the dough (see video). Allow to bench rest, covered with plastic wrap, for 10 minutes, after which another round of tension pulls is performed to create a well structured loaf that will hold its shape during proofing and have superior oven spring.
  12. Place shaped dough seam side up in a proofing basket and that has been generously dusted with flour. If a proofing basket (banneton) is unavailable, an appropriate sized bowl, lined with a lint free towel that has been generously dusted with flour will work nicely.
  13. Cover proofing basket with plastic wrap (insuring the surface of your dough doesn't dry out) and allow to proof for 2-3 hours, or until the dough has increased by 1.5 times its pre-proof volume.
  14. While dough is proofing, place a large (I use a 7 qt in the video) dutch oven, with lid, inside your oven and pre-heat to 500°F/260°C, at least 45 minutes prior to baking.
  15. After dough has proofed, gently flip the dough into the pre-heated cast iron dutch oven so that the seam side, (which was up during the proofing stage), is now down, in direct contact with the bottom of the dutch oven.
  16. Score the top of the loaf with a sharp baker's razor or pairing knife, using whatever design you prefer. A # sign is always a simple option that works well.
  17. Cover dutch oven with lid and bake covered in 500°F/260°C oven for 20 minutes.
  18. After 20 minutes, remove lid from dutch oven, turn oven down to 425-450°F/215-230°C, and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the loaf is dark brown. Everyone's oven is different, so please pay attention during the final stages of baking. If it looks like your loaf is browning too quickly, reduce oven temp slightly and continue to bake. Remember, you want a dark brown crust with portions flirting with burnt.
  19. After 30 minutes of baking, check bread for doneness by removing loaf from dutch oven and thumping on the bottom with your thumb. The loaf should sound hollow when thumped and feel light for it's size. Place finished loaf onto a wired cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature before slicing (this will take at least 1.5-2 hours).
  20. Slice and enjoy.


This is a basic recipe for a "country style" sourdough loaf. As your confidence with baking sourdough bread grows, here are some fun things you can try:

  • Raise hydration rate to 75%-80%. This will make your dough harder to work with but yield a more open crumb if that's what you're after. If going this route, I would recommend doing a stretch and fold 5-6 times at 20 minute intervals. Perform the stretch and fold in a large bowl, using a wet hand to pull one edge of the dough over the opposite edge, continuing around the bowl until the dough has gone through a complete stretch and fold. The "slap and fold" kneading method can be omitted with higher hydration loafs.
  • Make the Kalamata Olive and Rosemary loaf served at Stella by adding a handful of rough chopped Kalamata olives and one sprig of fried rosemary (minus the sprig) to the dough after autolyse, at the same time the salt is added.
  • Add extra character by using 10% dark rye, 10-20% whole wheat flour and some fennel seeds.
  • Make a seeded loaf by adding a 1/4 cup of your favorite seeds (sunflower, poppy, sesame, pumpkin, etc).
  • Break the bulk fermentation and proofing phases into multiple days for a more complex and sour flavor and for added convenience. For example, day one, mix, autolyse and perform stretch and fold on the dough. Place in proofing container, covered with plastic wrap, and leave in your fridge until you have free time the following day. The next day, let dough come to room temp (about 1-2 hours), form, place in proofing basket. At this point you can allow to fully proof or place back in refrigerator overnight. The next day, remove dough from fridge and allow to come to room temperature for about 1-2 hours before baking. Bake as demonstrated in the above video.
  • If at any time in the baking process you're in a bit of a hurry, place dough (either in the bulk fermentation phase or proofing stage) in your oven (make sure it is NOT ON). Place a pan of boiling water in your oven which will raise the temperature and humidity, effectively turning your oven into a proofing chamber, speeding up bulk fermentation and proofing.
  • Try adding dry fruit, nuts, cheese or a mix for a special loaf of bread. One of my personal favorites is blue cheese with toasted almonds and dried cherries that have been rehydrated in water, and the water itself is then used in the bread recipe. Add extra ingredients between autloyse and kneading process, at the same time as the salt.

Those are my ideas, what are some of yours? Let's talk about them in the comment section below!

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There are 75 Comments

donner2000's picture

Hi Chef,

I've succeeded in making several loaves and have even taken to adding Rye flour as well. My family cannot get enough. I've taken to forming them into loafs (2 per recipe) which makes it more manageable for slicing.
With the strong structure of the crust, I am actually thinking about using smaller boules for bread bowls. Do you know of any forms I could use that would limit the diameter of these mini boules? I would like to get the mini boules into a consistent size.

Thanks for all the hard work Jacob.

jacob burton's picture

@ Donner2000,

I would try to find some smallish mixing bowls and lint free towels. Rub towels generously with flour and proof like I demonstrated with the banneton. Cook on a pizza stone with a turkey roasting pan flipped upside down over the top to trap in the steam for the first 20 minutes of baking (I would also sprits the loaves with a little water).

Using this recipe, you can probably get away with portioning it into 4-6 smaller boules to use for individual soup bowl servings. Let me know how it turns out.

shadowpixie's picture

I'm on my third try of this recipe and it looks like I'm headed for failure once again. My starter (100% hydration whole wheat) is quite active and will double in ~2-3 hours (though I've only been feeding it once a week and keeping it in the fridge). When I make the dough I first do the floating-starter test and it passes, and I develop the gluten to the point that it passes the windowpane test, but then it seems to go flat in the bulk ferment. It took ~6 hours to double in the bulk ferment and ~3-4 hours to double again (I use a clean t-shirt in a mixing bowl) and when I turned it out onto my baking stone it basically turned into a pancake. After a bit of research I learned that proteolysis is a possibility, should I try making a new starter or is there some technique I should do differently?


jacob burton's picture

What you describe could be some proteolytic enzymes at play, but they aren't the only thing that can cause this to happen.

You might want to try to get your starter on a better feeding schedule and not feed 100% whole wheat. I would try pouring out all of your starter out except for the little bit that clings to the sides and bottom of the container and feed back in 300g bread flour and 300g cold water (don't use any whole wheat, I'll explain below). Try and feed twice a day for 2-3 days and then try the recipe again.

The reason why not all hope is lost is because whole wheat flour tends to super charge starters and also creates an acidic environment. The starter may be throwing off a lot of excess alcohol while at the same time creating an abundance of acetic acid. The more acidic your dough, the weaker the gluten strands will become, often giving you a flat loaf (the acidic environment could also explain your slow fermentation and proofing times).

If you feed once or twice a day with just bread flour for the next three days, re-try the recipe, and the dough still goes flat, then I would make a fresh starter.

Also, try feeding your starter twice the day before baking. The morning before you plan to bake, pour out all of the starter except what clings to the interior of the container and then feed 300g bread flour and 300g water. That night, again, dump out all of the starter except for what clings to the container and then feed another 300/300 and let ferment overnight.

If the results of the bread are good the following day, then you can retard your sourdough starter in your fridge and feed once a week, but you'll probably need to do a double feed before you bake another batch of sourdough to get your starter conditioned again.

Let me know how it turns out.

PS: Cold fermentation also contributes to acetic acid production which is why you want to feed at room temperature for a few days and then try again.

PaperTree's picture

Thank you for this, explanation "What you describe could be" ... I have not had too much success with my bread yet, but then, I have just started experimenting, and I was not using your method, however I found that I had the same problems as shadowpixie, with a flat heavy bread.  It is still palatable, so I am still eating it, and will try your method of baking when I next get a chance.
You mention that you should pour out all of the starter except what clings to the interior of the container.  Is it okay to put this down the sink or toilet, or should I kill it first with boiling water? 
I didn't think that it would make much difference if I didn't discard half the sourdough starter, and I just kept feeding it, but with smaller amounts of 1:1 flour and water so as not to increase the bulk too much.  By the sounds of your explanation, to keep the sourdough happy and healthy, there will be quite a lot of the starter that will need to be discarded.  I just wondered how best to do this. 

PaperTree's picture

I found that I had the same problems as shadowpixie, with a flat heavy bread.  It is still palatable, so I am still eating it, and will try your method of baking when I next get a chance.

The next photo is my flat heavy bread referred to above.  I hasten to add NOT made using your method. The bread on the top of the loaf is my first attempt and the bread not started is my second attempt.
I thought I would be eating that bread too, but not when you see the next photos of my success from using your method and dumping most of my sourdough as you told shadowpixie, to do to improve it.
I don't have a dutch oven but used a large enamel stew pot that worked admirably.  My dough was very relaxed, and I was slapping it around for about 30 mins.  I got a good window treatment with the dough but it flattened out during the 10 min rest period when I decided that slapping it about wasn't going to improve it.  I thought I would still cook it though, even though I was convinced that it would go as flat as the ones above.  How wrong was I?  I am still at the early learning stage, so this success has really helped in keeping my enthusiasm going.  Thank you so much Jacob.  I will tweak the hydration a bit because I don't think my flour is the same as yours.

Prturbodog's picture

Just wanted to thank you for teaching me to make bread! I baked three loaves today using the Poolish starter and the 70%hydration recipe. Each loaf came out looking just like yours, and I have impressed the heck out of everyone in the house (including myself). Thanks again!

jacob burton's picture

That looks great. When the dough flattens out on you after the rest, try doing the "tension pull." This will give you an even better oven spring.

PaperTree's picture

Thanks Jacob, I'll try that next time.  By the way, I tasted the bread I made and it had a nice thick crunchy crust and a very tasty centre, I am very pleased with the effort that it took.

PaperTree's picture

My husband is away, so I only want to make half the amount of bread this time.  Your widget at the head of the page helps me calculate quantities for the dough but what would the cooking time be for half the quantity?

jacob burton's picture

It should be about the same. Follow the baking instructions and then pull the bread when it's a dark, golden brown.

ujangodong's picture

Hi chef...
where did u get the 70% hydration calculation. I tried to figure out from the baker's percentage but it seem to fail, or maybe i'm not good at math :D
I did this calculation 275 water : 500 flour = 0.55 it's only 55% instead of 70%
thx chef

jacob burton's picture

You have to remember that the poolish starter is half water and half flour by weight, so it contributes 250g water and 250g flour to the equation.

Bobster's picture

Hi Jacob , Great recipe, that works a treat. My question is .... If I
want to make 2x500g loaves, at what stage in the preparation do you split the dough?

jacob burton's picture

Hi Bobster,

Sorry I'm just now seeing this. If you want to split the bread into two loafs, do it after the first rise. Then divide, shape, proof and bake.

PacoH's picture

Wow, this is fantastic. This well-thought-out video is a complete course in breadmaking. There is so much information packed into this short video, it is astounding. This should be required viewing for all would-be bread bakers.


I was having trouble with over- and under-proofing my sourdough breads and that is how I came across your site. I was hesitant to even click the link in Google because this is not a dedicated breadmaking site, but having found no real help at the dedicated sites, I thought I'd take a chance. Am I ever glad I did. Thank you so much for sharing your valuable 'secrets'.


I have been making bread for about 3 years now. I started with the NY Times 'no-knead' recipe and went on to make kneaded breads, including baguettes and sourdough breads. I though I knew how to do the slap-and-fold knead but I guess not. This straightened me out. I love your suggestion of embracing the stickiness. I have had a sort of phobia about getting dough stuck between my fingers but now I am over it. :) The secret is in using only your finger tips at the periphery of the dough.


I went from a hard flat brick of a loaf to a pliant airy loaf with crispy crust the first time I used all your methods.


This is my first attempt, using half a recipe:

Free Image Hosting at

Free Image Hosting at

BTW I love the calculator. It makes scaling so easy. I also really appreciate your not caving in to giving the usual volume measurements. Even the dedicated sites do that despite paying lip service to the advantages of weighing ingredients. Being an engineer, I do not like the imprecision of volumetric measurements. There are so many variables affecting the accuracy of such methods. Bakers' percentages are the only way to go IMO.



BTW this recipe works well with a standard poolish (250 g water : 250 g flour : 1/4-1/2 tsp active dry yeast - .5 g but my scale can't measure that).

In conclusion, first class act Jacob. Kudos!


Brett Bowlin's picture

Chef J:  probably a silly question, but if adding something like sundried tomatoes do you have to adjust the hydration a little or is the change presumably insignificant.  As always, thanks for the great advice and content.

jacob burton's picture


Sorry I'm just now seeing this. It looks like your bread came our great. I'm glad I could be of service.


For dry ingredients like sundried tomatoes, you can just add them by sight, without messing with the hydration rate. Usually extra flavors will range from about 5-10% based on the weight of the flour. Obviously something like fresh herbs (since they're so light), you would use much less.

But this is a solid base recipe that you can easily add other flavors to. Remember though, the more extra flavors you add, the heavier the dough will be. If you add too much, then the bread will come out a little more dense than usual. But with a little trial and error, you'll be able to make an number of flavored breads using this recipe as your base.

For an example, check out my post on the Pancetta-Parsley loaf.

Let me know if you have any more questions, and thank you for taking the time to comment.

Brett Bowlin's picture

Great, thanks for the tips Chef J.  I have used some of Peter Reinhart's recipes that added cheese, ham whatnot and most of the time good results.  I was unsure with the sundried tomatoes because well they are dried and may presumably soak up more water/liquid than perhaps herbs etc....  I will definitely check out the pancetta bread :)  By the way, your pancetta tutorial was top notch.  Turned out great.  I am military so just asked the butcher at the commissary to order some pork bellies, bad part, only comes in 30lb boxes, good part it was ridiculously cheap doing it through them and I was popular since I was a bacon smoking fool :)  Put the slicer to great use making special orders for friends.

jacob burton's picture

Sundried tomatoes still have a decent amount of moisture in them, so it shouldn't be an issue. However, one of the things you can try is take the amount of water called for in this recipe and soak the sundried tomatoes in it overnight. Then use the water and tomatoes in the formula as normal.

Brett Bowlin's picture

Chef J:  did a cheese, dill, dried onion oregano boule.  I have to say that me and my littleman (he's 10) watched your video demonstration again and wish I would have had my camera running lol.  Once I got the slap and fold part mainly done (it was releasing relatively easy) turned it over to him and almost had tears in my eyes watching that.  He has officially named this bread his "John Cena WWE" bread because apparently his technique on the slap and fold had something to do with a cena finishing move, go figure.  Anyhow, it was priceless so thanks so much for the video tutorial, it was awesome getting him in there.  We retired the dough in the banneton to the fridge for the evening for flavor development and I will post a couple of pics once we "pin" this one down tomorrow :)  The dough developed just as your tutorial showed, looking forward to baking it.  Cheers,   Brett

Brett Bowlin's picture

Also, added just regular old shredded cheddar during the first two strech and folds as I was skeptical about beating the heck out of the dough and having cheddar flying around the kitchen.  That worked wonderfully.  Reinhart methodology has you adding the cheese during the final shaping and kneading and this was as close as I could figure to do it.  I added the oregano, garlic powder, dried onion after mixing the poolish with the water because it seemed sensible to do then when it is easy to combine because once you add the flour it is a bear to mix.

jacob burton's picture

You made the right decision. Adding extra ingredients during the second or third stretch and fold is the best time in my opinion.

Brett Bowlin's picture

Chef J:  as my mind tends to fast forward.  Is this recipe amenable to baguettes, batards' etc....?  Obviously takes the dutch oven out of play but I have had success with a 500 degree oven and a cup of boiling water poured in a pan on the bottom shelf for a good oven spring and color/crust.  I have a quality stone that I usually set my baguette pan on.  I always preheat for at least an hour then drop temp to 425 after adding water.  This dough is pretty wet though and not sure about it holding its shape although I presume the baguette pan would help.  Lastly, since the dutch oven gets so hot, flipping it and tapping isn't necessarily easy nor safe when you have big paws like I do, instant read thermometer at 200-205?  As always, thanks and cheers.  Brett

jacob burton's picture

Yes, this dough can be formed into many different shapes, and makes a good, rustic baguette.

For the baguette, you'll need a resting canvas called a "couche" for proofing, a transfer board, and a hotel pan, (you mentioned you already had a baking stone, so you'll need that too). It sounds like you have experience with generating steam in your oven, so if you're comfortable with your results, you won't need the hotel pan.

Now while my basic baguette method will work, what I'm about to tell you is more like "Baguettes 2.0," and will yield something very close to what we make in our wood fire oven at Stella.

Form the baguettes like normal, and lay seem side down in the canvas couche that's dusted with a 50/50 mix of rice flour and bread flour. Form pleats in the canvas so the baguettes are resting in the valley of the pleats. Make sure your baguettes are shorter than the length of your hotel pan, and can easily fit on your stone.

After proofing, transfer the baguettes to a flat tray (like the back side of a sheet tray) that's been floured, or lined with parchment paper. You make this transfer using a thin, long board (transfer board), by rolling the baguettes onto the board (seem side up), then rolling onto your tray, seem side down. If you have a pizza peel, now is the time to use it.

Score the baguettes like normal, and slide onto your preheated stone. Give them a quick spritz with water, and place an inverted hotel pan over the baguettes to trap in the steam. Alternately, use your favorite steaming method.

After 15 minutes, remove the hotel pan (and parchment paper if using), and continue to bake until done.

Brett Bowlin's picture

Chef J:  Thanks much, I don't have couche but I do have a baguette form that you can bake in as well.  Hopefully that will make a step or two unnecessary with respect to transferring.  If it doesn't work I will do the makeshift couche' lol my rolling pins and and three mason jars covered in parchment :) Hey it worked before I got the pan :)  Things look good now, its in the proofing stage and rising nicely.  Thanks for the tips, not gonna lie this dough is wet so it was a bit of a challenge forming but at the same time, it was actually pretty easy to tighten the dough while rocking it.  Dust it with flour, score and we shall see.  I don't have rice flour so Ninja'd some jasmine presuming it will work.  Will post the results, good, bad or indifferent. Hardest part was taking care not to de-gas too much but it held up really well.  Cheers, Brett 

jacob burton's picture

With the baguette molds, simply place them right on your baking stone, steam, and you should be golden.

Let me know how your current loaf turns out.

jschulte45's picture

Great recipe.  I had success the first time out.  Now I am making it again, but I want to divide it into two separate loaves.  At what point is it good to do that?  Alternatively, I could bake them both on the suggested schedule, then freeze one for a special dinner coming up 3 days from now.  Which is better?  Any difference?

Thanks for all, Jim Schulte, St. Louis

jacob burton's picture

Hi Jim,

The best time to divide the dough is right after bulk fermentation and before proofing. If you're using a sourdough starter and plan on serving the bread in three days, there's no reason to freeze it. Let it sit at room temperature and then pop in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Hoodah's picture

about the type of starter this recipe requires. It says to use a poolish, which according to "The Three Mother Preferments And How To Use Them" blog, contains bakers yeast. Also, the "How to make a poolish sourdough starter video" link at the top of the recipe makes no mention of adding bakers yeast. 

So, it seems as though bakers yeast is no longer used because it's easy enough to make a good and active starter without it.

My other question is what effect would using a 100% hydration starter have on the finished product?

Thanks very much Chef. Your site is incredibly helpful and when my first bread appeared that wasn't shaped like a Frisbee, the whole neighborhood knew. Gotta love the tension pull.

bucket_mouth's picture

This is what I've come to understand about poolish. At 100% it cancels itself out in the bakers percentage. So the flour, 100%, water at 75%, salt at ?%. Then add poolish starter. At 100% it has equal flour to water ratio so it doesn't effect the bakers percentage. At least that's how I take it. I have been playing around with the ratio a bit on how much starter to use.
I have three in autolyse stage atm. All at 1000 g flour.
100g Rye flour
100g wheat flour
800g bread flour
800g water
300g starter (50/50 rye/ww)
This is an 80% hydration loaf

150g semolina No.1 durum wheat
50g ww flour
800g bread flour
750g water
400g starter (50/50 ww/bread)
This is a 75% hydration loaf

The third is with a preferment of:
300g starter 50/50 rye/ww
800g water
200g rye flour
Looking at an 80% hydration loaf
Then added
800g bread

I will let them autolyse for about one hour. Longer for the semolina bread. I will post results with pictures later today.

The one thing that makes all the difference is that I let the dough rise in a 24 hr period in my coal room. This is a stone room that is always cool. warmer than the fridge and colder then the kitchen. 
I want to create a room that stays 50f all the time so I can make lots of great bread.

Hoodah's picture

to think about how a poolish affects the bakers percentage. Thanks for that information. Very ambitious having three breads going at the same time. But if I had the room, I'd be doing the same thing.

Your "Mt. Everest" bread has me intrigued. Would love to see the crumb.

Also, you bring out a good point about cold proofing. Even though I've seen countless recipes and countless videos with cold proofing done in a home fridge, I have never had any success because I've always felt a fridge is just too cold. Yet people seem to be pulling out overflowing bannetons from their fridges. Creating a room that stays at 50 degrees all the time is a perfect cold proofing room. That wouldn't be possible out here in the Sonoran desert.


bucket_mouth's picture

You could make a cold cellar. This would take quite a bit of ambition on your part. Dig a hole and line or with cinder blocks with a door on top made of wood. It would not need to be big, just big enough to pot your proofing bowls in. The climate will determine the depth of the hole.

Hoodah's picture

the hole would have to be at least a mile or two deep. It's 10am here and already 101 degrees. cool

What I was thinking though was a college fridge.

102 degrees now. 10% humidity.

jacob burton's picture

@ Hoodah,

The word "poolish" refers to the mixture's hydration rate, which is 100%. So:

  • Poolish Preferment = 100% hydration using baker's or commercial yeast.
  • Poolish Starter = 100% hydration sourdough starter.
Hoodah's picture

That clears up my confusion.

Perhaps you could help clear up another mystery. Most recipes call for 100% hydration starters, some don't even specify a percentage. Why would a recipe call for a hydration other than 100%?

My other area of confusion is why would a recipe call for a ripe starter and another call for a mature starter? Is it because of a difference in how the two taste?


bucket_mouth's picture

This is a picture of my second attempt at the sourdough. I ran out of WW flour so I used 500g bread flour. I used a large stainless pot and it grew so big, it got stuck in the pot. I will devide the loaves into smaller boule's because this one is a monster with the amount of spring I got from it.

I am working on a garlic, rosemary, parmesan loaf at the moment. I am using 1/4 cup dry(no fresh in the house) rosemary, minced garlic, saute in EVOO let it cool and added a punch of parmesan cheese and kosher salt. I will keep you posted.



bucket_mouth's picture

When creating a bread recipe, what is the standard ratio for poolish levin? I see in this recipe it's same as the flour, but it is different in others I have seen. In the tartine book 3 it uses as little as fifteen percent. How do I determine how much to use, in a recipe? Is it just personal preference with how long I want to proof the dough? Does it have anything to do with hydration percentage of the dough? Thank you

jacob burton's picture


When creating a bread recipe, what is the standard ratio for poolish levin? I see in this recipe it's same as the flour, but it is different in others I have seen. In the tartine book 3 it uses as little as fifteen percent.

In short, it's personal preference, and how long you want to allow the bread to ferment for. We do discuss this in depth though in this forum thread here:


Most recipes call for 100% hydration starters, some don't even specify a percentage. Why would a recipe call for a hydration other than 100%?

The lower the hydration, the slower the fermentation process. There are also starters such as pain au levain that are kept at the same hydration rate of the bread. We discuss various starters, strategies, and corresponding hydration rates in the Stella Culinary School Podcast Episode 21.

My other area of confusion is why would a recipe call for a ripe starter and another call for a mature starter? Is it because of a difference in how the two taste?

The terms "mature starter" and "ripe starter" are interchangeable. When using a sourdough starter, the best way to know if it's strong enough for baking is the "float test" as shown in the video version of this recipe.

bucket_mouth's picture

I had a eureka moment the other night. I am a bit of a late bloomer and these moments just reinforce that notion. It finally sunk in about the poolish and the hydration amount of the bread. I was way off on my calculations with my bread recipes. I wrote that at 100% poolish, the rest of the equation will work out, but i was laying in bed considering this and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Thank you chef, for your patience.

I was working out my the bread recipe and i figured that a 50/50 rye/ww starter would be the way to go.

Here's my recipe.


375g starter (100% hydration poolish) - (93.75g rye + 93.75g ww + 187.5g water)

813g bread flour

612g water

25g salt


80%. Hydration light rye bread.


Autolyse for 1/2 hr

Mix in salt

Do fold method while bulk rise for 4 hours

Refrigerate overnight

Divide and bench rest for 20 minutes

Put in baskets and let rise for 1-2 hrs

Bake in dutch oven


How does that sound chef?

I'll post pictures tomorrow after i bake the next batch.



jacob burton's picture

Sounds good. Remember, at 80% hydration, the dough will be harder to handle, but it should definitely yield good results. Let me know how it turns out.

By the way, all your math checks out. Looks like you have a firm grasp on the baker's percentage.

Rochelle C's picture

This recipe is how I found your site
This is my 5th loaf and I'm starting to get good at this! Especially since listening to the podcast

jacob burton's picture

That's awesome to hear Rochelle. Keep on baking, and feel free to start a new forum thread to post pictures of your bread!

herrbengtsson92's picture

In the description of how to bulkferment and proof in the fridge, the kneding process is not mentioned. Is this because the time is actevating the gluten?

jacob burton's picture

Bulk fermentation and proofing always take place after kneading. So you would knead the dough in whatever manner you desire (stretch and fold, machine, etc), and then retard in your fridge.

However, you are correct that longer hydration times will help the gluten form, requiring less kneading. This is why in a lot of my bread recipes I incorporate at least a 30 minute autolyse.

lloydrm's picture

Nice website and great recipe. Have tried different methods in the past with inconsistent results even after modifications. This one works. Thanks. 
Side note: I added some nuts and while performing the tension pull some of them popped out of the loaf. haha.