Basic Sourdough Boule Recipe

Make this unforgettable French-style mild sourdough boule using from-scratch starter and wholesome ingredients.

| Fall 2019

Photo from Adobe Stock/

This French-style mild sourdough boule traditionally uses unbleached bread flour, plus some whole-wheat and rye flours. You can skip the whole grains and just use 500 grams of bread flour, but I encourage you to start using more whole grains when you feel comfortable with the process. Whole grains greatly increase the flavor complexity of your bread, among other benefits.

Yield: 1 loaf
Fermentation type: lacto
Primary fermentation: 8 to 12 hours
Secondary fermentation: 10 to 12 hours
Total time: about 18 to 24 hours


  • 195 grams (about 1 cup) starter, refreshed
  • 350 grams (1 1/2 cups) unchlorinated water, cool
  • 375 grams (2 1/3 cups) unbleached bread flour
  • 100 grams (3/4 cup) stone-ground whole-wheat flour
  • 25 grams (3 tablespoons) rye flour
  • 10 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) sea salt

Baker’s Percentage*:

  • Starter, refreshed: 40
  • Unchlorinated water, cool: 70
  • Unbleached bread flour: 75
  • Stone-ground whole-wheat flour: 20
  • Rye flour: 5
  • Sea salt: 2

*Baker’s percentage: Each ingredient expressed as a percentage of the flour weight. To find an ingredient’s percentage, divide the total weight of an ingredient by the total flour weight, then multiply by 100. In this recipe, for example, the starter’s weight is 195 grams, and the total flour weight is 500 grams. When calculated, the starter’s weight is about 40 percent of the flour’s total weight.


Step 1: Refreshing the Starter

For one loaf, take about 1/4 cup of starter from your storage container and place in a small bowl. Refresh as described in Deceptively Simple Sourdough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the starter ferment at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours before mixing your bread dough.

Step 2: Mixing

Measure the water and bread flour, whole-wheat flour, and rye flour, and combine in a large mixing bowl. Stir to blend, making sure all the flour is moistened. Let the dough rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

Photo from Adobe Stock/



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