How to Make Sourdough Bread With a Cast Iron

How to Make Sourdough Bread With a Cast Iron

Sourdough bread

Have you ever wanted to bake your own sourdough bread but all you had was a cast iron and when you googled recipes most said you needed a Dutch oven? Sourdough bread is a healthier alternative to regular white or whole wheat bread. Because of the lower phytate levels it is more digestible and nutritious. The probiotics also help to keep your gut bacteria happy, and it may be less likely to spike blood sugar levels

If you’ve not yet read my post on making the starter, you can find it here. This is a continuation where we talk about making the actual bread using the starter. Before we begin, there are a few stages we need to go through before making this sourdough bread in a cast iron; The Leaven and The Autolyse.

The Leaven

This is what gets mixed with the dough when making the bread. It’s made with a tablespoon of  your starter and a specific amount of dough and water. Make the leaven the night before you mix it with the dough then leave it on your counter top. The next day it will be bubbly and smell slightly sour.

The Autolyse

An autolyse is the gentle mixing of the flour and water during the bread making process. After you’ve mixed the leaven with the remaining flour and water, let it sit for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 hours. In this time the flour absorbs the water and becomes hydrated thus gluten forms. Enzymes in the flour break down the starch into simple sugars for the yeast in the leaven to feed on and therefore makes the bread flavorful. Salt is therefore added after the dough has rested.

Sourdough Bread

Folding The Dough

Once you have your autolyse ready, the folding process begins. assuming your dough is a clock, pinch one of the four sides, lift it as far as it can reach then fold it over on top of the tough as you rotate and do all the sides. Leave it to rest for 30 mins then repeat the process 6 times. I understand that this may feel like a never ending process but it is very crucial in making the dough smooth and stretchy. Each time you fold, let the dough rest for 30 minutes before continuing.

After 6 sets of folds and stretches, let the dough rest on your counter top for about 1 hour.

Shaping the Dough

Before doing this final shaping we’d like to prepare our proofing basket dish. I used a glass bowl, covered it with a clean kitchen towel and generously floured the towel. then set it aside.

Flour your working surface and hands and place your dough on it. Thinking of the dough as a clock, flip the 12 o’clock side and the 6 side to the middle. Then bring the 3 o’clock and the 9 also to the middle. Like wrapping a present, and be careful not to stretch too much. Then do the same for the 4 corners as well.

Once this is done, scoop it up and place it gently but fast into the towel covered glass bowl. Be keen to seal any openings so that everything is sealed. Cover the dough with a towel but don’t let the towel touch the dough then place in the fridge overnight, to be baked the next day.

Baking The Sourdough Bread in a Cast Iron

Preheat oven and your cast iron to the highest temperature your oven can go. I used a cast iron to bake the bread so I let the cast iron preheat in the oven for 10 mins. Cut a parchment paper bigger than the size of your bowl so as to turn the dough onto it. Using both your hands, flip the bowl over to remove the dough.

Here you can score the dough and create patterns as you wish. Then load the dough into the hot cast iron and put it back into the oven. Even if you’ll not make the patterns just score to give the dough some breathing space.

Because we’re not using a Dutch oven, put a baking tin with ice cubes at the lower rack to help provide steam for the bread to cook. Bake for 45 mins. Over baking is actually advisable when baking sourdough as the brown color looks good on sourdough. So if you think you’re done with the baking, bake it some more.

Once done, let the bread cool completely before slicing.

Happy baking and yes be patient!

Sourdough bread

How to Make Sourdough Bread

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 bread


  • Mixing bowls
  • Kitchen towels
  • Cast Iron or thick baking pan
  • Glass bowl


For the Leaven

  • 1 tbsp active sourdough starter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup water

For the dough

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp salt


  • Make the leaven. Add the ingredients of the leaven in a bowl and mix together. Cover and let it sit on the counter top overnight.
  • Dissolve the salt. Dissolve about a 14 cup of water with salt in a bowl and stir until well dissolved
  • Mix leaven and water by adding the remaining water for the dough to the leaven . Use your hands to break down the leaven into the water
  • Add flour into this leaven water mixture and combine to form a very shabby dough
  • Rest the dough for about 30 mins by covering the bowl with a kitchen towel. This is the Autolyse stage where the dough absorbs the water and breaks down the starch and proteins.
  • After resting, mix in the salt by pinching and squeezing it into the dough. It will feel a little wet and sticky and this is fine.
  • Begin the folding process (6 times)which will take about 2 1/2 hours. Refer to the instructions on folding the dough above. Once done let the dough rest for 30 mins.
  • Shape the dough and let it rest again. refer above in the notes under shaping the dough.
  • Prepare your proofing bowl by lining it with a kitchen towel and generously flouring it.
  • Final shaping of the dough by creating cuts and patterns
  • Transfer to the proofing bowl and rest the dough overnight in the fridge.
  • Preheat oven and cast iron to the highest temperature and bake the dough for 45mins- 60 mins. Let the bread cool completely.
Keyword bread, breakfast, sourdough

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