How to Make Gouda and Herb Sourdough.

Last updated on September 23rd, 2023 at 12:53 am

Elevate your bread game with Caramelized Onion Gouda and Herb Sourdough! Infused with aromatic herbs and rich flavours, this is a savoury twist on classic bread that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

A picture of 3 loaves of caramelized onion gouda and herb sourdough bread.

Introduction to Caramelized Onion Gouda and Herb Sourdough Bread.

On a recent visit to Mountain Oak Cheese, the idea for Caramelized Onion Gouda and Herb Sourdough was born. As soon as I stepped into the cheese aging room my brain started to race thinking of all the amazing sourdough combinations I could make.

This bread is infused with aromatic herbs (of your choice) and features the rich flavour of caramelized onions and creamy gouda cheese. The combination creates a perfect balance of sweetness and savoury notes and a great depth of flavour. This bread quickly became one of our Micro Bakery Bread Club favourites and I’m sure it will be one of yours soon too.

Flour Specs:

  • 85.8% organic strong bread flour
    • 12.4% protein, 0.54% ash
  • 14.2% fresh-milled rye flour
    • I use fresh-milled rye flour in this recipe, but you can substitute it with whole rye flour, also known as dark rye or whole-meal rye

The recipe calls for 85.8% organic strong bread flour and 14.2% fresh-milled rye flour, but you can substitute the rye flour with whole wheat or other grains. Rye is recommended for fermentation and to help the dough hold up to the inclusions. To make changes to the recipe, you can download a free recipe dough calculator Excel.

Ingredient Specs:

  • Caramelized Onion Gouda
    • This recipe for Gouda and Herb Sourdough calls for caramelized onion gouda cheese, but you can use any type of gouda cheese that you prefer. If you like a little bit of heat, try using spicy gouda with sriracha or chili pepper. However, even regular gouda will still make this herb-infused sourdough recipe taste awesome.
  • Fresh Herbs
    • I like to change the herbs in this sourdough bread based on what is available. If I have a lot of herbs in my garden I will use those before buying herbs for this bread. As a general rule, you can follow this formula for hard herbs like thyme and rosemary but if you’d like to use softer herbs like parsley, dill, tarragon or cilantro you can double the amount in the formula.

Gouda and Herb Sourdough Specs:

Yield Two  900-gram loaves
Total Dough Wht 1800 grams
Pre-Fermented Flour 5.66%
Levain % in Final Dough 18%
Total Hydration 73.6%

Total Formula:

WeightIngredientBakers %
722 gramsBread Flour85.8%
119 gramsRye Flour14.2%
683 gramsWater81.1%
48 grams Levain5.7%
14 gramsSalt1.7%
198 grams Gouda Cheese 23.6%
16 grams Thyme 1.9%

Gouda and Herb Sourdough Dough Schedule

To help you bake this at home I have created a suggested timeline for each step of the process. This schedule is meant to be a guideline but by no means do you have to stick to it. Feel free to adapt the recipe or timing to best fit your baking schedule.

Mix the Gouda and Herb Sourdough Levain

WeightIngredientBakers %
48 gramsBread Flour100%
48 grams Water at 28°C/82.4°F100%
48 gramsLevain100%
  1. Mix all the ingredients until well combined. This build should take about 10 hours at 20°C/68°F to reach full maturity.

NOTE: You can do a young levain for this recipe as well. What’s important is that you use a ripe levain but how you get there is up to you. If you are new to sourdough and not sure how different temperatures and inoculations can affect the rise and fall of your levain check out my guide to how I’ve been feeding my starter for over 15 years here.


675 gramsBread Flour
119 grams Rye Flour
556 gramsWater 1
  1. Mix the flour and water 1 until fully combined. Cover and let rest for 60 minutes.

You can make great bread without an autolyse but I recommend one if it is your first time making this formula. The dough will benefit from the added rest time, shortening your final mix and creating a more extensible dough.

Mix the Dough

79 gramsWater 2
14 gramsSalt
143 gramsLevain
198 gramsGouda Cheese
16 grams Thyme
  1. Using the remaining water, mix the salt into the dough by hand. This should take about 5-10 minutes but it can vary based on your mixing experience. If you feel the dough with your fingers you shouldn’t feel any granules of salt in the dough.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it clean towel.

Bulk Fermentation

Bulk ferment the dough for 2.5 to 3 hours. If you are in a cold environment, keep the dough in a warm place during the bulk fermentation.

  1. Bulk ferment the dough for 2.5-3 hours.

Folding and Lamination

For this bread, we will be using a fold followed by a lamination technique to incorporate inclusions evenly throughout the dough in this gouda and herb sourdough. The lamination process not only creates an even spread of the ingredients but also helps to develop strength in the dough, acting as a kind of power fold.

First Fold:

  1. Using a wet dough scraper release the dough from the sides of the bowl.
  2. Wet your hands and grab one side of the dough with both hands. Pull the dough up stretching it (but not tearing it) until you feel some resistance from the dough. Put it back down about 3/4 of the way on the dough.
  3. Repeat step 2 3 times until you have made your way around the dough. Gently pick the dough up and flip it over so the seam is down.
  4. Cover and let rest for another 30-60 minutes.


  1. Dip your hand in water and apply a light layer to your work surface. The water will help the dough from sticking to the table but be careful not to put too much water down.
  2. Using wet hands place the dough onto the wet work bench. Take your hands grab the corners of one side of the dough and gently stretch it out. The dough should be fairly easy to stretch.
  3. Continue to stretch the dough with wet hands until you have a rectangle about 18×24″/45x60cm. It does not have to be perfect just focus on making it even and not tearing the dough.

Teachable Moment: This lamination technique while not practical in large bakeries or with bigger doughs, can be helpful for small batches of sourdough. You could swap the gouda and herbs for other inclusions jalapeño cheddar sourdough, manchego green olive sourdough and fontina potato sourdough would all be great combos. If you don’t like cheese you could also opt for a nondairy option like roasted walnuts with raisins or pecan and sour cherry.

Divide and Pre-Shape

Shaping sourdough bread isn’t easy and with the inclusions this gouda and herb sourdough can be tricky. The more you practice the better you will get. I always suggest making more than one loaf at a time so you can make any necessary corrections from the first shaping.

  1. Use a dough scraper to flip the dough out of the bowl onto your workbench. Cut the dough in half with a bench scraper and weigh them to 900g pieces.
  2. Using your hands or a bench scraper round the dough into a tight ball.
  3. Let the dough bench uncovered rest for 20-30 minutes.

Final Shape

  1. Gently flour the top of the loaf then use a bench scraper to flip it into your hand. Place it onto a lightly floured surface in front of you.
  2. Using your hands gently stretch the sides of the dough outward then bring them back to the center slightly overlapping and sealing to the dough.
  3. Grab the top middle of the dough and pull it up and down to the bottom sealing back onto itself.
  4. Now starting at the top corners start to stitch the loaf working down. The goal is to develop tension on the surface of the dough.
  5. Roll the dough over so the bottom is now on top and tuck it together.
  6. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes before flouring the top, picking it up and gently folding it together before placing it into a good flour banetton.

Note: Shaping bread sounds complicated and one of the easiest ways is to watch a video and follow along.

Final Proof

While I prefer to cold ferment this dough you can also ferment at ambient temperature before baking. For a cold ferment, cover and place the dough in the fridge overnight. For an ambient final fermentation cover the dough and leave it at room temperature for 2-3 hours. The dough should have risen and relaxed in the banetton. It should also spring back and leave a slight indent when pressed with a finger.

  1. Cover the dough and place in the fridge for 12-18 hours.


  1. Preheat a Dutch oven to 500°F/260°C for about one hour.
  2. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and place onto a heat-proof surface. Gently flip the dough into the Dutch oven and score the bread with a lame. I like a single slash down the middle of the loaf but you can get creative if you want.
  3. Place the lid back on the Dutch oven and spray a bit of water from a bottle into the Dutch oven (this is optional but a little extra steam helps the loaves rise).
  4. Place the Dutch oven back into the oven and drop the temperature to 480°F/248°C. Put it back into the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove the lid to the Dutch oven and finish the bake without steam for another 16-20 minutes.
  5. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let cool on a cooling rack before cutting.

Teachable moment: The time and temp of the bake will vary based on your oven and desired doneness. I like my sourdough bien cuit and usually bake my bread pretty dark. To check if the gouda and herb sourdough is cooked you can take the internal temperature aiming for about 206°F/96.5°C.

Gouda and Herb Sourdough: Final Thoughts

I absolutely love this bread. The flavours are incredible and it has become one of my (and my bread subscription group’s) favourites. This bread would pair well with my favourite sourdough gazpacho and of course, you can eat it on its own. If you liked this sourdough tutorial and are trying to learn more, I highly suggest making my Sourdough Baguettes or my Sourdough Tarte Flambée recipe.

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Gouda and herb sourdough bread


Elevate your bread game with Caramelized Onion Gouda and Herb Sourdough! Infused with aromatic herbs and rich flavours, this is a savoury twist on classic bread that will leave your taste buds wanting more.


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