Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Bread is one of the most flavorful, good-for-you loaves of bread out there. Easier than you think with a taste and texture that is absolutely heavenly! Bread is comfort food that goes beyond the ordinary. Try these other tried and true bread recipes when you need them, Challah, English Muffins, and Sweet Rolls. Sourdough…

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Bread is one of the most flavorful, good-for-you loaves of bread out there. Easier than you think with a taste and texture that is absolutely heavenly!

Bread is comfort food that goes beyond the ordinary. Try these other tried and true bread recipes when you need them, Challah, English Muffins, and Sweet Rolls.

Round loaf of sourdough bread.

Sourdough Bread Recipe with Starter

Sourdough bread is considered the king of bread. Its crusty outer exterior and its chewy tender interior make this a hearty loaf that carries a punch. The slightly tangy flavor that comes from the fermented starter is a classic favorite of many. When you pull this sourdough bread out of the oven, be prepared for pure deliciousness! It not only smells sensational but it is going to taste divine!

Do not let the fact that you are using a starter intimate you, this bread is extremely simple with very little hands-on time. Most of the work takes place as it sits and ferments and develops flavor and texture. That’s one of the great things about this sourdough bread, it can work around your schedule and be ready to bake when you are. Make it the night before for a morning bake or in the morning for a nighttime bake. Either way, you have to try this super easy and luscious sourdough bread!

Ingredients for Easy Sourdough Bread

Simple ingredients come together to make an irresistible sourdough loaf. The crisp outside and soft inside is the perfect combination to making this sourdough bread the best side dish to any meal. For all ingredient measurements, see the recipe card below.

  • Sourdough starter: Unlike regular bread, the sourdough starter is what you need for bread to rise.
  • Water: Every bread needs a liquid to mix with the flour and water is usually the most common.
  • Salt: Without salt, your bread will have no flavor. Always add the salt.
  • Bread flour: Bread flour has higher amount of protein to form the gluten for a good chewy loaf.

How to Make Sourdough Bread

The main thing to remember about sourdough is that it takes time. While making the recipe you are able to leave it and come back to it knowing it is working its magic throughout the whole process. This sourdough bread is one of a kind and the best recipe to use!

  1. Combine: Mix the starter and water together in a large bowl with a fork. Add the flour and salt and continue to mix until it comes together. You may need to use your hands to help it form a shaggy dough. Cover with a wet cloth and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Stretch, rest, repeat: After 30 minutes of resting, stretch one side of the dough up and fold over the top. Give the bowl a quarter turn and stretch and pull that side of the dough up, folding over the top. Turn the bowl a quarter turn again and repeat. Repeat once more until four stretches and pulls have been made. Repeat this process 3-4 times with 15-30 minutes before each time.
Mixing the starter with flour, and stretching and folding.

Rise and Shape the Dough

It is best to create a circular loaf for your sourdough bread when baking. This helps it bake evenly and efficiently.

  1. Rise: Cover the bowl with a towel and let it rise on the countertop for 7-10 hours, or in the fridge for 24 hours for slower fermentation. If your kitchen tends to be warmer it may be ready in less than 7 hours and if your kitchen is cooler it may take longer than 10. It should have risen about 50%.
  2. Shape: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and very gently form it into a round. Stretch the top side up and fold into the center. Rotate the dough and repeat until all the sides have been folded to the center. You may use a bench scraper or your hands to push and pull the dough along the counter to create tension, but only just enough to form a nice round shape.

Rest and Bake the Sourdough

Once the round ball is formed from your dough and has risen it is time to start baking it. Scoring the top helps create a presentation in the baked bread but also helps when baking. Let it cool and enjoy your sourdough bread with your family!

  1. Heat your dutch oven: Place parchment in a bowl and dust lightly with flour. Put your dough ball on the parchment and cover. Place in the fridge to rest for an hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500° with the dutch oven in the oven to preheat as well. Allow the dutch oven to heat for a full 50-60 minutes while the dough rests.
  2. Score and bake: Use a sharp knife or a razor blade, score the top of the dough at a 35-40-degree angle cutting in about ½ inch deep. Very carefully use the parchment as a sling to transfer the dough to the preheated dutch oven. Reduce the oven to 450° and place the lid on the dutch oven. Bake for 20 minutes. When 20 minutes is up, remove the lid from the dutch oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until the crust has turned a deep golden-brown color and the internal temp reads 205°-210°.
  3. Cool and eat: Cool on a cooling rack for at least 1 hour before slicing in order to avoid the bread turning gummy.
Letting the dough rest, stretching, forming and prepping the loaf for baking.

Tips for the Best Sourdough Bread

Remember the key is time and practice. Don’t give up if the first loaf doesn’t go your way. You’ve totally got this! And your family will love eating your mistakes too!

  • Weight vs Cup Measurement: You will notice I included the weight measurements along with the traditonal cup measurements. This is because the best way to get an accurate measurement is by weight. Depending on you scoop your flour your weight of the flour can vary vastly. If you have a kitchen scale, use it. You’ll notice a big difference. If you do not have scale, use the fluff, scoop and scrape method to accurately measure the flour. Fluff it before scooping into your measuring cup and then using a flat knife level it off.
  • Rise time can Vary: Depending on the temperature of your kitchen the rise time of your bread can vary. Look for a dough that has risen about 50% of it’s orginal height. You will need to be flexible. You can let it rise in the fridge which will take longer and give you a bit more control over it.
  • Why Stretch and Fold: Stetching and folding the dough strengthens the dough without over working it. It will add height and structure.
  • Dutch Oven: Using a dutch oven mimics using a steam oven and creates the best crust. You can also use a large loaf pan to bake your bread, but the crust will be different.
  • How to know your loaf is done: In the internal temperature of a sourdough loaf is 205-210 degrees F. Check by therometer since your eye can be decieving here.
  • Make the slits right before: Before placeing the dough in the oven, make your slashes. do not do it before it has risen, but after.

Variations for Sourdough Bread

Once you get the hang of the dough, you can add in mix-ins and be sure to store it for the best results. Most add-ins are incorporated during the first stretch and fold.

  • Nuts: Nuts add flavor and texture to your sourdough. You can chop them coursely for a rustic effect or finely for an even distribution. Combine walnuts and honey or cinnamon and pecans for a sweeter take on sourdough.
  • Fruit: Dried fruit is a wonderful additon as it compliments the acidity of the sourdough with it’s natural sweetness. Using some of the water needed for the dough, soak the chopped dried fruit for a few hours. Add the fruit and water to the dough before mixing. Citrus zest in another great way to add flavor and zing.
  • Cheese: Adding either cubed or shredded cheese adds impeccable flavors. Toss the cheese in some of the flour used for mixing before adding it during the stretch and fold.
  • Seeds: Think pumpkin, sunflower or even seasame seeds. Again add them in during the first stretch and fold.
  • Herbs: Fresh or dried add incredible flavors, think dill, thyme, oregano, and garlic. Rosemary and basil also go well with sourdough. 1-2 Tablespoons is all you need.
  • Olives: Green, kalamata, and even black olives add a nice bite to them. drain them well and mix in during the first stretch and fold.

Storing Homemade Sourdough Bread

When storing your sourdough loaf, let it cool completely. Then store it at room temperature tightly wrapped for up to 5 days. You can also freeze sourdough bread. Wrap tightly in plastic and then in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Do not refrigerate. It will dry out.

Perfectly light and airy sourdough bread.

How to use Sourdough bread

Sourdough bread is a tangy bread, with large holes, crispy crust and a chewy texture. It makes this bread ideal for using to scoop up the last bits of spaghetti or lasagna. It will hold up to dunking in Tomato or French Onion Soup. These make incredible sandwiches whether its for a Meatloaf or Cuban. Serve it alongside your favorite dishes for side dish that will be sure to disappear. Try these other ways to use your sourdough loaf, I’m sure you will be making this often!

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Slices of sourdough bread ready to eat.

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Print

Sourdough Starter and Bread

Sourdough Bread is one of the most flavorful, good-for-you loaves of bread out there. Easier than you think with a taste and texture that is absolutely heavenly!
Course Bread, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword sourdough bread, sourdough bread recipe
Prep Time 6 days 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Rise 13 hours
Total Time 6 days 14 hours 15 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 138kcal
Author Alyssa Rivers

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Sourdough starter (90 grams)
  • 1 ½ cups water (346 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 ½ cups bread flour (520 grams)

Instructions

  • Mix the starter and water together in a large bowl with a fork. Add the flour and salt and continue to mix until it comes together. You may need to use your hands to help it form a shaggy dough. Cover with a wet cloth and set aside for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes of resting, stretch one side of the dough up and fold over the top. Give the bowl a quarter turn and stretch and pull that side of the dough up, folding over the top. Turn the bowl a quarter turn again and repeat. Repeat once more until four stretches and pulls have been made. Repeat this process 3-4 times with 15-30 minutes before each time.
  • Cover the bowl with a towel and let it rise on the countertop for 7-10 hours, or in the fridge for 24 hours for slower fermentation. If your kitchen tends to be warmer it may be ready in less than 7 hours and if your kitchen is cooler it may take longer than 10. It should have risen about 50%.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and very gently form it into a round. Stretch the top side up and fold into the center. Rotate the dough and repeat until all the sides have been folded to the center. You may use a bench scraper or your hands to push and pull the dough along the counter to create tension, but only just enough to form a nice round shape.
  • Place parchment in a bowl and dust lightly with flour. Place your dough ball on the parchment and cover. Place in the fridge to rest for an hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500° with the dutch oven in the oven to preheat as well. Allow the dutch oven to heat for a full 50-60 minutes while the dough rests.
  • Use a sharp knife or a razor blade, score the top of the dough at a 35-40-degree angle cutting in about ½ inch deep. Very carefully use the parchment as a sling to transfer the dough to the preheated dutch oven. Reduce the oven to 450° and place the lid on the dutch oven. Bake for 20 minutes. When 20 minutes is up, remove the lid from the dutch oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until the crust has turned a deep golden-brown color and the internal temp reads 205°-210°.
  • Cool on a cooling rack for at least 1 hour before slicing in order to avoid the bread turning gummy.

Notes

I

Nutrition

Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 390mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
Source : The Recipe Critic More   

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Sourdough Starter

Start your sourdough journey with this guide on cultivating wild yeast! You only need flour, water, and a few minutes of maintenance each day to bake better bread! Making bread at home is game-changing and addictive. Discover the joy of baking with my other tried and true baguette, challah, and naan bread recipes! Simple Sourdough…

Sourdough Starter

Start your sourdough journey with this guide on cultivating wild yeast! You only need flour, water, and a few minutes of maintenance each day to bake better bread!

Making bread at home is game-changing and addictive. Discover the joy of baking with my other tried and true baguette, challah, and naan bread recipes!

Sourdough starter in jar

Simple Sourdough Starter Guide

Before baking a beautiful loaf of sourdough bread, you make a sourdough starter! A sourdough starter is a process in which you cultivate wild yeast for 6-12 days. I know this sounds complicated and time-consuming, but I promise you, all it really takes is a few minutes of maintenance each day and a keen eye for knowing when to nurture! Because yeast is a living organism, you have to feed and nurture it for it to reach a point where it is ready for bread-making. I have gone in-depth on each step of this process below.

You may be asking yourself, why can’t I just use instant yeast? Well, while instant yeast works perfectly in making things like rolls and English muffins, a sourdough starter is integral to achieving the perfect flavor and texture of sourdough bread. The sour flavor comes from acetic acid which develops during your sourdough starter’s growing process. There is a reason this process has been done for thousands of years! It is well worth the wait for better bread. Utilizing a sourdough starter will leave you with bread that is exceptionally flavorful, leavened, and with a perfect texture that cannot be replicated with instant yeast. Let us begin!

What You Need to Feed Sourdough Starter

Only 2 of the simplest ingredients are needed here- flour and water. Making the best sourdough bread does not require any fancy ingredients. It is the time, effort, and attention to detail that will leave you with the best loaf.

How to Make Sourdough Starter

Tending to a sourdough starter requires patience and diligence, but the end result is worth the time! Promise!

  1. Day 1: In a quart sized jar, add the cup of flour. Add the cup of warm water and mix into a paste. Screw on the lid tightly and set aside on the counter for 24-48 hours.
  2. Day 2-5: After about 24 hours you should see some bubbling activity. If it has bubbled significantly, it’s time to feed it! Discard all but ½ cup of the starter and add ½ cup whole wheat flour and ½ cup water and mix. Screw the lid on and set aside again for another 24 hours. If the starter is bubbling up in less time, switch to feeding twice a day instead of once a day.
  3. Day 6: Do this for 6 days and when you reach the 6th day, instead of discarding half of the starter, remove half and set aside to use in your sourdough bread.
Two jars showing the process of making sourdough.

The Ultimate Sourdough Starter Tips

Since you are growing a colony of yeast that needs certain conditions to thrive and grow, any imbalance can ruin your mix. Use these tips to make sure you get the best result out of your sourdough starter!

  • Temperature Differences: Since cold temperatures slow the growth of wild yeast, in a cold environment it may take up to 12 days for your yeast to be ready for baking. In a warmer environment, you should be ready to make your bread after 6-7 days.
  • Maintain a Schedule: The best way to get consistent results from your Sourdough Starter is to pick a certain time of the day every day to check on/ feed it. This way, you can nurture your starter as needed. It is easy to forget about it, but doing so can cause irrepairable results.
  • When Your Starter Is Ready: If your starter begins to consistently double in height a few hours after feeding, it is ready for baking. This typically happens around day 6-7.
  • Bread Isn’t Sour Enough: If your bread doesn’t have enough of a sour flavor, there are a few tricks you can try to add to your starter’s levels of acetic acid. One is to let your yeast grow in colder temperatures. It will take longer to be ready for baking, but lower temps accelerate acetic acid production which will give your dough a more sour flavor. Also, if there is a brownish liquid forming on top of your starter, mix this in rather than scooping it off. This is fermented liquid and will add sour flavor to your mixture as well.
  • Starter Smells Like Alcohol: This is usually a sign that your starter needs to be fed. When your starter is ready to be used, it should smell yeasty and bread-like.
  • Double Starter Size: You can increase the amount of starter you begin with. Just make sure your jar is big enough to allow it to double in size and then mix equal parts starter, flour, and water. 
A close-up of Sourdough Starter, bubbling and rising.

Maintaining Your Sourdough Bread Starter

Don’t throw your starter away when you are ready to make bread! Sourdough starters can be used indefinitely if properly maintained and cared for.

  • Storage: If using your starter less frequently, you can keep it in the fridge instead of on the counter top. Having it in the fridge will slow the fermentation process so you will only have to feed it once every week or so.
  • Reactivation: Sourdough Starters are fairly resilient, so even if you forget about it, it can be reactivated even after a couple months of neglect. Simply scoop off anything that is crusted over on the top, add fresh warm water, and feed regularly.
  • Hooch: If your starter has been sitting in the fridge for a while, it may begin to accumulate a liquid called ‘hooch.’ This is usually a brownish color and is a normal part of wild yeast’s fermentation process. It is a very sour, pungent liquid, so if you prefer a more sour bread, simply mix it in. Otherwise, scoop it off and continue the feeding process as normal.
Jar filled with Sourdough Starter.

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Print

Sour Dough Starter

Start your sourdough journey with this guide on cultivating wild yeast! You only need flour, water, and a few minutes of maintenance each day to bake better bread!
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Keyword how to make sourdough starter, sourdough starter, sourdough starter recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
6 days
Total Time 6 days 5 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Warm water
  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour

Instructions

  • In a quart sized jar, add the cup of flour. Add the cup of warm water and mix into a paste. Screw on the lid tightly and set aside on the counter for 24-48 hours.
  • After about 24 hours you should see some bubbling activity. If it has bubbled significantly, it’s time to feed it! Discard all but ½ cup of the starter and add ½ cup whole wheat flour and ½ cup water and mix. Screw the lid on and set aside again for another 24 hours. If the starter is bubbling up in less time, switch to feeding twice a day instead of once a day.
  • Do this for 6 days and when you reach the 6th day, instead of discarding half of the starter, remove half and set aside to use in your sourdough bread.

Notes

If you don’t have whole wheat flour, you can use all purpose flour. It may not get as bubbly as it would with whole wheat flour, but it will work! 
If you’re using your starter less often, you can keep it in the fridge instead of on the counter top. Having it in the fridge will slow the fermentation process so you will only have to feed it once every week or so. If you forget about it, it can be reactivated even after a couple months of neglect. The longer it sits in the fridge, the more dark liquid may form on top of it. This is called hooch and can be mixed back in or poured out before you feed it. Be sure to let the starter come to room temp before feeding and then allow it to sit on the counter for 12 hours or so until you return it to the fridge.
If you would like to increase the amount of starter you have first make sure your jar is big enough to allow it to double in size and then mix equal parts starter, flour, and water. 

Source : The Recipe Critic More   

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