How I Make Sourdough Bread

Sourdough 1

After looking through several library books...

  • I saw this one on Amazon, cheap, a pamphlet really.  It was the best book I found for simple sourdough.

  • I followed his instructions for making the starter — it's just flour and water left out on the counter until it picks up yeasts from the air and becomes bubbly.  I had success on the first try and have kept it going for years.

  • I am happy to share my starter with anyone who wants to stop by my house.

Sourdough 2

To store the starter between bakings...

  • Keep the flour and water in a jar, with an unbleached coffee filter on top held on with a rubber band.  This allows air to get in and keeps other "stuff" out.

  • Place the covered jar in the refrigerator.

  • If a black liquid forms on top, simply pour it off, or if there isn't much just stir it into the starter and consider it more yeast. 

Sourdough 3

When ready to make some bread...

  • Remove the starter from the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature for a few hours.

  • Pour the entire contents into a clean bowl, add a cup or two more flour and water.

  • Let it sit a few more hours (or overnight) until it gets bubbly, as pictured.  

  • Remove about a half cup of this fresh starter, put it back in the jar, add a bit more water and flour, secure coffee filter with rubber band, and put into the refrigerator to use the next time.

Sourdough 4

The simplest sourdough...

  • Water, flour, and 1 tsp salt per loaf.

  • My large Tupperware bowl shown above is filled with water about ¼ full, the salt added, and some flour continuously added until it is no longer able to be stirred.

  • The dough is kneaded right in the bowl to avoid a mess on the counter.  

  • Flour is added while kneading until it doesn't stick to fingers anymore, but not as dense as regular yeast-raised bread dough.

  • The bowl is covered with a towel and set aside at room temperature until the dough doubles in size.

Sourdough 5

The dough is ready to be put in a pan...

  • This amount makes 2 loaves for me. 

  • I bake it in a bread loaf pan, so I can easily cut it for toasting in my toaster, but you could easily form and bake it in the typical sourdough style. 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped.  

  • Let cool a bit and then dig in!

  • When making bread, I have sometimes made a small batch of cinnamon rolls with some of the dough — a delicious treat!

Sourdough 6

As shown here, the final product has a very good texture.  Exceptional for French toast!  

It typically takes 2 days, from removing the starter from the refrigerator until the loaves are baked and ready to eat.  

Optional add-ins when making the dough...

  • Honey, molasses, or another sweetener (makes it rise faster).

  • An egg or two.

  • Fat of some sort, such as ghee or olive oil.

  • Other flours such as rye, whole wheat, whatever. (Our local co-op has a flour blend for making a multi-seed bread that is very tasty with this bread.)

  • Seasonings, spices, cheese, raisins, dried fruits, seeds... go nuts!  (Oh yeah, you can add nuts!)