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Making your own Sourdough Bread: A beginners recipe

Making your own Sourdough Bread

Krista S

Making your own Sourdough Bread: A beginners recipe


Welcome, aspiring bakers! Today, we’re journeying into the heart of artisan bread making with an all-time classic: Sourdough Bread. Often seen as a pinnacle of baking, sourdough has a reputation for complexity. Yet, it’s surprisingly accessible to beginners. Bursting with tangy flavor and rustic charm, this homemade sourdough bread recipe is your ticket to the exhilarating world of bread making.

Diving into the art of sourdough making is like opening a door to a new universe. From the creation of your very own sourdough starter to the sublime aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through your home, this process is as rewarding as it is delicious. Our beginner-friendly guide will take the mystery out of sourdough, breaking it down into simple, manageable steps.

But why sourdough, you might ask? This age-old bread variety boasts a unique flavor profile that’s both complex and satisfying, setting it apart from its yeasted counterparts. With its crusty exterior and soft, chewy interior, homemade sourdough bread is an experience like no other. So, tie on your apron, roll up your sleeves, and let’s make some magic in the kitchen with our beginner’s sourdough bread recipe!

Sourdough: The Healthy Bread Alternative

In the sea of bread options available in grocery stores, sourdough bread stands out as a healthier and more nutritious alternative to traditional white bread​. This distinctive bread is well-loved for its unique taste and its beneficial health properties. While both sourdough and white bread are made from the same base ingredients, it’s the process of making sourdough that sets it apart and contributes to its superior health benefits.

Sourdough bread is traditionally made through a fermentation process that involves natural yeasts and beneficial bacteria. This process not only gives sourdough its unique taste, but also significantly enhances its nutritional profile. For instance, sourdough contains lactic acid bacteria, which lower the bread’s pH levels, effectively deactivating phytate, an antinutrient that hinders the body’s absorption of vital minerals like magnesium, zinc, and potassium​1​. This fermentation process also modifies the molecular structure of the bread, reducing certain proteins including gluten, and carbohydrates, making sourdough easier to digest and beneficial for overall gut health​.

The type of flour used in sourdough can further boost its nutritional value. Whole grain flour, which contains the entire grain including the bran, endosperm, and germ, is often favored in sourdough recipes. This flour not only imparts a complex flavor profile, but it also brings a wealth of nutrients to the bread, including higher fiber content and essential vitamins that are often lacking in white flour​​.

Choosing sourdough bread over white bread thus provides numerous health benefits including improved digestion, increased absorption of vital minerals, and a higher intake of fiber and essential nutrients. Plus, many find the unique flavor of sourdough to be a delicious bonus​. So, if you’re ready to take a step towards healthier eating habits, why not start with baking your own sourdough bread? Let’s dive into how you can do just that.

Sourdough Starter Jar

Essential Kitchen Tools for Sourdough Bread

Before we dive into the actual process of making sourdough bread, it’s crucial to ensure you have the necessary tools at hand. Having the right equipment can make the difference between a smooth, enjoyable baking experience and a frustrating one. Here’s a checklist of the kitchen tools you should have (or some variation of them) to embark on your sourdough baking adventure, not all are necessarily applicable to the recipe:

  1. A Large Mixing Bowl: You’ll need a large bowl to mix your dough. Look for one that’s sturdy and spacious enough to comfortably contain all your ingredients.
  2. Sourdough Starter Jar: A clean glass jar with a loose-fitting lid will be your sourdough starter’s new home. It should be large enough to allow your starter to grow.
  3. Kitchen Scale: Precision is key in baking. A kitchen scale allows you to measure your ingredients accurately, ensuring consistent results every time.
  4. Dough Scraper: This tool is great for dividing dough and scraping it off surfaces. Choose one that’s flexible yet firm enough to handle dough.
  5. Banneton Basket: This specialty basket helps shape your sourdough loaf during its final rise. It also imprints a beautiful pattern on the crust.
  6. Dutch Oven or Bread Cloche: These tools help create a steamy environment for your bread to bake in, which contributes to a crispy crust.
  7. Bread Lame or Sharp Knife: You’ll need this to score your dough before baking. This not only adds an artistic touch to your loaf but also helps it expand in the oven.
  8. Bread Cooling Rack: This allows air to circulate around your freshly baked loaf, preventing the bottom from becoming soggy as it cools.
  9. Kitchen Thermometer: This helps you monitor the water and dough temperature, which can impact how your yeast behaves and thus the final result of your bread.

With these tools in your kitchen arsenal, you’re well equipped to take on the task of baking your own sourdough bread. Now, let’s move on to gathering our ingredients!

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Making your own Sourdough Bread: A beginners recipe

Making your own Sourdough Bread: A beginners recipe

  • Author: Krista
  • Total Time: 19 hours
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x


Units Scale

For the Sourdough Starter:

  1. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  2. 1/2 cup warm water (between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit)

For the Bread:

  1. 1 cup active sourdough starter
  2. 1 1/2 cups warm water (between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit)
  3. 4 cups bread flour
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt


1. Prepare the Sourdough Starter: Combine the whole wheat flour and warm water in your sourdough starter jar. Mix until well combined. Cover loosely with the lid and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Feed your starter daily by discarding half of it, then adding 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of warm water. It will be ready to use after it consistently doubles in size within 4 to 6 hours of feeding.

2. Mix the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the active sourdough starter and warm water. Stir until the starter is dissolved. Add the bread flour and salt. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. The dough will be sticky but should come together in a cohesive ball. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water; if it’s too wet, add a little more flour.

3. First Rise (Bulk Fermentation): Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rise at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours. During this time, perform a series of “stretch and folds” every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours. To do this, wet your hands, grab the dough from underneath, stretch it upwards and fold it over onto itself. Rotate the bowl a quarter turn and repeat until you’ve done this on all sides of the dough.

4. Shape the Dough: Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape it into a round loaf by folding the edges towards the center, turning the dough as you go. Place the dough seam-side up in a floured banneton basket or a bowl lined with a floured tea towel.

5. Second Rise (Proofing): Cover the dough and let it rise until it’s puffy and has approximately doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 2 hours.

6. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit (245 degrees Celsius). If you’re using a Dutch oven or bread cloche, place it in the oven as it preheats.

7. Score and Bake: Carefully turn the dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Score the top of the dough using a bread lame or a sharp knife. Carefully transfer the dough (with the parchment paper) into your preheated Dutch oven or onto a baking sheet. If using a Dutch oven, cover with the lid.

Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius) and bake for another 25-30 minutes. If using a Dutch oven, remove the lid for the last 15-20 minutes of baking.

8. Cool and Enjoy: Carefully remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a wire rack to cool. Wait at least an hour before slicing into your freshly baked sourdough bread.


Prep time includes overnight fermentation.

  • Prep Time: 18 hours
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes

Nutritional Information

Here is the nutritional information for the Sourdough Bread:

Assuming this recipe makes one large loaf of bread or about 12 slices, the approximate nutritional values per slice would be:

Remember, this is an approximation, and actual nutritional values can vary based on specific brands of ingredients, how thoroughly the bread is fermented, and the exact size of the loaf and slices.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is a sourdough starter and how do I make one? A sourdough starter is a mix of flour and water that has been fermented by naturally occurring yeast and bacteria. It’s used as a leavening agent in sourdough bread. To make one, mix equal parts (by weight) of flour and water in a jar and leave it at room temperature for about a week, feeding it daily with more flour and water.
  2. How can I tell if my sourdough starter is ready? A mature and active sourdough starter will be bubbly and should rise significantly after being fed. It should also have a pleasant, slightly sour aroma. If you drop a spoonful into a bowl of warm water, it should float.
  3. How long does it take to make sourdough bread? It takes at least a day to make sourdough bread, but most of that time is hands-off while you wait for the dough to rise. The actual hands-on work might only be a couple of hours.
  4. Why didn’t my dough rise? There are several reasons why this might happen. Your sourdough starter might not have been active enough, the temperature might have been too low for the yeast to be active, or the dough might have been too dry.
  5. Can I use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour? Yes, you can. However, bread flour has a higher protein content which develops more gluten and helps the bread rise and maintain its shape. The texture might be slightly different if you use all-purpose flour.
  6. What if my dough is too sticky to handle? This is a common issue with high-hydration bread dough. Try wetting your hands before handling the dough, or use a dough scraper. If it’s still too sticky, you might need to add more flour next time.
  7. Why is my bread too dense? The bread might be too dense if it was underproofed (not left to rise long enough), if the dough was handled too roughly and knocked out air, or if the oven wasn’t hot enough when the bread was put in.
  8. How should I store my sourdough bread? Sourdough bread is best stored at room temperature in a bread box or a paper bag to prevent it from drying out. You can also slice it and freeze it for longer storage.
  9. How often should I feed my sourdough starter? If you’re keeping your starter at room temperature, you should feed it once a day. If you’re storing it in the fridge, you can feed it once a week.
  10. What do I do if my sourdough starter smells bad or has mold? If your sourdough starter smells rotten or has any signs of mold, it’s best to discard it and start fresh. A healthy sourdough starter should have a pleasant, yeasty, and slightly sour smell.

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