Instructables
Picture of Sourdough Bread
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The. Best. Sourdough Bread. Ever. (or The Key to the Bread Universe)

The first time I ever had this great bread was in my sister-in-law's kitchen. I thought I was eating some artisan bakery bread when she casually mentioned that she had made it herself. I've made a lot of bread over the years but I've NEVER made bread like what I was eating. The world of bread changed at that moment for me. Two years ago I wrote a lot about sourdough on my blog, My Sister's Kitchen. Since then, with a lot of practice almost daily, my recipe and technique has been perfected--at least for MY kitchen! (If you want to read more about my sourdough journey, please feel free to check out My Sister's Kitchen.)

I had resigned myself to simply buying good, crusty sourdough since I never even came close to replicating the famous San Francisco sourdough loaves I ate as a child. But no longer~! For over two years now my kitchen counter has been lined with many bowls of starter, batter, dough, etc. (Dr. Seuss aficionados should think, Bartholomew and the Ooblek.) My entire kitchen has been taken over by this wonderful project. So far, the results have been overwhelmingly excellent!

A very important detail to note is that this method makes extra large loaves that are approximately 4.5 pounds each. Each loaf costs only $0.68 to make. That is sixty-eight cents. I buy flour and yeast in bulk, so it's possible that if you buy your ingredients at a regular grocery store, your loaf might cost twice that....a whopping $1.36! As you'll see, that's for a loaf that's about 3 times the size of a loaf of grocery store bread.

(And don't be intimidated by all the steps. I've broken things down into as simple increments as possible because this is really EASY!)

In some ways, sourdough starter is the ultimate renewable resource because it's ALIVE! I was coaching a friend through her first bread-making experience and explaining how to care for her starter. She turned to me and said, "You're talking about this starter like it's a live creature!" And she's right. It IS a live critter. As long as I keep it comfortable and well-fed, it will go on growing, replicating, and replenishing itself.

The art of making sourdough bread is a delightful exercise in returning to the "olden days" of some of the original DIYers--the gold miners and the pioneers. Sourdough isn't a new, green technology; it's an old, even ancient, technology that has sustained people for milennia. Making our own sourdough returns us to an age of LESS technology and LESS speed. Don't forget: LESS money too!

Sourdough bread, made properly, ambles slowly in a world that frantically runs. It might even ask for a tall glass of sweet tea and a rocking chair on the porch.

 
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Jan10Will made it!3 days ago

after trying a dozen different recipes, this is the best! my starter is just over a year old and the bread turns out better and better each time I make it --being in Vegas at 2,630 ft elevation I find adding olive oil at both rises gives the inside a moist & chewy texture and the outside that great crust especially once toasted. getting a ceramic bread dome took it to the next level - I'm a San francisco native and couldn't be happier with the results - havent had to buy bread in over a year

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MarianaG11 month ago

Every time I try to make this recipe, the flavor is delicious, but the texture is weird-- The bread comes out feeling gummy and too wet, and I bake it to the point where the crust starts to burn. I've tried leaving the lid of my casserole dish on longer to let the middle cook more, but it hasn't helped. Why is this happening?

This happened to me once when I practiced with a little less flour. I can be "juicer" with the initial rise; however, when you knead it through with added flour before the second rise, I found if the dough is more elastic, the cooked texture is perfect.

Thank you! I've been baking this bread for 2 weeks and not one ops. Even ventured out of the box to bake roasted garlic and rosemary versions. This recipe is great for both learners and experienced.

I've made this bread in various forms also; sliced pickle jalapeño/cheese, rosemary/garlic, pizza dough, and olive breads. I give 1/2 away because the kids are out of the house. Each recipient is hopeful for their "next" turn.

Has anyone had success incorporating some rye or other whole grain flour without making the bread far too dense? Also, Barb, you said this cost 68 cents per loaf. How's you figure that? Did you include the cost of cooking the break?

Great recipe. I used a 6 1/2 quart ceramic dutch over, and it was fine to use the smaller one. I had some questions. 1. Can you freeze the dough and save for later? 2. Can you freeze the bread? 3. When is it good to wrap and store the bread (at what point in the cooling process)? 4. HOw to store.

A.deLago13 days ago

This is twice the amount of ingredients I have used - what size Dutch Oven are you using?

JeanneF125 days ago

Great article and Ive got my starter out ready to try the recipe. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. I'll try to take a pic to post if these turn out.

i love this recipie

i like you work.

Good share:)

great light wieght and effective

Slott2 months ago

Just a quick question. I'm European and not familiar with cups and so on. I do however understand that the 'c' in your recipe refers to cups. What does 't' stand for tho? Also, how much of that 1/4 t of yeast translates in to fresh yeast? I've never been a huge dry yeast fan.. :)

t stands for teaspoon.

T stands for tablespoon.

Mrs.Stash made it!1 month ago



I have made this recipe three times, now, and it works like a charm. Here is my latest loaf for this recipe. I do not use yeast. I cooked this loaf in an ancient Club cast aluminum dutch oven that I bought at the resale store. As you can see, the loaf has nice "ears" and a nice "crumb". I have only one "complaint", each time, I make this, the crust is chewy, crisp, perfection, but I am not fond of the "sponge-y" texture of the inside of the loaf. Does anyone have a suggestion as to how to make the bread "firmer" on the inside? Add vital wheat gluten, perhaps? Any advice is appreciated because I love the ease of this method, and with a "fix" for the texture, I could call this "the perfect loaf".

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I am using starter from King Arthur flour and it tells us to add more flour and water, after starter has been refrigerated, then wait for twelve hours to use it. Do you have to do this or, as it states in your instructions above, just feed it after using some, stick it back in fridge and the it is ready for use, as soon as it comes out of fridge. Hope so as the way the have us do is a real pain :) Thanks.
Is it possible to make only with Wild yeast?
marie.davis.547 made it!2 months ago

Has anyone tried it using 'small loaf pans' to result in sourdough rolls? If so, how did you do it? I'm going to try, but I can't quite figure out how to cover it the first 1/2 of cooking time.

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marie.davis.547 made it!2 months ago

Pictured below is my first loaf of this bread. It was delicious and the one comment I get from everyone is that they like the 'texture'. It's not light and fluffy, but good dense texture.

I've since made 4 more loaves and no matter how hard I try to 'screw it up' (I don't do it on purpose) it still comes out delicious and perfect. I'm telling , anyone can use this recipe and come out with a winner.

One thing I will say, is because of the 'long rising' in the first rise, I usually get the dough started around 6pm. That way when I get up, I can get it ready for the second rising. Just an idea to pass on.

Now if I could just find a decent while bread recipe.

Marie

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johnsonpaul2 months ago

good share

I'm sorry I posted such harsh criticisms of this recipe. I haven't tried it, it may be great. You seem like a really nice person and you've given a lot of pleasure to readers who've had great success with this recipe. Please accept my sincere apology.

sherry.nolte.5 made it!3 months ago

This a beautiful great tasting bread. Very easy to make too. First time I have ever had a sour dough bread turn out so great.

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But the recipe is wildly inaccurate in its description of what yeast is, how it works, what gluten is, how it works . . . this writer has very little understanding of the mechanics of bread development.

GrahamAbbey2 months ago

i want the circuit design

Trocadero99 made it!4 months ago

Turned out beautifully. This half the recipe, but it's still quite large. Very thin, crunchy crust - gorgeous. The very soft inside has a nice crumb, lots of holes, and great flavor. I'm going to play with the rise times next and add some seeds. Thanks for this great recipe!

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Trocadero994 months ago

My second rise is happening right now, and I cannot wait to try it. Quick question: How exactly do you know that the second rise has been long enough? Bubbles that are unbroken? The dough doubled in size? I want to get this right! Thank you!

MathewL made it!4 months ago

I made an account on here just to say how amazing this bread is! I think it was honestly the best bread I have ever tasted, let alone made. Thank you!

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explode974 months ago
really good :)
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KanwarSingh5 months ago

just one word-impressive :)!!!!!!

HarryLaine5 months ago

impressive stuff :)!!!!!!!

indiadumbells5 months ago

love it sour

mgalgoci made it!5 months ago

I followed the recipe for the most part. I used a medium sized turkey pan with lid for baking, which worked out pretty well. I did NOT preheat the pan. I did however spear the pan with nonstick cooking spray (should contain dimethyll-silicone - release agent) and coated the sprayed area with uncooked grits.

The starter I made from wild yeasts. Absolutely NO commercial yeast was used. I basically took a flour/water mix as described in most how-to-make-sourdough-starter articles you will find on the internet. I did however leave it outside on the back porch on a warm night for a few hours, which is my own improvisation. Three days later of feed and care and the starter had attained self awareness. Note that you do not feed the starter sugar except maybe a teaspoon on the first day to get it going. You want your wild yeast culture to be adapted to consuming the starch and gluten present in the flour you will be using - thus, skip the sugar except on the initial start. Given how fast yeast produces you basically have controlled evolution happening in your wild yeast culture. Keep the culture covered and warm. I put a paper towel over my culture container and tied it with a string, keeping it in the garage.

Another tip I have for first time bread makers is to use bread flour. This is a hard lesson learned. All purpose flour is ironically not all purpose and will yield a bread loaf suitable for use as a doorstop. It doesn't matter how much yeast you add or how much sugar - you will end up with a doorstop.

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jorr7 made it!6 months ago

This is a fabulous recipe! My first time making sourdough bread was as huge success! I baked it in a cast iron skillet lined with oats as suggested. I didn't preheat the skillet or put a lid on it. I put a small pot of water into the oven while baking. The bake time is pretty much spot on! Everyone loved it and it was a special treat with Father's Day dinner! Thanks for the great instruction!

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Cynthia B7 months ago

best recipe I've ever tried for Sourdough. made it many times and it consistently turns out delicious!

Stmcgarret7 months ago

I followed the instructions and bread came out very good. I have made with different types of flour but bread flour worked best. Using mostly rye or wheat was too dense but still good none the less. Going to try a different ratio for my next batch.

jbloom27 months ago

My bread turned out better than I expected. It looked and smelled delicious out of the oven. It is really dense and very moist the second day. Nevermorefarm said they added 2.5 cups of flour before the second rise. I must have missed that part. Maybe I needed to add more flour. Should there be that much flour added? Thanks!

robinjohnson9 months ago

Not sure what I did wrong but mine turned out flat and dense and tough. Flavor is good, but the texture and density is all wrong. It never rose into a pretty round loaf while cooking. Question: It was soooo thin when making it that I thought I must have forgotten a cup or two of flour - it was almost pourable! It rose well on the first rise and seemed to rise okay on the 2nd rist (about 4 hours). What did I do wrong?

Fancygrl6810 months ago

I just made BOTH starters (the one with yeast and the one w/o) as an experiment. I'm REALLY excited about this! I Also have an order of grain to ill coming in in the next couple weeks. I guess I'm super into this baking thing. =-D

tkmom6410 months ago

First - let me say that I worship this recipe...have made it several times!

HELP: I started my dough yesterday morning and after digging out from lots of snow I made my husband take me to dinner and completely forgot about my dough until this morning! So...needless to say it was a little flat and thinned out but I don't think it is dead. I added more flour to feed it and thicken it up and had to put it in the refrigerator and head out to work. Anyone think there is a chance of survival and sourdough for dinner? Thoughts on the what to do when I get home....looking at the second rise I guess!

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