Picture of Sourdough Bread
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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i love this recipie

i like you work.

Good share:)

great light wieght and effective

Slott1 month 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!18 days 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".

MarianaG122 days 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?

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!1 month 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.

marie.davis.547 made it!1 month 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.


johnsonpaul1 month 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!2 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.


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.

GrahamAbbey1 month ago

i want the circuit design

Trocadero99 made it!3 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!

bread copy.jpg
Trocadero993 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!3 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!

explode973 months ago
really good :)
KanwarSingh4 months ago

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

HarryLaine4 months ago

impressive stuff :)!!!!!!!

indiadumbells4 months ago

love it sour

mgalgoci made it!4 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.

jorr7 made it!5 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!

Cynthia B6 months ago

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

Stmcgarret6 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.

jbloom26 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!

robinjohnson8 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?

Fancygrl689 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

tkmom649 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!

afitzgerald510 months ago
Love this recipe. Would love a version of this with just the recipe now that I've got this down and don't need the details.
kayo3911 months ago
Thank you so much! I was having such a hard time getting sourdough bread that worked. I even purchased some starter from Nichol's Gardens in Oregon thinking it must be my starter. But still, using other recipes my bread was coming out doughy and heavy. Its the 15 hour rise. Really makes a difference. Our house is cool in the winter too, but it rose just fine. I split the dough in two though after the first rise because I don't have a pot that big. But I have two old Magnalite Dutch ovens with lids and those worked fine. I would like to try this on my pizza stone though as a batarde, maybe putting my long roasting pan lid over it will work. Does it work to have a cake pan of boiling water on the bottom rack and skip the lid idea?
Does the recipe have to be this big? Can make halve the recipe?
amickelson11 months ago
This has been my favorite recipe - amazing sourdough flavor. I've proofed it warm/fast, as well as the recommended 15 hours... Way better flavor as mentioned before to proof cooler and slow. In the previous attempts, mine didn't do well when I transferred to the preheated pan (deflated) so this time I just did the second rise in a greased Calphalon pan with cornmeal on the bottom. After the rise, I preheated the oven and covered it, stuck the whole pan in.... The bread and crust came out crunchy and perfect! One day I'll perfect the turn...Maybe once I get a pan that's the right size!
Jezirabid1 year ago
Just came across this recipe the other day, as I was making my first batch of sourdough starter... the oven's heating, and I'll let ya know what I think when it's done!
One more thing....this is a lot of bread to eat in one day. Around 24 hours out of the oven, I slice the remainder of the loaf and place the slices into a ziploc bag, then into the refrigerator or freezer. This preserves the bread, and I make toast out of the slices before waste for those times you don't give half of it away!
I've made this recipe at least a dozen times now, and am completely in love with it...but I've worked a few tweaks that (for me) save time and hassle. A cast iron dutch oven works great but is very heavy for me to manipulate. A clay lidded oven (vintage Oven Brique)I found in a thrift store gives 95% as good results and is a fraction of the weight...just soak it as directed in water, then place it in a cold oven to preheat. I own a Kitchen Aid. This mixer can be used to make the initial dough with the beater blade and the pour shield (keeps the flour from launching out). For the first rising, I use a ceramic bowl covered with saran wrap. If you oil the saran wrap, no dough will stick to it, saving hassle. After the first rising, I transfer the dough back into the Kitchen Aid bowl, again fitted with the beater blade. It basically takes almost exactly three cups more of flour to get the dough to the proper consistency before the second adding a quarter cup at a time, the Kitchen Aid does all the work (Yes it's not purist, but I have bad wrists and this is a lifesaver for me). Obviously you have to use "feel" to determine how much flour to add based on ambient humidity, but 2.5 cups is going to be an almost guaranteed minimum. Don't use a credit card to scrape the dough from the ceramic bowl; just clean it up immediately with hot water. An ordinary silicone spatula will scrape all the dough out of the bowl. Once clean, oil it lightly with olive oil for the second rising. The before the second rising, regarding the last three cups of flour, substitutions can be made...I add in one cup of stone milled spelt flour and one cup of rye flour in place of bread flour at this point, which gives the loaf great flavor complexity while still retaining incredible texture. I don't have a proofing setting on my oven. On warm days I place the bowl covered with saran wrap and clean towels in a sunny location outside. On cold days I place a heating pad in my oven set on "high" which lets the oven be a great location for rising the dough.
I am a farmer who raises heritage grains. Today I'll be trying to make this recipe with 100% Sonora wheat flour that I milled yesterday....can't wait to taste that loaf!
sealtrain1 year ago
Great recipe well worth the wait!!!
cquintana21 year ago
By "t" is teaspoon or tablespoon meant?
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