Sourdough Loaf

Classic Sourdough Bread Recipe with Starter

This Classic Sourdough Bread recipe with a starter is a thing of beauty. Tangy and chewy with a crispy crust, sourdough bread is easier than you think to make at home. Make this sourdough bread recipe with your active starter and you’ll have two loaves, one to eat now and one to share or stash in the freezer!

Sourdough Bread at Home

I put off making sourdough bread for a very long time. As a baker, I love a challenge and have dabbled in every baking discipline but sourdough always seemed unapproachable.

But last year, at the start of covid lockdowns and baking sprees around the world, I finally did it. I finally made a starter.

It took a little patience and lots of advise from my baking family – namely the magnificent Sally from thebewitchingkitchen.com and Martin, a sourdough aficionado and baking wizard (I wish he had a website so he could share his knowledge with the world!).

My first loaves were not shaped very well. They were squat and didn’t have that pretty ear on top. They tasted good and my husband and I ate them but I knew I had work to do.

After feeding my starter every day for over a month, it was finally strong enough to really raise a loaf. It’s kind of silly how giddy I got every time I saw the huge bubbles and watched it climbed up the inside of the jar to the top!

I now keep my starter in the fridge because I am confident in how to care for it, keep it alive and use it. That took some experimentation and daily maintenance while I worked up the courage to not keep it under my watchful eye every single day!

Sourdough bread recipe with starter loaf cut down the middle with large holes in the crumb.

What do I bake my sourdough in?

There are different methods for baking your sourdough and I choose to bake mine in a dutch oven. I have found that this gives me the most consistently amazing results, great rise, and crisp crust.

Here is the dutch oven that I use:

I also have a 2-piece cast iron pan that I use for sourdough as well, like this one:

Other recipes to try:

Incredible Pretzel Buns

Easy Focaccia

Cheddar, Garlic & Chive Scones

NOTE: This recipe for Sourdough Bread is listed in the African Recipes because it is believed that Sourdough originated in Eqypt in about 3700 BCE.

Classic Sourdough Bread Recipe with Starter

There is very little hands-on time in this recipe but the entire process takes a couple of days from start to finish. Plan ahead, take your time, and enjoy the process!
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Cook Time 1 hour
Prep and Resting Time 5 hours 20 minutes
Course Bread, Side Dish
Cuisine African
Servings 2 loaves
Calories 2103 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Dutch Oven

Ingredients
 
 

  • 700 grams bread flour
  • 200 grams whole wheat flour
  • 100 grams rye flour
  • 750 grams warm water about 90 degrees F
  • 200 grams active well-fed sourdough starter
  • 20 grams salt
  • Mixture to dust baskets of 50/50 Rice flour and Bread flour**

Instructions
 

  • **You will need 200 grams of active sourdough starter for this recipe. That means a starter that it is at its peak or close to it. If you don’t have that much starter, no worries! It will just take a couple of feedings to get it there! In the morning, about 3 days before you plan to bake your sourdough, take 20 grams of your sourdough starter (make sure you keep some aside for the future!) and feed it 100 grams of water and 100 grams of flour. (I use distilled water and a mix of 80 grams bread flour/20 grams rye flour.) Cover loosely and let sit at room temperature for about 8 to 12 hours, until it peaks and just begins to fall. Repeat the feeding a second time, allowing it to sit at room temperature overnight. About 8 to 12 hours later (the next morning) it will be near its peak and ready to use. You should have about 200 grams at this point.**
  • Make the autolyze: In a large bowl, mix together the bread flour, whole wheat flour, and rye flour. Pour in 750 grams of warm water (about 90 degrees F). Mix together well with your hands or with a Danish dough whisk. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to three hours – this step completely depends on your schedule.
  • Combine the autolyze and 200 grams of active starter. I use a pinching motion with my hand shaped like a ‘lobster claw’ to incorporate the starter into the autolyze.
  • Sprinkle the salt on top of the dough and add 20 grams of water to help the salt mix in. Use the ‘lobster claw’ motion again. Cover and allow to sit for about 15 minutes to relax.
  • Stretch and fold the dough by grabbing one edge, pulling up as far as you can, and folding it over. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat. Continue stretching and folding for 8 to 10 minutes. (You can do this part in a stand mixer if you prefer on low speed for about 5 minutes.) Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour.
  • Perform one set of stretch and folds, cover, allow to sit for 45 minutes. Do this four times. After the last resting period, the dough should look pillowy and strong.
  • Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide it in half. Shape both into balls, cover, and rest for 20 minutes.
  • Dust 2 bannetons with rice flour/white flour mixture. If you don’t have bannetons, you can use a bowl that is lined with a dish towel that is well floured.
  • Shape the dough again by stretching to a square. Pull the sides into the center to create a tight surface across the bottom. Turn the dough over so that the seems side is down. Drag across the countertop while turning to make a tight ball with tension across the top. Carefully lift up and place in the bannetons or the bowls with the seam side up.
  • Cover and proof at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough springs back when poked. Cover airtight and place in the refrigerator overnight, up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 500F with a Dutch oven inside. Take one loaf out of the refrigerator and turn it out onto a piece of parchment paper. Dust the top with flour lightly. Slash with a lame or razor blade.
  • Lift the loaf with the parchment paper and place it into the hot dutch oven. Put the lid on and bake at 500F for 25 minutes.
  • Reduce the temperature to 450 F and remove the lid from the Dutch oven. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until deep brown.
  • Remove from the oven, lift from the dutch oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before cutting. Reheat the oven to 500 F and repeat with the second loaf.

Notes

**You can use all purpose flour alone, or bread flour alone if you don’t have rice flour. Just make sure to dust your baskets very well!
Store your sourdough loaf in a linen bread bag for maximum freshness. To store longer, wrap well in foil and freeze for up to 2 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 2103kcalCarbohydrates: 405gProtein: 101gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 3937mgPotassium: 1856mgFiber: 52gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 16IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 131mgIron: 10mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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