Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (2024)

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This is an easy sourdough bread recipe using your natural sourdough starter. This can be baked in a dutch oven or on a sheet pan for equally great results.

The smell of this bread baking will fill your house and give you warm, cozy feelings. Serve it with some good butter or a dipping sauce like garlic butter sauce or herbed olive oil.

Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (1)

Table of Contents

  1. How to make this easy sourdough bread recipe
  2. Do you need to knead the dough
  3. Is it necessary for the bread to rise twice?
  4. Adding salt to yeast bread
  5. Shaping the dough
  6. More Sourdough Recipes
  7. Some other Bread Recipes you might like
  8. Watch our Video

Sourdough bread recipes tend to look intimidating and complicated. If you look at most sourdough bread recipes, they are long and have several steps to them. Additionally, for anyone that is new to baking sourdough, most recipes use unfamiliar terminology.

Truly, you don’t need to know the difference between a poolish, levain, mother, or sponge to make great sourdough bread. And you don’t need to take all the extra steps to be successful.

How to make this easy sourdough bread recipe:

A condensed version of all the steps can be broken down into five basic actions.

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and knead the dough.
  2. Let the dough rise.
  3. Shape the dough.
  4. Let the dough rise a second time.
  5. Bake the loaf of bread.

It is really that easy. The instructions in the recipe card are lengthier in order to give you more success but all you have to do is start. The more you bake bread, the more proficient you will get. You will even find yourself checking out long, complicated recipes. Bread making is an addicting hobby.

Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (2)

Do you need to knead the dough

Kneading dough helps form the gluten and gives the bread strength, structure, and better texture. With most bread recipes, in order to get the gluten to develop completely, you will have to knead the dough for 10 minutes or longer. However, another way that gluten is formed is to allow the enzymes in the flour to break down the proteins and develop the gluten. In other words, letting the dough sit for an extended period of time will naturally “knead” the bread.

Since natural wild yeast works slower than commercial yeast, the longer ferment time will do most of the kneading for you. As a result, this recipe does not require a long knead time. If you find it therapeutic then go ahead and knead the dough. But if you’re anxious to move on to your next chore then you only need to work the dough for a minute.

Is it necessary for the bread to rise twice?

Almost every yeast bread recipe instructs you to let the bread go through two rise sessions. Mix it, knead it and let it rise once. Then knock the air out, shape the loaf and let it rise a second time. If you’re new to bread making, you may want to skip that second rise and bake it right after the first rise.

If you really want to skip the second rise, you can. You will still have a reasonably decent loaf of bread. However, if you want exceptional sourdough bread, then yes, allow the bread to rise a second time. The second rise does all kinds of magic to the bread. It gives it a much nicer texture and allows more flavors to develop, giving it a rich and malty flavor.

Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (3)

Adding salt to yeast bread

If you have ever made yeast bread and forgotten the salt, you will understand when I say it will need to be relegated to the compost bin. Perhaps you could use it to make seasoned croutons. But, honestly, bread made without salt is quite bland and tasteless.

Most yeast bread recipes will instruct you to add the salt just before the second rise. The reason many recipes have you add salt later is that salt will kill the yeast. With that said, this recipe (as with most yeast bread recipes) is only 2 percent salt. Truthfully, that is not enough salt to kill your yeast. So go ahead and add the salt in the beginning. The bread will rise just fine.

Shaping the dough

Since natural sourdough takes longer to rise, it can lose its shape over time. By placing it in a proofing basket or bowl, it will hold its shape and prevent the dough from spreading out and becoming flat. You can also help the dough hold its shape better by creating a tightly formed ball of dough. If you cup your hands around the ball of dough then drag it toward you, the dough will start to tighten. Turn the ball of dough and repeat that step three to four times and you will see that the surface tension improves. Watch our video to see how we shape the bread to increase surface tension.

What to use to hold the shape of the dough

There are several things you can use to hold the shape of your bread while it proofs. If you don’t have a proofing basket, a colander or pyrex bowl works well.

Using a colander

If you use a colander, place a tea towel in it so the dough does not fall through the holes. Flour the towel very well to prevent the dough from sticking to the towel. Plain flour will absorb moisture over time so we recommend using a mixture of rice flour and all-purpose flour. Make a blend with equal amounts of flour for perfect results.

Using a Brotform

If you want to use a bread proofing basket like this Brotform, you will not only end up with a nicely shaped loaf but the basket will leave a lovely impression on the dough. It makes a beautiful loaf of bread. As with the tea towel, you will need to give it a generous dusting of flour. Make a 50/50 blend of rice flour and all-purpose flour. If you only use all-purpose flour to dust the Brotform, the dough will stick to the Brotform when you try to remove it.

Using a mixing bowl

You can even use a mixing bowl to hold the shape of your dough. Just find a bowl the size and shape that you would like your bread to be shaped. It does not need to be an oven-proof bowl because you will not bake the bread in the bowl. Give the bowl a generous spray of oil and plop the dough into the bowl.

Once your bread has risen a second time you will tip it out of the bowl or basket and into a Dutch oven. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can tip it directly onto a baking sheet. You will get a nicer crust if you use a Dutch oven but you will still have great bread if you don’t use one.

More Sourdough Recipes

There are so many wonderful things to do with sourdough discard! Every time you refresh your starter, instead of throwing away the leftover unfed starter, you can put it to use in all kinds of delicious sourdough recipes.

  • Sourdough Ricotta Pancakes
  • Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter Recipe
  • Sourdough Scones (with Discard)
  • Sourdough Stuffing
  • 17 Tantalizing Sourdough Recipes

Some other Bread Recipes you might like:

  • Cracked Wheat Bread
  • Sourdough Ricotta Pancakes
  • Sprouted Rye Bread

Watch our Video:

Check out our video and see how to make this easy sourdough bread recipe:

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John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’.

Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (4)

Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe

Yield: 1 loaf

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Active Time: 45 minutes

Additional Time: 12 hours

Total Time: 12 hours 55 minutes

This is an easy sourdough bread recipe using your natural sourdough starter. This can be baked in a dutch oven or on a sheet pan for equally great results.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (160 grams) sourdough starter
  • 1-1/3 cups (314 grams) lukewarm water
  • 4-1/4 cups (510 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (12 grams) salt

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl and stir until it is a chunky, loosely combined dough.
  2. Dump the dough onto a work surface and knead the dough with your hands until the dough is smooth. (Essentially, you are massaging the dough by stretching and pushing. This will help develop the gluten.) At this stage, it will be wet and sticky. Don’t add more flour or your finished bread will be dense and heavy. The dough will stick to your hands and feel messy but if you get yourhands wet it won't stick as easily.
  3. Place the dough into an oiled bowl. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a towel and let it sit at room temperature for 3 to 6 hours (see notes) or in the refrigerator overnight. (A longer proof time in the fridge will give the bread a more tangy, sourdough flavor.)
  4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knock the air out of it then form it into a round ball. (See notes)
  5. Place the ball of dough into a proofing basket or any container that is the shape that you want your bread to be shaped. (See notes)
  6. Let the dough rise again a second time for 3 to 6 hours** at room temperature until doubled in size. (Or you could let it rise in the fridge overnight for 12 to 15 hours-see notes).
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F. If you want to preheat your Dutch oven, place it in the oven for at least 30 minutes to heat up with the oven. It's an optional step but will give the bread some extra 'spring' (see notes).
  8. When the oven is hot, tip the loaf of bread into a dutch oven or onto a baking sheet. Make a slash in the loaf with a sharp knife. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Notes

  1. The amount of time needed for your bread to rise will vary depending on the temperature and humidity.You can slow the rise by placing it in the refrigerator and speed the rise by placing it in a warm room or a dehydrator. A slower fermentation time will help develop more complex flavors.
  2. You will have more accurate measurements (and better results) if you weigh your ingredients with a scale.
  3. When you knead and shape your dough, try not to add any flour to your countertop. Adding additional flour will create a denser and heavier bread. You can prevent the dough from sticking to your hands by getting your hands wet.
  4. If you use a Brotform proofing basket or a tea towel in a bowl to shape your dough, give the basket or tea towel a very generous dusting of flour. Regular flourwill absorb too much of the moisture and make the dough stick to the brotform. We recommend making a 50/50 blend of rice flour and all-purpose flour to dust your Brotform or tea towel.
  5. A Dutch oven works very nicely to form a crusty bread but if you don't have one you can just bake the bread directly on a baking sheet or even on a hot pizza stone.
  6. If you let the dough ferment in the fridge, you may not see a significant rise. If the dough does not rise enough while in the fridge, let it sit out at room temperature to rise further before placing it in the oven.

Tips for baking in a Dutch Oven:

  • Use parchment paper or spray the Dutch Oven with non-stick spray for easy removal.
  • For an extra burst of steam and a slightly higher rise, preheat the Dutch Oven for 30 minutes before placing the bread inside. Use caution when you transfer the dough to the hot Dutch oven as it is easy to burn yourself.
  • After the bread bakes for 30 minutes, remove the lid from the Dutch Oven and bake it the rest of the way without the lid.
Nutrition Information:

Yield: 30 slicesServing Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 72Total Fat: 0.2gSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 0.5gSugar: 0.1gProtein: 2g

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Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (8)
Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (2024)

FAQs

What is the secret to good sourdough bread? ›

Top 10 Tips & Tricks for Making Sourdough
  • Use your sourdough starter at its peak. ...
  • Moisten the surface of the dough before baking for more rise. ...
  • Handle with care: be gentle with your dough. ...
  • Use sifted flour to make your sourdough less dense. ...
  • Soak your flour beforehand for a lighter loaf. ...
  • Just add water for softer sourdough.

How to make 100% sourdough starter? ›

A 100% hydration sourdough starter is a culture which is kept and fed with water and flour at equal weights. Like for instance 5 oz water to 5 oz flour. A 166% hydration starter is fed with equal volume of flour and water, which most typically is one cup of water (8.3 oz) and one cup of flour (5 oz).

What makes the perfect sourdough? ›

A sourdough loaf made with 500g of good quality bread flour, 50g to 100g of sourdough starter, left to ferment for adequate time, will produce a light, airy loaf with a lacy, open crumb that is not wet or dense in any way.

What is the best ratio of sourdough starter to flour? ›

The most common feeding ratio is 1:1:1 (sourdough starter: flour: water). This is also known as a 100% hydration starter.

What makes sourdough bread more flavorful? ›

Generally a more mature and well established starter will produce a more flavorful, sour loaf. Hydration of the Dough - this affects how long your dough will take to ferment. A slightly lower hydration will take longer to ferment than a higher hydration loaf, leading to a bigger depth of flavor and sourness.

Should you add yeast to sourdough bread? ›

Proper fermentation of bread dough requires robust yeast activity, especially if you want good oven spring and an open crumb. Adding small amounts of instant yeast to a sourdough is an easy and effective way to get there, and a practice any baker might want to add to their bread baking toolkit.

Can you use too much starter in sourdough bread? ›

If you have too much starter compared to the additional flour and water you're adding, your hungry starter consumes all the nutrients and then it's not as bubbly.

Why is sourdough starter so difficult? ›

Essentially making a sourdough starter is not an overly difficult process, but it does require a commitment of time and patience, as well as some dedicated equipment. Sometimes there are factors which mean making sourdough starter could be difficult. Perhaps you're working long hours or go out of town regularly.

What is the minimum amount of sourdough starter to keep? ›

All you need to do is take 20g of the starter you already have and then feed it with 20g of flour and 20g of water (so 1:1:1). Then you'll have a 60g starter, which is considered a smaller amount. You can of course reduce these amounts even further if you wish, but this is a reasonable size to keep waste to a minimum.

How do you make sourdough more fluffy? ›

Reduce the heat to 450 degrees F and bake for 23-25 minutes. Keeping the lid on for the first part of baking allows steam to expand between the gluten fibers to rise the bread and create a fluffy loaf.

What temperature do you bake sourdough bread at? ›

Sourdough bread should be cooked in a Dutch Oven for 45 minutes at 230C or 450F (with the lid off for the last 10 to 15 minutes). You can lower the temperature for the last 10 to 15 minutes of the bake.

Does sourdough need two rises? ›

Final Proofing is the step after final shaping. Final proof is also known as the “second rise” where you let the dough continue to ferment and rise after shaping and before baking. In final proofing, the yeast is past its peak and the rise will tend to be slower and less visible than in bulk fermentation.

Do you have to discard sourdough starter every time you feed it? ›

It would be best if you discarded some portion of your starter each time you feed it unless you want to continue to let it grow. Eventually, you need to discard the used “food” (flour and water) that's been used to sustain your starter during the last fermentation period.

What happens if you add too much flour to sourdough starter? ›

When you overfeed a sourdough starter you dilute the natural population of yeast and bacteria, making your sourdough culture weak and inactive. However, unlike not feeding it at all, your starter will not die from overfeeding. With a little love, your sourdough starter can recover from being overfed.

What flour makes the most sour sourdough starter? ›

Adding whole grain flour: Whole grain flour, particularly whole rye flour (pumpernickel), tends to promote more sour flavor in bread for two reasons. First, the type of sugars available in whole rye (or whole wheat) flour encourage a shift toward acetic acid production.

What is the secret behind the sour of sourdough bread? ›

There are two main acids produced in a sourdough culture: lactic acid and acetic acid. Acetic acid, or vinegar, is the acid that gives sourdough much of its tang. Giving acetic acid-producing organisms optimal conditions to thrive and multiply will produce a more tangy finished product.

How can I make my sourdough rise better? ›

So don't leave your dough in a warm oven, on a radiator or in sunlight. It will likely be too warm and will dry out your dough too. Instead, find a cosy spot, with no drafts, for your dough to rise. And, if your sourdough starter is struggling to get going, consider finding it a warmer spot too.

How do you increase the texture of sourdough bread? ›

Here are some tips to help you make your sourdough bread less dense:
  1. Use a ripe sourdough starter. ...
  2. Knead the dough for the right amount of time. ...
  3. Proof the dough for the correct amount of time. ...
  4. Use the right type of flour. ...
  5. Add the right amount of water. ...
  6. Score the bread properly. ...
  7. Bake the bread at the correct temperature.
Sep 9, 2023

Why do you put baking soda in sourdough bread? ›

Baking soda or bicarbonate of soda can be used in sourdough bread to create a less sour loaf. Added after bulk fermentation, but before shaping, it can help to create a lighter, more fluffy loaf of sourdough.

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