Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe for Beginners (2024)

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It's easier than you think to make this easy sourdough bread recipe for beginners! It's long-fermented, crispy crust on the outside, soft & chewy inside, and oh so good!

Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe for Beginners (1)

Sourdough Bread Recipe for Beginners

This sourdough bread recipe is a bit different because it uses 2 cups of starter... Most recipes only call for ½ a cup. The extra sourdough starter helps this bread to rise faster and bulk ferment faster, so you can actually make it in one day, if you want!

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  • Sourdough Bread Recipe for Beginners
  • Ingredients
  • Instructions
  • Basic Tools
  • Recipe Card
  • Easy Sourdough Bread for Beginners
  • FAQ's

Ingredients

4 Basic Sourdough Bread Recipe Ingredients:

  • sourdough starter This takes the place of commercial yeast in common bread. (100% hydration means your sourdough starter is made from half water and half flour in equal parts;)
  • sifted all-purpose flour (You can also use whole grain flours! I do not use bread flour)
  • warm water (cold water will make dough take longer to rise.)
  • salt

What is Sourdough

Sourdough is a type of bread made from the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast. It's known for its distinct tangy flavor and chewy crust.

Making sourdough involves creating a starter culture, which is a mixture of flour and water that captures wild yeast from the air around our environment.

Sourdough Starter

Homemade sourdough starter is a natural yeast, made from collecting wild yeasts from grains and in the air, that collect and grow in a mixture of flour and water. These wild yeasts make the dough rise as they ferment it!

This sourdough starter is allowed to ferment for several days to develop the wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria, which give sourdough its unique flavor and leavening ability in breads.

The active starter is nice and bubbly, and that's the way you want it for use in this recipe.

If you are interested in making your own homemade starter, I share with you how to make sourdough starter from scratch!

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How to Use Sourdough Starter

For this recipe:

Take the Starter out of the Fridge: If your sourdough starter has been refrigerated, take it out and let it come to room temperature for a few hours. It's best to use a well-fed and active starter for baking.

Measure the Amount Needed: The amount of starter you need is 2 cups of sourdough starter, or 400 grams, for this recipe. You can use a kitchen scale to measure by weight, which is more accurate, or use measuring cups. I use 1 cup all purpose flour (155 grams) and 1 cup (222 grams) filtered water for this recipe.

Feed the Starter: Before using the starter, it's a good practice to feed it to ensure it's active and strong. Add equal parts of water and flour to your starter. For example, if you have ½ cup (120 ml) of starter, add ¼ cup (60 ml) of water and ¼ cup (30 grams) of flour. Mix well and leave it at room temperature for a few hours until it's bubbly.

Incorporate into Your Recipe: Once your starter is active, you can incorporate it into your sourdough recipe. Follow the steps in this sourdough recipe for mixing, bulk fermentation, shaping, proofing, and baking.

Maintain Your Starter: After using the portion of starter for your bread, don't forget to feed and maintain the remaining starter. If you're not baking frequently, you can return it to the refrigerator and feed it regularly (weekly or bi-weekly) to keep it active;)

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Instructions

In a large mixing bowl (not metal) add 2 cups of 100% hydration active sourdough starter. (For active sourdough starter, feed it and keep it out of the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight.)

Add 3 cups of sifted flour.

(Sift or fluff your flour before measuring so it isn't too compact in the measuring cup.)

Add 1 cup of warm water

Add 1.5 teaspoons salt. (I use the Himalayan Pink Salt, use your favorite!)

Use a large spoon to mix the ingredients together. It will be wet, biscuit-like dough.

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Stretch & Fold Sourdough Bread Method

Cover with a clean damp kitchen towel, and let the dough rest in a warm place for 2 hours. (Or in a warm oven for about 1 hour)

First time stretch and fold: Uncover the dough, with wet hands pick up one side of the dough and fold it in half, over on top of the other side of the dough. Repeat 4 times by stretching and folding over all four sides of the dough. (The dough does not stick to wet hands as badly as dry hands.)

Cover with a clean towel (or plastic wrap), and let the dough rise till doubled again.

Second time stretch & fold: Uncover the dough, wet your hands, then pick up one side of the dough and fold it in half, over on top of the other side of the dough. Repeat 4 times by stretching and folding over all four sides of the dough. The dough is becoming more bread-like now!

Cover with a clean towel, and let rise till doubled again.

Next step, is the 3rd stretch and fold: Uncover the dough, wet your hands, then pick up one side of the dough and fold it in half, over on top of the other side of the dough. Repeat 4 times by stretching and folding over all four sides of the dough. The dough is even more bread-like now!

Cover with a clean towel, and let rise till doubled again.

4th stretch and fold: Uncover the dough, wet your hands, then pick up one side of the dough and fold it in half, over on top of the other side of the dough. Repeat 4 times by stretching and folding over all four sides of the dough. The dough is even more bread-like now!

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Shape your dough into a round loaf.

Dust a towel, or proofing basket, generously with flour and put it into a large round bowl to rise one last time.

Turn bread dough out onto a lightly floured work surface,

Final Shape- Shape dough into a round loaf by pushing it back and forth to build surface tension on your loaf.

Using a bench scraper, Place the dough ball into the floured towel in the large bowl, or into a floured banneton basket.

Dust the top of dough ball generously with flour.

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Cover with a towel by folding over the ends (or use another clean towel.)

Place the bowl into the refrigerator to chill and rise overnight, as bulk fermentation and final rise. (Now you can rest and pick up where you left of the next day!)

Day 2 - Baking Sourdough Bread

The next morning, when you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. and place your dutch oven into the oven to preheat too.

Cut a 2-foot section of parchment and place it on your counter.

Gently dump your chilled bread dough ball onto a large piece of parchment paper.

Lightly dust the top with flour, and spread it evenly over top with your hand, being careful not to push the dough down.

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Scoring Sourdough Bread

Using a very sharp knife or razor blade, score a design into the top of your dough.

Score the top of the dough with your razor blade. Make your own design or use mine. This gives the loaf a constructive place to rise without bursting open during the baking process.

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Remove your hot dutch oven from your preheated hot oven.

Lift your dough loaf into the dutch oven by the ends of the parchment paper. (It's ok for parchment paper to hang over the sides of the dutch oven, it won't burn.)

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Place the lid on your dutch oven.

Use hot pads or towels to put the hot dutch oven back into the preheated oven at 400 degrees.

Bake covered for 25 minutes.

Then, Remove the dutch oven lid.

Bake for 25 more minutes! Your loaf should be nice and golden brown on top by now!

Remove and place on a safe surface. (I like to use a cutting board or my stove top.)

Place your sourdough bread on a cooling rack and cool completely to see all the beautiful air holes!If you cut into your loaf of bread right away the bread will be too soft to hold its form with all the beautiful air holes. It will taste amazing but doesn't look quite as wonderful. Enjoy!

Basic Tools

These tools make making sourdough bread easier and can help it to turn out fluffier and prettier. But you can most definitely make sourdough bread without some of them! Here are the tools I use:

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • A Bench Scraper - to keep sticky dough off the counter and in your loaf.
  • Dutch Oven - For best results use a dutch oven with a lid. (Dutch ovens with lids hold in moisture while cooking bread causing the bread to rise more, or spring, better than cooking on a baking sheet or pan.)
  • Parchment Paper - This is a luxury, not a necessity but I really love using it!
  • Proofing Basket or Banneton - These baskets give your loaf those pretty circle designs around the loaf as it shapes into the basket over night.
  • Tea Towel to Cover the rising dough with.
  • A Wooden Spoon
  • You can use a stand mixer with a dough hook, but I just use my hands for this.
  • Razor or very sharp thin knife for scoring.
  • Many sourdough bread recipes require you to use a kitchen scale, I do not ever use one, and it turns out great every time.
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Dough Temperature

The speed at which sourdough dough rises depends on its temperature or the temperature of your kitchen for rising. For best results your sourdough ferments between the temperatures of80–90°F (27–32°C). That temperature is optimal for the home bakers sourdough to rise. However, you can also get a faster rise with warmer temperatures, and of course, a slower rise in the fridge overnight with cooler temps.

My pilot light keeps my oven at 93 degrees all the time. At 93 degrees F, I can rise my sourdough dough in 1.5 hours to double. Then I stretch and fold, cover, and repeat the process 4 times before doing the final shape and refrigerating overnight.

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RISING TIME – ROOM TEMPERATURE

The room temperature of your kitchen, or your rising space, makes all the difference in how long it takes to proof sourdough bread dough! In a cold kitchen (or rising spot) your dough will take all day to proof. I let my dough rise in a warm oven.

My oven has a pilot light which keeps it nice and warm, but not hot, at 93 degrees F. If you do not have a pilot light, preheat your oven to 180 degrees for about 5 minutes then turn it off. A great way to test the temperature of your oven is with an instant-read meat thermometer.

How to Store Leftovers

If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, place your homemade bread into an air-tight container or zip-lock bag, and store it on the counter for up to 4 days. If you store in the fridge the bread will get firmer, and not be as soft, but it softens up right away if you reheat it! (I think the best way to reheat sourdough bread is to pan-toast it with butter for breakfast!)

Leftover sourdough bread is also great to make croutons, the best french toast, bread pudding, or hot and cold and sandwiches!

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TIPS

  • Good-quality flour and filtered water are essential for a flavorful and successful sourdough bread. Whole-grain flours can add depth to the flavor.
  • Your sourdough starter should be active and bubbly before using it in the recipe. Regularly feed and maintain it.
  • Fermentation is temperature-sensitive. If your kitchen is cold, consider placing the dough in a slightly warmer environment, like a turned-off oven with the light on, to facilitate the fermentation process.
  • Baking is a science, so ensure you measure your ingredients accurately, especially the flour and water.
  • Autolyse: Allow your flour and water to hydrate together for 30 minutes to an hour before adding the starter and salt. This helps improve the dough's extensibility & structure.
  • Longer fermentation times at lower temperatures (bulk fermentation) help develop a more complex flavor. Be patient and let the dough ferment at room temperature or in the fridge for the suggested time.
  • During bulk fermentation, use the stretch and fold technique (gently stretching and folding the dough over itself) every 30-60 minutes for the first 2 hours. This enhances gluten development.
  • Use a well-floured banneton or a cloth-lined bowl for the final proofing. It prevents sticking and shapes the dough beautifully.
  • Preheat your oven and baking vessel (Dutch oven or combo cooker) for at least 30 minutes before baking to ensure a hot baking environment.
  • For a crispy crust, create steam in the oven during the first part of baking. You can achieve this by placing a preheated oven-safe dish with water on the bottom rack or using ice cubes.
  • Allow the bread to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Cutting into the bread while it's still warm can result in a gummy texture.
  • Don't be discouraged if your first attempt isn't perfect. Sourdough bread-making is a skill that improves with practice.

Recipe Card

If you try this recipe and love it, I’d love if you give it 5 stars and let me know how it turned out in the comments or review!Tag me on Instagram@farmhouse_harvestwith your delicious creation!

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Easy Sourdough Bread for Beginners

Yield: 12

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Additional Time: 1 day

Total Time: 1 day 55 minutes

It’s easier than you think… Learn how to make easy sourdough bread recipe for beginners with this simple old-fashioned recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups 100% hydration sourdough starter (made from equal parts flour and water) (or 552 grams)
  • 3 cups sifted all purpose flour (or 360 grams)
  • 1 cup warm water (or 240 grams)
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt (or 8.535 grams)

Instructions

  1. Gather Ingredients
  2. In a large mixing bowl (not metal) add 2 cups 100% hydration activesourdough starter. (For activesourdough starter, feed it and keep it OUT of the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight.)
  3. Add 3 cups sifted flour. (Sift or fluff your flour before measuring so it isn’t too compact in the measuring cup.)
  4. Add 1 cup warm water
  5. Add 1.5 teaspoons salt. (I use the Himalayan Pink Salt, use your favorite!)
  6. Use a large spoon to mix ingredients together. It will be wet, biscuit-like dough.
  7. Cover with a clean towel, and let it rest for 2 hours.
  8. 1st stretch and fold: Uncover dough, wet your hands then pick up one side of the dough and fold it in half, over on top of the other side of the dough. Repeat 4 times by stretching and folding over all four sides of the dough.
  9. Cover with a clean towel, and let rise till doubled again.
  10. 2ne stretch & fold: Uncover dough, wet your hands, then pick up one side of the dough and fold it in half, over on top of the other side of the dough. Repeat 4 times by stretching and folding over all four sides of the dough. The dough is becoming more bread-like now!
  11. Cover with a clean towel, and let rise till doubled again.
  12. 3rd stretch and fold: Uncover dough, wet your hands, then pick up one side of the dough and fold it in half, over on top of the other side of the dough. Repeat 4 times by stretching and folding over all four sides of the dough. The dough is even more bread-like now!
  13. Cover with a clean towel, and let rise till doubled again.
  14. 4th stretch and fold: Uncover dough, wet your hands, then pick up one side of the dough and fold it in half, over on top of the other side of the dough. Repeat 4 times by stretching and folding over all four sides of the dough. The dough is even more bread-like now!
  15. SHAPE YOUR DOUGH INTO A ROUND LOAF.
  16. Dust a towel, or proofing basket, generously with flour and put it into a large round bowl to rise one last time.
  17. Place dough ball into the floured towel in the large bowl.
  18. Dust top of dough ball generously with flour.
  19. Cover with a towel by folding over the ends (or use another clean towel.
  20. Place the bowl into the refrigerator to chill and rise overnight.
  21. The next day, when you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. and place your dutch oven into the oven to preheat too.
  22. Cut a 2-foot section of parchment and place it on your counter.
  23. Gently dump your chilled dough ball onto the parchment paper.
  24. Lightly dust the top with flour, and spread it evenly over top with your hand, being careful not to push the dough down.
  25. USING A VERY SHARP KNIFE OR RAZOR, SCORE A DESIGN INTO THE TOP OF YOUR DOUGH.
  26. Remove your hot dutch oven from your preheated oven.
  27. Lift your dough loaf into the dutch oven by the ends of the parchment paper. (It’s ok for parchment paper to hang over the sides of the dutch oven.)
  28. Place the lid on your dutch oven.
  29. Use hot pads or towels to put the hot dutch oven back into the preheated oven at 400 degrees.
  30. Bake covered for 25 minutes.
  31. Remove the dutch oven lid.
  32. Bake for 25 more minutes!
  33. Let cool and enjoy!
Nutrition Information

Yield 10Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 223Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 320mgCarbohydrates 47gFiber 3gSugar 0gProtein 7g

Did you make this recipe?

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Let me know what you think!

Share your cooking tips and feedback in the comments below.

Did you add any twists to these recipes? I'd love to hear!

Variations

You can make several variations of this sourdough recipe with different kinds of flour like whole wheat flour, all-purpose Einkorn flour, spelt flour, rice flour in combination with gluten-free flours, organic flour, and other kinds of whole grain flour.

Adjust the amount of flour that you use if changing from all-purpose, especially if you are using fresh ground grains.

Try this recipe for Jalapeno Cheddar Sourdough bread!

You can also add ½ cup of cocoa to your dough before mixing for a chocolate sourdough loaf.

This sourdough bread can also be cooked a regular bread pan for sandwich bread.

More Sourdough Recipes

  • Enriched sourdough for Soft Sourdough Rolls. Easy pull apart dinner roll recipe.
  • Sweet soft sourdough cinnamon rolls!
  • Sourdough Bread for Beginners…A basic sourdough bread recipe for simple no knead sourdough artisan bread.
  • Sourdough cheddar biscuits. – Quick recipe for a last-minute side dish that everyone loves!
  • Sourdough Pumpkin Bread– Perfectly spiced pumpkin bread with all the benefits of sourdough. A great snack or breakfast!
  • Sourdough English Muffins– Super simple English muffin recipe for egg sandwiches for toast!
  • Sourdough Streusel Pumpkin Coffeecake– A treat for your morning!
  • My favoritesourdough carrot cake… A moist rich carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I love making this for Easter!
  • Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread

FAQ's

What is the secret to sourdough bread?


Quality Sourdough Starter: A healthy and active sourdough starter is crucial. Take the time to create a strong starter, and maintain it with regular feedings. This ensures a reliable source of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria for fermentation.
Good Flour: High-quality flour, especially bread flour or a mixture of bread flour and whole wheat flour, can make a significant difference in the texture and taste of your bread.
Accurate Measurements: Use a digital kitchen scale to measure ingredients accurately. Consistency in measurements is key for reliable results.
Hydration: The amount of water in your recipe, or the dough's hydration level, affects the final texture of your bread. Experiment with hydration levels to find the right balance for your preferences.
Temperature Control: Pay attention to temperature. Warmer temperatures can speed up fermentation, while cooler temperatures slow it down. Adjusting the temperature can help control the sourness and fermentation speed.
Autolyse: Incorporate an autolyse period, where you allow the flour and water to rest together before adding the starter. This helps with gluten development and flavor.
Folding and Shaping: Instead of heavy kneading, use gentle folding techniques during bulk fermentation and shaping. Proper shaping is essential to create good structure and a well-formed loaf.
Proper Proofing: Ensure your dough is properly proofed to avoid overproofing or underproofing, both of which can lead to issues in the final bread.
Steam in the Oven: Using a Dutch oven or a method to generate steam in your oven helps create a beautiful, crispy crust.

What is the ideal flour for sourdough starter?

The ideal flour for a sourdough starter is whole grain or whole wheat flour because it contains more nutrients and microorganisms that kickstart the fermentation process. These flours have a higher content of natural yeast and bacteria compared to refined flours. The outer layers of the grain, where most of the nutrients are found, provide a better environment for the growth of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria.
Using whole wheat flour initially can help establish a robust starter more quickly. Once your starter is active and stable, you can experiment with different flours based on your preferences.

What should I start my sourdough starter in?

Choose a non-reactive container such as a glass jar or a plastic container. Avoid metal containers, as some metals can react with the acidic nature of the sourdough and affect the fermentation process.

Can I use sourdough starter straight from fridge?


Yes, there are plenty of recipes where you can use sourdough starter straight from the fridge, called discard. However, there are a few steps you might want to consider for optimal results:
Bring to Room Temperature: If your sourdough starter has been refrigerated, it's a good idea to let it come to room temperature before using it. This can take a few hours. Using a cold starter directly in your dough can slow down the fermentation process, and it may take longer for your bread to rise.
Refresh the Starter: Before using the starter, you might want to feed it with a mixture of flour and water. This refreshes the yeast and bacteria in the starter, ensuring that they are active and ready to leaven your bread. You can do this by discarding a portion of the starter (about half) and then adding equal parts flour and water by weight. Allow the refreshed starter to sit at room temperature for a few hours or until it becomes bubbly and active.
Use the Right Amount: Depending on your recipe, be sure to use the appropriate amount of sourdough starter. Some recipes call for a certain volume or weight of starter, so measure accordingly.

Why Sourdough Bread?

Nutritional Benefits: A publication in "Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety" (2018) It mentions the potential health advantages of sourdough, including improved mineral bioavailability and reduced glycemic index.

Phytic Acid

Sourdough Fermentation in Reduces Phytic Acid and Enhancing Grain Digestibility!

Phytic acid, or inositol hexaphosphate or phytate, is an antinutrient present in grains, legumes, and seeds. It serves as an energy storage molecule for plants, but it hinders the absorption of essential minerals like iron, calcium, and zinc in the human digestive system.

The process of sourdough fermentation significantly mitigates negative effects of phytic acid, making grains more digestible and nutrient-rich!

Sourdough Fermentation Reduces Phytic Acid

Phytase Enzyme Activation: Grains and flours used in sourdough starters contain phytase, an enzyme that breaks down phytic acid. During the fermentation process, lactic acid bacteria in sourdough starter create an acidic environment. This acidity activates the phytase enzyme, which then degrades phytic acid. The longer it ferments or rises the less phytic acid.

Acidity generated during fermentation contributes to acid hydrolysis. This process further breaks down phytic acid into inositol and phosphorous, which are more readily absorbed by the human body.

As phytic acid is broken down, the minerals it once chelated become more available for absorption in the intestines. This means that the iron, calcium, and zinc in grains become more bioavailable, supporting better nutrient absorption.

Research

A study published in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" in 2011, titled "Effects of Dough Leavening and Baking Conditions on Phytate Degradation and Inositol Phosphate Profile in Whole Wheat Bread," showed that sourdough fermentation significantly reduced phytic acid levels in whole wheat bread, resulting in improved mineral bioavailability. source source

The "Journal of Food Science" published research in 2015 titled "Phytase Activity in Sourdough Lactic Acid Bacteria: Purification and Characterization of a Phytase from Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis CB1," which examined the phytase activity of lactic acid bacteria in sourdough cultures. The study emphasized the role of phytase in phytic acid breakdown during fermentation. source, source

Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe for Beginners (2024)

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