Easy Sourdough Bread

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This is the easiest bread I’ve ever made. Hands down. It’s also one of the best breads I’ve ever eaten. Sourdough takes a few tries, but once you’ve figured it out, it’s simply the easiest bread + it saves money. It’s more nutritious for your body because it breaks down parts of the wheat the body has difficulty digesting. It also has a lower glycemic index than regular yeast bread so diabetics can enjoy sourdough with less guilt.

It’s just an all around wonderful bread.

I got the original recipe from my sister-in-law. I’ve tweaked her recipe to our taste, and this recipe is the result.

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You need to know a couple of things before starting:

First, sourdough is not intuitive. You have to work with it.

Second, you may make a couple of bricks along the way. I certainly did. But they’re good tasting bricks!

Third, it’s worth the try. You won’t regret it.

Starter.

Sourdough starter actually deserves a post all of it’s own, but I’ll just give the short version. If you have trouble, just google your sourdough’s ailment. There are support groups (just kidding. . . sort of).

Let’s dive in.

In a large wide-mouthed jar, I use a quart jar, combine ¼ cup flour and ¼ cup of water (bottled, Berkey, or well—no city water because the chemicals will kill the starter). Feed the starter ¼ cup flour and ¼ cup water every 12 hours for two to three days. Don’t worry about  covering the jar. Just let it sit in a warm place.

If all goes well, you should see this.

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Those bubbles are the key to happy sourdough bread.

Once you have bubbles, you can feed the starter once a day (sometimes I skip a day. . . or two). It should revive. You can cover the starter just make sure air can get to it.

Keep feeding your sourdough starter every day. . . or every two days if you’re me, but make sure to discard  half of it every week or so if you aren’t using it consistently.

The loaf.

Now for the easy part. Here’s what you will need:

6 cups unbleached flour (I use 5 cups wheat and 1 cup white King Arthur)
1-1½ Tbsp. Salt
1/3 cup honey
3 cups water
½ cup starter
¼ cup flax seed (optional)
Dutch oven or baking stone

You’ll need “chemical free” water and unbleached flour. Make sure the flour is unbleached since any chemicals will kill your sourdough which will definitely give you a brick. I use King Arthur flour. Their wheat has such a smooth texture and it’s unbleached. I’m slightly addicted.

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Combine your flour, salt, and flax seed together in a mixing bowl.

 

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In another bowl, combine your wet ingredients: honey, water, and starter.

Then pour the wet into the dry. Stir until combined.

Honestly, I separated those steps to get a pretty picture. I don’t usually combine the wet and dry separately. I just mix it all together in one bowl. Do whatever you prefer. Either way, it should turn out like this:

 

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The dough should be only slightly more stiff than your average yeast dough.

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Cover with a damp towel, and leave in a warm place for 18 to 24 hours.

 Once the bread has “proofed” for 18 to 24 hours, preheat your oven to 425 ℉. You should warm the Dutch oven inside for five or ten minutes, but do that only if you want. It’s best to have a warm surface for the dough. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, use a baking stone. The key is to use something that holds heat well.

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Cut the dough in half in the bowl. Scatter a few oats in the bottom of the pan to keep the dough from sticking, and then dump half the dough into the pot. Don’t kneed. It’s unnecessary, and I’ve found that the bread is lighter in texture and has a better crust if it’s left alone. Place the bread in the oven, and let it cook for 10 minutes covered. Then, remove the lid and allow the bread to brown for 15 minutes. Repeat with the other half of the dough if your Dutch oven can’t hold two loafs. If you can cook both loaves together extend both cooking times five minutes (or 35 minutes total).

You may want to use a kitchen thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bread. It should reach between 180-200 ℉ once cooked all the way through.

When you pull these loaves out of the oven, you’ll be amazed. They should have the crunchy exterior and rich center you’ve always wanted but couldn’t achieve with yeast bread. And the recipe is so simple.

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The Short and Skinny.

So here’s the concise version without all my “helpful” tips.

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Ingredients:

6 cups unbleached flour (5 cups wheat; 1 cup white)
1-1½ Tbsp. salt
1/3 cup honey
3 cups water
½ cup starter
¼ cup flax seed (optional)

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover with a wet towel and allow to “proof” for 18 to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat your oven and baking dish to 425 ℉.
  3. Cut your dough in half in the bowl. Pour half of the dough into the warm dish, cover, and bake for 10 minutes (or 15 for two loaves ). Remove the lid and bake for 15 more minutes until browned (or 20 minutes for 2 loaves). That should be 25-35 minutes total for those using a baking stone.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to rest for a few minutes before cutting—that is, if you can wait!

 

One final note: I use a good amount of salt in this recipe. You can cut the salt back all the way to 1 teaspoon. This will increase the “pucker” factor because salt inhibits the sourdough from developing it’s sour flavor. I don’t particularly love sour, sourdough which is why I usually use a tablespoon of salt. Experiment and find out what you and your family enjoy.

 

6 comments

  1. Amy says:

    Just found your website today! I can’t wait to try this bread! My hubby is a huge sourdough fan! Question for ya: I’m intrigued by the veggie chopper/hand blender in your wedding registry post. Do you know the brand? Great website!
    Amy McCraw (we met at co op) :)

  2. admin says:

    Amy, I remember you! Glad your going to try the bread. Let me know how it goes! My husband loves this version.

    My veggie chopper/hand blender is the Calphalon 2-in-1 immersion blender. It’s amazing. I use it more than I ever imagined. I even blend things in it.

  3. Brianna says:

    Love your blog, Greta! <3 A quick note on starter if you or other readers ever find yourself unable to keep up for the regular feeding/bread baking: I have had my starter for over a year. Whenever I am not using it, I keep it nice and cold in the fridge, which stops the growth, but doesn't kill the culture. When I feel like making sourdough, I pull the starter out of the fridge at least 24hrs before hand, poor off some of the liquid, feed it, and put it in a warm place where it has never failed to revive. If it doesn't revive for some reason, then you know that your cultures have died off, and you'll need to start again…but like I've said, I've used the same starter base for over a year now, without having to feed it weekly/make bread every week, and it has a delicious sourdough flavor!

  4. Greta says:

    That’s so helpful, Brianna. I knew you could refrigerate the sourdough. I haven’t had a reason to stick my in the fridge, but I’ll definitely do that someday when we’re on the road or away for too long.

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