How to Make Sourdough Bread

Making sourdough bread from scratch doesn't have to be a scary task you leave to the pros! We'll teach you everything you need to know about how to make sourdough bread at home.

Slow-Cooked Sourdough Peasant Bread

Sure, making the perfect loaf of sourdough bread is the challenge to top all challenges and takes real commitment -- but it's also something that's completely achievable. Here's everything you need to know about how to make sourdough bread at home.

How to Make Sourdough Starter

In mixing bowl dissolve 1 package active dry yeast in 1/2 cup warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F). Stir in 2 cups warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F), 2 cups all-purpose flour, and 1 tablespoon sugar or honey. Beat until smooth. Cover with 100 percent cotton cheesecloth. Let stand in at room temperature (75 degrees F to 85 degrees F) for 5 to 10 days or until mixture has a fermented aroma and vigorous bubbling stops, stirring 2 or 3 times a day. (Fermentation time depends on room temperature; a warmer room will hasten the fermentation process.)

By feeding your sourdough starter regularly, you can keep it on hand indefinitely to add tang to your baked favorites. If you do not use your sourdough starter for a period of 10 days, stir in 1 teaspoon brown sugar. Add more brown sugar every 10 days until you use the starter.

You may notice that your starter becomes thicker over time. You will not need to adjust your recipes to compensate for the extra thickness; however, you may find yourself needing the lesser amount of flour when a range is given in yeast bread recipes.

 

How to Make Traditional Sourdough Bread

Kneading dough

Measure Sourdough Starter; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Combine 2-1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside. Heat and stir water, sugar, butter, and salt just until warm (120 degree F to 130 degree F) and butter almost melts. Add water mixture to dry mixture. Add Sourdough Starter. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.

Combine 2-1/2 cups of the remaining flour and the baking soda. Add to yeast mixture. Stir until combined. Stir in as much remaining flour as you can.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in size (for 45 to 60 minutes).

Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Lightly grease baking sheet.

Shape by gently pulling each portion into a ball, tucking edges beneath. Place on prepared baking sheet. Flatten each ball slightly to 6 inches in diameter. Using a sharp knife, make crisscross slashes across tops of loaves. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (about 30 minutes).

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when you tap the top. (If necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning.) Immediately remove bread from baking sheet and cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves (24 to 36 servings).

How to Make Sourdough Bread Without a Starter

You'll need:

6-3/4 to 7-1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 package active dry yeast 1-1/2 cups water 3 tablespoons sugar 3 tablspoons vegetable oil 2 teaspoons salt 1 6-ounce carton (2/3 cup) plain yogurt 2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2-1/2 cups of the flour and the package of yeast; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir the water, sugar, oil, and salt until warm (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F). Add water mixture to flour mixture along with the yogurt and lemon juice. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough tha tis smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (45 to 60 minutes).

Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes. Divide in half. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a baking sheet.

Shape each dough half by gently pulling it into a ball, tucking edges underneath. Place dough rounds on prepared baking sheet. Flatten each round slightly to about 6 inches in diameter. Using a sharp knife, lightly score loaf tops in a crisscross pattern. Cover; let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (about 30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when lightly tapped. (An instant-read thermometer should register at least 200 degrees F when inserted into centers of loaves.) (If necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning.) Immediately remove bread from baking sheets. Cool on wire racks.

More Easy Ways to Bake Bread

Artisan Bread

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