This is the bread that disappears in about 30 minutes every time I make it. In fact, I have made this easy sourdough recipe so many times, I have the easy sourdough bread recipe memorized. Today, I tweaked the recipe to perfect it and it’s the best loaf I’ve ever made!
EVERYONE loves this bread. It’s above average and the recipe is so easy and straightforward, you will be able to bake a sourdough loaf that your family loves.
I have hesitated for almost three years to bring you this easy sourdough bread recipe. I wanted to make sure I baked enough loaves to have a consistent outcome, because I am not a sourdough expert.
Most of the sourdough recipes I have made here have come from my favorite sourdough book. This recipe is an adaptation of one of the recipes I’ve used most often.
I decided that I would share it, because this is for the everyday person who hasn’t devoted a lot of time to baking sourdough and might be a bit intimidated.
There is nothing like sourdough bread out of your own oven. The outside is crispy, crunchy and chewy and the tang of a fermented loaf promises a satisfaction that is hard to beat.
This loaf, while delicious, had sporadic holes, which led me to add more water and change the flour. The point is that I’ve never made a bad sourdough loaf, but some were better than others.
What is Sourdough Bread?
In basic terms, it’s made with flour and water and leavened with a sourdough starter (fermented mix of flour, water, wild yeast), not using commercially sold yeast. It has a delicious aroma and tang due to the fermentation.
In complex terms, there are hundreds maybe thousands of ways to combine flour, water, starter, salt to get to a loaf of bread and there are volumes written about it.
There are so many opinions on water to flour ratio, temperature of water, temperature of room, how long to bulk rise, final rise, refrigerate, etc. and how to handle the dough. I have seen spread sheets on making sourdough that take a genius to decipher.
This is why I’m sharing this. If you’re new to sourdough, this is a great place to start.
This is a high hydration recipe, meaning a more water in the recipe. High hydration results in bigger holes and we want bigger holes (a more open crumb) in our sourdough. I used to follow the book’s exact high hydration recipe, but I wasn’t getting the bread I wanted. It was a very good loaf of bread, but didn’t have the exact interior I was looking for.
While the loaf on the left is good, the loaf on the right is bigger and turned out better, as I made a few changes that I’m sharing here in the recipe. The loaf on left was over-proofed; the loaf on right perfectly proofed. See below to know how to test.
Tips on Proofing Sourdough
There is a window for perfectly proofed sourdough, but the timeline on this recipe will help you reach that without too much fretting. I have never had a proofing issue with this recipe.
- Perfect Proof Time: Press finger lightly into dough and if it slowly springs back, it’s ready to bake. Don’t wait.
- Under-Proofed: The dough springs back too fast and disappears. Continue proofing, while heating oven 30 mins. Check in 30 minutes.
- Over-Proofed: The dough doesn’t spring back at all. You missed the baking point. Do not slash. Bake right away. Your bread will not rise as much, but will still taste good.
What Constitutes a Perfect Sourdough Bread Recipe?
- Good Spring – The bread rises up in the oven, is not dense.
- Tangy, fermented, put pleasant taste and flavor.
- Crusty on outside.
- Stretchy interior texture, not pillow like dinner rolls.
- Open crumb or demonstrated by large holes (airy, not dense)
Sourdough should take a little time to chew! You want a thick crust and a stretchy inside, which is extremely satisfying.
My issue has always been the holes. I would get some big holes, and then whole sections with no holes. If this happens to you, don’t worry, as it will still taste good and disappear fast. However, there are a few things I did to the after a few years of sourdough baking to get my perfect sourdough loaf.
A Good Spring is Important
A good spring means your bread got off to a good rise in the oven before it began to crust and you will have an even loaf. Not flat. Not dense.
My Tips for Baking Sourdough with a Good Spring
- High hydration.
- A good strong starter with lot of lactobacillus and wild yeast.
- Mix bread flour with some all purpose flour (I used to use 100 % bread flour, now I use 80/20 ratio to get a wetter, softer dough. A Wholewheat loaf won’t result in a very high rise.
- Don’t overproof. See tips.
- Hot enough oven.
My Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe Process
- Make sure starter is bubbly.
- Add starter to warm water (about 80-85 degrees F.) Mix.
- Mix flour and salt together.
- Add flour to starter/water mix.
- Mix with hands. Allow to sit ten minutes.
- Shape into rough ball of dough.
- Cover with damp towel or plastic.
- Sit overnight on counter in warmest spot.
- Replenish starter with 25 grams flour, 25 grams water.
- Next day, take dough out and place on counter. Dimple all over.
- Shape into a dough ball, pulling edges of dough over, like a wrapping, securing a firm ball. Do so gently.
- Place with seam side up. This is important, as bubbles rise up to seam side which will be the bottom when baked. . Those bubbles will help the dough rise.
- Refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours to give bread structure. The full 24 hours gives more stretch to the bread.
- Hot oven. Preheat to 500 degrees F. Reduce to 450 to bake.
- Once baked, cool for one hour, prior to slicing.
Starter, Overnight Bulk Rise, Dimple
Gather the dimpled dough to form the final bread. GENTLY, pull dough from edges over dough ball, rotating and pulling, until the dough resists. Turn into floured proofing basket upside down, meaning seam side up. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours up to 24 hours. Lately, I’ve been doing 24 hours and really like the result.
You do not need a proofing basket, and can use a deep glass bowl, but I like the shape it gives.
Pin this and Make the BEST EASY SOURDOUGH
Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe
- 400 grams unbleached bread flour
- 100 grams unbleached all purpose flour
- 12 grams sea salt
- 50 grams bubbly starter recipe here
- 385 grams warm water (filtered) 80-85 degrees F.
- Prepare starter by feeding several hours In advance to have bubbly starter.
- Combine flours and salt. Set Aside
- Put warm water In glass bowl. Add Starter, stir into water.
- Add flour and mix with hands to a rough dough. Cover with damp towel for one hour. After an hour, form dough roughly into a ball. Cover with damp towel overnight for 10-12 hours.
- Replenish starter with 25 grams water, 25 grams starter.
- In the morning, dough should have doubled.
- In the morning, spread flour on counter, place dough on floured surface and stretch dough out as shown. Use finger to poke holes. Allow to rest 10 minutes.
- Bring dough together gently, pulling edges up and over from each end, forming a dough ball. Do this from every side, gently until the dough resists, maybe 10 times. Pull dough up and over as If to wrap the dough. You want to get the dough ball firm.
- Place in your sourdough bowl, smooth top side down, seams up. The smooth side will be your top. Keeping the bottom with seams up will allow air bubbles to form there, thus, when baked those air bubbles at the bottom will help bread rise in oven.
- Cover with plastic or damp cloth. Refrigerate for 6-24 hours. In this particular loaf, I refrigerated 24 hours as my plans for the bread had changed.
Ready to Bake
- Take dough out of refrigerator, while preheating oven to 500 degrees F.
Test for Proofing
- Allow oven to heat up for at least 30 minutes. Put dutch oven (not lid) Into oven to heat up with oven.
- Test dough for proofing. If after poking gently with finger, dough quickly bounces back, it's under-proofed, needs more proofing. You're probably at a perfect point waiting for oven to heat, while it proofs more. The perfect proofing point will result when gently poking, dough slowly bounces back. It's ready to bake. If the dough appears over-proofed, no bounce back at all, you an still bake it, but it will not have an optimal rise and will be dense.
- Using a lamé, or very sharp knife, slash the dough to allow for steam.
- Reduce heat to 450 degrees F. Bake in dutch oven with lid on for 20 minutes. Take off lid, bake for 30 minutes. Remove bread from dutch oven, bake 3 to 5 more minutes. Bread Is done when internal temperature is 208 degrees F.
- Cool for one hour minimum. If you try to cut sourdough high, it might be gummy. Wait (If you can). Use serrated bread knife.
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