Sourdough is my new favorite thing.
Let me rephrase that, I’ve always had an intense love for sourdough. The taste, the thick crust, the beautiful shape. It’s the Marilyn Monroe of breads. But now, instead of purchasing it, I make it myself. And friends, homemade sourdough is on another level.
I promise it’s not hard. It can feel intimidating at first because it does take time. There’s a lot of rising, proofing, and such. So it does have to be thought out a little in advance. But once you make it a few times, you get a good rhythm going and know the best days and times to whip up a batch.
I love to do early afternoons before I start making dinner. Then I’m in the kitchen anyway for the bulk of the folding and stretching. I let it rise overnight, and bake the next morning. Nothing like starting your day with fresh bread. I mean, can it get better than that? Of course not.
There are so many ways to get sourdough starter. First off, if you have a friend that’s in the sourdough craze, go ahead and ask if they will share with you. Most sourdough lovers are more than happy to give you a jar to get started. The payment though might be them talking alllll about sourdough and their favorite recipes for hours. Be prepared.
Don’t know anyone close enough to grab some from? No worries! I actually purchased my dried sourdough starter from Ballerina Farms and had it up and going in less than a week. I’ve been baking with it for months now. Once rehydrated it took off and I’ve shared and played with it every day since.
Sourdough is so dang versatile! I’ve made pizza crust, cheese crackers, pancakes, English muffins, bagels, sandwich bread, and traditional sourdough bread, just to name a few! And the ingredients for most of these recipes are simply flour, salt, water, and sourdough starter. Sometimes the recipes call for honey, oil, or a few other ingredients. But simplicity is key. Good sourdough starter flavors the bread so well, you don’t need a lot of extra fluff ingredients.
Another great bonus about sourdough is it doesn’t take a lot of supplies to make great bread. Just a few items that you’ll use over and over and you’ll be set for years of making yummy things.
What you’ll need:
I use my sourdough several times a week, and because of that, I keep it in a half-gallon mason jar. About once a week, after I do the bulk of my baking, (I like to get it almost to the top, and then do all my sourdough recipes within a two-day period.) I’ll pour out the remaining starter into a different half-gallon jar, and clean the other one up. The rims can get pretty gunky after so much use, and I’m a clean freak so that’s just how I roll.
Originally this was a purchase I made for frosting cakes. To give them nice, sharp edges. However, I soon realized it was perfect for cutting and helping to mold the loaves.
This is where it gets really fun! Scoring takes bread from just bread to actual art. I’m not great at this yet, but every time I get to score bread I’m excited with the new patterns I can attempt. (Attempt being the correct term here)
This could be a whole post in and of itself, but good salt matters. White table salt deprives your body of key minerals that are found in true, real salt. Redmond real salt is one of the only brands I allow in my house. The taste is divine, and you’re giving your body what it needs.
This is a neat trick that one of my sourdough friends who is basically a sourdough goddess taught me. Sprinkle this into your proofing basket if you’re having trouble with the sourdough loaves sticking. For some reason, the rice flour helps it to release from the bowl easily!
Cooking your traditional sourdough bread in a cast iron dutch oven is the key to getting that thick, golden, crunchy crust. It’s a must, and you can use it for so many other cooking needs.
I’ve tried a lot of recipes so far, and these few below stand out as my top picks for how easy and delicious they are.
Lisa with Farmhouse On Boone has so many amazing sourdough recipes! Make sure to check her out and follow her on Instagram as she shares so many good nuggets about homesteading and baking.
My favorites from her:
Hannah from Ballerina Farm is where I got my starter from. The traditional sourdough recipe she shares in her Instagram highlights is my go-to and turns out every time!
Traditional sourdough bread (makes 2 loaves)
Bettie from Baker Bettie has the best sourdough sandwich bread I’ve found by far, I do a few things differently though. I always refrigerate it overnight after all the stretch and folds. And when I bake it, I simply put the oven at 375 and bake for about 40 minutes.
Sandwich bread (makes 2 loaves)
Have questions about sourdough? I was so confused at first and know the feeling. Drop any questions below and I’ll make sure to tailor some upcoming posts to answering them!
Happy baking friends!