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  1. says

    Thank you for this post! It’s like you were visiting my kitchen. I’m on my 4th attempt at sourdough. My first batch was a complete failure. Awesome sour flavor but it was like a brick! Second batch was really good but I think my second rise was too long. Third batch, I tried sprouted whole wheat & well, I had to throw it away. Now I’m on my fourth batch, but I’m apprehensive. I’m looking forward to all your tips!!! :-)

    • Tiffany says


      We do have similar kitchens! I think the experimentation is part of the fun. Sourdough STARTER is easy as pie. The BREAD however, takes a bit of practiced skill. But once you figure it out, the tangible reward is delicious and then feeling of finally mastering sourdough is amazing! ~Tiffany

  2. says

    I made my first batch of bread Sunday evening (kneading) and Monday (baking), and it didn’t turn out. Ha! I knew it most likely wouldn’t because I had never made bread before. However, it was not completely uneatible. It was dense and dry though.

    What I learned.
    1) People are correct when they say it will take a couple of tries.
    2) I probably need to switch to white whole wheat because the already brown color makes a first timer like me unable to see whats occurring during baking.
    3) If I think I am done kneading, I need to knead just a little longer.

    Any other ideas and/or tips would be appreciated. Thanks for sharing your experience Tiffany.

    • Tiffany says


      I agree with your #2, especially when first starting out. Believe it or not, I didn’t knead at all on this batch! I probably should have, but I’ll save that for the next round of experiments. I added flour until I could stir no more (because it was so thick) but still “pourable.” At that point, I couldn’t really knead a big thick batter, so I didn’t!

      I also know the kneading is to stretch and “activate” the gluten strands in bread, but sourdough is soaked for so long that the gluten strands are nearly non-existant… so I couldn’t really see the point of kneading, know what I mean? We’ll see how the next batch (with kneading) turns out, lol.

  3. says

    I’ve been experimenting with sourdough pita bread, seems to work well, but is only pliable when it first comes out of the oven.
    I have made good sourdough bread in the past from NT but my family is not much into sandwich breads. Although, I have to say, a nice fried egg on that slice in your picture is pretty tempting!

    Thanks for all your research and presenting so simple :)

    • Tiffany says

      Thanks Audry! I’d like to be able to do a few artisan loaves, but the loaf pans are helping the shape while I keep experimenting :) ~Tiffany

  4. says

    Now I feel silly, 2 loaves that resembled rocks and it never occurred to used one of the dozen loaf pans I have. Following that plan for this attmpt.

    For the rise, it was warm that I didn’t want to turn on the oven until baking time. I saw somewhere to use a heating pad which did a fantastic job on low.

    • Tiffany says

      Ah, a heating pad! Genius! I use that for making yogurt. I’ll have to give that trick a try this next time. Good luck Kimberly on the loaf pans! :)

    • Tiffany says

      Mmmm… partial rye sounds good! I like the complex flavor of rye, but hesitant to go all-out because of texture and rise. I think a few more experimental batches and I’ll be ready to branch out to other flours too! :) ~Tiffany

  5. says

    Mmm, your bread looks so delicious. I wish I had a piece now! You have a lot of great tips here. It sounds like a pretty delicate process, but it sounds (and looks) rewarding. I haven’t started my sourdough starter yet, but I plan to in the next couple weeks. I’ll let you know how the final product turns out.

    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday. I am looking forward to your sourdough pancake recipe!

  6. Katie777 says

    Well, 1st time didn’t turn out. Took 12 hours for it to even get to the top of the bread pan. I figured at that point it probably would not work, but tried anyway. The loafs are small, heavy, doughy, and does not taste good. In my mind I am thinking San Fransisco sourdough that tastes heavenly. What should I be thinking???? Any ideas???

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Katie,

      I’ve got another sourdough post coming out tomorrow that may help, but meanwhile: If the dough sunk while baking then it rose too much. Consider rising in the fridge if time is an issue, or simply don’t let it rise as long. Sometimes dough doesn’t always “double in size” as we normally think. If the bread itself doesn’t taste good, I’d guess something is off with the starter. Feed 2x/day for a week to build up the yeast and try again. Doughy usually means it didn’t bake long enough. Heavy is lack of yeast to cause rise in the oven… so add it all up and I’m guessing it over-rose.

      Try controlling the environment temperature – w/heating pad or oven w/light on – and check on it after 4-6 hours. If the bread has a noticeable rise, go ahead and bake it and see what happens and continue to trouble shoot. You’ll be able to tell if it could have risen more (will be dense) or was really crumbly (more kneading), etc. Try a single loaf though, so you’re not wasting ingredients.

      And even “bad” bread makes great breadcrumbs or panzanella. A simple recipe is to make the caprese salad here: and add in cubed bread w/some extra liquids. Delish!! ~Tiffany

  7. Shar Sanders says

    I want to try to make my own sourdough starter, and bread so I am really enjoying your post! Thanks. I was wondering what kind of loaf pans you use – glass, etc. Do you keep your starter in a mason jar? Looking forward to reading all your posts regarding this great looking bread!

    • Tiffany says

      I have metal loaf pans Shar. Glass would be fun, but the ones I have work well enough for now that I can’t justify replacing. I now keep my starter in a glass bowl on the counter. I was using a quart mason jar, but found the bowl provided better air flow and in turn, a better starter.

      I’m thankful you’ve found us, and look forward to seeing more of you! ~Tiffany

  8. Tina says

    Not sure what happened but when i was adding the flour it got so thick like reg bread and i couldn’t even put in the whole 5 cups of flour…….also is it really all that important to use a heaping tablespoon of salt? SO much salt?

    • Tiffany says

      I think the thickness depends on the environment and the thickness of the starter too. If your starter is very thick, you’ll end up with a thicker dough. Yes, it’s important to use that much salt. :) There’s no other flavor in the bread other than the flour, so the salt is needed for taste. Plus it strengthens the gluten and helps control the fermenting. Check out this link for more:

    • Kim says

      After making this recipe and adjusting the salt 4-5 times, my husband and I have decided 1 level teaspoon of sea salt for a half recipe (2 t for the full recipe) is best for us. Adding the full amount made it too salty, but I’d suggest that someone starting out go ahead and try the recipe as written their first time. I think most people are used to more salt than we are, so it really is a matter of taste!

      I’ve had trouble with the top of my loaf not darkening like the bottom and sides–it comes out about the same shade I started with. It tastes fine and has the right crusty texture; it just isn’t very pretty! I do have a thicker starter that can only take about 1.75 cups of additional flour when making a half recipe. Could that be the issue?

      • Tiffany says

        Hi Kim! Usually the coloring of the bread has to do with the way it cooks rather than the flour or the starter. You can give the bread an egg-wash, add steam while baking or add sugar to the recipe (which will caramelize with the heat). I usually go with the egg-wash method since it’s easiest. :)

        • Kim says

          Thanks for the tip! Now that my bread suits our taste buds, I’m looking forward to making it more appealing to look at. :-)

  9. Cendrine says

    My husband keeps telling me he needs his bread on the sweet side. I’ve been wondering if adding honey or agave to the dough would hinder it in any way?

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Cendrine,

      NT says adding honey to your starter will likely yield an alcoholic fermentation rather than a bacteria fermentation; however, you might be able to add honey to the bread recipe instead of the starter to sweeten it.

  10. Bill Gale says

    Does this whole process work with other types of flours? The reason I am interested in sourdough bread is that my daughter is allergic to wheat and gluten.

    • Tiffany says

      I’ve heard of some GF folks using blends of other GF flours, but I personally haven’t tested it myself. In theory, it should, since capturing yeast out of air remains the same. Some might take longer though, or could yield a thicker/thinner/heavier/lighter starter in the end.

  11. gail says

    There are so many who say their first loaf doesn’t turn out and subsequent loaves get better. I wonder if it’s because the sponge needs more time to mature.

    • Tiffany says

      Possibly, I also think it’s because regular bread and sourdough bread behave differently in the making process. I’ve heard never to knead sourdough, while regular needs quite a bit. I think every environment, oven and starter is different – so the techniques have to be different and unique to everyone. :)

  12. Parul says

    Hey I have a question, how does a white sourdough bread fare nutritionally? I know it doesn’t give a blood sugar spike, but are there any other pros to eating it?

    • Tiffany says

      There is some nutrition in just white sourdough, but not a whole lot – most of the nutrients are in the bran and germ of wheat, which are sadly left behind in the process of creating white flour. The best part of white sourdough is that it’s sourdough, and if you’re going to eat non-whole grain bread, sourdough is your best bet. You can start here and gradually add 1/2 cup wheat flour with each batch so that the family is able to better handle the taste of wheat (when coming from only white) and you can handle the effects on the bread process.

  13. Emma says

    Hello! I have just started making my stater with rye flour (recipe from the nourishing traditions book) I have bought some lovely organic wholemeal spelt flour and wondering if I was to go by your recipe to make the bread would I just replace the 5-6 cups whole wheat flour with 5-6 cups spelt? thanks!

  14. sharon says

    Hi there ! Excited about trying my hand at my own sourdough…can you use coconut flour for the starter ?
    And what about stonewear loaf pans ?

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Sharon! I personally have not tried coconut flour for the starter, and have not read any recipes that have. However, it’s always worth a shot to see! Stonewear loaf pans should be just fine. :)

  15. April says

    Hi Tiffany! I have successfully made the sourdough starter (WOO HOO!!) and am ready to become the sourdough queen in my house! :) Can I use the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free baking flour for this recipe? Or do I need to use bread flour?

    • Tiffany says

      April, soon to be “Sourdough Queen,” I bow to you! I honestly haven’t tried BRM GF flour in this recipe. Sourdough is vastly different than most breads, and the gluten is typically needed. You can make GF sourdough, but it starts with rice flour. If I had to guesstimate, I’d say you could use some of the GF baking flour, but I’m hesitant to say you can use it entirely. If I were in your shoes, I’d stick with the bread flour and save the GF for a GF-specific recipe.

  16. BB says

    Hi Tiffany,

    Thanks for the recipe, just one question, though.

    I saw your gluten free sourdough starter post, which I found very simple and useful, then you use whole wheat flour here with the gluten free starter. Does it make the bread contain gluten again like this?

    Thanks a lot.

  17. says

    Hi Tiffany! Thanks for posting this – I do soaked and sprouted products all the time but haven’t ventured (yet) into sourdough. Do you have any idea how freshly milled flour does with this? Or if there are any other special considerations? I know I’ve learned that some of my recipes do better with hard red, or spring white, or you have to add more flour than what the recipe calls for to get it the right consistency. Have you any experience with the fresh flour? Thanks so much :)

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Sarah! You’re welcome! Freshly milled flour should be fine. The only consideration you make between freshly ground and store-bought is the settling, which usually means store-bought has more flour per measuring scoop than freshly milled. Stir your own flour well after milling to help settle (get rid of the extra air pockets) and you’ll be just fine. As for the type of wheat, hard red does best with bread, spring white is best with baked goods like cookies (due to the respective high/low level of gluten). Good luck with your sourdough adventure!!

  18. Kirsten says

    I’m really surprised that there is only one ‘rise’ in this sourdough recipe. One of the other recipes I was looking at for sourdough had THREE rises before you put it in the oven. So why the differences for the number of rises? Will the multiple rises make is more sour? It sure seems easier to me to mix, pour or form loaf, rise then bake.

    I was looking at had an overnight sponge (with milk and starter, but not all ingredients) then in the morning add ingredients (eggs, flour, etc.) then rise. Once doubled, pour into loaf pans, rise, then after risen a second time finally bake. I guess the overnight is just like doubling the starter with milk (or water according to the recipe) then making the bread the next day with all the starter.

  19. says

    once i have the gluten free sour dough recipe done is there a gluten free sour dough bread recipe to follow. i could only see the recipe for regular sour dough bread.

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Diane! I don’t have a GF sourdough recipe. There are several to choose from, but it depends on what type of flours you have in your home (there are SO many GF variation). A quick search via search engine should yield good results. Sorry I’m not more help!

  20. Ian says

    Hi Tiffany,
    First time trying your recipe, great tips ! I am trying with spelt flower as my partner has intolerances. So far the starter is looking good and i cant wait to try the sourdough recipe. Has been great reading everyones advice and great to find other passionate cooks out there.
    Thanks Tiffany and everyone.

    Ian – from Melbourne , Australia

  21. Patricia says

    Made my first sourdough loaf today with this recipe. We are in India so Indian “atta” is what I used. I had to add at least double the water called for in order to get a sticky dough and incorporate 5 cups of flour. I spooned it into my baking pan and waited for the rise. Thanks for an easy to follow rme file that an just be popped into the oven once it’s risen well. We enjoyed this with dinner today!


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