Think sourdough bread is too complicated to bake at home? Think twice! This sourdough bread recipe is so easy & simple that I promise you will want to bake it again and again! It’s delicious, frugal & healthy, plus there’s no kneading required!
I love to make sourdough bread, AKA the “lazy man’s bread.” Yep. Because it’s that simple to make! Plus, the amazing benefits of sourdough are well worth giving it a try!
I also love it because:
- Making bread from scratch is one of the healthiest and most frugal ways to save money on food.
- All you need for sourdough is a starter, whole wheat flour, a pinch of salt, and some water!
- You can even make a gluten-free starter and adapt this recipe for gluten-free sourdough bread!
Notes on Ingredients
Sourdough Starter. Sourdough bread needs an active starter culture (which is made of beneficial bacteria and yeast) to create the sour flavor of the bread. You can make your own sourdough starter from scratch (or get a sourdough kit to help speed along the process).
This sourdough bread recipe needs to have an active starter culture, but if you don’t have any currently, here is my post for tips on the sourdough starter.
Whole Wheat Flour. You can use white flour if you don’t have whole wheat or are not comfortable using whole wheat in baking yet. It may be easier to experiment with the lesser expensive flour and once you’ve found your sourdough groove, upgrade to whole wheat. Here are some tips on the dough:
- You want to bake with a starter that is at its peak – when nearly all of the yeast has eaten but hasn’t begun to go dormant because of the lack of food. You can see when a starter has peaked because it will have a dome-shape on top.
- Starters peak in the 2-3 hour range after each feeding.
- Don’t skimp on the water that recipes call for. Sourdough recipes are wetter than traditional bread recipes made with baker’s yeast.
- The press-your-thumb-to-test-for-springiness test works. Do it.
- The see-through-your-dough test works too. Try it.
- Two rises will produce a more sour bread than a single rise.
- I use a bread proofing basket called a “banneton” to let my sourdough bread rise. I use this kind here.
A complete list of ingredients with the amounts you need is located in the recipe card below.
Here’s how to make this sourdough bread recipe from scratch.
Step 1. In a very large bowl, mix the sourdough starter, water, and 3 cups of whole wheat flour with a wooden spoon and combine well.
Step 2. Add salt and remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, attempting to completely stir in the flour with each addition. When you can no longer mix with a spoon, use your hands to mix in the flour. Continue adding flour until your dough begins to resemble dough, but is still sticky and “pourable.”
Step 3. Pour the dough into a banneton (I like this one) and fill 1/3 way up. Cover with a towel and allow it to sit in a warm place for 4-12 hours, until the dough is at least doubled in size and looks to be “domed” on top.
Step 4. When the dough is at least doubled in size, flip the banneton over so that the dough dumps directly into a Dutch oven, lined with parchment paper, (or loaf pans). If the dough doesn’t come out centered into the Dutch oven pot / loaf pans, wait 20 seconds, then grab the handles and shake the dough so it’s centered.
Step 5. Place the Dutch oven or loaves in a cold oven and turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 50-60 minutes, until the edges are golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Step 6. Remove to cool on wire racks for at least 30 minutes.
Additional Recipe Tips
- Halving the recipe while striving for your “perfect loaf” will cut down the cost on ingredients and reduce food waste.
- Putting the dough into a cold oven and then turning it on gives the yeast a final boost to help the bread rise. Do not do this if your bread has already domed AND is starting to recede in the rise.
- If your bread fails, have no fear! Determine what exactly went wrong and try again, aiming to fix that problem. You wouldn’t be the first person who didn’t succeed on their first attempt!
- If bread fails despite repeated attempts, use the starter for other baked goods for a few weeks to a month. Meanwhile, feed the starter consistently to build up the concentration of the yeast.
During the Rise
- The vessel in which dough rises can limit the extent of the rise. Be sure to leave plenty of room for expansion.
- The quicker the dough rises, the less sour the bread will be.
- The longer the dough rises, the sourer the bread will be.
- The warmer the temperature, the quicker the dough will rise.
Temperature for Rising
Controlling the temperature allows you to be in greater control of when the dough will be ready, and in turn when the bread will be ready.
The following methods will provide a consistent temperature for the bread to rise: Heating pad on low, in an oven with the light on or in a dehydrator. Consider adjusting the temperature higher and lower to find the “sweet spot.” Using my heating pad on low gives me a rise time of 5-6 hours.
When experimenting with rising times, bake this bread on a day you plan to be at home. Numerous factors can affect the rise time overall and when the yeast peaks, so you want to have a vague idea of how long the bread will take in your home before you leave.
For a point of reference, I turned my oven on the lowest setting, placed it on top of my stove and it was ready in 4 1/2 hours.
Sourdough bread is NOTHING like traditional bread. When you’re done kneading traditional bread, you likely have a firm, round piece of dough. When you’re done kneading sourdough, you will have a very loose and likely pourable dough on your hands. Literally.
In less than two hours, traditional bread will have doubled in size. In two hours, sourdough looks like it hasn’t even budged.
Traditional bread can be whipped up in half a day’s notice. Sourdough definitely requires advanced planning. Like, up to 24 hours in advance.
You will use 2 cups of sourdough starter for this sourdough bread recipe.
Sourdough Recipes and Tutorials
- Sourdough 101: The Benefits of Sourdough
- How to Make a Sourdough Starter
- Toasted Coconut and Banana Sourdough Pancakes
- How to Make a Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter
- Sourdough vs Soaking vs Sprouting: Which is best?
- Sourdough A to Z eCourse (Plus recipe book!)
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Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe
Try my favorite Sourdough Bread Recipe. Super easy for beginner sourdough bakers, with simple instructions and just one rise. It’s healthy, frugal, and can be made gluten-free!
- Prep Time: 12 hours, 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 13 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 2 loaves 1x
- Category: Sides
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- In a very large bowl, mix starter, water and 3 cups of whole wheat flour with a wooden spoon and combine well.
- Add salt and remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, attempting to completely stir in the flour with each addition. When you can no longer mix with a spoon, use your hands to mix in the flour. Continue adding flour until your dough begins to resemble dough, but is still sticky and “pourable.”
- Pour dough into large loaf pans or a banneton (I like this one) and fill 1/3 way up. Cover with a towel and allow to sit in a warm place for 4-12 hours, until the dough is at least doubled in size and looks to be “domed” on top.
- When the dough is at least doubled in size, flip the banneton over so that the dough dumps directly into a Dutch oven, lined with parchment, (or loaf pans). If the dough doesn’t come out centered into the pot / pans, wait 20 seconds or so, then grab the handles and shake the dough so it’s centered.
- Place loaves in a cold oven and turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 50-60 minutes, until the edges are golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
- Remove to cool on wire racks for at least 30 minutes.
If you’re using loaf pans, this recipe makes 2-3 loaves, depending on the amount of flour used and size of loaf pans.
- Calories: 456
Keywords: Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe