Sourdough bread – the classic recipe everyone has to make if they’ve ever had their own sourdough starter. Nothing beats fresh baked bread!
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I have not slept well since Thursday last week. I wake up almost every day at 4am and then toss and turn until my alarm goes off at 6:30 am.
Then the other day I ran over a 4×4 on the highway so I went to get my tires checked out and ended up not only needing an alignment, but was past due for breaks and rotors. I can actually do brakes myself (I thank my dad for that), but since they were already doing the rest I didn’t feel like messing with it.
So I’m exhausted with $500 less to my name. And then I realized I did not write up a post last night for today.
Thankfully I made this bread awhile ago, but keep forgetting to post about it (hooray, saved by back posts!). I love a good sourdough bread. It’s just so damn good!
Even though this bread is now long gone, I now crave it looking at it in remembrance. Will you make one with me too? Maybe I can sleep tonight after having some good fresh bread.
Fast forward 10 years and I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count, often with slight flavor variations by adding different herbs into the bread itself or just the outside coating. You should try everything bagel seasoning on the outside. I’m just saying.
But over the last 10 years I have also learned new tricks to improve this recipe even further and have updated the recipe to reflect my new discoveries. I thought about creating an entirely new blog post, but Google doesn’t like repeats, so here we are with a refresher!
Post updated 3/31/21, all photos below are previous versions.
My original recipe did not call for baking inside of a Dutch oven. Don’t have one? Feel free to bake on a regular baking sheet, just be aware that the baking time will be slightly shorter, around 25-30 minutes instead of 40 minutes. I also let the recipe rise twice now instead of just once, which allows for growth of bigger bubbles! I prefer to let the second round rise in the fridge overnight. I’m convinced it comes out better.
But if you really want a killer bread, I strongly recommend investing in a Dutch oven. You will love using them for low and slow cooked soups or roasts as well. Just make sure it can handle being heated up empty! I actually leveled up again and bought an Emile Henry bread baker (which can be preheated empty).
Don’t believe me that all these modifications are worth it? Just compare these photos down here with the newer ones at the beginning on the post. Sure this earlier rendition tasted good but you cannot compete with the crust you get from baking in a Dutch oven!
Fed or unfed?
By the way, there is a difference between using unfed, straight out of the fridge, sourdough starter and fed. In order to make this transition you must first use or remove 1 cup of the unfed (which I used to make sourdough pizza crust since that’s what it calls for). Add a little water and flour, wait a few hours and now you have fed your starter! For complete directions refer to King Arthur Flour.
- 1 cup "fed" sourdough starter
- 1-1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 tsp active dry yeast*
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2-1/2 tsp salt
- 5 cups bread flour (or all-purpose)
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough. Cover and allow to rise until it has doubled in size, about 90 minutes (or let rise in fridge overnight).
- Gently divide the dough in half and into two loaves. Place on two separate parchment-lined baking sheets (or banneton basket). Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour (or let rise in fridge overnight). Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees with Dutch oven** placed on bottom rack.
- Using a sharp knife, cut slashes on top of one loaf. Pick up all four corners of the parchment paper (transfer from banneton to parchment), and place inside the hot Dutch oven. Close and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat with second loaf.
*Don't have yeast? Use equal parts baking soda and lemon. Or skip it an rely on the yeast in your starter, but it will rise slower. **Don't have a Dutch oven? Use baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Source: Adapted from The Baker Chick, originally from King Arthur Flour.
Did you make this recipe? I want to see!
Post updated 3/29/20, photo above is the original.