Simple Sourdough Bread



UPDATE: I've tweaked this recipe a bit since I first posted it. I took bits and pieces from other recipes and put them together until I discovered what works best for me.

-----------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------

Ever since our state went on lock-down to slow the spread of COVID-19, I’ve been testing the waters of homemade bread. I’m not sure why… Stores still had plenty of bread, but ironically were out of flour and yeast…

I guess part of me wanted to do it to save a little money, and another part wanted to do it just because it felt good to learn that skill. It felt good to have one more thing to help me feel a little more self reliant. We now have wheat seeds and a wheat grinder, so we can grow our own crop and not have to rely on stores at all for bread! And that feels pretty good.

This was my first loaf of sourdough bread... pretty dense, but it tasted great!

I started with plain white bread, but in my search for recipes and instructions, I came across countless articles about sourdough. Honestly, it seemed a little too complicated for my tastes, but the thought of capturing “wild yeast” intrigued me. I came across this video from the Prairie Homestead, and seeing how easy Jill makes it look made me want to give it a shot.



It took me a while to figure out the starter and find a cooking method I liked, but I’ve got it down now and we love our daily loaf of sourdough bread! The recipes I use for the starter and bread are adapted from Jill’s recipes. She is the Homestead Queen! To see her version (which is far more detailed than what I’ve typed up here), click the links below.

Keep in mind that this is my very simple, not artsy or fancy version of sourdough. For those beautiful loaves of dark round bread, you’ll have to look somewhere else!

Sourdough Starter

Ingredients

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Non-Chlorinated Water

Instructions

  • Mix ½ cup all-purpose flour with ¼ cup water. Stir vigorously, loosely cover, then let sit for 24 hours.
  • Add ½ cup all-purpose flour and ¼ cup water to jar, and stir vigorously. Loosely cover, and let sit for another 24 hours.
  • Discard half of the starter, then feed again with ½ cup all-purpose flour and ¼ cup water. Stir, loosely cover, and let sit 24 hours.
  • Keep repeating Step 3 until the starter doubles within 4-6 hours of you feeding it.

Notes

  • Starter should be bubbly. If it’s not bubbly after several feedings, throw it out and start over.
  • It takes about two weeks for a sourdough starter to be mature enough to leaven (rise) a loaf of bread.
  • Jill uses whole wheat flour for her first 1/2 cup, but mine did fine with all-purpose flour.

(Recipe adapted from The Prairie Homestead)

Simple Sourdough Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup active sourdough starter
  • 1 ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 3-3½  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the starter, water, salt, oil, and honey.
  • Stir in the flour.
  • Mix everything together until it becomes stiff– then switch to your hands to knead the dough for a few minutes. I like to oil my hands so the dough doesn't stick to them. Knead until the dough is well combined, and can be easily formed into a rounded loaf. 
  • Place dough into a greased loaf pan. Alternatively, you can also line the pan with parchment paper.
  • Grease or lightly dust the top of dough with flour to keep it from sticking to your dish towel and deflating. 
  • Cover with a dish towel and let rise overnight, or 8-10 hours.
  • In the morning, uncover sourdough and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Bread will be a light gold color.
  • Butter top of loaf to soften crust.

The awesome rise I usually get. This loaf isn’t baked yet. When it’s baked it looks pretty much the same, just slightly darker in color.

(Recipe adapted from The Prairie Homestead)

Notes

  • I like to feed my starter around 3 pm. It’s doubled and ready to work with by around 8 or 9 pm, and I bake it whenever I get up in the morning. My family likes a more mild sourdough flavor, which is why we add the honey and only do one rising time.
The finished sourdough loaf – It’s great for sandwiches!