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Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe for Beginners

Easy, mild-tasting sourdough bread that turns out great every time.
Hands on time1 hr
Total Time17 hrs
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: sourdough
Servings: 2 loaves
Calories: 160kcal

Equipment

  • 2 bread pans

Ingredients

The Night Before:

  • 1 cup sourdough starter can be straight from fridge
  • 2 1/2 cup white flour
  • 2 cups hot water but not too hot

In the Morning:

  • 1 1/2 cups hot water not too hot or you'll kill your starter
  • 2 tbsp sugar, honey or sweetener of choice
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or melted butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6 cups whole wheat or spelt flour

Instructions

The Night Before:

  • Mix white flour, starter and water in a large bowl. Stir together until there are no clumps of flour left. Cover with a wet towel or plastic and leave out at room temperature over night. (I've left it anywhere from 7-15 hours.)

In the Morning:

  • VERY IMPORTANT: Remove 1 cup of starter mixture from the bowl and put it back in the fridge. (This is now freshly fed starter that won't need fed again until you make bread, or something else, in a week or two or three).
  • Add the remaining hot water, sweetener, oil or butter, and salt. Stir to combine.
  • Add the whole wheat or spelt flour, two cups at a time. Stir until it becomes too thick, then begin kneading to mix the flour in.
  • Add flour until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl and is less sticky. A little sticky is okay. It will become less sticky as it rises. (Don't add too much flour or you will get a dense, heavy loaf. Error on the side of too little flour rather than too much.)
  • Knead for about 5 minutes. Sometime I knead more, sometimes less. It doesn't seem to matter as much with this recipe.
  • Cover the bowl with a wet towel or plastic wrap and leave in a warm, draft free room place to rise. Let rise about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  • Punch the dough down, flip it, and punch 2 more times. Cover and let rise again for about 1 hour or until nearly doubled.
  • Coat 2 bread loaf pans with oil. Coat your hands and counter with oil. (Don't use gluten-containing flour!) Punch down your dough and divide into 2 loaves. Shape them into rectangles a little smaller than your bread pans (they will rise up quite a bit and more than fill the pan). Place in the bread pans, cover with plastic or a wet towel, and let rise about 1 hour, or until 1/2 inch above your bread pan.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 35-40 minutes until nicely browned on top.
  • Spread butter over the tops of the hot loaves and let cool on the counter. I like to remove mine from the pan after they've cooled and let them sit on the counter upside down for a lit while to let moisture escape from the bottoms of the loaves before wrapping them in plastic. They will store at room temperature for at least a week. Or store in the freezer.

Notes

The warmer the room, the faster your bread will rise.
Prevent your dough from drying out during rising by keeping it covered with a wet towel or plastic.
This is a great starter recipe, but if you are gluten-intolerant, try a recipe that adds all the flour in the first step, and allows it to be in contact with the starter for at least 12-24 hours before baking. This will ensure you end up with a gluten-free bread.