Basic Sourdough Bread

This is a delicious and versatile bread. It has a strong, tangy flavor, but the sourness isn't overwhelming. It has a nice crust and a tender, uniform crumb.

It's great for sandwiches, croutons, or just toasted with butter and jam. If you're a novice when it comes to baking sourdough bread (or bread in general), this is a good recipe to start with.

Basic Sourdough Bread

  • 2-3 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp shortening

In a small saucepan, heat the milk and the shortening, until the shortening is melted and the mixture is almost boiling. Allow the milk to cool until lukewarm.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the milk/shortening, the salt, the sugar, and the starter. Put the bowl in the mixer, and attach the dough hook. Turn it on to low speed, and add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough comes together, and pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and knead for 5-10 minutes, adding small amounts of flour if the dough becomes sticky.

Form the dough into a ball, and place it into an oiled bowl. Turn the dough over a few times so it gets coated in oil.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until doubled in size. How long this will take depends largely on how active your starter is, and the temperature and humidity in your house. I usally let it rise overnight. 

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, turn it to a floured surface, and knead for 3 minutes. 

Form it into a round loaf, put it on a greased baking sheet, and cover it with a large bowl. Let it rise until it doubles in size again - approximately 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

After the dough has risen, cut a few shallow slashes into the top.

Place in the oven, and bake for about 40 minutes, until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.

When the bread is done, let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.