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Sourdough Bread

Care of Starter

Cold Leaven - Feed at least once/wk. Keep cool (refrigerator is good). All other instructions same as above. Min. feed, 1 T. flour & 1 T. water. Max. feed, enough to double quantity of starter. Max. frequency of feeding - every 4 hrs. To get active before use, feed within 24 hours of using.

Basic Bread Recipe

To make bread (my method.. there are lots)... build up starter (by doubling) over a 24 hr period to have nearly a gallon. Leave 1/4 gallon starter, add flour to double for next batch and set aside. Add 3/4 gallon starter to about 7 c. flour and 1-1/2 T. Real Salt. Stir and then knead. The dough should be very soft, just beyond wet, springy and pliable, stretchy. This does not require a lot of kneading.. just to the point that the flour is well mixed in. If the dough is too dry, add extra liquid. Set aside covered overnight, 10-12 hours is best . Then knead a little bit, form into 3 loaves, and put in greased pans. Cut 3 slits in each loaf and cover with pillow case cloth overnight or at least 6 hours. Bake at 375 for an hour. I don't usually bother preheating, but then go an extra 5-10 minutes. I also put a bowl of hot water in the bottom of the oven to keep the crust from getting too hard.

Note: for the simplest, best tasting sourdough bread ever, check my blog.

Sourdough Variations

Sourdough Raisin Bread
Take your bread dough after first rise, roll or pat it out , spread with a thin layer of a solid at room temp fat and a tablespoon or 2 of honey, sprinkle generously with cinnamon and raisins, roll back up, slit with a knife, cover with a cloth, let rise and bake as normal.

Snack Cracker
Slice baked sourdough bread into thin slices, let it dry out for about 24 hours and then bake on sheets at 250 for an hour or two - enough to thoroughly dry it out - and voila! - Sourdough Melba Toast! Very easy, very tasty!

English Muffins
Roll out the dough after first rise, use a thin plastic cup or metal ring to cut rounds, and place them on a baking sheet dusted with maseca or flour. Let them rise for 1/2 hour if possible, then place them on a hot griddle until well browned on one side (a few minutes) and then flip and cook the other side until browned. Fork split and serve.

Roll out dough after first rise and cut into desired shape, put on dusted pan, and then layer another on top of the first. Let rise a couple of hours and then bake until golden brown on the bottom (usually about 45 mins at 375). You can add extra oil, and/or an egg to make the dough a little lighter.

Cinnamon Rolls
Roll out dough after first rise and cover lightly with maple syrup or honey, dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll and slice 1 inch thick rounds and put closely together in a greased pyrex pan. Let rise for 1/2 hour and then bake about 45 mins at 375. You can add a little oil to the dough before rolling it if desired.

Crescent Rolls
Cut pea size pieces of butter or lard into dough after first rise and knead it in... the more butter, the flakier the dough.. I usually use about 2 T. for every double handful of dough. Then roll the dough out fairly thin, less than 1/4 inch. Cut the dough into rectangles, about 3 by 2 inches, and then cut again into triangles. Roll triangles into crescents and place on lightly greased pan. Let rise for at least 1/2 hr and then bake at 375 for about 1/2 hour until golden brown on the bottoms. You can follow the same recipe, and roll precooked hot dogs or sausages into the crescents, making weiner roll ups. You may want to try shredded cheese and cooked broccoli as a filling, leftover stew or thick soup, shredded cheese, herbs and olive oil or anything else that sounds good.

Bread Sticks or Big Pretzels
Roll the dough after first rise into desired shapes, place on greased pan dusted with a combination of unrefined salt crystals and sesame seeds, and sprinkle more on top. Bake at 375 until golden brown on the bottoms.

Sourdough Doughnuts
To 1/2 gallon of dough, add 2 eggs, 1/4 c. oil, 1/4 c. honey, and whatever flavorings you’d like… e.g., apple pie spice, cocoa powder, or cinnamon. Form into rings and put on greased pan (don’t worry if they’re sloppy). Get an inch of lard, coconut or other good frying oil hot (we use bear fat), and, using a spatula, slide the rings into the hot oil. Turn when edges are lightly browning and cook until firm-ish. Remove from heat, cool and frost if desired.

Pizza Crust
Add some extra fat to the dough before rolling it out thin on a greased sheet. Tastes especially amazing if you can bake in a clay oven or on a pizza stone.

Other Sourdough Starter Uses

French Toast
Mix 2 eggs, 1/2 c. milk and 1/2 c. sourdough starter. (Add cinnamon and/or vanilla if you'd like.) Dip sliced sourdough in batter and drop in well greased fry pan. Makes about 9 pieces.

Deep Fried Anything
Sourdough starter makes a fantastic breading for mushrooms, zucchini, onion rings, fish, cheese sticks, chicken, etc. Salt and season it to taste. Add an egg if desired. Put deep oil (Rice Bran OIl works great) in a large cast iron fry pan, dip well and cup with other hand if needed. Gently put into hot oil (should be preheated to highest temp) and fry until edges are golden before turning. Be careful to turn pieces away from you in case they splatter. Fry until deeply golden on both sides.

Add to Cake Recipes
Using sourdough starter in cake recipes adds lightness, flavor and nutrition. If you presoak grains, just replace some of your presoaked grains with sourdough starter at mixing time. You can cut back the baking soda, or even eliminate it if you separate your eggs, beat the whites and fold them in at the end of mixing.