Making sourdough is a wonderful tradition. The sourdough starter I use has been in my family for over 40 years. My mother purchased a sourdough starter kit at the Berkeley Co-op in the early 1970s and recently passed a portion of it on to me. Once you have a starter, you have to use it every few weeks to keep it active, so it’s a great way to routinely bake homemade bread. This recipe results in a crunchy crust and a moist center.

Sourdough Bread (Makes 1 small loaf)

Ingredients:
1 cup of sourdough starter (purchase at your local natural foods store or make your own…see recipe below)
3 cups organic bread flour
1 1/2 cups filtered water
2 teaspoons rose salt or kosher salt

Directions:
Using a stand mixer fit with a dough hook attachment, mix starter and flour. Begin to slowly add the water until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for about 8 hours.

Once the dough has doubled in size, place one cup of the dough in a ball jar (this will be your starter for future batches, use every three weeks to keep the starter active). Add salt to the dough.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a 5.5 quart enameled cast iron French oven in the stove with the lid on for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, flour your hands before handling the dough since it will be very sticky. Place the dough on a heavily floured surface and form into a ball. Cover and let rest while the French oven is preheating. Then, place the dough in the French oven and cover with the lid. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let cool slightly. Store in a paper bag.

Sourdough Starter

Directions:
Place 1 cup of warm water and 1 cup of organic bread flour in a bowl. (You can also use ½ cup bread flour and ½ cup rye or whole wheat flour). Mix. Pour into a 2 quart ball jar. Cover with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Store at room temperature. For the next five days, you will need to feed the starter ½ cup bread flour and ½ cup warm water. The mixture will slowly develop into a starter. You will be able to smell the sourdough aroma and the mixture will begin to bubble. It is ready to use after five days. You can also purchase sourdough starter at your local natural foods store or online.

Image via Cassie Winslow

2 comments

  1. Is maintaining a sourdough starter really as simple as making a loaf at least every 3 weeks and taking 1 cup of the excess and storing it? I always thought the process was much more involved with feeding the starter regularly. We’ve tried in the past and just couldn’t keep it alive. Perhaps we were over thinking it! Thank you for this recipe! I am inspired to start baking fresh bread again!

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