Sourdough Bread

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If you’re looking to get started with sourdough or natural yeast, then you are in the right place. With the current commercial yeast shortage, using natural yeast is an ideal solution. All it takes is flour and water, a little time, and you have wild, natural yeast. It’s what sourdough bread is made from. You’ll be amazed how easy this artisan sourdough recipe is.

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Sourdough bread in a Staub Cast Iron Pot

Sourdough Starter

You’ll need an active, bubbly starter to make sourdough bread. Here are some links to getting a sourdough starter going: The Clever Carrot Sourdough Starter and Heart’s Content Farmhouse Sourdough Starter.

You can also get an established starter from Etsy like I did, or get one from someone locally.

If you don’t have a sourdough starter, you can make this Easy Sandwich Bread or Grandma’s Potato Rolls instead.

Slices of Sourdough natural yeast bread

What is Natural Wild Yeast?

Sourdough is wild, natural yeast. It comes from mixing water and flour together, and letting it ferment in a warm spot. Natural yeast is a living organism which needs nutrients and air to thrive.

The kind of yeast you buy in the store is referred to as commercial yeast. It is quick and easy to use, and readily available.

Unless it is 2020.

Then it’s in short supply or impossible to find.

Luckily, you don’t need that kind of yeast to make delicious bread. Make your own with natural, wild yeast. An added benefit is that it’s actually better for you, too.

Plus, you can use your starter to create other things, like Sourdough Pizza Crust. It’s perfectly soft but chewy. And it’s our favorite pizza!

photo of natural yeast starter

Sourdough Bread Benefits

The natural, wild yeast used to create sourdough bread has several important health benefits:

  • Natural yeast slows digestion to help you feel fuller longer. The lactic acid and natural salts in sourdough slow down digestion.
  • The organic acids produced during natural yeast fermentation lower the glycemic index of sourdough bread. This helps keep your blog sugar in check.
  • Natural yeast lowers the body’s glycemic response to all carbohydrates. Amazingly, it was even more so than if the person had whole wheat bread made from commercial yeast. This response to carbohydrates remains lower for hours after the natural yeast is consumed.
  • Natural yeast has been shown to help strengthen the immune system. And, the lactic acid produced by sourdough bread inhibits the growth of certain bacteria and mold.

As you can see, sourdough bread is healthier for you. The fermentation process creates gut-healthy enzymes and acids.

Sourdough bread in a bowl

No Knead Overnight Sourdough

This artisan sourdough bread recipe does not require kneading, unlike many other recipes. Instead, it uses an easy folding technique that stretches the gluten.

Natural, wild yeasts need a longer rise than doughs with commercial yeast. An 8-10 hour rise is common for this overnight or “bulk” rise.

So, preparing the sourdough in the evening, and letting it rise overnight is ideal. Within a few hours of waking, you’ll have fresh bread.

How to Make Artisan Sourdough Bread

In the morning, feed the starter. It needs about 12 hours before using. Below is an example of the rise and activity after a feeding.

photos of natural yeast sourdough starters

In the evening, stir down the starter and remove 1/4 cup (or 50 grams) to make the bread. Since I am an infrequent baker, I put rest of the starter in the fridge until I need it next.

In a large bowl, add the 1/4 cup of sourdough starter. Mix in 1 2/3 cups of warm, filtered water until dissolved. Add 4 1/4 cups of bread flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of fine sea salt.

bag of King Arthur Flour and sourdough natural yeast mixed

Making Sourdough

Stir with a wooden spoon or dough whisk until a thick, shaggy dough forms. Wet your hands, and finish mixing dough by hand. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

Coax the dough from the bowl and fold the dough for 15 seconds. Grab part of the dough, stretch it out, push it into the center of the dough, then turn the dough 1/4 a turn. Pull, stretch, push and turn in a clockwise rotation.

Sourdough
King Arthur Flour

Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp clean towel, and let rise overnight (at least 8-10 hours).

In the morning, lightly flour your counter-top and shape the dough by folding it again. Let the dough rest 10 minutes. Use a banneton proofing bowl or line a medium bowl with a towel and dust with flour. Let dough rise for 30 – 60 minutes.

Sourdough bread rising in baneton basket
sourdough recipe

Baking Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread

Preheat your oven to 450º. Cover the dough bowl with a long piece of parchment paper, and turn it over onto the counter top. Next, slash the top of the sourdough with a sharp serrated knife.

Gently lower the parchment paper dough into a cast iron dutch iron, with a tight fitting lid.

Loaf of sourdough ready to bake

Bake the bread covered for 30 minutes. Then, remove the lid and bake 20 minutes. After that, carefully remove the bread from the pot and bake it directly on the oven each for 10 minutes to crisp the exterior.

Let the artisan sourdough bread cool for at least one hour before cutting.

See Below for the Complete Sourdough Recipe with Video!

Sourdough bread sliced
Sourdough recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this without a cast iron dutch oven?

Yes, a heavy pot with a lid will work. Use one that is about 9″ to 10″ in diameter and 6″ high.

I ran out of parchment paper. Can I use wax paper instead?

Don’t use wax paper. The wax will melt in the oven and you’ll have a mess on your hands. Instead, use a long sheet aluminum foil that has been sprayed with cooking oil.

Will this recipe work with all purpose flour?

Sure, though you will experience a slightly smaller loaf. If you have vital wheat gluten, use 4 cups of all purpose flour and 4 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten in place of the bread flour.

My sourdough dough did not double in size overnight.

The sourdough needs a warm area for the bulk (overnight) rise. Find a warm place (75º – 85º F) like an oven with the light on, a warm window, or above the refrigerator or dryer to set the bread for 2 hours.

How can I keep the bottom of my bread from turning so brown?

An easy fix is to add a layer of corn meal on the bottom of the dutch oven, and place the parchment paper on top of that. Dutch ovens that are darker in color tend to brown the bottom of the bread more.

How will I know if my sourdough bread is done?

If you’re unsure if the sourdough bread is fully baked, the internal temperature should be around 195º – 200ºF.


Artisan Sourdough Bread Recipe

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Artisan Sourdough Bread

This is the perfect sourdough bread for a beginner. It is easy and forgiving. Just follow the process and you'll be rewarded with an amazing loaf of sourdough.

I recommend starting this bread in the evening and letting it rise overnight, as it needs to rise at least 8 – 10 hours.

Course Bread
Cuisine American
Keyword Breads, Sourdough
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Combined rises are approx. 12 hours 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 155 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sourdough starter
  • 1 ⅔ cups (350g) warm filtered water (95º to 100º F)
  • 4 ¼ cups (500g) bread flour
  • 1 ½ tsp (9g) sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add the starter. Mix in warm, filtered water, stirring until dissolved. Add bread flour and salt. Stir with a dough whisk or wooden spoon until a thick, shaggy dough forms. Wet your hands, and finish mixing dough by hand. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

  2. Coax the dough from the bowl and stretch and fold the dough for 15 seconds. Grab part of the dough, stretch it out, push it into the center of the dough, then turn the dough 1/4 a turn. Pull, stretch, push and turn in a clockwise rotation. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise overnight (at least 8-10 hours).

  3. In the morning, lightly flour your counter-top and shape the dough by stretching and folding it again. Let the dough rest 10 minutes. Line a medium bowl with a towel or use a banneton with linen cover (see photo), and dust heavily with flour. Let dough rise in it for 30 – 60 minutes.

  4. Preheat your oven to 450º. Cover the dough bowl with a long piece of parchment paper, and turn it over onto the counter top. Slash the top of the loaf with a lame or sharp serrated knife. Gently lower the parchment paper dough into a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid (see photo). The pot does not need to be preheated.

  5. Add the covered pot the the oven and bake the bread covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake 20 minutes. Using oven mitts, carefully remove the bread from the pot and bake it directly on the oven rack for 10 minutes to crisp the exterior.

    Let cool for at least one hour before cutting.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Artisan Sourdough Bread
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 155 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 241mg10%
Potassium 42mg1%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 5g10%
Calcium 7mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Artisan Sourdough Made Simple

This recipe was adapted from the Everyday Sourdough recipe in Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa. I can’t recommend her book enough! It’s full of beautiful photos and delicious recipes.


Just look at this beautiful Artisan Sourdough Bread!

Cut natural yeast sourdough bread

Have an amazing day and Happy Easter!

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