Basic Sourdough Bread

Total Time:
1 hr 36 min
Prep:
30 min
Inactive:
1 min
Cook:
1 hr 5 min

Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
Directions

In an electric mixer with the dough hook, combine the flour, starter and salt, and knead until it no longer sticks to the sides or bottom of the mixing bowl.

Place a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle lightly with flour and knead gently, removing any large air bubbles. Knead into a small circle, then shape into a tight ball, pinching the seams together underneath. Place on a well-floured board or baking peel, seam-side down. Cover with a kitchen towels and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat a baking stone, if available, on the bottom rack of an oven at 400 degrees F. With a sharp, serrated knife, cut a large "X" or cross-hatch pattern into the top of the dough.

Spray lightly with a mister and transfer to the baking stone (or place on a heavy baking sheet lightly dusted with cornmeal) and bake until golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, about 60 minutes. (Sourdough should have a darker crust than other breads, so leave in the oven 5 minutes after you think it is done.)

Remove the loaf from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Basic Sourdough Starter:

In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit until the yeast becomes foamy, about 5 minutes. (If the yeast does not foam, discard the mixture and begin again with a new yeast.)

Add the flour and stir vigorously to work air into the mixture. Cover with a towel let rest in a warm, draft-free place (an oven with its pilot light or light bulb turned on works well) for 8 to12 hours. (The mixture should become very bubbly.) Use immediately or cover loosely with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

Preserving the Starter: Each time you remove a portion of the starter for a recipe, reserve at least 1/4 cup and replace the amount you have taken out with equal amounts of flour and water.

For example, if you remove 1 cup of starter, you must replace it with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water. Whisk these ingredients into the starter until blended but not completely smooth, cover loosely, and return to the refrigerator.

Also, the starter must be maintained by feeding it every few days. Refresh by removing 1 cup of the starter (give to a friend or discard it) and adding 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water. Whisk until blended but not smooth. Cover loosely and return to the refrigerator.

If you plan to be away longer than a week, freeze the starter in a sterilized, airtight freezer container. Thaw the starter 2 days before you plan to bake with it. Refresh as indicated above with 1 cup each of flour and warm water. Cover and leave at room temperature 12 hours or overnight before using.

CAUTION: Never keep your starter tightly closed! The gasses expelled by the yeast will build up pressure and may cause the container (such as a glass jar) to burst!

Yield: 5 to 6 cups Prep time: 10 minutes Inactive prep time: 12 hours


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3.6 69
Very good. Best bread I have ever made. Everyone loved it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I added a bit of buttermilk to my starter with the commercial yeast (gah Victoria!) fed it for a week and made the bread today. I agree with others, it was too dry to mix the dough using my bread machine (OMG also not traditional) so I added about a 1/2 c of water. As my starter was only a week old I also added about a half tsp. of dry commercial yeast. I set the bread machine on "dough" and let it go. At the end of the cycle (first raise) I took it out, formed it in to balls and put it in the oven covered loosely in plastic wrap with a pan of water on the next rack. Leaving the oven light on (makes it just warm enough) for about 90 minutes they doubled in size. Scored with hash marks, brushed with egg wash, sprinkled with Maldon salt and baked at 400F until brown and hollow sounding. (not an hour...more like 30 minutes) BAM! I have great sourdough bowls for stews. I guess that's why this recipe is ranked "intermediate" as you do need to modify as you go. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm gonna have to try this one again. I may have done something wrong on the 1st go. Not sure how they kill bulls in a slaughter house, BUT... if you hit a bull in the head with this bread he's at least goin' down for the count! The crust came out super hard! The inside has a good texture though. Wonder if 400° is a bit on the high side? Round 2 comin' up tomorrow! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This sourdough bread sounds super easy to make especially with this easy way of making sourdough starter. I can't wait to taste my first homemade sourdough bread. It's hard to believe that some people claim this is so hard, or takes years to master, when the instructions make it look so easy. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've been looking for an easy, real sourdough recipe. This is EXACTLY what I need! Thanks! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I used it with my wild yeast starter and this recipe worked just fine. Longer rising time of course, but it still worked out. (Hush, Victoria. Quit being such a purist.) Oh, and I added some herbs--parsley, garlic, rosemary. I could've eaten the dough it smelled so delicious. Highly recommend it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
So there is someone on here going ape crazy about it not being true sourdough bread. Fair enough assessment (except I don't care what it is called as long as it tastes good and I could care less about the science of yeast), but if you are looking for easy to find ingredients to make a delicious bread, then this is the recipe to use. I made a loaf and my family ate very last bit of it in 5 minutes (even the child that doesn't like bread threw down). I estimate that for all the listed items, this loaf cost about 75 cents, which is a great affordable compliment to a meal if you are on a budget. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Wow! This Sourdough bread recipe REALLY worked well for me. I'm going to add this to my regular recipe lists. I can make sourdough bread so easily now> Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/basic-sourdough-bread-recipe.html?oc=linkback item not reviewed by moderator and published
Good bread! item not reviewed by moderator and published
How is this a "sourdough" bread recipe when the "starter" calls for commercial yeast?????????? item not reviewed by moderator and published
If the bread tastes sour, it is because the starter (while crowding out ANY wild yeast that try to grow in it) may permit the growth of lactobacillus. Lactobacillus is the organism that we use to make yogurt. But this rapid-rise bread will not have the complex flavor of a real sourdough bread. item not reviewed by moderator and published
CAN WE PLEASE START USING THE WORD "SOURDOUGH" ACCURATELY? There are lots and lots of ways to make a bread taste sour. You could add yogurt to the dough. You could add pineapple juice. You could add vinegar if you want (it won't kill the yeast). But please don't claim to have made a "sourdough" bread. Baking a real sourdough bread is incredibly hard to do because wild yeast is unpredictable. A re item not reviewed by moderator and published
Chill out lady. For the basic majority, this is sourdough bread. Spend your energy on more productive things. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Wow! This Sourdough bread recipe REALLY worked well for me. I'm going to add this to my regular recipe lists. I can make sourdough bread so easily now> item not reviewed by moderator and published
Get a life lady item not reviewed by moderator and published
I agree with Victoria. item not reviewed by moderator and published

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