This is my method for making tasty sourdough bread – I know there’s a million and one recipes and methods, which I have found completely overwhelming! As a mother of a toddler, I needed to find the *simplest*, lowest maintenance method for making sourdough bread, and this is what I have come up with. I’ve also included a recipe for making a quick starter, for those who have hectic schedules and may not be able to be consistent with the feeding/discard process of collecting wild yeast. A quick starter just uses store-bought yeast rather than wild yeast to start the ferment, and takes much less time.
Side note: I have tried making a starter with wild yeast (which is a several day process), just to see if there is any difference in quality and flavor of the bread and to my surprise, there was no discernable difference! I do recommend trying to make a wild yeast starter at some point though, just so you know how to make sourdough without having a pack of active yeast on hand – it’s empowering!
I’ve also included two bonus recipes – sourdough pizza crust and sourdough pancakes. Yum!!!
I hope you try your hand at making sourdough sometime if you haven’t already, and find ways to incorporate it into your kitchen witchery. It’s a wonderful way to connect with our ancestors (who almost certainly made bread and/or fermented foods), and to nourish our friends and family. You can also try adding chopped herbs, inscribing sigils on the loaves before baking (an exacto knife is good for this!), singing or chanting your intentions and blessings as you stir/knead the dough.
2 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- Pour 2 cups warm water into a wide-mouth glass jar.
- Add 1 package of active dry yeast, stir to combine.
- Add 2 cups flour, stir to combine.
- Cover jar with a towel and secure with a rubber band or kitchen twine.
- Place jar in a warm, dark place.
- Check jar periodically – once the starter is bubbling and double in size, it is ready for use. This usually takes 1-2 days.
- Use starter immediately or seal with lid and store in the fridge.
A note on keeping your starter alive: if you are baking bread every 1-2 weeks with this method, your starter should be fine. Otherwise, just make sure to remove 1 cup of starter and re-feed with 1 cup flour and 1 cup warm water, letting it sit out to ferment for a few hours, every 1-2 weeks.
Sourdough Bread (makes 2 loaves)
1 cup starter
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbs. sea salt
6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
*1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour and 1 cup warm water to feed starter*
Here is my general schedule for making bread –
Noon – early afternoon: take starter out of fridge, feed it with flour and water and give it time to start fermenting.
Evening: make bread dough, let rise overnight.
Morning: bake bread. Alternatively, if you want to bake your bread in the evening, you can punch down the dough, cover with plastic wrap or transfer to a sealed tupperware and store it in fridge. This imparts the dough with a more sourdough flavor, and is great for fresh baked bread for dinner, or to make pizza. If you put it in fridge, I recommend taking it out about an hour before you plan on baking to let it rise a bit again.
And here’s the full instructions:
- Remove starter from fridge, add 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour and 1 cup warm water, mix well and cover with a towel. Let starter ferment for several hours, until bubbly and doubled in size.
- Add one cup of starter to a large mixing bowl.
- Add 2 1/2 cups warm water and 1 tbs sea salt to mixing bowl, stir well to dissolve salt.
- Add 6 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour, and with a sturdy mixing spoon, stir well until flour is fully incorporated and the dough becomes a shaggy mass. This should take just a few minutes.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel, and let rise overnight.
- In the morning, punch down your dough and let it continue to rise for another hour or so. Or, if you plan to bake the bread in the evening, you can now transfer it to the fridge after punching it down. Side note – if I’m making pizza for dinner, I’ll divide the dough in half (you only need half this recipe for two personal pizzas), bake half for bread in the morning, and store the other half in the fridge for making pizzas that evening.
- After dough has risen for another hour (if baking in the evening, this would be an hour after removing it from the fridge), scrape it out onto a floured surface. Gently pull the sides apart to create a soft rectangle shape. Fold right side in to the middle, then the left side in on top of that. Then gently pull apart top and bottom sides and fold in the same way as you did with left and right.
- Divide dough in half for two loaves. For baking I usually use two skillets greased with some olive oil. Alternately, I have also used pizza stones lined with parchment paper.
- Gently fold under the sides of each loaf to form a smooth ball, and place on your skillet/pizza stone. Dust the top lightly with flour, and then scour with a very sharp knife or exacto knife. You can do one simple slash or something more decorative like a wheat design. This would also be a great way to incorporate sigils into your kitchen witchery.
- Cover both loaves with a towel and preheat oven to 350 degrees. This gives the loaves a little more time to rise.
- Once the oven is preheated, bake loaves for 1 hour or until the tops are just starting to turn golden brown and they make a hollow sound when you tap the top.
- Immediately transfer loaves to a cutting board or cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least 15 min. I love enjoying my first slice of fresh baked bread with butter and honey. 🙂
How to store your bread:
I have found that wrapping the loaves in a tea towel or paper bag is best, and then placing them in a bread box or cabinet. Fresh baked loaves release moisture for quite some time so it is best to wrap them in something breathable (as opposed to sealing in plastic), and placing them in a bread box or cupboard keeps them fresh longer.
Pizza Crust (for 2 personal pizzas, about 10″ diameter):
Start by preparing dough as you would for sourdough bread. In the morning, when you divide the dough, go ahead and bake one half for bread, and store the other half in a glass tupperware greased with olive oil, in the fridge. In the evening, about 1 hr before you plan to make the pizzas, remove dough from fridge, unseal and cover with a towel. Preheat oven to the highest setting, I think mine goes to 450 degrees. To make two pizza crusts, you’ll need two skillets or pizza stones. Lightly cover these with some corn meal. Remove dough from the tupperware and divide in half, placing each on it’s skillet/pizza stone. You can use a rolling pin to roll out the pizza crusts, although the dough is quite springy and I have found it more effective to just gently pull it out from the edges to flatten it instead. Perhaps someday I’ll be fancy and learn how to toss pizza dough. 😉 Once you have the desired shape and thickness (I usually stretch it to about 1 cm thick), you can add your sauce, cheese and other toppings. Once oven is preheated, bake your pizzas – the time will depend on how hot your oven can get. For mine, at 450 degrees, it usually takes about 10-15 minutes. I recommend setting a timer to check it every 5 minutes, and once the crust starts to puff up and the cheese is bubbly, it should be done!
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups milk (for vegan pancakes, use a plant-based milk like soy milk)
1 egg, beaten (for vegan pancakes, use 1 mashed banana)
2 tbs vegetable oil
- Remove starter from fridge about 1 hour before you are going to make your pancakes. Give it a stir and cover with towel.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and soda, sugar and salt.
- Add sourdough starter, milk, egg/banana, and oil. Mix until just combined.
- Grease your griddle or skillet (I use an electric griddle, and grease with coconut oil). Heat to about 300-350 degrees (or medium to medium-high heat on the stove).
- Ladle about 1/4 cup pancake batter onto griddle for each pancake. Flip once the top is bubbly and the edges start to look dry. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
- Serve with butter, syrup, jam, honey, fruit, etc, and a big cup of coffee. Yum! 🙂
And there you have it, my tried and true method for super easy, simple, tasty sourdough bread. If you have any questions, please comment below. And I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for making your favorite sourdough!