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Making your own bread is quite satisfying. Not to mention, you know what’s going into your food. No extra things or ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Some breads are quick and easy to make (biscuits, and our favorite no-knead cranberry crusty bread). Others can be pretty labor-intensive (think croissants).

While sourdough is an easy bread to make it does take time. Especially if you’re making your starter. You’ll need to plan at least a few days ahead of time but I promise you it’s worth it.

Today, we’re sharing how to make your own starter and first loaf of sourdough!


What it is:

Sourdough starter is a live culture of flour and water that ferments and cultivates natural yeasts. It’s the key ingredient for sourdough bread, focaccia, and pizza. Here are some steps for making sourdough starter:

1. Day 1: Mix 1 cup of flour with 1/2 cup of water in a non-reactive container. Stir until all the flour is hydrated and there are no dry clumps.

2. Day 2: You may see no activity at all in the first 24 hours, or you may see a bit of growth or bubbling.

3. Days 3–7: Discard most of the starter and feed it with flour and water. Repeat daily until your starter becomes active, and bubbly, and doubles in size after each feeding.

4. When it’s ready: Your starter is ready to use when it has doubled in size, has plenty of bubbles, has a spongy or fluffy texture, and has a pleasant aroma.

You can use your daily discards to make pancakes, waffles, and crackers or give them to a friend!

Making the Bread:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of active sourdough starter with 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water.
  2. Add 4 cups of bread flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt to the bowl.
  3. Mix until a shaggy dough forms.
  4. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour (this is called autolyse and helps with gluten development).
  5. After resting, knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  6. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise at room temperature for about 4-6 hours, or until doubled in size. You can also let it rise in the refrigerator overnight for a slower fermentation.
  7. Once the dough has doubled in size, gently shape it into a ball or loaf and place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in a greased loaf pan.
  8. Cover the dough loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise again for 1-2 hours, or until it has risen slightly.
  9. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).
  10. Slash the top of the dough with a sharp knife or razor blade to allow for expansion during baking.
  11. Bake the bread for 30-40 minutes, or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  12. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Enjoy your homemade sourdough bread!

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