Looking for an easy sourdough bread recipe you can follow from start to finish without all the confusing nonsense? Well, I made this blog post for you. This is my easy sourdough bread recipe and routine as a mom of 3 little kids. I also address common sourdough misconceptions to help you overcome your fear of sourdough so you can finally get started easily!
How I Began My Sourdough Journey
Like many people, I started my sourdough journey along with the rest of the world in 2020 😂. With not much else to do in the world, and all activities canceled, sourdough bread making became all the rage. Now, I should tell you the honest truth though. I actually stopped doing sourdough very soon after I started. I was so confused as to why I had to keep discarding perfectly good flour and water (aka starter). I also felt like I couldn’t keep up with the feeding. Every day was just TOO MUCH! But, hear me out. I had a lot of misconceptions about sourdough bread. All the reasons I stopped doing sourdough were truly not real facts and things I needed to be doing with sourdough in the first place. It wasn’t until I started using this easy sourdough bread recipe that I stuck with it and learned the simplicity of making bread.
Sourdough Concerns And Misconceptions
Here are the misconceptions we need to address now. Things that you don’t actually realize until you do sourdough THE RIGHT WAY. These are the misconceptions that kept me away from doing sourdough and I don’t want them to be keeping you away from it either! That’s why I created this easy sourdough bread recipe for you.
#1. You DO NOT have to throw away any of your sourdough starter.
If you have a mature starter you’ve gotten from a friend or family member then you do not need to throw away any of your sourdough starter when you go to feed it. The reason this gets confusing for some people is because when you are MAKING your own sourdough starter (aka literally starting with just flour and water) that is when you need to actively be feeding and throwing away starter. This is because each time you feed your starter (since it isn’t mature) you need to be feeding it equal parts water and flour. This means if you never discarded any of the sourdough starter you would end up having to feed it crazy amounts of flour and water in order to keep the proportions correct. Does that make sense? I listened to this Farmhouse on Boone podcast episode and she really explains this super well.
Moral of the story– if you have a mature starter you can just feed your sourdough starter with water and flour and mix it. Then keep everything and use it 🙂 that’s exactly what I teach you in this easy sourdough bread recipe.
#2. You DO NOT have to feed your sourdough starter every day.
As you can see in my easy sourdough bread recipe routine video, I store my sourdough starter in the refrigerator take it out, and feed it ONLY when I want to use it, which is normally once a week. So for instance, I will take out my sourdough starter on Sunday morning, feed it water and flour, mix it, and let it sit for four+ hours until it is bubbly and active. Then Sunday afternoon I will make use of some of the bubbly starter to make my easy sourdough bread dough. Then I will put the lid back on my sourdough starter and place it right back in the refrigerator.
#3. You DO NOT need to feed your starter before putting it in the refrigerator.
As I said above, after I use my fed starter to make my easy sourdough bread, biscuit, or cookie dough, I will just place it right back in the refrigerator without feeding it again. Hear me out though. If you used a lot of your sourdough starter for your recipe and you feel like you don’t have much left, then I would feed it a bit of flour and water and then place it back in the refrigerator so it is at a decent level. I hope that makes sense 🙂.
#4. Making sourdough bread takes so long.
If you scroll down toward the end of this blog post you can see how this is truly just a misconception. Yes, making sourdough is a process that overall takes a couple of days minimum, BUT the actual active kitchen time of you doing any sort of work is literally 30 minutes or LESS. This is why I love this specific easy sourdough bread recipe so much and I’m able to keep up with it while still being a very present mom of three.
Commonly Asked Sourdough Questions / Concerns That Are Holding You Back From Starting A Sourdough
Where do I get a starter or how do I make one?
Here are the best three options in my opinion.
Now, personally, it was very easy for me to get a mature starter because I have some friends and my sister-in-law who do sourdough. So if you’re on the hunt for a mature starter, I’d start there. Check to see if you know any friends or family in the area that have some sourdough starter you can have.
If you don’t have anyone in your immediate circle who does sourdough, the next place I’d start is looking at Facebook groups in your area. I know it might feel weird getting a sourdough starter from a random stranger, but the sourdough community is beautiful and filled with amazing people, so I wouldn’t be too worried. Obviously, go with your gut though 😄
If you don’t feel comfortable going to Facebook to find some sourdough, you can then try to start your own sourdough starter. I recommend getting the sourdough starter from Ballerina Farm. I’ve heard people have great success with this starter. You can follow the full instructions on how to start your own sourdough starter on her website here. She sells a dehydrated mature sourdough starter. That way all you need to add is water and flour and you should be good to go after a few feedings. This will be a lot less intimidating and way easier than starting your sourdough starter completely from scratch. Then stick with this easy sourdough bread recipe once your starter is ready to go!
Can I Make a Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter?
I have not personally done a gluten-free sourdough starter, but I know it can and has been done before. The blog Bakerita has a full blog post on how to make your own gluten-free sourdough starter. She recommends using whole grain gluten-free flour such as sorghum, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, or millet flour.
I also think using an already mature gluten-free starter would be really helpful if you’re just starting out. Here is a link to a dehydrated gluten-free sourdough starter. I really want to try this soon too! If you have ever done gluten-free sourdough, please let me know your success and what worked well for you in the comments! I’d love to hear and learn from you. Next time I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll definitely come up with a gluten-free easy sourdough bread recipe for you, so stay tuned.
How Do I Know When My Sourdough Starter Is Ready To Be Made Into Bread?
I love this question because it has a very simple and practical answer. If you’re wondering if your starter is active enough and ready to be made into an easy sourdough bread loaf, here’s what you need to do. Grab a glass of water and put a tiny piece of your starter in the water. If the starter floats, it’s ready to be made into easy sourdough bread. If it sinks, the sourdough starter needs to be fed a few more times in order to get a good rise on your easy sourdough bread.
Can I Switch What Flour I Feed My Starter?
Absolutely! If you’re using unbleached all-purpose flour and want to switch your starter over to a different kind of flour, you can just feed your already mature starter a different flour. For instance, feed your starter brown rice flour continually and you will eventually have a brown rice starter! This is also explained very well in that Farmhouse On Boone sourdough question and answer episode. I highly recommend giving it a listen. If you are trying to make a gluten-free sourdough starter from a regular one though, it still may have slight traces of gluten in it. So be aware of that and I don’t recommend doing it this way if you’re celiac or really sensitive to gluten. This easy sourdough bread recipe uses regular gluten flour.
How Much Do I Feed My Sourdough Starter?
There are a couple of ways to feed your starter. For this easy sourdough bread recipe, I love feeding my starter by how it physically looks. I don’t measure anything. I add the unbleached flour and water, mix it, and look at the consistency. It should look like a thick pancake batter. If you’re more of a measuring person, you can feed it equal parts starter, water, and flour. For instance, if you have a cup of starter, you can feed it a cup of flour and a cup of water. I feel like that makes it a little too runny for me. You can also try 1 cup starter, 1 cup flour, and ½ cup- ¾ cup water. Basically, if it looks like a thick pancake batter, you’re good and it should start bubbling up and doubling in size within 4-12 hours depending on the humidity and environment (sourdough loves humidity & warmth).
Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe
What I love about this specific easy sourdough bread recipe is that the only ingredients you need are fed and bubbly starter, water, unbleached flour, and pink Himalayan salt. I choose pink Himalayan salt for all my recipes! I’m obsessed with it. It has lots more vitamins, and minerals, and is less processed than regular table salt.
And a side note, did you know I also love drinking salt water to stay hydrated and for other amazing health benefits?! Drinking electrolytes (aka salt water) can help reduce headaches, aid in digestion, give you more energy, and so much more! The specific electrolyte company my husband and I love and have been using for over a year now is Redmond Relyte. You can use my code “CLAIRE” for 15% off your entire order of electrolyte drink mixes. They have so many delicious flavors. I’ve tried a lot of different electrolyte brands, but Relyte is BY FAR the absolute best tasting and has the best mixability (I’m not biased 😆).
Beginner Sourdough Bread Recipe
To be honest, this is only the second sourdough bread recipe I’ve ever tried and I loved it so much that I’ve stuck with it now for months. I find that this beginner easy sourdough bread recipe has the perfect structure and fluffiness. I also love that you only need your sourdough starter, water, unbleached flour, and salt. I would love to incorporate more whole grains into my easy sourdough bread, but at this point in my life, I am not ready to add another kitchen appliance. However, it is definitely on my list! I can’t wait for when I am able to grind fresh grains and add those to my sourdough bread recipes.
Health Benefits Of Sourdough Bread
So why even make sourdough bread, Claire? Oh, I’m so glad you asked! Here are a few reasons why sourdough is so great for your body…
Since sourdough is fermented, it contains lactic acid, reducing something called phytates in the bread. Phytates (or phytic acid) are compounds that block the absorption of nutrients. So, since sourdough bread has less phytates, our bodies can absorb way more of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in sourdough bread. WIN WIN!
Sourdough bread helps aid in digestion and contains “good bacteria” which act as a prebiotic.
Less of a blood sugar spike
Since the nutrients in sourdough bread are able to be absorbed in our bodies better than other breads, it has a lower glycemic index. Meaning, that your blood sugar won’t spike as badly after consuming sourdough bread in comparison to other white breads that aren’t fermented.
How To Make Easy Sourdough Bread
Here is a simple little breakdown of what my easy sourdough bread routine looks like. And when I tell you times they are VERY flexible. For instance, I usually make my dough and let it bulk ferment in the fridge overnight. Well, this week I made my dough, put it in the fridge, and didn’t get around to shaping the loaves for TWO DAYS. And guess what? The bread still turns out delicious and amazing. So don’t put so much pressure on yourself to do everything at specific times. If you are a busy mom like myself, do these steps when you have 2 minutes of spare time and your easy sourdough bread will turn out great.
What I Love About Easy Sourdough Bread
The flexibility of sourdough truly is my best friend. When I first started sourdough I was overwhelmed because it seemed like everyone doing it had it down to a science and timed perfectly. Well, I’m here to tell you that the beauty of sourdough is that it’s OKAY if you don’t do the steps in perfect timing. I couldn’t seem to find a recipe for easy sourdough bread. That’s why I created this specific easy sourdough bread recipe and routine for you and me!
What I love about my easy sourdough bread recipe is that each of the steps only takes 10 minutes or LESS. So you aren’t standing in your kitchen for hours on end kneading dough, baking, etc. Here is a little visual for you that I think might help give you a better perspective:
Activity Kitchen Time
Feed Starter- 2 minutes
Make Dough- 10 minutes
Stretch & Fold- 1 minute
Stretch & Fold- 1 minute
Stretch & Fold- 1 minute
Cover & Place In Refrigerator- 1 minute
Shape Loaves- 2 minutes
Shape Loaves- 2 minutes
Score & Bake- 3 minutes
Breakdown Of Each Step Of Easy Sourdough Bread Making
Feed Starter- I feed my starter based on looks. It should look like a thick pancake batter consistency. See the video for reference. If you’re more of a measuring person, you can feed it equal parts starter, water, and flour. For instance, if you have a cup of starter, you can feed it a cup of flour and a cup of water. I feel like that makes it a little too runny for me. You can also try 1 cup starter, 1 cup flour, and ½ cup- ¾ cup water. Or in grams, if you have 40 grams of starter and you want to try the 1:1:1 ratio, do 40 grams water and 40 grams of unbleached flour.
Make easy sourdough bread dough- follow the recipe listed in the recipe card of this blog post. I have all the measurements and steps listed there.
Stretch and fold- grab a portion of the dough, stretch it upwards, then stretch it toward the front of your bowl. Rotate your bowl and grab another section of dough, stretch it upwards and then fold it over to the front of the bowl again. Rotate the bowl again and repeat stretch and folds until the dough is feeling tighter and getting too hard to stretch and fold (4x) then let the dough rest. After it has rested around 30 minutes- 1 hour or more, repeat stretch and folds. Do this at least 3 times before refrigerating overnight.
Refrigerate overnight- this is called bulk fermentation. I cover my dough with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning your dough will look puffier and larger. This is good! I normally shape my loaves sometime during that next day. Don’t feel like you have to do it first thing in the morning. You can shape your loaves whenever you get a chance or right before dinner time to have freshly baked bread.
Shape & Score Loaves- first flour your bannetons or use a bowl with a floured kitchen towel inside. Then lightly flour your work surface. Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a floured surface. Split the dough in half if you’ve doubled the recipe. Then shape the loaves by stretching them into rectangles then folding both sides together toward the middle. Then rotate your dough clockwise 180 degrees and roll the dough up tightly. Then perform a series of tightening techniques by cupping the back of the dough and pulling toward yourself. Do this 3-4x until the dough gets tighter. Let the dough rest for 15-30 minutes then shape it again by repeating these steps.
Place Shaped Loaves In Bannetons To Rise Again– After shaping the loaves a second time, use a bench scraper to transfer the dough to a banneton basket, seam side up. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or bake right away. You can also cover the bread in the banneton with a plastic grocery bag and let it sit in the refrigerator for up to a week until you’re ready to bake it.
Transfer Bread To Parchment Paper, Score, and Bake– Get out a piece of parchment paper and gently transfer your bread dough onto it. Use a scoring tool or kitchen shears to score your bread. I usually do one large score that’s pretty deep on one side of my bread and then little wheat stalks on the other. You can score it however you’d like though! Transfer the parchment paper with the bread into your Dutch oven (I use a smaller 4-quart Dutch oven and love how it makes my loaves rise more instead of spreading and getting flat). Cover with the lid of your Dutch oven and bake at 455 degrees Fahrenheit for 27 minutes. Then carefully remove the lid and let it bake another 10-13 minutes uncovered to get that nice brown crust.
Let easy sourdough bread cool– I know this is probably the hardest part of the whole sourdough bread-making process 😆but lwt your easy sourdough bread fully cool before slicing into it (or at least 30 minutes if you really can’t wait).
Do You Bake Both Loaves At The Same Time If You Double The Recipe?
I don’t. You can have your loaves shaped and in their banatons or bowls, covered in the refrigerator to bake any day during that week. I find the best bread is when I bake it right after the bulk fermentation in the fridge, but I’ve kept shaped loaves in my fridge for a week and baked them and they still turn out great.
My Favorite Sourdough Products
When I first started making sourdough about 6 months ago (after trying it 2 times in the previous 2 years), I decided to just invest in a small sourdough starter pack. Boy, am I so glad I did this. It is the perfect way to save money on sourdough essentials and get everything you need all at once. This is the sourdough starter pack I purchased on Amazon. It includes everything you need besides a large mixing bowl, but chances are you have one of those already!
The only other sourdough product I purchased was a larger storage jar for my starter. I am also so in love with this purchase and have been using it for a few months now and never want to go back to mason jars 😂
I know I said most of you probably already have a large mixing bowl, but if you’re on the hunt for something, here are some really cute and functional mixing bowls with lids included!
Here are also my favorite Dutch ovens to bake the easy sourdough bread in. I use the 4-quart size which is the smaller one. I love doing this because it allows my bread to bake upwards and really get a nice rise instead of flattening in the larger Dutch oven. I love my large Dutch oven for all sorts of soups, chilis, etc. though, and use it very regularly.
Last but not least, is my kitchen scale. I love this one from Amazon and it’s worked super well.
I cannot wait for you to give this easy sourdough bread recipe a try! Please snap a picture and share it with me! Seeing your kitchen creations makes my day and encourages me to keep creating new recipes for you!
Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (Busy Mom Process Start to Finish)
Looking for an easy sourdough bread recipe you can follow from start to finish without all the confusing nonsense? Well, I made this blog post for you. This is my simple sourdough bread recipe and routine as a mom of 3 little kids. I also address common sourdough misconceptions to help you overcome your fear of sourdough so you can finally get started easily! This recipe makes 1 large sourdough loaf.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Ferment Time8 hours
Total Time9 hours10 minutes
1 cup (227g) fed and active sourdough starter (see notes)
In a large bowl combine your fed sourdough starter and water. Mix until combined.
Add in the unbleached flour and pink salt and mix until all flour is incorporated (using your hands is a great way to mix thoroughly). The dough will look very shaggy. Cover the bowl of dough with a kitchen towel and set aside to rest (anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours).
After your dough has rested, perform stretch and folds by grabbing a portion of the dough, stretching it upwards, then stretching it toward the front of your bowl. Rotate your bowl and grab another section of dough, stretch it upwards, and then fold it over to the front of the bowl again. Rotate the bowl again and repeat stretch and folds until the dough is feeling tighter (4x) then let the dough rest for another 30 minutes- 2 hours.
Return to your dough and perform stretch and folds from step 3 and cover and set your dough aside for 30 minutes- 2 hours. When the dough has rested, return to your dough and perform one more round of stretch and folds (a total of 3 separate stretch and folding times throughout your day. You can do more stretch and folds if needed or desired.)
Cover your bowl of bread dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight or a minimum of 4 hours until your dough has risen (this is called bulk fermentation).
The next day when you are ready to bake your bread, first flour your bannetons or use a bowl with a floured kitchen towel inside. Lightly flour your work surface. Remove the dough from the fridge and place on the floured surface. Shape the loaf by stretching it into a rectangle then folding both sides together toward the middle. Rotate your dough clockwise 180 degrees and roll the dough up tightly. Perform a series of tightening techniques by cupping the back of the dough and pulling it toward yourself. Do this pulling motion 3-4x until the dough gets tighter. Let the dough rest for 15-30 minutes then shape it again by repeating these steps. See video in this blog post for reference.
After shaping the bread loaf a second time, use a bench scraper to transfer the dough to a banneton basket, seam side up. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes- 2 hours. You can also cover the bread with a plastic grocery bag and let it sit in the refrigerator for up to a week until you’re ready to bake it.
Preheat the oven to 455 F. Get out a piece of parchment paper and gently transfer your bread dough onto it. Use a scoring tool or kitchen shears to score your bread. Move the parchment paper with the bread into your Dutch oven (I use a smaller 4-quart Dutch oven and love how it makes my loaves rise more instead of spreading and getting flat). Cover with the lid of your Dutch oven and bake at 455 degrees Fahrenheit for 27 minutes. Then carefully remove the lid and let it bake another 10-13 minutes uncovered to get that nice brown crust.
Allow bread to cool completely before cutting (or at least 30 minutes- 1 hour if you really can’t wait). Serve with grass-fed butter and enjoy! Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to a week. It is fantastic toasted.
How do I know when my starter is ready to be made into bread? I love this question because it has a very simple and practical answer. If you're wondering if your starter is active enough and ready to be made into an easy sourdough bread loaf, here's what you need to do. Grab a glass of water and put a tiny piece of your starter in the water. If the starter floats, it's ready to be made into easy sourdough bread. If it sinks, the sourdough starter needs to be fed a few more times in order to get a good rise on your easy sourdough bread.
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