A Step-by-Step Sourdough Recipe Guide

Follow our instructions for obtaining, maintaining and using a sourdough starter, plus get two easy recipes for making sourdough bread.

| December 2013/January 2014

Sourdough Baguette

A sourdough baguette is easy to make and even better to eat.

Photo By Tim Nauman

Sourdough is the original way to leaven bread, and evidence of it dates to 1500 B.C., when the Egyptians used blends of wild yeasts and lactobacilli to make both beer and bread.

When flour mixes with water, starches convert to sugars in an enzymatic reaction. The lactobacilli change sugars to lactic and acetic acids, souring the dough. As the dough becomes more acidic, the yeasts that tolerate acid begin to convert sugars into carbon dioxide and ethanol. The carbon dioxide makes sourdough’s characteristic holes, and the ethanol evaporates.

Here, we’ll show you how to work with starters, and give you two recipes to use them.

Sourdough Schedule

Because they are living entities, sourdough starters need care, and this may be where their reputation for being finicky comes from. Actually, caring for sourdough starters is easy: They just need regular feedings of flour and water.

Following sourdough bread recipes involves steps spanning more than one day, but these steps are not complicated.

One way to make sourdough bread recipes work with your schedule is to bake the bread when you have time and eat it later. Homemade sourdough bread stays fresh longer than other breads — up to a week, and baked sourdough loaves also freeze well.

12/7/2015 10:11:04 AM

Response to Pat 2/2/2015: check out Nancy Silverton's BREADS FROM THE LA BREA BAKERY for how to build a sour dough starter from scratch

2/3/2015 8:57:24 AM

Here's a lengthy article I found from searching our website: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/wild-yeast-zmaz80sozraw.aspx?PageId=3#ArticleContent And here's another: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/living-homegrown-catching-some-levain-aka-sourdough-starter.aspx There are a few more if you write "making sourdough starter" in the search bar, or similar terms. It's easier to use one that's already started, but a fun and easy experiment to see what yeast lives in the atmosphere around your very own place. Warning: Not all of them will taste great, however, but it's still interesting to see what you come up with. Nothing lost except a little flour and water! Good luck.

2/2/2015 5:44:38 PM

My Mama didn't buy a culture when she decided to make sourdough bread long, long ago. The recipes I've researched all have you buying some starter or getting some from a friend or fellow baker. Hey! Mama's gone now so I can't ask her how she made her own original starter, and I don't believe that everyone in this whole world, in the eons that bread has been made, bought or borrowed starter . Does Mother Earth News and/or its readers know how to make a starter from scratch?

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