New To Bread Baking? Start With This Everyday Sourdough Recipe (2024)

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April 18, 2020

Contributing writer

By Emilie Raffa

Contributing writer

Emilie Raffa is the creator, cook, and photographer of The Clever Carrot. She is also the author of The Clever Cookbook and Artisan Sourdough Made Simple. She was classically trained at the International Culinary Center and worked as a private chef.

New To Bread Baking? Start With This Everyday Sourdough Recipe (3)

Image by Emilie Raffa / Contributor

April 18, 2020

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Every baker needs an all-purpose, go-to loaf in their repertoire. And if you're new to sourdough, this is the perfect place to start.

Simply make the dough, let it rise overnight, and bake in the morning. It requires very little effort with big reward. The crust is golden and crunchy, and the velvety crumb is perfect for sandwiches and toast. Try a few thick-cut slices with creamy avocado and tomato or the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich you will ever sink your teeth into. This is my family's favorite loaf.

Everyday Sourdough

Makes one loaf.


  • 50 g (¼ cup) bubbly, active starter
  • 350 g (1⅓ cups plus 2 tbsp.) warm water
  • 500 g (4 cups plus 2 tbsp.) bread flour
  • 9 g (1½ tsp.) fine sea salt


  1. Make the dough:In the evening, whisk the starter and water together in a large bowl with a fork. Add the flour and salt. Combine until a stiff dough forms, then finish mixing by hand to fully incorporate the flour. The dough will feel dense and shaggy, and it will stick to your fingers as you go. Scrape off as much as you can. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Replenish your starter with fresh flour and water, and store according to preference.
  2. After the dough has rested, work the mass into a fairly smooth ball. To do this, grab a portion of the dough and fold it over, pressing your fingertips into the center. Repeat, working your way around the dough until it begins to tighten, about 15 seconds.
  3. Bulk rise:Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise overnight at room temperature. This will take about 8 to 10 hours at 70°F (21°C). The dough is ready when it no longer looks dense and has doubled in size.
  4. Shape:In the morning, coax the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. To shape it into a round, start at the top and fold the dough over toward the center. Turn the dough slightly and fold over the next section of dough. Repeat until you have come full circle. Flip the dough over and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, line an 8-inch (20-cm) bowl with a towel and dust with flour. With floured hands, gently cup the dough and pull it toward you in a circular motion to tighten its shape. Using a bench scraper, place the dough into the bowl, seam side up.
  5. Second Rise:Cover the bowl and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour. The dough is ready when it looks puffy and has risen slightly but has not yet doubled in size.
  6. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). Cut a sheet of parchment paper to the size of your baking pot, leaving enough excess around the sides to remove the bread.
  7. Score:Place the parchment over the dough and invert the bowl to release. Sprinkle the dough with flour and gently rub the surface with your hands. Using the tip of a small, serrated knife or a razor blade, score the dough with a crosscut pattern. Use the parchment to transfer the dough to the baking pot.
  8. Bake the dough on the center rack for 20 minutes, covered. Remove the lid, and continue to bake for 30 minutes. Then, carefully remove the loaf from the pot and bake directly on the oven rack for the last 10 minutes to crisp the crust. When finished, transfer to a wire rack. Cool for 1 hour before slicing.
  9. Sourdough is best consumed on the same day it is baked. To maximize freshness, cool completely and store at room temperature in a plastic bag for up to 1 day.

Reprinted with permission fromArtisan Sourdough Made Simpleby Emilie Raffa, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017. Photo credit: Emilie Raffa.

New To Bread Baking? Start With This Everyday Sourdough Recipe (2024)


What do bakers have to do for sourdough starter every day? ›

Maintaining A Sourdough Starter:

Leaving it out on the counter, it will need to be fed equal parts water and flour every 12-24 hours. Warmer homes or frequent baking will require more frequent feeding (around every 12 hours), while colder homes every 24 hours.

How do you use sourdough starter everyday? ›

A starter stored in the fridge will only require feeding once a week to maintain it. If you use your sourdough starter every day, keep it at room temperature. Follow the feeding instructions above and then leave it at room temperature. You will need to 'feed' it every day (at the same time, if possible).

What is the best flour for sourdough starter? ›

All-purpose Flour

It strikes a perfect balance of softness and structure, making it an ideal choice for various recipes. Due to its wide availability and affordability, all-purpose flour is often my top recommendation for creating and maintaining a sourdough starter.

What is the best flour for sourdough bread? ›

The best flour blend for creating a new sourdough starter is 50% whole-meal flour (whole wheat or whole rye) and 50% bread flour or all-purpose flour. I recommend a 50/50 mix of whole wheat flour and bread flour.

Do you have to discard sourdough starter every time you feed it? ›

It would be best if you discarded some portion of your starter each time you feed it unless you want to continue to let it grow. Eventually, you need to discard the used “food” (flour and water) that's been used to sustain your starter during the last fermentation period.

What happens if I forgot to discard starter before feeding? ›

If you didn't discard a portion of your starter each time you feed it, two things would happen: Your starter would grow to an enormous, unmanageable size. Your starter would likely become more and more inhospitable to the bacteria and yeast we want as the mixture would become ever more acidic.

What happens if I dont feed my sourdough starter every day? ›

Don't worry — everything will be just fine. A sourdough starter is often likened to a pet, but unlike a puppy, if you forget to feed it when you're supposed to, nothing bad will happen. Because even though starters are technically alive, they're incredibly resilient.

Is it OK to eat sourdough bread everyday? ›

Is it healthy to eat sourdough everyday? You could eat sourdough every day, but it isn't necessarily healthy to do so. A healthy diet is characterized by balance and moderation. Whether or not it is healthy for you to consume sourdough every day depends on the rest of your diet.

Can I use sourdough starter straight from fridge? ›

Yes, you can bake with sourdough starter straight from the fridge | King Arthur Baking.

What is the best ratio for sourdough starter? ›

Sourdough starters should be fed a minimum ratio of 1:1:1, meaning equal WEIGHTS of starter to flour to water. If you feed your starter this way and keep it at a consistently warm temperature 78ºF, your starter should peak and become active/bubbly in about 3-4 hours.

What happens if I put too much starter in my sourdough? ›

The colony of wild yeast and bacteria inside your starter jar are fairly resilient, however, like most living things, they can be overfed. When you overfeed a sourdough starter you dilute the natural population of yeast and bacteria, making your sourdough culture weak and inactive.

Is it cheaper to make your own sourdough bread? ›

So if you look solely at the ingredients, it is cheaper to make your own sourdough. But if you bring other factors into it - it might not be as cheap. This post aims to show you how you can bake a classic sourdough loaf with a little work and no fancy equipment.

What makes sourdough bread more flavorful? ›

Longer fermentation

As your dough proofs, the good bacteria eats up sugars and starches in the flour. This decreases the sweet undertone and creates a more sour undertone. The longer you ferment, the more starches and sugars the bacteria eats, and the more sour your bread will be.

What is the secret behind the sour of sourdough bread? ›

There are two main acids produced in a sourdough culture: lactic acid and acetic acid. Acetic acid, or vinegar, is the acid that gives sourdough much of its tang. Giving acetic acid-producing organisms optimal conditions to thrive and multiply will produce a more tangy finished product.

How can I make my sourdough rise better? ›

So don't leave your dough in a warm oven, on a radiator or in sunlight. It will likely be too warm and will dry out your dough too. Instead, find a cosy spot, with no drafts, for your dough to rise. And, if your sourdough starter is struggling to get going, consider finding it a warmer spot too.

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