Easy Sourdough Recipe From Starter - The Outdoor Apothecary (2024)

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Are you intimidated by the thought of making homemade sourdough bread? Well, there’s no need to be scared with this super easy sourdough recipe from starter. This is one of the easiest sourdough recipes I’ve tried and is a great way to “get your feet wet” if you are brand new to bread-making.

This rustic no-knead sourdough bread has a chewy crust and a soft center, making it the perfect bread for sandwiches, and it tastes AMAZING paired with any kind of soup. It is pure comfort food!

Not only is this bread delicious, but it bakes up beautifully and is sure to become a staple of your self-sufficient house, not to mention it’ sure to impress your friends and family!

Easy Sourdough Recipe From Starter - The Outdoor Apothecary (1)

It's Easier Than You Think

To me, there is little else more comforting and homier than baking bread. It’s one of those old-time skills that our grandmothers’ perfected. I used to think that making sourdough bread was going to be time-consuming and extremely challenging, so for a while, I was reluctant to attempt it. Then a few years ago I made the decision to become more self-reliant and I knew that cultivating my ownyeast starterin order to bake my own bread was a necessary step on this journey.

Thankfully, I was wrong about the difficulty of baking bread from sourdoughstarter. It’s true that making sourdough bread takes a bit of time, but most of that time is spent waiting and is completely hands-off. And it’s definitely easier than I thought!

The key to that tangy flavor is the sourdough starter. You canmake your own,or if you’re lucky, you can get it from a friend.

Before making a sourdough recipe from starter, you want to make sure that yourstarteris active/healthy. You can tell whether your starter is active if the following are true:

  • Your starter doubles in size within 4-6 hours of each feeding
  • Your starter is full of bubbles that “grow” up the sides of your jar
  • When you place a teaspoon of the starter in a cup of cool water, it floats on top of the water

My starter is usually about the consistency of pancake batter with lots of visible bubbles throughout, but yours may be runnier, or even thicker. What matters is that it is active and bubbly when you’re ready to bake.

Keep in mind: It takes about two weeks for a sourdough starter to be mature enough to leaven (rise) a loaf of bread. But the wait is worth it– promise.

Sourdough Recipe From Starter

Once you have a batch oflive, active starter, making sourdough bread is actually very easy.

Step 1. Making the Dough.

  • To make the dough, combine some of the starter anda bit of warm water in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add a couple of cups of all-purpose flour and salt.
  • Form into a rough ball with your hands and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. Do not knead or overmix.

Step 2. Allow Dough to Rise.

  • After 30 minutes of resting time, you’ll want to stretch and fold your dough a few times and reform it into a ball.
  • Wash the bowl and spray it with non-stick cooking spray, or place a lightly floured cloth inside so the dough doesn’t stick.
  • Return the dough to the bowl or into a proofing basket (this helps the dough to retain its shape).
  • Cover it with a clean dish towel and let the dough rise and double in size for at least 6–8 hours or up to 24 hours. I usually prepare my dough in the evening around 8 pm and stick it in the oven (turned off) until the next morning when I get up (I’m an early riser, so like 6 or 6:30 am).

The longer it sits, the more sour your bread will be.We like a mild sourdough, so I let mine sit for no more than 10 hours.

Step 3. Let it Rise Again.

In the morning, your dough should be double or more in size from the night before, and you’ll be assured that your starter was indeed active!

  • Turn the dough out on your floured counter. Fold it over a couple of times to re-form it into a ball, then let it rest for 15 minutes.
  • After this resting period is complete, gently shape the dough into a ball once more and then place it into a well-floured proofing basket or a bowl lined with a well-floured dish towel. Remember: don’t add too much flour and do not knead the dough!
  • Cover and rise for 2–3 hours, or until doubled.

Easy Sourdough Recipe From Starter - The Outdoor Apothecary (3)Step 4. Baking the Bread.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. If using a Dutch oven, preheat it in the oven for 30 minutes prior to baking your bread.

You can bake your bread in an oven-proof bowl, loaf pan, or Dutch oven. ADutch Ovenhelps to trap steam inside – it’s this steam that is absolutely key to goodsourdough– it keeps the outside crust softer for longer as your dough expands with the heat.

Baking your bread in a Dutch oven will also result in a taller, more round loaf because the sides of the pan prevent the dough from spreading.

  • To prepare, simply sprinkle a bit of cornmeal on the bottom of your Dutch oven, then carefully dump the dough from your proofing basket or bowl onto a sheet of parchment paper. Lift the parchment and dough and place inside your Dutch oven. These steps ensure that the bottom of your bread will not become over-browned in the baking process.
  • Then, just before I put the dough in the oven, I cut a couple of slits across the top. (If you prefer, you can cut the slits before letting the loaf rise.)
  • Place the lid on your Dutch oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the loaf is deeply browned and crispy on top.

Tip: If you prefer a less crusty loaf, keep the lid on longer or the whole time.Move to a cooling rack and allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing it.

Easy Sourdough Recipe From Starter - The Outdoor Apothecary (4)

Once the bread is done baking, remove the loaf to a cooling rack.It cuts best if it cools for at least 30 minutes.

There you have it. Making a sourdough recipe from starter isn’t an exact science, so it may take you a few tries to come up with a loaf that your family likes the best.

You can make it more or less sour, with a softer crust or a crisper crust, just by tweaking a few steps. Have fun with it!

Easy Sourdough Recipe From Starter - The Outdoor Apothecary (5)

Storing & Freezing Sourdough Bread

For storing and freezing, be sure to wrap tightly with cling wrap or foil. You can also add it to a Ziploc bag after being wrapped to help stay fresh or freeze longer.

Tips for Working With Sourdough

Stickiness of the dough is a common challenge in the world of sourdough baking. The hydration level of your dough, which is the ratio of water to flour, plays a crucial role in determining its stickiness.

This sourdough recipe from starter has a relatively high hydration, which is great for achieving that lovely, open crumb and soft texture in your bread. However, it also makes the dough more challenging to handle. Adding more flour is one solution, but it can alter the final texture of your bread. Instead, you might want to try a few other techniques:

  • Wet Your Hands: Before handling your dough, wet your hands. This can prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers without altering the dough’s hydration.
  • Use a Dough Scraper: A dough scraper is an invaluable tool in sourdough baking. It helps in handling the dough and scraping it off surfaces without adding more flour.
  • Improve Your Folding Technique: Remember to NOT knead the dough. Instead of kneading, this recipe benefits from a series of folds. This helps develop the gluten network without adding more flour. Be gentle and patient; it’s about coaxing the dough into shape, not forcing it.
  • Flour Your Surface Judiciously: While you want to avoid adding too much flour, a light dusting on your work surface and the top of the dough can help manage stickiness during shaping.

Remember, sourdough is as much an art as it is a science. Each batch of dough can behave a little differently depending on various factors like room temperature, humidity, and the vitality of your starter. Embrace these variations and enjoy the process. With practice, you’ll get a feel for how to handle the dough in a way that works best for you. Keep experimenting, and happy baking!

Easy Sourdough Recipe From Starter - The Outdoor Apothecary (6)

Best Beginner Sourdough Bread Recipe from Starter

Barbi Gardiner

This is a basic sourdough bread that doesn't require kneading or complicated measuring and techniques. It produces a delicious, hearty loaf, perfect for people (like me) desiring a more self-reliant lifestyle.

4.22 from 19 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Course Bread

Cuisine American

Servings 12 slices



  • ½ cup active sourdough starter learn how to make sourdough starter
  • 1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt


  • In a large bowl, combine the yeast starter and water.

  • Stir in the flour, and then add the salt.

  • Use a fork to mix everything together until it becomes stiff– then use your hands to bring the dough together to form a ball, but don't knead or overmix!

  • Place the dough ball in the bowl, cover it, and let sit for 30 minutes.

  • After this resting time is complete, stretch and fold the dough a few times and reform it into a ball again.

  • Cover the dough with a clean dish towel and let it rise in a warm place overnight or until doubled in size (or about 8 hours).

  • The next morning (or after 8 hours), turn the dough out on a floured surface. Fold it over a couple of times to tighten it into a ball, then let sit for 15 minutes.

  • After this resting period is complete, gently shape the dough into a ball once more place into a well-floured proofing basket or a bowl lined with a well-floured dish towel. Remember: don’t add too much flour and do not knead the dough!

  • Cover and rise for 2-3 hours, or until doubled.

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F. If using a Dutch oven, preheat it in the oven for 30 minutes prior to baking your bread.

  • Sprinkle a thin layer of cornmeal in the bottom of a Dutch oven (optional, but this helps the bottom of your bread not to become over-browned).

  • Carefully dump the dough ball out of the bowl onto a sheet of parchment. Place the parchment and dough into the Dutch oven.

  • Place the lid on the pot and bake for 20 minutes.

  • Remove the lid and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the loaf is deeply browned and crispy on top. (For a less crusty finish, bake for the entire time with the lid on.)

  • Move to a cooling rack and allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing it.

Keyword bread, bread recipe, recipe, sourdough, sourdough bread, sourdough bread recipe, sourdough starter

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Easy Sourdough Recipe From Starter - The Outdoor Apothecary (2024)


What is the secret to a good sourdough starter? ›

There is no single best ratio, but I've found a ratio of 1:5:5 fed twice daily at 12-hour intervals to produce a sourdough starter that's strong and healthy. This ratio corresponds to 20% ripe starter carryover, 100% water, and 100% flour (a mix of whole grain rye and white flour) at each feeding.

What is the best flour for sourdough starter? ›

Whole wheat flour is an excellent choice for creating a sourdough starter due to its nutrient-rich composition and potential for fostering a robust microbial community. However, it's important to note that the quality of whole wheat flour can vary between brands.

What can I make with my sourdough starter? ›

10 ways to use up sourdough starter
  • Sourdough crumpets. Add your sourdough starter to crumpet batter for a super light and airy texture. ...
  • Sourdough crackers. ...
  • Sourdough pancakes. ...
  • Sourdough pizza.
  • Sourdough scones. ...
  • Sourdough focaccia. ...
  • Sourdough toad-in-the-hole. ...
  • Sourdough hot cross buns.

How to make 100% sourdough starter? ›

A "100% hydration sourdough starter" means it's 1 part water and 1 part flour. In other words, for every gram of flour there's a corresponding gram of water, hence 100% of the flour is hydrated. This is the easiest starter to maintain since most recipes are written with a 1:1 ratio in mind.

What makes a sourdough starter more sour? ›

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.

Do you add sourdough starter to warm or cold water? ›

You don't want to kill the starter - so just room temp or slightly warmer is perfect. Warm water is also useful if you're feeding your starter right out of the fridge. Similarly, if you are in a particularly warm environment, using cooler or cold water will slow the activity of the starter down.

Can I use tap water for sourdough starter? ›

*If making sourdough is new for you, do not be discouraged if you starter takes longer to get active than mine – stick with it, it will happen! *Tap water is usually fine, if you are not sure, use boiled and cooled water, you can use it at room temperature or cool; do not use distilled water.

Is unbleached flour better for sourdough starter? ›

“King Arthur Flour sells a fresh starter and it's made using their all-purpose flour, too.” The protein content of all-purpose flour varies between 9% and 12%, depending on brand, and while all-purpose flour can be bleached or unbleached, I decided against using bleached flour because the bleaching process depletes the ...

What flour makes the most sour sourdough starter? ›

Adding whole grain flour: Whole grain flour, particularly whole rye flour (pumpernickel), tends to promote more sour flavor in bread for two reasons. First, the type of sugars available in whole rye (or whole wheat) flour encourage a shift toward acetic acid production.

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.

When should you not use sourdough starter? ›

It's usually pretty obvious when your starter has gone bad. You will either see mold or discoloration (generally pink or orange). If you see either of these things, you will need to toss your starter. The smell is usually a big give away.

Why is sourdough starter so difficult? ›

Essentially making a sourdough starter is not an overly difficult process, but it does require a commitment of time and patience, as well as some dedicated equipment. Sometimes there are factors which mean making sourdough starter could be difficult. Perhaps you're working long hours or go out of town regularly.

What happens if you use too much starter in 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.

Can you add too much starter to sourdough recipe? ›

If you have too much starter compared to the additional flour and water you're adding, your hungry starter consumes all the nutrients and then it's not as bubbly.

What does baking soda do to sourdough starter? ›

because it reacts with the acid from the sourdough starter to create carbon dioxide gas, which provides leavening. You don't want to add baking soda to the starter you are maintaining, because baking soda will raise the pH. The yeast will not grow unless the pH is around 3.5.

Why doesn t my sourdough starter double in size? ›

Perhaps your starter at 100% hydration won't double but doesn't mean it can't make bread. You might have another problem… if your starter doesn't double, but is still healthy, and you're only feeding once every 24 hours while leaving it at room temperature then it might be starving.

What is the fastest way to activate a sourdough starter? ›

How to speed up my sourdough starter - Quora. If you want it to reach its maximum potential as quickly as possible, you need to keep it at room temperature, feed it every 12 hours, preferably with the same flour you intend to bake with.


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