The Easiest Sourdough Bread ever!

sourdough bread 1Do you have a sourdough starter ready to use but can’t find a simple recipe? Look no further. I have you covered!Last week I posted my how to make your starter and now we will use that starter to make delicious bread! Let’s get started.

Items You Will Need:

A large non-metal bowl preferably glass or ceramic (like this one)
Organic Flour (find some here)
Sea Salt ( like this one)
Your sourdough starter ( get my recipe here or purchase one here)
2 medium loaf pans (these are perfect)
Non-metal spoon (like these)

The Sponge:

The first step in making most sourdough recipes is to use your starter to create what is commonly called the Sponge. Next to the starter, the Sponge will have the longest wait time, but is very critical to the process and benefits of sourdough.

You will Need:

1/4 c. Sourdough starter
1 c. Water
1 3/4c flour

  1. In a bowl, put starter and water and mix well to saturate starter.
  2. Add flour and mix very well.
  3. Then knead for a couple minutes on a lightly floured surface. The dough will be kind of heavy and slightly tacky. You can also put everything in a stand mixer with your dough hook and knead until you have a nice ball.
  4. Put in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap.
  5. Let sit undisturbed for 12 hours. This maximizes the health benefits and really helps to develop the characteristic sourdough flavor. Don’t lessen the wait time!

The Sourdough Bread Recipe:

After all the waiting you are complaining there. This process is most like standard bread baking for those who have made homemade bread.

You will need:

4 1/2 c. Flour
1 3/4 c. Water
2 1/2 t. Sea Salt
Your Sourdough Sponge

  1. In stand mixer bowl (or large bowl), combine sponge and water. Saturate the sponge.
  2. Add salt and flour.
  3. Mix until you have a soft ball forming.
  4. Knead. If using a stand mixer, knead for about 2-3 minutes. Kneading helps activate the gluten to give you a beautiful rise and texture. If you don’t have a stand mixer, knead on a lightly floured surface for about 7-8 minutes. The dough should be soft, pliable, and just a little tacky.
  5. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. Depending on warmth of your kitchen and humidity, this can take anywhere from 1-3 hours.
  6. After the dough has risen, separate into 2 equal portions.
  7. Shape into loaves and place loaves into loaf pans that have been dusted with flour.
  8. Cover lightly with a towel and let rise until doubled. This usually takes 45-90 minutes.
  9. Finally, when loaves are risen, bake in a 400 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.
  10. Take bread out of loaf pans. Thump the bottom of the loaf (its done if it sounds hollow).
  11. Cool on a cooling rack for at least one hour. If you eat it fresh out often oven which you will tempted to do, it will taste very bland.

Congratulations! You have made sourdough bread! Other than some patience, it’s very simple and nutritious! Enjoy and let me know how yours turned out!

For more recipes, information, and ideas about sourdough check out these articles from my blogging friends:

Whole Wheat Sourdough Tortillas by Prairie Homestead

Tips for Using and Maintaining a Sourdough Starter by Our Heritage of Health

Another Sourdough Bread Recipe by Our Small Hours

Pumpkin Nut Sourdough Muffins by Reformation Acres

Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins by Fancy Nonsense

Sourdough English Muffins by Life From the Ground Up



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sourdough bread 2

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45 thoughts on “The Easiest Sourdough Bread ever!”

  • I have to be 100% gluten-free, so just ordered GF sourdough starter from Cultures from Health. I have a GF flour mix that says it can be used exactly like regular wheat flour cup for cup. So – do you think this recipe would work with my ingredients? I’ve never made sourdough anything before and am looking for an easy way to get started.

    • Honestly, Data, my experience with Gluten free flours, etc. is very limited. Try it and let me know how it turns out so I can link to the information. I know there are many GF readers who would love that information!

  • Do you ever go over the 12 hour waiting time for the sponge? I am having a hard time getting started because I so to want to be finishing the bread at midnight or 3 am! So I was wondering if the sponge can sit for longer than 12 hours and if you have the same success? Thanks!

    • Yes, Molly. It can sit for longer than 12 hours! I have had one for 18-20 hours with no problems, but the sour flavor is much stronger the longer it sits. I have also used it after sitting for 8-10 hours and it yielded good flavor and quality. However, I find that any less than 8 you lose flavor and quality. Sourdough can be very forgiving once you have a good starter going! I would love to hear how it works for you! On a perfect day, I usually make my sponge before bed and get up and make my dough in the morning and have bread baked by lunch, if that helps as well!

  • Does your sponge rise or stay the size it was when you first mixed it? My sponge was very moist. But I followed the directions completely. What kind of starter do you use? Because mine is already moist.

    • Sorry it took me a bit to respond. The sponge doesn’t really rise. Mine most often is moist and very bubbly. Sometimes it will “rise” but not very much it is just because of all the bubbles which means it is very active!

  • Hi, I just finished making 2 loaves of sour dough as per my recipe. The only difference was the time of rising. My starter is only around 10 days old so used 1/4 tsp of yeast in the mix. It took about 4 hours for initial rise after the 12 hour sponge. Then about the same for in the loaf pans, but they turned out beautiful. I used more wholemeal and grain mix as I prefer this and the starter was new but loved it. Very stickey dough to kneed but after the research I expected this. My previous bread was too crumbly due to the dough being too dry. Fantastic recipe

    • Thank you so much. I know lately with the cooler weather, my rise times have taken much longer! Now that spring is coming and the outdoor temperatures are rising, my loaves are rising better and looking more beautiful. Thanks for your feedback! I am glad you enjoy the recipe!

  • My bread is not rising. The sponge and the first rise all went well but then when I put them in the loaf pans they hardly rise at all. What am I missing?

    • Sometimes, the rise in the pans needs to be longer. I have had to let it wait about 2-3 hours before! These loaves are often denser than a traditional white flour loaf. They won’t completely double in size. Also make sure the area you are putting them into rise is warm. I will often sit them on my stove top while I am preheating my oven!

    • Yes, Brandie! It’s what I use as well. Stainless steel is generally non-reactive so is Okay. Just don’t use aluminum or other reactive metals.

  • I baked this with very nice results, substituting 1/4 cup ww & 2 tbls rye for the white flour for a more European style flour. Baked one loaf, refrigerated the rest and used it for pizza dough the next day

  • I am new to sourdough and have been trying different bread recipes. So far in the rising I end up with a dry thick hard top on the dough. I cover with a towel and I’m wondering if I need to cover with something else. Very frustrating. The bread inside is good just don’t want the hard crust.

  • Is it possible to freeze some of the dough? If so, at what point should it be frozen? I just made the sponge and realized I can only find one of my loaf pans!

    • Freezing sourdough will kill the active yeast. You can refrigerate it though for up to 3 days or cook it as a round loaf on a cookie sheet!

    • Freezing sourdough will kill the active yeast. You can refrigerate it though for up to 3 days or cook it as a round loaf on a cookie sheet! You can buy frozen dough, but it is usually already risen at least once before freezing.

  • Can I bake this in a ceramic crock instead of bread pans? If so what size? Would I still split the dough in two portions? I have a 2-quart or my crackpot insert. I only have 2 loaf pans but want to make 2 recipes since it’s so time consuming.

    • I know that it can successfully be done in a cast iron or ceramic dutch oven. I have a 5 or 6 quart and when I split the recipe into 2 loaves, I feel like they are a bit flat. You could quite possibly put the all of the dough into something about that size instead of splitting into 2 loaves.

    • I know that it can successfully be done in a cast iron or ceramic dutch oven. I have a 5 or 6 quart and when I split the recipe into 2 loaves, I feel like they are a bit flat. You could quite possibly put the all of the dough into something about that size instead of splitting into 2 loaves. For a 2 quart pan, I would definitely separate into 2 or maybe even 3 loaves to allow room for the oven spring

    • I have not had great luck with silicone baking pans of any kind. However, as long as you don’t exceed the recommended temperature for the pan (usually 400 or 450 degrees) you should be fine.

    • I have not had great luck with silicone baking pans of any kind. However, as long as you don’t exceed the recommended temperature for the pan (usually 400 or 450 degrees) you should be fine. Happy Baking!

  • Hi, does the sourdough starter that is used to make the sponge have to be bubbly and active or can it be used dormant straight out of the fridge? Thanks

    Will make soon

  • Hi, 1st off, THANK YOU so much for sharing your recipe & also replying to everyone’s questions & concerns, very impressive & appreciated!

    I, also have a question, isn’t it the “norm” to use a well fed & very active starter before using?? Everywhere I read they always say this…I’m confused.
    Thank you in advance,

  • I made this recipe for the first time back in July (I’m the one that asked about the silicone pans, which I did not use because I was nervous it wouldn’t turn out!). The two loaves turned out beautifully and delicious. In fact one loaf I gave as a gift wrapped in a linen bread bag tied with a bow! I’m making it again (sponge is nearly ready!) and wanted to give you a shout out since I didn’t before. For those concerned with time, for good quality anything, time may be in involved. However, this recipe is not difficult and easy to follow. Better than any store bought sourdough I’ve ever had! Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Just wanted to thank you. I have been making this bread for almost a year now and it has helped us to change our eating habits without any difficulties. It is the perfect sandwich bread which was really important because I have three young boys who needed to ‘ok’ it. And they LOVE it as does my husband who swears we can never got back to store bought. I usually use loaf pans but have done 4 long loaves beautifully and even epi shapes several times. Even with organic flour, I figure it’s less than $2 a loaf. What a savings from the equivalent at the store. Sourdough seemed so tricky but this is really such a simple process. I have let it sit for over 12 hours in sponge and almost 8 other times once mixed and it always turns out well. Perfect recipe for a busy household…
    Thanks for the blessing of great bread!

  • Thanks for the recipe. It turned out great for me, although I didn’t think to cool my bread out of the pans, so it got a little soggy on the sides/bottom. I’m assuming it will dry out a little if I leave it on a rack, at this point. 😛

  • Thanks for the info on the sponge. Helped a lot. Sponge and later dough had strong sour taste. Taste was very mild after baking. Any suggestions i.e. raise sponge longer, use more yeast. This happens when I don’t use a sponge but flavor not as well developed.
    Thanks for your help.

    • Sorry about the delayed response but I find that letting both the starter and sponge go longer help add the sour flavor. Also adding a bit of rye flour when you feed the starter.

  • I already have a good starter sitting out and i fed it last night can I just use that for my sponge? I’m just not sure how much to use.

    • Yes you can. The sponge is usually about 1.5-2.5 cups when fed (the lower amount is for if you use exclusively whole grain flour)

  • I am in the first waiting stage on baking day and wondered if your recipe produced a crisp crust? Normally I cook my bread in a Dutch oven or on a pizza stone – in which event I introduce moisture into the oven. The added moisture (apparently) gives you a crisp crust.
    Would appreciate your advice.

    • When I first published this post, I knew nothing about the addition of steam and its effects. Since I have learned and have lovely success using a tray of water in the oven to create the steam. I find it isn’t high enough hydration to really do a nice tartine style loaf in a Dutch oven though.

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