There’s nothing “sour” about this delicious bread which produces one two-pound loaf! Make sure your sourdough starter has “worked” for at least a week; 12 days is ideal. From start to finish, this recipe takes close to four hours. Three hours are necessary for the rising time.
It makes a large loaf, so use a 9×5 loaf pan for a beautiful loaf of bread. It can be baked in an 8.5×4.5 loaf pan, too. Just know the dough may push out over the side of the pan.
The bread is very soft, moist and tasty. You will not taste anything “sour.” The main reason I use sourdough is to take advantage of consuming a fermented grain.
Since the baking temperature is high, the crust becomes quite dry. You can modify this by brushing the baked loaf with melted butter or olive oil. If you don’t use butter or oil, the crust will soften to a great degree within 24 hours.
As part of the method for this recipe, I use my bread machine to knead a portion of the ingredients for 15 minutes before adding the sourdough starter. This helps develop the gluten in the grain, contributing to a higher rise. You don’t have to complete this step but leaving it out may affect your final rise.
In the bread machine, you want the dough to ball up like this:
When you place it in your bread pan for the rise, it should look like this:
When it’s ready to go into the oven, it should be raised up like this – use a 9×5 bread pan to avoid having it come over the side of the pan:
3–3 2/3 cup flour
1 c water (filtered is ideal)
¾ teaspoon salt
3 T sugar, honey or maple syrup (optional)
3 T butter or oil (optional)
1 ½ c sourdough starter (leave out overnight at room temperature)
Place 2 cups flour, 1 c water, salt, sweetener, and butter/oil in the bread machine canister. Mix/knead for 15 minutes. Monitor the mixture throughout this time to ensure that the dough isn’t too sticky. It should pull away from the sides of the canister and form a ball of dough within the first 5 minutes. If the dough doesn’t ball up, add 1-2 T flour at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
Once the 15-minute mix/knead cycle is completed, add the sourdough and 1 cup of the remaining flour. Monitor the dough to ensure that it pulls away from the sides of the canister to form a ball within 5-10 minutes of mixing. If it’s too sticky, add flour 1/4 cup at a time to reach the desired consistency. If you haven’t used enough flour, it will fall over the sides of the pan as it rises (ask me how I know).
This dough will be somewhat sticky when it’s ready to go into the bread pan. However, you don’t want it to stick to your fingers when you handle it. If necessary, gradually add more flour to reach the desired consistency.
Place the dough in a well-coated loaf pan. Brush or spritz the top of the dough with butter or olive oil to help keep it from drying out while it rises. Place the pan in a warm location (oven with the light on is ideal) and put a towel over the top of the dough. Monitor the rise; don’t allow it become more than two inches above the side of the loaf pan, as it may fall when you bake it. It should rise to some degree during the first 15 minutes of baking.
Once the dough reaches a satisfactory rise, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bake the loaf for 35 to 40 minutes, monitoring the browning of the crust. Once it’s baked, immediately remove from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Once the bread is cooled, store in either a refrigerated bread keeper or bag it and store in the refrigerator.