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Beginner Sourdough Bread Recipe

RECIPE RATING
5/5
This homemade beginner sourdough bread recipe makes the most delicious soft on-the-inside, lightly crusty loaf of fresh sourdough bread. It's made with healthy ingredients like whole wheat flour and is naturally fermented with sourdough. So not only is it incredibly delicious but it's a microbiome superfood too! You'll love making this bread for healthy sandwiches, avocado toast, breakfast, and so much more!
Sourdough Beginner Bread

Beginner Sourdough Bread Recipe

This homemade beginner sourdough bread recipe makes the most delicious soft on-the-inside, lightly crusty loaf of fresh sourdough bread. It’s made with healthy ingredients like whole wheat flour and is naturally fermented with sourdough. So not only is it incredibly delicious but it’s a microbiome superfood too! You’ll love making this bread for healthy sandwiches, avocado toast, breakfast, and so much more!

Have been wanting to make delicious homemade sourdough bread but have been intimidated by the process of bread making? I was too! Truth be told, it wasn’t until I had a few loaves under my belt that I realized sourdough bread was actually pretty easy to make.

If you too have any fears around sourdough, bread making, or more specifically, sourdough-bread-making – I’m here to guide you along with my easy method!

Follow my bread-making method for the perfect loaf every single time. Crusty, chewy, soft sourdough bread that tastes absolutely incredible for breakfast, as a sandwich, or with your favorite dinner. This simple sourdough bread recipe only requires 4 ingredients and minimal tools.

✨Health Benefits of Sourdough Bread✨
Sourdough bread is unlike all other types of bread because it goes through a long and slow natural fermentation with wild yeasts and lactic acid bacteria (LAB). This ancient, 6,000-year-old tradition has remarkable health benefits.  A long and slow sourdough fermentation transforms wheat and other grains easy to digest because it degrades gluten, removes anti-nutrients, and breaks down FODMAPs and starches. Sourdough bread is also chock full of fiber, prebiotics, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it an all-around microbiome superfood.
Sourdough Bread

What makes this sourdough bread healthy?

This sourdough sandwich bread is made with nutritious flours that are naturally (and slowly) fermented with sourdough starter. The fermentation process creates remarkable health benefits because it eliminates antinutrients, unlocks vitamins and minerals, and degrades complex starches and proteins (like gluten!). And as a result, sourdough bread is rich in vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and is anti-inflammatory and gut healthy.

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF SOURDOUGH

Why we love it:

Bioavailable Nutrients like Vitamins and Minerals: Sourdough fermentation unlocks vitamins and minerals in grains like B-vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and manganese.

Anti-Inflammatory: Fermentation also reduces lectins, phytic acid, and other hard to digest anti-nutrients which makes valuable nutrients bioavailable and easier for your body to absorb. The fermentation process also breaks down hard to digest proteins like gluten.

Gut Healthy: A natural fermentation with sourdough starter breaks down antinutrients, enzyme inhibitors, lectins, and initiates the degradation of complex starches and proteins. This process neutralizes plant compounds that can inhibit digestion and negatively impact your health while making it easier to digest the carbs and proteins in grains. 

Rich in Prebiotic Fiber: Whole grains are packed with prebiotic fiber, and sourdough fermentation makes even more! Prebiotics stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria by providing food for the microbes in your gut. 

Boosts Antioxidants: Whole grains are an excellent source of antioxidants, and a natural fermentation process increases the antioxidant capacity of polyphenols and other beneficial phytonutrients. Lactic acid bacteria produce lactic acid, which acts as a powerful antioxidant too. 

Slow-Digesting: Whole grain sourdough bread is packed with dietary fiber, prebiotic fiber, resistant starch, and complex carbs. Fiber-rich, slow-digesting carbs provide more sustained energy and keep you feeling full longer. 

Nutrition Breakdown of One Slice of Beginner Sourdough Bread

Macro-Nutrients
  • 133 Calories
  • 4.8g Protein (10%)
  • 3.6g Fiber (13%)
  • 0g Sugar (2%)
Micro-Nutrients
  • 1.3mg Iron (7%)
  • 1.9mg Vitamin B3 (12%)
  • 0.1mg Vitamin B2 (6%)
Beginner sourdough bread nutrition

Sourdough Bread Baking Schedule

This is what a typical bread-making schedule looks like for me. Tailor this schedule to fit your needs! P.S. Temperature is one of the single most important factors that affect fermentation. The warmer your place, the faster your dough will ferment. So please use my schedule as simply a jumping-off point for your own.

Prepare sourdough starter
  • 9 PM: Prepare sourdough starter. Either feed your sourdough starter the night before to prepare or if your sourdough starter is in the fridge be sure to feed it every 12 hours, 3 days before you plan to bake.
Day One
  • 9 AM Mix dough, cover and let sit at room temp until it doubles in size (5-8 hours). Perform 3-4 sets of “stretch and folds”.
  • 3 PM Shape
  • 3 PM Place dough covered in the fridge for an overnight fermentation (10+ hours). This step is to develop flavor and nutrition… it’s optional, but highly recommended.
Day Two
  • 9 AM: Preheat oven + cast iron
  • 10 AM: Score and Bake!

Ingredients for Beginner Sourdough Bread

Here’s what you’ll need to make sourdough bread at home.

4 CORE INGREDIENTS

Equipment Needed for Sourdough Bread

  • Kitchen Scale – I recommend this digital scale or this non-digital scale
  • Proofing Basket – I recommend this brand. If you don’t have a proofing basket, I recommend using a Tupperware that is similar in size to the proofing basked and line it with a folded cloth so it cradle the bread. If you go this route, be sure to cover you bread with a cloth to keep it from drying out.
  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven – I recommend investing in this lodge cast iron. Using a covered cast iron will your bread the rise, crust, and tender crumb you’re looking for. 
  • Scoring Tool – I actually like to buy mine from Etsy sellers like this one but this one is also great. 
  • Dough Scraper

Tips for Making Sourdough Bread

What flour is best for this recipe?

A high protein flour is needed for bread making. You can use a white or whole wheat bread flour. King Arthur has a great bread flour that is usually widely available. I use this stone ground partially sifted whole wheat flour. I recommend using a blend of white bread flour and whole wheat flour.

Tips
  • If using 100% white bread flour, reduce the total water in the recipe to 74-75%.
  • A good DIY formula I would recommend is using 80% White Bread Flour and 20% Whole Wheat Flour (the whole wheat flour does not have to be “bread flour”)
  • If you’d like to use alternative flours too like Spelt flour, use 80-90% High Extraction or Bread Flour with 10-20% Spelt, Rye, or Buckwheat Flour. Start with 76 hydration for your first loaf and then work your way up.
When is bulk fermentation done?

The best way to tell if bulk fermentation is done is when the dough has doubled in size, air bubbles form on top, and air pockets on the sides and bottom. The dough should feel airated.

Why do you do an overnight proof too?

The proof is really where the magic happens. At this point, the dough has risen sufficiently, so we’re ready to slow that process down. The cold temperature of the fridge will drastically reduce yeast activity, and your dough will likely rise a tiny bit overnight. But the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) will work all through the night, converting simple sugars into lactic acid and breaking down gluten proteins. This microbial activity develops flavor, improves texture, and enhances the nutritional value and digestibility of bread

  1. The acids created by the LAB activate phytase, an enzyme that neutralizes phytic acid and increases the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals in the dough.
  2. Lactic acid bacteria degrade complex starches and proteins (like gluten) by chopping them up into simpler forms of sugars and amino acid chains that your body can easily digest. 
  3. During fermentation, lactic acid bacteria synthesize new B-vitamins, increase the amino acid content, including lysine and BCAAs, and boost the antioxidant effect of bread. 
Is an overnight proof optional?

I do not recommend omitting the overnight proof because of al the health benefits listed above and the improved texture/flavor of the final bread.

Can I autolyse the bread dough?

Yes, definitely! Most of the time I don’t autolyse for the sake of simplicity but It’s a great way to build structure in your dough prior to adding sourdough starter.

How do I autolyse my bread dough?

In a large bowl or Tupperware, combine just flour and water in a bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together until the dough fully absorbs the water. This will only take a couple of minutes, and there should be no dry patches left when you’re done. When you’re finished mixing, cover with a towel, plastic wrap, or use a lid if it’s in a plastic or glass Tupperware. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. 

Once your autolyse is done, add starter and salt on top of your dough. First, perform 4 sets of stretch and folds to distribute the salt and starter. Then using your fingertips, gently pinch them in until it’s the salt is dissolved into the dough. Lastly, end with another 4 sets of stretch and folds to ensure salt and starter is thoroughly distributed.

Looking for other sourdough bread recipes? Here are a few ideas:

Everything Sourdough Bagel

Step-by-Step Sourdough Bagel Recipe

French Toast Sourdough Bagel Recipe

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Sourdough Beginner Bread

Beginner Sourdough Bread Recipe


  • Author: sourdoughjesha
  • Total Time: 1 minute

Description

This homemade beginner sourdough bread recipe makes the most delicious soft on-the-inside, lightly crusty loaf of fresh sourdough bread. It’s made with healthy ingredients like whole wheat flour and is naturally fermented with sourdough. So not only is it incredibly delicious but it’s a microbiome superfood too! You’ll love making this bread for healthy sandwiches, avocado toast, breakfast, and so much more!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 360g Bread Flour (High Extraction Bread Flour, Bread Flour)
  • 40g Whole Wheat or Whole Grain Flour (10%)
  • 300 g Water (75%)
  • 80 g Sourdough Starter (20%)
  • 8 g Salt (2%)

Instructions

  1. Feed Your Starter: You’ll want to feed your starter about 8-12 hours before you plan to mix all of the ingredients together. Since this recipe calls for 80g of active, bubbly starter, it makes sense to feed at least 70 grams of water and 70g of flour the night before if you’re planning to mix the following morning. You’ll remove 80g the next day for this recipe, and you should have just enough on hand to refeed to maintain your starter. 
  2. Mix and Initial Stretch & Fold Set: Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix with your hands for a few minutes until all ingredients are incorporated. If using a dough mixer, you can mix the dough on low for 2 minutes. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, and then perfect stretch and folds for 1-3 minutes or until the dough feels smooth and it becomes difficult to stretch out. This process helps your dough keep its form through the bulk fermentation.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: Bulk fermentation is simply the process of letting your dough ferment at room temperature until it nearly doubles in size. It usually takes about 4-7 hours depending on the temperature of your home and the strength of your starter. For this step, you’re going to perform 3-5 sets of stretch and folds every 1hr throughout the duration of the bulk fermentation. You do not need to be perfect with timing when it comes to stretch and folds! It’s most important to get a couple of sets in during the beginning of the bulk. I don’t bother timing stretch and folds anymore just aim for at least 4 sets of stretch and folds.
  4. Shape: Now before shaping, you’ll want to prepare your proofing basket. Line your proofing basket with a kitchen towel or liner if you have one, and lightly dust with flour. Lightly flour your work surface, and sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough as well.
    1. Flip the dough over, laying the flour side down on the counter. Your dough should look like a long rectangular-ish shape.
    2. Grab the bottom edge of the dough and fold it up and over the middle to form a one-third fold.
    3. Now grab the bottom two corners and fold them towards the middle so they overlap.
    4. Now fold the top edge towards the middle about halfway.
    5. Now, stitch the dough by taking the top corners and folding it over itself. Repeat this fold until you reach the bottom – it’s sort of like rolling up a sleeping bag. When you’re done, pick up the dough and place it in the proofing basket, upside down, with the newly created seam facing up. Here’s a great shaping video for reference.
    6. When you’re done, pick up the dough and place it in the proofing basket, upside down, with the newly created seam facing up.
  5. Overnight Rise: Now it’s time to lay your dough baby to rest and pop her in the fridge. First, you’ll need to cover it to prevent the exterior of the dough from drying out. I use these elastic dough covers. After you’ve covered the dough, place it in the fridge and let it hang out there for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. 
  6. Preheat Oven + Cast Iron: The next day, Preheat your oven to 500 F and plas a cast iron pan with the lid inside for 30 minutes – 1 hour. When you’re ready to bake, remove your dough from the fridge. Cover your Tupperware/bread basket with a piece of parchment paper, and then place a cutting board over the parchment paper. While holding the parchment paper and cutting board against the Tupperware, flip it over and allow the dough to turn out. 
  7. Score Bread: Using a scoring knife, gently score your bread at a 45-degree angle, cutting just below the skin that has formed on the outer layer of the dough. This step will allow gases to escape while the bread bakes and prevent it from cracking in unpredictable ways. By scoring, we have greater control of the final product. Here’s a helpful video from Breadtopia on how to score a boule (tip: you don’t need to do a full cross-section like they do in the video. I just do one straight line).
  8. Bake: Quickly remove your Dutch oven from the oven while being mindful of letting as little heat escape as possible. Lifting from the parchment paper edges, place your dough in the Dutch oven, add the lid, and bake at 500 for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the lid, and lower the temp to 450. Continue baking for another 15– 20 minutes. The bread is done when the crust is a beautiful golden brown and the internal temp is about 208-210 degrees.
  9. Cool and Enjoy: Allow the bread to fully cool (at least one hour) before slicing into it. Or, don’t wait and cut into after 15 minutes. Slather with butter and serve with fried eggs. Cutting into it right away will yield a slightly gummier loaf, but NOTHING is better than fresh baked bread straight out of the oven!

Notes

  1. What flour is best for this recipe? A high protein flour is needed for bread making. You can use a white or whole wheat bread flour. King Arthur has a great bread flour that is usually widely available. I use this stone ground partially sifted whole wheat flour. I recommend using a blend of white bread flour and whole wheat flour. If using 100% white bread flour, reduce the total water in the recipe to 74-75%.

    A good DIY formula I would recommend is using 80% White Bread Flour and 20% Whole Wheat Flour (the whole wheat flour does not have to be “bread flour”. If you’d like to use alternative flours too like Spelt flour, use 80-90% High Extraction or Bread Flour with 10-20% Spelt, Rye, or Buckwheat Flour. Start with 76 hydration for your first loaf and then work your way up.

  2. When is bulk fermentation done? The best way to tell if bulk fermentation is done is when the dough has doubled in size, air bubbles form on top, and air pockets on the sides and bottom. The dough should feel airated.
  3. Why do you do an overnight proof too? The proof is really where the magic happens. At this point, the dough has risen sufficiently, so we’re ready to slow that process down. The cold temperature of the fridge will drastically reduce yeast activity, and your dough will likely rise a tiny bit overnight. But the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) will work all through the night, converting simple sugars into lactic acid and breaking down gluten proteins. This microbial activity develops flavor, improves texture, and enhances the nutritional value and digestibility of bread.
  4. Is an overnight proof optional? I do not recommend omitting the overnight proof because the myriad of the health benefits listed above and improved texture/flavor of the final bread.
  5. Can I autolyse the bread dough? Yes, definitely! Most of the time I don’t autolyse for the sake of simplicity but It’s a great way to build structure in your dough prior to adding sourdough starter.
  6. How do I autolyse my bread dough? In a large bowl or Tupperware, combine just flour and water in a bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together until the dough fully absorbs the water. This will only take a couple of minutes, and there should be no dry patches left when you’re done. When you’re finished mixing, cover with a towel, plastic wrap, or use a lid if it’s in a plastic or glass Tupperware. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Once your autolyse is done, add starter and salt on top of your dough. First, perform 4 sets of stretch and folds to distribute the salt and starter. Then using your fingertips, gently pinch them in until it’s the salt is dissolved into the dough. Lastly, end with another 4 sets of stretch and folds to ensure salt and starter are thoroughly distributed.

  • Fermentation Time: 18-20 Hours
  • Cook Time: 35
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About Jesha

Hi! I’m Jesha, the person behind @SourdoughJesha and the founder of Jesha’s, a sourdough food brand. Jesha’s makes the first-ever collection of sourdough baking mixes made from simple ingredients and naturally crafted with sourdough. I’ve been baking sourdough bread for over 6 years and I am here to teach you everything I’ve learned along the way so you can make amazing, healthy sourdough bread (and so much more!) with confidence.

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Hi! I’m Jesha, the person behind @SourdoughJesha and the founder of Jesha’s, a sourdough food brand. Jesha’s makes the first-ever collection of sourdough baking mixes made from simple ingredients and naturally crafted with sourdough. I’ve been baking sourdough bread for over 6 years and I am here to teach you everything I’ve learned along the way so you can make amazing, healthy sourdough bread (and so much more!) with confidence.

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