Today Sandra shares with us another great post! Join us as she explains to us what sourdough bread is, why we should use it and how easy it is to make your very own sourdough bread. Lets get started!

What is sourdough bread?

This breadmaking method is believed to have originated back in 1500BC in ancient Egypt and remained the customary form of bread leavening until bakers yeast replaced it a few centuries ago.

By Wikipedia’s definition, sourdough bread is “made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occuring lactobacilli and yeast. It uses biological leavening rather than using cultivated bakers yeast.”

This yeast is known as ‘wild yeast’. It comes from what is known as your ‘starter‘. This starter replaces normal baker’s yeast in your bread recipe. To make your own starter, you would begin by mixing flour and water and allowing the naturally-occuring wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria to start fermenting the sugars, causing the dough to rise. This will take about five days until the live yeast and lactic acid bacteria in the flour have properly leavened.

Part of this starter is added to the bread dough as a replacement of your usual baker’s yeast. The starter is easy to make, and once you have done this, you will always have yeast ready for use. The rising process is long, yet it gives the bread a unique texture, taste, shape and nutritional value.

Sourdough bread is more digestible than regular bread because of the fermentation process that further breaks down gluten which can cause bloating or other digestive issues. The lactic acid also helps your body absorb more of the nutrients from sourdough bread than you would from regular bread.

How to make your own Starter

Jump to Printable Recipe
You will need:
  • 1/3 cup flour (I use rye flour to make my starter so that I can make 100% rye loaves, but any flour will do)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup measuring cup
  • small bowl
  • spatula
  • large glass jar with a lid (to make the starter you will need a large jar, but once your starter is fully developed it can be transferred to a jar of about 800g)
Instructions

Mix the equal quantities of flour and water together in the small bowl, getting most of the big lumps out, and transfer it into your glass jar.

Put the lid loosely on and set it aside on your counter. If you prefer, you can use a piece of cotton cloth over the jar instead of the lid – just make sure that the mixture can ‘breathe’.

Every day, for the next five days, you will ‘feed’ this mixture by adding 1/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup flour and mixing it in until smooth. You will begin to notice bubbles in your mixture starting to appear and a slight sour smell. Don’t be alarmed – bubbles mean fermentation is occurring, which is what we want. However, there should be no mould or foul smell. If there is, throw the mixture away and begin again. Ensure that your glass jar is thoroughly clean.

After five days, your mixture should be nice and bubbly and ready to use. You have just made your very own starter!

Bubbly starter ready to use in a bread.

Always remember to not use up all of your starter, but keep back a little bit for next time. Once you have taken out the yeast you need, always feed your starter. Remember that it is alive and you will need to keep feeding it at least once a week. You can keep the starter in the fridge in a jar with its lid on. The cool fridge will slow down its growth, but it will still be alive.

The day you need to bake, take out your starter, feed it and set it on the kitchen counter to rise.

Whole Rye and Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe

Jump to Printable Recipe

There are various schedules and ways to make sourdough bread, but this is the way that I find works best for me:

I take the starter out the fridge the day before I want to bake my bread. I feed it and I allow it to rise till it has doubled in size and is nice and bubbly. Then, that evening I will mix up my bread dough, cover it, and allow it to rise all night. The next morning, I bake it.

This process is easy to do, but it does take longer than instant yeast bread. Here follows the recipe for a delicious whole rye and wheat sourdough bread. This recipe makes two loaves or you can make one huge round loaf.

 Good brown bread and rolls, prepared in a simple manner yet with painstaking effort, will be healthful.

CD321.1
You will need:
  • 1 cup starter
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses (optional – for colour, flavour and nutrition)
  • 3 – 4 cups water (the water does not have to be warm)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups wholewheat flour
  • 2 cups rye flour (you can make it completely wholewheat – it would be 7 cups wholewheat flour altogether then)
  • large bowl with a lid
  • large spoon or firm spatula or kitchen scraper
Instructions

Put the starter in the large bowl with 1 cup of water and the blackstrap molasses. Mix well.

Add your salt and flours and mix it up.

Add the remaining 2-3 cups of water. The amount of water you add will be dependent on the type of flour you are using. Your dough must be moist and might even be a little sticky (rye flour is more sticky than wheat flour). You may use your hands or a scraper or even a spoon to mix it all up. There is no need to knead the dough very well or long here, just mix it up to incorporate all the ingredients.

Cover the dough with a lid and leave it overnight to rest and rise.

The dough after rising overnight.

In the morning, gently pull up the sides of the dough towards the middle and then divide and shape the dough into two equal parts if you are making two loaves (or shape it into one big round bread).

Gently pull up the sides of the dough towards the middle.
Shape the dough into two equal parts.

Work with the dough lightly. Wet your hands, or the utensil you are using, just slightly with a little water so as to work a little easier with the dough. Alternatively use a little bit of flour to dust your hands or the utensil, but don’t be tempted to keep adding flour. 

At this point you can leave the bread to rise overnight and bake it in the morning. Sourdough bread has a longer rising time than normal bread – it will take at least 4-5 hours.

The next morning, have your oven nice and hot at 200°C and place a small oven-proof bowl with some water in the oven for hydration and moisture.

Score your bread, or dust it with flour, or sprinkle it with sesame seeds, and bake it at 180°C for 1 hour until it is nice and brown.

Two loaves of bread, risen ovenight, scored in the morning, and ready to be baked!
Or … one large loaf, risen overnight, scored the next morning, and ready to be baked.

Your turn!

I find sourdough bread to be a real blessing. It helps my tummy, and I enjoy its texture and flavour. It is light and tasty, with the added benefit that it doesn’t go stale as fast as regular baked bread.

Religion will lead mothers to make bread of the very best quality…. Bread should be thoroughly baked, inside and out. The health of the stomach demands that it be light and dry. Bread is the real staff of life, and therefore every cook should excel in making it.

CD315.3

I hope you will try out this way of baking bread! Teach your children to bake good wholesome bread, along with the valuable spiritual objects lessons of Jesus, and may it be a blessing to you and your family.  

It is a religious duty for every Christian girl and woman to learn at once to make good, sweet, light bread from unbolted wheat flour. Mothers should take their daughters into the kitchen with them when very young, and teach them the art of cooking

CD316.1

How to make Sourdough Starter

Making sourdough bread requires a starter. This recipe is a simple starter made from flour and water.
Prep Time25 mins
Resting Time5 d
Course: Breads
Author: Sandra

Equipment

  • 1/3 cup measuring cup
  • small bowl
  • spatula
  • large glass jar with a lid (to make the starter you will need a large jar, but once your starter is fully developed it can be transferred to a jar of about 800g)

Materials

  • 1/3 cup flour (repeated for 5 days = 1 and 2/3 cup flour)
  • 1/3 cup water (repeated for 5 days = 1 and 2/3 cup water)

Instructions

  • Mix the equal quantities of flour and water together in the small bowl, getting most of the big lumps out, and transfer it into your glass jar.
  • Put the lid loosely on and set it aside on your counter. If you prefer, you can use a piece of cotton cloth over the jar instead of the lid – just make sure that the mixture can 'breathe'.
  • Every day, for the next five days, you will 'feed' this mixture by adding 1/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup flour and mixing it in until smooth. You will begin to notice bubbles in your mixture starting to appear and a slight sour smell. Don't be alarmed – bubbles mean fermentation is occurring, which is what we want. However, there should be no mould or foul smell. If there is, throw the mixture away and begin again. Ensure that your glass jar is thoroughly clean.
  • After five days, your mixture should be nice and bubbly and ready to use. You have just made your very own starter!

Notes

  • Always remember to not use up all of your starter, but keep back a little bit for next time. Once you have taken out the yeast you need, always feed your starter.
  • Remember that it is alive and you will need to keep feeding it at least once a week. You can keep the starter in the fridge in a jar with its lid on. The cool fridge will slow down its growth, but it will still be alive.
  • The day you need to bake, take out your starter, feed it and set it on the kitchen counter to rise.

Whole Rye and Wheat Sourdough Bread

Simple and no-fuss method: take the starter out of the fridge the day before you plan to bake your bread. Feed the starter and allow it to rise till it has doubled in size and is nice and bubbly. That evening, mix up your bread dough, cover it, and allow it to rise all night. The next morning, warm up the oven and bake your bread.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Resting Time1 d
Course: Breads
Author: Sandra

Equipment

  • large bowl with a lid
  • large spoon or firm spatula or kitchen scraper

Ingredients

  • 1 cup starter
  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses optional – for colour, flavour and nutrition
  • 3-4 cups water the water does not have to be warm
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5 cups wholewheat flour
  • 2 cups rye flour you can make it completely wholewheat – it would be 7 cups wholewheat flour altogether then

Instructions

  • Put the starter in the large bowl with 1 cup of water and the blackstrap molasses. Mix well.
  • Add your salt and flours and mix it up.
  • Add the remaining 2-3 cups of water. The amount of water you add will be dependent on the type of flour you are using. Your dough must be moist and might even be a little sticky (rye flour is more sticky than wheat flour). You may use your hands or a scraper or even a spoon to mix it all up. There is no need to knead the dough very well or long here, just mix it up to incorporate all the ingredients.
  • Cover the dough with a lid and leave it overnight to rest and rise.
  • In the morning, gently pull up the sides of the dough towards the middle and then divide and shape the dough into two equal parts if you are making two loaves (or shape it into one big round bread). Work with the dough lightly. Wet your hands, or the utensil you are using, just slightly with a little water so as to work a little easier with the dough. Alternatively use a little bit of flour to dust your hands or the utensil, but don’t be tempted to keep adding flour.
  • At this point you can leave the bread to rise overnight and bake it in the morning. Sourdough bread has a longer rising time than normal bread – it will take at least 4-5 hours.
  • The next morning, have your oven nice and hot at 200°C and place a small oven-proof bowl with some water in the oven for hydration and moisture.
  • Score your bread, or dust it with flour, or sprinkle it with sesame seeds, and bake it at 180°C for 1 hour until it is nice and brown.