Sourdough Bread

I have been making bread for about 10 years now, but have always put off trying sourdough, (although it is one of my favorites, probably from the German in me) until I went to a friend’s house and she told me how easy it is.  Catching a starter is the tricky part, and so she was kind enough to feed her’s and give me some.  Here is her version of a recipe from Bread Alone.  It is so tasty!

MK’s Sourdough Bread

The night before: Take starter from fridge and feed it.  A ratio of 2 cups, (whole wheat) flour to 1.5 cups water.  Leave covered on the counter overnight.

Next morning:  Put 18oz of starter in your bowl and place the rest of the starter back in the fridge.  Add 18oz of water and stir to mix.  Add 1 Tablespoon salt and 5oz of flour, (at this point she uses all-purpose flour.  I decided to just use whole wheat and the bread turned out fine, it just depends on whether or not you are okay with a denser loaf of bread.), mix.  Then add about 15-18oz of flour, pour out onto a table and knead in additional flour as needed.

Rest the dough in a greased bowl to rise, at least 2 hours.  Punch it down, knead a few times, and cut it into loaves, (either rolled and placed in loaf pans or shaped free form).  Let rise at least 2 hours more.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees at least 30 minutes before baking, (heat a baking stone at this time if you are doing free form loaves).  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy!

Have you ever made bread, sourdough or otherwise?

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About Erin Phelan

Born and raised in western Michigan, Erin came to Polyface first as an intern in the summer of 2009. While here she met and got to know Grady Phelan, an apprentice at the time. The next spring they were married and after a couple years in Oklahoma they are back, working as sub-contractors for Polyface. Erin keeps herself busy with the jobs of a wife and mother, as well as helping with the animals, gardening, sewing, cooking, baking, knitting and reading.

14 Responses to Sourdough Bread

  1. Marci says:

    Are all of your measurements by weight then? I make sourdough bread as well. I have never had a whole wheat loaf rise up as much as yours. 🙂

  2. I’ve made all our own breads for over a year now and haven’t looked back! But I’m also intimidated by sourdough. Maybe I just need to give it a try! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Heather says:

    I love real sourdough…I’ve had my starter for over a year now. I found the bread recipe that I like on the internet. Its great for sourdough pancakes too!
    I don’t measure the flour anymore…the bigger the batch I make the longer it takes to rise is all. I’ve never tried to catch a starter with whole wheat bread…I’ll have to give it a whirl!

  4. Caitlin says:

    I only make sourdough (I’m in San Francisco, so it’s the real deal!) I’ve always had trouble with whole wheat though. It never rises well. Will have to try this recipe. Thanks!

    • Erin Phelan says:

      Sometimes the altitude, outside temp, etc. can be a problem when trying to get bread to rise…

  5. Caitlyn M. says:

    I’ve been making bread for 7 years now, but sourdough is the only kind I have yet to make!

  6. EllaJac says:

    Oh, I used to make bread all the time!! 100% whole wheat, AMAZING recipe. Then we discovered a gluten sensitivity in one of my daughters… and I read Wheat Belly… and now I mourn the good ol’ Biblical wheat that I never really had…. :] I have done sourdough, and *might* try sourdough using Kamut sometime (Kamut is a wheat with 2 sets of chromosomes.. lacking a lot of the mutated proteins that cause a lot of the problems, though it still has gluten)… Oh I love bread. :]

  7. Ruth says:

    I’ve been making 100% whole wheat sourdough bread for over a year now. I love my sourdough so much I also use it to make my pizza crust, tortillas, pancakes, waffles, and raisin bread 🙂
    (if you’re interested, you can find my recipes here:

    I’m too lazy to knead it by hand, though, so I use my Kitchen Aid mixer. 😉

  8. Britt says:

    I make sourdough all the time. I love that I can make it without any sugar and that the rise time is more flexible (longer) than yeast breads. I’m looking forward to trying your recipe and Ruth’s as well.

  9. Jonathan Ogden says:

    What a great article Erin! I love when people share about sourdough and encourage others to give it a go!

    I love making sourdough bread. I acquired my starter for free a few years ago through Carl’s Friends. It has turned out great. Getting some from a friend is even easier.

    I bake my loaves in a dutch oven inside my oven – similar to the technique espoused by Jim Lahey (of Sullivan Street Bakery fame and one of the father’s of the no-knead bread technique) and Chad Robertson (of Tartine fame). It gives my loaves a crunchy element.

    • Erin Phelan says:

      Thanks 🙂
      I’ll have to try baking in a dutch oven next time, I love a crunchy crust!

  10. Wendell47 says:

    Thanks for accepting my subscription. Spent the morning following the various threads…I think that I will enjoy this in the future also: been making various Sourdough Recipes for many (35) + years. My wood stove seemed to produce the best environment for both starter, and final product!