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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Sourdough Bread Cooking View

This, my friends, is the one.  The sourdough bread I’ve been searching for.  Quite a while back I made my own sourdough starter, which has been going strong ever since.  I’ve used it in many different recipes including waffles and various breads, rolls, etc.  I frequently make the sourdough recipe included in that post and while it is delicious, it’s not quite the bakery-like sourdough of my dreams.

Finally I found a version that turns out the kind of loaves I love.  The interior is tangy and chewy, yet still light and tender and it has a crisp golden crust that is firm but not too tough.  This recipe did require several rounds of minor tweaks and experimentation before I was totally satisfied with the results, but it was so worth the wait.  (Plus, even the imperfect versions were quite tasty.)  Good sourdough is a thing of beauty all on its own and we have been known to make a meal of it with just a bit of butter and a glass of wine to go alongside.  However, I also think it is the perfect vehicle for a killer grilled cheese, an awesome breakfast sandwich, and so  much more.  What’s your favorite thing to do with sourdough bread?

Sourdough Bread
Yield: 2 medium loaves

Ingredients

For the sponge: 

  • 1 cup fed sourdough starter*
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

For the dough: 

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tbsp. water (optional)

To finish:

  • 1 egg white lightly beaten with 1 tbsp. water
  • Water in a spray bottle
Cooking View

Directions

  • In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the starter, water, and all-purpose flour.  Mix together with a fork or wooden spoon until smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours.

  • Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and chill overnight, at least 12 hours.

  • Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and add the sugar, salt, and bread flour to the sponge.  Mix until a ball of dough begins to come together.  If some of the dry ingredients will not incorporate into the dough, add the additional 1 tablespoon of water to moisten them.  Continue kneading the dough (on low speed if using an electric mixer) until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes.  Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a large lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough once to coat in the oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in volume, 3-4 hours.

  • Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.  Transfer the dough ball to a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate the dough.  Divide the dough into two equal portions.  Working with one piece of the dough, press gently into a rough rectangular shape.  Make an indentation along the length of the dough with an outstretched hand.  Press the thumb of one hand along the indentation while pulling the upper edge of the dough down over the hand to enclose the thumb.  Tightly roll the dough towards you while forming into a rough torpedo shape, about 6 x 8 inches.  If there is a seam, pinch it shut.  Place seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat shaping with the other half of the dough.  Transfer the shaped loaves to the prepared baking sheet.  Cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in volume, about 2-3 hours.

  • Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Allow the stone to preheat for at least 20 minutes.  Just before baking, lightly slash the top of each loaf three times diagonally using a sharp serrated knife.  Brush the exposed surface of the loaves with the egg wash.  Spray the loaves lightly with water.  Slide the entire baking sheet onto the baking stone.  Bake the loaves about 28-32 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the crust is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 190˚ F.  Transfer the finished loaves to a wire rack and let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

  • *Fed sourdough starter should have a portion removed, new flour and water added, and then be allowed to sit at room temperature for about 5-8 hours.  Because of the timing of this particular recipe, I find it works best to feed the starter in the morning, proceed as directed with the sponge and overnight chill, and finish baking the loaves the following day.  The various rests are essential to help develop the proper “sour” flavor of the loaves. 

    **I like to store any bread we don’t use right away in the freezer.  I slice the loaf before freezing, store in a freezer bag, and then thaw a slice or two at a time as needed.

Source

  • http://profiles.google.com/abbylakers Abby Akers

    I just started making this bread too! It’s amazing. It makes fabulous french toast too!

  • http://twitter.com/cupcakesgarden Cupcakes Garden

    Yes! It’s always been real art baking perfect slice of bread! Your recipe sounds great! Try them as soon as possible!

  • Laura Angstmann Frank

    Thanks for this recipe! A grilled cheese on sourdough is heaven! Simple as that. And I have a story to go along with it.

    My sister lives in San Francisco, so I have been many times. On my last visit, my mom really wanted to take the trolley down to Fisherman’s Wharf, something I never wanted to experience because it was too touristy and just seemed annoying. Begrudgingly, I joined her. When we got off the trolley, we were starving and the nearest sandwich place was Boudin Sourdough Bakery. I ordered the grilled cheese on sourdough and my life changed forever. The best grilled cheese I’ve had in my life!

    I’ll gladly be a tourist for that sandwich again (but maybe not take the trolley).

  • Lcoudiere

    How do you like to keep your bread once you have cut into it? Do you store it in the fridge or on your countertop so that the bread keeps its nice texture?

  • Jill

    YUM!!!

  • annieseats

    I mentioned that in the post. We freeze it.

  • annieseats

    And, that just went on my must try list. Thanks!

  • Denise Wesely

    I stopped in the middle of my housecleaning and went and made the starter. I WILL be successful this time!

  • Helena

    Absolutely beautiful loaves. I’m off to make my first sourdough starter this evening. Yay!!

  • Pastrychef23

    Sourdough is God’s gift to the bread world. Living 1 hour north of San Fran, I am lucky enough to enjoy the best sourdough the world has to offer on a daily basis. And that bread, butter and a glass of wine (and maybe a hunk of triple cream cheese) are a frequent dinner delight. Did you know that San Francisco sourdough is the most sour, due to our own bacteria, found only in the SF bay area.(Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis). You should definitely put a trip out West on your bucket list and TRY THIS BREAD!

  • Whitt

    I just want to make sure I get this right, you take out a cup of starter straight from the fridge, add water and flour to the remaining starter, let it sit for hours and then remove the cup of fed starter for the sponge? At that point do you feed it again? Sorry, probably a dumb question but I’ve never ventured into sourdough before and I don’t want to ruin it if I can avoid it! Lol
    Next question, if that is the case, what do you usually make with the removed portion…waffles?

  • annieseats

    No, not dumb at all! I know it can be a little confusing, but you’ve got it all right. As for the starter you remove, you could do whatever with it – waffles, other breads that use unfed starter, and I’m going to share another use for it next week. Hope that helps!

  • annieseats

    Yay!

  • Heather W.

    I am so excited to try this! I made a ton of starter after your first post and it is still hanging on in the fridge. We make waffles every other week with it. My son gets so excited when he finds out it’s “Waffle Saturday”!

  • Ann P.

    Annie, thank you so much for meticulously testing these recipes out for us! I think you should be on the America’s Test Kitchen team. :) I can’t wait to try this out for my fiance’s family. they always eat sourdough!

  • Alysson

    yay! My favourite thing to do with sourdough bread is grilled cheese with caramelized onions

  • annieseats

    That would be so awesome! I love testing and retesting because it’s so great when you finally get it right. I hope you and Austin’s family enjoy it!

  • http://penniesonaplatter.com/ Nikki

    That’s so funny. I’ve thought the same thing as Ann P. recently! (about ATK) You’d be perfect, Annie! And, I can’t wait to try this bread. You really conquered it!

  • Danarodriguez

    Annie, so for the “fed starter”…..I am still a little confused.
    You make the starter and do it’s thing for a couple weeks as you explained in the previous post on sour starters. Then to make this recipe, you take 1 cup out and throw it away (or make pancakes) and feed the remainder starter the flour and water. Then it sits out 5-8 hours on the countertop. At that point you remove the 1c for the recipe? Is that right? So wouldn’t feeding the starter be best to dot he night before since you have to wait 5-8 hours to get the sponge for this recipe?

  • http://diaryofateenagebaker.com/ Christina

    Mmm sourdough bread is on my list of things to tackle. Thanks for the recipe! I’ve baked a lot from your blog, so you’re linked in my blogroll :)

  • annieseats

    Yes, you are correct on feeding the starter. No, the timing from that point on works much better starting in the evening. Unless you feel like getting up in the middle of the night to continue on with the recipe. Not me!

  • Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes

    Love sourdough bread! Definitely one of my favorite breads. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • emilylouiseb

    this sounds like it would be perfect for making homemade bread bowls!

  • http://noblepig.com/ Cathy @ Noble Pig

    There is nothing like homemade bread, especially sourdough!!

  • Christine

    Ooh! A must-try! I wonder if I can make these into bread bowls. I’m ready for fall!

  • Jules

    That looks AMAZING! Just like store bought, but I daresay a darn sight better for you. No ingredients I can’t pronounce. Kudos to you. Yum!! Now all you need is some warm spinach/artichoke dip to go with it. Double yum!!

  • Hippopotoart

    OH Annie! You do not disappoint! Born and raised in San Francisco, I’ve grown up addicted to sourdough bread, and more specifically, Boudin’s sourdough from the Fisherman’s Wharf. For my family and I, you do not (under ANY circumstances) serve seafood without a hearty helping (read HUNK) of sourdough bread on the table. It is the most AMAZING accompaniment to fresh crab, piping hot cioppino, and I dare not forget (Boudin’s signature dish) New England clam chowder served in a SOURDOUGH BREAD BOWL! Yes, it is heaven on a plate, in your mouth AND in your belly! It’s the battle of the coasts that accidentally got along, got married and became inseparable.
    I can tell just from your pictures that this recipe is, without a doubt, as close to the real deal as one will get without physically living in S.F.! Having lived away from “home” for over 5 years now, due to my husband’s career in the military, we have tried a good many of sourdoughs gone wrong from around the world and I am chomping at the bit to give this recipe a try and add it to our book of regulars! Thanks, once again, Annie, for giving this home cook one more fabulous reason to be giddy in the kitchen and helping to make dinnertime (in our house) an ANTICIPATED experience for all!

  • annieseats

    Aw, thank you!

  • annieseats

    Wow, you anticipated my post for today. Check it out :) http://annies-eats.com/2012/08/09/spinach-and-artichoke-grilled-cheese/

  • http://profiles.google.com/annedschwartz Anne Schwartz

    So I made the starter on Saturday and then you happened to post this recipe yesterday and so I went ahead and made it. I was scared when the loaves were ROCK hard coming out of the oven but I swear to god this is the best bread I have ever made (and I make amazing challah).

    Thanks so much for this recipe!

  • Keelin and Meaghan Hollenbeck,

    Wow Annie- I can’t wait to try to make this bread. Your instructions are always so great and easy to follow. my sisters, my mom, and I all love your blog! Thanks!

  • http://gemmasjourneyoflove.blogspot.com/ Gemma Hartley

    So from the comments before I understand the whole process of using the fed starter, but after you’ve removed a portion of the fed starter, I’m not sure how you tend to the remaining starter. Do you need to feed it again immediately (since you’ve removed a cup) or do you just put the remaining starter back in the refrigerator and feed it again in two weeks? I hope that makes sense. I just don’t want to ruin my starter for future use.

  • annieseats

    Please read the post on sourdough starter (linked above). It explains the feeding in greater detail. Good luck!

  • annieseats

    Have fun and enjoy!

  • Lindsay

    This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try and get my own sourdough starter going.

  • Jenni Ward

    Awesome post! I love love love my starter! Mine is almost a year old now, and I have made so many delicious breads and other things with mine! In fact, a friend and I started a group called Sourdough Surprises that we make non-bread things with our starters! We would love to have you join us! http://www.sourdoughsurprises.blogspot.com

  • spf

    FYI sourdough starter page isn’t loading- tried on several computers

  • annieseats

    I just checked and it’s loading fine for me. Not sure what the problem might be!

  • Megan Jenkins

    This recipe is a success! I was only able to have the starter going for two days (I just couldn’t wait, and wanted to take it to small group last Sunday. I used whole wheat flour in the starter and it worked out wonderfully. I’ve been feeding the starter with the same flour, and am getting a nice sour smell. When I went to make the bread, I used whole wheat flour for the sponge, and then bread flour for the rest of the recipe. Turned out GREAT! Rose wonderfully, full of nice air bubbles, and not dense like wheat breads can get. It had a nice tang to it, though I’m excited now that my starter has been getting nice and sour for a week to try this again. (my sponge is in the fridge now!). Just thought I’d thank you for the great recipe and tips, as well as informing others that you CAN do this with whole wheat. Perhaps I’ll try 100% whole wheat through the whole recipe, though most times that can make bread end up like a brick. Thanks so much Annie!

  • SK

    Just made this today. I dont have words to describe how good it was. Started the ‘ starter’ a week ago. I would say the result was phenomenal considering this is the first time ever I made bread. I made couple tweeks since i added whole wheat flour too. Made pizza with the same starter before I fed the starter for the sour dough bread. One word, insane. Meaning it was soooo insanely good. :-) once again thank you, so glad i found your blog.

  • Lauren Ochoa

    My bread came out crusty and delicious but seems to be lacking in the “sourness” department. Do you suppose if I took my starter out of the fridge and let it develop for a few more days the flavor might get more sour? Or should I start over?

  • annieseats

    Hmm, I’m not sure. I’m guessing it’s an issue with the starter but it shouldn’t really be that it needs to be out of the fridge longer. I wish I had a great answer!

  • Lisa

    Made this 2 days ago and it was fabulous! I didn’t bother freezing any because I knew my sons would finish the loaves off asap and I was right. I was at a meeting last night and my 13 year old started texting increasingly desparate messages about the sourdough… “Where is it? It isn’t gone is it??? Nooooo!” so I will be making again very soon! One question, how do you think it would work to try this recipe with the regular (not just fed) starter? Not sure of the reason behind it having to be just fed. Thank you so much for yet another wonderful recipe!

  • annieseats

    You really need to use fed starter so that it will rise properly, and so it has the right flavor. I’m glad to hear it was such a hit!

  • Alexis

    Hi Annie, last time I fed my starter I used white whole wheat. When I removed the cup to feed it, there was hardly any left and it was like a ball of dough once I fed it with 1 cup bread blour and 1/2 cup water. I went ahead and added a bit more water, is this ok?

  • annieseats

    I’m not sure, I guess you’ll just have to see what happens. Good luck!

  • Elyse Huey

    Made it with whole wheat flour (except for the bread flour) and it was delicious! I grew up in SoCal and now I live in South Carolina. You can’t buy sourdough bread like this in the stores out here. Answer to my prayers :)

  • Jules

    Hmmm….a successful sourdough loaf x2 later (hooray and yum!), and I am 2wks on, ready to discard my cup of starter from my reserve starter in the fridge and re-feed. But, alas! My starter seems to have formed a hard crust on top. Why? Is it still good? Or do I need to make another starter from scratch? :-(

  • annieseats

    The only reason I can think that it would have a crust is that it was not in an airtight container. Mine has been in a nice tight tupperware for close to two years and has not formed a crust. The starters are generally pretty hardy so I would guess you could remove the crust, keep what is liquid underneath, and maybe do a half feeding (without removing any) to replenish the amount a bit. Then, once that is done, I’d remove the cup, feed as usual, and then make the bread. I hope that helps!

  • Jules

    Thank you! Removed the crust, re-fed, and it looks pretty good. I had it in a snap lid plastic container, so I have no idea what happened. It looks ok now though. We’ll see when I use it in the next day or two!
    Thanks so much for replying! I’m so in awe of you…a full-time job, a Mum, AND an almost daily blogger and baker/creator. Where do you get all your energy and spare time to do all this? LOL Keep it up. I LOVE your page….it’s one of my permanent tabs on my computer :-)
    Jules

  • Stephanie

    Can you tell me how thick (or thin) the mixture should be when you make the sponge? Mine is thick almost like stiff cake batter, should it be more like pancake batter? I’m just not sure if it should be thinned out with more water. Thanks!

  • annieseats

    It will vary depending on the consistency of your starter. It doesn’t matter either way, you can make adjustments as needed in the dough stage. Enjoy!

  • http://twitter.com/RSMMOnline Marie Morgan-Roth

    New to sourdough making here and I was wondering if you should let the sponge come to room temperture before adding the rest of the ingreidients?

  • annieseats

    Nope, no need. Enjoy!

  • Scott_Barnhill

    Hi Annie,

    Thanks for taking the time for perfecting this recipe. I’m in the process of making it now for the first time. I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind.

    A section of the instructions left me a little puzzled. The part that
    states, ‘Press the thumb of one hand along the indentation while pulling
    the upper edge of the dough down over the hand to enclose the thumb.’
    is what’s confusing me. Exactly what do you mean by ‘pulling the upper
    edge of the dough down over the hand to enclose the thumb’? Sorry, I
    just can’t visualize this step. Do you have any images which would
    clear this up for me?

    Also, I wanted to ask if it would be allowed to cook the bread directly on the cooking stone (with parchment paper between bread & stone) instead of placing the baking sheet on top of the cooking stone?

    Thanks in advance for your help,

    Scott

  • annieseats

    Hi Scott,
    Sorry I hadn’t responded to your comment yet. I’ve been very busy and wanted to take time to give you a thoughtful response. The shaping of this bread is really not too complicated since it’s an artisan loaf, so don’t worry too much about it. However, what I do is to sort of deflate/flatten out the dough in a rough rectangle or oval shape with the long side facing me. Then, starting with the edge furthest from me, I roll it in a sort of very tight spiral until the loaf is formed. So when you fold the dough over your thumb, you are in effect starting the spiraling. Hopefully that makes a little more sense.

    And yes, you can definitely bake directly on the parchment on the stone. However, if you do that, make sure that when you shape your loaves you place them on the bottom side of a baking sheet so that there is no rim to prevent easy sliding from baking sheet to baking stone. (Or, just use a rimless baking sheet.)

    Enjoy!

  • Patty

    You. Are. Amazing. Thanks for the recipe and great instructions! I don’t recommend this being the first sourdough recipe one tries. (It was mine, it took twice!) But is the best ever!

  • http://www.facebook.com/zack.lessley Zack Lessley

    Hey there, I thought I should mention that I had interesting results when making the dough due to using a pretty dry starter. My starter is usually fed with a 1/2 cup of flour and a 1/4 cup of water, so I ended up needing to add in well over a cup (possibly two.. I was eyeing it) of water when I made the dough. My sponge was pretty darn stiff, stiffer than any dough I make. I generally prefer wet dough anyways, where it’s just dry enough to handle comfortably, but still pretty sticky.

    Hope that helps :) I just got done mixing up the dough and am letting it rest for a bit!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rsiewert1 Rosemary Siewert

    This was my first time ever, making sourdough and I was very pleased with the results. The dough was easy to work with and the loaves came out beautiful and my family had no trouble scarfing them down in a hurry! Thanks so much for your wonderful recipes. This one is a winner for sure!

  • Lisa

    I made this yesterday and the taste was great! I found my dough to be really soft and wettish. Was this the case for you?

  • annieseats

    No, but you control the consistency of your dough. If it is too soft or wet, add more flour a tablespoon or two at a time until it is a tacky and smooth but not sticky consistency.

  • Claudette

    Just tried this and the results were fabulous….just like the photo. I’ve been making bread for nearly 10 years now, and this is the best ever! Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!

  • annieseats

    Yay! So glad you enjoyed it. It’s one of my absolute favorites! I make it every couple of weeks at least.

  • Lisa

    Hi, sorry I wasn’t clear. It was really soft and wettish after the first rise. Is it OK to add more flour after this before forming the loaves? Thanks!

  • annieseats

    Ideally you shouldn’t be adding any flour after the rise, except of course for the little bit required to prevent sticking during shaping. So next time I would just aim for a slightly drier dough before letting it rise. Hope that helps!

  • amanda

    Hi Annie :)

    I have made my starter last week and am getting ready to bake my first sourdough! So excited as your recipe looks AMAZING. I have a question though. I do not have a stone for the oven. Do I really need one? Or can I just on a metal sheet with the parchment paper?

    Thank you so much for this fabulous recipe!

  • annieseats

    I really recommend a stone for best results, plus I consider a good baking stone a kitchen essential anyway. It will change your pizza and bread baking world! I love the large rectangular stone that Williams Sonoma carries and it is great quality (had mine about four years and it is still going strong.)

  • amanda

    I will look for one then. thank you! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/leslie.gulachekbrobeck Leslie Gulachek-Brobeck

    the first time i made this is messed it up. I added 3C bread flour for the dough instead of 2. thinking, “oh well, messed this up let’s see what this will do…” and added more starter to the hard, dry dough, about 1/8C at time till soft ball came through. proceeded with rest of directions. it came out so perfect. Then i made it carefully again 2 more times. it took the first rise 9 hours, formed loaves and 5 hours later it’s barely risen. I’m at a loss. bread flour is new. starter is fine. used ingredients in other breads already. I dont know what to do other than try my messed up recipe again! (giggle… )

  • mom244evermom

    Delicious! I don’t know if it was my new starter–I gave up on my old one a while back, pitched it, then regretted it and recently begged some from a friend, or the lengthy rising times, but it was noticeably sour. Definitely not unpleasantly so. My one issue was that the crust wasn’t quite as hard as I would have liked, not sure if that’s because it sat an hour or so before we ate it or not. I think I might like to play around with baking it in a preheated dutch oven, I’m not a fan of no-knead breads, but the crust is amazing.

  • Joe Richards

    Annie, love this recipe. Used to eat sour dough bread at Fishermans warf 30 years ago. Yours is probably the closest I have made. My sponge rises well, and my loaves do also, but my finished loaf is quite flat, few holes and a little doughy. I have done it 3 times, love the sour flavor, just wish it would would rise up a little more in final baking. Any thoughts?

  • annieseats

    Are you using the baking stone for baking? That is important. Otherwise, I’m thinking just be a little more generous with the flour next time to make sure the loaves are stiff enough to hold their shape. I had to play around with these a bit at first to find the right consistency, and my first couple of tries were flatter than I would have liked. Hopefully some experimentation will help. That should also help with the holes/large bubbles. Let me know how it goes!

  • Briar

    My first time ever making a starter/sourdough bread and it came out perfectly! Thank you for the wonderful directions and tips – really helpful!

  • Joe Richards

    Yes, using a stone, but putting bread on a cookie sheet and then putting on preheated stone. Do you cook directly on the stone? Just realised that I used all purpose flour on both, could this be the problem?

  • Brewed

    On a whim, I created a sourdough starter three weeks ago per the King Arthur Flour website. To my amazement, it worked! I gave it its first weekly feeding on Saturday and it exploded. That’s a good thing. Hmm… I had alot of fed starter on my hands. As a newbie baker I wondered “What to do, what to do?” Throw it away? Nah

    Long story short is that I made two beautiful loaves on the back of a cookie sheet from this recipe that exudes the essence of sourdough bread.

    If only I had a camera…

  • annieseats

    Sorry for the delayed reply. I don’t think that the all-purpose flour is the issue. I’m not exactly sure what to recommend because I don’t know what is causing the problem. I have found that erring on the side of more flour has helped in the loaves rising upward more than spreading out in my case, so maybe play around with that a bit. Good luck!

  • sarah

    This was my second time making sourdough bread, first time with this recipe and everyone loved it know need for any other recipe this is my sourdough for life it tasted amazing and I went and bought a cooking stone and have to say that my kitchen will never be without one from now on, thanks so much the institutions were very good which helped me a lot….

  • Jillian Connor

    Hi Annie,

    I made this sourdough with my new starter about a week ago and it was a huge hit in my family i am making it again this week. I loved the bread but i enjoy sourdough with a harder crust. Is there a way to achieve that with this recipe? i was thinking if i left out the egg wash at the end it might help or possibly kneaded the dough for longer. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks again for the great recipe!

  • Shana Wilson

    Hi Annie…I am so excited to make this! Question: I made my starter from your recipe and let it sit for the past 4 days. I just put it in the fridge this morning. Do I need to feed it and let it sit before beginning the process or is the starter I just made fine to use for the sponge?

  • annieseats

    You can leave it in the fridge now until you either use it or until it needs to be fed. However, keep in mind that some recipes call for a fed starter, in which case you’ll want to feed it, wait about 8 hours, and then use it.

  • annieseats

    Hmm, I’m not really sure. I actually think the egg wash makes a harder crust (I have tried this recipe without.) Kneading it longer would have more effect on the overall texture of the bread but not really the crust. I’m not an expert at bread baking but my best suggestion would be to maybe have the oven at a higher heat initially when you put the bread in, to get a good crust started, and then reduce the heat as indicated. You’ll have to play around with it though, and keep a careful eye to make sure you aren’t burning it. That’s my best suggestion. Let me know how it goes!

  • Liane

    Thanks for the recipe Annie – I’ve had a starter for a while (even brought it on vacation with me to Scotland). I wanted to answer a post below – to get the ‘harder’ crust, Jillian, you can place a baking tray in the oven before baking and place water in it up to the edge…the steam from it will help crust up the crust more than just spraying it with water. That’s what we’ve done with other breads in the past and it works quite well!

  • Colleen

    No additional yeast other than what is in the starter. Just wondering, your other recipe has 4 tsp and I have had success with that.

  • annieseats

    Not sure I understand your question…but yes, you are correct that there is no additional yeast other than what is in the starter. I strongly prefer this to the other sourdough recipe.

  • thomm

    We use a cast iron dutch oven and the crust is fantastic. Preheat the cast iron at 450 for about 30 minutes, tranfer dough into the cast iron and cover. Bake 30 minutes then remove lid and bake to internal temp of 200. Awesome results!

  • Casie Madsen

    You’ve inspired me! Just took the sourdough loaves out of the oven. (Hard to wait the 30 minutes to let it cool!) Delicious. Longest time I have ever spent working with bread, but totally worth it. Thanks!

  • Scott Emery

    Have you frozen the dough prior to baking? If so, what were your results?

  • annieseats

    If you want to freeze, I recommend baking fully, then slicing and freezing the sliced loaf (or whole, if you prefer). It’s nearly as good as fresh once thawed and rewarmed.

  • Tish

    Im in the process of making this, on the rise after adding the 2 cups of bread flour, and I was just wondering, is the dough supposed to be a little stiff? Im used to sourdough being a little more wet, I was afraid 5 total cups of flour might have been too much for the amount of liquid?

  • Tish

    Nevermind Im sorry I ever doubted! The end result was perfection! Have you tried making this in a sandwich bread pan? I love the taste, however my loaves didnt rise to the size suitable for sandwiches the size my husband is used to! Wonder if it would rise any better in a pan?

  • annieseats

    Glad it worked out! I tend to like the dough on the stiffer side, but just moist enough that the flour is all incorporated, so that the loaves don’t spread as much during baking. As for the loaf pan, I have never tried it myself but have often wondered if it would work. I don’t really see why not. Worst case, you have one failed attempt and then go back to the usual shaping. I have noticed that (in addition to the stiff dough), putting this dough and the shaped loaves in a very warm spot to rise helps a lot with the shape. If it is a sunny day, I leave mine to rise near the window in a sun spot and that always seems to do a good job.

  • Lydia

    Misting the inside of the oven with water might help make the bread crustier.

  • Hope Owsley

    Hi Annie, Just wanted to let you know I found your recipe about 6 months ago and we haven’t gone back to store-bought bread yet. Thanks so much!

  • annieseats

    Hope, thank you for letting me know how much you enjoy it! I just made some of these loaves today actually. We love it too!