Natural Yeast Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Published Date: January 31, 2022 | Last Updated: November 1, 2023
I converted my classic white sandwich bread to sourdough years ago and somehow it’s even better than the original. The sourdough process takes more time, has a little bit of a learning curve, but it is SO WORTH IT! This recipe makes three loaves.
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I converted my classic white sandwich bread to sourdough years ago and somehow it’s even better than the original. The sourdough process takes more time, has a little bit of a learning curve, but it is SO WORTH IT! This recipe makes three loaves.

TRUST ME ON THIS! This natural yeast, sourdough sandwich bread is the best  recipe you will ever make of this kind! There is a reason that this recipe has gone viral and has a cult following. It will convert anyone who “doesn’t like sourdough” to loving it! It is the perfect mix of delicious, soft, kid-approved, everyday sandwich bread, all while maintaining the enchantment of natural yeast and a mild sourdough flavor. On a sandwich? life changing. Toasted with butter? Last meal worthy. It’s so good! 

Sourdough bread pic 2
Sourdough bread pic 3

LET’S CHAT INGREDIENTS…

SOURDOUGH STARTER

This is hands down, the most important ingredient in the recipe. Having a healthy, happy, active sourdough starter is integral in the success of this recipe. If your starter is weak or has a slow metabolism, it will not be able to successfully raise the dough. 

Before attempting this recipe, you may want to make sure that your starter is strong enough for the challenge.

SIGNS THAT IT IS ACTIVE AND STRONG INCLUDE: 

  • Doubling in size and filling with bubbles after a feed. 
  • Being on a regular feeding schedule, frequently being fed and not left neglected for long periods of time without reviving.
  • Float test: Fill a glass bowl or cup with room temperature water, and drop a spoonful of the starter into the water. If it floats, its ready to use. If it sinks, your starter may not be ready and will likely need more time and/or feedings to develop more air bubbles and become active. 

SIGNS THAT IT IS NOT READY TO USE AND NEEDS ONE OR MORE FEEDING(S) BEFORE IT IS STRONG ENOUGH: 

  • It is flat and runny with no bubbles
  • It does not rise in volume or fill with bubbles in the hours following a feed. 
  • It smells like vinegar or nail polish remover (a sign that it is over-fermented and very hungry)
  • There is a layer of liquid on the top of the starter 

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR STARTER ISN’T ACTIVATING?

  • Make sure you are feeding it with unbleached flour and filtered water.
  • Make sure that it is being left in a warm spot to ferment/activate (between 72 degrees and 75 degrees is ideal)
  • You can temporarily add a bit of whole wheat flour or ground rye flour into the flour used to feed your starter to give it a little extra nutrition
  • You can give your starter a series of “powerfeeds”: 1 Tablespoon of starter mixed with 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water. mix, cover and let sit at room temperature for 12 hours. repeat several times over the next few days.
  • Make sure that your starter hasn’t been contaminated with any type of cleaning products or anything made to kill bacteria. This will kill your starter! 

THE SOURDOUGH CIRCLE OF LIFE:

runny discard –> feed it flour and water –> mix –> give it time –> turns into bubbly active starter –> digests all of its food –> turns into runny discard –> feed it flour and water –> mix–> turns into bubbly active starter –> digests all of its food –> turns into runny discard –> REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT.

HOW DO I FEED MY STARTER FOR A RECIPE?

For this recipe, you will  need two cups of bubbly active starter. Figuring out how to feed and prepare your starter for a feed can be a bit tricky at first, but once you do it a few times, it will make so much more sense! 

I like to use less starter and more flour + water because that teaches the starter to digest a large amount of food and to have a strong appetite. 

for a typical pre-recipe feed, I like to combine 1/2 cup runny discard + 2 cups flour + 2 cups water. That’s a 1:4:4 ratio. 1 part runny discard: 4 parts flour: 4 parts water. No need to weigh your ingredients, just mix it together. We are going for a thick, pancake batter consistency, so if it is too thin, add a little more flour. If it is too thick, add a little more water. 

This will yield enough for the recipe, plus some extra starter to have on hand for reserve that I will keep in the fridge until the next time that I bake with sourdough.

You could also do a 1:1:1 feed or a 1:8:8 feed. The bigger the feed, the longer it takes to become active. The smaller the feed, the more quickly it will become active. 

Since I like to do bigger feeds, I find that it works best for my lifestyle if I feed my starter a 1:4:4 ratio or 1:8:8 ratio right before I go to bed. it will activate overnight and in the morning I can get started right away on making my dough. It will ferment/rise through the day and then bake it in the afternoon/evening. 

More on my sample schedule below! For now, let’s get back to the rest of the ingredients!

FLOUR

This recipe can be made from many flour options, such as bread flour, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour or Kamut flour.

BREAD FLOUR: Unbleached bread flour always tends to be my favorite for sourdough. The result just can’t be beat! This option contains more gluten in it than All-purpose flour, so the finished product results in a tall buoyant rise, and bread that is soft with a beautiful stretch. Many grocery stores sell bread flour. I most often make this recipe with organic bread flour that I get from a local mill, LEHI MILLS.*  (Affiliate coupon code is AMBERSKITCHEN for 10% off) I prefer their products because they source their wheat from farmers who do not use glyphosate on their wheat crop. 


ALL PURPOSE FLOUR:
This can be used as a straight across substitute for bread flour. It’s not quite as fantastic (in my humble opinion) as bread flour is, but is will work! Just make sure to use unbleached flour. 

WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR:
This can be used in place of bread flour, however generally you will need slightly less flour because of the weight and absorbency of whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour is a very thirsty flour! Instead of using 8.5 cups of flour, you may only need 7.5 or  7.75 cups. (Just an example, but be sure to check by texture when you are adding flour to see if you have the correct amount of flour).
When using sourdough and whole wheat, the rising time takes considerably longer, and it won’t rise quite as high, meaning the bread will come out more dense.  I think a wonderful compromise is to use half whole wheat and half bread flour. It will still take longer to rise but not as long as 100% whole wheat and you will still get the health benefits of using a whole grain. Another thing to note when using whole wheat, is that the flavor will be considerably more sour. 

KAMUT:
Kamut, or Khorasan,  is an ancient type of wheat that hasn’t been genetically altered as much as many of the common types of wheat we use today. It is very tasty and has a slight nutty flavor. For the most part, it can be substituted for all purpose flour- but not straight across. It is more absorbent than all purpose flour, so if you use kamut, reduce the total amount of flour by about 10%-15%. In my experience I notice that Kamut doesn’t rise quite as high and it can tend to be a tad more crumbly. I buy my regeneratively grown  Khorasan locally from KHORASANMILLS.COM (not sponsored)  I believe they ship all over the United States! 

SALT

I am very picky about Salt! I love to use fine sea salt from Redmond Real Salt. It’s the only salt I ever use! I love it because it is full of naturally-occurring trace minerals, it is pure, unprocessed, has no fillers, no anti-caking agents, no additives or unhealthy pollutants. Sadly most commercial table salt has a lot of not great things added to it, is processed, and has no trace minerals. Redmond real salt has been mined from an ancient sea bed in central Utah- making it true sea salt! I get my salt HERE*. To make it more cost effective, I buy in bulk and order a 25 POUND BAG OF SALT* every few years. I store it in mason jars and it lasts me a few years.

My affiliate Coupon code “AMBERSKITCHEN” saves you 15% on any Redmond products. 

*This is an affiliate link and I may receive a commission on your purchase. Thank you for shopping through this link.

WATER

Use room temperature to slightly warm water. The temperature matters! If it is too cold it will take too long for the bread to rise and if it is too hot it could aggravate or even kill the yeast. The slight warmth of the water will help the dough ferment a little faster.

Filtered water is always going to be the best choice. Chlorinated tap water can act as an anti-biotic to those delicate yeast stains and it can potentially weaken the strength of your sourdough starter and strength of your dough. If you don’t have access to filtered water, you can fill up a cup of water and leave it at room temperature for a few hours so that the chlorine can evaporate. If you go this route, don’t worry about warming the room-temperature water.

Out of laziness, I do occasionally use tap water on my starter and in my dough and it’s actually been fine. I hear from other sourdough bakers that their tap water either has no negative effect on their starter, or that it has had a strong negative effect. So while I generally recommend starting with filtered water, you may be able to get away with using tap water occasionally.  

Reverse Osmosis and Distilled water does work for some sourdough bakers, but doesn’t for many others because of the lack of minerals. If you are running into this problem, either experiment with tap water, or add a few liquid mineral drops to your RO/ Distilled water when you feed your starter.

HONEY

 I like to use honey not only because it’s a fantastic, healthy, lower-glycemic option, but also because the flavor of honey combined with sourdough is very complimentary. Although, you can easily sub straight across for granulated white sugar. I have also subbed straight across for coconut sugar many times. It turns out fantastic, and has a slightly lower glycemic index compared to white cane sugar. But just know this will make final product a much darker color. 

Because this recipe calls for a generous amount of honey, (3/4 cup for three loaves) you can absolutely use less honey if you would like. You can reduce the amount of honey to 1/2 cup or even 1/4 cup or skip it entirely. It won’t impact the success of your bread-making, it will only alter the flavor. 

The honey tends to cancel out the “sour” flavor a bit. If you use less honey, the bread will taste a tad more sour. 

EGG

The egg makes the texture of the bread soft and prevents it from getting crumbly.

*If* you cannot use egg, you have a few options!

#1 Skip the egg altogether. It will be fine without the egg. Really.

#2 Use 1/4 cup of Aquafaba instead of an egg. Aquafaba is water in which chickpeas have been cooked. Surprisingly, this liquid very closely mimics egg in baked goods. It is used widely in the vegan and egg-allergy community. To use it, simply open a can of chickpeas and drain 1/4 cup of the liquid and use that liquid in place of egg. 

#3 Use Flax egg  replacement instead of an egg. For flax egg substitute, simply combine 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed meal, (ground raw flaxseed)  and 2 1/2 Tablespoons water. Mix together and let sit for 5  minutes to thicken. This can be used as a substitute for one Egg.

A question I often get asked is if someone were to half this recipe, should they do half an egg or a whole egg? I tell them that the egg in this recipe is very forgiving, even if halving the recipe you could add an entire egg, or you could entirely skip the egg and it would still turn out great either way.

COCONUT OIL

Years ago, I used to make all my breads with vegetable oil. When I learned how *not awesome* vegetable oil is for my health, I decided to use melted coconut oil instead. I didn’t know if it would work, but to my surprise, it not only worked but it made the bread taste EVEN MORE INCREDIBLE. It didn’t make the bread taste like coconut at all. It was softer and had the most delicate crumb. Coconut oil is magic for bread. I have never seen anyone ever use coconut oil in bread recipes until I started teaching that in my recipes. Now it’s catching on everwhere like wildfire. You heard it here first! 

If you cannot do coconut oil, my next recommendation would be to substitute it straight across for avocado oil or melted butter. If you don’t mind using vegetable oil, you can go ahead and use that. 

INGREDIENTS BY WEIGHT

You don’t need to weight out every ingredient in this recipe unless volume measurements are not consistent in the area that you live in.  But for those who prefer weight measurements, here you go! 

Water: 578 grams, or 2, 1/2 cups

Honey: 235 grams, or 3/4 cup

Active Starter/Levain: 400 grams, or 2 cups (stirred down before measuring to deflate bubbles)

Salt: 16 grams, or 1 Tablespoon

Egg: 52 grams, or 1 large egg

Coconut oil: 71 grams, or 1/3 cup

Flour: 1320 grams, or 9, 2/3 cups

SAMPLE SCHEDULE

Figuring out the timing of making sourdough can be a little tricky, especially the first few times. It does get easier and you’ll be able to effortlessly fit it into your lifestyle once you get the hang of it.

Just as an example, this is how I often time my sourdough.

Monday 10 PM: Feed my starter. Combine 1/2 cup starter with 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of water. (1:4:4 Ratio) Go for a thick pancake batter consistency. Mix. Mark height of starter in jar or glass bowl with a rubber band or with a sharpie. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight.  Note: a 1:8:8 feed will take even longer to activate, and a 1:1:1 feed ratio will take less time to activate. 

Tuesday at 7:00 AM: Make sure starter is active. It should be doubled in volume, and full of bubbles.  If it isn’t, then do not proceed. Try feeding your starter again.

Tuesday at 7:15 AM: using the recipe below, make the dough!

Tuesday at 7:30 AM: Cover dough and let rise until doubled in volume. 

Tuesday at 12:30 PM: Form dough and place in loaf pans. *IF/WHEN* dough has doubled in size, then divide in three and form into three loaves  and into greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise again until doubled in volume.  If dough has not doubled, wait until it does!

Tuesday at 3:30 PM: BAKE! *IF/WHEN* dough has doubled in volume, then bake all 3 loaves in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until internal temp reaches 180 degrees. Remove from pans and set on cooling racks so there will be no condensation. Let cool at least one hour. 

Tuesday at 5:15 PM: Enjoy! When loaves are sufficiently cooled, you can CUT INTO THEM and enjoy!  I let my loaves rest on a cooling rack for a few hours, then I store them all in a PLASTIC TWIST TIE BAG . I freeze anything that we won’t use within 4-5 days. Everything else can be left at room temperature on the countertop, wrapped in a plastic bag.

CAN I REFRIGERATE OR FREEZE THE DOUGH?

Unfortunately, I have had poor, inconsistent results when it comes to freezing the dough to defrost and bake at a later date. For this reason I would not recommend freezing the pre baked dough.

When it comes to refrigerating the dough to slow down or pause the process, YES! you can absolutely refrigerate the dough. I think the best time to do this is after the first bulk rise but before you form into a loaf pan. 

You can follow the directions below for refrigeration. 

HOW DO I REFRIGERATE FOR A LONG FERMENT?

A long ferment of the sourdough can have some benefits, such as greatly reducing the gluten content in the dough. To do this, simply put your dough in an airtight bag or bowl, then refrigerate anywhere from 12 to 48 hours. 

After this time frame, remove the cold dough from the fridge, divide into three, form into loaf shapes and place inside of greased loaf pans. Cover them with plastic or a clean dish towel and let them 1- come to room temperature and 2- raise. Once they have risen to 75 or 100% in volume, it is time to bake them. 

HOW DO YOU STORE THIS BREAD?

When the bread comes out of the oven, I let it cool completely, then I slice it with THIS KNIFE* and I store it in a TWIST TIE BAG.* In dry climates, (like where I’m at in Utah) This bread is fresh at room temp on the countertop for 4-5 days. In more hot or humid climates, you may only get 2-3 fresh days out of it. Anything that we will not eat within the optimally fresh time frame, I bag and stick in the freezer. To defrost, I simply pull the loaf out of the freezer and set it on the kitchen countertop. It defrosts usually within 4-6 hours. I try and avoid ever microwaving the bread as that makes the bread dry and crumbly. 

*This is an affiliate link and I may receive a commission on your purchase. Thank you for shopping through this link.

OTHER WAYS TO USE SOURDOUGH

Once you get a hang of sourdough, it will become your best friend!

HERE are some of my favorite sourdough recipes. 

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

 

Natural Yeast Sourdough Sandwich Bread

THEE BEST SOURDOUGH SANDWICH BREAD. Hands down.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breads
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 19 hours
Total Time: 20 hours
Servings: 3 loaves, 36 slices

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups warm water
  • 2 cups active bubbly starter stirred down to deflate air bubbles, then measured
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 8 to 8.5 cups unbleached bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Activate your starter by feeding it so you have a total volume of at least 2 cups. When your starter is active, bubbly, and doubled in size after the feed, it’s time to start making the dough. (see sample schedule above) 
  • In a large bowl or if using a mixer, combine 2 cups of active bubbly starter with the water, honey, oil, egg and salt. Mix gently to combine. 
  • Add the flour one cup at a time, while mixing. When the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, is tacky but doesn’t stick to your fingers then it has enough flour.
  • Knead the dough for 5-15 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. This can be done either by hand on the countertop, or can be done using a bosch mixer or a kitchenaid pro mixer. Note that the dough may need a tad more flour if the dough hydrates while kneading. Go for "tacky" dough that's neither overly sticky, or dry. 
  • Cover dough with either plastic or a clean dish towel and let rise until doubled in size. (*you can skip this first rise if needed, but for optimal fermentation and flavor, it’s favorable to keep it*) Note: the dough will rise best between 72 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • When the dough has doubled in size, dump it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in three equal portions. Form into a tight oval and place each in a greased loaf pan. {loaf pan size: 1.5 quarts, 8×4 inches or 9×5 inches} 
  • Cover dough and let rise until doubled a second time. This may take anywhere from 3-12 hours. Be patient and do not bake it unless it has risen! If it doesn’t rise then your starter may need some power feeds to strengthen it.
  • Once it has doubled, bake at 375° F for 30-35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees. If the tops of your loaves are browning too much, you can lay a flat sheet of aluminum foil on top of the loaves, but add two minutes to the baking time if you cover with foil. 
  • Remove loaves from the oven, remove loaves from pans and let cool completely, (about one hour) on  a cooling rack before slicing. 
  • Store in plastic twist tie bags at room temp. Freeze loaves that won’t get eaten in 4-5 days. 
  • This bread makes the best sandwiches, and the best toast! 

Notes

SAMPLE SCHEDULE

Figuring out the timing of making sourdough can be a little tricky, especially the first few times. It does get easier and you'll be able to effortlessly fit it into your lifestyle once you get the hang of it.
Just as an example, this is how I often time my sourdough.
Monday 10 PM: Feed my starter. Combine 1/2 cup starter with 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of water. (1:4:4 Ratio) Go for a thick pancake batter consistency. Mix. Mark height of starter in jar or glass bowl with a rubber band or with a sharpie. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight.  Note: a 1:8:8 feed will take even longer to activate, and a 1:1:1 feed ratio will take less time to activate. 
Tuesday at 7:00 AM: Make sure starter is active. It should be doubled in volume, and full of bubbles.  If it isn't, then do not proceed. Try feeding your starter again.
Tuesday at 7:15 AM: using the recipe below, make the dough!
Tuesday at 7:30 AM: Cover dough and let rise until doubled in volume. 
Tuesday at 12:30 PM: Form dough and place in loaf pans. *IF/WHEN* dough has doubled in size, then divide in three and form into three loaves  and into greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise again until doubled in volume.  If dough has not doubled, wait until it does!
Tuesday at 3:30 PM: BAKE! *IF/WHEN* dough has doubled in volume, then bake all 3 loaves in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until internal temp reaches 180 degrees. Remove from pans and set on cooling racks so there will be no condensation. Let cool at least one hour. 
Tuesday at 5:15 PM: Enjoy! When loaves are sufficiently cooled, you can cut into them and enjoy!  I let my loaves rest on a cooling rack for a few hours, then I store them all in a plastic twist tie bag . I freeze anything that we won't use within 4-5 days. Everything else can be left at room temperature on the countertop, wrapped in a plastic bag.
Can I refrigerate or freeze the dough?
Unfortunately, I have had poor, inconsistent results when it comes to freezing the dough to defrost and bake at a later date. For this reason I would not recommend freezing the pre baked dough.
When it comes to refrigerating the dough to slow down or pause the process, YES! you can absolutely refrigerate the dough. I think the best time to do this is after the first bulk rise but before you form into a loaf pan. 
You can follow the directions below for refrigeration. 

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Recipe Rating




    1. I made ONE loaf. Here’s the recipe, according to my scale, measuring cups, and measuring technique:
      ⅔ Cup (133 g) of active sourdough starter (more about this follows),
      6 ⅔ fluid ounces of water (200 g),
      ¼ C honey (72 g),
      1 generous Tbs. beaten egg (30 g),
      1 tsp salt (6 g),
      A scant 2 Tbs oil (23 g),
      Approximately 3 cups plus 8 tsp flour (375 g).
      To activate the starter the night before, I removed approximately 3 Tbs. (45 g) of starter and fed it with approx. 3 ½ Tbs (45 g) of water and 6 Tbs plus 1 tsp (45 g) of flour. I let it sit out for about 4 hours, then put it in the fridge for the night. Early the next morning I let it warm to room temperature for an hour before I used all of it in the dough–it was the perfect amount. I followed the recipe instructions exactly, except I mixed and kneaded by hand, and, I always bake my sandwich loaves at 350 degrees F for 25 – 30 minutes. This loaf took 30 minutes to bake, but took all day to get it to that point! I wish I could post a picture–it was amazing and tasted delicious. Thanks, Amber, for helping me branch out with my natural yeast repertoire!

      1. Cindy, thanks so much for sharing this! I have made Amber’s original version (which is amazing!) but in general it is too much for our family to eat through. I normally end up gifting a loaf or two every time I make it. I am going to give this recipe a try today!

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      Author
    1. This is how I interpreted the instructions: the night before you start the bread, remove that measured amount (½ to 1 cup or whatever) out of your “active” starter container and feed it with an equal amount (in grams) of flour and water so you have the proper amount of activated starter ready to go in the morning. So (for a 1:1:1 feeding ratio) if you remove 200 g of starter, you would feed it with 200 g of flour and 200 g of water–this will give you about 600 g of activated starter available to use in the morning. Once it is bubbly and doubled in volume, it’s ready to use. If it doesn’t get bubbly and double in volume, then it’s not active enough and you should follow the rest of Amber’s instructions in step 1, rather than wasting your time and ingredients trying to make bread that won’t rise.

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      Author
  1. My dough didn’t raise after sitting all night. I’m assuming my starter wasn’t ready? Is there a way I can save the dough and use it? I use Kamut flour. Thanks!

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      Author

      Hi Marne! You can take that dough and make crackers out of it, but there’s really not much salvaging it for bread. At that point it won’t rise very much!

  2. I’m not seeing a recipe for the natural yeast starter here on your website. Can you point me to the right spot? Thank you!

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      Author

      Hi Cami, unfortunately I don’t have anything on my website at the moment about how to make a natural yeast starter. But there is a highlight bubble on my instagram @amberskitchen that is called “natural yeast” that walks you through a daily step by step of how to make your own natural yeast at home.

  3. How do you get such a beautiful crust on your loaves? I love this recipe. The bread tastes great. But, I always get a big crack in my crust when the bread rises in the oven. Thanks!

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  4. Hi! Do you have any tips for storing the bread after it is cooked? We definitely won’t eat even 1 whole loaf in a day and I don’t want it to go bad! Thank you!

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      Author

      That’s a really good question! The timing can be really tricky to figure out at first. It’s hard to say without seeing your overly risen dough, but I probably would go ahead and bake them. If you are really confident that your dough is resilient enough to withstand a third rise then you could go ahead and reshape them and hope they rise again before you bake them.

  5. Have you ever made this recipe using softened butter instead of oil? Just curious. I have a favorite bread recipe that is a no fail for me that uses butter. I love your recipes and videos as well and I wanted to try this with the natural yeast and see how they compare. Have the best day and thank you for your informative content.

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      Author

      I have used melted butter and it works just fine. My favorite is coconut oil because I’ve noticed it makes my breads notably softer. But feel free to use melted butter if you would like!

  6. Do you ever take the internal temp of your bread to ensure doneness? Everything I’ve read says 190* (F) is the ideal temp for done bread but I can never get my bread to 190* in just 30-35 mins. Just curious if your bread is reaching 190* in that timeframe?

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      Author

      Good question! yes, I occasionally take the temperature of my bread and I find that for this recipe and for all my bread recipes they only need to reach 180 F. Be mindful however that each oven cooks differently so it make take your oven a different amount of time to reach that temp.

  7. My bread rose and was huge and over flowing in the loaf pan when I woke up but then deflated when I took the plastic wrap off. Then it never rose again in the oven and came out flat.

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      Author

      Darn it! That can be so frustrating! An overnight rise can sometimes be way too long for this recipe, and if there was plastic wrap on the top it’s really hard to take that off without completely deflating the bread. If that happens again, I would recommend reforming the dough after it deflates and seeing if you can get another rise out of it before you put it in the oven.

  8. How long would you say the 1st rise should take? I’m trying to plan out how long the whole process should take. Thanks!

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      Author

      Hi Brooklylnn. The 1st rise can take anywhere from 3-12 hours depending on the temperature and your sourdough. having said that, it generally takes me about 4 hours in the summer and 7 hours in the winter. If you need to skip this step in a time crunch, your bread will still turn out good.

  9. Hi amber! I’ve been making sourdough bread for over a year now! We love it so much! Do you know why I would be getting hollow bubbles on the top of my bread? They are big bubbles. Kinda hard to explain. It isn’t firm on the top usually. Other than that it tastes perfect! It’s not your bread recipe. It’s just my sourdough recipe

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      Author
  10. Say I am making pancakes and it calls for two cups of flour and two cups of milk, if I use discard does it replace a cup of flour or do I keep the ingredients the same. I guess I am just trying to figure out if my recipes, like muffins, breads, etc. change when I add discard?

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      Author

      I would actually just use a cup of discard in addition to the already there milk and flour. Even for recipes like muffins, etc. adding one 1/2 to one cup of discard to an average sized batch of just about anything doesn’t mess with the sugar/salt/bakingsoda ratios much.

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  11. When storing sourdough starter in the fridge (when not using it), should it be kept in an airtight container? Or allowed to breath? I think my starter went bad in the fridge. 🙁

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  12. How long is too long to keep my starter in the refrigerator? I’ve lost track how long it’s been there but I have three jars with yucky black water floating on top. It honestly could have been almost 2 years since I’ve used it but I’ve kept it tucked in the back of my fridge “just in case”. Should I try feeding it or is it past the point of saving? Keep it or toss it?

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      Author

      ha! two years is quite a long time, but it’s possible that its ok! I would pull it out, dump most of it out and start giving it powerfeeds twice daily for a week or so. It may perk up! If not, toss it and start from scratch.

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      Author

      It does make a ton! For best results, I would recommend freezing the finished loaf rather than the dough. Sourdough doesn’t consistently rise after being frozen for me.

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  13. Any thoughts on using sourdough starter in a bread maker? My recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp of yeast. Also, I have a dehydrated 150 year old starter, is it going to taste sour-doughey? Any tips to make it taste less so 😅 I don’t love the taste of sourdough.

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      Author

      I don’t have a lot of experience using bread makers, so I can’t say how compatible it would be with sourdough. I would probably recommend skipping the bread machine and making the dough by hand.

      also, as for your 150 year old starter, a great way to freshen it up and make it taste a lot less sour is by giving it powerfeeds daily for 4-5 days or so.
      One way to neutralize the sour flavor is by using more starter in a recipe, and by using some type of sweetener to cancel out the sour.

  14. Wonderful post! FYI honey is absolutely not low glycemic index. Ask any diabetic. We use it to treat lows because of how high its glycemic index is. 🙂

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      Thanks Nicole for the feedback! I guess I was just referring to it’s glycemic index compared to table sugar, but you’re right the difference is pretty small!! So thanks for the correction!

  15. I am so thankful for your incredible patience as we learn from you, Amber. This post in particular is so helpful!! The details of the timing makes it simple to understand.

    I FINALLY made your natural yeast sandwich bread this past week (up until 4 am – oops! I should have taken the advice about using the fridge for a pause).
    BUT…
    IT WAS WORTH IT !

    This sandwich bread is AMAZING- soft, tender, moist, not crumbly. It had perfect flavor!

    Also, I did purchase a dehydrated starter from @lauralivesthegoodlife and that was well worth it!!

    So thank you for collaborating with and supporting your fellow bloggers in such friendly ways and thank you for all you do!

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      Thank you for saying that, it really means so much to me! And wow that’s a late night! But I am glad the bread was well worth it!

  16. Love how you broke everything down so nicely, thank you!! I have been wondering though, how exactly you store it in the freezer, do you just leave it in the bread bag, do you double bag it, or do you wrap the whole loaf in Saran Wrap?! I’m worried about freezer burn if I’m not storing it correctly. Thank you!!

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      Good question, I use twist-tie bags (link in the post above) with a twist tie to seal the bag and stick in the freezer just like that. I have not had any problems with freezer burn using this method!

  17. I’m new to sour dough and you are my first teacher! Came here from your Instagram to check out your sour dough info. Very informative and easy to follow. At this point I dont have further questions. It’s definitely a learning curve and I will admit I have watched sour dough videos and lives well into the early hours past 2am but once you get it, you get it! Thanks for teaching!

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      Hi Angie! Yes, totally agree that there is a learning curve! But once you get it, it’s so rewarding right?! Thank you so much for this feedback because it seriously makes my day to hear that the information is helping people! Keep up the sourdough-making!!!

  18. Making your Dutch Oven Sourdough and the dough is so sticky. What can I do to salvage it? It’s sitting in my fridge right now. I can’t even shape it into a ball.

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      Hi Holly, this is a great question. The amount of flour that a bread dough needs can depend on a lot of things; weather, altitude, etc. If you find that your dough is too sticky just add more flour, a little at a time, until the dough is the consistency you want. You want it to be a little tacky so that some dough sticks to your fingers when you touch it, but not much. Hope this helps!

  19. I have the Bosch mixer. What speed do you use. I sent a video on Instagram. It doesn’t go lopsided. And I added the flour very slowly each cup so I wouldn’t add tooo much. But it still doesn’t go lopsided. Can you knead it too long?

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      Thanks Cynthia! I generally use the 1 speed, unless I’m in a hurry and I crank up the speed a little. If the dough doesn’t go lopsided, what happens with the touch test? When you touch the dough, is it still tacky but not overly sticky?

  20. SO helpful, thank you! When you say we should feed our starter weekly to keep it strongest- do we feed it and let it rise? Or can we feed it and then immediately put it back in the fridge?

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  21. Great post on sourdough! I now feel pretty confident to try it. My only question would be will the end results suffer if I half the recipe? I currently only have a kitchen aid mixer and I know you’ve said that sometimes it’s not strong enough to mix the dough. Thank you for taking the time to answer all the sourdough questions in one spot!

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      Hi Kathy, great question. No, the product will be great even if you half the recipe! With the egg, feel free to omit the egg, use half an egg, or use a full egg. The product will still be great! And thank you so much for the feedback:)

  22. Great job on the instructions! I love your schedule of when to feed the starter and work with the dough. I have been making your bread for 2 years and this is the first time I have really known about making a larger feed with a greater portion of flour and water. I live in Destin, Florida so I figured the time differences were due to my climate. Thank you so much for making it perfectly clear! Come see us if you come back to Destin!❤️⛱️

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      So glad that the instructions helped! Sourdough is one of those things that you seem to always be learning more about!! Thanks for the feedback! And Destin sounds amazing!!:)

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  23. Having difficulty getting the link for the sourdough bagel recipe to work. It just links back to sourdough sandwich bread. Thanks for taking the time to do compile all the sourdough information into one post. It’s incredible!

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      Thank you for bringing this to my attention! I really appreciate it. It should be fixed now. And thanks for taking the time to give feedback!

  24. Use a plastic, rubber, silicone, glass, ceramic or wooden bowls, spoons, anything that contacts the sourdough. Avoid using metal containers or utensils with sourdough it prohibits activation and growth.

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      That’s a good question and really comes down to personal preference. I prefer glass or porcelain because I do not like nonstick sprays that are on most metal pans.

  25. This bread recipe is hands the best our family has had. It has in fact ruined any and all store bought bread for our 7 kids, even our 17 month old won’t eat store bread.

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      Oh that is so funny! Sorry about making your kids bread-snobs;) But I’m so glad you enjoy it and thanks for sharing!

  26. I’m having such a hard time with timing this to not overproof my second rise! Could you stick it in the fridge over night before putting it in loaf pans the next day? Will it change the bread at all?

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      Hi Christi. The timing needed to avoid overproofing can be tricky! If you need to pause the process, you can refrigerate the bread in an airtight bag or bowl after the first bulk rise. It can be refrigerated anywhere from 12 to 48 hours. then pull out of fridge, form, let come to room temp, let rise, and bake.

  27. I generally bake with weights instead of volume measurements (a Tbsp of table salt will be much more salt than a Tbsp of kosher salt, for example. But I can sub 7g of one for the other). Do you have weights for your recipe?

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      That’s a great suggestion Olivia. I at one point had weight measurements on my instagram version of this recipe but somehow that didn’t transfer over. I will get working on that.

  28. I halved this recipe and it turned out great! Perfect for morning toast with butter and jam! Yum! Will make this again!

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  29. If you wanted to do a long ferment in the fridge, at what point in this recipe would you place the dough in the fridge? Thanks!

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      Good question Halie! If you want to do a long ferment in the fridge, you could put the dough in an airtight container in the fridge (either a bag or a airtight bowl with lid) after the first bulk rise.

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    Hi there Betsy! If your starter isn’t doubling in size… then let’s evaluate that first. doubling in size is an important indication of its strength. However, occasionally when someone is using whole wheat flour it doesn’t double in size, and that’s just fine. If you aren’t using whole wheat flour then we need to work on strengthening your starter with power feeds. Then when it’s at the point where it is doubling in size after a feed and floats in a cup of water, it’s ready for a recipe. Hopefully, the sample schedule listed in the post above will answer your other questions about timing.

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      Hi Stephanie. The first rise should take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours depending on your ambient temperature and the strength of your sourdough starter.

  31. Out of curiosity, what size container do you use to prep the starter for this recipe? Seems like a large mason jar won’t be big enough when it doubles…
    I’ve made the starter, tried waffles with success, and am so excited to try bread this week!

    1. That’s such a good question! So, I actually use a 10-cup pampered chef “classic batter bowl” generally when I’m activating a larger amount of starter. But any 4-8 cup container will work!

  32. So I need some clarification on the weight amount of starter needed. Before you added the amounts in grams I had converted your recipe to grams and found that 2 cups of starter was 400 grams, but you have it listed that 2 cups of starter is 220 grams. I’ve googled and found conflicting things but most people say it’s closer to 400 grams. My bread also rises much faster and gets a taller rise when I use 400 vs 220 grams. I realize it doesn’t affect the outcome much but a faster and taller rise is much to be desired. Just thought it may be helpful to double check that measurement and maybe suggest that it can be UP TO 400 grams of starter.

    1. This is fantastic clarification Hilary and a good reminder that I do need to update the recipe to reflect that. You are right, a cup of starter can weight different amounts based on its activity level and hydration, but 200 grams is a good base weight per cup.

Ambers-Kitchen-Sourdough-Bread-2

Hi! I'm Amber

I'm obsessed with all things food and a mom to five. Baking bread and using my instant pot are my favorite things to do in the kitchen, and I can't wait to bring all that I have learned to you! Connect with me on Instagram because there's where I basically live these days.