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Rustic Sourdough Bread
I used to make bread all the time. I had a good sourdough starter, but my sourdough bread came out more like a plain white bread. It never worked, so I gave up. Well I’ve discovered I was doing it wrong! I added yeast, but sourdough doesn’t need yeast. I kneaded it and did it exactly like any bread recipe – but sourdough isn’t just any bread.
Course: Breads
Cuisine: American
Keyword: loaf, pioneer, rustic, sourdough, starter
Author: HelenFern
  • 4 cups unbleached bread flour (do not use all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups lukewarm water, not hot!
  1. In a large, non-metallic bowl, place the first three ingredients. Slowly pour in 1 ½ cups of water and gently stir with a wooden spoon.
  2. If the dough is too stiff, stir in the remaining ¼ cup water. The dough should be sticky.
  3. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a warm, dampened dish towel. If you use the towel, check it often to make sure it stays moist. The dough will form too much of a crust otherwise. Allow to rise in a warm place (like on top of the refrigerator) for at least 12 hours, but it usually takes 24.
  4. After it has doubled in size, scrape out onto a lightly floured board.
  5. Press gently, fold in half and press again. Do this five or six times, or until the dough is somewhat smooth and elastic. It will not form a perfect ball like regular bread, and you don’t want it to.
  6. After you have folded it, pull the sides together to form a ball. At this point you can put it all back in the ceramic bowl, seam side down, for the second rise – or you can cut it in half for two smaller loaves and place them, seam side down, in two smaller ceramic bowls. The second rise will take 2- 4 hours depending on how warm it is.
  7. About 30 minutes before the rise is finished, place one large, non-metallic pan in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. (Or you can place two smaller non-metallic pans for two loaves). Let the oven and the pans heat completely.

    Once the loaves are doubled in size, place them, seam side up, in the hot pans. Cover and bake for – 30 minutes for one large loaf; 20 minutes for two small loaves.

  8. Next, remove the lids and bake until golden brown – about 15 to 20 more minutes for the large loaf or 10 – 15 for the small loaves. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  9. Resist the urge to cut and eat!

     If you cut too soon you will make the loaf flat and dense. The steam that is inside continues to make the bread fluffy inside.

    When it’s cool, slice and enjoy!!

Recipe Notes

I start it on Friday morning before work and it’s ready to finish on Saturday morning.

Also, I like King Arthur bread flour. It's fairly inexpensive and a good quality flour.