I’ve dabbled a bit in sourdough in the past, but never had much success. It always felt complicated, and I had trouble getting the rise and bubbly texture that is so crave-worthy about sourdough!
The past few months, though, I decided that I wanted to conquer this and have fresh sourdough bread for our family!
In my research, the most stable starter to work with is comprised of rye flour. I figured I would give this a shot, since the other 2 starters I have worked with in the past were only made of all-purpose flour.
My first attempt had some error (I didn’t change the jar daily) when trying to culture my starter. Round two was an immense success. Within a week, I made a bubbly, very active starter that was doubling and creating lots of fermentation!
I also brushed up on my sourdough baking skills. I watched a handful of YouTube videos and checked out a large stack of sourdough cookbooks from the library.
From these sources, I developed a sourdough routine that I’ll share below. Basically, you need a bubbly active starter. You need to autolyse the dough before adding the starter (I had never done this step before). And you need lots of time for rising and fermentation.
I think in my previous rounds of sourdough, I never fully grasped the complexity of these steps. Temperature can play a big role in the timing. The activity of your starter can also affect the dough. Stretching the dough at intervals instead of kneading as in a yeast based dough makes all the difference. Doing some research and getting a new routine for baking definitely paid off!
This was my first loaf! Delicious, bubbly, and even pretty to look at!
In my subsequent loaves, I had fun experimenting with some scoring techniques. It is fairly straightforward, but gives such an artistic look to the loaves!
I’ll link some supplies below that have been helpful in my process. **Please note - these are affiliate links. I earn a small commission with no cost to you. I appreciate you using these links and supporting my blog in this way!**
These Weck jars are the perfect starter container. I highly recommend these - they prevent that crusty sourdough accumulation and are super easy to stir and clean. I can’t recommend them enough!Weck Jars
This silicone spatula is a must for stirring the starter and are the perfect size to mix your daily feedings in the Weck jars.Silicone Spatula
This kit was a life saver for proofing baskets (bannetons), liners, bench cutters, and even a lame! That’s the tool you need to get the fun scoring lines!Sourdough Kit
Here are the flours I prefer:
Dark Rye from Bob’s Red Mill
Organic Unbleached All Purpose Flour
Sweet Rice Flour (for the designs on top - it won’t burn like regular flour)
I feed my started with filtered water from our Berkey. If your tap water has chlorine in it, that can kill the beneficial bacteria in the sourdough, so if you have trouble keeping an active starter, your water might be to blame!Berkey Water Filter
I also use my Le Creuset Dutch Oven (4 qt size) for baking.Le Creuset Dutch Oven
Don’t forget the parchment paper, large 2 gallon plastic ziplock bags (for proofing), and a flour duster. The duster seems like a frivolous extra, but an even coating of flour makes the dough so easy to work with!Flour Duster
A kitchen scale is also a must for sourdough! I never used one much before, but the precision has helped make my baking much more successful.Kitchen Scale
These restaurant-type containers are the perfect containers to easily see if your dough has doubled in size. I mix all my loaves in canisters like these.Restaurant Containers
You definitely don’t need every single thing on this list, but these have made the baking process more precise and enjoyable in my experience.
This feels like a fun new hobby, and one that has very tangible rewards for my efforts!
Below is my sourdough routine!
So far, we have also tried sourdough pizza (huge success), sourdough crackers (an absolute favorite), sourdough pancakes, and sourdough waffles. Yum!
I can’t wait to try some new recipes (sourdough soft pretzels, anyone?) and refine my scoring and baking techniques!
Have you ever tried sourdough? Do you have any favorite recipes, tips, or tricks?