Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (2024)

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This Easy Sourdough Bread recipe is perfect for beginning bakers and old sourdoughs alike! Recipe makes a long-rise dough, and requires only sourdough starter: no added yeast.

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (1)

This Basic Sourdough Bread recipe is easy and straightforward, and it consistently bears excellent results (even when I forget it for an extra hour or five). Moreover, the bite is amazing: chewy and tender, with a mild, pleasant sourdough tanginess. In a nutshell, it's one of the best all-round breads I've ever made.

Jump to:
  • What's the Story on this Sourdough Bread Recipe?
  • What Goes into this Sourdough Bread Recipe
  • How to MakeEasy Sourdough Bread(Step-by-Step)
  • Top Tip: Fold, Don't Punch
  • FAQ
  • Sourdough References
  • Share Your First Loaf!
  • More Sourdough Recipes
  • Easy Sourdough Bread

What's the Story on this Sourdough Bread Recipe?

Some years ago, when I first embarked my own sourdough baking journey, I took a deep-dive into the science of sourdough. I studied as much as I could, and got a feel for the process by testing out all the best beginner bread recipes I could find.

From that experience, plus advice from experts and lots of trial and error, I created this easy sourdough bread recipe for beginners - one that can be easily repeated over and over again with consistent, delicious results. Compared with some artisan sourdough bakers, my skill level barely scratches the surface, which is probably why I keep going back to this recipe over and over again. It never fails me!

If you fall in love with sourdough baking, this may not always be your forever-sourdough recipe: you may find bigger, better, crustier loaves to bake. Artisan loaves. Breads with Attitude. But this recipe is a wonderful, forgiving beginner recipe with a high rate of success - Everything you want in your first loaf!

What is True Sourdough? ( And Why Do I Care?)

This bread is a true sourdough bread, which means that it does not rely on the addition of any extra yeast. It depends solely upon the natural yeast in the Starter for leavening.

True sourdough bread is significantly slower to rise than dough that relies on added traditional yeast to do the heavy lifting. For example, from the time you stir first the ingredients through the final post-baking rest time, this Easy Sourdough Bread takes a minimum of nine hours to make.

Don't stress about the time element, though. Sourdough is both easy to work with and very forgiving. Once you get the rhythm and flow of the sourdough baking process, you'll be able to throw a loaf of this bread together with only about 20 minutes of actual hands-on time. The rest of the time, you'll just be waiting around for it to do its thing.

Rising Times for this Recipe

When you stir up a batch of sourdough bread dough, your dough goes through a number of phases on its way to becoming bread; most notably, the bulk fermentation (first) and proofing (second) rise times.

BULK FERMENTATION: This bread recipe requires a minimum 6-hour bulk fermentation (1st rise); however, I personally recommend allowing it to rise at least 8 hours before moving on to proofing (2nd rise), when you form your loaf or boule. A longer rise will yield a chewier crust, and intensify the sourdough flavor in your bread.

PROOFING: Proofing (2nd rise) can take anywhere from 2-3 hours on the countertop to 12 hours overnight in the refrigerator.

I prefer to proof overnight in the fridge and bake my bread first thing in the morning. This gives me a house that smells like fresh bread all day, and I don't have to heat the kitchen up during the day.

What Goes into this Sourdough Bread Recipe

Sourdough Starter [100% Hydration: Feed your healthy starter 12-24 hours before beginning the bread making process.

★ Lukewarm Water: Water should be 105°-110°F (40°-44°C). The live culture in sourdough, like all yeast, is a living thing and is killed off at higher temperatures.

★ Flour: We recommend using bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour for this recipe.

★ Maple syrup: Honey is a good substitute for maple syrup in this recipe.

★ Kosher salt: Use kosher salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount to 1¼ teaspoons.

How to MakeEasy Sourdough Bread(Step-by-Step)

Feed your healthy starter 12-24 hours before beginning the bread making process.

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Step 1:Autolyse (Mix the Dough)

In a large stand-mixer bowl, mix together water, flour, syrup or honey, starter, and salt thoroughly with wooden spoon. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes, and up to an hour.

How to measure the Starter:The vigor of your Starter will affect its density. Stir Starter down before measuring, especially if use a measuring cup. (I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to get more consistent results.)

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While dough is resting, lightly coat a medium-sized bowl with olive oil. The bowl needs to be a big enough to allow the dough to double in size.

I use about two tablespoons of oil to coat the bowl the first time.

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (4)

Step 2:Knead Dough

Put the mixer bowl on the stand-mixer. Knead dough with bread hook for 10 minutes.

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (5)

This normally is a very sticky, soft dough. However, depending on the actual hydration of your starter, you may find that you need to add a little more flour to get things started.

I often end up adding an extra ½ cup during the kneading step. Try not to add more than ½ cup of flour, though. You can work in a little more flour during the folding process if you need to.

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (6)

Step 3:Bulk Fermentation (1st Rise)

Remove dough from mixer, place on a well floured board, knead by hand a couple of times, and shape into ball.

After you form the ball, it should kind of slowly settle onto the board, like an old man into a lounge chair. It won’t hold its shape for a long time, but it also shouldn’t just melt into a puddle. You need to find a happy medium.

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (7)

Put dough ball into the oiled bowl, smooth-side down first. Then flip it smooth-side up so that all sides of the dough are covered with oil.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place.

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (8)

Allow dough rise at least 6 hours, folding every 30 minutes for the first 2 to 2½ hours.

To fold, turn dough out onto a floured surface and pat down to remove most of the air bubbles. Fold as illustrated and return to bowl, smooth side up.

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (9)

Cover and proceed with the rising process.

Re-oil the bowl with a tablespoon of oil the first two times you fold the dough.

The folding at the beginning of this step helps to align those long gluten strands, and create those lovely sourdough bubbles.

You should notice a discernible change in the texture of your dough after folding the first couple of hours. By the end of this step, your dough should feel more "stretchy" and less "sticky" than when you started.

TIP:Sometimes, because this dough is so sticky, it works easier to "fold-and-stretch" your dough right in the bowl, instead of folding it on the countertop. If that works better for you, go for it.

Step 4:Proof (2nd Rise)

After the dough has risen for at least 6 hours (folding every 30 minutes for the first 2-2½ hours), form bread dough into a boule* and place it on a square of parchment paper.
Place the dough, parchment and all, back into the bowl.

*A boule is a round bread loaf.

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (10)

Cover loosely with a damp towel and allow to rise for 1½- 3 hours, or until it has approximately doubled.

TIP:If it is late in the day and your bread needs more time to rise, you can slow the process by allowing it to rise in the refrigerator overnight, and then baking it first thing in the morning.

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In the last 30 or 40 minutes of the last rise, move your oven rack to the bottom third of oven.

Put an empty cast iron Dutch oven with lid in the cold oven. Preheat to 500°F [260°C] for 40 minutes.

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (12)

Step 5:Slash & Bake

Remove the hot Dutch oven from the oven. Remove the lid from the Dutch oven and put the boule in by picking up the corners of the parchment and gently setting it in.

Be very careful - the Dutch oven and lid are very hot!

With a wet, serrated knife, cut a couple of slashes on the top of the boule. (I often forget to do this step, and everything still turns out just fine.)

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (13)

Put the lid back on the Dutch oven. Put the Dutch oven back into the oven andimmediatelyreduce oven temperature to 450° [232°C]. Bake for 13-14 minutes with the lid ON.

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (14)

If you don't have a cast iron Dutch oven, you can use a baking stone. If you use a baking stone, cover the boule with a big roaster lid or something like that. The idea is to create some steam for the first part of the baking process- this is what gives it that awesome chewy crust.

Remove the lid and bake for another 13-14 minutes with the lid OFF.

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (15)

Using the parchment corners, carefully remove bread from the Dutch oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.

DO NOT slice the bread until it has set for 30 minutes - this resting time is part of the baking process.

Top Tip: Fold, Don't Punch

This Sourdough Bread recipe calls for you to "fold the dough" a couple of times during the bulk fermentation (first rise), and I thought it might be helpful to some people if I explained what that means. (If you are a seasoned dough-folder, you can skip this section.) The folding helps to encourage those long gluten strands, and create those lovely sourdough bubbles.

Many, if not most, bread recipes call for you to punch down the dough after rising. Punching down the dough does a number of things. Most importantly, it removes some of the gas bubbles from the dough and redistributes the yeast cells, sugars, and moisture so that they can ferment and rise again during the proofing stage.

Folding yields similar results: it too expels the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation, strengthens the dough by stretching the gluten strands, and redistributes cells, sugars, moisture and heat spots in the dough to even out the rising.

Punching dough down will result in a fine crumb, which is desirable when making sandwich breads or pastries. Folding, on the other hand, will give you a loftier rise and a looser crumb - resulting in all those lovely little air pockets in our sourdough and artisan breads that we love so much.

FAQ

Who is Kaylen, and Why is this Her Bread?

The original spark that set off my interest in sourdough baking was ignited by my BFF, Jenny. Jenny has an amazing daughter, Kaylen, who has some medically serious digestive issues. Gluten is not at all Kaylen's friend, but she missed real bread "that does not taste like sand" [Kaylen's words].Jenny asked me about sourdough bread after reading that it might be able to help those who are gluten-intolerant.

One study using sourdough bread made with specific strains of bacteria found that it could reduce gluten intolerance in people sensitive to wheat gluten. While that doesn’t mean that people diagnosed with gluten intolerance can eat sourdough bread with impunity, it does suggest that the bread is more easily digested than other breads made with wheat flour.(Reader's Digest)

Remember thatlong riseI mentioned earlier, when I explained whattrue sourdoughis? Well, it is during thatlong risethat the wild yeast and bacteria in a sourdough starter break down some of the carbohydrates and proteins in the flour, which (in theory) makes true sourdough bread more tolerable for folks with gluten sensitivity than bread leavened with traditional yeast.

When Jenny asked me to bake some sourdough bread for Kaylen, I was all in. (I've known Kaylen since she was six and love her like my own daughter: of course I'm going to bake her bread.) After developing a new Sourdough Starter and working out the kinks in my recipe, I carefully made Kaylen a loaf, using a minimum 14-hour rise and not adding any additional flour (during folding) after Hour 4.

After I dropped off her first loaf of bread, here's what I found on Facebook when I got home:

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Made me cry. You just don't get a better feeling than that, you know?

Sourdough References

The references I used to develop this recipe include:

  • How to Make Rye Sourdough Starter
  • How to Use Dried Sourdough Starter

If you have additional questions about this recipe, just leave a comment and I'll reply asap. Be sure to check out the comments below, too. We've had so many people share their sourdough knowledge here, and there is a lot to be learned from their experience.Like most of us, I'm here to learn, too.

Since this post was first published in 2013, I've received hundreds of pictures and messages from excited new sourdough bakers who have made my bread recipe. I am so proud of and honored by everyone who has shared pictures of their "first loaf" with me over the years!

Happy baking, and I hope you love this bread as much as we do!

P.S. If you make a loaf of Kaylen's Bread, be sure to tag it with #thegoodheartedwoman #GHWfirstloaf #KaylensBread

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (20)

More Sourdough Recipes

If you love heirloom bread baking, be sure to try our German Dark Rye Bread!

  • Spiced Pumpkin Sourdough Scones
  • Double-Crumb Sourdough Coffee Cake
  • Mom's Sourdough Hotcakes (Sourdough Pancakes)
  • Rye Sourdough Spaetzle (Spätzel)

See more Sourdough →

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Easy Sourdough Bread

Super-basic. No bells, no whistles - just bread.

Print Pin Add to Shopping List

Course: Bread

Cuisine: American, International

Diet: Low Lactose, Vegetarian

Prep Time:8 hours hours

Cook Time:30 minutes minutes

Rest Time:30 minutes minutes

Total Time:9 hours hours

Servings: 18 Slices

Calories: 130kcal

Author: Renee

Ingredients

US Customary - Metric

Sourdough Bread Dough
Additional Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons extra-light olive oil or other neutral cooking oil, for oiling bowl

Instructions

  • Feed your starter 12-24 hours before beginning.

AUTOLYSE (Mix Dough)

  • In a large stand-mixer bowl, mix together water, flour, syrup or honey, starter, and salt thoroughly with wooden spoon.

    Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes, and up to an hour.

    Measuring the Starter: The vigor of your Starter will affect its density. Stir Starter down before measuring, especially if use a measuring cup. (I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to get more consistent results.)

  • While dough is resting, lightly coat a medium-sized bowl with olive oil. The bowl needs to be a big enough to allow the dough to double in size.

    I use about two tablespoons of oil to coat the bowl the first time.

KNEAD

  • Put the mixer bowl on the stand-mixer. Knead dough with bread hook for 10 minutes.

  • NOTE: This normally is a very sticky, soft dough. However, depending on the actual hydration of your starter, you may find that you need to add a little more flour to get things started.

    I often end up adding an extra ½ cup during the kneading step. Try not to add more than ½ cup of flour, though. You can work in a little more flour during the folding process if you need to.

BULK FERMENTATION (1st Rise)

  • Remove dough from mixer, place on a well floured board, knead by hand a couple of times, and shape into ball.

    After you form the ball, it should kind of slowly settle onto the board, like an old man into a lounge chair. It won’t hold its shape for a long time, but it also shouldn’t just melt into a puddle. You need to find a happy medium.

  • Put dough ball into the oiled bowl, smooth-side down first. Then flip it smooth-side up so that all sides of the dough are covered with oil.

    Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place.

  • Allow dough rise at least 6 hours, folding every 30 minutes for the first 2 to 2½ hours.

    To fold, turn dough out onto a floured surface and pat down to remove most of the air bubbles. Fold as illustrated and return to bowl, smooth side up.

    Cover and proceed with the rising process.

    Re-oil the bowl with a tablespoon or two of oil the first two times you fold the dough.

    The folding at the beginning of this step helps to align those long gluten strands, and create those lovely sourdough bubbles.

    You should notice a discernible change in the texture of your dough after folding the first couple of hours. By the end of this step, your dough should feel more "stretchy" and less "sticky" than when you started.

    Sometimes, because this dough is so sticky, it works easier to "fold-and-stretch" your dough right in the bowl, instead of folding it on the countertop. If that works better for you, go for it.

PROOF (2nd Rise)

  • After the dough has risen for at least 6 hours (folding every 30 minutes for the first 2-2½ hours), form bread dough into a boule* and place it on a square of parchment paper.

    Place the dough, parchment and all, back into the bowl.

    *A boule is a round bread loaf.

  • Cover loosely with a damp towel and allow to rise for 1½- 3 hours, or until it has approximately doubled.

    If it is late in the day and your bread needs more time to rise, you can slow the process by allowing it to rise in the refrigerator overnight, and then baking it first thing in the morning.

  • In the last 30 or 40 minutes of the last rise, move your oven rack to the bottom third of oven.

    Put an empty cast iron Dutch oven with lid in the cold oven.

    Preheat to 500°F [260°C] for 40 minutes.

SLASH

  • Remove the hot Dutch oven from the oven. Remove the lid from the Dutch oven and put the boule in by picking up the corners of the parchment and gently setting it in.

    Be very careful - the Dutch oven and lid are very hot!

    With a wet, serrated knife, cut a couple of slashes on the top of the boule. (I often forget to do this step, and everything still turns out just fine.)

BAKE

  • Put the lid back on the Dutch oven. Put the Dutch oven back into the oven.

    Immediately reduce oven temperature to 450° [232°C], and bake for 13-14 minutes with the lid ON.

    If you don't have a cast iron Dutch oven, you can use a baking stone. If you use a baking stone, cover the boule with a big roaster lid or something like that. The idea is to create some steam for the first part of the baking process- this is what gives it that awesome chewy crust.

  • Remove the lid and bake for another 13-14 minutes with the lid OFF.

  • Using the parchment corners, carefully remove bread from the Dutch oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.

    DO NOT slice the bread until it has set for 30 minutes - this resting time is part of the baking process.

Notes

Weigh your ingredients: doing so will yield more uniform results.

UNFED Starteris Starter that is due to be fed right before you begin making the bread. It should have been fed in the last 12-24 hours. Unfed Starter is mature, active, and hungry for food.

For comparison, FED Starter is Sourdough Starter that has been fed very recently compared to when you begin making the bread recipe. It isn't as hungry.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 195mg | Potassium: 28mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 2mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Have you tried this recipe?Mention @TheGoodHeartedWoman or tag #thegoodheartedwoman!

Originally published September 17, 2013. Post updated with new content, images, and instructions to improve reader experience.

Kaylen's Bread | Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe (2024)

FAQs

What is the secret to good sourdough bread? ›

Working with consistent temperatures will ensure consistency in your bread baking, and you'll get the results you want in terms of flavor, rise, texture–well, everything. Treat temperature as an ingredient, just as flour, water, and salt are ingredients.

How do I make my sourdough bread more fluffy? ›

The magic that makes this sourdough so fluffy is a quick oven-rising process under very high heat. The key is to make sure the Dutch oven is fully preheated before baking the bread.

What is the best flour for sourdough bread? ›

The best flour blend for creating a new sourdough starter is 50% whole-meal flour (whole wheat or whole rye) and 50% bread flour or all-purpose flour. I recommend a 50/50 mix of whole wheat flour and bread flour.

What makes the best sourdough bread? ›

Some sourdough breads can be denser in texture, but they should not be wet or gummy. A sourdough loaf made with 500g of good quality bread flour, 50g to 100g of sourdough starter, left to ferment for adequate time, will produce a light, airy loaf with a lacy, open crumb that is not wet or dense in any way.

What is the healthiest flour for sourdough bread? ›

Compared to whole wheat flour, rye flour is said to be the most nutrient- and amylase-dense option for a sourdough starter. Overall, it has a lower gluten protein content than wheat flour, which means it produces slack, sticky, and dense doughs.

What is the mother of sourdough bread? ›

Mother - this is the overall dough culture that lives in a bowl in your fridge. We take portions from it to make our ferments (Starter) for our sourdough recipes. When the mother culture gets low, we add to it (feed it).

What does overproofed sourdough look like? ›

Note: As loaves begin to overproof they lose their height and shape. The crumb becomes more dense. The holes become more ragged and irregular in shape. The crust begins to thin and separate from the crumb.

Why is my sourdough bread dense and not airy? ›

One of the most common mistakes is having a dough temperature that's too low for the starter to feed on all the flour in the dough, resulting in a crumb that's dense, with fewer openings. "Starter is happiest and most active at around 75 degrees. If it's a lot colder, the process will be much slower.

When to add baking soda to sourdough bread? ›

Baking soda or bicarbonate of soda can be used in sourdough bread to create a less sour loaf. Added after bulk fermentation, but before shaping, it can help to create a lighter, more fluffy loaf of sourdough.

What flour do Italians use for sourdough? ›

Flours milled from grano duro are recommended for making pasta and some breads, especially those associated with the southern regions of Italy. Grano tenero flours are generally used in Italy to make both bread and pastries. Typo 2 (type 2) flour is high in bran, and still slightly coarse.

Is distilled water good for sourdough? ›

Distilled water is a bad choice because the minerals that the bacteria need to do their thing have been removed. Just stick to filtered spring or purified water for your starter and bread baking.

How to make sourdough more sour? ›

More stretch and folds

Typically, people do about 3-5 stretch and folds in the process of making a loaf of sourdough bread. If you do 2-4 more of them, it helps produce a more sour dough.

What does perfect sourdough look like? ›

The outer crust of your sourdough bread should be crispy, crackly, and have a glossy, caramelized brown finish. The key to achieving a healthy crust is getting sufficient steam while baking, as it keeps the outer crust moist while the inside cooks.

What does a good sourdough starter look like? ›

Generally, when a starter is ripe, it has risen, is bubbly on top, has a sour aroma, and has a looser consistency. Typical signs your starter is ripe and ready to be used: Some rise. Bubbles on top and at the sides.

What ingredients should sourdough bread have? ›

Sourdough is hands down the healthiest type of bread. Made with only three ingredients; flour, water, and salt, sourdough is simple and natural, the way bread should be.

What is the secret behind the sour of sourdough bread? ›

There are two main acids produced in a sourdough culture: lactic acid and acetic acid. Acetic acid, or vinegar, is the acid that gives sourdough much of its tang. Giving acetic acid-producing organisms optimal conditions to thrive and multiply will produce a more tangy finished product.

How can I make my sourdough rise better? ›

Another tip is to add some sugar or honey to the dough, as this will also help the yeast become more active. Keep the dough and starter in a warm environment, between 70° and 90° is ideal. To ensure it rises at its quickest rate. With these tips, you'll be sure to get your sourdough starter rising quickly!

What is the best proofing time for sourdough bread? ›

In my experience, the shortest final proof (at room temperature) that I prefer to do is one hour. The longest final proof (at room temperature) is about 3 hours. When going past 2-3 hours in a final proof, the crumb tends to get very gassy and opens up large gas bubbles with a longer countertop proof.

What are three top tips when making sourdough starter? ›

Top 10 Sourdough Starter Tips for Success
  1. Maintain a Schedule to Feed your Sourdough Starter. ...
  2. Know How to Store a Sourdough Starter. ...
  3. Maintain a Small Sourdough Starter.
  4. Use Sourdough Discard for Less Waste.
  5. Know How to Revive a Sourdough Starter. ...
  6. Measure your Ingredients by Weight.
Mar 26, 2024

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