Thursday, May 19, 2011

Soft Sourdough Bread

Are you ready to bake some sourdough bread?

One of the questions I get most frequently is how to have a soft loaf bread. Many sourdough bakers appear to have issues with dry crumbly bread.

I understand the frustration, because I've had my share of dry bread that went straight to bread crumbs. But there is hope because I've found several recipes that have been never fail for me. Since a soft loaf bread seems to be the goal of many readers, I'll start with those recipes.

The first three recipes are almost identical. They are all mixed and baked on the same day following the same directions. The only slight difference is in the ingredients.

The first bread contains a mixture of white and whole wheat flour. I found this recipe a great one for cinnamon raisin bread as well. Just remember to feed your starter the night before baking to have it active and happy for baking day.

 

Soft Sourdough Bread

2 cups active starter (19 oz)
1 cup milk (8 oz)
1/2 cup water (4 oz)
1/4 cup oil or melted butter (1.5 oz)
1/4 cup honey (3.5 oz)
2 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (12.5 oz)
3 cup white flour (13.5 oz.)
3 tsp salt


Mix all ingredients except salt for 2-3 minutes. Allow the dough to rest for about 20 minutes.

After rest, add salt and knead dough for about five minutes. If dough is too sticky, add slightly more flour but dough should be soft and not dry and stiff. Place in oiled bowl and allow dough to rise for 3-4 hours or until nearly doubled in size.

Divide dough into two pieces and shape into loaves and place in two greased bread pans. If a free form loaf is desired, place on greased baking sheet. Spray with oil and cover with plastic wrap to keep from drying out. Allow to rise for 2-3 hours.

When dough has risen, slash the top of the loaf. If baking a free form loaf, you can use the roasting pan method for added humidity while baking.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. For even browning, turn loaves halfway through baking time.

Variations: We really like this doughs for a multipurpose dough. Some of the ways we've enjoyed it were as cinnamon raisin bread and dinner rolls.

For more bread inspirations, check out Yeast Spotting.

32 comments :

  1. Looks good! I'll have to give it a try. I do have trouble with my bread being on the dry side, I long to have a soft nice loaf. Thanks for the help. God Bless

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  2. I just made this last week from the Teresa Greenway Discovering Sourdough ebook and you're right, it is the softest sourdough bread I've ever made! It gave me hope that I could have a sourdough baking day like you outlined a few weeks ago- that's my goal, so I'm sure appreciating your recipes! :-)

    Jami
    An Oregon Cottage

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  3. Jami-
    Thanks for your comment. I have been using this recipe and variations of it for months and I couldn't remember where I originally got the recipe.
    Gina

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  4. I would just like to tell you that I stumbled on your blog while searching for advice on a new sponge I started 4 weeks ago and forgot about in the fridge. I took your advice on caring for it and feeding it, and decided to make the Soft Sourdough bread today. Can I just tell you, it was AMAZING! I have never made a good loaf of bread before, slightly bread challenged as I am - thanks so much for this recipe. Also, I've been reading your blog since yesterday and I ADORE it! Keep on posting, and thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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  5. I would just like to tell you that I stumbled on your blog while searching for advice on a new sponge I started 4 weeks ago and forgot about in the fridge. I took your advice on caring for it and feeding it, and decided to make the Soft Sourdough bread today. Can I just tell you, it was AMAZING! I have never made a good loaf of bread before, slightly bread challenged as I am - thanks so much for this recipe. Also, I've been reading your blog since yesterday and I ADORE it! Keep on posting, and thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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  6. Hi bread lovers,

    I’ve recently started working with Sourdoughs International and I’m learning the difference between using authentic wild yeast and commercial yeast (bakers yeast) the taste and appearance is so different it is absolutely amazing! I totally recommend that you check it out at www.sourdo.com, EnJoY!!

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  7. I just tried this and it was fantastic!! I white washed it because so often my sourdough bread looks albino pale and not appetizing. after 20 min I had to put aluminum foil on it to keep it from browning too much. It looks beautiful and tastes wonderful as well! I had almost given up on sourdough bread because it always turned out like a brick. This was soft and beautiful :) I only used 4 1/2 cups of flour total. Any more and it would have been too stiff. I tried to make grilled cheese with this while it was still hot (we didn't want to wait haha) and while it tasted great, I think normal bread holds together better :) Thank you for sharing!

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  8. Hey! if any of you bakers want some kick butt authentic sourdough bread i would go look up sourdoughs international, there stuff is way good!! :)

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  9. Thank you for posting this recipe!
    Amelia

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  10. Perfect! Thank you....i have been working with sourdough for a couple of months now and was looking for something a little less crusty and softer for my kids lunches that would work well even with pb&j....this is a great sandwich loaf! It has a less "sour" taste and is a little sweeter....exactly what i wanted! Thanks for sharing!

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  11. I just made this recipe with my first time ever making a starter and the family really liked it lets just say they ate one loaf straifgt out of the oven:) look for ward to making more of your recipes.ty.

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  12. Yay I just took our loaves out of the oven and they really like it.thank you so much .I look forward to making more of your recipes:)

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  13. I made this recipe yesterday, let it rise overnight & baked it first thing. It was absolutely delicious! soft, just as you promised. thanks for sharing!

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  14. This is such a great blog!!! Really makes me hungry just reading and looking at the pictures : ) I recently baked my first loaf of bread and it was incredible!!! I used a starter my friend told me about. It's from Sourdough's International and now I have to spread the word! I loved it. Definitely going to order more when it comes the time.

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  15. Hello! First I want to say what a great blog this is! Thank you so much for all of the time you have put into it. I do have a question. I mill my own flour and make all my own bread. My normal loaves are delicious and soft and everyone seems to love them. But, my very favorite bread is sourdough and I've never been able to make a good loaf. I have a good starter and have tried several recipes (including yours) and I can't get them to rise. They end up being very short, flat dense loaves that are terrible. Is it because of the freshly milled flour? I know others had great success with your recipe and others that I've tried but I just can't get it to work. Any suggestions? Thanks so much! Brenda

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure what to suggest. I use freshly milled flour successfully. If your flour makes other bread successfully, I doubt that is the problem. Does your starter double in a few hours after feeding? Are you kneading long enough? Are you using enough starter for your amount of flour? Is your dough as wet and moist as possible (and still able to handle it.) Dry dough is harder for your starter to raise. Maybe you should try half white flour and half whole wheat flour first until you can get your starter to raise bread.

      I'm not sure if I have been a help but I hope you can find success. You can check online. I know there are some bread baking forums out there that may be able to help you.
      Gina

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  16. Can I just mix this by hand or do I need a mixer?

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    Replies
    1. A mixer is easier but you can knead it by hand.
      Gina

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  17. I have done this recipe twice. Once with all whole wheat and the other following the recipe. The only thing I changed was the temp to cook at. The crust is still to hard for my liking, any suggestions on how to make it softer. I changed the temp to 350.

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    Replies
    1. Jackie -
      I'm not sure what to suggest because I haven't had a problem with hard crust. Have you tried brushing on some melted butter as soon as it comes out of the oven? It makes the loaves look pretty and will soften the crust.
      Gina

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  18. What is the sour dough starer receipe. Thanks susan. I'm wanting to cook and eat as close to nstural without any preservatives.

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  19. this is a really solid and easy sourdough, thanks! It's got a lot of oven spring

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  20. Wondering how to get a starter?? what do you do to make the starter?

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    Replies
    1. Check the top of the page for tab labeled "sourdough." You can find all my sourdough information there!

      And happy baking!
      Gina

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  21. Hi, Gina. I'm having trouble measuring the starter. I had 4 cups of bubbling starter after feeding overnight. When stirred, it deflated, and ultimately it was really only a little over 2 cups. Is your 2 cups the former or the latter?!

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    Replies
    1. I always stir down my starter before measuring. I think this is more accurate. If you have a digital scales, measuring by weight is even more accurate.
      Gina

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  22. Hi gina.i made this bread today. It was amazing. Thank you

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  23. Hi, Gina, thank you for the recipe! Is the kneading time by hand? I did a window pane test after 5 minutes, but my dough failed. I went ahead and followed the rest of the steps. The bread came out soft but a little chewy and was wondering if that is the intended texture? Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. I usually knead with machine - so maybe my results will vary. Next time try kneading a little longer and see if you like it better.
      Gina

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  24. Hi! I've been making this recipe for a few weeks, and my family and I love it. Thanks! I was thinking about trying this dough for a cinnamon raisin bread as you suggest. Any suggestions on ratios you use for the cinnamon and sugar, etc.?

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    Replies
    1. I just sprinkle it in with no measurements. I just made this today! I like to go heavy with the spices so that the flavor comes through with just enough sugar to add a little sweetness.

      Sorry I'm not more specific!
      Gina

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    2. That's okay! I'll experiment with it. Thanks.

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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