Your Questions About Sourdough Bread

Jenny asks…

Is it possible to make a sprouted sourdough bread with no un-sprouted flour or yeast?

I want to make a pure, sprouted sourdough bread. No flours or unsprouted grains. And no yeast or oils or flavors or anything like that. Is this possible? How would I do this?

sourdough answers:

No it’s not really possible to make bread without yeast that much and flour. I don’t know why you said flavoring because I don’t add flavoring on mine. I’m sorry to say that there is no way you can make sourdough bread without flour. You need flour to make any kind of bread, pizza crust, pecan bread, etc.

George asks…

How can I make my sourdough bread go brown when toasted?

I make great tasting genuine sourdough bread from scratch with just some starter, water, salt and flour. But even though i have tried adding oil or butter, when I toast my bread, it’s just crap.

It takes forever to go brown, and when it finaly does it is so over toasted it’s inedible.

What do I need to do to make my white sourdough bread turn brown when toasted?
Actually guys, im not talking about how to make the crust brown, i use egg yolk and milk for that with good results.

Im talking about slicing it, and putting it under the grill to make toast – the white inside of the bread will not go brown!

hope that clarifies…

sourdough answers:

If you have baked your bread and you’re toasting slices of it…try spreading butter on it and baking it in a toaster oven. It will brown some.

Do you (after bread has risen and ready to bake) brush the loaf with melted butter or a little cream. Try it….it may do the trick!

William asks…

Sourdough bread recipes for my bread machine, know any?

I got a Sunbeam bread machine and would like to find a sourdough bread recipe and a asiago cheese bread recipe, too. Do you know any good cook books that have good bread recipes for my bread machine, also?

sourdough answers:

There are a gadzillion good recipe books out there. “bread machine magic” comes to mind. I must have 50 of them.

Go to you library and do some research in them.

Didn’t your machine come with a recipe book? Use it.

Google “bread machine recipes”. There are dozens of sites.

There are also very good packaged mixs on the market.

Maria asks…

Have you got a good recipe for Sourdough bread and Rye bread?

Have you made sourdough bread or rye bread? Do you have a good traditional “fail safe” recipe you swear by? I don’t have a bread machine by the way! And please do not give me American recipes with measurements that make no sense! Grams or lbs and ounces only please!

sourdough answers:

Sourdough — 2 loaves
625g (1 3/8 lb) bread flour
3 tablespoons caster sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 (7g) sachet dried active baking yeast
225ml (8 fl oz) warm milk
30g (1 oz) butter, softened
375g (13 oz) sourdough starter
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 onion, chopped (optional)

In a large bowl, combine 100g (4 oz) of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add milk and softened butter. Stir in starter. Mix in remaining flour gradually.

Knead 8 to 10 minutes. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for 8 to 10 minutes more. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to oil surface and cover. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.

Punch down, and let rest 15 minutes. Shape into 2 loaves. Place in greased loaf tins. Allow to prove for 1 hour, or until doubled.

Beat egg and add water to make an egg wash. Brush egg wash over tops of loaves, and sprinkle with chopped onion.

Bake at 190 C / Gas mark 5 for 30 minutes, or till done.

Sourdough Rye — 2 loaves
100g (4 oz) rye flour
50g (2 oz) bread flour
150ml (5 fl oz) water
4 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon caraway seed
125g (4 1/2 oz) rye flour
125g (4 1/2 oz) bread flour
250g (9 oz) sourdough starter
100ml (4 fl oz) water (optional)
1 teaspoon salt (optional)

The night before you bake the bread, feed the starter with 100g rye flour, 50g bread flour and 150ml water. Cover, and let stand at room temperature overnight.

In a large bowl, mix together expanded starter, 4 tablespoons water, salt, sugar, oil, caraway and 125g each rye and bread flour. Add more or less flour as necessary to get a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until satiny. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn once to oil the surface. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled.

Punch down dough, and shape into loaves. Place on a greased baking tray. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 180 C / Gas mark 4 for 40 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom.

Rye Bread — 2 loaves
450ml (16 fl oz) water
100g (4 oz) dark brown soft sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 dessertspoon salt
1 dessertspoon orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seed
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
675g (1 1/2 lb) plain flour
2 (7g) sachets dried active baking yeast
2 eggs, room temperature
200g (7 oz) rye flour

Boil water, sugar, oil, salt, orange zest, caraway seeds and fennel seeds in a saucepan for 3 minutes. Cool until lukewarm

In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 the plain flour and yeast. Stir in cooled orange zest mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Blend in eggs. Add 1/2 of the remaining plain flour, and beat 1 minute on medium speed. Add rye flour and enough additional plain flour to make a stiff dough.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes, or until smooth and satiny. Shape into a ball. Place in lightly oiled bowl, turning to oil the surface. Cover with a damp cloth, and place in a warm spot. Allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled.

Punch dough down, and divide in half. Shape into 2 balls. Let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into 2 loaves, and place into ungreased 23x13cm (9×5 in) loaf tins. Brush with oil. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Bake at 200 C / Gas mark 6 for 30 to 35 minutes, or until done.

Mandy asks…

What do you add to a starter to make sourdough bread???

I have a starter but do not know what to put in or how much to make sourdough bread. It has been a while since I made any and I was wanting to make it but I forgot how.

sourdough answers:

Sourdough starter (mix)

Yield: 1 starter
1 quart Water [luke warm]
1 pack Dry yeast
2 teaspoon Sugar
4 cup Flour

1) Put the water in a good size crock and add the yeast, and sugar to soften… Then add the flour… Cover with a clean cloth… 2) Let the mixture rise until it is light and slightly aged (about 2 days)…Mixture will thin as it stands, so add flour as needed… As yo use the sourdough from the crock replace it with equal ammouts of flour and water…
Sourdoughs were originally produced by wild yeasts. The wild yeasts in the San Francisco area produce a unique flavor in breads. Some sourdoughs are over a hundred years old. The starter (or sometimes called a sponge) is a flour and water mixture that contains the yeast used to rise the bread.

You can buy dried versions and then activate them or you can make your own, catching the wild yeasts indigenous to your area. Ways to get some sourdough starter:

Get a cup of starter from a friend or another baker. You take a cup of the starter and add flour and water to make more of it. The starter can go on for years.

You can make a starter with normal packaged yeast you buy at the store (see recipe below)

Or you can buy a packaged sourdough starter mix at the grocery store or by mail-order.


Easy Sourdough Starter Recipe:

2 cups white flour*
2 cups water
1 packet of dry baking yeast

* I have also had excellent results using whole wheat flour. Whole wheat starter does not have as much rising action as that made with white flour; you may have to plan longer rising times. I usually add some whole wheat flour along with the white flour (I have even used some rye flour with excellent results).

Mix the flour and yeast together in container, preferably glass or ceramic, that can hold two quarts. Stir in the water and mix well. Cover the container with a dish cloth and let it sit in a warm spot (I place container in my sink). The dish cloth will let wild yeasts pass through into the batter. The mixture should bubble as it ferments (this will foam up quite a bit). If sourdough spills out onto your counter, it is hard to clean off once it has dried! Stir it once a day. Let it sit out from 2 to 5 days. Then stir it, cover with plastic wrap, and store it in the refrigerator.

As your starter sits in the refrigerator, a liquid will form on the top. It contains 12% to 14% alcohol. Stir that liquid back into the starter before using.

Your starter should be fed every other day if left sitting on the counter. Every other week, if refrigerated. To feed it, remove one cup (use it in a baked item, give it to a neighbor, or throw it away) and replace it with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour. Let it sit out for a few hours; then refrigerate.

When you are ready to cook or bake with your starter, remove it from the refrigerator and pour it into a bowl. Let it warm to room temperature. At this time, mix up equal parts of water and flour to equal the amount of starter you are going to need.

If your sourdough gets too sour, throw all of it away except 1 cup. Add 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of water to it, and let it ferment for a day or so.

If you will not be using your starter for some time, freeze it. Two days before you need to use it, let it defrost. Then feed it and let it ferment for a day.



To sourdough purists, sourdough bread is made using no commercial yeast. Others think of sourdough as only a flavoring method and rely on commercial yeast for the final rise. They do this for speed or convenience. I use both techniques.

I find working with a sourdough starter can be very time consuming. Especially if you follow what most sourdough books say and feed them everyday. That’s too much work for me as I already have a cat. You even need a sourdough sitter when leaving town.

Because I don’t use my starter everyday, I store it, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use. When I decide I want to use my starter, I then remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature (usually I let it sit overnight on the counter). I then feed it with 1 cup flour and 1 cup warm water. I let this site 8 hours or preferably overnight. It is now ready to use in your sourdough recipes!

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