This easy sourdough bread recipe gives you a little variety when it comes to your baking; the taste is rather more acid and to some folk's liking, but not others. For all those who claim to be gluten intolerant, if that is indeed the cause of your collywobbles, which it probably is not, this is the superior way of coming up with the perfect loaf.
The lower pH from the sourdough also improves the shelf-life naturally without having to add preservatives.
The most important factor is to turn this into real bread by using 100% flour, and that probably means having your own mill.
This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 6th September 2021.
What starts out as a little experiment may turn into a passion, or you may not like it at all. Personally, I bake it every day now; it is my favourite standard bread-recipe.
To be transparently honest, you cannot prepare the batter for a genuine sourdough loaf in five-minutes, or bake it in an electric bread oven, you just can't because it needs a little dried yeast.
Then it is not a genuine sourdough. But that like empires has to rise and fall, and return again, which takes hours of your time.
My easy sourdough bread recipes takes just five-minutes of your time, and that's all.
Let us start first up by saying this is really not a complex process. It seems, if you read books and magazines on the subject of sourdough-breads, that there is a whole lot of mystery attached, and not a little schlep, in the making; that is bunkum.
But it is easier perhaps to get a starter from a friend. That is how I got going some eight-years ago. That means I have baked it some three thousand times, since we have three ovens and I often make for friends, and every week for the Reko Hilton farmers' market. Facebook it if you are interested.
Having said that bread-dough certainly has a mind of its own; when I bake two-loaves, mixing the ingredients virtually exactly, they often turn out differently.
Both wheat and rye naturally have fermenting yeasts and bacteria. Add some water, and warmth, and they will start to feed on the sugars released from the flour by their own enzymes, producing carbon-dioxide and leavening the dough.
This is the way bakers have made their bread for millennia, without the use of industrial yeast and various enzymes. It is better and it is different, but it takes a lot of time to do it the traditional way.
Having said that, researchers have now found that sourdough breads, given a long fermentation time are far more digestible to those who are gluten-intolerant, including those with Coeliac disease.
And I'm personally finding much less indigestion after enjoying this loaf. Read more at does flour go bad?
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It may come as a surprise but commercial wholewheat bread has a high glycemic-index; it is fattening and bad for us. The sourdough process does two important things.
And ordinary brown bread has a very high GI of 81.
Firstly the lactic-acid released by the friendly bacteria inhibits the enzyme that digests the starch; the glucose is produced more slowly and has less of an effect on the blood sugar.
And secondly the acetic-acid produced by different bacteria slows the gastric emptying from the stomach.
Add to that stoneground flour in which the three-streams are never separated and you have a winner; all of the bran, germ and endosperm are present. This is absolutely crucial to an understand of what is real and fake bread.
Preparing this easy sourdough bread recipe takes less than ten-minutes, including grinding the wheat and caring for the starter.
Perhaps you have oodles of time and make your easy sourdough bread recipe from basic principles; that is the best way. Or perhaps, like me you are a busy person; then let us use the baking machine. It will literally take you less than ten-minutes, plus of course many hours for the yeasts and bacteria to do their thing; as long as you choose. And then finally it must cook obviously.
At our bread experiments page you can see various things that we have tried; some have been very successful, like adding a little butternut soup, but others less so, like delayed-salt.
Let us start with the care of your starter. You will need an approximately 500ml container; I am using this feta-cheese bucket. Make sure it is properly clean before use.
The bacteria and fungi in the starter will produce gas, so the lid keeps popping off.
Do not use a glass container with a tight-fitting lid, or you may find shards of shrapnel flying about.
The bugs are much happier with whole rye-flour, but it is extremely difficult to get, so I just use wheat; it works just fine.
If you want to be really swish, then adding a teaspoon of raw honey to the culture is the German way of producing a back-ferment. The pasteurised stuff from the supermarket is quite useless; unheated it contains an abundance of natural yeasts producing a vigorous reaction. You may have to find a local beekeeper.
Whenever you make your easy sourdough bread recipe, which happens daily in our family, you remove roughly a half-cup scoop (125ml) of your starter and add it to the flour in the oven dish, and reducing the commercial yeast by a third.
To the starter you then add a
roughly equal amount of flour and water, and a teaspoon of raw-honey. Stir it up, put the lid on loosely so it can breathe, and keep it aside in a warm spot.
Do your best not to contaminate the
starter with your fingers, or whatever. Give it a good stir with a fork, aerating it in the process, and scraping down the sides of your container.
"Sourdough is the proper way to make bread."
- Michael Pollan
When baking normally, the water quality is not really important. However, when making your easy sourdough bread recipe, any chlorine will destroy the natural bacteria that you are wanting to encourage.
So use only rain or spring water.
Then just get on and make your bread in the normal way, remembering to reduce the commercial yeast slightly. I follow this panera bread menu recipe.
On our Panasonic:
If you have a weight problem and want to reduce the glycemic index of your bread, you can instead follow our low GI bread recipe.
Baking your own bread also gives your more control of the amount of salt in your food. Our loaf contains less than half the amount in a commercial loaf; no sugar, and none of the dangerous chemicals. We rather use honey; how to start beekeeping is one of the rages in the world today. It is hard physical work, which is not a bad thing, and very relaxing; just what our stressed minds need.
Grinding your own nutritious flour for your easy sourdough bread recipe improves the nutrition immeasurably. The fats in wheat start to oxidise, go rancid, the moment you crack the kernel, letting air in; in particular, the invaluable vitamin E is affected. Grinding your own will reduce the cost of your flour by a half, or even more, increase the nutritional value many times, and takes about one minute.
An electric flour-mill is an essential if you are serious about baking your own bread.
But the wheat-grinder is expensive; throw in the saving by not having to buy vitamin E capsules and it becomes viable.
Add to that the betaine found in 100 percent nutritious flour, calcium and fibre, and you will realise that a wheat-grinder is not such a daft investment; I am convinced it is one of the reasons that in our seventies we still enjoy a life without medication.
Once you have looked at the whole wheat vs full-grain controversy, you might be convinced of the merits of buying your own mill. Ours is used daily now. It gives you more options when you start to enjoy making bread experiments.What is betaine?
Though we love pizza it gives many of us a bellyache; there are many possible reasons including gluten-intolerance. Though this was once a great favourite I have had to give it the miss for the last fifteen years.
Then we started making this sourdough pizza crust; imagine my astonishment and great relief when I realised it no longer gave me that unpleasant feeling of bloating and even pain.
Choice foods are not optional for those who have no desire to take drugs and regularly visit doctors; this is the medication that keeps your body vigorous and strong. We absolutely needs a colon full of friendly bacteria; this easy sourdough bread recipe is one way to help achieve it. It provides what is known as the prebiotic; the starch that passes through your small intestine undigested, and feeds the teeming billions in the large bowel.
Without the phytochemicals in your vegetables and fruit, the good fats in olives and avocados, nuts and seeds, and the omega-3 in fatty fish and flaxseed, for example, you simply cannot not be a vitally strong person.
Besides which, your choice foods taste fantastic once you have educated your tongue about the virtues of sourdough bread, for example, smeared with just butter; I can't bring myself to put jams and jellies and even raw honey on it. It is so delicious.
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And what may surprise you is that despite this being midsummer, with corn on the cob and new potatoes being enjoyed daily, neither Helen nor I are putting on weight.
With a lunch like this you can enjoy as many unrefined starches as you like. That day I had homemade mulberry jam on my sourdough bread; even that single teaspoon of sugar did not effect my blood glucose.
Having said that, we never eat white bread, or refined rice, or drink colas; they have the high GI carbohydrates that makes us obese, not the nutritious wholegrain flour products that we enjoy. We rarely have more than one or two teaspoons of sugar in a day; more usually none at all.
I am serious that, having got started and into a rhythm, this easy sourdough bread recipe takes less than ten minutes to throw together, including grinding the wheat and feeding the starter; in fact, it is nearer five, and in a class I gave the audience timed me at only four.
Baking this easy sourdough bread recipe is not onerous or time-consuming.
Understand the meaning of gluten and you are ten steps ahead of your neighbour when it comes to the benefits of sourdough bread.
However, those with a serious gluten intolerance need a longer ferment, even up to 24 hours for those suffering from Coeliac disease. They would be better off making a sourdough rye which contains very little gluten; and the Lactobacillus breaks it down.
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Beware if you have been sucked in by the gluten fad; and yes, it's nothing more than that. And an expensive one, and worse a dangerous trend. Why is that?
Because almost all of those doing the gluten thing, have changed to very refined flours of one sort or another, and that's the rough and stony stretch of road that Christian and Hopeful took, leaving the better way to travel on the easier By-Path meadow that leads to obesity. I owe an apology to John Bunyan for bastardising his writing, but anyway.
Apparently a third of Americans are busy trying to avoid gluten, but less than 1% actually have Coeliac disease, the serious form of intolerance, and probably not much more than double that have any genuine issues.
Another factor is that commercial bakers add an enzyme that changes the structure of gluten; it is this reformulated chemical that we are intolerant of, and why so many people today, far more than formerly, have issues with supermarket bread.
Not every bellyache after eating bread is caused by gluten. By far the majority are suffering from an unhappy microbiome, a heliobacter infection or a hiatus hernia; or all three.
The solution is not gluten-free, you'll be very pleased to hear, but our easy sourdough bread recipe and good dose of my easy probiotic called a rich kefir smoothie a couple times a week.
Oh, and one other little tip; sleep on your left side for the first half of the night, and have no coffee after dinner.
Bernard Preston as a semi-retired DC writes in his personal capacity on the virtues of cyan living, caring for both ourselves and the planet. Quick and easy to produce bread using whole flour is one of his passions; as is experimenting with different formulae such as this easy sourdough bread recipe.
Abundant living, he would say, and full speed, stopping to replenish the body and spirit periodically; then you will not spend twenty years in an old age home losing your marbles. On that subject, take good care of your second brain, the colon, and you will not have to worry about the first. Making your own probiotics, be it sauerkraut or kefir, for example, is important.
Choice foods is what the brain and the body need to achieve an optimal peak of long, fruitful years; and exercise too, of course.
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