Basic Sourdough Bread

"Plain white, simple sourdough bread. A great starter recipe to use if you are new to sourdough baking. The dough cycle of the bread machine can be used to prepare the dough, if you like. Prep time does not include proofing time for starter."
photo by eabeler photo by eabeler
photo by eabeler
photo by Penguin S. photo by Penguin S.
photo by Dutch in Vermont photo by Dutch in Vermont
photo by rick1816 photo by rick1816
photo by Sequined Seahorse photo by Sequined Seahorse
Ready In:
3hrs 50mins
1 loaf




  • Before measuring out your 2 cups of starter culture, it must be proofed: To proof, I usually start with 1 cup of starter and stir into it equal parts of flour and warm water (for this recipe, 1 1/2 cups of each would be more than enough).
  • Let mixture sit, covered loosely, for 8 to 12 hours-- the longer it sits, the sourer the flavor will be.
  • At this point, measure out the 2 cups required for recipe, and return leftover starter to refrigerator for next time.
  • Pour starter into mixing bowl.
  • Melt butter (microwave works well).
  • Add milk to butter and warm briefly (85 degrees F).
  • Add the salt and sugar, stir until dissolved.
  • Add this mixture to the culture and mix well.
  • Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring until the dough is too stiff to mix by hand.
  • Turn onto floured board and knead in the remaining flour until the dough is smooth and satiny.
  • Pat dough into a 1-inch thick oval and form loaf by rolling oval up from the long side, pinching the seam together as you roll the dough, tucking ends to form the loaf.
  • Place in lightly greased loaf pan (I spray with cooking spray), and let rise, covered, at 85 degrees F for 1 1/2 to 3 hours.
  • When the dough rises 1 to 2 inches above the edges of pan, it is ready to bake.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes (baking time varies according to your oven and your personal taste--some like a darker crustier bread than others).
  • Remove loaf from oven and brush the top lightly with melted butter; turn loaf out of the pan and cool on wire rack.
  • If you prefer, you can shape this into a round or oval loaf and bake on a baking sheet.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Janet B.
    Where do I get or start a starter????
  2. wendyworldly
    I’m confused by the first paragraph of the Directions. It says Before measuring out your 2 cups of starter culture, it must be proofed: To proof, I usually start with 1 cup of starter and stir into it equal parts of flour and warm water (for this recipe, 1 1/2 cups of each would be more than enough). It says to add equal parts to the 1 cup of starter but then says 1 1/2 is more than enough. Can you clarify please?
  3. Karen R.
    I'm confused by "proofing". Does this become part of the 2 cups used in making the loaf or is this the replenishment that is poured back into the starter after the 2 cups have been measured out?
  4. roberta_abbott
    Does it have to be made in a loaf pan? It looks more convenient that the traditional round sourdough loaf, but if I want to make a round loaf, can I just shape it into a ball instead? Also, it looks less full of holes than most sourdough I'm used to, is there a reason for this? Thanks.
  5. Susan P.
    Do you have the " Starter" recipe also. I tried a recipe from another site it was very confusing and did not turn out well. Thanks


  1. SaraFish
    This makes a fabulous loaf of bread! Easy and simple with wonderful results! I used my bread machine's dough cycle for the kneading. I mixed the melted butter (actually I used margarine), milk, salt and sugar together in a measuring cup and then added to my starter and gently stirred it well. Then I put the flour in my machine and turned it on and then gradually added the liquid. The ratio of liquid to flour is perfect! My dough was elastic and smooth. Then I placed the dough in my glass loaf pan that I had sprayed with Pam and covered it with a clean dish towel to rise. It took about 2 hours to rise about 1 1/2" about the rim of the pan. Then I baked it! There is no better aroma than baking bread! The loaf has a moist spongy center and a crusty outside. Perfect! Thanks, Donna M!
  2. Jan Marie
    This is a wonderful recipe. I'd give it six stars if I could. I am a novice at sourdough, and I did the dough in my bread machine and baked it in the oven (ok..I am lazy). It was terrific, very moist and crusty and deleciously sour. Thanks for the recipe. I wlll definitely make it over and over again.
  3. Penguin S.
    A friend gave me some sourdough starter he made from scratch capturing local wild yeast. I've been working with a plain flour and water recipe for weeks without being excited by the bread. I tried this recipe and LOVED the result! Nice sour flavor and soft, chewy bread you can really enjoy! I prepared 4 proofed starter portions. In the pic, the one on the right is per the recipe using bread flour. Middle is recipe but with all purpose flour bcs I ran out of bread flour. On the left is all purpose flour with beer instead of milk! I think I will half the dough next time as I did with the last starter portion which made two nice rounds.
    • Review photo by Penguin S.
  4. Cindy Lynn
    I am so glad I caught you (or you caught me) online. I would have over-cooked it. 38 minutes and it's done...I got the heel! I couldn't wait for morning. It's's delicious...what else can I say! I know my husband's going to like this one too; it is very mild. Absolutely no yeast added and the texture is gorgeous. I baked it in a clear glass pyrex loaf pan. It has ever the slightest tang of sourdough (used the Red Sea sourdough starter)...ummm ummm ummm! Definitely a winner. Thanks Donna for sharing this!
  5. Teresa M
    EXCELLENT, I don't have a bread machine, but didn't need one...omg, the AROMA that so filled the house, and then that was NOTHING...taste was truly WONDERFUL, Thank you Donna, I loved this and afraid we're now "hooked" on sourdough. But thank-you, nobody is complaining! Now I can't wait to try your other sourdough recipes!


  1. hjewell4363
    I have made this recipe a couple of times a month for the last year. I have tried others but always go back to this one. The only tweak I did was substitute the milk and butter with about 3/4 cup of butter milk. Great recipe! Thanks
  2. Kevin B.
    I’ve had good luck with this recipes as is, but this time I used 2 cups of regular flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour and the resulting loaf is perfect!
    • Review photo by Kevin B.
  3. Kst8mom
    Didn't change anything.
  4. Alison H.
    I'm gluten intolerant, so I'm just trying it out and seeing about converting this recipe to gf. I'm using rice flour and a mixture blend gf flour. 1 cup and 3 cups and 2 cups of gf s ourdough starter just like this recipe. I replaced the sugar with about 1/4 a cup of honey. But all the directions are the same. Will post a picture when finished!
  5. aleena w.



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