Basic Sourdough Bread

Recipe by Donna M.
READY IN: 3hrs 50mins
YIELD: 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.