How to make sourdough bread

Baking bread with your own sourdough makes you proud. And don't worry - making sourdough isn't as complicated as it seems. Here is how it goes!

For many hobby bakers, making sourdough is high on the list of things they don't dare to do. I felt the same way for a long time. But then - after failures and a long break - I tried again. Because wheat, spelled or rye bread with sourdough is simply delicious. And with my sourdough instructions for beginners, you can too!

Making sourdough sounds simple at first, at least in terms of ingredients and preparation - and yet it's not that straightforward. I also felt like I read hundreds of recipes, baking books and blog articles. And was even more confused afterwards than before. Somehow it didn't make sense. Each describes a different method of setting items. I only had question marks in my head. Do I want to spare you this journey? . In the following you will find detailed instructions on how to Prepare the sourdough yourself can. Including many tips and tricks. The most important of these: Don't give up, even if your first attempt may fail. Start all over again. A good sourdough starter will, in the best case, accompany you for years. So it's worth the effort.

How do you make sourdough?

There are many different options. Basically, however, the principle is always the same: A small amount of rye flour is mixed with the same amount of warm water over several days and this mixture is then allowed to mature. The procedure takes 3-4 days. But only a fraction of that is real working time. From the 3rd day on, I only use part of the starting material. You always have a small amount of the finished batch in the refrigerator so that you don't have to start all over again for each baking. The so-called Anstellgut is fed every week.

You can find the exact steps for setting items in the recipe. Here are a few general tips that you should definitely keep in mind when you Make sourdough yourself want

  • Works cleanly: First and foremost, this means using clean glasses and spoons. Otherwise, unwanted bacteria can spread that have no place in the sourdough
  • Weigh everything - lukewarm water and flour
  • Pay attention to the right temperatures, whether near the water or where the dough ripens
  • Despite the approximate times given, keep checking for sourdough. And smells. It is best to start e.g. on Friday or over the weekend or on vacation
  • Only covers the items during the ripening period instead of sealing them airtight

Like yeast, sourdough is a leavening agent, but it gives the bread a different taste and shelf life. Especially at the beginning you should add a little yeast to the bread dough (not the sourdough), as long as the mixture is still very young. Very important: It is always sourdough without yeast.

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Frequently asked questions about sourdough

Which flour do you need for making sourdough?

The most common is rye sourdough with whole grain rye flour. Theoretically, wheat flour or spelled flour can also be used for preparation. However, you should definitely choose flour with a high type or whole grain.

How do I get the right temperature to mature?

There are special fermentation boxes etc, but I usually put the glass in the oven with the oven lamp only switched on (or a maximum of 30 degrees); or under a lamp. So it's a pretty constant warm place.

What if mold forms on the dough or weird colors appear?

Then it is unfortunately bad - and you have to start over

How many sourdough pieces do you need for a piece of bread?

Depends on the dough's rising time. I usually take 75 grams, but there are also recipes with 10g (like our spelled sourdough bread) or 150g

What to do with the unused leftover sourdough pieces?

I admit it: I mostly throw them away. Theoretically, however, you can also put them in other doughs, use them dried for breading or the like

How often should you feed the food from the refrigerator?

Even if you don't want to bake: regularly. The more often the better. I do it once a week and have a calendar entry on my cell phone for it. You have to freshen up the day before the baking day

What if I can't feed the approach for a long time?

Either ask a neighbor to “take care of” or give the batter a few fresheners after 2 weeks before using it. But there should also be people who take sourdough with them on vacation.

What if the sourdough bread is extremely compact, soggy, or very sour?

Unfortunately, especially at the beginning, there can sometimes be “imperfect” breads. That's part of it. Perhaps your sourdough is still too young and therefore not strong enough. To begin with, you add a little yeast to the bread dough. With each refreshment, the sourdough becomes stronger, so that at some point it works on its own

I hope you guys like this Sourdough instructions to be able to encourage them to give it a try! I'm definitely not a professional (you can find him here, for example). And it works anyway. Let me know in a comment about your previous experiences with the topic. By the way, supposedly every sourdough needs a name. Mine doesn't have one yet - although I've really grown fond of it 😉 We have freshly baked bread at least 1-2 times a week.

Note: I published this post for the first time in 2019 and last updated it in 2020.

sourdough

Even prepared sourdough takes time, but then - well cared for - lasts forever. With my sourdough instructions for beginners it will definitely work!
Quantity: 1 serving of sourdough

ingredients

Step 1

  • 50 grams rye flour type 1150
  • 50 grams water min. approx. 37 degrees, up to 60g

2nd step

  • 50 grams rye flour type 1150
  • 50 grams water min. approx. 37 degrees, up to 60g
  • 100 grams sourdough batch from the 1st step

3rd step

  • 50 grams rye flour type 1150
  • 50 grams water min. approx. 37 degrees, up to 60g
  • 50 grams sourdough batch from the 2nd step

4th step

  • 50 grams rye flour type 1150
  • 50 grams water min. approx. 37 degrees, up to 60g
  • 10 grams sourdough mixture from the 3rd step

preparation

Step 1

  • Mix 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of warm water in a large mason jar vigorously with a spoon. If the mass is extremely solid, use up to 60g of water instead of 50g. Put on the lid of the jar (do not screw on or close with a clamp), alternatively cover with cling film. Let the mixture mature at approx. 25-30 degrees for around 24 hours.

2nd step

  • Vigorously mix the entire mixture from step 1 with another 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of warm water. Put on the lid. Cover and let ripen for 10-20 hours at approx. 25-30 degrees. How long it takes for you depends on how the approach develops: As soon as it has doubled its volume and is already easily falling back in, you move on to step 3.

3rd step

  • Mix 50 grams of the batch from step 2 with 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of warm water. Put on the lid. Cover and let ripen for around 12 hours at approx. 25-30 degrees. Here, too, the exact duration depends on how the approach develops: As soon as it has doubled its volume and is already easy to fall back in, move on to step 4.

4th step

  • Mix 10 grams of the batch from step 3 with another 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of warm water. Put on the lid. Cover and let ripen for 8-12 hours at approx. 25-30 degrees. The volume should now increase by about half.

Using the sourdough garnish

  • If the mixture smells clearly sour, the sourdough starter or the topping (approx. 110 grams in total) is now ready to be baked. Otherwise repeat step 4 again. For a sourdough bread with approx. 500g of flour you need e.g. 75g of items, depending on the walking time. The first few times you should also add yeast to the dough until the leaven is strong enough on its own.

Regular feeding of the sourdough

  • The rest of the sourdough stuffing (in my example approx. 30-40g) is stored in a small glass with the lid on in the refrigerator and has to be "fed" or "refreshed" again and again. To do this, take 10 grams of the sourdough mixture out of the refrigerator every 7-10 days (the rest can be removed) and mix it again with 50g flour and 50g water in a clean, fresh glass.
  • This mixture is left to mature again for 8-12 hours, as in the 4th step. Then, for example, you take out 75g of your bread and store the rest in the refrigerator. And keep going 🙂.

Remarks

  • The right temperatures are extremely important for making the sourdough - not too cool, not too hot. You should measure the water temperature with a thermometer, it is best to leave the place to mature as well.
  • In winter you can let the sourdough ripen next to a heater (if this heats up constantly and does not switch off at night). Otherwise, I can recommend letting the dough mature in the oven at 30 degrees. Or, if the lowest temperature in your oven is 50 degrees, just turn on the oven light. That alone is often enough to reach 30 degrees.

General information