A great loaf of sourdough bread starts with a good sourdough starter. If the starter is not proofed correctly, the bread will not rise and you will be left with a loaf that may resemble a thick sheet of cardboard. The key to making good sourdough bread is using the starter to make a sponge. The sponge will rise, also known as proofing, showing that the yeast in the starter is active. Once the sponge is ready, you can make the bread.
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Things you need
- Bread recipe
- Sourdough starter
- Milk, water or other liquid
- 1 cup flour
Remove the amount of sourdough starter called for in your bread recipe. Be sure to feed the remaining starter after you have removed what you need.
Allow the starter to come to room temperature.
Stir the liquid ingredients in your recipe into the starter. Add 1 cup flour and stir to incorporate.
Allow the starter to proof, or rise, until the mixture is full of bubbles. This can take between three and 24 hours.
Add the remaining ingredients, knead and shape into a ball. Allow to rise until double. Punch the dough down and shape into loaves. Bake according to recipe directions.
Tips and warnings
- If your sourdough starter has separated while in the refrigerator, stir the liquid back into the mixture before removing the amount of starter you need.
- Sourdough starter can be used as the base of white, rye and many artesian types of bread.
- Always feed your sourdough starter at least once a month. Remove a cup of starter and replace with an equal amount of flour and water. If you don't plan on making bread, share the cup of starter with a friend to keep the starter going. A well-fed and maintained sourdough starter will last for years.
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