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Sourdough starter instructions here.

(Keep in mind that I built an earth oven for baking bread, so I tend to go a little overboard on these things. But bread is for me a delightful thing, something that is nourishing physically and aesthetically.)

Sourdough requires a sponge---basically the dough for the rest of the dough.

Take your starter from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Empty it into a bowl and clean it's mason jar or whatever you're using to store the starter.

Add to the starter

1 c warm water
1 c flour

Stir and leave covered several hours to proof. Leaving it overnight usually works well. You can always put the bowl in the oven with the oven light on. I usually leave it on the counter. The sponge should have a sour smell and a froth. If not, let it sit longer.

Once you're sponge has proofed (frothy and sour), add to another bowl

2 c of sponge
2 Tb oil
4 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt

Put the rest of the sponge back in the starter jar and return that to the fridge.

Get ready about 3 c of flour.

Mix the sponge, oil, sugar, and salt. Add flour 1/2 c at a time. You should begin kneading when it's less like batter and not quite so sticky. You can knead the dough in the bowl or turn it on out a floured counter.

When all the flour is incorporated and the dough is satiny (a few minutes), put the dough in a covered bowl and let it rise until doubled in bulk. This may take a while as it's the yeast in the sponge that's doing the work and it's not as disciplined as the yeast you get in a packet.

Once it's risen, punch the dough down and knead a little more. You can also flatten out the dough on the counter and then fold the dough in half, and fold it again a couple times. It's a little easier on your hands and wrists.

Form a loaf and set it on a lightly oiled baking sheet, a baking sheet with corn meal on it, or a piece of baking parchment on a stone or baking sheet. Leave in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

You can slit the top if you like and brush a mix of egg white and water on the top just before it goes in the oven. You can also put a bowl of water in the rack below where the bread will bake so the oven has some steam in it.

Place the loaf in a cold oven, and then turn on the oven to 350 and bake for 30-45 minutes. You'll know it's done when the crust is dark brown and the loaf sounds kind of hollow when you give the top a flick with your finger.

Cool on a rack or towel for about an hour. The crust should be crunchy/chewy for awhile, but will soften up overnight. Also, bread goes stale faster the more surface area it has. For example, a baguette-shaped loaf will go stale faster than a round loaf.

That's pretty much it. This is as basic as it gets, but you have to accept that you're dealing with a wild organism and you're results may differ wildly from other's. It may not work at all. But trying is better than not trying, so go make a mess.

Good luck.

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Submitted by ohio on

I've never tried making it, but I'm always willing to give it a go.

What do you serve with it?

coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

The starter is made with potatoes left to ferment in a closed container over-night. The bread smells like dirty socks (really dirty socks!) while baking - but it makes THE BEST toast - so anything you like to eat with toast is yummy!

My mom and dad used to buy it from the Bread truck (yup - we used to get bread and milk delivered to our house - door to door trucks) in Detroit when I was growing up and we later found a good recipe. I'm going to look for it.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

you breadies are a plague, i swear... ;-)

veggie eaters of the world, unite! you have nothing starch based to consume but your fermented products.

Submitted by ohio on


Check your messages, bread coward.

Submitted by Lex on

I'll put it here instead of on the last bread thread, but as a counter example to the Germanic diet you pointed out i'd like to offer the French. Not known for being fat but certainly known for loving bread deeply, perhaps more deeply than any other people.

And some of us need bread, because 2000 calories in a day isn't enough to live on and even doubling that isn't enough to make us gain weight. (yeah i know that i've got the opposite problem of most, and i thought it would change with age but at almost 37 it still hasn't)

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

But it's pretty bad for me to eat, as in will take time off my life. My hba1c tells the sad story.

This doesn't mean I never eat bread, because I'm not always strong and I love mexican food and ethiopian food, and fresh walnut sourdough at the farmer's market is really hard for me to walk away from.

I don't care that much about pasta and rice, and it's easier for me to avoid the real bad stuff, sugar and HFCS.

whaleshaman's picture
Submitted by whaleshaman on

For stout-hearted "breadies" with asbestos hands, from Isvestia [which might explain cranking up the oven to 450 without even so much as a blink of their eye$]:


The Recipe


The Video

It looks perfect, too, for an earth oven.