The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


NetherReine's picture


Hello.  Today I received my free sourdough starter (thank you NY Baker!).  In a few days it will be ready to go.  Can anyone offer suggestions on a sourdough bread recipe for a beginner?  I understand it is wise to stick with one recipe while you learn the ropes.  Which "one recipe" should that be?

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

You are correct that it is a good idea to stick to just one formula for a while, until you get familiar with the process and timing.  Then you can branch out.  Two of the most commonly suggested starting points here on The Fresh Loaf are SusanFNP's Norwich sourdough found here and David Snyder's San Joaquin sourdough found here.  I started out on the San Joaquin sourdough myself, but I think either of them will serve you well.  Check out their blogs, read through the recipes, and decide which you want to follow.

Best of luck, and welcome to the Sourdough side of the bread world!

caraway's picture
caraway would be a great starting place.  Teresa Greenway has generously shared her knowledge with complete and very specific recipes. 

Good luck, enjoy your bread!


Maverick's picture

Are you a beginner to sourdough or beginner ot baking bread? That is, do you bake commercial yeast breads often?

If you have not baked a lot, then I would say to stick with lower hydration recipes. The really wet ones are harder to manage even though they give some really nice holes and flavor. I like Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough. I know Susan over at Wild Yeast has adapted his formula for use with 100% hydration starter rather than the original 125%. Either of those might be good to start with as they give good flavor without a lot of fuss.

What hydration are you keeping your starter?

NetherReine's picture

Perhaps novice is a better way to describe me.  A couple years ago I started baking sourdough bread, but never got the excellent results that I was hoping for.  Medical issues have kept me from the kitchen for the last year or so, but I'm ready to start again.  Hydration percentages have always stumped me (math NOT being my thing).  I kept my previous starter on the dry side (more like "dough").   With this starter I am following the directions from the NY Bakers website which instructs to discard half of the starter and feed with 115g of water and 115g of flour every 4-7 days.  I don't know what the measurement of "half" the starter will be yet.  And I believe you are right about starting with a lower hydration recipe - I did have trouble in the past with the wetter recipes. 

Clearly, I will have to figure out the whole hydration thing if I want to get good at this!  Looks like some more research for me!

Salilah's picture

You say you plan to feed every 4-7 days?  I assume you are keeping your starter in the fridge inbetween?  Otherwise that sounds far too seldom for starter health?

NetherReine's picture

You assume correctly!  Once it has reached maturity (in the next few days) I will be storing it in the fridge.

Maverick's picture

Remember that you can always use a different technique with a given recipe. For instance, try the procedure used in Vermont sourdough (the Norwich sourdough uses the same technique) with the Northwest Basic White mentioned above. Or try the Northwest technique with the Vermont or  Norwich sourdough. Read the procedures and see which one appeals to you more.

Of course, as mentioned above, just pick one and try it out. Even if they don't have the right texture or shape, most recipes you find will taste good.

cranbo's picture

Why not, I'll toot my own horn and throw in my Beginner Sourdough in as a suggestion. I created the formula and recipe to have minimum steps while introducing some standard techniques that will take you a long way in learning how to bake sourdough. Try it and let me know how it goes. 

jennyloh's picture

I will start with that.  it was easy to follow,  great success with first try, and taste was actually pretty good for a sourdough.  check out my blog on this at  Simple ingredients, the dough was easy to work with.



margieluvschaz's picture


I would suggest going to & doing a no knead recipe. The recipe is simple, the proces is simple you just mix flour, salt  with starter & water let sit room temp 18 hours & the next day form proof & bake.  The bread is really great!

I started out with those recipes, gained confidence to use other recipes & still go back to the no knead recipes LOVE them!