The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can someone post a simple but good recipe?

danmerk's picture

Can someone post a simple but good recipe?

I am looking for a good base recipe using my wet starter. Can someone post a good recipe using simple ingredients? So far my bread has been just 3c flour, 2c starter, salt. I have a scale now and wanted to further make better breads. I tried an all wheat bread, but it sucked so bad, I was thinking of never using whole wheat again. :(

Felila's picture

After several failures, I just made the perfect New York Times no-knead bread -- with sourdough! I'd suggest that.

Here's the recipe:

NYT NK bread

You may want to reduce the water a little. If you make this a few times, you'll know by eye and feel when it's the right kind of gloppy.

I added a tablespoonful of wet sourdough starter, straight from the fridge, to the other ingredients. Don't drop the regular yeast! Use both the yeast and the starter.

During the long rising time, the tablespoon of starter colonized the whole ball of dough. The resulting bread was deliciously sour -- as well as light, fluffy, and crunchy on the outside. Unlike my previous loaves, made with a whole cup of starter.

This won't work properly unless you have the right kind of pot. I use a Lodge cast iron chicken fryer with a cast iron lid. See other threads for tips on finding inexpensive cast iron, if you don't already have a Dutch oven.




breadnerd's picture

I started out makeing sourdough with the Bread Alone book. It really got me making successful loaves. One nice thing about the book (and other books do this too) is he has a lot of alternate versions of the same recipe.

I've made this recipe so many times I know it by heart: It's just:

*Levain 18 oz

water 18 oz

Flour 24-29 ounces

Salt 1 Tablespoon

*Bread Alone uses a wet starter, but has you make a slightly stiffer "levain" from it about 8-10 hours before making the dough--I think wet starter would work fine you'd just have adjust your water amounts slightly.


For technique, any of the sourdough/kneading methods on this site will work fine--use what you're comfortable with and have been succesful with. These plain loves bake at about 450 for 30 minutes, depending on their size.


Here's the fun part: There are lots of easy additions to this that help make things more interesting and are great for beginners:


Olives/Rosemary: Same recipe, fold in 1 cup black olives and 1/4 cup fresh chopped rosemary at the very end of kneading (by hand works great)


Fresh herbs/sun dried tomatoes: Same thing, fold in 1/2 cup each fresh sage, basil, and drained, chopped sun dried tomatoes.


Walnuts (I love this one): Knead in 2 cups of coarsely chopped toasted walnut. Don't worry this will turn your dough a purple color but the smell and flavor is worth it!


The BBA book has notes like this too, almost anything can be added and will be a nice change of pace to your regular baking, and you don't need to learn a new formula or technique to do it!


Finally (sorry to go so long): as far as whole wheat goes, I admit I tend to like traditional (white) french breads, and switching to whole wheat can change so much in a formula (texture, crumb structure, etc) that I think it can be hard for beginners. But, I do like to throw a little whole wheat into almost any recipe--I'll make my starter with 50% WW flour, or replace a cup or 2 of white flour when weighing it out. It adds color and flavor to any loaf without affecting the rest of the recipe too much. Just a suggestion that worked for me when I was getting started--now I think all white loaves look a little pale, ha ha!