The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Your Top 5 Sourdough Recipes? :)

amyv's picture

Your Top 5 Sourdough Recipes? :)

Hello group, I'm new to the boards but I posted my introduction here.

I am testing out sourdough recipes using only natural flour starters (no bakers' yeasts), and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by how many different recipes are out there (on the Internet and in books!) to try.  Most of the books available at my local library focused on bread machine recipes, however I luckily found the King Arthur Flour "Baker's Companion" book which has helped me quickly start a rye-based starter and with a sourdough recipe from the Internet, I baked my first spelt sourdough loaves today!  But I am not 100% satisfied with the recipe and would like to try a few others.  

In addition to spelt sourdough, the other four varieties of sourdough that I am hoping to master are: multigrain sandwich loaf, whole wheat, levain, and rye.  However, I would love to see your favourite naturally-leavened sourdough recipes whether they are these varieties or otherwise.  

Thank-you in advance and I hope to get to know you all, this site is an amazing resource!


SteveB's picture

Amy, have a look at the pain au levain (sourdough) and 40% rye recipes shown here:

The pain au levain shown was made with the newly created sourdough starter described in a previous post on the blog, so producing a good quality pain au levain in 2 weeks time, from beginning the starter to pulling the final loaf from the oven, is quite doable. 


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Amy.

Welcome to TFL!

I have a couple suggestions for strategies:

First one: There are tons of recipes on this site. Look at the lists of "Favorites" and "Highest Rated Stories" on the TFL home page. Use the TFL search function to find topics related to the kinds of breads you want to bake. You will come up with more material than you know what to do with! The members who contributed to topics as well as their originators will generally be happy to answer questions about specific breads the topics cover.

The second suggestion is to check out one or more bread cookbooks that have a lot of background information as well as recipes. If you want to bake commercially, Hamelman's "Bread" would be a good choice. It's not for beginners, though. This book teaches the fundamental principles and techniques comprehensively, and it has recipes for all the types of bread you say you are interested in learning to bake.

I think it's fair to say that most of us find we learn best by starting with a small number of breads that we make over and over until we really understand them. What we learn this way generalizes to new recipes. This approach allows you to vary ingredients and techniques one at a time, so you really understand the difference each variable makes.

Since you are into sourdough, I'd suggest starting with a basic white sourdough. Susan from San Diego has a recipe posted on TFL that many have had good results from.

All sourdough does not need to be made with wet (slack) doughs, but lots of our favorites are. The "Miche, pointe-a-calliere" from Hamelman's "Bread" and "Pierre Nury's Light Rye" from Daniel Leader's "Local Breads" are two that several of us have made and like a lot. You can find recipes for both on this site.

Well, I think that's enough to digest for now, especially since you are likely to get additional suggestions from others.

Oh! One more thing. Have fun!


amyv's picture

Whoops ... Do you think I scrolled down to the bottom of the first page to see the top rated pages?  I was navigating the top bar -- went through the lessons, videos, galleries, then to the forums.  I'm going to go read through some more of the top-rated stories; I see that the lesson I already read is #1. I actually like the way this website & forum work, it's a lot like Wordpress maybe it's Wordpress based?  I find it easy to navigate (despite my not seeing that section), I guess because I blog @ Wordpress.

SteveB, thanks for the links & I've bookmarked your blog, too, and am going to read it over the weekend.

KosherBaker's picture

I think Vermont Sourdough  from Hammelman's Bread is a great bread to start with a do over and over until you get the feel for sourdough. The bread is quite delicious and I think pretty much everyone on this forum has made it at least once.