Our ultimate guide to sourdough baking covers everything you need to know about baking sourdough. We’ve got a super easy sourdough bread recipe for beginners, ideas for things to do with sourdough, sourdough starter discard recipes, and a guide to baking sourdough in a toaster oven. If you’ve been intimidated by sourdough baking, our ultimate sourdough guide should inspire you.
The comforting smells of sourdough bread being baked in our little kitchen have been wafting through the entire apartment, its sweet yeasty scent filling it with warmth and love. A tip: if you’re ever renting a holiday house or serviced apartment, the fastest way to settle in and make it feel like ‘home’ is to bake bread.
Terence is pulling a just-baked sourdough loaf out of the oven, just as he has every two or three days for the last few years. I can hear my husband tapping the boule and I’m already salivating at the thought of the crackle of the crust as he slices off the end, and the taste of soft salted butter melting into the still-warm piece.
Many say that sourdough baking is too hard, that they find it intimidating, that it’s not worth the trouble. Try your hand at baking sourdough and you’ll soon realise it’s very much worth any effort. Terence, the sourdough baker in our house, has written about his delight and satisfaction from making sourdough, from the ritual as much as results. Me, I’m happy just inhaling those heavenly aromas.
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Here’s our ultimate guide to sourdough baking…
Ultimate Guide to Sourdough Baking – Everything You Need to Know About Sourdough
Our ultimate guide to sourdough baking covers everything you need to know to bake sourdough. We’ve got a super easy sourdough bread recipe and beginners guide to baking sourdough, ideas for things to do with your sourdough bread, sourdough starter discard recipes, and more.
Do check back here every now and again as we’ll add new posts on sourdough to this collection as they’re published. If there’s anything you’d like to see us cover on sourdough, please do let us know in the comments at the end of this post. If you bake any of our recipes, please share them with us on social media.
Ultimate Guide to Sourdough Baking from an Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe to Sourdough Starter Discard Ideas
Our ultimate guide to sourdough baking covering everything you need to know to bake sourdough.
Baking Sourdough Bread in a Toaster Oven – The Secret to Getting Great Oven Spring
There’s no excuse to not give sourdough baking a try. Terence bakes sourdough in a toaster oven and it results in incredibly delicious, beautifully structured loaves of sourdough every single time.
Baking sourdough bread in a toaster oven wasn’t something Terence envisaged when we moved to an apartment without a proper oven. But baking sourdough in a toaster oven is better than not baking sourdough.
Much to his surprise, the toaster oven sourdough bread turned out to be terrific. If you have been put off baking sourdough bread because you only have a toaster oven then you need to read this post.
As Terence discovered, with a little extra attention to detail during shaping and proofing, it is possible to produce a great sourdough loaf from a modest toaster oven. The secret is getting great oven spring. In this post Terence shares that secret and more…
Essential Sourdough Baking Tools and Kitchen Utensils to Make Your Baking Life Easier
If you’re just starting to bake sourdough bread, take comfort in the fact that you don’t need to invest a lot of money in expensive kitchen equipment to make sourdough. That was a myth perpetuated during the sourdough backlash last year (see the post above).
In fact, if you cook and bake and already have a well-equipped kitchen, you probably have all the essential sourdough baking tools you need.
The only things we didn’t have in our Siem Reap kitchen when Terence first started baking sourdough seriously a few years ago was a Dutch oven and a banneton or proofing basket, however, he, ahem, borrowed a round basket from my collection to use as a banneton and we’d always intended to buy a Dutch Oven anyway.
The Dutch Oven was a great investment, because he not only uses it every few days to bake sourdough, we use it for roast chicken and use the lid to make Dutch Oven pizzas. It’s definitely worth investing in a good Dutch Oven if you don’t already own one.
Other must-have sourdough baking tools for those beginning their sourdough journey include sourdough starter containers such as glass mason jars, good digital scales, a dough whisk, dough and bench scrapers, and a stainless-steel mixing bowl.
Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe – Beginners Guide to Baking Sourdough Bread
This simple sourdough bread recipe is essentially a beginner’s guide to baking sourdough bread. While making sourdough bread this does take time, it requires very little effort – and no real kneading – and Terence’s sourdough guide is one of the easiest to understand that I’ve seen.
If you have been gifted with sourdough starter that’s ready to bake, then this post tells you what to do next. It answers common questions such as “why sourdough?” and explains things such as sourdough bread dough hydration levels in the simplest of terms.
Terence also covers sourdough bread dough developing methods, sourdough bread proofing methods, baking methods, kitchen gear needed to bake a sourdough boule, notes on making your first sourdough boule, sourdough bread shapes, and provides his flour recommendations.
If you don’t have a sourdough starter ready to bake yet, then head to the next post first for our simple sourdough starter recipe to learn how to make and feed a sourdough starter over a course of a week to get to this point.
Simple Sourdough Starter Recipe – How to Make a Sourdough Starter the Easy Way
Sourdough baking all starts with the sourdough starter. This post provides you with a super simple sourdough starter recipe because when it comes to sourdough baking there are few things more satisfying than making sourdough bread from your own sourdough starter.
For those of you have said you were intimidated or didn’t have time to bake sourdough, you’ll have no excuse after reading this post as it succinctly describes the easiest way to make your own sourdough starter.
Terence explains how he arrived at his final sourdough starter making method, shares his best sourdough starter tips, covers essential sourdough starter equipment you will need, and explains temperature and humidity in the simplest terms.
He also shares his day by day, step by step 7-day process for making the sourdough starter, how to maintain your sourdough starter and his daily sourdough feeding routine.
Baking is Easy, Cheap and Deeply Satisfying – Ignore the Sourdough Backlash
Soon after the start of the pandemic in early 2020 when everyone began staying at home to self-isolate, many of you undertook cooking projects and began quarantine baking. Sourdough baking went from a trend to a global phenomenon in few months and making a sourdough starter and baking sourdough bread became one of the most popular pandemic pursuits.
As with every mega-trend, there was the inevitable backlash and clickbait stories regurgitating the same sourdough myths, that sourdough baking is too hard, too time-consuming and too expensive.
There was also some sourdough shaming, from why are we buying all the flour when there’s a shortage to why aren’t we supporting struggling artisanal bakeries. This post was our response to that.
For Terence, sourdough baking is not only therapeutic, it’s deeply satisfying to create something delicious and healthy from nothing, and it’s actually much less expensive than buying premium priced artisanal bread – not that we have any real artisanal breadmaking in Siem Reap right now.
For those of you who have not yet tried your hand at baking sourdough, this post explains why you should disregard the discouraging nonsense out there.
Sourdough Pizza Recipe For a No Knead Long Fermented Pizza Dough Full of Flavour
When you’re developing your own sourdough starter to make sourdough bread the first time, you find yourself wondering what to do with the starter that you discard when you feed your starter? Terence’s favourite solution is sourdough pizza.
As we’re not baking commercially – at least not right now – we don’t need a giant jar of starter as I only make sourdough bread every second day. Terence is not actually throwing out all that much, but it still bugs him.
So now we take the non-bake day excess sourdough starter and make pizza dough with it. This sourdough pizza recipe makes a no-knead long-fermented pizza dough that’s full of flavour.
It’s a fantastic way to use up the sourdough starter that you normally discard when you feed your starter. As a result, you not only get a great tasting pizza but you get to reduce your kitchen waste in the process.
Simple Sourdough Batard Recipe for Making the Baguette’s Lesser Known Cousin
After a few years making sourdough bread, Terence was well and truly ready for a sourdough baking challenge, so he moved from the boule to the batard – or more correctly, bâtard. This simple sourdough bâtard recipe makes the baguette’s lesser known cousin, the bâtard.
The bâtard is still made from 100% sourdough starter but this oval-shaped loaf is not as long or as narrow as a baguette but it’s longer than a round sourdough boule. It’s therefore infinitely more practical for making toast and sandwiches, meaning less bread goes to waste.
This post covers everything from the sourdough bâtard ‘proofing basket’ to his favourite bâtard dough ingredients, hydration levels, bulk fermenting your bâtard dough, shaping a sourdough bâtard, proofing the bâtard dough, and baking a sourdough bâtard.
Best Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes – What To Do With Your Sourdough Starter Waste
This post was written for the people who found themselves Googling ‘sourdough starter discard recipes’ to use the sourdough waste you have to get rid of when you feed your starter. Well, Google no longer.
These sourdough starter discard recipes provide plenty of ideas for using leftover sourdough starter discard you may have, instead of letting it go to waste. There are as many sourdough discard recipes out there as there are recipes for sourdough bread.
A few years ago, we began researching and testing sourdough starter recipes and this is collection of the best sourdough starter discard recipes. Bookmark this post and check back occasionally as we update the post with links from time to time.
Sourdough Starter Discard Crackers Recipe – The Easiest Crispiest Crackers You’ll Ever Make
Our sourdough starter discard crackers recipe is so easy to make and the resulting cracker so flavoursome, crunchy and morish, and so perfectly matched with Middle Eastern dips such as hummus or muhammara, that it will make it hard to go back to a water cracker, savoury biscuit, corn chip, or potato crisp again.
This sourdough discard crackers recipe makes a crispy cracker that’s a little salty, a tad spicy, a tiny bit tangy, and utterly addictive. Triangular in shape, they’re perfect for scooping up dips. They’re also the easiest crackers you’ll ever make, so should inspire you to test out more sourdough starter discard recipes.
These crackers can be stored in an air-tight jar for up to a week before they begin to go stale, although they are so good that if you’re like us, they probably won’t last more than a day.
Sourdough Discard Scallion Pancakes – Easiest Sourdough Starter Discard Recipe Ever
This sourdough discard scallion pancakes recipe makes the easiest sourdough starter discard recipe you’ll ever make. It takes just 10 minutes from prep to taking your first bite.
They’re delicious and they’ll give you the confidence to try out even more sourdough starter discard recipes – including more authentic Chinese scallion pancakes.
Because I need to preface this by saying that this is not an authentic Chinese scallion pancakes recipe for cong you bing, which Cambodians here call num sleuk ka’tem in Khmer.
Rather, these should be called ‘Asian’ scallion pancakes, as they make a ‘Chinese’ scallion pancake found right across the region.
If you’re making your first sourdough starter discard recipe, begin with this super-easy scallion pancakes recipe, as it will encourage you to try more.
Sourdough Crumpets Recipe – Another Idea for Your Sourdough Starter Discard
This sourdough crumpets recipe puts your sourdough starter discard to use, so that it doesn’t go to waste, to make authentic English crumpets.
Crumpets are absolutely delicious with lashings of butter and dollops of homemade jam. They don’t take long to make, so like the sourdough scallion pancakes they’ll inspire you to try more sourdough starter discard recipes.
Terence has some fantastic tips to making sourdough crumpets, from making two crumpets at a time, so the mixture doesn’t sink back down into the pouring jar in the eight minutes between batches – the puffier the mix becomes the better the crumpets will rise and the more they will stay aerated and create the holes and texture that you want. It’s a magical process to watch.
Sourdough Bread Ideas for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks
These sourdough bread ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and those snacks in between meals, are for those of you who are running out of ideas for things to do with your sourdough. During Terence’s first year of sourdough baking, we were content to eat a whole sourdough boule sliced with lashings of salted butter.
We just took so much pleasure in the crunchy crust, tangy taste and wonderful texture of the bread. There are few things more delicious than a slice of freshly baked sourdough, smothered in butter or dipped in virgin olive oil.
Now that he’s been making sourdough for a few years and bakes every three days, we’re using sourdough for everything from breakfast toast and sandwiches for lunch to bruschetta and tapas for dinner, and sourdough croutons and crumbs for salads and soups.
If you’re not sure what to do with your sourdough bread now that you’ve perfected your sourdough starter and sourdough loaves and are consistently making crusty, chewy, airy boules, these are our favourite ways to eat sourdough bread, where loaves always get finished.
How to Store Sourdough Starter In the Fridge Long Term and How to Revive Your Starter
Our ultimate guide to sourdough baking would be incomplete if we didn’t advise you how to store sourdough starter when taking a break from baking or you want to send someone some of your precious starter.
Terence tested out three ways to store sourdough starter for a long period, including the freezer method, drying method, and fridge method. These are the pros and cons of each method, and how to troubleshoot when your starter doesn’t come back to life.
Terence’s break from sourdough baking was initially enforced by us moving apartments for a second time during the pandemic. Having to pack up the apartment, move, then unpack everything again took around two weeks, which meant two weeks when he couldn’t bake.
On top of this, the small oven at the new apartment couldn’t fit his baking/pizza stone and could barely fit the Dutch oven. Terence surrendered, fed the sourdough starter for what he thought could be one last time, dated it, and put it in the back of the fridge.
Terence didn’t know how long it would sit back there with the kimchi and grainy mustard, and whether he’d ever be able to bake another sublime loaf of sourdough bread from it again… fortunately for me, he did!
Olive Sourdough Bread Recipe With Rosemary, Thyme and Sweet Red Capsicum
Soon after Terence resumed his sourdough baking, he began experimenting with baking sourdough bread with inclusions. For many home bakers the next step on from baking a classic sourdough loaf is baking with ‘inclusions’.
Bakers use the term to describe anything that is added to the basic formulae of sourdough bread which is sourdough starter, flour, water, and salt. There are dry inclusions, such as seeds, nuts, spices, and dried herbs and wet inclusions, such as olives or semi-dried tomatoes.
Terence used both wet and dry inclusions in this olive sourdough bread recipe with rosemary, thyme and sweet red capsicum, or bell peppers if you live in North America.
It makes a deliciously moist sourdough bread that is fantastic toasted and spread with toppings such as ’nduja or just dipped into virgin olive oil and sea salt. It also serves as an excellent lesson in how to bake sourdough with inclusions.
First Published 19 April 2021; Updated and Republished 3 August 2023
We’d love to know what you think of our ultimate guide to sourdough baking and would love to hear from you in the comments below if you made any of these sourdough recipes.