Sour Dough Bread Recipe

Sour dough bread baking is divided into 2 sessions, making preparation ideal for the busy woman.  The night before, the starter is mixed with a few other ingredients to create the sponge.  The sponge sits overnight in a warm place, allowing the starter to work its magic.  In the morning, the sponge will have risen double in size and be alive and bubbly.  A bit of the sponge is taken out and added back into the crock and a few more ingredients are mixed into the sponge.  The dough is kneaded, shaped into loaves, given a second rising and then baked.

Sour Dough Bread

The night before:


  • 8 cups flour
  • 1 cup starter
  • 2 cups warm water (about 100 degrees)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt


  • In a large bowl, add 4 cups of the flour, starter, warm water, sugar and salt.  Stir well with a large wooden spoon.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise overnight.  (A warm spot in the kitchen or in the oven with the pilot light on is ideal.  The goal is to keep it around 90 degrees overnight.)
  • The starter can be fed now by adding back in 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup warm water and letting it sit in a warm place overnight.

The next morning:


  • 1 packet yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
  • ½ tsp baking soda


  • The starter can be fed now by taking out one cup of sponge and adding it back into the starter.
  • Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Stir into the sponge.
  • Sift baking soda into remaining 4 cups flour. Stir into sponge.
  • Turn onto a floured surface and needed until smooth. Add more flour if necessary.
  • Shape into 2 loaves and place in well greased loaf pans. Or, shape into round loaves and place on well greased cookie sheets
  • Let rise in a warm place until double. (This takes around 2 hours, but depends upon temperature.)
  • Make 3 diagonal slashes across the top of the bread with a sharp knife.
  • Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes.


  • If you’d like a darker crust, brush bread with a beaten egg before baking.
  • If you ‘d like a crustier bread, brush with water before baking.
  • If you’d like a more sour flavor, let the sponge sit for 24 hours before baking.
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2 Responses to Sour Dough Bread Recipe

  1. michellejm9 says:

    Dania, We have been using a bread machine for many years and have only started making our own from scratch in the last couple of years. I have recently read that dough can be frozen after the first rise. Knock it down knead, shape into loaves freeze and rise again later when you are ready to use. This suits our family very well.Do you know if Sour Dough can be frozen after the first rise? I would like to go back to making the Sour Dough, but much prefer one big day of dough making a week. Blessings Michelle M.

  2. daniamichael says:

    Hello Michelle,

    We have never frozen the sour dough, however when we are not able to bake it right away, we do oftentimes put it in the fridge to slow down its rising. It works out well, and the bread usually has a nice, more pronounced sour taste. Back in colonial times, women usually did a large once a week baking because it was not efficient to fire up the wood stove for baking more than once a week.

    If you were planning a once a week baking, I would recommend preparing all the sponge needed the night before, mixing in the remaining ingredients in the morning, kneading and baking all the loaves. Keep out the loaves you will be using within the next two or three days and put the rest of the loaves in the freezer to defrost and bake later in the week.

    To bake large amounts of sour dough bread often (and if you have your daughters helping you!), it is best to keep two starters going at the same time. That way, you will always be sure to have enough. And a warning for moms: daughters have been notoriously known to kill starters, so keeping two is a good idea! 🙂

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