How to Bake Sourdough Bread (and Save the Starter)

Sourdough Bread -

When it comes to baking bread, you can’t go wrong with sourdough.

Made from a natural yeast starter, the bread forms when a mixture of flour and water is left out for an extended period of time. The mixture attracts yeast in the environment, causing it to start nibbling on the naturally occurring sugars. This acts like conventionally dried yeast while creating a thick crust, soft interior and delightful tang signature. Let’s be real: you’ll wanna make this bread, stat.

The History of Sourdough

Sourdough has been around for — literally — ages. It’s the oldest form of leavened bread, dating alllll the way back to ancient Egypt. And it was probably discovered by accident: likely, bread dough was left out and microorganisms (the wild yeast), drifted into the mix, according to NPR.

Health Benefits of Sourdough Bread

That special starter yeast contributes to more than just the bread’s flavor and texture. It can provide health advantages not present in other breads, too.

Because of the fermentation, sourdough is good for guy health. It’s also rich in vitamin B as well as thiamin and niacin, which boost your metabolism.

How to Bake Sourdough


  • Flour
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Instructions

    1. Make the Starter

    Many newbie bread bakers can get a little intimidated by making a sourdough starter, but it really is as simple as leaving out a mixture of flour and water. Make sure you get the consistency right — it should be similar to pancake batter.

    Let the mixture sit uncovered in a warm place until you see a few bubbles. At that point, your starter is telling you it’s hungry. Feed it with more water and flour, then cover with a clean towel. Allow the starter to grow while sitting on the counter, feeding it every couple of days until it becomes bubbly and smells sour.

    When your starter is light and airy, you’re ready to bake.

    2. Knead and Bake

    Add ⅔ of your starter to more flour and water until a wet dough is formed. Add a bit of salt and knead the dough. You want a very wet dough as that will produce a soft, airy crumb and a thick, crisp crust.

    Pro Tip: Because of the texture of the dough, you’ll need to knead it by banging it on the counter then folding it onto itself.

    Making Sourdough Bread

    Once your loaf is kneaded and shaped, you’re ready to bake!

    Getting Started With Sourdough on

    How to Save Your Starter

    Keep your sourdough starter refrigerated, feeding it every week or so. You can also leave it on the counter and have fresh bread ASAP.

    Feed your ready-made starter by discarding ⅔ of it and adding in more flour and water until it reaches the same consistency. Don’t forget to save and put aside some starter each time you bake a loaf!

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    41 Responses to “How to Bake Sourdough Bread (and Save the Starter)”

    1. Freddy-from Norway

      Don’t be “sour”. Guy / gut … See the intention behind for this tip:) Sourdough bread will give you a taste you will appreciate the rat if your life . The receipt is simple, but you have to use your senses to judge the dough, have patience and do several doughs to achieve success :)

      • Freddy - from Norway

        Uhhh. I (my phone) wrote a wrong word.. it should be «rest of your life..», snd not «rat»..

    2. Sandy

      I had a starter years ago but when the kids got older I didn’t have time to do the baking so I got rid of it. Now I am planning on making a starter again. I got myself some books now I just have bite the bullet and start it.

      • Customer Service


        Typically sourdough breads get baked in a fairly hot oven.
        A basic sourdough is started at about 450 in a preheated Dutch oven or on a hearth stone.
        If in a Dutch oven, it is uncovered after about 25 minutes- It takes another 20-25 minutes or so to complete
        the bake.
        I highly recommend Richard Miscovitch’s sourdough class on Craftsy.
        Here is the link:
        Craftsy Sourdough Class/ (

        Happy Baking!

    3. Kathleen Manning

      Ugh. “Guy health” instead of gut health. Vague instructions. This is another indicator of why I won’t renew when the year is up. So sloppy and useless for beginners! This company is wasting the good will of people who gave them a chance.

      • Kermit

        Come on, be nice! The t is next to the y. Anyone can make a mistake. You are right on the vague instructions, though. No need to be nasty.

        • HMoe

          “Ugh” is not “nasty”. I had the exact same frustration with that error. I even searched the Internet for information on the health benefits of sourdough.

          Re-reading your work is a requirement for any author because spell check will not catch this type of error and apparently the editorial staff did not either. (Better, have another person proof your work before submission.) I don’t have time to work through low quality writing, searching for correct information. Why does Craftsy?

    4. tylopez4411307847

      I thought I registered for this class but I can’t find it in my orders. I activated the payment and downloaded the materials. What happened? I also registered for a needle point class…same thing. I don’t remember if I was logged in. That may have been the problem. Can you help me clarify this matter?

    5. Lindsay Tyson

      No yeast? Weird. Until this gets updated, the Tasty App has an easy to follow recipe. FYI.


        Hi, the real sourdough apparently doesn’t have any commercial yeast but a ‘starter’ that creates its own yeast, thus all the benefits from it (from what I’ve researched ) come from this naturally developed yeast.
        Craftsy has a great class that I’ve watched several times and finally had the courage to get it done, is quite incredible when you see the ‘starter’ bubbling and alive (just flours,water, molasses). Is a week long process. I saw the recipe on Yum and one has commercial yeast and another one seems to require a starter as well.
        The class on Craftsy is called: handmade-sourdough-from-starter-to-baked-loaf.

    6. maggslb220768192

      sourdough is good for guy health. <- should this say gut instead of guy ;)
      this is a pretty vague recipe…with very little information. how much flour and water for starter?

    7. Shannon Keeter

      Would love to make this but not sure how. You say leave mixture on the counter. What mixture? What amounts? Can greater detail please be provided? That would be wonderful! Thank you.

      • Glynda

        I’ve made it with whole wheat in the bread machine, but you need to add gluten. The bread machine also makes yeast necessary, since it doesn’t sit out to ferment.

    8. Joshua Taylor

      Despite my efforts, I can’t log in. How do I access my classes, when sadly, my details are not being accepted…?

    9. Linda Brinster

      Really good crackers can be made with the starter that is discarded. Combine 1 cup starter, 4 Tbsp room temp butter, 1 cup flour and 2 Tbsp of dried herbs. Form a log, cover with plastic wrap, chill for at least a half hour. Divide dough in half. place parchment paper on 2 baking sheets, generously flour the paper, place dough on parchment. Roll out dough very thinly. Brush with oil, use pizza wheel to cut to desired size, poke each piece with a fork sprinkle on some salt. Repeat on the 2nd sheet pan. bake in 350 oven for 20- 30 minutes. Rotate sheet pan once. When they feel done, break up in to squares, place sheet pan back in the cooling oven. Store in air tight contain after you remove the cooled crackers from oven.I’ve had to stop making because I can”t leave them alone.

      • hobbette16718282

        Thank you for sharing this recipe. Great I have another great option. I used to give away the discards or making them into flakes to freeze.

        • Ginger Stewart

          Divid the discard up into containers and give to friends and family for their own sourdough starter.

          • Staci

            Growing up, my mom would make this quite a lot, calling it “Friendship Bread” (because she would share starters with friends and family) 😊


        Now that I’ve tried this recipe for the starter discard, I can’t stop making them with various herbs and flavored oils. Giving as gifts. I’ll keep the starter going just to have the discard. Thanks for the recipe!

    10. Laima Stem

      Having struggled with sourdough bread baking during COVID, I think this is way too general for a newbie to be successful. If your marketing intent is to get someone to discover the great cooking classes you should recommend appropriate courses. I am not impressed with this article.

    11. ginabattl8706020

      You really need a more specific dieprections for making a starter and how to glee when you will be able to bake with it.