Sourdough Bread FAQ

Baking sourdough bread and need to troubleshoot your loaf? Questions about timing or how to store it? We’re here to help!

How to make sourdough bread

Baking sourdough bread and got questions? You’ve taken on a satisfying yet complex task of shaping and baking gluten. While we wish it was as straightforward as mac and cheese, sourdough bread has a lot of variability due to the science of the starter. It takes a bit of practice and troubleshooting to make great sourdough bread under the varying environmental conditions of your kitchen. Got questions? We’ve got answers. Head to our sourdough bread FAQ below.

Before we start: here are all of our sourdough bread resources:

Sourdough bread FAQ

How can I use excess sourdough starter?

We’re working on some new recipes! But for now, our best advice is giving it to a friend. There’s only so much sourdough you need in your life!! :)

Can I make the sourdough at different times or change the rise times?

We provided the framework that is easiest for us! We recommend trying our timing once, and learning how the dough behaves. After that you can adjust the timing to fit your lifestyle and rise times.

How do I get larger holes in my bread (a more open crumb)?

We created this recipe to have a medium-sized crumb. To get holes in the bread like you see in our picture, make sure you are very gently during the folding and shaping steps so that you don’t press out the air.

Why is my dough very wet and hard to shape?

If you are using a different brand of flour (we use King Arthur) then you may need to increase the bread flour a little bit! Otherwise, just keep practicing your folding technique so that the dough can build strength.

How do I know if my bread has risen too much or not enough?

We love this chart from Serious Eats on determining if your bread has over proofed or under proofed. Over proofed bread has a more dense crumb, while under proofed bread will have large holes around the edges.

How do I store the sourdough bread?

We keep the bread wrapped in a clean dish towel on the counter for up to 2 days. Otherwise, you can freeze until using it!

Can I bake the shaped bread instead of proofing in the refrigerator?

You can! However, the extra proofing allows time for the sourdough flavor to develop.

Can I use a round banneton or bowl instead of the oval banneton?

Yes! We prefer the oval shape for slicing, but any banneton will work!

Does sourdough have gluten?

Yes! The gluten is the magic that makes sourdough happen.

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Suz
    September 13, 2019 at 12:25 am

    If we wanted to add different flavors, say garlic or some herbs/spices, at what point in the process should we add those ingredients?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      September 14, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      Hi! I would mix them in on step 6 so that you get a few rises in first.

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