Sourdough Bread

Sourdough starters are personal things. Many starters have long and distinguished careers. There is also much myth and legend about sourdough. We use a starter that grew from a sample graciously given to us by the The Bake Shop in Girdwood, Alaska. Their starter has a history that goes back some 80 years. When in Girdwood, Alaska, stop in and visit The Bake Shop. Try the bottomless cup of soup and sourdough bun and butter. You'll be glad you did.

Prep: 2 hour 30 minutes, Rise and bake: 1 hour Life Experience Recipe
Makes 1 loaf
  • 1 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dry activated yeast
  1. Bread can be made in a bread machine capable of making large loaves of bread. Use the french bread setting and, dependimng on your machine, select the appropriate crust color.
  2. For hand-made bread, a bread machine can be used to make the dough or:
  3. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and make your dough. Remove dough to floured surface and thoroughly knead dough until uniform and non-sticky.
  4. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place to rise. When the dough has doubled, remove from bowl and knead the dough again until of a uniform consistency.
  5. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. For each piece, flatten into rectangle. Roll out until 12 by 6 inches. Roll into 12 inch long cigar shape. Pinch seam to close and round ends with the fingers.
  6. Take cookie sheet. Lightly grease with shortening. Sprinkle with corn meal. Place dough rolls on cookie sheet. Cover with cloth and set in warm place to rise.
  7. When dough has risen to loaf size, bake in preheated 425°F. oven for 15 minutes. Reduce setting to 375° and bake an additional 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Allow to cool on rack.


  1. Instead of forming into loaves, the dough can be formed into mounds to produce "Sheepherder's Bread." Can make one large loaf or two smaller loaves.
  2. The dough can be rolled into long cords that can be doubled and then twisted and then allowed to rise before baking.
  3. As baked in the directions above, the crust will be tough and leathery with a dull golden brown color. If the loaves are brushed with water after the first fifteen minutes of baking, the crust will be flakey with a dull golden brown finish. If the baking loaves are brushed with a milk and egg mixture 15 minute before baking is completed, the crust will be a deep glossy brown with a tough flakey texture.
  4. When baked on cookie sheets, the loaves tend to flaten out. There are French bread "molds" that can help the finished bread have that classic French loaf look.

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Latest revision done August 2014
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