Simply the Best Sourdough Bread

April 20, 2017

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank-you .. it will be enough”     ~ Meister Eckhart

Simply the Best Sourdough Bread - From Tartine comes the best sourdough bread you''ll have in your life .. with its crispy crust .. soft and chewy interior

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The sofa where I sit is illuminated by a faint light from the kitchen stove.  It's late and the puppies snore softly on their pillows at my feet.  By my side:  a good book .. cup of tea .. a handful of popcorn.  From high on his perch .. a kitty keeps watch over us all

Down the hall .. I hear the faint rustling of my husband as he winds down with a glass of wine and a crossword puzzle.  Soft jazz still plays throughout the house .. and the dishwasher hums faintly.  Another day draws to a close as I remind myself

“What moments are you especially grateful for?”

I reach for my gratitude journal

Looking back through the entries .. what strikes me most is how simple each of the memories are.  A moment shared with a friend.  A phone call with my grandson.  A meal with my husband.  An encounter with nature.  The kinds of moments available to most of us all the time .. but also the very moments that are so easy to miss in our

busy .. wired .. and distracted lives

I’ve come to believe that gratitude is possible .. no matter the season

It takes practice, of course .. to peer at our current circumstances and think of the whole as a gift.  It takes practice to remind ourselves that perfection isn't just around the corner .. that arrivals don't exist .. that a better set of circumstances don't necessarily lead to a better life

That it's all about linguistics

Simply the Best Sourdough Bread - From Tartine comes the best sourdough bread you''ll have in your life .. with its crispy crust .. soft and chewy interior

A warm spring day .. with open windows for the kitties to sit in .. and curtains blowing in the breeze for them to hide under

How nice it is to put on my walking shoes .. and simply head out the door.  For the thoughts that arrive during the moments of mental quiet

Board games on the living room floor

Finding a stack of old church cookbooks at Goodwill .. filled with handwritten notes in the margins and chocolate fingerprints in the cake sections

My son .. who told me the story of two strangers that survived a plane crash.  Both of their faces were badly burned .. and their bodies deeply scarred.  But the women were grateful for their lives.  They bonded over their shared gratitude .. over their belief that the scars made them beautiful.  They became the best of friends

Cardamom lip balm

Sally .. who shares with Harry .. hates the vacuum about as much as she hates tags .. and smiles with her whole face

Harry .. who kisses on queue .. dreams of toys .. forgets all of his commands .. but always remembers to snuggle

Simply the Best Sourdough Bread - From Tartine comes the best sourdough bread you''ll have in your life .. with its crispy crust .. soft and chewy interior

My husband .. for holding my hand on hard days .. through grief .. loss .. and sometimes generally bad decisions.  For the late night pancakes and early morning teas

The first seeds planted in the garden

Bare toes and a new pedicure

Oatmeal  for breakfast with everything on it:  sea salt, a pinch brown sugar, raisins, walnuts, a sliced pear, a handful of half-thawed blueberries we picked last summer from the berry patch

Chasing your shadow

Last night's thunderstorm

Friends who leave flowers and a note of kindness on the windshield of the car while you're inside the grocery

Taking the long way home .. just because
Simply the Best Sourdough Bread - From Tartine comes the best sourdough bread you''ll have in your life .. with its crispy crust .. soft and chewy interior

A mantel filled with the kindest .. heart-felt sympathy cards

On Easter Sunday we picked Harry and Sally up from the hospital after their elbow surgery.  Z's ashes (and paw prints) were there .. waiting for us.  We went home as a family

Quiet and peaceful evenings

Spaghetti Saturdays

Banana Birthday cake from a century-old cookbook

Book Clubs

Friends in your kitchen and the importance of a village

Homemade sourdough bread with sweet cream butter and a drizzle of honey

Children that call seeking advice.  Maybe just this .. the simple life instructions they already seem to have learned:  Be kind.  Pay attention.  Do what needs to be done.  And remember that the little things .. the small moments .. they

aren’t so little after all

Simply the Best Sourdough Bread - From Tartine comes the best sourdough bread you''ll have in your life .. with its crispy crust .. soft and chewy interior

I remember vividly the weeks leading up to her first loaf

The first rumblings of what would become her signature breads .. began around Christmas time .. while we sipped a glass of wine in front of the fire .. thumbing our way through her latest cookbook.  Not long after .. I stood in her kitchen and bore witness to the beginning of her sourdough starter

After a week or so .. she and her newborn starter began taking on the world like a boss.  Dog-eared pages .. post-it notes .. bookmarks .. torn pages and highlighted passages peppered the book.  On their front porch .. flour began showing up in mass .. along with bread proofing baskets .. mixing bowls and tubs of every shape and sort

Baking schedule taped to the fridge?  No need .. it was committed to memory

Fast forward a few bakes .. a few “a ha” moments .. along with many breakfasts .. lunches .. and dinners with fresh sourdough.  Her husband began to wonder if she'd descended into a full baking obsession.   She'll tell you there's something ancient about performing the whole process .. something magical about mixing together such simple and humble ingredients that will eventually produce something beautiful

It’s such a simple thing .. really .. and yet brings so much joy to all of her friends and neighbors (trust me .. we know!)

No two loaves are ever the same.

My favorite?  A seeded .. whole-grain flour version.  What you end up with is a rustic .. elbows-on-the-table style of crusted loaf that's littered with seeds.  Once it's out of the oven .. topped with your best butter .. it's a little piece of heaven.  Or .. let a slab of it sit under a broiler topped with some melty cheese .. either Gruyère or goat cheese does the trick

Beyond that .. a few other things I've made:

I like it in the morning slathered with bit of farmers cheese and a drizzle of honey.   For lunch (like today) alongside a bowl of soup.  Dinner?  An open-faced sandwich with dill butter .. a bit of sautéed kale and a fried egg.  Remains of a two-day-old loaf?  Cubed ..  tossed in a bit of garlic butter and toasted into croutons.  And dare I tell you that this bread was made for fondue?  Because it was

When you ask her the secret .. she'll tell you

“Stay with the process, learn to work with the ingredients, and enjoy the adventure”

(Sounds a heck of a lot like life)



~ Adapted slightly from Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson

4.8 from 13 reviews
Simply the Best Sourdough Bread
  • For the Starter:
  • White bread flour, 1,135 grams
  • Whole-wheat flour, 1,135 grams
  • Water (lukewarm), 455 grams
  • Water (78 degrees), 150 grams per feeding
  • For the Leaven:
  • Water (78 degrees), 200 grams
  • For the Dough:
  • Water (80 degrees), 750 grams
  • Leaven, 200 grams
  • White bread flour, 900 grams
  • Whole-wheat flour, 100 grams
  • Salt, 20 grams
  1. Make the Starter: Mix white bread flour with whole-wheat flour. Place lukewarm water in a medium bowl. Add 315 grams flour blend (reserve remaining flour blend), and mix with your hands until mixture is the consistency of a thick, lump-free batter. Cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest in a cool, dark place until bubbles form around the sides and on the surface, about 2 days. A dark crust may form over the top. Once bubbles form, it is time for the first feeding.
  2. With each feeding, remove 75 grams; discard remainder of starter. Feed with 150 grams reserved flour blend and 150 grams warm water. Mix, using your hands, until mixture is the consistency of a thick, lump-free batter. Repeat every 24 hours at the same time of day for 15 to 20 days. Once it ferments predictably (rises and falls throughout the day after feedings), it's time to make the leaven
  3. Make the Leaven: The night before you plan to make the dough, discard all but 1 tablespoon of the matured starter. Feed with 200 grams reserved flour blend and the warm water. Cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest in a cool, dark place for 10 to 16 hours. To test leaven's readiness, drop a spoonful into a bowl of room-temperature water. If it sinks, it is not ready and needs more time to ferment and ripen. As it develops, the smell will change from ripe and sour to sweet and pleasantly fermented; when it reaches this stage, it's ready to use.
  4. Make the Dough: Pour 700 grams warm water into a large mixing bowl. Add 200 grams leaven. Stir to disperse. (Save your leftover leaven; it is now the beginning of a new starter. To keep it alive to make future loaves, continue to feed it as described in step 2.) Add flours (see ingredient list), and mix dough with your hands until no bits of dry flour remain. Let rest in a cool, dark place for 35 minutes. Add salt and remaining 50 grams warm water.
  5. Fold dough on top of itself to incorporate. Transfer to a medium plastic container or a glass bowl. Cover with kitchen towel. Let rest for 30 minutes. The dough will now begin its first rise (bulk fermentation), to develop flavor and strength. (The rise is temperature sensitive; as a rule, warmer dough ferments faster. Robertson tries to maintain the dough at 78 degrees to 82 degrees to accomplish the bulk fermentation in 3 to 4 hours.)
  6. Instead of kneading, Robertson develops the dough through a series of "folds" in the container during bulk fermentation. Fold dough, repeating every 30 minutes for 2½ hours. To do a fold, dip 1 hand in water to prevent sticking. Grab the underside of the dough, stretch it out, and fold it back over itself. Rotate container one-quarter turn, and repeat. Do this 2 or 3 times for each fold. After the 3 hours, the dough should feel aerated and softer, and you will see a 20 to 30 percent increase in volume. If not, continue bulk fermentation for 30 minutes to 1 hour more.
  7. Pull dough out of container using a dough spatula. Transfer to a floured surface. Lightly dust dough with flour, and cut into 2 pieces using dough scraper. Work each piece into a round using scraper and 1 hand. Tension will build as the dough slightly anchors to the surface as you rotate it. By the end, the dough should have a taut, smooth surface.
  8. Dust tops of rounds with flour, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest on the work surface for 20 to 30 minutes. Slip the dough scraper under each to lift it, being careful to maintain the round shape. Flip rounds floured side down.
  9. Line 2 medium baskets or bowls with clean kitchen towels; generously dust with flour. Using the dough scraper, transfer each round to a basket, smooth side down, with seam centered and facing up. Let rest at room temperature (75 degrees to 80 degrees), covered with towels for 3 to 4 hours before baking.
  10. Bake the Bread: Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake the bread, preheat oven to 500 degrees, with rack in lowest position, and warm a 9½-inch round or an 11-inch oval Dutch oven (or a heavy ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid).
  11. Turn out 1 round into heated Dutch oven (it may stick to towel slightly). Score top twice using a razor blade or a sharp knife. Cover with lid. Return to oven, and reduce oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Carefully remove lid (a cloud of steam will be released). Bake until crust is deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes more.
  13. Transfer loaf to a wire rack. It will feel light and sound hollow when tapped. Let cool.
  14. To bake the second loaf, raise oven temperature to 500 degrees, wipe out Dutch oven with a dry kitchen towel, and reheat with lid for 10 minutes. Repeat steps 11 through 13.


  • Reply Kathy Myers April 20, 2017 at 7:09 am

    I love homemade sourdough bread. This looks like something I can actually make, I am going to have to try it!

  • Reply Chasity L Boatman April 20, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Sourdough bread is hard to perfect. A lot of the times it comes out WAY too firm. But if you can get it right, it’s really delicious with soups like tomato bisque.

  • Reply Katie Kinsley April 20, 2017 at 8:05 am

    That does look really yummy. I’ve made a batch of sour dough bread before and the recipe called for yogurt. It ended up alright!

  • Reply Jaime Nicole April 20, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Sourdough bread is one of my favorites! I had in in San Francisco fresh and have never had better -w ill have to try making it myself!

  • Reply ellie April 20, 2017 at 8:45 am

    mmmm that Sourdough bread looks delicious! There’s something about the smell and taste of fresh baked bread that is so wonderful!

  • Reply Claire April 20, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Ooh I love this. And need to get back into sourdough bread from scratch. Also, I love those bowls. Pinning and coming back soon.

  • Reply Jeanette April 20, 2017 at 8:46 am

    I love sourdough bread! I have never attempted to make it but this looks delicious and I know I can do it. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • Reply Dina Demarest April 20, 2017 at 9:04 am

    what a beautiful post. I love the way you worked the sour dough recipe in. Sourdough is my favorite so I need to make it.

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus April 20, 2017 at 10:42 am

    I agree, sometimes learning how to find gratitude often stems from bad situations. When people told me that they pitied me because of my childhood I told them that I am grateful because it taught me to be a better and more compassionate person x

  • Reply Noblandmakeup April 20, 2017 at 10:56 am

    That bread though! It looks amazing! I can just imagine what it would taste like with a little butter.

  • Reply Sarah Bailey April 20, 2017 at 11:49 am

    OK my Mum is an amazing bread maker and I need to pass this recipe onto her as I am sure she’s been on the look out for a sourbread one!

  • Reply five little doves April 20, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I LOVE sour dough and this looks amazing! There is nothing nicer than warm buttered sour dough dipped in home made tomato soup, it’s my idea of comfort food at it’s best!

  • Reply Tonya Wilhelm April 20, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Oh, man. I am such a bread gal. Reading your blog is really pushing me more and more to get in the kitchen. Keep them up, I need the inspiration.

  • Reply issu April 20, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    I love making bread! and this one looks so PERFECT! i need to try it like so soon.

  • Reply Elizabeth Neas April 20, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Oh my goodness – this looks so good. I do believe that I could live on bread and butter…nothing else. Bread warm from the oven that’s crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside, smeared with soft butter. Heaven in one’s mouth!

  • Reply ShootingStarsMag April 20, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Great post! This bread looks so amazing. I love that you keep track of things that you are grateful for; always important.


  • Reply Pam Wattenbarger April 20, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    I love Sourdough bread but I don’t know if I have ever made it myself. This looks absolutely delicious!

  • Reply lisalisa April 20, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Sourdough bread is the best but I have yet be able to perfect it! I love to enjoy sourdough bread the moment it comes out of the oven, grab my bread and a good bowl of soup and I’ll be happy.

  • Reply Shirley April 20, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Sourdough bread is one of my favorites! I love home made breads. I will definitely try this sourdough bread.

  • Reply Brian April 20, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Now all I need is Wegmans brie along with a bottle of Iliada extra virgin olive oil!

  • Reply Carol Bryant April 20, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    Is there anything more delectable than sour dough bread from the oven? I put some melted butter on it and oh my word. I wish I had the talent to not burn the kitchen!

  • Reply ricci April 20, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    I LOVE homemade bread and this sourdough looks amazing!! I need to learn how to bake bread.

  • Reply Erinn S April 21, 2017 at 1:07 am

    I am a sucker for sourdough and it is worth the effort

  • Reply David Elliott April 21, 2017 at 1:13 am

    I know that with sourdough you have to have a mother dough with which to work from. It does look amazing though. I love that bread.

  • Reply Rose Sahetapy April 21, 2017 at 6:23 am

    I love the fragrance of fresh made bread that just comes out from the oven. I have made bread a few times before but l never made sourdough bread. This looks delicious!

  • Reply Roger Willis April 21, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Sourdough bread is awesome and versatile! You can make just plain toast, or toast like I like: softened stick butter spread on the bread, applying cinnamon and sugar and putting in the toaster oven until done. There are other things that you can use with sourdough bread. Wonderful post on a great bread!

  • Reply Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle April 21, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    That sounds so good! There’s nothing like a thick slice of sourdough bread with a generous amount of butter on it! Om nom nom.

  • Reply Crystal April 21, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    I love sourdough bread. Perfect with soups and even as a sandwich bread. You make this look so easy.

  • Reply Dustin April 21, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    I love sourdough bread.. especially with some butter! Great photos btw

  • Reply Nina April 21, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    You are right that gratitude is a good but hard thing to practice. This is a reminder that I need to practice it more. That bread looks amazing!

  • Reply Catvills April 21, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    I once tried making sourdough bread and it was not successful. Whenever I have a craving for it, I go out and buy some. However, your recipe’s instructions are so detailed I think I will make a second attempt at making one. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Via Bella April 21, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious! Can’t wait to try this recipe when my bread runs out!

  • Reply Our Family World April 21, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    I always find your posts so interesting to read and your recipes are really good ones too. I have not tried making my own sourdough bread but I will do my best to follow your recipe to the letter. Nothing beats the taste of freshly baked homemade bread!

  • Reply Lisa Favre April 21, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Sourdough bread is definitely something I would like to perfect! Your recipe seems great so I’ll have to test it out. I get nervous about making breads – I feel like they’re so challenging to make but I gotta go ahead and do it!

  • Reply Dogvills April 21, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    We have so many things to be grateful for. I enjoyed reading your list. And nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread at home! I’ve never tried making a sourdough. I might give your recipe a try later.

  • Reply Sabrina Barbante April 22, 2017 at 1:58 am

    oh I’m an expert when it comes to grateful moments! (than k you so much for make me think about it now): the hygge evenings on my sofa, no matter if alone or with my man, the early morning working drinking with my coffee and I can go on forever.
    I wish I could learn to prepare this bread since I’m such a bread fun… I’d eat only this!

  • Reply Rodanthi Dimou April 22, 2017 at 4:53 am

    A gratitude journal is such a great idea! We are always so stressed and we are living our lives in fast forward, that we forget how to be grateful for the little things, the simple things, all those moments that are so important in the end. All those feelings, all those memories, all the persons we love and we take for granted – though we shouldn’t. Great post and great recipe – I will try it next weekend! 🙂

  • Reply Lindsey April 22, 2017 at 8:24 am

    I am massive bread fan, especially my daughter, it is our secret little guilty pleasure snack, that we have with an abundance of cheese. I have never attempted to make my own break, but this was a discussion that I was recelty having with my mother and I think we may start by giving this recipe a go.

  • Reply Tiara April 22, 2017 at 9:21 am

    This caught my eye! I am such a carbs person and I absolutely love b r e a d! I definitely am going to need to try to make this recipe! It looks so delicious! <3

  • Reply Heather April 22, 2017 at 9:57 am

    That looks like great bread. I am trying really hard to feel grateful for these things again. We are going through a rough time. I should keep a gratitude journal again.

  • Reply candy April 22, 2017 at 10:31 am

    I make sourdough bread every week. I have the same start my mother used and I have been using it for 35 years. Could I ask please that you leave a specific post like everyone else. Thank you.

  • Reply danik April 22, 2017 at 10:40 am

    I love sourdough bread especially the way it melts in my mouth. Wish I could have more of this every week 🙂

  • Reply Chris Lewis April 22, 2017 at 10:41 am

    I love Sourdough bread and do not get enough of it. I love the idea of making my own and you make it seem easy enough as well. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Echo April 22, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Yum! I love sourdough! It is my favorite bread to have with soup!

  • Reply Jocelyn April 22, 2017 at 11:53 am

    These photos are great. I love making fresh sour dough. Nothing beats homemade bread, hot out of the oven! A little olive oil and mangia mangia!

  • Reply candy April 24, 2017 at 7:51 am

    I have been using the same sourdough starter my mother used for 35 years. Now my daughter has a start she has been using for 7 years. Please leave a specific post like the direction says thank you.

  • Reply Katie @ A Full Plate April 24, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    I love homemade bread! My boyfriend has made it before and makes it look so easy (he’s a chef) but I’ve never tried it before myself. This sourdough looks divine!

  • Reply Mary Edwards April 24, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Sourdough bread is my very favorite kind of bread to eat. Especially with SOUP! YUM! Can’t wait to try this!

  • Reply Agnes April 24, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    This is the second bread post i am reading about today so now I am determined to make it myself. I always admire people who make their own bread, there is some thing about being bale to it that is really cool.

  • Reply Tina Butler April 24, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    I adore sourdough and your photos are great with your step by step directions. I can’t wait to make this.

  • Reply Censie Sawyer April 24, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    I love making bread! YUM! But I have never made Sourdough. I will have to try this recipe because sourdough bread is my husbands very favorite kind of bread. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Angie Scheie April 24, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    I don’t know what I enjoy more, your food photography or your writing. They are both so lovely! Practicing gratitude is an exercise I mean to do more of, and need to make the time!

  • Reply Dotse Afanyede April 25, 2017 at 3:40 am

    Being grateful is the best thing that you can do with your life. i realise this when i started putting down each day how grateful i was. it made my mind clearer and i began to appreciate even the bad moments i had in my past life. by the way, those bread look delicious. I wish i could enjoy one this morning with my porridge.

  • Reply Dushica April 25, 2017 at 5:09 am

    It’s not fair, I’m on a strict diet and now reading about this, the bread looks so delicious 🙂

  • Reply Dushica April 25, 2017 at 5:13 am

    It’s not fair, I’m on a strict diet and reading about this, seeing these bread images, looks so delicious 🙂

  • Reply fashionmommy April 25, 2017 at 5:13 am

    The bread looks so delicious but it is the stories and anecdotes that really draw you in.

  • Reply Elizabeth O. April 25, 2017 at 5:29 am

    I love it. It’s a good reminder especially when the storm decides to rain on your parade… be grateful. There is always something to be grateful for, from the little things to the big ones. Loving that sourdough recipe!

  • Reply Carol Cassara April 25, 2017 at 5:30 am

    This is the kind of post that just makes you want to smile. I agree, we can be grateful everyday if we choose to. It helps me be more positive, when I think about all the blessings coming my way and all the beautiful things we have everyday.

  • Reply Terri Beavers April 25, 2017 at 7:41 am

    I can’t get enough for sourdough bread. I would eat it 24/7 if I wasn’t afraid of gaining weight from it. My grandson is the same way. I will have to try to make some myself and see how I do.

  • Reply Chelsea Elizabeth April 25, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    I feel so left out! Everyone’s raving about sour dough bread and I’ve never ever tried it! I really need to!

    Chelsea |

  • Reply Tessa Smith April 26, 2017 at 5:41 am

    Bread is my weakness. But I know that sour dough bread is one of the better breads for you. I will have to try this out. YUM!

  • Reply Britta April 26, 2017 at 8:19 am

    I have been meaning to make sourdough bread for ages, as it is my absolute favourite. Will definitely try out this recipe! Thanks for sharing!

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