Baking Sourdough Bread at Home

Hello! Remember when everyone started baking sourdough bread back in 2020? Well, here I am, a little late to the party, but loving sourdough more than ever. In fact, my cousin gifted me an amazingly helpful book about sourdough this past summer – New World Sourdough by Artisan Bryan Ford. To be honest, this was not my first attempt at baking sourdough bread at home. I jumped on the bread-baking-bandwagon two years ago and made a sourdough starter from scratch. When it came time to bake my first loaf… well let’s just say it was pretty much inedible. It was a flat, hard, heavy disc of utter failure. I made some yummy pancakes with the sourdough discard, then scrapped the whole project.

Now it’s 2022, and here we are. I proudly am able to share this compilation of delicious sourdough bread recipes, baked by my own hands! Honestly, the more I practice, the more the texture and flavor is improved. Baking sourdough bread at home requires time and patience. But the depth of flavor and the numerous health benefits make every loaf worth it!

1. Pan de Agua – Water Bread

One of the first sourdough recipes I made was this simple Pan de Agua. This Caribbean bread gets is name from how it is baked. When the dough is placed in the cold oven, a pan of boiling water is added with it in order to create its signature crispy crust. It has a lighter flavor, so you can pair it with sweet and savory meals.

a hand holding a loaf of Pan de Agua also known as Water Bread
four loaves of sourdough made from Baking Sourdough Bread at Home
four sourdough baguette loafs next to mini pumpkins and squash

2. Honey Oat Tin Loaf

This bread is one of the most recent recipes I’ve made. As I was mixing the dough, I realized that I had run out of honey. So instead, I spread some homemade dulce de leche on top, to sweeten the crust and get the rolled oats to stick. It’s a heartier bread, made with whole wheat flour. And it’s sweet flavor makes it perfect for French toast!

two hands holding a sourdough honey oat tin loaf
two honey oat tin loafs made from Baking Sourdough Bread at Home
overhead view of two sourdough loaves covered in oats and honey

3. Challah Bread

This is a traditional Jewish bread. It has a dense yet wonderfully fluffy texture and a crunchy outside. I’ve seen drool-worthy renditions of Molly Yeh’s challah loafs, and I was excited to try my own. Braiding the five strands of dough is actually a lot simpler after you watch a YouTube tutorial. And it looks so impressive!

sliced loaf of braided sourdough challah bread
overhead view of two sourdough challah bread loaves with fived-stranded braids
two braided challah bread loaves made while Baking Sourdough Bread at Home

4. New Orleans French Bread

These baguettes are incredibly soft and chewy. I think this was the recipe that lasted the longest, since both loaves stayed soft and fresh for several days. The bread is ever so slightly sweet, and pairs perfectly with savory foods to make epic sandwiches. This is definitely a recipe that I’ll make again and again for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

side view of a cut loaf of New Orleans French Bread

5. English Muffins

I’ve found that English muffins can be a bit tricky to make, since you don’t bake them in the oven. Instead, they are cooked in a hot skillet or griddle. Unfortunately, I think my heat was too high because the outsides of the muffins cooked, but the insides were still raw and doughy. This wasn’t my favorite recipe, but it was a good learning experience!

stack of three sourdough English muffins
three sourdough English muffins on a piece of wax paper on a bamboo cutting board

6. Focaccia Bread

Focaccia bread is so fun to make because you get to squish your fingers into the dough to make dimples for the olive oil and seasonings to gather in. This bread bakes thin and large, so you’ll end up with more bread overall compared to a traditional loaf or baguette recipe. Unfortunately it does go stale after just a day, so I cut mine into pieces and frozen them wrapped in aluminum foil. The day before I wanted more sourdough focaccia, I just took it out of the freezer to defrost on the counter.

side view of a slice of sourdough focaccia bread

7. Pretzel Rolls

These pretzel rolls turned out much lighter in color than I was expecting. Normally pretzels have a rich dark brown color. But then I realized that was likely because I left out the malt powder. These rolls are much denser than a fluffy dinner roll, but they have a more complex flavor. By boiling them in water mixed with baking soda, then baking them in the oven, they develop a signature “pretzel” flavor and texture. I could eat these all day!

a hand holding a sourdough pretzel roll above a stack of three rolls
overhead view of half a dozen pretzel rolls made while Baking Sourdough Bread at Home

8. Rustic Sundried Tomato and Parmesan Bread

The recipe in the book for this bread actually calls for olives instead of sun dried tomatoes. But I had a jar of tomatoes in my fridge, not olives, so that’s what went into my bread. This was my very first bread attempt in my Dutch oven at 500°F since the fiasco of 2020. And it turned out great! The parmesan takes on a rich smoky flavor in the oven.

overhead view of two large sourdough loaves covered in parmesan cheese
sliced open cheese bread loaf showing sundried tomatoes inside

9. Pan Rustico (Country Bread)

This bread was my second loaf baked at 500°F, and I’m loving this more rustic-style sourdough bread! The crust is crunchy and, well, crusty. The inside is soft, chewy and so delicious. This bread is great for savory uses like sandwiches or with pasta. It’s also ideal for sweet recipes like French bread and toast with jam. This is probably the most “classic” loaf I’ve made while baking sourdough bread at home this past year.

overhead view of two rustic sourdough loaves made while Baking Sourdough Bread at Home

10. Ciabatta

The most recent sourdough bread I made was ciabatta. This is the quickest sourdough bread I’ve made in the whole book. You could make it in one day, or prepare the dough at night and bake it the next morning. I think the convenience does not make up for the lack of great texture though. My sourdough ciabatta bread turned out tough and chewy, while the crust was hard and dry. Ciabatta is a flatter bread, and I think it’s probably best for croutons and bread pudding.

four sourdough ciabatta loafs on a black cooling rack by two plants
side view of four sourdough ciabatta loaves, made while Baking Sourdough Bread at Home

Bonus: Using Sourdough Discard

During the process of feeding a sourdough starter, some of the sourdough gets discarded. But you don’t have to throw it in your trash – you can use it in more recipes! It still adds a wonderful flavor and the benefit of fermented probiotics. Even if you don’t have a sourdough starter, you could ask a friend to give you some of their discard!

Granola with Sourdough Discard

I followed a relatively simple recipe for my first batch of sourdough discard granola. And I loved it so much, I have been baking a sourdough version of this chocolate sea salt granola every week! The sourdough discard fully dries in the oven and adds a more “bready” taste to granola, which I am 100% here for.

glass full of yogurt and sourdough discard granola

Cinnamon Rolls with Sourdough Discard

I found this recipe online for delicious sourdough discard cinnamon rolls, and I love cinnamon rolls of all shapes and sizes, so I had to give it a try. The cinnamon rolls turned out a bit hard and not quite as soft and chewy as I would have liked. But they were deliciously spiced and so yummy for breakfast!

pan of sourdough cinnamon rolls next to one cinnamon roll on a white plate
pan of sourdough cinnamon rolls next to pink and white roses
springform pan full of sourdough discard cinnamon rolls next to roses

Where to Start

Do you want to start baking sourdough bread at home? Making a sourdough starter isn’t as complicated and time-consuming as many may think. Feeding my sourdough starter only takes about 10 minutes total, one to two times per week. I highly recommend investing in a kitchen scale to weigh your sourdough ingredients. It made a world of difference when I started weighing my ingredients, rather than measuring them with measuring cups. I found a nice one for just $20 at my local super market.

Read this helpful article from The Perfect Loaf to learn how to make a sourdough starter from scratch.

For a ton of sourdough bread and sourdough discard recipes from the author of New World Sourdough, check out his website here.

Happy baking!! 🍞

12 Replies to “Baking Sourdough Bread at Home”

what do you think? :)

%d bloggers like this: