How to Make Sourdough Without a Recipe (Video)

I’m a huge fan of home fermenting and culturing of all kinds. Yogurt, kefir, kombucha, pickled vegetables, and my personal favorite, sourdough bread.

Sourdough is not just a distinct flavor of bread, it gets its rich, sour flavor from the leavening culture that causes it both to rise, and changes the metabolic structure of the wheat. Sourdough is actually much healthier than breads that are not naturally fermented, because the culturing process actually breaks down the antinutrients that can make wheat difficult to digest. Some people who can’t otherwise eat gluten can still eat sourdough, actually!

I have made sourdough at home for a few years, but I haven’t ever put a whole lot of time into learning the techniques that would make my homebaked loaves as good as those delicious boules you can get at chic, foodie restaurants and bakeries. My loaves are usually pretty dense, and while they have the delicious flavor of sourdough, they lack the air bubbles and lightness that make professionally baked sourdough loaves so delicious. Also, without those air bubbles to help with the rise and create that light dough, I get small loaves that are gone in a flash.

There are a lot of very specific recipes out there for sourdough, and many people even recommend measuring your ingredients on a kitchen scale to get the ratio of flour, water, and starter just right. This does make a lot of sense, of course, considering breadmaking is a very specialized science, but it actually doesn’t have to be so complicated.

So, how can you make delicious sourdough boules right at home, without the stress and headache of measuring ingredients or seeing recipes fail you because they simply don’t work in the climate of your kitchen or with your culture?

By feel. 

The thing about sourdough is, not all flour, sourdough starters, or kitchen climates are created equal, and your dough simply might not turn out the way it’s supposed to following an exact recipe.

This excellent video walks you through the process of making a sourdough loaf without measuring, and by creating a dough that looks and feels a certain way, and how to handle it so it will get those coveted air pockets.

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to get my hands in some dough and try this out! Check it out:

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