Is there anything better than a warm loaf of Rosemary Sourdough Bread with butter? A fresh crusty piece of a slightly sour and tangy sourdough bread with dried rosemary is a delightful treat. You can serve it with butter, or dipped in olive oil with fresh or dried herbs as a snack or appetizer.
Making a loaf of bread from scratch - let alone a sourdough loaf can seem like a frustrating battle. One where you may or may not come out with the prize. But it doesn’t need to be!
Sourdough bread can be a little tricky to make but once you get the hang of it and know some of my key tips and tricks you should be making sourdough loaf after sourdough loaf in no time!
What is Sourdough?
Sourdough bread is made using a sourdough starter that is made of wild yeast from the air and from fermenting flour and water. The process of making a sourdough starter can take between 7 - 10 days, but once it has been established you can keep your starter for years and years with a little maintenance.
The good bacteria in the sourdough starter ferments the bread as it rises, giving it that slightly sour and tangy taste. The longer the bread ferments the more sour the bread will become.
Good fresh artisan sourdough bread doesn’t use commercial baker’s yeast but instead uses sourdough starter entirely. As a result of not using the commercial baker’s yeast, sourdough bread rises slower. However, many people make sourdough bread because it can be easier to digest and for its hearty tangy flavor that is very different from store-bought loaves of bread.
How to Make a Loaf of Sourdough Bread
Making sourdough bread takes a few hours over two days, but the steps are easy and very doable. Let’s start!
Day 1: Making the Dough, Fermentation, Stretch, and Folds, Final Shaping, and Refrigeration
Making the Dough
Start with an active bubbly sourdough starter - one that was fed within the last 12 hours. Place a large mixing bowl on a kitchen scale. Tare the scale or set the scale to zero. Measure out the sourdough starter, water, salt, and flour, resetting the scale to zero each time.
Mix everything together to create a firm, but very sticky dough. Add a bit more water if the dough isn’t sticky.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest in a warm environment for 2 hours.
Fermenting the Dough and Stretching and Folding the Dough
While the dough is resting and rising it is fermenting. After 2 hours it’s time to stretch and fold the dough. By stretching and folding the dough you are strengthening the dough which makes for a lighter and fluffier loaf of bread.
Take one end of the dough and stretch it up. Don’t break the dough. Then fold the dough over itself. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat. Repeat until all the dough has been stretched and folded over itself. It should look like a dough envelope. Then turn the dough upside down, so that the folded ends are on the bottom. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rest in a warm environment for another 2 hours.
2 hours later
Stretch and fold the dough over itself again. After this point, you can either let the dough rest for another 2 hours for a total of 6 hours or you can move onto the final shaping process.
Final Shaping of the Dough
Lightly dust a banneton or large bowl with a kitchen towel with flour, then set aside.
- If using a large bowl with the kitchen towel, add a bit more flour to the kitchen towel so the dough doesn’t stick later on.
Lightly dust your counter with flour. Turn the dough onto the counter. Cross the ends of the dough over itself to make a circle shape. Turn the dough upside down, so that the ends of the dough are on the bottom.
Gently turn the dough between your hands in a circular motion to create a taut ball of dough. You may need to lightly dust the dough with flour.
Lightly dampen the dough with water and sprinkle the organic dried rosemary over top. Gently press the herbs into the dough. Then dust the dough with flour.
Place the dough inside the banneton or large bowl rosemary side down. Pinch the ends of the dough together, then dust with a little bit more flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Then refrigerate for 8 - 12 hours.
Day 2: Scoring, Baking, Cooling, and Enjoying
After the dough has been refrigerated, allow the dough to warm up for 1 - 2 hours in a warm environment. The dough is ready when you gently poke it and the dough springs back.
- You can skip this step but the bread won’t rise as much in the oven and it won’t be as light and fluffy
Scoring or Cutting a Slit Into The Bread
Preheat the oven to 400F degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Turn the dough onto the parchment paper-lined sheet pan, rosemary side up. Gently brush away any extra flour using a pastry brush.
Using a bread lame or a sharp knife, cut a slit into the top of the dough at a 45-degree angle.
- Scoring the dough allows the bread to rise as it bakes.
Sprinkle about a tablespoon of water over the loaf to allow the bread to steam and rise as it bakes.
Baking, and Cooling the Bread
Bake the bread for 35 - 45 minutes or until it is golden brown.
After the bread is baked, wrap the bread in a clean kitchen towel for 40 minutes. This step is very important because as the bread cools it continues to cook.
- If you don’t allow the bread to cool in the kitchen towel the bread will be gummy and not light and fluffy.
Enjoying the Bread
After the sourdough loaf has cooled for 40 minutes inside the kitchen towel, slice and enjoy. You can serve your Rosemary Sourdough bread by itself, with butter, or dipped in olive oil with dried herbs. Enjoy!
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Sourdough Bread Tips
- Active Sourdough Starter: You want to use an active sourdough starter for this recipe. I usually feed the sourdough starter either the night before or in the morning on the day I want to make the bread. Your starter is active when it has doubled in size, is very bubbly and light, and airy.
- Kitchen Scale: This recipe is in grams. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, I would highly recommend that you get one, because it will make this recipe much easier to follow.
- Dough Fermentation Time: I recommend letting the dough rise for between 4 - 6 hours because this dough starts off very sticky. The dough will become looser and more sticky the longer the dough ferments. 4 - 6 hours of fermentation time is the best!
- Banneton Bread Basket: It is ideal to use a banneton bread basket because it has a cloth cover that attaches to the wooden bowl, which makes it easy to use. However, if you don’t have a banneton you can line a large bowl with a kitchen towel. Dust the kitchen towel generously with flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the kitchen towel.
- Wait For The Dough to Spring Back Before Baking: After the dough has been refrigerated for 8 - 12 hours, you want to allow the dough to warm up a bit before baking. If you poke the dough gently it should spring back. You could bake the bread straight from the refrigerator, however, it won’t rise as much in the oven and it won’t be as light and fluffy.
- Allow the Bread to Cool in a Kitchen Towel for 40 minutes After Baking: Once the bread is baked, wrap the bread in a kitchen towel to cool for 40 minutes. This step is very important because the bread is still cooking as it cools. If you skip this step and cut into it right away - the bread will be gummy rather than soft and light and fluffy.
Tools You May Need:
Non-metal utensil, for mixing the bread dough
Banneton bread basket or large bowl with a kitchen towel
Bread Lame, or sharp knife
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A fresh crusty piece of a slightly sour and tangy sourdough bread with dried rosemary is a delightful treat. You can serve it with butter, or dipped in olive oil with fresh or dried herbs as a snack or appetizer.
100 grams active sourdough starter
260 grams distilled or filtered water
8 grams salt
400 grams organic all-purpose flour
½ - ¾ teaspoon organic dried rosemary
Make the Dough:
- Place a large mixing bowl on the kitchen scale. Tare the scale - set the scale to zero. Measure out 100 grams of the sourdough starter into the large bowl. Next, tare the scale again to measure out the water, salt, and flour.
- Mix all the ingredients together to make a very sticky firm dough. You may need to add a little more water, a tablespoon, or two if the dough is too dry.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest in a warm environment for 2 hours.
After 2 hours of Fermenting - Stretch and Fold The Dough:
- After 2 hours, the dough should look a little bigger. Now, we want to do 4 stretch and folds. Grab one end of the dough and pull it up to stretch the dough. We don’t want to break the dough.
- Fold that piece of dough over itself. Turn the bowl 90 degrees, and repeat. Repeat this process until all the dough has been stretched and folded over. It should look like a dough envelope.
- Next, grab all of the dough and turn it over, so that the smooth side of the dough is facing upwards. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and a kitchen towel. Allow it to rest in a warm area for another 2 hours.
After Another 2 hours of Fermenting - Stretch and Fold The Dough Again:
- After the second 2 hour resting time, do 4 more stretch and folds. Grab one end of dough and pull it up to stretch it. Then fold the dough over itself. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat until all the dough has been stretched.
- At this point, you can let the dough rest for 2 more hours for a total of 6 hours or you can move on to the final shaping.
Final Shaping and Overnight Refrigeration:
- Lightly dust your banneton or a large bowl with a kitchen towel inside of it with flour, then set it aside.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Stretch and fold the dough until it is a dough envelope.
- Then use your hands to turn the dough in a circular motion to shape the dough into a taut ball. You may need to dust the top and sides lightly with flour.
- Lightly dampen the top of the dough with water, and sprinkle the dried rosemary over top. Gently press the herbs into the dough. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour.
- Place the dough into the banneton with the rosemary side down. Pinch the edges of the dough together, and lightly dust with a bit more flour. Cover the banneton with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and refrigerate for 8 - 12 hours.
The Next Day:
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, then set aside.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Your dough will have risen a bit overnight. Let the dough sit in a warm spot for 1 - 2 hours until it has warmed up and when you gently poke the dough it springs back.
- Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
- Turn the banneton upside down onto the sheet pan, so that the rosemary side is facing up. Using a pastry brush gently brush away the flour from the loaf.
- Using a bread lame or a sharp knife, make a shallow slit into the bread at a 45-degree angle to allow the bread to rise.
- Next, sprinkle about a tablespoon of water over top of the loaf to allow it to rise in the oven.
- Place the sourdough loaf into the oven and bake until it is golden brown, 35 - 45 minutes.
- After the bread is baked, wrap it in a kitchen towel. Allow it to cool for 40 minutes. This is an important step, the bread is still cooking as it is cooling - don’t skip this step!
- Lastly, slice and enjoy!
Bread can last wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for several weeks.
Keywords: sourdough, sourdough bread, rosemary sourdough bread, how to make a sourdough starter, how to make sourdough bread, sourdough bread from scratch