Super Sourdough Success


Two loaves of sourdough bread fresh out of the oven. As soon as they cooled enough to cut, we were in. Delicious!

Every July, I make culinary goals for myself as this is the time of year we do our bulk shopping for our year in the Alaskan bush. My two big goals this year were to master working with sourdough starter and to make cheese.

I’ve tried making sourdough bread with starter before. A friend gave me some of hers which she had had going for several years. For whatever reason, my sourdough did not turn out. Jack called it an epic fail. I don’t remember it being epic. That would have involved tears, bread in the trash, and possibly my fists pounding the floor like a tantrumming child. Don’t ask me about the time I tried to hard boil eggs! That was an epic fail. I do remember that my last attempt making sourdough bread wasn’t good. So, it went on the goal list to try again.

Most people go to their local store to buy the things they need. If they are lucky, they live in a place with specialty shops where they can find unique tools to help them achieve their culinary goals. Out here in the bush, we rely on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver items we can find via the Internet. This involves lots of planning and lots of patience waiting for items to show up. Last week, my sourdough starter finally arrived. I’ve been diligently feeding it every day and it’s been bubbling away on the countertop in a nifty glass jar I bought especially for this purpose.

Today was the big day. The starter smelled nicely sour. I gathered my ingredients and set to work. Happily, the two loaves came out lightly sour and made for a great accompaniment to Jack’s clam chowder. Hurrah! It will be interesting to see if the starter changes flavor as it continues to age. I am also curious to see how the starter will taste in sourdough pancakes. Stay tuned to find out!

Homemade Sourdough Bread


  • 3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups sourdough starter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water


  1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, and yeast. Whisk together.
  2. Place butter and milk in small pot on stove. Warm to about 110 degrees F.
  3. Whisk milk mixture into flour mixture.
  4. Whisk in sourdough starter.
  5. Stir another cup of flour into dough mixture.
  6. Stir and then knead in one more cup of flour and salt. (I actually knead in the large bowl.)
  7. Knead in final ¾ cup of flour. Dough should be well mixed and slightly sticky.
  8. Turn dough out of bowl and coat bowl with 2 tbsp olive oil. Place dough back in bowl.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  10. Punch dough down. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a loaf-shaped log.
  11. Place loaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  12. Cover and let rise for an hour, or until doubled in size.
  13. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  14. Mix egg and water and brush loaves generously with this mixture.
  15. Bake loaves for 25 minutes. Finished loaves will be golden brown and have a hollow sound when the bottom is tapped.

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