The Proper Way to Successful Sourdough

Well, it is no secret that home made bread, especially sourdough, has been in existence for just about ever! It has that distinct aroma and tangy flavor which many love and some do not-if you are reading this, you are NOT in that latter category. My friends say to me, “you do know they sell this in the grocery store…” I just laugh and say “I do know that, that is not MY kind of bread!” Yes, I am a sourdough snob through and through. It may come from the fact that I grew up where it was said to be the best around…in Los Angeles, California. Although they say the best is sometimes confused with that other California city, San Francisco. No matter where you sit on the sourdough bread continuum it can be accurately stated that all tastes have their place.

Much of the tanginess of the bread comes from the starter and the length of the fermentation process. In my experience, off and on over the past twenty years of baking it, I have discovered that the worse the starter smells the tastier the bread will be. Sort of like cheese. You enjoy cheese too I hear. Starter is the yeast culture used to leaven the bread. I made my starter a few years ago and used a recipe I found online which took 17 days to accomplish-BE PATIENT. Good things take patience and persistence. You know that.


Walnut Sourdough is one of my all-time favorites as it turns this odd shade of grayish lavender color as the fermentation and baking progress. I added 1/3 cup of walnuts, finely chopped, to my normal sourdough recipe and was very happy at the way it turned out. I have to thank San Luis Sourdough of San Luis Obispo, CA for the idea. I looooved that walnut sourdough bread they had in the 1980s and 90s. So much so that I devised my own version and am posting it for you here.

Perfectly Bread Sourdough Recipe


3.5 cups of bread flour (may be more of a little less depending on the atmospheric humidity)

2.25 tsp salt

1 TBS sugar

1.5 cups sourdough starter (again, home made is best)

2 TBS olive or vegetable oil (butter may also be used)

I love baking by hand so here is how to do that. Yes, if you have a good sturdy stand mixer you can use that too. Here is the link to my video in which I made Walnut Sourdough, just omit the nuts if you don’t care for them. This recipe is great as it lends itself to adding just about anything to it; Black Garlic, Herbs, bacon, Asiago Cheese, Roasted Bell Peppers etc. Use that imagination God gave you and post YOUR results! I would love to see what you can do.

Happy baking,

Chef Charliesourdough starter

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