Baking Sourdough Bread: Overview

German sourdough black bread (Schwarzbrot)

Sourdough rye-wheat bread with whole rye grain (German Schwarzbrot)

Recipes on the Internet for baking sourdough bread vary greatly but have one thing in common: They promise a short preparation process and add a multitude of ingredients to the dough. The end result is a bread that has little in common with old-style German sourdough bread.

The situation is not much better in Germany. The preparation process has been modified to become less time-consuming and hence cheaper. Here, too, various ingredients are added to the dough. The result is a bread that is different from the original German sourdough bread. Read More

Purchasing Grains and Flours

This post tells how you can purchase rye grain and wheat grain and wheat flour needed for our sourdough breads.

Purchasing Rye and Wheat Grain
rye grain honeyville 40 lb

Rye grain bucket

Prices quoted on the Internet for rye grain vary greatly. When you compare offers per lb. of grain, make sure that you include shipping charges, since they vary significantly.

Before you order a large amount of rye grain, say in a 50 lb. bag, make sure that you have storage containers available that are absolutely airtight. If you store grain any other way in your home, critters will surely get in there and ruin the grain. Even a container that is almost airtight, such as a plastic bucket previously used to deliver food, is not good enough. Read More

Equipment for Grinding Grain, Baking, and Slicing Bread

This post lists the equipment you need for grinding grain, baking, and slicing bread.

Grinding Grain
flour mill for sourdough baking

Lee Household Flour Mill

Grains such as rye and wheat contain oil, which thus is contained in whole grain flour. The oil contained in the flour oxidizes gradually and eventually becomes rancid. The special smell of store-bought whole wheat flour stems from that oxidization process. We do not want any such smell, nor do we want to have partially oxidized oil in our bread.

This leaves only one option: Each time we bake, we grind grain to get the needed flour. If by chance a small amount of flour is left over, we store it in the freezer for the next time. Read More

Getting and Processing Sourdough Starter

sourdough bread starter

Sourdough starter. Photo Wikimedia, Public Domain

One way to discourage people from baking with sourdough is as follows:

1. One makes acquisition, maintenance, and processing of the sourdough look like a time-consuming and convoluted process.

2. One admonishes the potential baker that sourdough starters must be fed every few days.

3. To top it off, one shows a picture of the starter that makes it look like some slimy beast kept in the lab, as in the photo on the left that we found on the Internet. Read More

Formulas for Baking Sourdough Rye and Wheat Breads

sourdough rye-wheat bread graubrot

Sourdough rye-wheat bread (Graubrot)

This post tells you how to bake a variety of sourdough breads: rye-wheat bread (Graubrot), rye-wheat bread with whole rye grain (Schwarzbrot), rye-wheat rolls (Brötchen), and wheat bread (Weizenbrot).

If you haven’t done so yet, you may want to read the four preceding posts first. They give an overview of sourdough baking, tell where you can buy grains and flours; discuss the equipment you need for grinding grain, baking, and slicing bread; and describe how you can obtain and maintain the required sourdough starter. Read More