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Sourdough Baking Guides

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The following roundup of sourdough baking guides here at The Perfect Loaf will help you navigate the waters of baking sourdough bread and sourdough pizza at home. Start with the Beginner Baking Guides up top and work your way down as you become familiar with each topic.

Of course, it all begins with your sourdough starter. First, visit the Sourdough Starter Guides section below to create your sourdough starter from scratch, learn how to maintain it, and, if necessary, store it when not in use.


Beginner’s Sourdough Guide

The eight steps to making (great) sourdough bread.

There are eight critical steps to making sourdough bread (I talk about this in my cookbook at length). In my Beginner’s Guide to Sourdough Bread, I’ll walk you through each step with great detail, from creating a preferment (levain) to baking the dough in the oven.

Read through my Beginner’s Guide to Sourdough Bread →


Stretching and folding my Brown Rice Sourdough Bread

Guides To Every Step of the Sourdough Process

  1. Levain, a preferment that seeds fermentation in bread dough
  2. How to Autolyse, a technique for reducing mixing time and increasing extensibility
  3. Mixing (coming soon)
  4. A Guide to Bulk Fermentation, the dough’s first rise.
  5. How to Divide and Preshape, portioning the dough and preparing for shaping.
  6. How to Shape Dough, forming the dough into its final shape.
  7. How to Proofing Bread Dough, the dough’s second rise.
  8. Baking (Coming soon)

Baking guides batard

Beginner Bread Baking Guides

It all begins here. The first step is to make a sourdough starter, read guides on baking in a Dutch oven or home oven, and tips on why temperatures are so important.


The Perfect Loaf Baking Guides Starter

Sourdough Starter Guides

A sourdough starter is a stable mixture of suitable bacteria and wild yeasts. By regularly feeding (refreshing) a starter, we “train” the culture to produce desired flavors and have sufficient strength for leavening dough.

See all my sourdough starter guides →


Baking guides interior

Bread Dough Shaping Guides

Shaping dough is technically challenging and one of the most enjoyable parts of the baking process. While there are many ways to form dough into various shapes, these are my preferred methods for shaping everything.

See all my bread dough shaping guides →


The Perfect Loaf Baking Guides Schedule

Bread Baking Schedule Guides

Most homebakers tend to revolve their baking around their time off; this usually means baking on the weekend. While my guide to a weekend baking schedule focuses on this, it’s possible to shift this schedule to bake on any day of the week. We all lead busy lives, but we can work baking into even the busiest schedules with a few handy tips.


The Perfect Loaf Other Techniques

Guides to Other Bread Baking Techniques

Baking with sourdough isn’t limited to baking large, crunchy loaves of bread. The following guides are handy techniques to bring another dimension to your baking.


Sourdough Bread Baking Flour Guide

Flour and Ingredient Guides

Baking with sourdough isn’t limited to baking large, crunchy loaves of bread. The following guides are handy techniques to bring another dimension to your baking.

Flour Guides

Ingredient Guides


The Perfect Loaf Baking Guides Retarder

Baking Tools and Equipment Guides

Sometimes, having the right tools can make all the difference, especially for a home baker when the kitchen environment changes drastically daily. The following guides help improve your baking environment to increase consistency.

Tools For Mixing Bread Dough

Tools For Proofing Bread Dough

Tools For Baking Bread Dough

See all my favorite and best baking tools →


Sourdough pizza

Sourdough Pizza and Flatbread Guides

Pizza, especially sourdough pizza, ranks with some of my favorite foods. I find naturally leavened, long-fermented pizza dough has added flavor, a more tender texture, and increased nutritional content. The following guides will help you cook the best pizza in your home kitchen.

Read through my ultimate guide to all things sourdough pizza dough →


Videos

For more baking techniques and recipe videos, visit The Perfect Loaf’s YouTube channel →


Sourdough Bread Baker's Handbook

Sourdough Bread Baker’s Handbook

My 100+ page eBook has tips on all eight steps of the sourdough bread-making process, guides, and a recipe for making open-crumb sourdough bread, plus downloadable and editable spreadsheets for creating your own bread formulas.

Contents