13 Best Sourdough Recipes

Tangy and Chewy, These Breads Have It All

Rye Bread
Dark rye bread.

The Picture Pantry/Getty Images


Sourdough is having a moment. The funky, slightly sour bread that used to exist solely in the realms of hippie enclaves and in a fermenting jar on your grandmother's kitchen counter, has hit the mainstream. Now you can find sourdough not only in the best bakeries, but in most grocery stores. When you're ready to dip your toes into sourdough yourself, start with some of these user-friendly recipes, variations, and tips below.

  • 01 of 13

    Basic Sourdough Starter

    Sourdough bread
    Katarina Lofgren/Maskot/Getty Images

    Sometimes called "friendship bread" because the starter grows so much that you can share it with your friends, sourdough starter is easier than you might think. This recipe will get yours going with just a few ingredients, most of which you may have on hand already.

  • 02 of 13

    Rye Sourdough Bread

    Rye Sourdough Bread Recipe
    Rye Sourdough Bread Recipe. Photo © Elaine Lemm

    Using rye flour instead of regular all-purpose flour gives this hearty loaf a denser texture and nuttier flavor. It requires a sourdough starter, so it does take some time, but the result will be well worth it. This fragrant, chewy bread tastes especially great toasted with good-quality butter.

  • 03 of 13

    Russian Dark Rye Sourdough

    Rye Bread
    Dark rye bread.

    The Picture Pantry/Getty Images


    Make this dark rye sourdough from Russia to accompany a rich soup, as a grilled cheese, or a base for pickled herring or other spreads. It can hold up to a heavy meal and will give any spread an Eastern European flare. The rye sour base does need four to five days to cure, so this makes a great project to teach kids about fermentation.

  • 04 of 13

    Sourdough Beer Bread

    Sourdough beer bread
    Photo from Wikimedia Commons

    Just four ingredients stand between you and this yeasty, hop-scented bread. Beer and sourdough just make sense together, because yeast and hops are a match made in heaven. This recipe makes two loaves, so eat one now and pop the other in the freezer for future use.

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  • 05 of 13

    German Dinkelbrot Spelt Sourdough Bread

    Spelt and Rye Sourdough Baked
    Spelt and Rye Sourdough Baked. J.McGavin

    Don't get intimidated by the multiple steps in this dinkelbrot, or spelt, rye, and sourdough bread recipe. It comes out nutty and light with a unique, hearty texture from spelt flour, an ancient grain that some say digests easier than wheat. It does take two days to make, so set aside some time for the project.

  • 06 of 13

    Rye Pumpernickel Bread

    Pumpernickel Bread with Whole Rye Berries
    Pumpernickel Bread with Whole Rye Berries. J.McGavin

    Pumpernickel bread hails from the Northwest of Germany, where it originally came from rye berries and flour soaked and simmered then baked for 24 hours. This recipe results in that dark, toasty color and slightly sweet, umami flavor even though it has almost no added sugar.

  • 07 of 13

    Whole Wheat Sourdough

    Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread


    Traditionally, this country bread or landbrot was made in a communal oven and loaves were big enough to last at least a week, or until the next baking day. This one uses a levain or overnight culture, as well as both whole wheat and white flour for a heartier texture than white sourdough.

  • 08 of 13

    Potato Flake Sourdough

    Potato breads and raw ingredients
    Allan Rosenberg/Cole Group/Photodisc/Getty Images

    This variation of a Friendship bread sourdough starter uses potato flakes as part of the base. It can go on pretty much indefinitely, as long as you remember to feed it regularly. Never cover your starter with a tightly screwed-on lid though, because the starter off-gasses as it ferments, and a tightly sealed jar will explode and make a real mess.

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  • 09 of 13

    Basic Sourdough Loaf

    High Angle View Of Sourdough Bread On Table
    Sourdough. Ira Dobrolyubova / EyeEm / Getty Images

    You've birthed and nurtured your starter. You've watched it bubbling away and started smelling that delicious, funky yeast. Now what? This easy tutorial will help you make your very first sourdough loaf.

  • 10 of 13

    Amish Sourdough Bread

    Amish milk bread recipe

    The Spruce

    This Amish sourdough bread, sometimes also called friendship bread, has a lovely yeasty, slightly sweet flavor and a tender texture. You can also use this recipe as a jumping-off point for other traditional sourdoughs, like Amish cinnamon bread.

  • 11 of 13

    Polish Rye Sourdough

    Rye Bread with Caraway
    Rye Bread with Caraway. © Jon Whitaker / Getty Images

    When most people think of sourdough, a tangy white bread comes to mind. This Polish rye loaf uses rye flour instead of white, to give it a darker color and nuttier texture. Caraway seeds add extra crunch and that signature flavor. If you don't have two days to let your starter mature, we've also included a shortcut.

  • 12 of 13

    Rye Roggenbrot

    Rye Rolls made with Sourdough Starter
    Rye Rolls made with Sourdough Starter. J.McGavin

    Using rye flour and malt powder to make this rye bread or roggenbrot gives it a more assertively sour flavor, due to the acetic and lactic acid that accumulates as it ferments. If you want to accentuate that element, make a rye sourdough starter. But if you have a wheat sourdough going already, that will work just fine.

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  • 13 of 13

    European Black Bread

    Close-Up Of Wheat And Brown Breads Over Black Background
    Julia Lazarova / EyeEm / Getty Images

    With a rye soaker made 24 hours ahead, a rye starter that takes 15 hours, and a sourdough starter that's been going a week, this deep and rich bread takes some time. But trust us, the results are worth it. Baking it in a lidded Pullman pan keeps the bread from getting too dark.