Not-So-Dense (or Sour) Sourdough Bread

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"My family loves bread, but many of my sourdough loaves over the past few years have been dense. One day a light — or rather a spark — went off in my head. I needed to soak all of my grains the night before, not just the sponge of the bread. A new softer, lighter sourdough bread was born!" |

I have been experimenting with sourdough bread for around two years now. My family loves bread — sandwiches are a staple in my home — but many of my sourdough loaves over the past few years have been dense. My family has not complained, and we have grown accustomed to it, but I had an inkling that they prefer a softer, less hearty bread.

I am often very practical — I avoid experimenting with food so I won’t waste money on mistakes. I have happened upon many sourdough bread recipes, and when feeling adventurous, tried them all. Each effort, recipe after recipe, always seemed to yield the same results: dense, crumbling, way-too-sour bread.

With each failed attempt, I returned to my original recipe, a bit defeated and frustrated because I was unable to make bread more enjoyable for my family. One day I came across yet another bread recipe (a soaked bread), but this one used an artificial yeast as leaven instead of natural sourdough. A light — or rather a spark — went off in my head. I needed to soak all of my grains the night before, not just the sponge of the bread.

So, making my go-to bread recipe just a bit more Vierra family-friendly, a new softer, lighter sourdough bread was born! This bread rises in less time than my other breads, so the taste isn’t too sour for us. It does require preparation and must be babysat throughout its rise for some hours, but it’s worth it at the end. My son and I, the only one of my brood who does not nap, enjoy checking on the bread to see how high it has risen before popping it in the oven to bake.

Sourdough Bread, Vierra-Style

Sponge ingredients:

  • 1 cup sourdough starter(active state and fed 2 to 3 times before use — this will lessen the sour taste)
  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 1-1/4 cups spelt
  • 1 cup hard wheat of choice

Soaked dough ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups water or milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or butter (melted)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Rapadura
  • 2-3/4 cups spelt
  • 2-3/4 cups hard wheat of choice

Additional ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • butter or coconut oil for brushing

Makes 2 loaves.

The night before, mix the sponge ingredients together in a bowl. Loosely cover with a cloth to sit overnight. In a separate bowl, mix the soaked dough ingredients together, and also loosely cover to sit overnight.

"My family loves bread, but many of my sourdough loaves over the past few years have been dense. One day a light — or rather a spark — went off in my head. I needed to soak all of my grains the night before, not just the sponge of the bread. A new softer, lighter sourdough bread was born!" |

The next morning, add 2 eggs to the soaked dough mixture and incorporate well. Put both the soaked dough and sponge in a stand mixer of your choice (I use a Kitchen Aid) and mix for 2 to 3 minutes, until well incorporated. Let the dough sit in the mixer for around 30 minutes. Add the sea salt to the dough and mix for 3 to 4 minutes. Depending on the temperature, let dough rise for about an hour. Turn on mixer for 20 seconds. Let dough rise again for an hour, and then mix again for 20 seconds.

After dough has risen for the second time, remove from mixer, knead on a floured surface, and separate the dough into two separate halves. Knead each half just enough to remove excess air, and form each half into a loaf to fit your bread pan. With a knife, slash the loaves of bread with a few marks down the center. Brush each loaf with butter or coconut oil. Cover both of the loaves and let rise in a warm spot. In the winter in our kitchen, this last rise takes a couple of hours. It may be only an hour in the summertime.

Not-so-Dense (or Sour) Sourdough Bread | My family loves bread, but many of my sourdough loaves over the past few years have been dense. One day a light -- or rather a spark -- went off in my head. I needed to soak all of my grains the night before, not just the sponge of the bread. A new softer, lighter sourdough bread was born! |

Once the loaves have risen satisfactorily, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake loaves for 40 to 45 minutes until they sound hollow if you tap them. Remove bread from oven and cool out of pans.

"My family loves bread, but many of my sourdough loaves over the past few years have been dense. One day a light — or rather a spark — went off in my head. I needed to soak all of my grains the night before, not just the sponge of the bread. A new softer, lighter sourdough bread was born!" |

Lastly, do not resist the urge to read a story with your little one while you both enjoy a buttery slice of warm bread — a favorite treat!

Does your sourdough bread ever turn out dense and sour? I hope this bread is just as delicious for you as it is for us!

Be sure to let me know in the comments. :)

FREE Download: Start your own sourdough starter

The only thing standing between you and this bread is a sourdough starter. But no worries — you can have one started in 5 minutes. Click here to download our free easy instructions. Plus you get a bonus recipe for the fluffiest sourdough pancakes ever!

This post may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. Thank you for supporting Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS with your purchases. Our family thanks you!


  1. says

    Tracey, thanks for posting. We actually don’t mind the sour taste, and since it’s supposed to help with gluten digestion, I might use your recipe, but with a few changes (letting all the flour sponge up overnight). I’ll try adding the extra honey, sugar, and egg though- that should make it rise more, and be lighter!
    Your loaves are beautiful. Mine do NOT look like that, haha.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hello Jennifer-
      That is an interesting suggestion! I might try it as well- soaking all of the flours, etc in one big bowl together – then adding the eggs/salt in the morning. Thanks for the thought!!!! : )

      • says

        This has become my go – to bread. I make it every week for my family and it is consistently *perfect*! My husband even likes it for his sandwiches, which is huge! I use organic white flour for the hard wheat and I let it all sour in one bowl from the start.

        Thanks for the fabulous recipe!

  2. says

    I make homemade bread all the time for sandwiches but never have I made a sourdough bread. I use this recipe when I make it though. I didnt’ know you had to soak it over night. Takes a little bit of planning ahead but well worth it I’m sure.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hello Tanya,
      In my experience, soaking all of the flours overnight creates a lighter bread, although not fluffy, definitely not as dense. Once I repeated this recipe a few times, I was able to repeat it at midnight before finally getting to bed- needless to say- it becomes like second nature if it works. ; )

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Thanks, Priscilla! I am soaking the actual flour. I have not tried it with sprouted grains yet, but may in the future. : )))

  3. says

    I might try this just for fun even though my sourdough bread products have consistently turned out much better ever since I read Wardeh’s “Sourdough Problems Solved” pdf. That was a game-changer for me. I can’t remember if it was a “thank you” bonus that I got as a subscriber, but the tips have made my bread and rolls lighter, less sour, and delightful every time :) Otherwise, I was making brown bricks that were only slightly edible when thoroughly saturated with some kind of liquid (ie dunked in soup) 😉

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Thanks for the tip – I am ashamed to say that I have not viewed the pdf yet- but now would love to find that! : )))))

    • says

      Sue, there are some different varieties of hard wheat, which they say is better for bread making because of the higher gluten content. “Hard red winter wheat” or “hard white wheat” are 10-12% gluten, and “hard spring wheat” is even higher, at around 12-14%. So these flours make great breads. Soft wheat (red or white, but pretty much always winter wheat) is better for pastries and cake-making. Hope that helps!

      • Tracey Vierra says

        Great reply, Jennifer. : )))) I am sure that will help with your question, but please ask if there are additional questions, Sue.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      : ) I would love to hear how your loaves turn out and if you even try to cook them on your wood stove??? That would be an interesting adventure.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      This was the result of so much experimentation. So many times, I wanted to give up and just resort to fluffier sourdough rolls instead of sandwich bread. Finally we have one that works for our family. I hope it might work for yours as well. : )

  4. Jamie says

    Happy New Year, Tracey, to you and your family. May it be a happy and healthy and prosperous one for you all.
    This looks to be a wonderful recipe. Thank you for sharing it!
    Best regards-Jamie

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Happy New Year to you and your family as well! I hope the year is beginning well for you all by the grace of God. I can just see your lovely ladies in the kitchen making this- you all were such wonderful hosts and hostesses! Prayers from TN to OR!

  5. Tammy says

    You are genius!!! I used to make a sourdough that used a starter and a soaker, but you still added more flour (about 7 Tbsp) the next day. I quit making it because I wanted all the flour soaked. (Never had good success with sprouted hard wheat for sandwich bread)
    I NEVER had the thought to simply soak most of those ingredients I was adding the next day.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    So excited to try this. I’m sure my family will be thanking you as well. :)

    • Tracey Vierra says

      I am so very happy and blessed by your excitement- thank you for writing! I do hope it works well for you! I would love to hear how it turns out! Happy bread making!

  6. Kathy says

    I just finished making a half batch of your bread, Tracey, and it is delicious! (I halved the recipe only because I’ve wasted so many ingredients already making inedible sourdough. :) I made the dough into sandwich rolls. They taste so good – not sour at all, and not crumbly at all either. I did add some yeast as “insurance” – refer back to the reason I halved the recipe – so I don’t know if that negates the benefits of souring/soaking – but the result is fantastic, very tasty, and will actually be eaten. :) No matter how nutritious it might have been, my previous sourdough “bricks” didn’t contribute to anyone’s health when they went into the trash. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!!!!

    • Tracey Vierra says

      I am so very happy and glad that you had good results! To be honest, I am not sure what effect the conventional yeast has, but ours rises well without it – as long as the starter is well fed and the dough is not left in an overly warm place. Hearing of your “bricks” reminds me of mine as well- the first time I made sourdough bread- I smiled with a cringe while I tried to eat it. We left for church and came home to find our dog had taken my loaf off the counter- but it was so terrible, even she did not eat it- that’s how bad it was! : )))) Hope this continues to work for you! God bless!

  7. says

    Great advice!

    We make sourdough bread every week at home and we’re completely hooked on it. However, variation is a must and you recipe will be a welcome addition to our collection.


  8. Alexis says

    Hey there! I used einkorn flour and pastry flour (that’s all I had on hand) and I used my unfed starter because we like the sourness but this bread was amazing!!!!!!!! Totally worth the time, came out beautiful and just unbelievable!! I have not had luck in the bread department and my husband and I were kinda afraid lol. But it was soooo good! Thank you!!!

    • Tracey Vierra says

      So glad to hear, Alexis. I tried Emmer grain once, and I do not think there is as much gluten in it, so the rise was not as good. Glad to hear Einkorn worked!!!! Just out of curiosity, do you have an affordable source for Einkorn grain?

      • Alexis says

        I honestly used the Jovial brand of flour from our local Moms Organic grocery store. We don’t make bread too often because we’re trying to be mostly GAPS/ Paleo but good bread is our cheat every now and then. I will add that the bread was kind of “crumbly” when cut but it was delicious.

        • Tracey Vierra says

          Thanks for the information. I am trying to source it so it is somewhat affordable, but am having a hard time- with all of our little mouths, we will go through one loaf a meal. : )))

  9. kathleen says

    I’ll have to try this. I too have made “bricks”. But my solution has been to add quite a lot of gluten flour. Gluten is wheat protein. So unless you’re allergic to it and it doesn’t agree with you, you can count on having the bread be higher protein. Has it been shown that soaking flour accomplishes the same result as soaking the whole grains? Kathleen

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hello Kathleen,

      I hope this recipe will work for you. : ) Based a comment I saw posted by Wardeh, as well as some reading, with the disclaimer that I by no means claim to be an expert- sourdough fermentation is best, then sprouting, then soaking- unless the soaking involves fermentation. When you say soaking flour versus whole grains, I am assuming that you mean sprouting the grains? If you are a member on GNOWFGLINS, check out the lessons in Fundamentals II page- this would be a great resource!

  10. Jeannine Tripp says

    I just finished making this today. It turned out really good! I followed the recipe exactly. I am wondering if you grind your wheat and spelt berries together or do you grind them separate every time?

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hello Jeannine,

      So glad to hear you liked the recipe!

      I usually grind my flours separately being that I have individual containers for red wheat and spelt, and then for my go to sprouted flours- soft white wheat, buckwheat, and spelt.

      I suppose you could grind them together if you have a good sense of how many cups of flour one cup of wheat/spelt berried yields. You could also experiment with other flours. I want to try buckwheat as well. : )

      God bless,


  11. Cathy says

    My loaves are on the final rise and looking good. I had difficulty with too dry soaked dough ( I couldn’t possibly add all the flour called for), and then I had to add more flour after combining with the sponge, but still allowing for a sticky dough. I used fresh ground flours and wonder if I should have adjusted for this. Thank you!

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hi Cathy!

      Great to hear! I hope it turned out well in the end. : )

      Sometimes I find, that for whatever reason, the soaked dough is a bit dry for me as well. I have always chalked this up to my grinder, being that it does not grind extremely fine like the Nutrimill. I find that when the soaked dough is a bit drier, there is usually more bran than fine flour??? Either way, I just add a bit more water or milk and get it to the consistency that works. The bread has always ended up well during the taste test. : ))))

      Sounds like you have it all under control! : ) Wish I had a better explanation for you. : )

      God bless,


  12. Tina says

    I am trying this recipe… sort of. I am hoping the flour I am using is “hard” wheat. My question is this: When using my KitchenAid, should I be using the dough hook? That is what I guessed, but you didn’t say and this is not a standard dough. It just made sense not to use the paddle or the whisk. Is this what you used?

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hello Tina!

      What type of flour are you using? Basically any wheat (please someone correct me if I am wrong), is hard with the exception of soft white wheat or other soft varieties. However, I am saying this as someone who purchases all my grain and grinds it fresh, I am not sure about pre-grinded flours and all of the varieties.

      I use the dough hook! : )))))) It works wonders and saves the hands and shoulders. : )

      Hope the bread turned out well!

      Best to you!


  13. Barb says

    I have the same problem of dense, sour bread. I tried your recipe today and IT WORKED!!! I’m so excited!! My loaves look just like yours — nice and tall. And they are not heavy like previous loaves. Thank you so much for figuring this out and sharing it. :)

  14. su says

    I’m new to sourdough and making bread the old fashioned way. :)

    How long should I knead the dough for? Mine’s on the second rise and pretty wet, compared to what I was used to in a bread machine.

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  15. Tracey Vierra says

    You are a better woman than I!!!! I was convinced of making it the old fashioned way, and let my mixer collect dust for a bit, but just could not find the time to make it work for our family and keep me in a happy mood. With that being said, I am not exactly sure how long to knead the bread by hand. : (
    What I will say is there is a point in the machine “kneading” process that I notice the texture change from a bit sloppy and uneven to soft, but more together with smooth consistency- that is when I turn off the mixer (which is usually about 3-4 minutes of “kneading”). By hand, I would assume that to take at least 10-15.
    Sorry that I cannot offer more- if you do perfect the natural kneading, I would love to know the timing to be able to share with others.
    I do hope the recipe works for you! God bless,


    • su says

      Thanks, Tracey!

      Yes, my next purchase is definitely a mixer that can handle freshly ground wheat – I’d like to nab one off craigslist, so I’m lurking there until a cheap KitchenAid or Bosch turns up. What do you use?

      I forged ahead before I heard from you, since it was time knead. I kneaded probably around 10 or so minutes, as you also said. I stopped when the texture went from gloppy and sticky to a little more doughy. I confess I had to flour my blob a good bit, because the cutting board and my fingers were getting all stuck to it.

      Although ultimately I ended up with some tasty bread, my loaves got very browned before they were done inside (I did go heavy on the melted butter). I covered with foil, baked longer, and finally got them to a ‘done enough’ point. I’m wondering if, with the Emmer I used in the sponge, I should use a little less liquid there. The soaker was pretty dense – spelt and hard red wheat. I think I’ll use something else to cut the red next time.

      Your thoughts are appreciated!

      • Tracey Vierra says

        Hi Suzanne!

        I use a Kitchen aid and love it because it is so versatile- however, my mom gave it to me as a gift one year so I did not spend money on it. My grain mill is manual or has an attachment to the kitchen aid which is nice. I have been using it almost daily, with the exception of one or two days, for three years now and it still is going strong. I have friends who love the Bosch as well. I think you probably could not go wrong with either. : ) Happy lurking!

        Did you try kneading with sprouted flour? This might be a good alternative.

        I have not had extreme success with Emmer- I think because of the lower gluten content. My lack of patience and desire to keep to our budget cause me to not experiment with it too much, though I would love to master this recipe with Emmer or Einkorn.

        In regards to the dense soaker, I would experiment a bit with the liquid measurements. You seem to know what the consistency should be based on how you describe everything- so go with that. Once I like a recipe, I tend to not measure any more, but rather eyeball it based on how I know it should look or the consistency should be. : )

        I fear I have not helped you very much with your questions- however I have enjoyed the dialogue. I often do not look at my work in the kitchen as a creation, but through this dialogue, you have helped me to see the “artistry of bread-making”. : )

        God be with you,


        God bless you,

      • says

        Hey, Suzanne!
        I just thought I might mention something that I’ve found very helpful in my sourdough exploits- my old favorite recipe (that I no longer use because it required some conventional yeast) was very, very wet and sticky, but didn’t turn out well unless it was kneaded by hand for at least a part of the kneading process. I didn’t want to add extra flour at that point because it would not have time to soak, so my answer was to use extra olive oil. I oiled my counter and my hands well and was able to get even a super wet and sticky dough kneaded to satisfaction.

        Tracey- Thank you so much for this recipe! I have just converted to no longer using conventional yeast and our family likes but does not love the thick, dense result. I am excited to try this to see if I can get a better rise. I wonder, however, if you or anyone else has tried this recipe with only wheat flour instead of the spelt? What is the purpose of using half spelt flour?
        Thanks again!
        Anna Marie,
        Life Coach at

  16. su says

    Hi Tracey!

    I value your comments and experiences very much!! :) I’m so new to bread baking, that every little detail is going into my files!

    I’ve not yet sprouted and ground grains. I don’t have a lot of counter space to start with, but have heard sprouted grain bread is wonderful – maybe someday soon!

    2 Questions:
    Is your soaker not dense? Maybe I’ll put more of the liquid there & less in the sponge.
    Any ideas about the over-browning of the crust, top and sides?

    Organic Emmer is 25 lb – $43.75 through Azure, and if you have a local drop, only 8.5% is added for shipping. I think Emmer, Einkorn and Spelt act a lot differently than our higher chromosome modern hard wheat. Spelt is already at a high percentage in the recipe, so it may problematic to use Emmer and/or Einkorn as well.

    The hard red gave my bread a hard-red taste that seems out of place, so I want to use something else … I’ll experiment, but may grow impatient. :)

    Thanks so much for all your advice! Have a wonderful day!

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hello Suzanne!

      Sprouted grains are wonderful and easy- and not much counter space at all! ; ) If you need help, GNOWFGLINS has so many resources or please feel free to ask!

      My soaker is not too dense- I have not tried it with emmer though which I think seems to absorb more and thus making it more dense. If it seems too dense, I would just add a bit of liquid to it.

      About the overbrowning- can you move your oven racks down so it is further away from the burner? Or maybe add butter/oil to the top during the last few minutes of bake.

      Thanks for the insight about emmer. I have purchased the emmer as well as einkhorn from Azure, but at the end of the month, with so many mouths to feed in our home, have not been able to make it work for us on a consistent basis. I hope to get there soon or try to cut back on grains to be able to use less and afford it. We’ll see. : )))) For now, I combine hard red and spelt which works well for us.

      Happy bread making!!! Keep me posted on all of your experimenting! : )

      • su says

        Hi Tracey!

        It’s odd, but the loaves that over-browned were totally buttered and I had moved the oven racks down before baking. I’ll just keep trying!

        By the way, a friend tells me that Azure’s prices are lowest in the spring – for example, she is accustomed to buying organic durum for almost half the current price! I’m doing my first group buy this month, but I think I’ll hold off on the biggies for a couple of months.

        I know what you mean about the costs of some of the more rare grains. Our local Whole Foods has bulk, un-organic Farro (Emmer) – for $4 / lb.!!! Ouch!

        I sure would like to make a sourdough loaf that tasted more like store-bought, for the kids’ and hubbies’ sake. I need to buy a more ‘San Francisco-ish’ starter, I suppose.

        Thank you again for taking time to share your experiences and suggestions!

        Sprouting will be on my agenda soon!

        • Tracey Vierra says

          Hello Suzanne,

          I would wait to butter until the last few minutes of cooking.

          Just to add to this- the other night I made a half recipe of this bread, started around 6p.m. – combined the soaker and sponge together, kneaded again at 8 with added salt, then again at 9, then one last knead at 10 (each knead about 2 minutes in kitchen aid), flattened the loaf out on the counter to about the length of a loaf a bread and 10″ width, added soaked walnuts, butter, cinnamon, and some rapadura- rolled it up into loaf size- and placed in glass loaf pan covered in the oven. It rose wonderfully over night and we had fresh cinnamon raisin bread in the morning. : ) The left bread was made into a french toast casserole the next morning. Maybe more than you were looking for, but thought I would feed your bread experimenting a bit. : )))

          I’ll keep an eye on Azure in Spring- I am so thankful for that company as they are my main source of supplies for our home. Thanks for the information.

          Do you have a WAPF local chapter? Many people here are willing to share their starters for free if you pick them up. I am stubborn and insisted on making my own starter. : ))) It is now a few years old and a special part of our kitchen.

          Hope your week has been well.

          God bless,


          • suzanne says

            Wow, Tracey! You’re cinnamon bread sounds ultra-yummy! I like the idea of mixing everything the night before, too. I’ll give it a try!

            I experimented with my own starter, but it didn’t have enough rising power. I used one that includes a bit of orange juice at the first stages. Sounded fool proof, and smelled right, but wasn’t active enough to make waffles or pancakes rise well, much less bread. I don’t give up easily, though, so I took it all in stride.

            The starter I have now (I think it’s from Bread for Life) can stay in the frig and only needs daily feeding – skipping a feeding is OK, too. I’m wondering now if the flours I feed it are causing the unusual flavor … maybe i should switch it to spelt only for feedings.

            I have the name of a local WAPF person, so I can find out what’s going on in the Raleigh, NC area. Thank you for the reminder about that! :)

            Have a wonderful day and thank you again for all your help!

  17. says

    After almost 5 years of searching for the right sourdough bread recipe this is the one! No more door stops! I’ve used the recipe twice and have wonderful, consistent results. Thank you!

      • says

        We used only the Spelt flour. We get it locally from Bob’s Red Mill across the river in Portland, Oregon. I called them last year to verify their source of grain and found that it is from farms in eastern Washington state.
        The loaves have turned out very nicely and are light and tasty.
        Thanks again, Tracy for the wonderful recipe!

  18. Teresa says

    I made this today in my cast iron loaf pans, and it turned out great! They looked exactly like yours. I had my doubts because my kitchen was so cold, and the dough wasn’t rising very well at all. I almost scratched it and made crackers out of it. I’m glad I didn’t! It rose a ton in the oven. Perfect sandwich bread!

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Great! SO wonderful to hear! You have given me the urge to add cast iron bread pans to my wish list now. : ))))

  19. Lauren says

    OK, so I have just finished incorporating the sponge with the soaked mixture and eggs and, phew! That was hard work. My Cuisinart mixer cannot handle all the dough. In fact, it can really only handle about 1/3 of it at a time, and it’s taking forever to get it all mixed together. The soaked mixture was very dense. I did not add any more liquid than the recipe called for, but the end result is a very sticky dough. I have followed the recipe exactly, but wish I had tried halving it first. I am using Prairie Gold Wheat and Bob’s Red Mill spelt flour– any ideas why this has been so difficult? Is this normal? Are other people’s mixers really able to handle all that dough? I will have to incorporate the salt by hand.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hi Lauren,

      Sorry that I did not get back to you earlier. I fear that I may not have been any help though. The dough fills my mixer (Kitchen-Aid) but not too much where is does not work. Yes, depending on the flour, the soaked part can be dense- if you think it is too much, add a bit a liquid.

      I am so glad this worked for you in the end!!!!! I hope if you try it again, it does not prove to be so difficult.

      May the Lord bless your weekend!


  20. Kalea says

    I’m in the process of making this bread for the first time right now. I’m really excited to try it, since my family has been eating my sourdough brick loaves for the last 4 years now. :) I’m using the dough hook on my kitchen aid. I’m wondering what kitchen aid speed you use to mix the dough (i.e. 2 or 4 or just ‘stir’). Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hello Kalea, This is a bit late, but I usually start slow and then speed up to what my mixer can handle with the load of dough. In other words, I don’t really have a set speed- just eyeball it. : ) I hope the recipe turned out well for you!

      • Kalea says

        Thanks for getting back to me. My bread has been turning out great, other than some loaves are more dry/crumbly than others. Great recipe :)

  21. Melissa says


    I made this bread, and it tasted good, but a little dense, and didn’t rise like the photos you included. I’d like to try mixing the sponge with the soaked, and let it rise overnight to see if it rises better. My question for you on the post about your cinnamon raisin bread is: did you incorporate egg, and let that rise all night as well? I’m not used to letting egg sit out for hours, but we’ve been buying free range eggs. It’s hard to let go of some of the things I’ve been taught about not letting food sit out!


    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hi Melissa,

      Sometimes depending on temps or lack of a good starter, it does not work well. A dense loaf has happened to me a couple of times. I hope it gets better as a dense loaf of bread is not so enjoyable.

      I mix my egg in and let it sit overnight, however, my chickens are right outside our window and we make our own soy free organic feed for them, so I know what they are eating and if they are healthy or not, thus I have no reservations. With that said though, if you do not feel comfortable, just forgo the egg and see what happens- my guess is, it just would not be so fluffy? Wish I had a better answer for you.

      I do hope it turns out better the second time around. : )

      God bless,

  22. Lois says

    Can you tell me if you tried Jennifer’s Cote’s adapted version (Jan 14, 2014), and if it turned out?
    I’m looking for simple as a busy mom, and one less bowl to wash makes a difference!

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hello Lois,

      I have tried it that way, and it tastes good, however seems to turn out a bit more dense and does not rise as well? That is my experience- however, when I am in a hurry- it is still better than store bought bread. ; )))) Hope that helps.


  23. says

    I am trying this now, but soaking the sponge and soaker together because of time – I already will be kneading by hand, so I am hoping to save steps. Crossing fingers! If it isn’t awesome I will try again to a T.

  24. Brigitte R says

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My kids never enjoyed my sourdough bread and always asked for store bought, but now, they say it’s the best bread in the whole world!!! Thank you. I’m hooked!

  25. says

    I’ve made this recipe 2-3 times and absolutely love it!!! I now make this up and turn it into hamburger buns. I wonder what you would advise for a temp and time for baking hamburger buns off with this recipe? Thank you in advance, Sheila

    PS I tremendously enjoy all your recipes; they are awesome.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hi Sheila,

      I have made Hamburger and hot dog buns from extra dough- I just cook them on my stone pizza round at the same time as the bread, although I take them out after about 20-25 minutes instead of the full bread time. Every oven is different, so for the first time, I would keep an eye of them after 15-20 minutes and then eyeball it. : )

      Sorry to not be precise! And so glad to hear that you enjoy the recipes. I love cooking good food for our family and seeing my kids dislike processed food! : ))))

  26. claudy says

    Hello, does the spelt flour play a major part in lightning up the bread?
    we live in guatemala, and we cannot find spelt or teff. We can find amaranth, rice, almond, soy, tapioca.
    What would be your recommendation, the flour that we tipically use is normal store bought whole wheat flour, which we know is not the best, but until we can get a sturdy grain mill that is the best we think we can do so far. Thank you.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      I wish I had a good recommendation. All I can say is maybe half the recipe and experiment- see what works for you and your family. You have encouraged me to experiment with other flours as well- I just ground up some oat flour. : )))) Let me know if you do try this with other grains/flours.
      God bless!

  27. Rebecca says

    So there is no yeast in this bread and rising is accomplished by the…eggs? I can’t get good rise in my whole wheat bread, though its 100% wheat (don’t have any spelt handy) and the constant rises/punch downs don’t work with instant yeast-only will rise once! Frustrating. And I am loathing this sourdough starter-dump out nearly all if its in fridge, then start again and wait 12 hours… I have actual children to educate and attend to! If the bread gets more attention than algebra, something isn’t right.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hello Rebecca,

      The yeast is naturally occurring in the sourdough starter which is used in this recipe -it will cause a rise as long as it is a good starter.

      I can relate to not wanting to take a lot of time making bread, we home school and now have five little ones 8 and under, that is the main reason I love this recipe. Making sure I have a good starter going by evening time, before I go to bed, I soak everything for the bread which takes about 10 minutes. Then, in the morning while making breakfast, I let the kitchen aid knead it a few times before putting it in the pans to rise for the day. By afternoon/evening time, I have two fresh loaves of bread for the next day.

      Let me know if you have any questions as I am more than happy to help.

      God bless,

      • says

        This almost answers one of my questions…In the free sourdough starter email I got from this page, it says to feed it morning and evening, and to stop removing some and feed more at a time when you want to grow it for use in a recipe. Got that. Then, it says it is most active a few hrs after feeding, when bubbly, doubled, and domed. Mine is doing this in the middle of the day, so how am I supposed to wait until evening to make the bread dough? If I do it in the most active state, which she says helps rise, will it be soaking too long before the next day? Can that hurt it? What does your time table look like? Thanks, Jess

  28. says

    Is there any possibility you could give the weights of the flour instead of the volume? I mill my own grain and let it fall right into my cup, but I think there is too much air in it, my dough became far too wet. It would be more accurate to know how many grams of flour (or grain berries) I need.
    I’m making my first bread with this recipe right now, and after the first rise I decided to add some more flour, but that’s not the perfect way of course.

  29. Rhonda says

    My daughter is allergic to wheat. She can eat spelt, thank goodness. Is there something I could mix with the spelt in this recipe besides a hard wheat that would help to lighten the loaf? I am also trying to find a recipe that is not so dense. I would love to get a rise like your picture. It looks so yummy! Thanks!

  30. Lois says

    I’d like to add honey instead of the sugar. . .can you tell me how wet the sponge mixture should be, so that I can decrease the liquid by “feel.”

    Has anyone tried honey?

    Also, any official recipe using this mixture for cinnamon bread?

  31. Lois says

    Can you tell me the “feel” of the sponge mixture? I’d like to add honey instead of the sugar, and would want to decrease the liquid.

    Anyone tried honey instead of sugar?

    Also, any recipe using this mixture to make cinnamon bread?

  32. Andrea says

    Hi! Ive been baking with sourdough for a while now and even though we love it I always wish my loaves would grow tall and be less dense. Just like the yours! I definetly want to try this one but wanted to know if it would work the same without the sugars. I dont mind the sour but I dont know if the sugar has other purposes. (i need to stay low carb because of blood sugar issues) Thanks for responding!

    • Tracey Vierra says

      I would just try it. I will change the sugar levels at times depending upon what we consumed that week and it does not seem to change the recipe much. I would love to know what you find. : )

  33. Rebecca says


    Thank you for posting this recipe and taking the time to answer lots of questions.
    I was just wondering if this is a 100% wholemeal bread. I would really love to make bread the old fashioned bread, as God intended it to be!
    I have tried following this recipe soaking wholemeal flour the night before, but it doesn’t say how much flour to add for the kneading… I’ve tried I don’t know how many times and it never really rises as much as I’d like it to, and it never rises in the oven. I am making bread today, this time adding 2/3 cup of wholemeal rye starter to the soaked wholemeal flour, because 2/3 cup should be the one part, if 2 cups is the three parts the Bible tells us about, if you see what I mean!
    Thank you once again for sharing,

  34. Inez says

    I am going to make this! I have read the others post on their suggestions and attempts. I too think I will soak both batches and see how it turns out.

    Looking forward to making it.


  35. Mackenzie says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I have made it several times with amazing results every time. But I wasn’t making it as regularly as when I was making whole wheat bread in my bread maker. So I had the great idea to adapt it for the bread maker. I split the recipe exactly in half. I soaked the dough in my breadmaker pan and made the sponge in a separate bowl. The next morning I added the egg to the breadmaker and turned it on to the dough cycle. Then I added the sponge and mixed it using the dough cycle. Then the salt. I followed you’re time recommendations by manually turning off and on the breadmaker. I also ended up adding 1/4 flour to get the right consistently. Anyway, the bread turned out beautifully! Better than ever before and it was way less work and mess too! I hope this can help another busy mama like myself to make the healthiest bread possible in the least amount of time.

  36. Lori says

    Hi, Tracey! I just wanted to join the chorus in order to thank you for such a lovely recipe. I just made my first two sourdough loaves ever, and they are fantastic. Even my littlest, who usually doesn’t care for baked goods, will eat this bread. :-)
    It sounds like this bread doesn’t last long in your house, but I would appreciate a best guess from you or perhaps another commenter: what is the best way to store this (or any homemade) bread? I am very much a newbie at bread-making, so any advice would be welcome. Thanks!

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