Learn how to convert any recipe to sourdough with a few easy tricks. Eating healthy fermented grains doesn’t have to be challenging. Just use this simple process to convert your favorite recipes to sourdough.
If I had a food love language, I’m sure it would be sourdough. And by this point, you’ve all figured this out.
It’s been a 10-year love affair with this healthy, ancient way of eating grains. Once converted, it is truly hard to go back. Our family is never going back.
Honestly though, sourdough doesn’t have the best reputation. People have a misconception that sourdough is difficult and takes a long time.
You might be imagining yourself spending several hours a day kneading dough, or even hunkered over your bread bowl with your sourdough instructions, trying to troubleshoot your dough like a bad chemist.
That is just not the case. Sourdough has simplified meal making and food prep dramatically for our family.
Converting a recipe is actually quite simple. You may have to tweak it a bit, but it is really worth it. Between the health benefit of easier digestion and the greater depth of flavor, you’ll be thankful you made the switch.
There are multiple factors when considering converting a recipe to sourdough. Consider the type of recipe, how much liquid and flour, and whether or not another leavener may be added.
Why would you want to convert a recipe to sourdough?
- Flavor: Sourdough adds a delicious tang and complexity to grain products. From savory to sweet, the dimension added can’t compare with regular wheat products. Once you switch to eating traditionally fermented grains, regular grains seem sub-par and lacking flavor.
- Health: Switching to grains fermented with sourdough starter reduces the amount of phytic acid present in the grains, and allows the nutrients (like folate) to become more bio-available. Your body then can more easily absorb these nutrients.
- Digestibility: Fermented grains actually contain less gluten than unfermented. The good bacteria and yeast help break down the gluten, making it easier for your body to digest. Those who have difficulty digesting grains may be able to tolerate long-fermented sourdough products. Those with celiac disease still should avoid any glutinous grains, even fermented ones.
How To Convert Any Recipe To Sourdough:
The basics: Usually, when I go to convert a recipe, I follow some basic rules:
- Swap out one packet of yeast for one cup of starter.
- Reduce the liquid by one cup and reduce flour by one cup.
- Increase rise time, usually double.
For my yeast, no-knead, einkorn bread, the recipe calls for:
- 1.5 cups warm water (about 100 to 105 degrees) – changed to 1 cup of water.
- 1.5 Tablespoons instant yeast – removed, replaced with 1 cup sourdough starter
- 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp coconut oil – melted – removed coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp honey – removed honey
- 1/2 Tablespoon salt – stayed the same
- 6 cups of whole grain einkorn flour – changed to 5 cups
The liquid ingredients (water, coconut oil, and honey) were reduced by just about 1 cup total, and the flour decreased by one cup as well.
Adjustments are based on your hydration of your starter:
This conversion is based on a sourdough starter fed at 100% hydration. I feed my starter equal parts flour and water. Usually around 1 cup of filtered water with 1 cup of flour.
The amount of flour and water used is based on the amount of starter I already have. But the ratio of flour to water never changes.
If you feed your starter a different ratio of flour to water, your recipes will need to be adjusted accordingly.
How long should I let recipes rise?
Typically, rise time will take about double the time, as the natural yeasts and bacteria take more time to develop than commercially developed yeast. While a yeast bread may take 1-2 hours to rise, give your sourdough recipe at least 4 hours.
If you are making a bread recipe, make sure to double both rises. The bulk rise, and the second rise after shaping.
With sourdough, you can even do longer rises in the refrigerator to help develop flavor without over fermenting. For bread, you would allow a bulk ferment after starting the dough, and then a second ferment in the fridge, covered with plastic, for up to 24 hours.
Differences in rising time will change substantially depending on the type of recipe, if it contains other leaveners like baking soda, the environment it is rising in, etc.
Can you convert non-yeast recipes to sourdough?
Yes. There are many quick-bread recipes that work well when converted to sourdough, like pancakes, crepes, muffins, and other quick breads (hello, banana bread).
The basic principle given previously still works here: add starter, reduce flour by one cup, reduce water by one cup. Except for crepes – that is a different type of recipe, since there is no flour added at all, except what is already in the starter.
Sourdough might sound complicated, but most new processes do. Take some time to read and learn about sourdough, give your own starter a try, and I promise, you’ll find it to be a simpler skill than expected. It’s an incredibly beneficial practice, both for your health, and for the depth of flavors you build into your recipes.
Try Some Of Our Favorite Recipes
- Sourdough Brownies
- Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
- Sourdough Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler
- Easy Artisan Bread
- Sourdough Banana Bread
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