Buttermilk sourdough loaf…

This loaf came about from pure experiment because I had some lovely lively starter and wanted to do something different with it, plus I have always got various cartons of buttermilk to hand nowadays, and so this idea was born.

This recipe produced a lovely silky dough which baked into a crusty loaf with a wonderfully soft interior and a great flavour, and the smell was amazing! Due to the inclusion of plain all purpose flour the crumb is pillow soft rather than the usual chewy sourdough crumb, and the buttermilk only adds to that.

I made this loaf with a ‘sponge’ method…

The evening before you want to bake the loaf mix:

100g of bubbly active starter (for details of how to make a starter, click here)

284ml carton of buttermilk

150g of all purpose flour/plain flour

Mix it all together really well, get it as smooth as you can, then cover it and leave it out on your kitchen counter overnight. (Top 2 photos below)

Next morning it should have grown and be spongelike. (Bottom 2 photos above – you can see how much it’s grown between the two sets of photos)

Now add:

300g strong white flour

1tsp salt

A splash or two of warm water

Mix it all together roughly, cover again and leave for an hour. (Top 2 photos below)After that hour, bring it into a dough, not too tight, not too sticky, performing some pulls and folds in the bowl to pull it into a smooth dough. (Bottom 2 photos show before and after pulls and folds)

Cover and leave on the counter again.

After a couple of hours you should already see this dough growing happily, the dough may even be starting to grow out of the bowl already; perform just enough pulls and folds to pull it into a ball with a smooth finish, don’t handle it too much.

Place the dough, smooth side down, into a well floured banneton.

Cover with a plastic bag or shower cap and place in the fridge to slow down the proving process and to increase the flavour. You should find that it keeps growing nicely over the next few hours, even in the fridge, as below. This was how the dough looked after only a few hours in the fridge. It grows very fast!

When you’re ready to bake, take the banneton from the fridge and leave the dough to warm up to room temperature whilst your oven warms up.

Heat the oven to 200C fan/230c non fan.

When the oven is ready, place a piece of baking parchment over the top of the banneton, then place the pan you are baking it in over the top and invert it all together to turn the dough out into the pan. You should have a lovely pale dough that holds a good shape.

Slash as you like, then put the lid on the pan and put it in the oven to bake for 50 minutes.

After 50 minutes carefully turn the loaf out onto a rack to cool. Allow the loaf to cool for at least an hour before slicing.

As you will see, the crumb is closer than a standard sourdough, which is perfect for making my son’s school sandwiches. In fact, the interior of the loaf was softer than any bread of any type I’ve ever baked. I’ll definitely be baking loaves like this again and again.

And I have now made 3 loaves the same way, this was the third one, and again, the interior is beautifully soft…

I’ve also made a loaf with whole milk this week, but I’ll share that next time…in the meantime, I’ll take my loaves to this week’s Fiesta Friday and wish you a happy weekend!

NOTE: please always keep in mind that flours differ around the world, yours may need more or less liquid than mine, just as your oven may behave differently from mine.

67 thoughts on “Buttermilk sourdough loaf…

  1. Jhuls

    Elaine, you never fail to amaze me and everyone with your creations. These are looking so gorgeous and it is a genius idea to combine buttermilk with your sourdough. Thank you for sharing at Fiesta Friday party and have a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elaine @ foodbod Post author

      I thought you might like it ๐Ÿ˜€
      You know, I’d never even tried buttermilk before having this blog?! Another wonderful ingredient that my fellow bloggers introduced me to x


  2. sallybr

    Another fantastic masterpiece coming from your kitchen!!!! you know I adore this type of scoring, and you managed to get such a beautiful white color on the surface! that is really not that easy to do!

    and the scoring… wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary

    Your bread looks lovely and so inspires me to make bread again. But I have such hit and miss results in my production these days that I decide to give up. Then I see a photo like yours and Iโ€™m all fired up again and believe I can still do it. I think I tend to overprove my dough. Anyway one must keep on having a go. Wish me luck ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Debra

    I make a wonderful sourdough bread but I’ve never tried adding buttermilk. I can’t wait to give this a try. It sounds incredible, and your loaves are beautiful. Tomorrow–must get buttermilk. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. plantkat

        Recently bought some Bobs Red Mill Kamut Berries and really wanna turn into flour so I can make some yummy bread. Haven’t tried yet do you have any tips working in both arenas and being a bread ninja”?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Elaine @ foodbod Post author

        That’s very kind of you to say, I may not be a ninja but I can give you some feedback.
        Kamut flour/ground kamut berries makes a lovely nutty bread, it smells amazing when it’s baked. Like spelt, it doesn’t need to be left to prove for long if you’re using dried yeast. You can make 100% kamut loaves but it does benefit from being mixed with other flours to give it a boost.
        I would imagine that the kamut berries would be like the wheat berries and if you want to add them whole to a loaf they would be very tasty and have a nice chew, but I would think they probably need a good soak before you add them to any dough, otherwise they will draw moisture from your dough and make your bread solid.


  5. Pingback: Buttermilk sourdough loaf… | homethoughtsfromabroad626

  6. Michael Davis

    I’ve been making sourdough bread for about a year now, mostly following Chad Robertson’s basic recipe. I’m getting consistently good results, which is very enjoyable. Feeling more confident, I made your buttermilk sourdough. It’s just out of the oven;it’s a nice looking loaf. I did the final proofing overnight in the fridge as the dough wasn’t rising all that fast. I also baked the loaf from a cold pan, only the second time I’ve done that; it seems to produce a softer crust, even when I take the lid off half to 2/3 through the baking time. It is so much easier to get the dough into the pan when you don’t have to worry about burning yourself! One of the comments said that this loaf is a “high hydration” loaf. Is that correct? My dough didn’t seem all that wet; indeed, it seemed a bit heavy. Anyway, I am anxiously awaiting slicing and tasting the bread. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Daisy

    Where are the photos mentioned on the second step? The one after adding bread flour; before and after the pull and fold.


      1. Daisy

        Oh okay, mine is currently on that stage. Hopefully itโ€™ll rise nicely in the oven. Doesnโ€™t seem to rise on my counter so far. I might leave it for a whole day on the last proofing in a banneton. Fingers crossed….

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Julie Teig

    Dear Elaine, How long do you proof and/or ferment this dough in the fridge? How do you know when the dough is ready to bake?
    I came across your โ€œexperimentโ€ recipe while searching for sourdough and buttermilkโ€ฆ Iโ€™ve got my dough in the fridge now!

    Blessings from San Diego CA!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elaine @ foodbod Post author

      Hi, thank you for your message and finding the recipe. Because it was experimental I donโ€™t have exact timings, Iโ€™d look for growth in your dough.
      I have a buttermilk recipe in my book with more derail and timings but this one was more of a winging it scenario Iโ€™m afraid!



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