This Garlic Parmesan Sourdough Bread is not only full of nooks and crannies that you love so much in sourdough bread, but aromatic and oh so flavorful!
Truth be told, I was introduced to homemade sourdough bread over 30 years ago. I got the starter from my next door neighbor. At first, I didn’t know what to do with it. Then I found a recipe for maintaining the starter in an old cookbook.
I kept that starter alive for years. By alive, I mean that I kept feeding and using the sourdough starter. With time, it developed the best flavor! Although, I read recently that sourdough starter that is 30 days old tastes the same as starter that’s 10 years old.
The Science Behind Sourdough Starters
A sourdough starter is made using two simple ingredients: flour and water. As the microbes eat the sugars in the flour, they exhale carbon dioxide, producing the bubbles that turn a flat, dense loaf into something light and fluffy.
People bake with sourdough starters for different reasons. Homesteaders use it as provides an endless supply of levain for bread baking. Purchasing and using yeast is totally not necessary.
I choose to use a sourdough starter for one because it has incredible flavor that just can’t be reproduced. But, more importantly because it’s easier to digest and scientists believe it can be eaten without the spike in blood sugar that happens when you eat regular bread.
Having said that, in my opinion, it makes the bread healthier! Plus, it is really fun and gives you a sense of accomplishment that you can nurture and feed something that gives back so much delicious enjoyment!
FOR ACTIVATING THE STARTER
- 2.4 oz (1/4 cup) sourdough starter
- 4 oz (½ cup) lukewarm (90°F to 100°F) pure filtered or bottled water
- 4 oz 1 cup whole-wheat flour
FOR THE BREAD DOUGH
- 2.4 oz (¼ cup) active sourdough starter
- 12 oz (1½ cups} warm (100°F to 125°F) water
- 15 oz (3½ cups) unbleached bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 oz (½ cup) whole-grain whole-wheat flour
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 2.4 oz (1/4 cup) minced garlic
- 1½ oz (⅓ cup) grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- 2 tsp dried oregano
ACTIVATE THE STARTER
- At least 6 to 12 hours before making the dough, in a medium bowl, combine the starter and lukewarm water, mixing with a spoon until completely incorporated. Then add the flour, again completely incorporating the flour into the starter mixture.
- Loosely cover and let sit on the counter until ready to use.
MAKE THE BREAD
- In a large bowl, add 2.4 oz (¼ cup) of the active sourdough starter. Add the warm water and stir until the starter has completely dissolved. Add the bread flour and whole-wheat flour to the yeast mixture, mixing to combine completely. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix to combine. Let the dough rest for 2 hours more.
- While still in the bowl, gently knead the bread dough a couple of times. Let the dough rest for 2 hours more.
- Knead the dough in the bowl a couple of times again and let rest for 2 hours more.
- After the 6 hours of intermittent kneading, knead in the garlic, Parmesan cheese and dried oregano until completely incorporated into the dough.
- Place a parchment paper square on a flat surface and lightly flour it. Turn the bread dough out onto the prepared parchment. Work the dough by repeatedly pulling the corners of the dough toward the center to form a ball. Once the ball is formed, turn it so the pulled edges are on the bottom. Using the parchment, transfer the bread dough to a clean bowl (with the parchment). The dough should bounce back when a finger is pushed into its side. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and refrigerate the dough overnight.
- The next morning, when you’re ready to bake your bread, preheat the oven to 450°F with the Dutch oven and lid in the oven. (Preheat the Dutch oven while preheating the oven.)
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Sprinkle flour over the top of the bread and smooth it with your hand. Gently dusting off any excess flour. Using a bread lame or very sharp knife, cut an X into the top of the dough.
- When the oven has heated, remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Using the corners of the parchment, transfer the bread dough and parchment into a Dutch oven. Spray the bread with water a couple of times and place the lid on the pot. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 425°F and bake for 25 minutes more.
- Remove the lid and bake for 10 minutes more. The bread is done when the crust is golden brown and the loaf reaches an internal temperature of 210°F on a digital food thermometer.
- Transfer the pot to a wire rack and let the bread cool there for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the pan by lifting the parchment paper and place it on the wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
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Sourdough Starter Resources
I realize I haven’t yet shared my recipe for sourdough bread starter, but I’m doing some experimenting and plan to share the results when I’ve finished. In the meantime, if you’re looking for sourdough starter recipes or help with your starter, I recommend the following:
- King Arthur Sourdough Starter
- A Simple Sourdough Starter by Food52
- Sourdough Bread Masterclass with Patrick Ryan
- YouTube Videos on Sourdough Starters
More Recipes from The Birch Cottage
If you liked this Garlic Parmesan Sourdough Bread Recipe, you might also like these recipes from The Birch Cottage:
- Stand Mixer Buttermilk Biscuits
- Parker House Rolls with Sea Salt
- English Muffin Bread for the Bread Machine
I hope you enjoy this Garlic Parmesan Sourdough Bread Recipe as much as my family has enjoyed it. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.