Whether you're a beginner or seasoned sourdough baker, there are certain sourdough ingredients you should always have on hand to make sure you're prepared for any sourdough situation.
Here are 10 sourdough ingredients you should always have in your pantry.
Good Quality Bread Flour
Good quality bread flour is an absolute given, right?
But did you know that not all bread flours are created equal.
Depending on where you live, bread flour may also be known as high protein flour or baker's flour.
Ideally, you want to use a bread flour with at least 12% protein.
This will ensure you get good gluten development and a nice elastic dough. This bread flour has 13% protein.
Once you find a bread flour you enjoy working with and produces delicious sourdough bread, you can branch out and test out some blends of flour like rye or whole wheat flours, or even flavor additions like fruit, nuts and chocolate.
All Purpose Flour
Generally All Purpose flour doesn't have enough protein to make good sourdough bread, but it's absolutely fine for feeding your starter.
Given you feed your starter a lot while it's developing, you don't want to be feeding anything too expensive. It's a great idea to have a few bags of All Purpose on hand, so you've always got food to feed your bubbly friend!
Rye flour is very handy to have in your sourdough pantry.
It can be used to give your sourdough starter a boost, particularly if you're having trouble getting it to rise in those early days.
Many sourdough bakers also aspire to bake rye bread, whether a true rye bread or a blended sourdough loaf.
When baking with rye bread, it can also be handy to have some Vital Wheat Gluten on hand as rye flour doesn't develop gluten well - and a good gluten network is essential for great oven spring!
Rice flour is an absolute must for a sourdough baker.
Rice flour is gluten free and thus will not stick to your dough. It is like teflon!
So it's perfect to use on your counter when shaping and to dust your banneton with.
You can make your own by grinding white or brown rice in a high powered blender or food processor.
However, it's cheap and easy to buy and the shop bough flour is ground super fine, making it much easier to use.
If you've ever had dough stuck to the inside of your banneton, get yourself some of this and you'll never have an issue again.
Vital Wheat Gluten
Vital Wheat Gluten is not often talked about in sourdough - but it should be!
This handy sourdough ingredient should be in your pantry. It can help in many ways.
If you've run out of bread flour, you can add Vital Wheat Gluten to your All Purpose Flour to increase its protein content.
It's also really handy when working with wholegrain or rye flours.
You can read more about Vital Wheat Gluten and how to use it here.
Rolled Oats are a great sourdough pantry staple.
They are perfect for making delicious Honey & Oat Sourdough Bread. You can throw a handful into any loaf to give it texture. They are also a great topping for a loaf too. I love adding some rolled oats to our sourdough pancakes too for some extra goodness!
You can also use rolled oats in the base of your Dutch Oven to stop the base of your bread from burning. Throw a handful on the base underneath your parchment paper.
Just make sure you get old fashioned Rolled Oats like these - and not quick oats which use for microwave porridge.
Cornmeal may seem like strange ingredient to have on hand for baking sourdough bread, however it can be very useful for the sourdough home baker. Cornmeal is a course maize flour and can be used to dust English Muffins, making delicious sourdough tortillas and even dusting pizza bases to stop them sticking.
Cornmeal can also be used in the base of your Dutch Oven to stop the base of your bread from burning.
Good Quality Olive Oil
Good quality olive oil is a great staple to have on hand. It can add a lovely subtle flavor to your sourdough bread, as well as being a solution for a tough, chewy crust. Adding some olive oil to your sourdough bread at autolyse can help to soften the crust.
And of course, you haven't lived until you've eaten freshly baked sourdough bread dipped in garlic olive oil - perfection!
Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds
A selection of good quality, organic seeds like pumpkin and sunflower are great to have as part of your sourdough pantry. They can make any loaf look even better and are perfect to top this Easy Pumpkin Sourdough Bread. A combination of pumpkin and sunflower seeds are also super tasty in this Multigrain Sourdough.
Remember when you're using seeds to top a loaf of sourdough, place the seeds on the base of your floured banneton and then place your dough on top. When you flip the dough out onto your parchment paper, the seeds will be stuck to the top. Too easy!
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour or wholemeal flour, depending on where you are from, is a nice addition to basic sourdough bread. Unlike plain or all purpose flour, whole wheat flour is made by grinding all parts of the wheat (the endosperm, germ and the bran). This makes it different from "white" flour and means that it absorbs more water too - something you need to account for in sourdough baking.
You can use it as a blend with high protein bread flour. Baking with all whole wheat flour can sometimes be tricky as you will need to adjust the water to flour ratio.
If you're looking for my top tips for creating the best sourdough oven spring, head here.
Looking for the top 10 products to make sourdough baking easier? Check these out!