You need this basil sourdough bread recipe in your life. This basil sourdough bread is perfumed with a savory basil paste made with fresh basil, Italian seasoning, and garlic. Tired of sourdough fails? This recipe is from our beginner friendly sourdough bread recipe that works perfectly each time.
Learn how to transform any basic sourdough bread recipe with this post but we’ll also cover these topics:
- This Recipe Is Perfect For Beginners Because:
- How Can I Tell If My Sourdough Starter Is Ready?
- How To Make Basil Sourdough Bread Recipe
- Adding Flavors To Sourdough: 3 Things To Consider
- What Flavors Can You Add To Sourdough Bread?
- FAQ About Basil Sourdough
- Why Sourdough Is Special
- Is Sourdough Bread Healthier For You?
New to flavored sourdough bread recipes? Have a look at our basic sourdough recipe for a complete guide to baking sourdough and making your own sourdough starter from scratch in 7-10 days with pictures for each day and a troubleshoot guide!
Want to bake sourdough without a dutch over? We’ve tried and tested 9 ways you can bake sourdough without a dutch oven.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission when you click on the links at NO additional cost to you.
Alrighty, how about we kick this post off with a little bit about why you’ll love this recipe.
This Recipe Is Perfect For Beginners Because:
- The dough is the perfect hydration level. It won’t be too wet or difficult to handle and it will still give you crusty , this recipe makes a crusty basil sourdough bread that’s light and soft in the middle.
- You only need one type of flour. Perfect if you only have bread flour or all purpose flour at home.
- One bowl recipe that lets you bake right from your active starter.
- Great way to start making flavored sourdough bread.
- It’s a delicious Italian sourdough bread when served with any bruschetta recipe.
The proofing basket is really nice to have because it makes resting and cleanup very easy. And you won’t find a dutch oven at that price! Dutch ovens usually range between $70-$400. So, here are 9 ways you can bake sourdough at home without a dutch oven.
But before we get into how to make sfresh basil bread, we need to make sure your starter is in tip top shape. So, how do you know when your starter is ready to use?
How Can I Tell If My Sourdough Starter Is Ready?
Not sure if your sourdough starter is ready? The best way to know if your sourdough starter is ready or not is to try the float test for sourdough starter.
The float test is a test to see if the sourdough starter floats or sinks in a water. A starter that floats is ready to use.
Grab a glass of water and drop a bit of sourdough starter in there and see if it sinks or floats. If your sourdough starter floats, it’s ready. If it sinks, then it’s not.
The general consensus is that your sourdough starter is at its peak 2-4 hours after feeding but that depends on how warm it is where you are. We’ve tested our sourdough starter at the 6-8 hour mark and it still floats.
Sourdough starter not floating? This might mean two things:
- The starter isn’t ready: Give the starter a few more hours to get active. This can be anywhere between 1-3 hours. Keep an eye on it!
- It’s past the peak: Your sourdough starter might be sinking because it’s past the peak and isn’t active anymore. You can generally still use a starter that’s past it’s peak because it will feed on the flour in the bread mix but this might give uneven results.
If your sourdough starter is floating, then it’s time to get baking. In the next section, we’ll walk through all the steps necessary to make basil sourdough bread.
How To Make Basil Sourdough Bread Recipe
This basil sourdough bread recipe is based on our basic sourdough bread recipe. This plain bread sourdough loaf is flavored with a basil paste made from fresh basil, Italian seasoning, and garlic.
Begin with forming the dough for the basil sourdough bread by adding 407 grams of bread flour, 225 grams of water, and 50 grams of sourdough starter. Mix everything together until it forms a loose dough.
Cover the dough with a damp tea towel and let it rest for the first proof. We prefer to start this process in the evening and let the dough ferment for about 12 hours and come back to it in the morning.
Make The Basil Paste
After the first rise, you can make the basil paste. Feel free to use a food processor for this part. We used our mortar and pestle because we wanted a finer consistency. Add your fresh basil leaves into a food processor along with the garlic olive oil. Blend everything until it becomes a paste.
Add your favorite Italian seasoning, we used our absolute favorite: Badia complete seasoning. Seriously, get a container of this stuff if you can get your hands on it.
How To Fold In Basil Paste
Flatten your dough and spoon on your basil paste. As you can see, we added a few whole basil leaves but this is optional. Roll the dough into a log and fold the ends over each other to form the shape of a ball. Pinch the ends together to seal everything tightly.
Flour your proofing basket generously -don’t have one? Use a bowl with a tea towel.
Don’t worry about overdoing it with too much flour. Flour stops the basil sourdough bread from sticking to the proofing basket and the excess can be brushed off later. Transfer your basil sourdough bread into the proofing basket. Make sure the seam side is facing up.
Cover the dough and let it rise for another 1-3 hours. At the 2 and a half hour mark, it’s time to preheat your oven and bread pan or dutch oven. The oven temp for sourdough bread baking that’s always worked for us is 220C or 428F.
When it’s hot enough, transfer your dough to a baking sheet and score with any pattern you like. Next, place it in the dutch oven or bread pan and bake the basil sourdough bread with a lid or covered for 25 minutes. Then bake sourdough uncovered for another 20 minutes or until golden brown.
And voila! You have yourself a beautifully crusty basil sourdough bread that’s singing with the flavors of Italian herbs and garlic.
Adding Flavors To Sourdough: 3 Things To Consider
There aren’t many rules to follow for sourdough bread add ins but there are a few things you should keep in mind to avoid any sourdough mishaps:
- Adding moisture: When you’re adding ingredients to flavor your sourdough, you may be adding moisture to your dough. For instance, you won’t have issues if you want to add dried fruits or nuts but adding fresh or frozen fruits, adding sweeteners like honey, will affect the hydration level of your dough.
Before adding an ingredient, consider how wet they are and lower the amount of water added to your dough to balance this out.
- Using powders: If you’re using cacao powder or coffee, we’ve found that it’s better to mix these powders with water before adding it to your dough. This will ensure your flavor will be evenly distributed through the dough.
- Sugar levels: The wild yeast in your sourdough will feed on the excess sugars. Adding sugars or sugary ingredients will speed up the fermentation time.
Generally, when you want to add anything to your sourdough, it’s best to follow the Baker’s percentage. This means adding only 20% of flavor to the amount of flour. For example, if your recipe works with 500 grams of flour, you can add up to 100 grams of flavoring of your choice.
Whether you’re making a batch of basil sourdough bread or any other whacky flavored sourdough loaf, just remember to have fun with it. The more you bake sourdough bread, you’ll get the hang of it. This basil sourdough bread was our third attempt at flavored sourdough.
It’s all about trial and error but most importantly, having fun. Let us know in the comments below if you have any wild flavor combinations you’d like to see us try. Until then, why not whip up a basil sourdough bread loaf for the weekend?
What Flavors Can You Add To Sourdough Bread?
If you’ve mastered a basic sourdough recipe then the world is your oyster! You can make sourdough bread flavor combinations with almost any flavor your heart desires. We came up with this basil sourdough bread for a cheesy brunch party.
You can also make:
- Tomato basil sourdough bread by adding sun dried tomatoes to this recipe.
- Cranberry blueberry sourdough black sesame crust bread
- Black sesame sourdough
- Spelt sunflower seed sourdough
- Chocolate sourdough with chocolate chips
- Orange and poppy seed
You can pair your sourdough bread with sweet or savory options but something important to note is when you add your flavorings and how much of it you add.
Having trouble with your sourdough? Check out the FAQ section.
FAQ About Basil Sourdough
Is Sourdough Bread Unhealthy?
Sourdough bread is actually very healthy because it uses natural yeast which is good for your gut and has whole natural ingredients like good quality flour, water and a sourdough starter which is healthier than regular bread that contains additives.
What Is The Secret To Good Sourdough Bread?
- Make sure you have an active starter.
- Use your starter at its peak.
- Use bread flour or good quality flour.
- Think about your environment: altitude, weather and humidity will affect sourdough.
- Try autolease: mix flour and water first and let it rest for 30 minutes before kneading in the starter.
- Let the dough have a nice long bulk fermentation.
- Let your dough rest for 2-3 hours after shaping.
- Make sure the oven is preheated for an hour.
- All baking surfaces need to be preheated too!
- Cover the bread for a third of the baking time
- Open the oven door at the end to let the steam out and let the crust get crisp
What Makes Sourdough Bread Taste Better?
Using whole grain flours will give your sourdough bread more depth. You can also mix flours together and explore other flours like spelt, rye, or whole wheat. These flours produce more tangy sourdough loaves.
My Sourdough Starter Floats Then Sinks?
Your sourdough starter isn’t ready if it immediately sinks after floating for a few seconds. But it’s okay if your starter sinks after 5-10 minutes after the float test.
How Long Should Starter Float For In The “Float Test” Sourdough?
The float test is a good way to see how active your sourdough starter is and to test sourdough starter. The starter should float for a few minutes. It shouldn’t sink immediately or seconds after it floats.
Why Sourdough Is Special
Did you know we’ve been eating sourdough bread for over 5000+ years? It’s been around since 3000 BC. Sourdough bread is technically made out of three components: the sourdough starter that’s made from fermenting flour and water, and more flour and water. So really, only 2 ingredients.
Sourdough bread is leavened naturally with the help of a sourdough starter. The fermented flour and water mix cultivates bacteria and wild yeast. This helps sourdough bread rise and gives it that signature sour tang.
What’s really cool about sourdough bread is that you can flavor it with anything you like. In this case, we’ve used our favorite basic sourdough recipe to make a savory basil sourdough bread.
If making a basil sourdough bread sounds too daunting, click here to start your sourdough baking journey with our beginner sourdough recipe. It’s basically a bread recipe sourdough starter guide that will explain everything from different rising methods and how to make a sourdough starter from scratch.
Sourdough magic doesn’t just stop there! In the next section, we’ll discuss the 6 benefits of sourdough bread.
Is Sourdough Bread Healthier For You?
If making 5000 year old bread with 3 ingredients doesn’t have you excited to eat sourdough bread, maybe these 6 benefits will:
1. Good For Your Gut
Some studies have shown that sourdough bread actually acts as a prebiotic -which is great for your gut. The fiber in sourdough bread supports the good bacteria in your gut. These good bacterias are detrimental to having a strong and healthy digestive system.
2. Easier to Digest
When sourdough is made the traditional way -a lengthy fermentation process- it’s easier to digest compared to regular bread that’s made with commercial yeast. The slow process of fermentation increases the bread’s mineral and vitamin content.
This fermentation process also breaks down the protein in the bread, meaning that there’s actually less gluten in sourdough bread. Less gluten and more vitamins equals easier to digest!
3. It’s More Nutritious Than Regular Bread
Like we covered in point 2, the fermentation process that sourdough bread goes through provides a lot of benefits. That process not only increases the vitamin and mineral content in sourdough bread but it also bulks up the fiber.
Psychotic acid is a natural compound found in bread. The fermentation process breaks down this natural compound and makes it possible for us to absorb the grains nutrients and minerals.
4. Uses Natural Ingredients
You can’t get any more natural than whole flour, wild yeast, and water. These 3 ingredients are all it takes to make sourdough bread and they’re in their purest forms.
5. Has Less Preservatives
Sourdough bread is the oldest leavened bread in the history of humankind. Most of the bread we eat today has a lot of preservatives so it has a long shelf life. Sourdough bread on the other hand naturally prevents mold from growing with acetic acid. It’s bread with its own natural preservatives.
6. No Commercial Yeast
Making bread sourdough starter means that you won’t be needing commercial yeast. Commercial yeast isn’t always a bad thing but it is healthier to avoid it. There’s always the risk of having a yeast infection from commercial yeast but the healthy wild yeast and bacteria cultivated in a sourdough starter present more benefits to your gut.
After those sourdough benefits, we’re itching to make a loaf of sourdough bread.
Wanna make sourdough bread but don’t have a dutch oven? Try using one of the 9 ways to make sourdough without dutch oven guide!
Italian Basil Sourdough Bread
Paired with Italian herbs and garlic oil, this delicious crusty basil sourdough bread is perfect on its own or paired with cheese.
- 407 grams flour (we used T65 french flour)
- 225 grams cold water
- 8 grams salt
- 50 grams sourdough starter
- 50 grams fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon garlic infused olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Add the flour, water, and sourdough starter into a bowl and mix everything together until it forms a dough.
Leave this dough to rest for at least 12 hours at room temperature.
After 12 hours, you can shape the dough into a loaf. Ideally, you want to fold the dough into itself to create a round shape.
Heavily dust your proofing basket or a bowl lined with cloth. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the proofing basket or cloth. Don't worry about using too much flour, it can always be brushed off later.
Add the basil, Italian seasoning and olive oil to a food processor and blitz.
Flatten the dough into a rectangular shape and add the basil paste to the dough.
Roll the dough up and pinch the corners tightly.
Shape the dough into a round ball and transfer the sourdough loaf into a proofing basket. Let the dough rest for 2-3 hours and cover with a damp cloth.
Preheat your oven to 220c or 428f with your dutch oven or bread pan inside for 30-40 minutes.
Transfer your sourdough loaf onto a piece of baking paper.
Before placing the sourdough loaf into the pan, score the surface with a sharp blade.
When the bread pan is hot enough, lift the baking paper and place the sourdough in the dutch oven or bread pan and bake with the lid on for 25 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes or until a deep shade of brown.
Allow to cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!