Multipurpose Sourdough Virtual Workshop

PAST WORKSHOPThursday, July 30 – 4PM-5:30PM 

Workshop instructors:

Ellie Markovitch of #storycooking & Amy Halloran , author of The New Bread Basket .

Today, we invite you to welcome sourdough into your daily routine, and rethink perfect. This class will help you have fun exploring your creativity in the kitchen.

The workshop will be presented as a demonstration, with Ellie walking you through developing the sourdough for use, preparing the dough and then demonstrating various uses for that same dough. Through out this workshop you are welcome to bake along if you have prepared a active starter, but Ellie will be demonstrating numerous uses for the multipurpose dough. Feel free to sit back, relax and enjoy learning more about sourdough or create something along the way. If you have questions we ask that you write them in the “chat” section of Zoom. Amy or Ellie will answer the questions with the flow of the workshop. 

From Ellie:

My everyday cooking is mostly improvisation. To facilitate this, I keep a stocked pantry, full of ingredients for “the base” and the “toppings.” Bases are my grains and dough. For my toppings, I use vegetables, fruits, protein, spices, herbs, etc. A dough is like a canvas, and it took a while for me to find and embrace this approach to baking.

I started calling this dough my Multipurpose Sourdough as I played with it and adjusted and tried to make different things. For several years now, this recipe is one that fits our lives. This is sourdough bread you can make in one day. Mix, let it rise, shape, rise and bake. I mix either first thing in the morning or before going to bed. It ferments in 6-8 hrs on the counter. 

You can mix the dough in the morning, let it ferment all day and decide later how you will bake it or cook. The rising/resting time depends on the weather, to bulk ferment. You can also mix this dough before going to bed and wake up to dough ready to shape or make in the morning and come home to dinner plans. Using the refrigerator at different points allows this dough to slide into irregularities in your schedule.

Multipurpose sourdough can bake without any special pan, just a baking sheet and an oven or a pan on our stove. It is a dough you can use for a simple loaf, pita, flat bread, pizza, english muffins, steam buns, and so on. If you do not have a sourdough starter, you can use a bit of yeast instead.


Ellie’s Multipurpose Sourdough 

225g 1 cup starter (fed and bubbly 1:1:1 or 100%hydration: equal parts of flour and water) or ¼ tsp yeast

225g 1cup liquid (add an egg to enrich a sandwich loaf!) 

450g 3 – 3 1/2 cups flour. (If you are using all whole grains, some flours are thirsty so add a few extra splashes of liquid. If you are using yeast and omitting the sourdough starter, reduce the flour to about 3 cups)

15g 1 1/2 tsp salt

15g 1-2 tbsp honey or sugar (optional)

33g 3 tbsp of oil 


1) Mix all ingredients until the liquid and flour is well incorporated. No need to knead, but you can for 2-3 minutes to help develop the gluten if you would like.

2) Make a ball, cover and let it rise ¾.  I keep mine in a container with a rubber band so I can see how much it raised. I don’t let it double. It uses quite a bit of starter so this can go faster during the warm months. 


After the first rise, you can decide how to shape and what to make:


For PITA, roll out rounds, let it rest for 30 minutes and bake in a 500F oven 2-3 minutes or very hot griddle.

For TORTILLAS, roll out circles and cook them in the griddle or grill

For a LOAF, shape and place in a loaf pan, let it rise and bake 450F for 30 minutes

For PIZZA roll out, let it rest for 30 minutes,  parbake 450F for 10 minutes, add toppings, bake another 10 minutes

For a BOULE , shape into a ball, let it rise in a bowl lined with a dish towel sprinkled with flour (I often use cornmeal or seeds), let it rise again on the counter or the fridge by  3/4. Then bake in a preheat dutch oven 450F for oven for 25 minutes with the lid on and another 20-25 with the lid off or until internal temperature reads 190-200F


*** You can change the sugar and fat. You can use milk and butter depending how rich of a dough you would like. You can use eggs as part of the liquid or just add one egg for extra soft loaf.

***  Increase the liquid when using all whole grains. If you are using local new flours, play and adjust. If the dough is tearing, give a few extra splashes of water. 

*** If you are using ¼ tsp of yeast, cut 1/2 cup of flour. Using less yeast,  you can have a slower rise like we do with sourdough. This is a nice way to fit fresh baked bread in our lives. 

*** If the dough is overproof, and collapses, we often make tortillas by adding flour to the counter and rolling the dough out. 

*** During the warm months, consider a cool place in the house if you are not going to be around. It can wait for you in the fridge, just take it out when you get home.

*** Another possibility is to mix before going to bed and put in the fridge so you can even hold off the first rise if you don’t usually have time to mix bread in the morning.