Ikarian-Style Sourdough Bread



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Making homemade bread is actually not as complicated as it seems, and the ingredients are simple. You’ll likely find all these ingredients in your cupboard at home, unless you’ve never used yeast before. You will find yeast at every grocery store, perhaps even smaller scale stores too. You’ll just need to allow for a few hours to let the bread dough to rise—something you could easily do the night before making the bread or while you are taking care of other household tasks.

Ikarian-style sourdough bread pairs well with many of our Blue Zones® soups including Broccoli and Cashew Cream Soup, and Sardinia Minestrone.

This recipe appeared on the  Dr. OZ episode, “Cooking Lessons for Longevity.”





  • 1 (6/25 oz) package dry live-culture yeast-free sourdough starter for wheat flour (like Desem)
  • 6-8 cups bread flour (or equal parts semolina flour and bread flour)
  • 3 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • Water


  1. Make the starter based on the instructions given in or on the packet. In general, you’ll mix a small amount of nonchlorinated water (such as bottled spring water) with the starter, then feed it small amounts of flour over the course of several days until it’s bubbling with a distinctly fermented aroma.
  2. Place 2 cups of prepared starter in a large bowl and stir in 2 cups of lukewarm nonchlorinated water.
  3. Stir in 4 cups bread flour until a soft dough forms, adding more flour in 1-cup increments until the dough can be gathered into a coherent, not sticky, ball. (Place the excess starter in a separate bowl and continue to feed with nonchlorinated water and small amounts of flour every few days as directed by the package to preserve for another baking.)
  4. Lightly flour a clean, dry work surface. Set the ball of dough on it and knead until elastic and very smooth, about 20 minutes, adding more flour in 1-tablespoon increments if the dough seems sticky.
  5. Gather back into a ball, place in a large bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, between 6 and 12 hours. (Do not stint on the time.)
  6. Plunge your clean fist into the dough to deflate it. Turn out onto a dry, clean, lightly floured work surface and knead lightly for 1 minute. Shape into a free-form round or oval loaf about 10 inches in diameter or at the oval’s longest point.
  7. Lightly grease a large lipped baking sheet and transfer the loaf to it. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 4 to 8 hours. Meanwhile, position the rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
  8. Bake until browned and hollow sounding when tapped, about 1 hour.
  9. Transfer to a wire baking rack and cool for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours before slicing to serve.

Tip: For an easier preparation, knead the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook at low speed in step 3.
Tip: A second rising yields an exceptionally sour bread. However, you can skip this step. If so, knead the bread as directed in step 3, skip the first rising and all of step 4, then form the dough into the desired shape, letting it rise one time only as directed in step 5.

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