Memaw Dillard’s Sourdough Bread


Recently, I was standing in the kitchen cooking one of my Memaw’s signature dishes. As I pulled it out of the oven, I was hit with such a familiar smell that I started to tear up. With one grandmother laid to rest and the other past the point where she can cook for herself (let alone anyone else), I had forgotten how many memories smells can have attached to them.

On Thanksgiving each year, I could expect a house filled with the smell of dressing, green beans, various casserole dishes, and my very favorite thing–sourdough bread. Both of my grandmothers made sourdough bread that was melt-in-your-mouth, out-of-this-world good. Only one of them passed on her secret. And, with this recipe, it is my hope that new memories are built around tables filled with family and friends.

Sourdough Starter


  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 2.5 Cups warm water

1. In a large, non-metallic bowl, mix together dry yeast, sugar, water, and all purpose flour and cover loosely.

2. Leave in a warm place to ferment, 4-8 days. Depending on temperature and humidity of kitchen, times may vary.

3. When mixture is bubbly and has a pleasant sour smell, it is ready to use. Keep it in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to bake.

* After use, replace the starter with equal amounts of a flour and water mixture and a pinch of sugar. Mix well and leave out on the counter until it is bubbly again.

*To feed, add 3/4 cup sugar, 3tbs instant potato flakes, 1 cup warm water, and mix well. Add to starter. Let stand for 8-12 hours, or until bubbly. Feed every 3rd-4th day.


Sourdough Bread


  • 1/8 to 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup canola oil
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 Cup starter
  • 1.5 Cup warm water
  • 6 Cups bread flour

1. Mix ingredients above in a large bowl.

2. Grease palms of hands, and knead the dough a little. Grease palms again and rub a little oil on top of the dough, flip, and rub with oil again. Cover bowl lightly with foil or a towel, and let set in a warm place for 8-12 hours (until dough has doubled in size).

3. With greased palms, punch dough down and knead. Divide into two – three greased loaf pans (depending on size). Cover lightly with foil or towel and set in a warm place for 8-12 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 325. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

5. Brush butter on top of the bread while hot. For added flavor, add onion flakes to the top and return to the oven for 5 minutes.


Rachel loves a good fairytale, so it’s no surprise that, after moving to Fort Worth from Washington, D.C., she kissed a frog and fell in love. She is the mother of two perfect children—Lillian, an adventurous toddler, and Lucas, a handsome cuddle-bug who is speeding through infant-hood too fast. She loves pearls, books, coffee, talking about books over coffee, writing, listening to others’ life stories, and spending time with her family. When she is not busy practicing law or changing diapers, you will find her exploring the amazing culinary and cultural delights that Fort Worth has to offer or blogging at Honeycomb and Pearls.


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