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Simple and tasty Sourdough

Sourdough bread has got to be the most versatile and delicious of all breads. With a bit of practice it becomes easy to make and as it is made with a live fermented starter rather than yeast, it is a healthier option than standard white loaves - not to mention how tasty it is! Chef has been experimenting with sourdough recipes in a quest to find the easiest, most delicious recipe possible and he is happy to share his results with us! So here is his step by step simple sourdough recipe – simple enough for anyone to try.

Finished bread

The first step is to make a sourdough starter if you don’t already have one. A sourdough starter is a mixture of water and flour that is fermented to make the bacteria and yeast that is used when you start making the bread. This is time consuming, however if you feed it regularly the starter will last for years! When a starter is made you only use a small portion of it at a time and each time you “feed” it you are adding to it again.

Sourdough Starter (a ten day process)

Day 1
Start by mixing 60g organic wheat flour or rye flour and 60g water together in a container or glass jar with a lid. The mixture should resemble a soft dough. Cover and sit at 18°C to 28°C for 24 hours.
Day 2
Add 60g flour and 60g water to the mix, cover and let sit again for 24 hours.
Day 3
Add 60g flour and 60g water to the mix, cover and let sit again for 24 hours.
Day 4
Take half of the starter out and replace with 60g flour and 60g water
Repeat for 2 more days until starter smells fruity, yeasty, and is beautifully fermented.
The starter will need up to 10 days to be ready to be used.
Make sure you store your finished starter in the fridge and feed your starter 8- 12 hours before usage.
The starter that Chef uses in the restaurant has been in use for around 11 years!

     Sourdough Starter 1  Sourdough Starter 2  Sourdough Starter 3

Making the bread (a no-knead overnight method that is cooked in a Dutch Oven)

You will need –
500g Bakers Flour
75g of your starter
360ml Water
10g Salt
Dutch Oven or similar

Before you start baking you will need to prepare the Levain (the levain is sourdough starter that has been activated). Take your starter out of the fridge and feed it following the instructions in the sourdough starter section. After you have fed it by adding the flour & water let it sit for around 6-12 hours or until it has developed a lot of bubbles and smells fruity (the length of time this takes can partly depend on the room temperature and how healthy the starter is). Once you have used what you need in the steps below put the rest of the starter back in the fridge.

Making the Dough

Mix the flour and water only and let stand for 45 minutes (this process is called Autolyse). Doing this starts the activity in the dough and makes it easier to stretch, which is how the bread becomes “airy”.

Combining flour & water       Mixing

After a 45 minute autolyse period add the 75g of the levain (the active starter) and 10g salt, folding through the dough

Adding starter   Adding salt  Mixing

Cover and let stand for 45 minutes


After 45 minutes stretch and fold the dough. Do this 4 times, each time being 45 minutes apart

Stretch and fold Extended Autolyse

Place the dough onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Shape the dough by gently stretching and folding it, creating some tension on the top as you go - shape into a ball and cover the dough so it does not dry out. Rest overnight in the fridge for 12-18 hours.

Shaping 1 Shaping 2 Shaping 3 Shaping 4 Shaping 5 Shaping 6 Shaping 7

The next morning pre-heat your oven to 240°C. Also pre-heat your dutch oven.
Take your dough out of the fridge & turn it out of the bowl - it should retain its round shape. Score a shape into the top of the dough with a blade – this will give you a pronounced pattern on top of the loaf when cooked. Place dough into your heated dutch oven, put the lid on and bake for 25 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake for a further 20 minutes.

Scoring  Scoring 2 20 Mins baking  Finished bread

Once baked take the bread out of the oven and allow to cool a little before eating!

If you tried this recipe and would like to experiment some more, here is a list of recommended books for sourdough and traditional bread recipes –