Easy sourdough

Easy sourdough bread

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(32 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 25 mins - 30 mins plus overnight fermenting and rising

More effort

Makes 1 loaf (cuts into 10-12 slices)

Don't be daunted by making a sourdough bread starter at home - this easy cheat's version makes a lovely loaf without the stress

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per slice (12)

  • kcal172
  • fat1g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs33g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre3g
  • protein6g
  • salt1.3g


    For the starter

    • 100g strong white bread flour
    • 100g organic dark rye flour
    • ½ x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast

    For the main dough

    • 400g strong white bread flour
    • ½ x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast


    1. To make your starter, place all the ingredients in a bowl and add 250ml cold water. Mix together thoroughly with a spoon until you have a spongy mixture, then cover with cling film and leave at room temperature at least overnight, but up to 24 hrs if you have time.

    2. To make the bread dough, tip the ingredients into a clean bowl and add 1 tbsp fine salt, 200ml cold water and your starter. Bring all the ingredients together to a dough, adding a splash more water if too stiff, then tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 10 mins until smooth, elastic and springy (this will take 5-7 mins in a mixer with a dough hook). Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave until doubled in size – about 1 hr at room temperature, 3 hrs in the fridge (see tips, below).

    3. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and gently shape into a round – you don’t want to knock too much air out of the dough. Dust a piece of baking parchment heavily with flour and sit the dough on top. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 1 hr until doubled in size.

    4. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Place a sturdy flat baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven and a smaller tray with sides underneath. Dust the dough with flour and slash with a utility knife. Slide the bread onto the hot tray on top and throw a few ice cubes (or pour some cold water) onto the tray below – this creates a burst of steam, which helps the bread form a nice crust. Bake for 25-30 mins until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Leave the bread to cool completely.

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    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    20th Aug, 2015
    On the one hand it is a bit of a cheat to call this sourdough as it is using commercial yeast rather than the natural yeasts that you get in sourdough...but that is being a bit of a purist. The overnight or 24 hour sponge will allow the flavour of the bread to develop that typical sour tang that you get with sourdough, as the starter ferments over the longer period that normally do using commercial yeasts. Worth a try bit I think I'll stick with my sourdough starter, took long enough to get it going and now that I have I can guarantee excellent results every time.
    10th Sep, 2016
    Think that's why it's called "Cheat's Sourdough"! I left my starter for 24hrs and it worked really well. Don't think I'd have the patience to look after a natural yeast starter. I live in Hackney, where there's fantastic artisan Sourdough bread on every corner. Love it but making this recipe is a great and cheaper alternative and not too tricky.
    katenich08's picture
    13th May, 2015
    Didn't realise just how much of a cheat this recipe is, but makes a nice impressive loaf. Great taste and made fantastic toast. Will definitely make it again and rise the dough in the fridge to see if it makes it more like a proper sourdough.
    pajbse's picture
    25th Apr, 2015
    No this isn't sourdough. This is just a usual bread recipe with a bit of rye flour in the starter. Using a 24 hour starter improves the crumb. I wouldn't bother with extra yeast on the second day. My bread works fine with the yeast that has developed over night. Incidentally the recipe here forgets to tell you to add the second day ingredients into the bowl of starter. After making the starter this recipe then doesn't mention it again!
    20th Oct, 2016
    Read the recipe again. In point 2 it says add ingredients to bowl and your starter!
    jim b
    22nd Apr, 2015
    if this is made with yeast- what makes it a "sourdough" recipe?
    6th May, 2016
    Sourdough contains yeast, it's just not standard baking yeast. What makes this "sourdough" is that a starter is allowed to ferment - that's what produces the sour flavour.
    22nd Apr, 2015
    My husband made this at the weekend- delicious! No big air holes like most sourdough but really tasty, tangy bread. Didn't last a day! Have left a starter in the fridge for more. Would recommend.


    goodfoodteam's picture
    9th Jan, 2017
    Thanks for your feedback. We've called this recipe a 'cheat's sourdough' because you don't need to feed the starter. Simply follow the recipe as is. It works! :-)
    15th Aug, 2016
    How do you use the pre-fermented base that you keep in the fridge?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    9th Jan, 2017
    Thanks for your question. In step one you're creating the fermented base which you keep at room temperature. You then add this in step 2 where it says to add the starter. Hope that's clearer now.
    21st Aug, 2015
    The recipe states 1 tbsp (tablespoon) of salt. That seems a lot for this size loaf, is that correct?
    2nd May, 2015
    When it says to slide the loaf onto the hot tray do you slide it on with or without the baking parchment?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    12th May, 2015
    Hi thanks for your question. Slide it on without the baking parchment. Hope this helps. Let us know how it turns out if you decide to make it. 
    6th Dec, 2017
    I've been baking this bread this bread since I first saw the recipe and it works a treat! I slide it on the the hot baking tray with the baking parchment (the non-stick variety) so there is no risk of it sticking. Makes the hot loaf easy to handle too!


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