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(17 ratings)

Takes 1 hr, plus 8 days for starter

More effort

Makes 1 loaf
Baking a loaf of this dense, chewy bread requires making a fermented 'starter' from flour, but it's worth the effort

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal245
  • fat1.1g
  • saturates0.2g
  • carbs47.9g
  • sugars1.4g
  • fibre1.6g
  • protein8g
  • salt0.4g
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    For the starter

    • 700g strong white flour

    For the loaf

    • 500g strong white flour
    • 1 tsp fine salt
    • 1 tbsp honey



      Honey is made by bees from the nectar they collect from flowers. Viscous and fragrant, it's…

    • 300g sourdough starter


    1. First make your starter. In a large jar (a 1litre kilner jar is good) or plastic container, mix 100g of the flour with 125ml slightly warm water. Whisk the batter until smooth and lump free, whisking will help incorporate some airborne yeast particles to get your starter going. Leave the jar or container lid ajar for an hour or so in a warm place (around 25C is ideal), then seal and set aside for 24 hrs.

    2. For the next 6 days you will need to ‘feed’ the starter each day. To do this, tip away half the original starter and add an extra 100g of flour and 125ml slightly warm water, whisking well each time, try to do this at roughly the same time everyday. After 3-4 days you should start to see bubbles appearing on the surface, and it will smell yeasty and a little acidic. This is a good indication that the starter is working. The time it takes for fermentation to begin can vary between 1 to 5 days depending on temperature and environment, persevere for up to 6 days, if you still don’t see any signs of life, or the starter smells unpleasant, throw it away and start again. On the 8th day the starter should be quite bubbly and smell much sweeter. It is now ready to bake with.

    3. Now you can make your first loaf. Tip the flour, 225ml warm water, salt, honey and sourdough starter into a large bowl, or a table top mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir with a wooden spoon, or on a slow setting in a machine, until combined, adding a little extra flour if it’s too sticky or a little extra warm water if it’s too dry. Tip onto a work surface and knead for about 10 mins until soft and elastic, if using a mixer, turn the speed up a little and mix for 5 mins. The dough is ready when it bounces back when gently pressed with a finger.

    4. Place the dough in a large, well oiled bowl and cover with an oiled sheet of cling film. Leave in a warm place to rise for 3 hrs. You may not see much movement after this time, but don’t be disheartened, sourdough takes much longer to rise than a conventional yeasted bread.

    5. Line a medium-sized bowl with a clean tea towel and flour it well, if you have a proving basket you can use this. Tip the dough back onto your work surface and knead briefly to knock out any air bubbles. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and dust it with flour. Place the dough, seam side up, in the bowl or proving basket, cover with a sheet of oiled cling film and leave for 6-8 hrs, until roughly doubled in size.

    6. Place a large baking tray in the oven, set to 230C/210C fan/gas 8, to heat up. Fill a small roasting tin with a little water and place this in the bottom of the oven to create some steam. Remove the large tray from the oven, sprinkle with flour then carefully tip the risen dough onto the tray.You can slash the top a few times with a sharp knife if you like. Bake for 35-40 mins until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 20 mins before serving.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    badger1066's picture
    17th Jun, 2020
    Have made thus recipe twice with great success, will continue to use it family are loving it
    8th May, 2020
    Have done day 3 of the starter, consistency started sticky, but smooth now it’s gone quite runny. It’s quite hot here, wonder if this is affecting it?? I had quite a few small bubbles but these are disappearing fast! Will it recover or should I start again???
    Dave Nunn's picture
    Dave Nunn
    13th May, 2020
    Stir it all in, remove half the mixture and 'feed' flour and water, e.g. if you remove 140g add 70g flour, 70g tepid water and repeat for at least 4 more days. Once starts to ferment put the 50% you take out in a jar to get a second batch on the go
    hungryd's picture
    9th Feb, 2019
    Not sure how sourdough Bread can be described as ‘dense and chewy’? I thought the point of Sourdough bread, apart from the lovely flavour, is it’s light airy texture.
    Harry m
    26th Nov, 2018
    Second time I’ve tried to make sourdough bread first time was a disaster but this one worked and made lovely sourdough bread, I did leave it to prove over night in the fridge probably 9 to 10 hours and a hour to warm up before it went in the oven the trick is to be patient as sourdough takes along time to rise.
    26th Sep, 2018
    First time making a sourdough so was a little skeptical how well it would turn out. Tended my starter for about 7 days before use and was pretty amazed how rapid and effective it was at leavening the dough considering it was just sitting on a countertop to prove. The dough was quite sticky and a bit troublesome to knead however, but this didn't seem to ruin the recipe(just used more flour). The resulting bread has a quintessential sourdough structure and chew, without being overly sour or dense despite what some have reported using the stated quantity of started. All in all, it's a long-winded but nevertheless enjoyable project well worth a go if you're interested in the science and process of bread baking.
    Ian Jackson's picture
    Ian Jackson
    9th Sep, 2018
    I could tell from the knead that this was gonna be awful. No elasticity at all. The bread is overly sour and dense. Avoid.
    27th Jul, 2016
    I live In a tropical wheather...summer with 32-35°C I have to keep my dough In the fridge?... And just when I feed it I leave it out for how many hours?
    25th Jun, 2016
    This recipe was terrible largely because of the amount of starter called for - 300g makes for an overly sour loaf that also does not rise (mine was like a flat pancake)! This was my first time making sourdough and I have since looked at many other recipes which call for half/less than half the quantity of starter...Hopefully I'll be more successful with them.
    Luke M
    21st Feb, 2016
    Haven't used any other recipes so can't compare, but the sourdough loaf I made with this one after tending my starter for 9 days was the best I've ever tasted. Tangy, chewy, good consistency and versatile bread and can't wait to make more. Everyone's will be individual so I can't make any guarantees but that's part of the fun of it. In response to the other comments, yes cook at 210/gas 8, just heat up the tray first so the bottom cooks; the dough can be proven overnight, I did, but just check so if it doesn't spring back to the touch the next morning it may have overproven in which case you can just knock it back by kneading for a couple of minutes and leaving it to prove in its loaf shape until doubled again. Some starters will make it rise surprisingly quickly but just not with the consistency of dried yeast! Lastly, after making the loaf you can refeed the starter and make more whenever/store in the fridge feeding it every week or so for less frequent baking.


    8th Jul, 2015
    In the second step of making the starter it says to "tip away" half of the starter and add flour and water. Exactly what does "tip away"mean?
    luckytwinmummy33's picture
    2nd Aug, 2015
    It means throw it away. This is just in the first few days whilst you get the starter activated. I found lots of video tutorials on YouTube to be really helpful In understanding how to make and feed a starter. Good luck x
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