IMG_20170304_172707_726Sourdough is great tasting, but rather expensive to buy. Its relatively easy to make and doesn’t take up much time, but does need extra time to prove.

It requires the starter recipe, which you can find here and takes about a week to establish, but once going is ready to use any time.

You could try adding extras to the recipe, like garlic or rosemary works really well.

This fills a 2 lb loaf tin, or 500g proving basket.

500g white bread flour (sifted)
10g salt
160g sourdough starter
25g honey
Tsp of olive oil + a little extra
300ml warm water (give or take)
A small amount of rye flour for coating

Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and mix together.

Add the starter, honey and olive oil and slowly add the water and mix together to form a slightly sticky dough.

It needs to be workable, but slightly wetter will make a better loaf. You can add more or less water depending on how your dough feels. I find it varies slightly every time.

Tip out onto your worktop and knead for around 10 minutes. I don’t bother to flour or oil the worktop, I never really found it necessary. If you can get your technique down it is possible to spend only 3 – 4 minutes kneading.

There are various ways to knead your dough I like to stretch it out, then roll it back in and give it a 90 degree turn, before stretching it out again.

Put your dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with a plastic bag to stop it drying out. Place somewhere warm, I usually put it near our wood-burner or in the conservatory on a warm day.

Leave to prove for several hours until the dough has roughly doubled in size. Sourdough takes longer to develop than bread made with shop bought yeast, but benefits from the extra time, as it develops a better flavour.

Tip your dough back out onto your work surface and carefully deflate it by poking it with your fingers. Reshape and coat with rye flour.

IMG_20170318_101553_681Place it in a lightly greased loaf tin for a square sandwich loaf, or into a heavily floured proving basket, if you have one, for a more traditional loaf. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and leave for another hour or more to prove again. If using a tin, it should rise to the top.

Heat your oven to its highest temperature and boil the kettle. If using the proving basket option also place an oven tray in too heat.

Place some water in a baking tray at the bottom of the oven, this will help to create a good crust on your loaf.

If using the proving basket, tip your bread out onto the hot oven tray and get it in the oven and shut the door, as quick as possible, to avoid heat loss. If using a loaf tin, put your loaf tin in the centre of the oven.IMG_20170501_190458_720

Cook for 10 minutes before dropping the temperature to 200 degrees if the crust is looking pale, 180 degrees if the crust is noticeably browning, and 170 if it seems to be browning quickly. Cook for a further 40 mins.

Remove from the oven, the loaf should sound hollow when you tap it on the bottom.

Leave to cool fully before cutting.


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