Sourdough Bread and Sourdough Starter

Now I have been desperate to bake this bread but have always been put off by the long process.  I had a go at making a sourdough starter once and the resulting loaf was awful :-(  So I have been shy to try again.

However after reading Lea Harris’s blog post and receiving a starter based on Andrew Whitley’s method from Tim Keates of GB Food Cycle fame, I couldn’t just leave it in the fridge could I?!  I also made some Apple Marmalade to go with it. another first!

You’ll need

  • 300g production leaven or starter (see below for instructions to make this).
  • 400g strong white or wholemeal flour
  • 300ml lukewarm water
  • 8g salt

To make it

  1. Prepare a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper.
  2. Combine all the ingredients to form a soft dough.
  3. Knead this dough until it’s smooth and elastic – I used my KitchenAid with a dough hook on for approx 10 minutes.
  4. Flatten the dough into a circular shape and then fold the edges into the middle so you have a more defined circle shape.
  5. Turn it over, sprinkle with flour and leave it on a baking tray covered with a tea towel until it has doubled in size.
  6. Bake it for approx 30-40 minutes in a 200C oven.  To get a good crust throw a shot glass full of water into the base of the oven before closing the door to create some steam.

To make the starter or leaven

Andrew Whitley’s instructions for making a sourdough starter from scratch are as follows.

Day 1

  • 30g white flour
  • 7g wholemeal flour
  • 23ml warm water (30oC)

Mix all the ingredients to make a firm dough, cover this loosely with a polythene bag and leave it in a fairly warm place (around 30oC is ideal).

Day 2

  • 60g starter from Day 1
  • 30g white flour
  • 7g wholemeal flour
  • 23ml warm water (30oC)

Refresh the starter from Day 1 by mixing the ingredients well then knead briefly and cover as before and leave for 48hrs.

Day 4

  • 120g starter from Day 2
  • 30g white flour
  • 7g wholemeal flour
  • 23ml warm water (30oC)

Mix all the ingredients together well then knead briefly and cover as before. After one more day, refresh again:

Day 5

  • 180g starter from Day 4
  • 60g white flour
  • 15g wholemeal flour
  • 45ml warm water (30oC)

After 24 hours you should have a leaven which smells nicely acidic. This is your ‘production leaven’.  You should have around 300g.  You need 160g in the recipe above and you can keep the rest in the fridge and refresh it again by bringing it to room temperature and starting from Day 2 above.  That’s what I did and it worked for me!

12 responses to “Sourdough Bread and Sourdough Starter

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  2. Love this, I’ve just tasted a Raisin and Rosemary Sourdough, so I’m looking forward to making a batch now. Its one I haven’t made before. Thank you for sharing! x


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  4. Tracey Todhunter

    Thanks for this – I tried sourdough years ago and failed, I’ll let you know if this works for me:)


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  8. I use Andrew Whitley’s method too, though you’ll get a much better loaf if you follow all his stages: Start with an overnight sponge, build it up into your dough then prove, stretch/fold, then shape & prove, then bake. His book Bread Matters is a fine investment.


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