Sourdough Loaf Revisited

24 Feb

I’ve recently been experimenting with other types of bread, but the staple at home is my sourdough loaf, which I bake about every third day. It’s a large loaf, but hey, we eat a lot bread.

A few people were asking about it, some wondered if it was a bit of a palaver to make it. At first, I agree, it seemed all a bit complex, but you get yourself into a little routine, you plan ahead and it really isn’t all that much work if you find your rhythm.

Here’s a little step by step to how I make my bread….hope it helps any of you who are planning to take the first steps in sourdough baking. This particular loaf was left to rise too long and fell “splat” onto the baking tin – it still turned out fine, it’s so forgiving!  For a starter, head over to Sawsan’s blog

I feed my starter (kept in the kitchen in a cool spot)  each time I make my bread, so approx. every 3 days. If it’s any longer between bakes I’ll just feed it anyhow – ¼ cup of flour and ¼ cup of water to replace the half cup of starter I remove. Apologies for the photos but it was dark at most stages of making the bread….real life cooking!

So, the night before I want to bake my bread I put half a cup of starter into a bowl with 250g of strong flour and 300ml of water. This is what it (the sponge)  looks like a minute or two after mixing it up with a fork. Don’t forget to feed your starter to replace what you have removed.


This is my sponge 15 minutes later.


About 9 hours later, next morning, my sponge looks like this.


Then I add a further 300g of strong flour, a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil (optional) and start to knead in my mixer with a dough hook. It looks lumpy and heavy at first.


After 10 minutes on slow speed it looks glossy and comes away from the sides of the bowl and is ready.


I tip it onto a lightly floured surface then sprinkle a little flour on top, it’s a wet dough but don’t worry, it comes together easily.


Shape it into a round and place it into an oiled bowl then cover with cling film.


Leave until doubled in size (or come back from work about 9 hours later to find this…don’t worry).


Turn it out of the bowl onto a floured surface, flour the top gently and shape into a long sausage if you are using a floured banneton or put it into a bowl lined with greaseproof paper and cover with a tea towel.


After an hour it will have almost doubled again in size.


Flip out onto a hot baking tray (pop the tray into your oven as it heats up) or if you don’t have a banneton put your dough and greaseproof paper directly onto the baking tray or into a heated oven dish.


Bake for about 40 minutes until golden brown at 180 degrees (fan) or 200 degrees regular oven.


Cool on a rack before slicing.

Yes, you have to wait almost 24 hours for your loaf from starting the process, but good things, in this case, really are worth waiting for!


83 Responses to “Sourdough Loaf Revisited”

  1. Food,Photography & France February 24, 2014 at 09:19 #

    I’m so impressed with the final shot of that bread. I love sourdough. I have to say that I’ve never got into bread making…I should, but I still don’t think I will. The one thing that makes me think I may change my mind is the thought of smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the house. Respect.

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 15:30 #

      Thanks so much Roger. In Spain I bake less as we have Bread Man and his bread is so good and cheap and it costs me a fortune to bake as gas and electric are very expensive there. In the K we’re not so keen on supermarket bread so the solution was to make our own. I’ve now got into a rhythm making it and it is part of a little routine!

  2. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial February 24, 2014 at 10:21 #

    Beautiful, beautiful loaf! Our bread is similar (my starter looks just like yours), but I’m lazy and barely knead at all anymore! Love how your dough looked coming out of the banneton! xx

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 15:31 #

      To be honest, I let the machine do all the work, but I have just mixed it up and left it too and it seems to work pretty much as well. My banneton is well seasoned (floury!) now and works really well.

  3. Marianne February 24, 2014 at 11:15 #

    Mmmm … I can smell the bread from here 🙂 I bet it tastes wonderful slathered with butter!

  4. gardenfreshtomatoes February 24, 2014 at 11:39 #

    Awesome bread, Tanya! It’s nearly time to start baking it here again…Winter Farmers’ Market is ending, and taking away the easy access to someone else’s good bread…Maybe we’ll try sourdough this year… 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 15:32 #

      I can’t recommend it enough – the first week or so you find yourself checking the recipe and finding the perfect tray and oven temperature, but once you’ve cracked it, it just becomes a pleasurable habit to make!

  5. Soup Guru February 24, 2014 at 11:44 #

    Beautiful, I can almost smell it through the screen! I’m lazy and use a bread machine to make mine… Knead is not my thing, but I do hate supermarket bought bread, so maybe one day I’ll try it!

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 15:33 #

      I have a bread machine in Spain but the mixer with the dough hook here makes a good job of kneading, so it’s easy work!

  6. Mad Dog February 24, 2014 at 12:40 #

    You’ve got great bubbles in the bread – it looks excellent, better than some of the expensive ones in the farmers’ markets 😉

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 15:34 #

      Ah thanks MD – they sell sourdough here only on Saturday at a local bakers and charge about £2.40 for a loaf half the size of mine – which costs me about 50p to make….I think that’s what gave me the final nudge to get into the routine of making it!

      • Mad Dog February 24, 2014 at 16:41 #

        They cost between £4 and £5 in London.

      • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 16:46 #

        Eek – will have to load up my little wheelbarrow and trundle my way to Borough Market with loaves of bread 😉

      • Mad Dog February 24, 2014 at 16:53 #

        You’ll get £6 there 😉

  7. Karen February 24, 2014 at 12:49 #

    Nice looking loaf of bread. Sour dough is one of my favorite breads…I like its chewy taste and texture.

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 15:35 #

      Oh us too – I like to know I’ve eaten a slice of bread and not a puff of air!

  8. bitsandbreadcrumbs February 24, 2014 at 16:30 #

    Someday I’m going to bake my own loaf of bread. It’s one of those things that intimidates me, but that I really want to try. The smell of bread baking alone is worth it, but the taste of a loaf like yours would be even better! 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 19:39 #

      It’s really not that scary – just flour and water and a little yeast…what’s the worst that can go wrong…a flat loaf?! Go on….you’ll be so proud of yourself and it will be delicious 🙂

      • bitsandbreadcrumbs February 24, 2014 at 21:42 #

        I know you’re right! I think part of it is that my oven is so wonky. But even there I have no excuse. People have been making bread with uneven temperatures for centuries. 🙂

      • Chica Andaluza February 25, 2014 at 10:34 #

        Yes, but when you’re starting with bread baking, it helps if everything works smoothly and in your favour!

  9. PendleStitches February 24, 2014 at 17:32 #

    Nothing beats home made bread. Especially if it’s spread with homemade butter. 😀

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 19:38 #

      Oh yes, I think you’ve made butter haven’t you? I need to give it a go and get shaking!

      • PendleStitches February 24, 2014 at 21:26 #

        No shaking…use the whisk on your mixer! Takes minutes.

      • Chica Andaluza February 25, 2014 at 10:34 #

        Great idea and I remember why it didn’t work for me in the past – couldn’t get decent fresh full fat milk in Spain. I need to try it again!

      • PendleStitches February 25, 2014 at 15:45 #

        That would put a spanner in the works…but no problem now. Give it a try….just keep an eye out when it starts pulling together. it’ll go into a ball very quickly and if you’re not on it you’ll be wearing the buttermilk, as will your kitchen.

      • Chica Andaluza February 25, 2014 at 16:35 #

        Brilliant advice – made me laugh too!

      • PendleStitches February 25, 2014 at 17:44 #

        It is the voice of experience…. ;-D

  10. narf77 February 24, 2014 at 18:20 #

    You make it look so easy! I am really going to have to get busy with sourdough this winter. I guess the worst I can do is make vinegar bricks…I need a new chook shed… 😉

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 19:26 #

      I am sure they will not turn out like bricks. Stil haven’t had tme to dry any starter out for you but I will!

      • narf77 February 24, 2014 at 19:29 #

        Still WAY too hot here and dry to bother with phaffing around making bread…will sapping… send hope!

      • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 19:33 #

        I know what you mean, in summer in Spain I never turn the oven on!

      • narf77 February 24, 2014 at 19:41 #

        We are using the covered bbq but it leaves a lot to be desired when temperature control is important. Burned some chocolate zucchini brownies the other day and am going to have to convert to Catholicism as now I have Catholic guilt!

      • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 19:43 #


      • narf77 February 24, 2014 at 19:48 #

        Yeah…but you would be AMAZED what cutting the bottom off and slathering it liberally with chocolate icing will do for a Catholic guilt inducing failure 😉

      • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 19:50 #

        Now that sounds GOOD!

      • narf77 February 24, 2014 at 19:56 #

        Take a frown and turn it upside down…my kind of life lesson 🙂

  11. narf77 February 24, 2014 at 18:22 #

    Could you please send me a mail with where to send these kefir grains to (if you still want them that is 🙂 )?

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 19:26 #

      Ooh yes please, will do!

      • narf77 February 24, 2014 at 19:28 #

        Cheers ma’am, sending off grains to New Zealand ASAP and will be easy to send them off to Spain/U.K. at the same time 🙂 I will send you an emailed PDF for what to do when you get them and how to use them. They will grow so you will have some to share with other people if they are interested (or just dry them out like I did in the fridge in case you need some 🙂 )

      • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 19:33 #


      • narf77 February 24, 2014 at 19:40 #

        Today even so get that email sent stat! 😉

      • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 19:43 #

        Done 🙂

      • narf77 February 24, 2014 at 19:47 #

        Consider them sent 🙂 PDF to follow

      • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 19:50 #

        Muchisimas gracias!

      • narf77 February 24, 2014 at 19:55 #


  12. Peri's Spice Ladle February 24, 2014 at 19:11 #

    Can’t believe how simple the bread loaf looks thanks to your pics and instructions:) You’ve made a home-bread-baker out of me!

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2014 at 19:27 #

      I really enjoy baking bread now and do it without thinking (almost)!

  13. Amanda February 24, 2014 at 20:05 #

    Wow this is so impressive. I feel like bread can really go either way so I’ve never attempted it, but sourdough is by far my fave. I may just have to attempt it.

    • Chica Andaluza February 25, 2014 at 10:31 #

      Do hope you give it a go and let us know how it goes!

  14. Food and Forage Hebrides February 24, 2014 at 21:10 #

    Beautiful loaf, I’ve been meaning to get round to buying one of those oblong proving baskets. I have had mixed success with sourdough starters, I may try the one you suggest next. Thanks.

    • Chica Andaluza February 25, 2014 at 10:33 #

      The local farmer’s market was selling them last year and it took me a few weeks to get it good and floury but now it works brilliantly! My starter is just flour and water – bet the air where you are could give you a very happy starter 🙂

  15. Bluejellybeans February 24, 2014 at 23:47 #

    ¡Qué paciencia tienes y qué bien te organizas Tanya!!
    Me encanta 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza February 25, 2014 at 10:35 #

      Al principio era un poquito complicado, ahora es un pequeña rutina que me da mucho placer!

  16. ChgoJohn February 25, 2014 at 02:14 #

    Gosh that looks good, Tanya! In my quest to keep my kitchen warm, I’ve been baking quite a bit of sourdough, too. Celia (Fig & Lime Journal) sent me some crystals from her starter, “Priscilla”, and I used it to start my own, “Bart”, son of Priscilla. 🙂
    I don’t make as large an amount of dough as you do but I make enough for my needs without anything going to waste. Oh, there’s also enough for me to have a healthy snack fresh from the oven. What’s the point of baking bread if you can’t have a enjoy a piece still warm from the oven? 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza February 25, 2014 at 10:36 #

      That’s a brilliant idea – I need to make a mini loaf or roll too so that the chef can have it hot from the oven! Makes me smile as Big Man’s name in English is Bartholomew – or Bart!

  17. Tandy | Lavender and Lime February 25, 2014 at 04:53 #

    I’m going to look for a benneton when we are in the UK. I like your method and will try it soon 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza February 25, 2014 at 10:37 #

      It works really well for me – and once you’ve got the basket well floured and used it a few times, it works brilliantly for proving and turning out the bread. Can send you one otherwise if you like? Seriously, let me know!

  18. TheDorsetFinca February 25, 2014 at 08:09 #

    What a fantastic looking loaf… really worth the wait!

  19. thecompletebook February 25, 2014 at 10:33 #

    Well, this is definitely being added to the list for when I come and visit!
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • Chica Andaluza February 25, 2014 at 10:38 #

      Dunked in our olive oil and with a few slices of Spanish cheese and plenty of vino!

  20. TBM February 25, 2014 at 10:39 #

    Well this beats the bread machine my father loved to use.

    • Chica Andaluza February 25, 2014 at 11:20 #

      Don’t knock your father’s bread machine – I use one too in Spain to “knock up” (no, that’s not rude!) a quick loaf 🙂 !

      • TBM March 1, 2014 at 11:12 #

        I did enjoy waking up to the smell. I’ve been trying to convince the better half to get one.

  21. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise February 26, 2014 at 08:08 #

    Beautiful beautiful bread Tanya!
    Sourdough has become a stable in my house too and you are totally right once you find your rhythm it is easy and oh so worth it!
    p.s.Thank you kindly for the shout out, I deeply appreciate it

    • Chica Andaluza February 26, 2014 at 09:29 #

      Thank you Sawsan – you got me going with this thanks to the first post you did!

  22. Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen February 27, 2014 at 21:07 #

    I love sourdough bread but has never made some in my own kitchen. I need to check out the starter that you recommended! 🙂

  23. restlessjo March 1, 2014 at 09:27 #

    I only tried it once and wasn’t all that fussed. Bet yours is wonderful though. 🙂 You can make me some if I’m in the neighbourhood.

  24. ventisqueras March 1, 2014 at 23:53 #

    ma che brava che sei!
    grazie un sorriso

  25. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen March 3, 2014 at 02:36 #

    Making a dough with a starter has been on my list for almost a year. Actually, it’s probably been over a year because I seem to lose track of time these days, lol. You’ve given me inspiration again, I’d love to get one of those bannetons to make a pretty shape! xx

    • Chica Andaluza March 3, 2014 at 08:58 #

      I eventually graduated to a banneton but I still make it in my cooking pot (dutch oven) lined with baking parchment too!

  26. Charles March 5, 2014 at 22:48 #

    What a gorgeous loaf… well worth the wait I must think! I really need to get me one of those bannetons… my friend has a round “boule” one and I’m so jealous. It makes such a gorgeous pattern in the bread!

  27. Calico Stretch April 6, 2014 at 05:18 #

    I really do need to give sourdough another try because when you get a routine that works it is just lovely. Perhaps that’ll be a good autumn and winter kitchen project when there are fewer distractions outside.

    • Chica Andaluza April 6, 2014 at 11:59 #

      Once I found my rhythm with the bread it became second nature and the bread seemed to turn out better!


  1. Give us this day our daily bread… | Chica Andaluza - April 18, 2015

    […] Celia!), my loaves are going from strength to strength. I confess that most of the time I make my usual sourdough loaf, starting the process the night before and baking early evening of the next […]

  2. Molletes de Antequera – Soft Bread Rolls from Antequera | Chica Andaluza - April 29, 2015

    […] things people miss. Or is that just us? We love good bread and are lucky to have relative success making our own as we don’t have any spectacular bakers close to our home in England and Bread Man from Spain […]

  3. Carne en salsa – Pork with peppers and potatoes | Chica Andaluza - November 23, 2016

    […] When you’re almost ready to serve, if the liquid is too runny for your liking, add two heaped teaspoons of cornflour to a little cold water and stir in. Return the dish to the heat for about 20 minutes (slow cooker or oven) and 5 minutes (stove top) until thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, garnish and serve with plenty of lovely crusty bread. […]

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