Sourdough Loaf Revisited

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 thoughts on “Sourdough Loaf Revisited

  1. 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.

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

  2. 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… 🙂

    1. 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!

  3. 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!

    1. 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!

  4. 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! 🙂

    1. 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 🙂

      1. 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. 🙂

      1. 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.

  5. 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… 😉

      1. 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!

      2. 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 😉

      1. 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 🙂 )

  6. 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.

    1. 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 🙂

  7. 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? 🙂

    1. 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!

    1. 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!

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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

I love to hear what you think, please leave me a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s