Sourdough Recipe

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1 loaf
Prep time
24 h
Cooking time
40 mins

This recipe makes one 900 gram loaf . The butter and milk in this recipe add richness and lasting moisture to the bread .


  • 300g strong unbleached white bread flour, plus extra for flouring
  • 150g seeded/wholemeal bread flour
  • 100g sourdough starter/sponge
  • 20g butter
  • 100ml water
  • 80ml milk
  • 5g light brown sugar
  • 7g salt
  • vegetable oil, for greasing
  • optional: caraway and/or onion seeds and milk or egg to wash if you want a shiny finish


  1. The nightbefore making the loaf: Make a ‘sponge’ or pre-ferment – 1 tbsp starter, 3tbsp strong white flour and 3tbsp water. Mix together until it looks like a wet batter. Cover and leave at room temperature to develop bubbles. It should look active and bubbly by the morning.
  2. Mix together the flour, sourdough starter sponge mix from night before, water, milk, sugar, salt and butter in a bowl. Add the seed if you are choosing to add them. I tend to mix/knead in the bowl, first with a big spoon, just enough that it comes together, drizzle some veg oil and then I cover the bowl with a silicone lid (this could be referred to as the ‘no knead’ approach). Alternatively, turn out on to a clean, oiled kitchen surface and knead for 10 minutes.
  3. Either way - Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or silicone lid and let it prove for 2½-3 hours. (You might not notice as much of a rise in the dough as you would with a normal, yeasted bread and it will take a lot longer.)
  4. If my dough is doing nice thing fairly quickly, sometimes I will give it a little stretch after 1½ and then shape back into a ball and pop back into the big bowl.
  5. Grease either a 900g loaf tin or an 8” tart tatin tin with a drizzle of veg oil.
  6. Shaping and the 2nd prove - Instead of doing a traditional ‘knock back’ I just oil my hands and gently pick up the dough and give it a stretch, normally one long stretch and then loosely fold back into a ball shape or fat sausage if it’s going to be a loaf. Place gently in the tin you’re going to cook your bread in, cover with cling film or pop in a greased freezer bag (biodegradable ones available) and leave to prove for a further 2½ hours ish (this is just a guide, you’ll have to figure out how perky the dough is. Remember the atmosphere, pressure, temperature all play a part in timings.)
  7. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas 8. You can put a few ice cubes or cold water into a baking tin and place in the bottom of the oven to create steam, I sometimes just spray water with a squirty thing from the garden centre.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 200C and cook for a further 25-30 minutes or until a good crust has formed.
  9. Once out of the oven, let sit in the tin(s) for 10 minutes or so if they don’t pop out when tipped straight from the oven. Take out of the tin(s) and allow to cool on a rack.

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