Simple Sourdough Bread

Simple Sourdough Bread

Disclaimer: I have no idea what I’m talking about. This is just me recording what is working as I experiment with this stuff, and get more successful.

I wanted to record the way I make bread. There’s so many of these out there, and I’m sure many are better. I wanted to make this for my own reference, and to include something that many recipes don’t; reasons for each of the steps. I think when you understand what each step is doing, it makes it easier to understand the process.

I also included the timings that I find most convenient to fit into my day-to-day. Change as desired!


For the Levain:

  • 120 g Strong white bread flour
  • 10 g Rye flour (I also use wholemeal)
  • 60 g Lukewarm water (leave tap water out and open overnight)
  • 50 g Sourdough starter

For the loaves (makes 2):

  • 240 g Levain
  • 440 g Tepid water
  • 550 g Strong white bread flour
  • 50 g Rye flour
  • 16 g finely ground salt
  • a little oil to grease a bowl


(hrs later)
Feed the starterFeed your starter as usual, but syphon off 50 g to make the levain. Ideally the starter should be nice and active, at the “peak”.Starters get hungry! If you store the starter in the fridge, put it back after feeding (usually once a week)22:00
Make the levainMix the starter and water together of the levain ingredients. Once mixed well, mix in the flour for the levain.The levain is the pre-fermented part of the bread recipe. It’s the key to setting up ther fermentation later.9:00
AutolyseBreak up the risen levain into pieces, and mix with the water until smooth. Add the main bulk of the flours. Once mixed well leave for 1 hour.Autolyse means self-digestion. The dough begins to break down the proteins in the bread and get the gluten developing.17:00
SaltGrind the salt evenly across the dough. Gently mix in – don’t be too rough and break all of the gluten strands in the dough.Salt helps flavour, but it also slows fermentation to balance progress of this vs gluten development.18:00
Bulk fermentFor 4 hours: Every 30 mins fold the dough. Take one side of the bowl of dough and lift, but not until the dough breaks. Fold over the opposite side, turn 90 degrees, and fold all 4 sides. Cover with a tea towel and let rest at room temp. You are trying to stretch and align the strands of gluten in the dough. This stuff will provide the structure for the bread, and trap the air to make it light.18:00
ShapeShape the dough into a nice ball. It’s best to use a scraper to tuck the dough under itself, and try to give some tension in the skin of the dough. Be very careful not to knock the air out.The tension in the skin of the dough will help it hold it’s shape when baking. At this point the dough will hopefully be airated, so try to keep it that way.22:00
BasketUse a proofing basket, or, place a teatowel in a bowl and flour liberally. Allow the dough to rest for 10 mins, then transfer it into the basket/bowl, with the “seam” of the dough up.The flour stops the dough sticking. The seam side is up so that you can flip it to bake it seam side down.22:00
Overnight fermentPlace the basket/bowl in a large plastic bag, and put in the fridge for 8-12 hours.This ferments the bread further, improves flavour, rise, and digestability of the bread.22:00
Out of the fridgePull the bowl/basket out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.Baking while cold will mean the outside of the bread bakes, while the inside still wants to rise – flat bread.9:00
Bake! (with casserole dish)Warm the casserole dish/Dutch oven to 230° for an hour in the oven. Flip the dough out of the bowl/basket into the dish carefully. Score the top of the loaf quickly with a very sharp knife. Place the hot lid on, and put in the oven for 20 mins. Remove the lid, and bake for a further 20 mins (or until it reaches colour)The casserole dish/Dutch oven keeps the steam of the baking process in with the bread. Steam is what causes the crunchy surface, when you remove the lid and evaporate it off. 12:00
Bake! (without casserole dish)Warm the oven to 230° (if you have a pizza stone/steel/other thermal mass, preheat this too!). Ready a tray of cold water. Flip the dough onto some baking parchment and score quickly with a sharp blade. Place the water tray in the oven and the dough on the pizza stone/baking tray. Bake for 20 mins then carefully remove the water tray. Bake for colour.A thermal mass like a pizza stone helps transfer heat in quickly, like a Dutch oven. A tray of water helps generate steam. Removing it helps the steam on the bread evaporate, and crisp it up. 12:00
CoolRest the bread at room temp for 2 hours. You need to let the moisture evaporate in air before cutting or sealing in a bread bin, or it’ll go soggy!12:40
Cut and eat! <3Use a sharp knife.Once cool, eat!13:30


This recipe was derived from the following sources.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *