Sourdough Bread and Starter



Sourdough Bread


Sourdough bread is healthy and nutritious!

Easy to make - it requires only 3 ingredients - flour, water and salt. You can use different kinds of flour - even Gluten Free!

All you’ll need to make sourdough bread is a ‘starter’. You can make your own with a bit of patience; if you have not been passed on a starter from a friend.

It usually takes about 3 days for the starter to be ready – which only needs to be made once. As a rule, sourdough bread has to sit and ‘ferment’ twice for a total of about 12-16 hours. There are many recipes and different ways to make sourdough bread.

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Sourdough Bread and Starter


To begin making your ‘Starter’

Combine 50 g (1⁄2 cup) of whole wheat flour with 50 ml (1⁄4 cup) of lukewarm water in a large jar. You can add ¼ tsp honey; the enzymes in honey will speed up the fermenting process.

Mix with a fork until smooth; the consistency will be thick and pasty. If measuring by volume, add more water to thin out the texture. Cover loosely and let it rest in a warm spot / at room temperature about 70-80F / 24°C und 28°C for 24 hours. By day 2 you may see already a bit of activity growth or bubbling. GF Gluten Free starters may take longer – some suggest 5-7 days (haven’t tried).

Day 1



50 ml (1/4 cup)   Water  lukewarm

50 g  (1/2 cup)   Flour

¼ tsp.                Honey (enzyme)

In a large jar mix with a fork until smooth.

Cover loosely and rest in warm place for 24 hours

Day 2


50 ml (1/4 cup)   Water  lukewarm

50 g  (1/2 cup)   Flour

Repeat adding the same amount, mixing with a fork until smooth. Cover loosely and rest in warm place for 24 hours

Day 3


50 ml (1/4 cup)   Water  lukewarm

50 g  (1/2 cup)   Flour

Repeat the feeding, cover loosely and rest in warm place for 24 hours

Now you have app. 300g of starter

Some recommend throwing ½ the amount away, but I find this utterly wasteful.

Day 4






Use the starter (minus 1 cup starter) to make your sourdough bread.

2 resting phases of 6-8 hours

Make Pre- dough: add the amount of flour and water to your starter to the required amount (½ starter / ½ flour)

Take off 1 cup of starter

If you want to use 500g flour add now 200g flour and 10ml water to your starter…bringing it to 1kg.

2 resting phases of 1½ - 2 hours

Keeping the starter:

The starter can be kept in the fridge though needs feeding every week. When stored in the refrigerator fermenting slows down. It can also be frozen – use small amount e.g.100g if you are going on holidays…. or dried on parchment paper.

Before using: Take the 'starter' out of the fridge a few hours before processing (or evening before). If you want to make a pre-dough (expanding/adding to 1/2 the amount of intended flour use) let it ferment for 6-8 hours before using.



Sourdough Bread Recipe


Option 1   -  longer resting / fermenting time

Option 2   -  shorter resting / fermenting time

250g  sourdough starter

500g  flour (rye, wheat, spelt,…)

250ml water (depending on flour)

1½ tsp salt

 Optional: herbs and spices, molasses

500g  sourdough starter

500g  flour (rye, wheat, spelt)

app. 200ml water (depending on flour)

1½ tsp salt

 Optional: herbs and spices

The amount of water you need will depend on which flour or flour combination you use. Organic stone-ground flour may need a little more water. As a rule you need 50 - 70ml water on 100g flour.



In a large bowl add the sourdough starter with lukewarm water and mix in the salt. Add the flour gradually and stir in until a firm lump forms (does not need to be kneaded, the fermentation is sufficient to get the dough to rise). It's best to hold back 20g from the water which you can add gradually if the dough is too dry. The dough should not be too wet or sticky.

Form a ball out of the dough and let it rise ‘covered’ for 6-8 hours or over night (1½ - 2 hours for the short resting of option 2)

Put the dough on a floured surface and kneed a little, forming a ball again. Now either put the dough in a greased loaf tin or shape a loaf and place on a floured baking tray and let it rise again for 6-8 hours or over night … depending on when first started, (1½ - 2 hours for the short resting of option 2). You can carefully cut the bread dough crosswise with a sharp knife for a pattern.

Ideally the dough will now rise by half or more.

Preheat the oven to app. 230°C / 450°F at top-bottom heat for at least 15 minutes! Placing the rack towards bottom and shove bread in.

After a few minutes you can pour a shot glass of water on the bottom of the oven and quickly close the oven door. This is called "steaming" because it creates steam in the oven, which ensures that the bread gets a particularly nice crust. 

Bake for 10-15 minutes on 230°C / 450°F and then turn down to 160°C(fan)- 180°C /  320-350°F and bake for another 35-50 minutes - depending on the size and heat of the oven.

When the bread is ready, it sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom of the bread. Don't cut it right away! Even if the bread is no longer in the oven, it bakes even more due to the residual heat it contains. Only when the bread has cooled completely can it be cut.


There are many ways and you will find your own way that works best for you.

Enjoy the process and have fun experimenting.


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