Basic Sourdough Bread

29 May

Over the last few months, I’ve tries more sourdough bread recipes than I care to admit. A few I have loved but most were terrible. The recipe I am about to share with you though has proven to be a winner time and time again and is now my basic daily bread recipe. It is adapted from Mr Ciabatta‘s recipe from the sourdough forums.

This is a standard white loaf made to this recipe. It is garnished with sesame seeds for presentation (and taste).

This is a standard white loaf made to this recipe. It is garnished with sesame seeds for presentation (and taste). It is served here with home made sweet pickle brinjal.

[ MAKES: 1 x 800g loaf or 6 rolls |  TIME: 24 hours  |  COST: $2-3  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]


400 grams white organic flour
200 grams water
150 grams sourdough starter
7 grams salt
5 grams bread improver (any brand from the supermarket)

Both of these breads were made using this basic recipe. The left one is a wholemeal version while the right one is a nut version. (See variation below for more info)


  1. In a blender with a kneading tool, mix the starter, water, salt and bread improver for a minute until well mixed.
  2. Add in the flour and mix well. Knead for several minutes until warm and sticky.
  3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap.
  4. Allow the dough to rest for 12 hours before folding. To fold the dough, pick up one side and bring it up over the top of itself. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and do the same. Keep repeating until all sides have been folded over the top. Allow the dough to rest for another few hours.
  5. Fold the dough again and shape into loaf shape. Place in an oiled bread tin and allow to rest for another 10 hours covered loosely with cling wrap or a wet tea towel.
  6.  Bake at 190°C for 30 minutes. Turning the bread out and baking upside down at 175°C for an additional 15 minutes.

If you want to have a perfect loaf of bread, you have to observe the rest periods. Shaping the loaf and then proofing in the baking tray is a vital step in the process and can not be rushed. I leave mine over night.

My sourdough starter is made with organic white and rye flour at a 50% hydration.

Variations and Additions

I have tried a great deal of variations to this basic recipe and most have been a sensational hit. Below are some of my proven variations.

  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of each sunflower, flax, poppy and pumpkin seeds
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of each diced apricots, sultanas, cranberries, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • Combinations of the two above
  • 100 g wholemeal flour, 300 g white organic flour (instead of 400 g white organic)
  • 100 g organic rye flour, 300 g white organic flour (instead of 400 g white organic)
  • 75 g flax meal and 50 g flax seed (reduce the white flour by 75 g roughly)
  • ½ cup trail mix
These are some Id like to try:
  • 50 – 100 grams of oats and ¼ cup of honey
  • grated apple, brown sugar and cinnamon
  • Grated cheese and mixed herbs
  • Garlic and mixed herbs

Hot plain white loaf, straight from the oven. Note the fluffiness of the loaf by the holes.

Before I bake the loaf, I always like to sprinkle something on top. For presentation and taste, try:

This dough was made using this recipe with the addition of fruit, nuts, cinnamon and nutmeg. It is pictured here during its first rest. It will soon need to be shaped and rested in a loaf pan overnight. By this stage, it has doubled in size but requires more rising.


  • There is nothing so fantastic as making your own bread
  • I usually make the dough the first thing in the morning and bake it the following morning. (I shape the dough before I go to bed so when I wake up all I have to do is bake it). This timing has allowed us to have hot fresh bread every day for the last week or two!
  • If you don’t have a blender with a dough attachment, you can work this dough by hand. I suspect it would take a good 20 minutes of kneading til it is warm and sticky.
  • This dough has not failed me once. It is always fluffy, light and delicious.
  • Diabetic Note: Lets just not discuss this yet. I LOVE this bread so much but it seriously has issues with my blood glucose levels. I am still trying to work out how much I can have AND keep my bloods happy. Its a work in progress…
  • Ethical Note: I only use organic flours. You cant expect sensational results by using crappy, bleached and over processed flour. Organic flour is not only great for you, but is also sensational for the environment. If money allows, seek out stone-ground whole flours as they are better for your digestive system. Be warned though, heavy whole flours make heavy bread so need to be used in lesser amounts (one third whole grain flour to two thirds white).

Sourdough is a slow process. It is called natures leaven as it uses the natural yeast from the sourdough starter to rise. These bubbles are formed through the sourdough fermentation process. Don’t rush this process or your bread will flop.

Hot delicious bread for breakfast with toasted nuts. What could be better?


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 responses to “Basic Sourdough Bread

  1. narf77

    June 2, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Looks incredible Rhianna! Still no sourdough starter working on Serendipity Farm :(… I guess winter isn’t doing me any favours…


Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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

%d bloggers like this: