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Amazing Sourdough Bread

Produce the most delicious sourdough bread every single time!

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One thing you must have to make this recipe work is patience.

The whole process involves around four hours of prep and an overnight prove in the fridge.


• An accurate set of scales (digital are best)

• One (or more if you double the dough quantities) 18cm proving basket.

• A large cast iron casserole pot (the Lodge 2.84 litre Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Combo Cooker is recommended)

• An open razor blade or very sharp knife Ingredients for starter

•Ingredients for bread (makes one loaf)

1. 174g starter

2. 280g tepid water

3. 466g strong white bread flour

4. 58g wholemeal flour

5. 11g salt

6. 11g water to add to the salt

How to make the bread

A few hours before starting the process I have found it useful to feed the starter with 50g of flour and 50g of water. This booster feed results in a much greater overnight rise of the dough. It's not essential but well worth a go.

1. Place ingredients 1 to 4 into a large bowl and mix so that they are combined.

2. Cover the bowl and rest for 20 minutes.

3. Mix ingredients 5 & 6 and add to the dough, make sure it is well distributed through the dough.

4. The next three hours sees you ‘bulk fermenting’ the dough: a. Wet your hands (to stop the dough from sticking to them) b. Gently pull one corner of the dough up and over the rest of the dough c. Turn the bowl and repeat on the remaining three ‘corners’ d. Repeat this process, you will find that the dough becomes stiff and you wont be able to pull it after a couple of ‘turns’

5. Cover and leave the dough for 30 minutes

6. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for 3 hours (you should do 6 repeats over the 3 hours)

7. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and shape into a slightly flattened ball.

8. Leave for 20 minutes

9. Re-shape the loaf and liberally flour

10. Liberally flour your proving basket (if it’s a new basket follow instructions to prime it)

11. Turn the dough upside down and place it in the proving basket (some baskets come with an elasticated fabric cover, if so, pop this on. If not cover with a plastic carrier bag keeping it well away from the dough.

12. Place the basket in the fridge overnight.

13. Next day. Put the cast iron pot in the oven and set it to maximum (240 deg Celsius)

14. When up to temperate turn your dough into the pot.

15. Score the top of the bread with the razor blade or knife. You can do any pattern to suit. This will allow the bread to ‘bloom’ with splitting. It can be quite a large cut and around 1cm deep.

16. Put the lid of the pot on and place it back in the oven.

17. Bake for 25 minutes. The steam in the bread will be contained in the pot and allow it to rise without a crust forming.

18. Take the pot out of the oven.

19. Turn the oven down to 220 deg c.

20. Take the top off the pot and put the pot and bread back in the oven.

21. Bake for a further 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown (the edge of the cut may be a little burnt, this is fine)

22. Take the bread out of the pot and place it on a wire rack to cool.

23. Eat and enjoy!

Added by: Peter Ralley

Tags: Bread White Sourdough

Add comment
The best sour dought recipe!

We've been using this recipe consistently since we discovered it a couple of years ago. it's a very reliable recipe and the bread turns out great every time.

Beth Lancaster 18 February 2021

Best sourdough recipe

A friend reccomended this recipe and its by far the best I've ever tried! Fantastic results

Miss Emma Hopkins 19 January 2021

RE: Best sourdough recipe

So glad you like it. I'm still using it!

Peter Ralley 20 January 2021

Great Reliable Recipe

I have tried many sourdough recipes over the years but failed to find one that reliably produced good results every time. I came across this recipe a while ago and it is now my 'go to' one as it does just that, produces excellent results every time I've used it. It also works very well substituting the 58g of wholemeal for 58g of stoneground rye or indeed 58g of white bread flour for a completely white sourdough. Many thanks, Peter, for posting the recipe.

Mark Thomson 16 May 2018

RE: Great Reliable Recipe

Mark Really pleased you like it. It has never failed for me either. Good idea about the mixed flour. Happy baking!

Peter Ralley 16 May 2018

Sour dough novice

I tried the above recipe for the first time last week after attempting other recipes on other sites. I had various results from so hard i could break my teeth and not much rise. However tried this one .I had my doubts as when i took it out of the fridge it had risen but not a huge deal.But it gained height in the oven and i was delighted when i cut into it as it had lots of holes and it was light with a good crust.It was also not like a brick 24hrs later .So thanks for a great recipe

heather Borthwick-jacobs 15 January 2018

RE: Sour dough novice

I'm so pleased. It is a bit worrying when there is little or no rise but it does work! Well worth the effort eh?

Peter Ralley 16 January 2018

Sourdough Bread

After 20 minutes preshaping,before putting into banneton,do u let it rise 1st? How much would it have risen before putting into fridge? Tq...

Nafisah Ahmad 28 December 2017

RE: Sourdough Bread

Hi! When I have finished reshaping the dough I pop it into the banneton and straight into the fridge and it will rise nicely overnight. Good luck!

Peter Ralley 31 December 2017


which white bread flour did u use there is lots of white bread flour on site cheeers

george 13 September 2017

RE: flour

I use any type of strong white bread flour, often bought from the co-op in the village. You can use brown flour but I find white gives a better rise.

Peter Ralley 13 September 2017


Do you put the dough in the pot straight from the fridge.

Mr Sean Guilfoyle 24 April 2017

RE: Baking

I do indeed. I have also tried bringing it up to room temperate, but straight from the fridge is fine.

Peter Ralley 24 April 2017


How do you suggest you turn dough into the hot pot without burning your hands?

Mrs Elizabeth Patt 20 April 2017

RE: Baking

You don't need to turn the dough in the hot pot. All dough turning is done when all the ingredients are cold. The finished dough goes into the hot pot for baking only and does not have to be moved around. You do have to be careful placing it in their to start but once it's in, it's in.

Peter Ralley 21 April 2017

RE: Baking

To minimise burnt finger risk: Turn the dough out onto a large square of greaseproof paper (so the loaf ends up the right way up) , slash the loaf if you want, then lift the paper by the corners and lower it - dough and paper- into the hot pot. The paper can stay under the dough during baking. My mum worked it out!

Miss M Madeleine's 30 April 2017

RE: Baking

That's fine. I have found that there is more than enough room around the loaf when I use my lodge pot. No burnt fingers yet. But whatever works for you is great! Another tip I would like to add is that I have found it advantageous to feed the starter on the morning of making the bread. Leave it a few hours before starting the process. This feeding gives the starter a boost and results in an increased rise.

Peter Ralley 01 May 2017

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