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Crusty White Sourdough Bread

This is white-ish or slightly brown/freckled as the recipe employs the 100% wholemeal leaven. This is a great combination and gives good colour while still being clearly a white loaf.

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This is white-ish or slightly brown/freckled as the recipe employs the 100% wholemeal leaven you have made. This is a great combination and gives good colour while still being clearly a white loaf. The wholemeal also adds just the right amount of flavour and of course added fiber/nutrition.


500g Shipton Mill Traditional White

250g wholemeal leaven

270g warm water

10-15 g sea salt.


This recipe produces a sticky dough, so be ready! If you'd like a more manageable dough (may be a good idea for the less experienced), then you could reduce the water by 20g.

On the other hand, if you are adventurous, you could even add 10gm more water for a well soft dough which will be hard to handle but will produce a fashionably holey loaf. Increase the salt to 15 g for a more savoury loaf. Use a good grey real sea salt if possible.


Dissolve the salt in a little of the water and set aside. Mix the rest of the water and the leaven, and add all of the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon for a bit until it starts to come together, then add the salt water. Mix well, turn onto a lightly floured surface and commence working and kneading.


This isn’t easy as the dough is a little sticky, so flour your hands and best, use a bakers slip (scraper) to keep the dough moving. This kneading takes about 5 minutes to form a less sticky dough, which then needs a few more minutes work. If it is too much for you, dust some flour on the table to make it easier. The bread will still be great. Form into a round and place in a floured bowl. Cover with plastic or put in a plastic bag for 2 hours in the not-cold spot.


Turn the loaf out and with floured hands, work it into a nice round. Leave this to rest for 10 minutes, then shape it into your final shape.

This loaf is designed to go into a banneton or floured basket or bowl with a floured teatowel in it. Whatever your choice, make sure the receptacle is well floured. Shape the loaf into a nice round with a seam/navel on the bottom, or a seam if using an oval banneton. Place it into the basket with the smooth (hopefully!) side down and the seam or navel uppermost. This will be turned out onto a baking sheet or stone if you have one when it is risen. Set aside covered with a cotton teatowel/cloth and then plastic. If the loaf is proved in a basket under plastic it will sweat and possibly stick to the basket. The tea towel absorbs excess moisture.

This should then rise for 2 hours.

Turn out & bake

Your dough be well billowing in the basket. Have on hand a razor blade or very sharp blade. It is a good idea to pre-heat the baking sheet so that you turn the loaf onto a hot surface. Turn the loaf out onto the baking sheet and deftly slash it…a cross for a round loaf or some diagonal slashes along an oval loaf.

The oven should be heated to 250o. Place the loaf in the oven and reduce heat to 220o. If using all of this dough in 1 loaf, it should take 35-40 minutes to bake. After 15 minutes, turn the heat down to 200o.

It should rise nicely and open out the cuts and have some good colour. Invert the baked loaf and tap it for that hollow sound, and if you aren’t convinced, return it to the oven upside down for 5 minutes.

Unlike the wholemeal version, this loaf only requires a few hours to cool/cure and can be greedily sliced and eaten while still slightly warm.

Added by: NaomiS

Tags: Bread White Sourdough TraditionalWhite

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Crusty white sourdough

The recipe looks great, and I've just taken a very nice looking loaf out of the oven. Haven't tasted it yet. I hope it tastes as good as it looks. The only thing that I'm wondering about is why there is no time for autolysing in the recipe? Is that not essential to sourdough breadmaking? Everything went well, so maybe it makes no difference?

Grainne 05 May 2017


Hi, I've just made my first ever sourdough loaf using this recipe and the starter that uses 120g wholemeal flour and 190g water. I'd been feeding my starter for 2 weeks and it had lots of bubbles and smelt OK so I assumed it was alright the bread has risen a little but not very much. I made 1 large loaf and it's about 3" high in the centre, any tips?

Mr Joseph de Berker 15 November 2014

RE: Rising
It sounds like you've made a great start. There are so many variables that affect the rise that the best advice is to trying changing them one at a time to see what happens. I'd start by changing the amount of water (less water will give you a stiffer dough which will spread less), then look at the length of the proves (the Comment below is interesting!). I hope that helps.

webmaster 15 November 2014

RE: Rising

Well, tried again today but added slightly less water on about 250ml, I also used 100g of light Rye and left it much longer to prove ( about 4hrs ) for whatever reason it has risen more and tastes even better than the last, although that was pretty good too! I am enjoying this new direction in baking :)

Mr Joseph de Berker 18 November 2014

Best yet
I make my leaven separately from my starter with 100g starter, 75g white and 75 whole meal and 125g warm water - 12 hours before. I've extended the proving times due to cold kitchen and on occasions extended the whole process to 36 hours with retarding the proving in the fridge. I have a stone in the oven on which I put a big casserole dish to make my own Dutch oven! I bake the 1st 20 minutes flat out at around 230C then remove the lid followed by another 20 mins . I'm getting great results by taking care with kneading, bench rest and precise folding. The oven spring is quite impressive and it often bursts the slashes . The crumb is chewy and reasonably aerated, though I would prefer it to be more tartine. The crust is quite crisp but not overly thick.

Mark Wilcox - Twiddler 17 January 2014

Also I heated the tray I baked it on with flour on it for 10 mins to reduce flopping

- M&S masterbaker 01 June 2013

My first ever time making bread not at work (ex commis chef) and this worked a treat! I made a different starter with whole meal flour and it worked a treat. Followed it to the letter as best I could without the basket etc. It came out just like 'French white boule' we sell at Marks and Spencer. Don't fear a sticky dough!! The wetter the better as my old head chef used to say...

- M&S masterbaker 01 June 2013

QTy of Leaven
I'm definitely going to try this. Surprised by the percentage of leaven to flour. My current SD recipe only uses 48g to 528g flour (white and spelt combo) - but in fairness it does take a total of 4 days - most of which is sitting around in the fridge. I was led to believe that the slow dough development gave a more pronounced sour flavour which I love - but I'm not sure this is actually correct. I'll be trying this recipe this weekend, so we'll see!

Gill Flesher - Cushty Baker 29 January 2013

Help please: not rising
I have baked using this recipe a number of times and every time I get a pretty flat, discuss shaped loaf (which tastes great). Each time the dough comes out with a very very loose consistency (even by reducing the water by 20ml), which means that even after the rise, the dough just flattens onto the baking surface. The bread is full of holes and my starter is very active. Is my problem lack of kneading? Thanks in advance.

John Evans - johnwtevans@me.com 19 April 2012

I halved the quantities as just needed a small loaf to last a day and this worked perfectly. I will definitely be making this a regular loaf.

Sally Brady - Sally 11 March 2012

Great results
I used this recipe with my new wholemeal leaven and I am really happy with the results. I am a relative beginner at bread-making and a total beginner with sourdough. I did cheat and use my kitchenaid to knead. I found it takes 5 minutes on the slowest speed, then 8-10 minutes on speed 2. I am really happy with the results (and so is everyone) and will baking this for Christmas! Thank you for making my first efforts at sourdough so successful.

Nicola Marriott - Milly Vanilly 23 December 2011

Having tried to make sourdough bread using a number of different methods this recipe has produced by far the best result and with the easiest method. I will definetly be using this one again! The dough was slightly tricky to knead at first but by using a baker's slip I soon got it moving without having to add much extra flour. Can I use a rye starter with the same recipe?

Jill Wilkinson - jill.wilkinson@swaledale.org 10 October 2011

A great recipe.I've used my dough to make rolls and now the family cannot get enough.I also found this recipe a lot less hard work than other sourdough recipes that I have tried.Thanks for passing your recipe on.

roy bastable - roybastable@msn.com 16 June 2011

Too sticky
We've had some feedback that suggests some people are finding the dough sticky and hard to handle. If you are, try reducing the water by up to 20g (I've added a comment about it to the recipe). Thanks for the feedback.

baker 23 May 2011

Works for me
Made some great tasting bread with this recipe and, as it's my first try at sourdough, I'm really pleased. I also tried it in a breadmaker, just put the ingredients in (adjusted for size) and set it to wholemeal. Worked a treat! Not quite as "sour", but still very good.

senrabmot 06 May 2011


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