banner image

My Go-To Sourdough


100g white starter/levain, 100% hydration, at peak
420g strong white flour (I use Shipton Type 3 or 4)
80g strong wholemeal flour
360g water
8-12g fine sea salt

My typical schedule is:

8am - Create levain/feed starter.

11am - ~1 hour before starter peaks, mix both flours in a bowl with all the water until no dry patches remain. I use a dough scraper and my hands. Cover well and rest.

12pm - At peak, add the starter and using a stretch and fold technique from the edges of the bowl, incorporating it all together. Once almost consistent again, scrape the dough out onto a clean work surface and 'slap and fold' for around 5 minutes to gain some strength, using your scraper to clean up regularly. (Refer to Richard Bertinet's YouTube/Instagram for visual help on this method.)

12.15pm - Once you can feel the dough becoming tighter and stronger, add the salt and continue to slap and fold for a further couple of minutes until you are sure the salt is distributed and dissolved. Place back in the bowl and cover well. Place somewhere warm (typically on a sunny windowsill for me) and rest.

1.15pm - After 45 minutes of rest, uncover and perform a set of stretch and folds. Lift one edge of the dough and gently stretch up as much as possible, then fold across the surface of the dough to the other side. Repeat again along the adjacent edge to where you have just lifted until all the dough has now been folded over. Cover and rest again.

1.45pm - Repeat stretches

2.15pm - Repeat stretches

2.45pm - You want your dough to feel strong and extensible so if needed, perform another set of stretches to ensure you have this. Cover and leave in that warm place again until you see the signs of bulk fermentation at its limit. These are risen dough, domed top, bubbles around the edges and a nice jiggly movement. This can take anywhere from 1 more hour to sometimes 5/6 if the weather is particularly cold.

6pm - (Once bulk fermentation is done) - Uncover your fermented dough and sprinkle the top liberally with flour. Gently coax the dough out onto your work surface, trying to manoeuvre the floured side down. Gently preshape your dough into a ball by stretching the edges and bringing them into the middle. Flip over so the seam is down. Use your dough scraper to tighten the ball and work it just enough so that you have a nice taught surface. Leave uncovered for 20-30 minutes to relax. Prepare your basket or mould with flour or a lining whilst you wait.

6.30pm - Depending on the shape of your proving basket, shape your dough so you have a nicely tightened loaf and then place this seam side up into the basket. For a boule, I shape my dough by folding it in the formation of an envelope. Dust the top of the rested dough with flour and then use a dough scraper to flip it upside down. Using both hands, gently stretch and fold the bottom half way up and gently press to seal. Repeat with the left and right side and then finally the top flap where this is stretched down over the whole dough. Pinch to seal. Use the dough scraper to lift the dough seam side up into the proving basket and I do a final 'stitch' of the dough to create extra tension. Using both hands and starting from the furthest side away from you, pinch a small amount of the dough at the edge of the basket on both sides, stretch and criss-cross the dough, working your way down until the surface has been stitched. Cover and place in the fridge until tomorrow morning.

8am - Place a lidded dutch oven in your oven and preheat for 45 minutes on full heat. (225C for me)

8.40am - On a piece of baking paper larger than your dough, gently tip out your dough and score the dough confidently with a blade or sharp knife. I do this from top to bottom, but at a slight angle to allow for extra spring.

8.45am - Carefully place your dough into the dutch oven, using the paper to help manoeuvre it in. Spray the surface of the dough with some water and put the lid back on. Bake for 20 minutes.

9.05am - Remove the lid and drop the temperature down to 210C. Bake for another 20-40 minutes, until you like the colour of your loaf. I sometimes take it out of the pot for the last 10 minutes to help colour all the way around.

Cool out of the pot on the oven shelf with the door open to ensure a crisp crust. Allow to cool fully before slicing and serving with wedges of salted butter!