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Sourdough bread recipe

This is a 48-hour sourdough recipe taken from my book, Time for Bread.

This recipe is based on a starter that is active and fed for 12 hours before making the dough. 

For this, please take a look at the sourdough starter recipe.


  • 400g Strong White bread flour

  • 100g wholegrain spelt or wholemeal

  • 330ml Water plus 10ml extra after adding the salt

  • 100g active sourdough starter (Levain*)

  • 1 tsp salt

* The levain is simply the small amount of your ready sourdough starter needed to mix with the bread flour to make your loaf.

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Working your dough…


  1. Pour the water into a mixing bowl and add your levain – stirring in to dissolve.

  2. Add the flour and mix thoroughly using your hands.

  3. Rest for 30 mins to autolyse.

  4. Add the salt and remaining water. Mix well.

  5. Set to rest for another 30 mins.

  6. Perform your first set of stretch and folds.

  7. Repeat more stretches and folds every 30 mins until the dough is pillowy – for about three to four hours.

Getting your dough into shape…

After your dough looks bubbly and full, tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface, the dough should look wet and elastic and should feel soft, smooth and pliable.

To shape: Pull the top of the dough over to the bottom, followed by the two sides and then the bottom upwards to create a parcel shape. Roll over to form a ball with a smooth edge facing you.  
Leave your dough for a bench rest for approximately 20 mins. 

On your return, smooth over the rested dough with some flour – this will help to form the crust of your baked loaf. And then turn the dough over onto its floured back. 

Pull the dough over from one side to another, from top to bottom, from side to side and create your rounded dough by then tipping your dough back on to its folded bottom leaving a soft, smooth ball, leave to rest for a minute, while you prepare the banneton or bowl.

If using a bowl, line it with a clean, cotton tea towel, or a banneton, flouring the inside with brown rice flour. 

Place your dough on its rounded side into the floured bowl, flouring once more to ensure no sticking occurs during the final proving stage. 

At this stage you can prove your dough in the fridge overnight or leave it out. Each process has differing effects on your final bake.

Baking your sourdough loaf…

Top tip: I usually use a Dutch Oven to bake sourdough and it’s perfect for creating a steam controlled environment at very hot temperatures if you don’t have a steam oven. 

Any cast iron casserole dish would do the job.

If you do not have a dutch oven simply place a baking tray to warm up in the oven and place another tray of water at the very base of your oven which will help create steam. 

When you are ready to bake your dough, place a dutch oven into your oven and set the heat to 250 degrees. 

Leave to warm up for a good 30 mins.

Very carefully take out your hot cookpot and tip your proven dough into it, you can score with scissors or a sharp knife here, place the lid on and bake for 20 mins.

After this time take the lid off, reduce the heat to 220 degrees celsius and cook for another 20 mins.

Once your loaf looks golden and brown, carefully tip your bread out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool for a minimum of 3 hours. 

6 hours will ensure your loaf has completely finished baking and will help to keep it fresher for longer.


Do you want to learn how to make sourdough with an expert?

Our all day bread making experience covers the beautiful, if not mysterious, world of sourdough making. 

Book your place on our sourdough baking course.

Sourdough bread making - the flour I use

The flour I use for the sourdough bread I make in my classes is locally milled near to where I live at Charlecote Water Mill, near Hampton Lucy in Warwickshire.


Karl Grevatt is the miller there, after becoming the custodian of Charlecote Water Mill in 2012.


The flour itself contains no artificial additives and is made by the wheat being gently ground by ancient millstones – powered naturally by water.

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Learn more about sourdough bread...

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