Sourdough bread

Sourdough bread

Lucy's Bakes
20 mins
Cooking time
40 mins
Jacqui Melville

I call this my friendly bread because I often share my starter dough with friends and family. The loaf has a fabulous chewy, open texture, sour flavour and, I think, is the king of loaves. Sourdough has no added yeast but you make a paste with flour and liquid and leave it exposed to the air and as it sours it draws natural yeasts from the air and ferments.


Quantity Ingredient
500g strong white bread flour
300g Sourdough starter
250g water
10g sugar
10g salt


  1. Mix together the flour, sourdough starter, water, sugar and salt using a fork until you have a rough dough.
  2. Turn it out onto a clean work surface and knead for 7 minutes as described in the chapter introduction or until you have a non-sticky, elastic dough.
  3. This dough is softer than other breads and really needs a mould to help it keep shape to rise. You can buy a ‘banneton’ (a bread basket-shaped container for proving bread), which you flour liberally or simply line a baking dish or tin with baking paper. I use a 20 cm square, deep cake tin and this makes a great square deep loaf (pavé as the French would call it).
  4. Turn your soft dough into your mould, sprinkle liberally with flour, score some lines on the top using a sharp knife and then cover it with a tea towel. I always leave my sourdough overnight to rise as it likes a slower, cooler temperature rise.
  5. Heat the oven to 230°C and put a ramekin or similar small dish of water in the oven. If using a banneton, quickly turn the loaf out onto a baking paper-lined baking tray. Bake the loaf for 10 minutes at this temperature then turn the oven down to 220°C and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until the bread is a good brown colour.
  6. Turn the loaf out of the tin, if using, and knock on the base of the loaf with your fist. If it sounds hollow then the bread is ready. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.


  • This recipe is vegetarian and nut-free.


  • When making the bread, you can use 100 g rye flour in place of the 100 g of the strong white flour.

What the the testers say

  • DI PALUMBO – ‘Inheriting a pot of the starter from Lucy I got cracking straight away. I kneaded and left my dough to prove on Saturday night, baking fresh bread for my houseguests on the Sunday morning. They were amazed I had got up and baked bread but all I did that morning was pop it into the oven. I have now made it 4 times, 7 minutes kneading each time and perfect bread that I am really proud of. I used wholemeal flour for mine.’

    BRENDAN CROFT – ‘I was given the starter which made it easy as a first go and it worked amazingly – so now I am starting from scratch but I am hooked.’

    JANET MEEKCOMS – ‘I made this most days when I was staying in France so I kept my sourdough starter well-fed and alive on the kitchen worktop. The flavour of the bread is wonderful and kneading quick. You need to put the bread into a mould, though, as it spreads out when rising.’
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