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rustic sourdough: the secret to making amazing bread at home
[5 ingredients | simple baking]

rustic homemade sourdough bread rustic homemade sourdough bread and butter

This post has been a long time in the making. Back in March when my Irishman and I decided to give it another go, we came up with a brilliant plan. We would try and swing things so we could live 3 weeks every month in the snowy mountains where my Irishman works and spend the other week based in Sydney. All my life I’ve dreamed of having the balance between city and country living. I couldn’t believe we’d figured it out so soon.

All my life I’ve also dreamed of being able to bake amazing bread. So with this move to country living, with no access to good local bread, the time was right. My first port of call was the wonderful Bourke Street Bakery cookbook to get my sourdough culture going. And while the results were OK, flavourwise. The texture was no where near as light and airy as I would have liked. Plus it was wickedly time consuming kneading each loaf for half an hour.

For a week or so I battled with my minimalist tendencies to not acquire any more kitchen equipment and the need for a stand mixer with a dough hook to improve my bread making attempts. And then I had a stroke of genius. Years ago Mark Bittman had written about a no-knead bread that the blogosphere went a bit crazy about. Maybe that was the solution?

My first attempt, using yeast was so wonderful. I almost couldn’t believe that I’d been able to make such a gorgeously imperfect loaf. Actually it starred in a post I wrote about living on $2 a day.

The next logical step was to take this method and convert it to a sourdough recipe. And the rest is history really.

sourdough bread video

rustic homemade sourdough
makes 1 loaf

In the early days of your starter you can use it for the extra flavour but you’ll need to use 1/4 teaspoon dried yeast to work it’s magic. But once your starter is active and bubbling away, you can ditch the yeast. Just make sure you don’t put any of the commercial yeasted dough near your starter or these stronger strains will takeover. Good idea to always use a clean spoon when making your starter.

I prefer to use unbleached, stone ground organic bread flour and filtered water, but I’ve also used supermarket flour with great results.

325g (11oz) bread flour
200g (8oz) sourdough starter, recipe below
275g (10oz) water
1 teaspoon find grained salt
semolina, optional

1. In a large bowl combine flour, starter, water and salt until just mixed together.

2. Cover with cling wrap and leave overnight for at least 8 but preferably 12 hours.

3. Form your loaf. Place a generous amount of flour on your kitchen counter. Scoop dough out onto the flour then sprinkle generously with more flour. Gently fold the edges from the outside in to form a round loaf.

4. Place more flour on a clean tea towel. Place loaf with the rough top side down. Sprinkle with semolina, if using, or more flour. Cover.

5. Place a large oven proof dish with a lid in the oven. Preheat oven and the pan to the highest setting for at least 1/2 hour.

6. Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Remove lid. Sprinkle a little semolina, if using in the base of the pan. Gently place loaf in the pan inverted so that the rougher surface is now on top. Don’t worry about smoothing it out or having it centered – it will work itself out in the oven.

7. Pop the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes.

8. Remove the lid and turn the oven down to 200C (400F) bake for a further 15 minutes until the loaf is deep brown.

9. Cool on a wire rack uncovered for at least 30mintues if you can wait that long.

rustic homemade yeasted bread
makes 1 loaf

The method is basically the same, but instead of the starter you just use more flour and water and some yeast. This is a great way to see how wonderful homemade bread can be.

425g (15oz) bread flour
375g (14oz) water
1 teaspoon find grained salt
1/4 teaspoon dried yeast
semolina, optional

1. Follow method above but add the yeast at the same time as the salt in step 1.

how to make a sourdough starter video

sourdough starter

From day 3 you can start using your sourdough starter to add flavour to your bread and keep supplementing it with yeast until it is active enough to go it alone.

Once you have the starter established, just keep it in the fridge and feed it about twice a week, or more often if you’re making bread regularly. If you need to go on holidays you can give it a massive feed but I wouldn’t be keen to leave it for longer than a week. You’ll know if it dies because you’ll get awful looking mould growing on the top. It happened to my first culture. But don’t stress if you have a starter death on your hand. You’ve made it once you can make it again.

This would be a great project to do with children. It’s like having a new pet that doesn’t need toilet training!

The wonderful flavour of great sourdough is a result of particular strains of lactic acid bacteria. To encourage these little creatures to grow in your culture, I like to use natural yoghurt. But if you wanted to keep it dairy free you could skip the yoghurt or use a few organic grapes.

bread flour
natural yoghurt

day 1: In a clean bowl or jar, mix together 50g (2oz) flour, 50g (2oz) water and 2 tablespoons organic natural yoghurt. Cover with cling wrap and leave somewhere warm.

day 2: Using a clean spoon, add 100g (4oz) flour and 100g (4oz) water. Mix to combine. Recover and leave in a warm place.

day 3: Today you can make your first loaf. But you’ll need to use some yeast as well. When you’ve removed 200g starter. Replenish with 100g (4oz) flour and 100g (4oz) water. Mix to combine. Recover and leave in a warm place.

day 4 onwards: Remove 200g starter and either use it to make bread or throw it away. Using a clean spoon replace with 100g (4oz) flour and 100g (4oz) water. Mix to combine. Recover and leave in a warm place

somewhere between about day 10 and day 15
Your starter should start to show signs of life. Basically it will start to bubble. When this happens you can stop using the yeast in with your bread. And you can start to keep the starter in the fridge and stop feeding it everyday. Aim to feed it (remove 200g (8oz) and replace with 100g (4oz) each flour and water) twice a week or more often if you’re baking more frequently.

rustic homemade sourdough bread & butter

Have had a wonderful response to my Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School. I have a mother and daughter signed up to learn together – maybe it’s something you could share with a loved one. The price covers everyone in your household. If you haven’t already done so, why not check out the very first class called Solve Your Dinner Dilemma starting October 24th.

{ 228 comments… add one }
  • chkee 11 October, 2010, 5:11 pm

    Hi Jules, since I live in a very hot (32C) and humid (90%) country, I wonder if the starter will actually get “alive” faster?
    By the way, how “warm” is your warm? :)

  • jules 11 October, 2010, 5:16 pm

    warm is just normal room temp – ideally around 20C. For you, you might only need to let the dough rest for 6 hours – best to just do some trial and error

  • Antony Perring 11 October, 2010, 5:31 pm

    Hi Jules.
    Again a beautiful post, and thanks for the video.
    I gave ginger beer a go last summer and loved having that slightly scary alien starter living in my kitchen. You’ve just inspired me to give the bread making a go – a different type of alien in the kitchen.
    thanks for doing what you do with thestonesoup.

  • Wei-Wei 11 October, 2010, 7:56 pm

    I was going to try to start a sourdough starter, but I don’t think that my family eats bread that much and plus, I’m not sure I like the flavour of sourdough. Heh. But I’ll give it a try as soon as I have more experience with sourdough… in eating it, at first. :D

  • jules 11 October, 2010, 10:24 pm

    you’ve just reminided me I bookmarked nigel slater’s ginger beer recipe – brilliant idea swap

    If you like regular bread you could just try the yeasted version – it’s really awesome but less intense flavour – and you don’t need to faff around with the starter

  • Alexa @ Sohdalex 11 October, 2010, 11:06 pm

    This bread looks great! I love the rustic look ;)

  • Rachel 12 October, 2010, 1:51 am

    Thank you for the great bread making instructions! I’m about to move away from reliable bread supplies and need to learn how to make my own. This post is going to be very helpful!

  • sarah k. 12 October, 2010, 6:50 am

    I just made my first loaf from the Bittman/Lahey recipe this week, and while I liked the simplicity of it, I made the mistake of trying to healthify it with some whole-grain flour. The result had a not-unpleasant flavor, slightly sour, but a strange, almost rubbery texture. It still went over well with the kids and spouse, but next time, if I want sandwich bread, I’ll just stick to my regular kneaded bread, and if I want a crusty loaf, I’ll try this one with only white flour!

  • jules 12 October, 2010, 7:03 am

    hey sarah
    I wonder if your wholegrain flour was not so fresh? because of the germ it’s more sensitive to rancidity which could have caused the sourness. But you’re right the texture is always heavier with wholegrain because there’s more fibre and less gluten.

    pleasure rachel – you’re going to love this.

  • Zoe 12 October, 2010, 7:27 pm

    Your timing is amazing jules. We have recently discovered the no-knead recipe in our house (only 5 years later than the rest of the world) and loved it. But 2 recent attempts to sour-dough-ify it were massive fails. I can’t wait to try your recipe and will report back when I do.

  • Ros 12 October, 2010, 9:00 pm

    Zoe, absolutely agree about the perfect timing. I’ve been using the no knead all this year and I am a complete convert, but my only attempt at a sourdough take on the recipe was in brick territory. So this has arrived at exactly the right time. Need to rush…gotta feed the starter. :) ps Jules – recipe 2 of the Julie and Julia challenge – red lentils with tomato and spinach. Yum. Even yummier with some cumin.

  • Sayer 13 October, 2010, 9:31 am

    Thank you for such a detailed post. I’ve been putting off sourdough for a while, but now I have no excuse.

  • Helen Andreatta 13 October, 2010, 8:22 pm

    Jules- have tried your recipe today and I’m so thrilled with the result! Perfecto!!A neighbour gave me some of her sour dough starter so have this on hand. In the past, I was unable to achieve such a lovely oval shape to my loaf. My efforts looked as though it had been sat on. Now I have the answer!
    As it so happens, I have an enamel pot which used to have a prisitine white interior, but after unitentionally leaving it on low gas all night, it’s now grey inside!! ( I’m sure that being cast iron ensured that our house didn’t go up in flames)
    It’s in perfect working order and it now has a new use- our bread baker! I loved your very detailed instructions. I highly recommend this recipe- GO for it!!!

  • Brian 13 October, 2010, 11:32 pm


    What a pleasant surprise to find your site and blog this morning…thank you Jules! I look forward to digging in!

  • rosalia 14 October, 2010, 12:43 am


    i’ve read your posts for a while now & the food looks so beautiful & yummy. i just wanted to let you know that i can’t wait to try out your recipes after we move into our new place. i got very lucky in finding your site. thanxx for sharing your wisdom!

  • Free Recipes Online 14 October, 2010, 1:36 am

    oh wow that does look good and the recipes seem easy so I’ll be giving it a try really soon. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • jules 14 October, 2010, 7:32 am

    Yes how good are the red lentils – keep me posted with how you go on the Ros|Jules project!

    Yay – glad the bread worked well for you – how lucky are you to have a neighbour with a sourdough starter.

  • S@buttered-up 14 October, 2010, 2:54 pm

    This is really cool. I’ve never made a sourdough starter despite wanting to learn for a while. I’ve used yeast a lot though to generally good results. Thanks for sharing. :)

  • mitch 15 October, 2010, 5:27 am


    I was browsing into your site and the making of sourdough bread seems really interesting and easy to make. Thank you for showing how to do it via video and I will try to make my own sourdough bread from now on ^_^

  • april 17 October, 2010, 12:45 pm

    Hey, has anyone mentioned that the New York times and Cooks Illustrated has a brilliant video and recipe for “No-Knead Bread”? It is amazingly easy with no starter! I have made several loafs; the only deal is that I need to remember to make it the day before because it is best if it rises overnight. Thanks for just a great blog site!

  • Franci 17 October, 2010, 9:33 pm

    OMG! It looks gorgeous! My sourdough makes usually very heavy breads even if I knead the dough for ages but you… in a couple of minutes made this wonder!

  • Anju 20 October, 2010, 2:55 am

    Out of curiosity, just how large a dish did you use?

  • jules 20 October, 2010, 6:31 am

    I hadn’t seen the video – thanks for sharing

    I know, I went through the whole kneading thing. You won’t look back!

    great question its a 26cm diameter pot but a slightly smaller one would be fine as well

  • Therese @ artistta 21 October, 2010, 6:03 am

    Hi, Just found your site while looking for sourdough recipes. I’m curious, have you ever tried making this recipe with 100% whole wheat? I’m thinking of giving it a go this evening. I’ve been wanting a recipe that gives me a crunchy bread on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside and this looks perfect.

    If it works, I’m hoping I can share this recipe on my food blog soon.

    Thanks and I”m glad I found your site!

  • jules 21 October, 2010, 7:28 am

    Hi Terese
    Yes I have made it with 100% whole wheat. The texture was a lot denser and the flavour more brany, but it wasn’t all bad – still had the rustic crust.

  • Therese @ artistta 26 October, 2010, 10:05 pm

    Hi Jules, so I’ve now made this recipe several time with both white bread flour and whole wheat and LOVE them both. This was the perfect bread for a picnic loaf recipe I was sharing on my blog.

    If you want to check out the post, here’s the link.

    I gave you the credit and perhaps it will send some traffic your way. The post was actually for a food blogging contest I’m in. On my blog I focus on making everything or close to everything from scratch using as few processed ingredients as possible. This recipe was the first bread recipe that I found that actually gave me a delicious crunch on the outside and a soft chewy texture on the inside and was so easy to make. Truly perfect! I did do 1 1/2 times your recipe amount so my measurements are larger than yours. I needed a little larger loaf than what I got doing the recipe straight up.

    Again thank you!

  • jules 27 October, 2010, 5:53 am

    thanks for the feedback and the link terese.
    So glad rhe bread worked out for you!

  • Rae 29 October, 2010, 12:50 pm


    I have tried to make the starter twice now and both times by day 4ish I get mold growing on the sides of the container. What am I doing wrong?


  • jules 3 November, 2010, 6:50 am


    Sorry I’ve taken a while to get back to you.

    This is mysterious the mould you have growing.

    A few questions.
    Are you covering your container with cling wrap or something?
    Is your flour fresh? – That could be a source of the mould spores
    Would the container previously have had any sources of mould spores? blue cheese?
    Are you using yoghurt? And was it from a freshly opened container?
    Do you get any other signs of life in your starter or is it just the mould growth?


    • Chantelle 13 November, 2015, 3:45 pm

      I have just seen this comment. I too see to be growing mould around the edges of the bowl and on top of the started we are at day 5 today and I now have no idea what to do! Do I continue to feed it and scrape it off. Smells very yeasty.

      • jules 16 November, 2015, 2:13 pm

        Yes scrape it off Chantelle and continue to feed… and move to storing in the fridge rather than room temp.

  • Majeeda 7 November, 2010, 12:53 pm

    I’ll have to mark this for later use because I have always wanted to do a sour dough. I actually tried to make a starter once but it turned out putrid ): I don’t know what the issue was but I’ll give it a try with your instructions.

    Is it usual for sour-dough to have such a long kneading time? I ask because I make other breads all the time and I probably do only 10-15 mins of kneading altogether. I like the sound of ‘no’ kneading though :P I can hardly believe it.

  • Jure Merhar 7 November, 2010, 11:38 pm

    Hi, Jules,

    Thanks for this amazing recipe! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten better bread. However, I might have taken your “don’t stress about the flour” comment a bit too literally.

    I’ve only made this bread twice now, but I can already see that choosing the right flour (mixture) can make a world of difference. The first time, I used plain white flour only (http://goo.gl/EQO2S), and the bread was OK, but nothing special, really. So I decided to use rye flour (http://goo.gl/PQX7o) for my second loaf. I mixed 200g of rye flour with 225g of plain white flour, and added some seeds as well (linseed, pepita and sunflower seed mix). Wow! This time, it came out unbelievably good.

    So far, I’ve only done the yeasted version, since I never thought I’d bake bread very often. Now, I’m seriously considering making a sourdough starter. :)

    Greetings from Slovenia,

  • jules 8 November, 2010, 10:27 am

    glad you’ve been experimenting with differnt flour – the rye sounds lovely

    the reason for the super long proofing time is that we’re getting the dough ‘kneaded’ by the action of the yeast & bacteria producing the gas (CO2) and ‘stretching’ the dough – it’s such a wonderful alternative to hours of kneading

  • Chris 17 November, 2010, 3:05 pm

    I discovered this recipe a couple weeks ago and I’ve been testing it out with different amounts of ingredients. I baked my first rustic loaf following your instructions and I haven’t been able to stop ever since. I know I should be expanding my knowledge and trying new things, but I’m in love with this. My bread consumption has never been this high. Who knew making bread could be so easy and rewarding. Thanks!

  • Amy 19 November, 2010, 4:45 am

    So I’ve been trying to bake my first bread using a starter. I have a beautiful bubbling sourdough starter, and I baked a loaf that looked just stunning yesterday in my dutch oven. The inside was almost… spongy. It was extremely dry, and just overall bad. Very disappointing. Have you ever had this problem? How do you (and I) fix it?
    Thanks so much for your help!

  • jules 19 November, 2010, 8:32 am

    Hi Amy
    That’s weird that the crumb was really dry – No I haven’t had that problem. It sounds like it was either overcooked or there wasn’t enough moisture in the dough to begin with.

    If you’re sure you used the right amount of water, next time try baking at a lower temperature – maybe you have a super powerful oven – try setting at 230C (450F) for the first stage of baking and then turning down as per the recipe for the lid-off stage

  • jules 19 November, 2010, 8:32 am

    ps. let me know how you get on

  • Stacy 27 November, 2010, 9:06 am

    Hi Jules. A quick note from a fellow sydney-sider to thank you for your blog. It’s inspiring – amongst other things, you’ve got me making sourdough for the first time. For some reason my dough is beyond wet – practically liquid! – but after being chased around the countertop with a doughscraper and loads of extra flour it bakes up well. I’ll keep experimenting and I’m sure I’ll have a flat side and a folded side before too long :) Thanks so much for all your work and dedication – I’m off to buy your e-book.

  • jules 30 November, 2010, 10:32 pm

    glad you’re enjoying stacy
    it’s meant to be super liquid – that’s the secret
    thanks for supporting stonesoup!

    • Mike 7 December, 2015, 1:15 pm

      Hi Jules!

      Wow, my first loaf of the sourdough recipe came out great. The dough was very wet and loose but I simply did a couple of bowl spin folds with sprinkled flour and it worked fine. I’m a big fan of SOUR sourdough, being from the Bay Area of California I grew up spoiled on amazing sourdough, I do believe your local climate and molds and organisms in the air can make a difference. As most sourdough mythology says that a more DRY starter and dough is the key to sourness, I was afraid this wet dough wouldn’t have the flavor profile I’m accustomed to. Not so! This loaf came out moist and spongy inside, with a very crisp outer crust and an amazing flavor. Thanks for the great video and the kneading relief! Cheers from North Idaho!

  • Renee 2 December, 2010, 4:42 am

    Hi Jules,
    I make the no-knead all the time with yeast. But I’ve tried twice to make this with the starter and both times I end up with flour soup hours later, which cannot be formed into a loaf for baking. When I make this recipe with the yeast, it starts out looking like a wet dough which later forms the loaf. The a lot of irregularity in the consistency of starter so it’s difficult to determine how much water to add. Do you have any tricks for this issue?

  • jules 2 December, 2010, 6:54 am

    Hi Renee
    That’s strange. I haven’t come across this problem – I’ve made it both ways.

    Although it sounds like your starter isn’t active enough to produce the gas needed to form a loaf. Is your starter bubbling and looking like it’s fermenting?

    If you’re a bit unsure you can add a tiny pinch of commercial yeast to the bread and still use the starter. You’ll still get flavour benefits from the starter but the commercial yeast will make sure you get enough gas production to get things happening.

    Let me know how you get on!

  • Stacy 4 December, 2010, 11:10 am

    I was having the same problem with the sourdough recipe as Renee – the dough was so wet it was all I could do to stop it running off the counter with a doughscraper, and had to work in at least another cup of flour at the loaf-forming stage to be able to handle it at all. Maybe there’s something in common with the flour we’re using? (I have none of your expertise in this Jules!) But for what it’s worth, I’ve fixed it by increasing the flour to about 350g, and it’s working beautifully – I make all of our bread at home using this recipe with the tiny flour quantity adjustment. Notwithstanding possible starter problems, maybe worth a go?

  • jules 4 December, 2010, 9:11 pm

    thanks for sharing stacy
    glad to hear you’ve found something that works for you.
    it could be a flour thing – different flours definitely absorb water at different rates. I have tried a few different flours but I guess at the end of the day they’re all australian so not exactly exhaustive – although will be keen to try this when I’m in the northern hemisphere next year.

  • Craig B Buttle 18 December, 2010, 1:34 pm

    Thanks for the inspirition to have a go at the $2.00 meal, it works I currently spend $28.00 per fortnight on bread, marg, vegemite and milk, having Vinnies provide some food, but hey thats is Ok, I am better and more energetic riding a bike too, having moved into a country house at Launching place vic. Most of the rest of my capital goes into my business, saving up for a car.

  • jules 22 December, 2010, 8:27 pm

    wow craig
    $28/fortnight is pretty amazing…
    good luck with saving for the car!

  • Alicia 4 January, 2011, 12:57 pm

    Thanks for the great recipe, except i also had the same issue with a very runny dough. The bread turned out to be very moist and had an almost crumpet-like texture…
    do you know the reason for this? is it because the dough was so wet, or did i just not bake it for long enough?

  • Lois Kramer 15 January, 2011, 8:04 am

    Thanks for posting the sourdough recipe. We have been having delicious bread for the past week. I will post a picture of some creative things I did with the recipe. We really enjoy fresh garlic, pepperoni, jalapenos, olives, herbs, etc. in the bread to make it extra great.


    I do have a question: Do you have any other recipes for using the starter? Would be nice for a new twist. Can it be used in something sweet or is that defeating the purpose of the sourdough taste. Thanks….

  • jules 18 January, 2011, 3:51 pm

    the dough is meant to be super runny. not sure about the crumpet texture though… have you tried it with a longer baking time?

    so glad you’re loving the sourdough. I’m actually planning on running a breadmaking class in March that will look at different variations including a sourdough fruit loaf. http://stonesoupvirtualcookeryschool.com/calendar/

  • Elisa gollatz 27 January, 2011, 11:22 am

    Hi Jules,
    I love this recipe! I have only made it with fresh milled hard white flour. I mill it on a pastry flour setting so much of the graininess is gone. It also makes a great rye as well if you substitute 1/3 of the hard white flour for fresh milled rye flour and add some caraway seeds.
    It is exactly what I have been searching for! -Finally a recipe for artisan style bread using only fresh milled flour!
    My family and I thank you!

  • Vintage Macaroon 29 January, 2011, 1:26 pm

    Very inspiring. I like your videos, you make it easier to see how simple it really is. Must get a sourdough starter going I guess. Thanks.

  • bernie 29 January, 2011, 4:22 pm

    I cannot wait to try this!


  • jules 30 January, 2011, 6:44 am

    And I thank you for sharing your rye experience – wonderful! Will have to get my hands on some rye flour.

    thanks vintage macaroon
    enjoy your sourdough starter – it’s like having a new pet in the house!

  • coco 9 March, 2011, 3:52 pm

    hey jules,

    cheers for the fantastic recipe! i’ve just pulled my loaf out of the oven after it has been filling the apartment with a mouthwatering aroma for the past 45mins. despite sticking to the tea towel a little (oops!), it looks gorgeous and, when tapped on the base, sounds promising. i can’t wait to show it off to the boyfriend when he gets home from work!

    i have my starter bubbling away (at day two) so i’ve gone with the yeasted version. i also tweaked the recipe slightly by using fresh yeast and almost equal parts of ’00’ flour and wholemeal stoneground spelt. i was hesitant to use entirely spelt on my first attempt, but i will be experimenting with different flours as i gain confidence.

    for now, i simply can’t wait to tear into this beauty tonight! thanks again – i had never considered myself capable of baking my own bread until i found your site.

  • chas 22 June, 2011, 6:45 am

    instead of semolina one can use corn meal – (not corn flour/corn starch)
    -what makes ‘corn-meal muffins’ from.

  • Roger 1 July, 2011, 1:19 am

    Hi Jules
    Thanks for your encouragement with the Rustic Sourdough bread. Was going to write that it is “BO” day (Bread in Oven), but the initials looked a teensy bit awkward, somehow. Will let you know how it works out (btw, although it is summer here on the left coast of Canada, it’s the chilliest, rainiest on record — and my grandmother sold the house with the linen closet — so keeping the ‘starter’ in a warm place has been the most significant challenge to date!

  • jules 1 July, 2011, 12:58 pm

    yes you’re right – BO isn’t a good look for this bread..
    hope you get some warmer weather!

  • The Starving Student 14 October, 2011, 11:58 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I just made it yesterday using my homemade starter and I already have plans to make another loaf today! It is so simple but the results are unreal. Mine turned out almost like ciabatta in terms of texture but it still had that background sour flavour. After many failed attempts, this recipe was my saviour!

  • Michelle 15 October, 2011, 10:36 am

    I’ve been making a version of the no-knead bread using yeast for ages – and yesterday tried this one using a spelt sour dough starter – it was SO much better My starter seemed much wetter then yours in the video so I used a bit less water till the final dough looked about right……and it was fantastic! There are a heap of websites that always made me feel as though I had to have science degree to make sourdough, so thanks for making it so damn easy!! Cheers, Mich

  • Linda 16 October, 2011, 5:56 am

    I have not made a starter in quite a while. Your demonstration is clear and your notes make it easy to understand. I love your simple rustic bread recipes and I am absolutely going to try it. For some reason, that style bread is not available in my local markets. I have to drive to another city to get to the natural and/or organic food supermarkets to find it. Knowing that I can make it on my own is a plus.

    Blessings as you continue to share what you’ve mastered with me/us. I have subscribed.


  • Craig 12 November, 2011, 5:59 am

    Hi there,
    I followed your recipe and ultimately it turned out really good.
    I would say though your recipe called for WAY too much water. I guess my starter is a bit wetter than yours (mine is 50% hydration). I had to add at least another cup of flour and the next day it was so sticky and hard to handle. It turned out really well in the end though, but for others I would suggest that 10oz of water is too much.

    • david 23 December, 2012, 6:15 pm

      I have the same problem. I followed the quantities, but reduced the water to 275 ml (water comes as a liquid! I’ve tried drying it but it doesn’t seem to work very well). It’s still the consistency of wall paper paste.
      Tomorrow I will add the extra flour and, on the next try, cut the water to 100ml (and make two loaves, probably).
      Report later.

      • jules 2 January, 2013, 4:48 pm

        Weird David that it’s so runny… it’s meant to be super moist but not wall paper paste.. but not as firm as a regular dough.. have you tried baking the paste?… what sort of flour are you using?

  • Kate Smith 9 February, 2012, 10:25 pm

    Hello there. I know it’s a while since you first posted this, and a while since it appeared on ROTH (winter 2010, I think) but as I’ve been very happily making this bread since then I would really like to be able to credit you with the technique and recipe on my own very little blog at http://www.mamamarmalade.co.uk. If you’re happy for me to do this I’d be very pleased!
    Thanks, Kate

  • Jodi 26 May, 2012, 6:21 pm

    Hi Jules,

    I’ve have a great starter nicely fermented and have made this recipe several times. It’s a great flavour but it always comes out slightly moist. Do you have any idea which element I change to fix this – less starter, less water or more time in the oven? I’ve tried a few different ways but it always comes out a bit moist and I’ve no idea of the science behind so can’t seem to fix.

    • jules 31 May, 2012, 10:12 am

      Great question!
      SOund like its underbaked.. so I’d experiment with longer baking with the lid on first…

  • Izabella Hyde 30 June, 2012, 3:31 pm

    So excited to find this!
    I am giving the bread starter a go this weekend. Fingers crossed it will work.

    Looking forward to yummy bread to come!

    Bella :)

    • Izabella Hyde 3 July, 2012, 8:53 am

      Hey Jules!

      Its Bella again…just letting you know that the bread worked! I’ve made my first ever bread!
      It looks fantastic and will be posting photos on my blog!

      Your recipe is fantastic for the starter!


      • jules 3 July, 2012, 6:52 pm

        Wonderful Bella!
        So glad it’s working for you
        Thanks for reporting back!

  • carolyn 14 July, 2012, 2:58 pm

    Hi Jules,
    Thanks for sharing this great recipe!
    I just made my first yeasted loaf supplemented with some of my starter (a my starter still being established.)
    The top of the loaf stuck to the tea-towel (I must not have used enough flour), but still a success for my first attempt!

    • jules 16 July, 2012, 2:33 pm

      Glad you liked it Carolyn
      You do need loads of flour to stop the dough sticking.. so you should be OK next time.

  • Jules (masculine) 22 August, 2012, 2:21 am

    Suggestion: I use my starter to keep my yeasted breads fresh and without mold longer but in smaller quantity than in a sourdough.

    • jules 23 August, 2012, 12:15 pm

      Thanks for the tip Jules

  • Hilly 22 August, 2012, 5:37 pm

    Fab recipe for sour dough bread – but just too much of a bother…Have you researched the original Irish bread??? on the same line but takes only 10 min. to prepare and another 40 min. to bake.

  • Anja 8 September, 2012, 1:40 pm

    Hi Jules,
    I made my first ever sourdough this morning and it turned out beautifully! Thank you for a wonderful recipe! I’m planning to make another loaf tomorrow but would love to add some olives. Have you made olive sourdough using this recipe? Do you think it would be best to add the olives before or after it proofs?

    • jules 15 September, 2012, 1:04 am

      I haven’t tried olives Anja but am sure they’ll be lovely
      I’d add them after it proofs

  • Louise.T 8 September, 2012, 8:22 pm

    Made your starter and sourdough, which I was afraid of doing as everyone I spoke to explained how difficult it would be to do. I am amazed at how simple it was and I enjoyed everyy part of the process. I make regular bread by hand all the time and it is quite hard work so to come across this simple recipe is brilliant. Thank you so much Jules! I have finally conquered. Sourdough which I have been wanting to do for a very long time. Thanks again!

    • jules 15 September, 2012, 1:03 am

      Awesome Louise!

  • Lainie Anderson 13 October, 2012, 6:58 pm

    Lovely simple recipe Jules. I’ve been making sourdough bread for a little while now and wanted a really simple recipe to give to a friend, and made this myself without kneading (of which I was skeptical) but they turned out very similar to the ones I labouresly knead, fold and turn the works so I think I will stick to your recipe too! Although you do get a better rise from kneading the taste is just the same. Thanks, Lainie :)

    • jules 5 November, 2012, 3:26 pm

      Great Lainie
      Thanks for sharing your kneading vs no kneading knowledge!

  • Mike 3 December, 2012, 6:22 am

    Hey Jules, I just wanted to let you know that I followed your instructions for getting the sourdough starter going, and within a week it was bubbling away happily. We had a brunch for about 20 friends today so I made two rustic sourdough loaves that turned out just beautifully (they looked just like yours do in the pictures!). I have never made a sourdough before and always thought that it was a big investment in time for a very uncertain result. By following your advice in the blog and video, it was easier than I expected and delivered far better results than I could ever have hoped for. Your video tutorial was very helpful – I would never have believed the dough was supposed to be so wet if I hadn’t seen this. I resisted the temptation to add more flour, and am glad that I did. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • jules 4 December, 2012, 5:26 pm

      Thanks for reporting back Mike!
      So glad we’ve turned you into a sourdough baker :)

  • CJ 4 January, 2013, 11:56 am

    Is Bread flour something special or may I use an quality all purpose flour? Must I purchase a special Bread Flour?

    • jules 9 January, 2013, 5:11 pm

      HI CJ
      Yes bread flour is special as it has a higher protein content than all purpose.
      You can use all purpose but the texture won’t be as light and springy (and bready!) as with bread flour

      • The Carpet Cleaning 22 January, 2013, 8:16 am

        I didn’t know that about bread flour. I just thought the difference was that it had been sifted or something.

  • Kerry 23 January, 2013, 10:01 am

    As a fan of no-knead bread, I absolutely love these recipes!

    Is it a simple case of doubling ingredients to double the loaf size, or does it not work particularly well? I know it doesn’t always :)

  • Maria@pinkpatisserie 25 January, 2013, 3:10 pm

    Thank you for such a fantastic recipe! Made my first loaf today using the 3 day starter. Turned out beautifully! I did need to add a slight bit more flour to reach the right consistency but once I did it worked great. I am only on day 4 of my starter and it’s already bubbling. Should I begin to store it in the fridge or wait until day 10? I don’t want to ruin it! :)

  • Kerry 30 January, 2013, 11:30 am

    Oops… yoghurt sourdough starter spoiled with pink and black dairy moulds appearing at day 4. I suspect it’s because I got yoghurt on the sides and rim of the jar and would definitely recommend making it in something with a wider mouth, that is still easy to cover.

    Also, I discovered with the rustic yeasty bread that making the dough in the afternoon, then ignoring it in an airtight container until the evening of the following day, I could just pour it into the dutch oven without touching it and get the most amazing results.

    Delicious recipe Jules! :)

  • Georgie 17 February, 2013, 11:00 pm

    Hi, I’ve just put my first Sourdough loaf into the oven and am very excited. Mine stuck to the tea-towel too, but having read all the comments I know what to do to remedy this. I am a bit skeptical, but will let you know how it turns out. My starter seemed to improve when I took some out to make the bread ( I’m on about day seven, but I didn’t take any out before)
    thanks for the recipe. x

  • Georgie 18 February, 2013, 12:11 am

    Hello from Bradford, England. It turned out okay, but wow does it have a strong flavour! I left mine longer than you said because I didn’t have time to put it on til lunchtime so it had been about 16 hours, is this why the flavour is so strong? Mind you I am used to plain tasting bread machine bread. It is denser than yours but that’s perhaps because I used lots of wholemeal flour. I also missed out the yoghurt as I got my recipe before I saw your site. Can I add some yogurt to my starter now or is it too late? Thanks

  • Melissa 27 February, 2013, 4:58 pm

    Hello Jules from Central California!

    This is the first time I have ever responded on a blog! Guess that tells you what generation I’m from! :) I wanted to thank you for all your time and effort placed in developing a wonderfully simple Rustic Sour Dough recipe. This is day no. 4 for my starter, bubbling away and I baked my first loaf this evening! Wow…really a beautiful thing! The crisp crunch of the crust along with light airiness of the inside…I found myself thinking…did I just make this at home?

    I do have a couple of questions for you:

    Is the plain natural yogurt ever added to the starter again or only at the beginning? How would I go about intensifying the sour dough flavor?

    I am also perusing through your web page and recipes, I appreciate your fresh perspective for preparing meals to include more veggies. The desserts look and sound great. I’m thinking the almond cake with raspberries might be next!


  • John 5 March, 2013, 12:12 pm

    Wow this is a great recipe. I have had great success and continue to impress family and friends with the flavour and texture of the bread. One question, my starter is almost one month old and is bubbling nicely however i still need to add yeast to get a descent rise. Any thoughts on this? Could i add more yogurt to strengthen the starter? Thanks from Canada.

  • John 5 March, 2013, 12:20 pm

    Oh, one more question. In the video your sourdough starter has a much thicker texture and darker colour than mine. Mine is a very wet dough consistency and is white. Have you added a dark flour to yours, rye perhaps? Thanks again

  • Francis Foley 26 March, 2013, 3:57 am

    I have a starter going since last week and it smells fruity and I’m getting some good reactions after feeding, the temperature in Ireland is pretty cool at the moment so I have to keep the starter in my hot press. I have looked at receipes on other sites but you would to be unemployed or retired to devote the time to making the bread. I intend to make this bread tomorrow, starting in the morning with the dough and allowing it to work its magic while I earn my crust. By 8 pm tomorrow I will be eating this bread. I will let you know how I got on.

    BTW: For those interested, this is a picture of my starter taken a few days ago.


    And this is a photo of another yeast bread I make complete with recipe and instructions.


  • Francis Foley 27 March, 2013, 6:56 am

    The Sourdough Loaf
    This is my first attempt at baking sourdough bread, I got a good rise, hope it tastes nice. More anon.


    Sourdough Loaf Interior
    The first cut into the sourdough loaf, very tasty, the sourness was slight and there is not much left after the family dug into it.


  • Erin 19 April, 2013, 6:32 pm

    Our starter, christened “Henry”, is two days old and happily residing in our war, airing cupboard! I want to bake a loaf tomorrow, and you mentioned the need to add 1/4 tsp dried yeast until “Henry” is older. Just one question: what type of dried yeast? :)

  • Debbie 1 May, 2013, 11:10 am

    I’m actually about to start the $2 day challenge next week and making sour dough was one of my plans, which has brought me here. I can’t wait to try this recipe and will be posting my results as soon as I find out!

  • Maria 26 May, 2013, 11:21 am

    Brilliant! Thank you :-)

  • Anne 5 June, 2013, 10:09 am

    Terrific way of baking bread – makes a moist loaf which was tricky to achieve in my old method. Thanks.

  • Mel Bee 5 June, 2013, 11:27 pm

    Hi Jules, thank-you so much for this gift of a recipe; I’ve been making bread (over-yeasty, dry and dense) for quite some time until…I finally got around to making your recipe. My goodness! I’ve made a loaf or two every day for the past week (yeast version) and it is delicious. And, so far, unfailing! Today, I baked with ~half kamut flour and ~half bakers. It was a different texture to the stoneground unbleached bakers – less open…denser? but still moist and delicious. Rye is next on my list. I like Elisa’s suggestion of caraway seeds. Tomorrow, I pick up 12kgs of biodynamic bakers. Should last a few days, at this rate! Thanks again. I’m really loving making this bread! Grateful me.

  • Deb 18 June, 2015, 8:50 am

    I started a sourdough starter (it needs a name!) three or four months ago, going the old fashioned route with just flour and water. I used this approach and it was great – but I forgot to add juice and just used tap water and it was all ok. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/233/wild-yeast-sourdough-starter
    I have made this recipe a few times – but this last time definitely notice the difference – the sourdough is getting way more active, but also more complex in flavor. I live at 7500′ in Wyoming – so there were a few adjustments I’ve been playing with that I read about, can’t speak to which ones help because I haven’t been that scientific. But I give it a second rise, and the total rising time is as long as 18 hours. I also use bread flour instead of normal all purpose flour, it seems to help a lot. I also splurged and got one of the actual bread domes on sale instead of gerry rigging something to bake the bread in. Holy crow it’s looking great.

    • jules 23 June, 2015, 10:26 pm

      Good for you Deb!

  • Debbie 18 July, 2015, 6:15 am

    I’ve been struggling to capture that elusive sourdough loaf – crispy outside, moist large holes and tender crumb – for a couple of years, but started backwards, trying to do it with heavier flours first. After finding your recipe, I tried it with my regular starter and although the flavor was good, it was dense and just not the “hole-y Grail.” Second attempt I did with your starter – perfection! Now I’m trying to get the rise ability into my flavorful starter (with some rye, einkorn, and other flours in an old starter). I love your recipe! Thank you so much!

    • jules 27 July, 2015, 1:19 pm

      You’re welcome!

    • Katheryn 24 February, 2017, 1:02 am

      Same thing happened to me- as I added the ingredients, I wondered if there was way too much water. I added more flour immediately because it was way too sticky. I then left overnight for 11 hours, it barely changed, just a gloppy mess- thought I would bake anyways- it’s in the oven right now but I’m doubtful of the outcome. I’ve made bread many times but never with dough this sloppy. I wish in the directions it would mention how much it was to rise overnight- is it to double in size? Is the dough suppose to be so sticky??

      • Katheryn 24 February, 2017, 1:03 am

        Oops meant to reply to Kay not Debbie, sorry.

  • Annemieke 6 August, 2015, 4:01 am

    Thank you so much for this recipe. For a few years already this is my number 1 recipe I ever found. We love the bread!

    • jules 10 August, 2015, 2:48 pm

      so glad you like it annemieke!

  • Carolyn 14 August, 2015, 9:09 am

    Hi Jules so love your recipes just a question can you use spelt flour for the bread recipe cheers

  • Kay 15 August, 2015, 5:34 am

    I’ve tried this recipe for three times now. The first attempt was horrendous. After mixing the ingredients together the dough was fine. After raising it overnight it had turned to liquid. I poured it into dutch oven and baked it (more like fried it) and it resembled a spanish flan. The second time i added more flour and the dough was more manageable, but it didn’t rise. The bread was dense and tasted simply bad. My sourdough was active and i’ve used it for many other recipes with good results. My third attempt ended with dense bread with a cardboard like taste. If made with given ammount of flours the dough turns into liquid during night. If i add even a slightest bit of more flour it turns into dense crap.

    • jules 18 August, 2015, 2:59 pm

      Thanks for sharing Kay..
      I’m really sorry it didn’t work out for you :)

    • Alison 19 March, 2016, 10:11 am

      Same Kay – absolutely liquid mess after overnight. I have checked many recipes and the propitious simply can’t be right. 10 oz water definitely needs at least 500g flour. Thank goodness I have some experience and hopefully I have salvaged this by adding another 159-200g flour! Very disappointing, and also wondering why there is no kneading????

      • Kathy 23 July, 2016, 2:40 am

        I had the same issue. The first time I added flour after the long rise, enough to make it a better consistency . I’ve been messing around with this for a few weeks, because it does always seem to turn out. I use a total of 1lb, 7 oz of flour, or about 4 1/2 cups of flour. It works perfectly now for me!

        • jules 28 July, 2016, 3:04 pm

          Thx for sharing Kathy!

        • Katheryn 24 February, 2017, 1:04 am

          Same thing happened to me- as I added the ingredients, I wondered if there was way too much water. I added more flour immediately because it was way too sticky. I then left overnight for 11 hours, it barely changed, just a gloppy mess- thought I would bake anyways- it’s in the oven right now but I’m doubtful of the outcome. I’ve made bread many times but never with dough this sloppy. I wish in the directions it would mention how much it was to rise overnight- is it to double in size? Is the dough suppose to be so sticky??

        • Katheryn 24 February, 2017, 1:09 am

          Good for you Kathy but I’m not going to waste my time, my sourdough starter and flour trying to fix a recipe, I’ll just use one that I know works, what a waste of time.

    • Melissa 14 January, 2017, 11:44 pm

      I had the same issue- used weight to measure and followed recipe- had basically a bubbly starter after 12 hours. I added nearly a cup of flour and then kneaded it- will bake it in a few hours I guess, after resting and rising in my banneton. Not excited for the outcome, however.

  • Christie 20 August, 2015, 3:48 pm

    Hi Jules,

    I am wanting to make a rye sourdough.. I have almost completed making a rye sourdough starter.. Would the measurements for my flour be the same as the bread flour ?

    • jules 25 August, 2015, 3:57 pm

      I haven’t ever worked with rye flour Christie… sorry!

  • Kerrye 24 September, 2015, 4:03 am

    Excellent results with the sourdough bread recipe. Weighing is essential and not doing so may be the problem for some extra wet dough.
    Question- when using the established starter from the refrigerator, should it be at room temperature for any length of time or added in immediately to make the bread?
    Thanks so much for your VERY helpful page that has made my first bread making endeavor a success!

    • jules 29 September, 2015, 3:39 pm

      Wonderful Kerrye!
      And good reminder to weigh for extra accuracy and avoid wet dough.
      You can use the starter from the fridge as the long prooving time will allow plenty of time for it to come up to room temp.

  • Mari 2 October, 2015, 7:48 am

    Hi Jules,
    I really want to give this method a go, but since I’m new to the subject I have no experience whatsoever, I don’t have clear if I have to put some yeast to the starter every time I feed it…? Thanks!

  • Vicky 15 October, 2015, 12:43 pm

    Finally started making the sourdough starter and then your website crashed! So glad you’re back… I’m at day 4 and my starter looks lifeless. No bubbles, just smells sours and the flour and water separate. Do I still persist? I used a wholemeal unbleached flour but a rather “commercial” organic yoghurt (although fresh was not that tasty).

    • jules 19 October, 2015, 2:13 pm

      If there aren’t any bubbles sounds like you don’t have an active culture Vicky so I’d start again… Good luck!

  • Jocelyn 31 October, 2015, 10:41 pm

    Just wanted to correct one thing in this post, the lactic acid that forms is due to the fermentation of the wheat by the wild yeast, not any addition of lactose from dairy products. Amazing traditional sourdough bread is 100% dairy free. Thanks.

    • jules 4 November, 2015, 1:44 pm

      Thanks Jocelyn

  • Maya 4 November, 2015, 9:18 pm

    This recipe looks amazing, but I don’t own a dutch oven. Can I use a normal bread loaf tin?

    • jules 16 November, 2015, 2:26 pm

      No Maya… You need the dutch oven to capture the steam and create a mini oven to cook in… A regular loaf tin won’t work I’m afraid.

  • Greg 10 November, 2015, 3:22 am

    Hi Jules,
    So although I didn’t use your starter recipie, for my first rustic loaf I used your recipie. Thought you’d like to know it looks and smells fantastic. Worked perfectly. Can’t wait to bite into it at dinner. Thanks for posting it. I’d post an image if I could.

    • jules 16 November, 2015, 2:23 pm

      So glad you liked it Greg!

  • Alicia 16 November, 2015, 9:07 pm

    Hi Jules
    Just wondering if you have had any feedback on the high temp & the black handle on le creuset’s? Their website says max temp is 190 C but everything I see says people are using them much hotter than that…

    • Breadhead 4 March, 2017, 1:51 pm

      Wrap the plastic handles or knob on the dutch oven with foil wrap.

  • joan wolf 18 November, 2015, 7:26 pm

    hi, jules, thank you for this recipe. i have made 5 loafs so far and they all turned out great. yesterday,i made one with raisins and walnuts. it is the best so far. i find walnuts taste always great in baking. and i got my new romertopf too. this recipe never fails. by the way, my starter is looking good but it does not seem to be ready yet. will it get a bit sticky when it is ready? coz mine is still very watery.
    best, joan

  • Greg 6 December, 2015, 3:03 pm

    Hi Jules,

    So now I’ve made quite a few loafs. All are good. I’ve experimented with whole wheat and other ingredients and they have come out with varied success. What I wondered is if you had ever worked with rye flour. I’d like to try, but every recipie I see is very complicated. So I thought I might see if you had toyed with it.


  • Mike 15 December, 2015, 9:21 am

    Hi Jules,
    I have been looking for a yeast free, dairy free sourdough recipe ever since trying some bread at a french bakery. So I was very excited by your recipes. One problem though.
    Have tried to produce a starter using organic Spelt flour, sheep yogurt, and filtered water as per your directions. It is now day 16 and it does not look like the bubbling tub of liveliness you see in some photos. It has had a few bubbles on the surface every day and has a nice sour smell, but still just a sludge basically. I live in Brisbane so the starter has been sitting in the kitchen with temperatures between 18-30C. Should I throw out and start again?

    • Jeannie 6 January, 2016, 2:20 pm

      I like your tips. Recently I made a starter, but used only water and unbleached flour. It has grown and smells wonderful. Twice a day I remove most and add a scant cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water to continue growing it. I’ve made a few things with it. Pizza dough, pancakes, and a wonderful flax seed bread. I didn’t have to add any yeast to the bread, as my starter is strong. What a pleasant surprise at how wonderful the bread turned out. Yum.

  • Alex Berger 1 February, 2016, 12:08 pm

    Hi. I started my starter on the 24th, 7 days ago. At first I was concerned nothing would happen (I had this result with cheesemaking) but sure enough it started to bubble. I couldn’t believe how easy it was! The thing is, your recipe says it would come alive on Day 14, and then put it in the fridge. My question is: do I put it in the fridge, or continue the prune/feed cycle until Day 14?

  • Tomas 19 February, 2016, 1:34 pm

    I didn’t follow the recipe exactly because I’m lactose intolerant I used goats cheese instead of yogurt and after 24 hours it looked really bubbly but it stunk really bad. Maybe I should though it away and start again?

  • Cheryl Hutchinson 25 February, 2016, 4:20 pm

    Hi Jules, Can you help please. I have made three (3) loaves so far and not one has cooked through. They are all “dense and doughy”. I am obviously doing something terribly wrong, but dont quite know what. Using a dutch over, following you instructions to the tee but for some reason they are not cooking through. They taste great, if you like doughy bread. x

    • Kathy 2 July, 2016, 11:33 pm

      You have to let sourdough completely cool before cutting into it. If you cut into it before it does, you will be left with doughy bread. I usually bake my bread at night, then let it sit out to cool all night.

  • Lizzy 27 February, 2016, 8:00 am

    I made sourdough with this recipe and it was the best sourdough I’ve ever made. Super simple recipe with a really great result!

  • Emma 28 February, 2016, 2:59 am

    Hi, I’m only on day 4 of my starter and it’s already bubbly and puffing up. Is it ok? Can I stop feeding it every day and put it in the fridge?

  • Dawn 1 March, 2016, 3:36 am

    First, congratulations on your baby!
    I live in Canada and I love your bread, but I always have to add an extra 170g of flour into the recipe… I’m not sure if it is my flour or what! I measure everything perfectly but it’s so wet, it’s like porridge with out the extra flour… Turns out wonderful with the extra flour though! Anyone else had the same problem?
    Or am I doing something wrong!

  • leanne 2 March, 2016, 12:50 am

    at day 3 of starter and mixture already has bubbles do i kep it out of fridge until day 10 and just keep adding and taking out or do i go to twice weekly feeding not to sure what to do.


  • Ann-Charlotte Ribeiro 12 March, 2016, 5:50 am

    Thank you so much for this “easy to follow” recipe.
    My first loaf turned out great. Now I’m waiting for the sourdough starter to be ready so I can get the flavor I have been missing for so long.

  • Vivien 15 March, 2016, 8:53 pm

    Made a batch of sourdough using Fergus Henderson of St Johns Restaurant, London this week – my starter is bubbling and perfect! I don’t have a mixer with a dough hook, so several exhausting hours later – an acceptable if not quite fat enough loaf. So thrilled to find your recipe and have tried it this morning. Same issue though – my dough is so tacky and sticky that it won’t be shaped and my hands kitchen and everything else are a nightmare to clean. Is your dough very sticky? It doesn’t look like it in the video? Have bunged it in the Le Creuset into the oven but it will be a miracle if it turns into a loaf!

    • Chris 29 March, 2016, 10:28 pm

      I’m having the same problem – my dough is too sticky to tame. I fold some over, it just flops into a gooey ball and it becomes a process of scrape and drop rather than shape. I leave a big portion of it on my hands, the counter, etc. I’m going to try more flour next but I’d love to hear other suggestions. Other than the difficulty I have handling the dough, the bread cooks well and has a great texture. It just ends up very flat.

  • Joseph 17 March, 2016, 7:33 am

    Hi, looking forward to making some sourdough, my first try. I am using your starter recipe and I’m on day 4 and I have lots of action. It is bubbling away, is this normal since you point out that should not happen for several more days. Thanks-Joseph

  • Monika 18 March, 2016, 4:26 am

    I love this recipe, I made the starter using unbleached flour, and on day three I used the yeasted recipe with pretty good results. Day 4 I combined the still infant starter with 10 oz of beer (simple, lager works best, I use Yuengling) instead of water, 11 oz flour, 1 tsp salt with AMAZING results!! The dough rose overnight and was amazingly easy to work with; tasty bread! Beer is bread, they say. Good trick if you don’t know where to get yeast, or you don’t have any around. Chances are someones got a beer. Fresh bread > beer.

  • Adriana Gutiérrez 26 March, 2016, 2:47 pm

    So from Day 4-10 (or maybe 15) the starter needs to be fed daily?

  • Betty 3 April, 2016, 8:17 pm

    Wonderful wonderful bread. Thanks for your excellent instructions. I replaced about 250 grams flour (I doubled the recipe for two loaves) with continental flour. Result – amazing. I left my dough for 24 hours. The crust was truly authentic sour dough crust. Thick and crunchy and oh so tasty. My 85 year old Italian mother was impressed with my results!

  • Sherrie 11 April, 2016, 1:19 pm

    I made the sour dough bread with the starter this morning after leaving it overnight. I had misread the recipe and for some reason only put in about 100ml of water so it wasn’t a wet mixture. Nevertheless the bread turned out beautifully and I am very thrilled . Thank you. I will try again with the correct amount of water next time.

    • jules 18 April, 2016, 3:34 pm

      Thx for sharing Sherrie!

  • mich 21 April, 2016, 8:17 pm

    Have to say this is the best sourdough bread i’ve ever made!
    I made the starter with 2tb of kefir (instead of yogurt) and I baked my first loaf on day 3 with the starter as directed – I didn’t add any extra yeast – and it tastes aaamazing! I also used a mixture of white flour and wholemeal stone ground.
    One thing is when I tipped it onto the bench to fold it stuck to the bench and fingers as it was really wet and had troubles unsticking it. Note to self – use heaps of flour.
    Thank you so much for this, you really inspired me. Love your other recipes too – very big fan of simplicity especially when it comes to cooking : )

  • Ann Ryan 29 April, 2016, 1:37 am

    Surely the amounts listed are all wrong in this recipe. Way too much water!! And I don’t think 11oz = 325gms. All a bit wrong.

    • jules 9 May, 2016, 3:17 pm

      You’re right Anne… 11oz is 311g not 325
      With all respect its the right amount of water… The whole point of this method is to use a super wet dough!
      Thanks for asking though :)

  • Spencer Cindia 18 May, 2016, 1:09 pm

    Hopefully I didn’t skim over it and miss it, but when you say around day or so you can start using the starter but will need a little yeast as well, how much of each ought I use?
    Hope to hear back!

  • Rob Bird 26 May, 2016, 1:45 am

    After 12 hours, my dough was quite loose. Had to add at least 1/2 cup and knead lightly to get it to hold a shape. But after that, all was well, After the 30 minutes in the dutch oven, I pulled the lid and it was already light golden brown. Within 5 minutes at 400F, it was a bit darker and stayed that hue the rest of the 15 minutes but never got really dark, which is fine with me. Very moist crumb with a great density yet nice aeration. Lightly crunchy outside. My starter is a San Francisco strain so there’s plenty of tang. I was a bit skeptical before baking, but overall a great loaf!

  • Chelsea 4 June, 2016, 2:22 pm

    I’ve tried this loaf twice. First time I didn’t have a scale and as it turns out, rough estimates don’t work well (surprise hey?). Didn’t rise properly and was wet/dense out of the oven. Tried a second time and measured everything perfectly and the loaf was still quite dense and a bit dampish. Any suggestions? More flour or more time without the lid in the oven? The flavour was delish so I’m keen to perfect this!

    • jules 15 June, 2016, 2:09 pm

      Dampish sounds like underbaked… I’d try more time during the initial stage of baking or using a higher temp (this will help to give more rise too) Jx

  • Chelsea 4 June, 2016, 2:24 pm

    Tried this loaf this twice and it’s turned out dense and a bit damp. Any suggestions? More flour or more time in the oven with the lid off? It’s so delish that I’m keen to perfect it!

  • Michelle Jensen 6 June, 2016, 4:47 pm

    Thanks so much Jules for this amazing recipe for sourdough bread! I’ve now made 4 loaves and each time they have turned out beautifully! I got a starter from a friend which was a great way to begin my bread making experience! Each time I’ve diligently measured everything on digital scales and still the dough is so wet it’s very hard to get it to form into the shape that you have been able to get on the video, it’s literally falling from the bowl in a sticky lava flow! Then I try to mould it with lots of flour but it just oozes back out onto the bench so it’s very hard to get it onto the floured tea towel…… then from there I have to drop it into the cast iron Dutch oven rather than place it gently! However it always turns out beautifully!!!!!
    Last night I realised that I used 375g flour by mistake (instead of 325g) and it was so stiff I decided to add a little more water just so I could mix it together. It did take a while to mix and I thought it may not work if I’ve fiddled with it too much! This am after 15hrs rise time and because there was more volume with the extra flour etc. it was a really large oozie shape and I spent more time trying to get it tamed into a shape with no avail but it still turned out great and it actually had risen higher than the previous 3 loaves!
    After looking at your video again I can see you did pull the edges in to the middle quite a bit more than I had been doing but I still don’t know why my mix is not holding shape? Your starter looks more solid than mine as well….mine is like cake batter? Could it be the starter?

    Love to hear from you on this, I love the bread so much and it’s so delicious! I don’t think I’ll be needing to buy my sourdough anymore!


    • jules 15 June, 2016, 2:20 pm

      Yes sounds like your starter is wetter Michelle… But if you’re happy with the results I’d just keep with what you have :)

    • Rachael 12 September, 2016, 7:15 pm

      I was about to post the same thing. My starter is quite wet and I also have the same problem trying to “tame” it into a shape. I also plonk it into the pot and it ends up a flat loaf rather than a good thickness. Am wondering if adding a little more flour to the starter would work. I shall test that one tomorrow morning to see if I can get more of a thicker starter.

      Love the recipe and the loaf only lasts 20mins if that while it’s still warm. Thanks for posting Jules.

      • jules 16 September, 2016, 3:20 pm

        You’re welcome Rachael!

  • Darren 20 June, 2016, 11:28 pm

    I’ve had great results! The risen dough is quite wet but with some flour and a delicate touch it’s quite workable.
    I added in an autolyse step which seems to help in making the loaf more airy and less dense, I mix the flour and water together and leave for half an hour before mixing in the salt and starter.
    I’ve also found the step that involves heating the pot in the oven for the 30 mins shouldn’t be skipped or shortened as tempting as it may be, it seems to be essential in producing the best results. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Shruti Haksar 2 July, 2016, 3:16 pm

    Hi, I loved the recipe, followed it to the T. but my bread was wet and gummy from inside while the outside was perfect. Should I have added more flour? I live in a high humid climate.

  • Ember 3 July, 2016, 10:20 pm

    This looks amazing! Always wanted to make my own bread. I used to love sourdough but can’t eat it these days because of a gluten and wheat sensitivity. Have you tried using flour from other alternative grains? I’d be interested in making a gluten free sourdough especially if it is light and fluffy instead of dense and brick-like. Please let me know if you have ideas, tips or recipes that might help.

  • Sonya 6 August, 2016, 10:17 pm

    Firstly, I made my first ever sourdough loaf today using your recipe. Love it!
    Secondly, have you ever doubled the recipe & if so, what cooking times would you recommend?

    • jules 11 August, 2016, 5:28 pm

      No I haven’t Sonya… And unless you’ve got a really big pot I wouldn’t do it..

  • Mim 19 September, 2016, 9:14 am

    I’ve had awesome success using pineapple juice in my sourdough starter.. the sweetness helps the yeast bloom faster.
    Just another dairy free alternative! ?

  • Betty 2 October, 2016, 11:30 am

    I made the starter with the suggested amount of flour etc., however, I only had a tub of frozen yoghurt (natural) in the freezer, so I defrosted it and used it. It worked like a dream.
    On the third day I used 200g to make a loaf.
    I followed your recipe but did it it in my 20 year old breadmaker on DOUGH, then baked it in the hot oven,in a regular loaf tin, with a bowl of water on the bottom shelf.
    My husband used to work in a bakery but I am baking the bread now…he just orders it, advises….and eats it!

    • jules 6 October, 2016, 1:51 pm

      Thanks for sharing Betty!

  • Meags 13 October, 2016, 12:58 pm

    Wow.. Wow… WOW!!!!
    I made the sourdough bug following this recipe step by step & gram by gram… I swear this is the best bread I’ve ever made!!! Thanks for sharing :)
    Also I ditched the first bit o starter on day 3 & made my liaf from day 4 starter with no yeast. I used combined organic white & wholemeal rye flour. My bug seems to bubble up real nice.
    Once again thanx for sharing & it tastes delicious!!!!

    • jules 20 October, 2016, 1:26 pm

      Welcome Meags!

  • Janet P 15 October, 2016, 4:57 pm

    This recipe is unbelievable. My very first loaf (today) was truly amazing. Thin, crispy crust with a soft, springy inside–the 4 of us in my household polished off the whole loaf in one sitting. I was worried the dough was too soft (it would not hold any shape, and just oozed across the whole base of the casserole dish), but the outcome was spectacular–better than any bought loaf. I can’t wait to try variations. And I’m still speechless about how simple it was.

    • jules 20 October, 2016, 1:29 pm

      Great Janet! Jx

  • Sue 11 December, 2016, 2:16 pm

    Read the instructions, and all the advice in comments. Weighed and measured carefully ( none of my usual that is close enough) used my own starter and Lauck wholemeal bread flour. Result is great! Chewy crust, nice open holes. I will try for a little deeper loaf next time but this is a keeper.

    • jules 14 December, 2016, 1:54 pm

      Glad it worked Sue!

  • Geoff 10 January, 2017, 10:40 pm

    Jules …not sure if you’re still looking at this site ( it’s mid Jan 2017) .I found your recipe for sourdough starter and bread .,thank you heaps for all the testing you must have done ..Simply the best recipe I’ve tried!. It is brilliant!!!

    • jules 17 January, 2017, 2:12 pm

      Still looking Geoff! I just don’t bake much bread these days. So glad you had success :)

  • Maddie 7 February, 2017, 1:24 pm

    I am going to try and make some bread this weekend. I started my ‘bread starter’ on Sunday night – in hopes to use it Saturday for bread making. When I go to use it do I follow the yeast bread making recipe and just add 200g of the starter? Or do I only use the starter once it’s complete and has ‘life’? Thanks for your help!

  • Catherine Green 12 February, 2017, 2:10 am

    For all of you that don’t have a dutch oven, I used my crockpot vessel lined with parchment paper and foil to seal it when baking.

    • jules 16 February, 2017, 5:28 am

      Thx Catherine!

  • Carol Amadio 21 February, 2017, 12:15 pm

    Well done Jules. I’m 75 and have plenty of time on my hands so I thought I would give your recipe a go. I’m a bit of a miser so I started with a tablespoon of water, that had been boiled to get rid of the chlorine, and about 1 1/2 tablespoons of double O flour I get from a local wholesale grocer. I don’t weigh the ingredients I just go by the consistency of the mixture. The starter is almost dough consistency but I can still mix it with a spoon.
    Each day I doubled the water and added enough flour to get the right consistency. When I got to four tablespoons of water, a third of a cup, I had the right quantity for your recipe. After the next doubleing of ingredients I started making bread with a small quantity of dry yeast. After three days I made two starters and the next day I made a loaf with a half teaspoon of yeast and a loaf with only the starter. The water for a loaf I added according to your recipe and the flour was sufficient the make a very wet dough. I watched your video and noted the consistency of your dough.
    The dough with yeast more than doubled in volume after 12 hours. The dough with just starter increased marginally in volume. I duly baked both loaves after adding a couple of table spoons of flour to make the dough less sticky. The first loaf, with yeast, rose nicely and made a good crusty loaf. The second loaf also rose nicely and made a crusty loaf and the bread was much more doughy, a much more pleasing result. My question is can my wife, who is gluten intolerant eat this bread?

  • Sev Amadio 21 February, 2017, 12:18 pm

    Well my computer incompetence has come to the fore. My wife is Carol and I wrote the last comment. Regards Sev Amadio

    • jules 2 March, 2017, 3:45 pm

      Hi Sev
      No if your wife had gluten problems this recipe isn’t going to help :)

  • Chelsea 15 March, 2017, 11:41 am

    I seem to have the same problem as some other commenters. My dough is a very wet fluffier starter. But after watching your video your starter is much thicker then mine. I will have to add more flour and let it proof again. I wonder if it’s because the flour is so proccessed.

    • jules 22 March, 2017, 12:19 pm

      Flours really vary from season to season and producer to producer Chelsea…. this dough is meant to be much much wetter than a regular dough though.

  • Elizabeth 10 April, 2017, 2:49 am

    This turned out perfectly! I was wondering if I could double the recipe though- we are a household of 9 and only have one Dutch oven.

  • Audrey 20 November, 2017, 12:39 am

    Thank you thank you thank you, Jules, for this! I have been trying to bake a successful sourdough loaf of bread for over a year now & your blog/video finally helped me achieve a PERFECT loaf! You have no idea how happy I am, and how happy my family will be that I will no longer be lamenting my lack of success every time I see a beautiful sourdough boule at the market!! You ROCK!

    • jules 21 November, 2017, 4:54 am

      You’re welcome Audrey!
      It’s it a great feeling to bake a great loaf ;)

  • Derek 7 December, 2017, 2:43 pm

    Hi Jules,
    My dough turned out to be of the runaway variety! Starter had doubled since last feeding, and measurements were accurate. I was using Laucke bread flour. I’ve watched your video, and my dough was far wetter than yours, even though I used copious amounts of extra flour to make it manageable. The result was more like a frisbee than a ciabatta. Certainly no oven spring. If I could send you photos in this comment section I would! Any ideas?

    • jules 8 December, 2017, 3:45 pm

      Hey Derek
      So sorry you ended up with a frisbee. I think the problem is the extra flour you used. I know it’s counter-intuitive but you really need the dough to be super wet to generate enough steam during baking to help it rise. The only thing I can suggest is trying again with the measurements as per the recipe and taking a leap of faith!

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