Sour dough recipe - makes 4 loaves, 8 baguette or 24 rolls


·         Mother 600gm - 3 large ladles (cumulative weight 600gm)

·         White flour 1.5kg (2.1kg)

·         Wholemeal flour 250-300gms (2.4kg)

·         Rye flour 150gms (2.55kg)

·         Salt 80gms (2.63kg)

·         Water 1.5litres (4.13kg) – the amount of water needed depends on humidity, heat and the mix of flours and taste – a wetter mix, cooked hot, will make a ciabatta style bread (flatter, with big holes)


1.       Mix: mix ingredients (I do it by hand in a very large bowl with a big wooden spoon – takes a few minutes) and cover with plastic

a.       (Restore mother by mixing in flour and water to replace 3 ladles put in recipe)

2.       Rise 1: leave mix 6-12 hrs (e.g. overnight);  should grow by 50% or so (note: this part of the process can be sped up by heating the water – but not above 50 degrees – and by doing more kneading – e.g. for 5 minutes at start and then for a few minutes every 30 mins…but this is much more work than I have time for)

3.       Knock-back: sprinkle a cup of flour on wet dough mix in the bowl; use spatula to separate from sides of bowl, flip once or twice to push the dry flour into the dough (should only take a couple of minutes). Should decrease in size by around 1/4.

4.       Rise 2: cover again and either leave for 2-3 hours on bench or (better) 6-12 hours (e.g. overnight or while at work doing day activities) in fridge.


5.       Cutting: Generally I cook half (two loaves) and leave the rest for a couple days. Flip dough onto lightly floured bench. Roughly knead for 30 seconds. Cut in half and return half to covered bowl and fridge. Will last for a few days...producing a denser and tastier bread over time.


6.       Rolling: Cut the half on bench in half again. Each of these is a decent loaf. Knead flour in to get to a pleasing consistency that is not that tacky.  To roll the bread into a loaf, hang the dough from one end to let it stretch, then roll it up from the thinnest end, tucking the sides in as you roll.


7.       Proofing: rest in proofing basket on dusting of flour for 1-2 hours – less for baguettes…if you leave it too long, the doughs will rise and then fall again.

8.       Scoring: Flip onto flat baking tray covered in semolina.  Score with sharp blade (e.g. Stanley knife/box-cutter) about 4 mm deep cuts - make your own pattern (1 long cut easiest, 2 diagonal cuts pretty classic).

9.       Baking: Bake (two loaves) at 180-200 for 45mins (25 on fan bake and 20 on pizza/grill bake). It is ESSENTIAL the oven has a small tray of water in it to keep humidity levels super high. This prevents the skin toasting early, allowing the inside to expand as it heats.

10.   Resting: Rest for 45 minutes after baking. Yes, you can eat straight away but resting DRAMATICALLY improves the result.