Easy sourdough bread recipe

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I’ve recently realised that most of my sourdough recipes are not entirely suitable for those starting out in sourdough baking. Many of my recipes involve more than ten ingredients and certain enhancing dough elements (such as seed soakers) which may discourage budding sourdough bakers. This is why I’m posting an easy sourdough bread recipe based on only three ingredients (flour, water and salt), perfect for those setting out on their slow fermentation journey.

Easy basic sourdough loaf
Basic sourdough loaf with a beautiful pattern from the rattan proving basket

The easy sourdough bread recipe below will produce a loaf at 67% hydration which means that the amount of liquid (water in this instance) is 67% when calculated based on the amount of flour.

Dough hydration calculation

  • 15g flour in the sourdough starter + 50g wholemeal flour + 400g strong white flour + 50g dark rye flour = 515g flour in total
  • 15g water in the sourdough starter + 50g water to refresh the starter + 280g water in the final dough = 345g water in total
  • 355g water / 515g flour = 67% dough hydration

For best results in terms of final bread aesthetics, I recommend using a Dutch oven or baking dome.

Sourdough bread
Sourdough bread

Easy sourdough recipe



Main dough

  • 400g strong white bread flour
  • 50g rye flour
  • 280g water
  • 11g salt


  • Some extra flour (I use rice flour)

How to make sourdough bread

  1. Combine the sourdough ingredients in a medium bowl, cover and set aside at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.
  2. On the second day, combine all main dough ingredients with 100g of the refreshed sourdough starter (the rest should be set aside for your next bake) in a large bowl.
  3. Knead for at least 10 minutes until you have formed an elastic and smooth dough. The dough will be slightly sticky, so work with your dough scraper to make things easier.
  4. Shape into a ball and place back into the bowl.
  5. Cover and leave to rest for about an hour at room temperature.
  6. Deflate the dough and give it another quick knead on your work surface.
  7. Shape into a boule, cover with flour and place into lightly floured proving basket.
  8. Cover with a polythene bag to protect the moisture and prove at room temperature. For me, in my Edinburgh kitchen, this process takes a good 6 or 7 hours. However, if your kitchen is warmer, the process may be much shorter, perhaps only 2 hours or so.
  9. Preheat the oven to 220°C and preheat your baking dome or Dutch oven at the same time.
  10. Turn out the loaf onto the baking dome or Dutch oven (or otherwise a baking stone or baking tray lined with baking paper).
  11. Score the top with a pattern of your choice. Use a scoring knife for best results.
  12. Bake at 220°C for 10 minutes and at 200°C for a further 40 minutes.
  13. Take off the lid of your baking dome or Dutch oven for the last 5 minutes if using to firm up the crust.
  14. Cool on a wire rack.
  15. Enjoy an amazing loaf of sourdough bread 🙂

Best Sourdough Recipes (Top 10)

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In celebration of #RealBreadWeek 2016, I would like to share my top 10 sourdough recipes.

Best sourdough recipes for Real Bread Week

Real Bread Week is an annual event by the Real Bread Campaign celebrating real bread and its makers. While real bread can be leavened with commercial yeast or sourdough starter, I’d like to dedicate this real bread tribute to sourdough loaves specifically. Slow-fermented loaves of sourdough bread, using naturally-occurring lactobacilli and yeasts, are my favourite.

Top 10 sourdough bread recipes

  1. Pain de Campagne
    Made from a combination of white, wholemeal and rye flour, pain de campagne is a wonderful loaf of sourdough with a chewy crumb and rustic crust.

    Pain de campagne sourdough
    Pain de campagne, one of the best sourdough recipes I use on a weekly basis
  2. Sourdough Wholewheat Pita Bread
    A perfect choice for all your Middle Eastern salads, meat dishes and dips.

    Wholemeal sourdough pita breads
    Wholemeal sourdough pita breads
  3. Black Treacle Sourdough
    Distinctively dark, intensely rich and distinctively bitter-sweet, this black treacle sourdough bread tastes great with smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill pickled cucumber.

    Black treacle bread slice
    Black treacle sourdough bread
  4. German Sunflower Seed Sourdough
    A delicious loaf of rye-based bread infused with the nutty flavours of dry-roasted sunflower seeds.

    German sunflower seed sourdough bread
    German sunflower seed sourdough bread
  5. German Pumpernickel
    Authentic German pumpernickel, a very rich and heavy bread, made from whole rye berries and cracked rye and baked for 14 hours at a low heat.

    Pumpernickel Slice
    Juicy slice of Pumpernickel sourdough
  6. Danish Seeded Rye Sourdough
    A seeded sourdough option, using sunflower seeds, flax seeds, oats and cracked rye.

    Danish malted rye bread
    Danish malted rye sourdough bread
  7. 100% Rye Sourdough
    A nostalgic craving for all-rye breads is why I started baking bread. These sticky rye doughs will reward with superb moisture and flavour.

    100% rye bread cheese tomatoes
    100% rye bread based on sourdough fermentation
  8. 100%  Wholemeal Spelt Sourdough
    A wonderful recipe for those fond of spelt – light, highly nutritious with an appealing nutty flavour.

    Spelt sourdough bread slices
    100% spelt sourdough bread
  9. Rhubarb Sourdough
    Not sure what to do with all that rhubarb? Use stewed rhubarb as the liquid in your dough instead of water.

    Stewed rhubarb bread
    Stewed rhubarb sourdough bread
  10. Seaweed Sourdough
    Add seaweed to your breads. This seaweed sourdough recipe provides a great way of integrating seaweed into your daily diet.

    Seaweed (dulse) sourdough
    Seaweed sourdough loaf