Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What to eat Wednesdays - Handmade sourdough bread

I previously posted how to make breadmaker sourdough bread, but have since had to learn how to make it by hand as I've returned the breadmaker I was borrowing.

It's actually really easy to make sourdough by hand. Much easier than any other bread I know of. I haven't found it inconvenient and all, and sort of relish the feel of stirring the dough myself.

Ingredients (same as breadmaker version)

  • 2c filtered water
  • 2t unbleached salt
  • 4c stoneground wholemeal or rye flour
  • 1/2c sourdough starter

1. Place all ingredients in a pot or glass bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes, until well combined and stretchy.

2. Pour mixture into a large greased loaf tin, or two smaller ones. Mixture needs to come up to no more than 2/3 full or it will overflow as it rises. Flatten the top of the mixture with a wet hand, to prevent the dough sticking to you.

3. Leave to rise in a warm place for 7 hours. It needs that long to break down all the phytic acid in the grains, otherwise that phytic acid will inhibit your absorption of any nutrients contained within the grain.

4. After seven hours, bake for 1 hour at 170°C.

5. Tip out of loaf tin and allow to cool before slicing and storing in an airtight container in your fridge.

Because of the long rising time, this bread is best made in the morning and baked in the evening, or made in the evening and baked in the morning.

I like to take a couple of slices from the fridge and toast them for 4 minutes to warm them through. Then I spread them with a good serving of real butter, which not only tastes great, but is fantastic for you.


  1. I have been making this recipe with the starter you gave me Emma and it is great. Eating some right now, love it.

  2. Yay Jodie! Your comment worked! What did you do differently?
    I also just ate sourdough for lunch - had cheese toasty sandwiches. Yummy!

  3. Hey Emma,
    I went to a bread making course with dean brettschneider (aka. global baker) this week. Was fascinating and has really motivated me to move on from the breadmaker & bake bread by hand... learnt some great techniques.
    Especially keen to try sourdough. Where do you get your sourdough starter from?

  4. Hey Kate, I was given mine by a friend. Where abouts are you based? If you know someone local who has some, I'm sure they'd be happy to share. Otherwise you could have a crack making your own. Here's a link to a tutorial:

  5. hi, just found your blog from Monday Mania. I'm curious why you store your bread in the fridge? What I have heard about bread is that storing it in the fridge may keep it from molding but actually makes it go stale sooner. Also, the sourdough process makes your bread able to stay fresher longer than conventional bread, so you shouldn't need the refrigerator. What I do is pop the extra loaf in the freezer (in a sealed bag) and keep one loaf on the counter. I keep mine unsliced, but with a bread knife & cutting board right there, so that it doesn't get dried out. Works for me! :)

  6. Hi Lisa, thanks for that advice. I didn't know that about sourdough bread. I'll start doing the same. Cheers, Emma :)

  7. Hi, I'm a kiwi stay at home mum and was very pleased to find your sourdough recipe after a google search!! Thanks so much for sharing. Just a little your bread a bit sticky in texture, and the dough very wet? I tried adding a little extra flour last night so I could kneed it by hand and ending up baking sour-bricks! I guess the wet dough is necessary! I am baking with 100% whole rye (stone-ground). I am thinking of trying to sub 1 cup of whole rye for light rye to see if I can get more rise, although I do like it as is (and surprisingly so do my hubby and kids!). I am also looking forward to trying the fruit loaf version. Thanks again, Andrea.

    1. Hi, I'm glad you found the recipe. It is really sticky, which is why you have to knead it with a wooden spoon rather than by hand.

      I'd love to hear how you get on with light rye too. I'd often mix half wholemeal flour and half rye - or even just use rye to feed my starter and wholemeal flour to make the bread. Keep experimenting and you'll find what works best for you.

      The loaves are very dense. Much denser than storebought bread. I'm glad you're family liked them.


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