BBC

Sourdough bread recipes

How to make sourdough bread

How to make sourdough bread

By Patrick Ryan

Sourdough breads use a fermented batter-like dough starter to make them rise and enhance their flavour. A portion of the sourdough starter is mixed with the bread's ingredients, while the remainder is kept and 'fed' with more flour and water to use in future batches.

Recipes for sourdough bread

Cakes and baking

See all recipes for sourdough bread (4)

Recipes using sourdough bread

Main course

Light meals & snacks

Brunch

Starters & nibbles

Side dishes

Desserts

See all recipes using sourdough bread

Preparation

Before commercial yeast became available, bakers would use a bubbling mixture of yeasts and bacteria (a leaven) to both aerate the crumb and give a sharper flavour to the wheat. You can make your own bread improver by creating a natural leaven: in a clean jar mix four teaspoons of wholemeal flour with four teaspoons of water, then add the same quantity of each every day for three days. After the initial three days, remove four-fifths of the mixture each day and replace with a half-and-half mixture of flour and water. Do this until the mixture bubbles and smells pleasantly sour. Then add 150g/5oz of this mixture to every 500g/1lb 2oz of flour in your recipe to help the loaf stay moist and give the crumb more flavour.

If you want to use this leaven to make bread without yeast, you will need to allow for longer proving times.

On this page

Quick recipe finder

Type the ingredients you want to use, then click Go. For better results you can use quotation marks around phrases (e.g. "chicken breast"). Alternatively you can search by chef, programme, cuisine, diet, or dish (e.g. Lasagne).

Advanced search options

See more bread recipes