Cuisine Fiend

cheat's sourdough

Sun, 14 June, 2015


Cheat's sourdough

Sourdough is scary, I’ll admit, even though I have quite a few wild yeast loaves under my belt. I’ve done rye, wheat and even the famous San Francisco. But it’s fussy, all that feeding, mollycoddling it at the right temperature and then after all the effort it may still not budge or bubble.

Now this – is pure genius. The taste is almost authentic, the fuss minimal with the starter fermenting happily over 24 hours, no feeding necessary and unfailingly good result every time.

The texture is great, big air bubbles like in the real article and the taste is very, very close. Crusty on the outside, chewy crumb, you might be easily fooled into thinking it’s IT.

It can be baked in a clay cloche, in a cast iron casserole or straight on a baking stone or a heavy baking sheet - it all works. The main picture shows a loaf from a cloche and the small one below - baked on a stone.

The recipe comes from the Good Food magazine.

cheat's sourdough

Servings: one large loafTime: 3 hours plus fermenting for 24 hours
Tags: bread, easy


  • For the starter:
  • 100g strong white flour
  • 100g dark rye flour
  • 10g fresh or 3g (1tsp) fast action yeast
  • 250g cold water
  • For the final dough:
  • 400g strong white flour
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 10g fresh or 3g (1tsp) fast action yeast
  • 200g cold water


1. Mix all the ingredients for the starter thoroughly in a large bowl, cover with cling film and leave in ambient temperature for 24 hours.

2. The next day add the remaining ingredients to the starter, mix well, then knead on a floured surface or in a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment for at least 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and bounces off the sides of the bowl or stops sticking to your hands. Cover and leave in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in volume.

3. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and fold onto itself from four sides to shape it into a round. Place it seam side up in a well-floured proving basket or a bowl lined with cloth and floured generously. Put the proving basket in a plastic bag inflated a bit so it doesn’t touch the dough (just blow into it and tie the end!) and leave for about 40 minutes.

4. Preheat a cast iron casserole, a baking stone or a heavy baking sheet in the middle of the oven at 220C/425F/gas 7.


5. When ready to bake, tip the loaf into the casserole or onto the stone or tray (it might be prudent to remove whichever you're using from the oven for this stage), slash a rectangle shape on the top with a very sharp knife and put it back in the oven.

6. With the casserole, put the lid back on and if baking on a stone, spray the inside of the oven generously with water. In the casserole: bake for 20 minutes with the lid on and 20 minutes uncovered. On a stone, bake for 30 minutes until golden, crusty and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

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Your comments

Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Debbie - glad to hear it!
2 months ago
Debbie Packenham
Best bread I’ve ever baked by far!
2 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Ha! Sourdough is a fickle beast, I have had times when I thought I'd lost my mojo. This is a decent approximation though purists will argue...
5 months ago
HI, thanks for your comment. Duly noted. Now rising nicely, will post the end result, did I mention I am using fresh yeast? Interested to see how much oven spring I get. And flavour.We love sourdough, but I have had nightmares trying to keep various starters going. Been making bread and stuff for years and I reckon I must have some not good wild yeasts floating around my kitchen .
5 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Barbara - I'm surprised you had to add extra flour but I guess types of flour differ in water absorption; hope it comes out fine! Water weight is the same as its volume so 200g = 200ml. I personally find it useful to have liquids measured in grams as you weigh out everything else so you just use the scales and there's no need for measuring jugs. Hope this helps.
5 months ago
I have just finished mixingthis recipe, and thought I had be meticulous in converting and measuring he amounts. However, if I had added all the second amount of water to the mix I should have finished with a very runny batter. As it was I added a small amount ectra flour to 'rescue' the mix. It is rising just now. Will up-date you on he result1What I want to know is, do you convert 200g of water to 2200ml? If not, what the story here, very confusing to give liquid by weight.
5 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Patricia - yes, that’s bread flour. It’s sometimes called ‘strong’ because it has higher protein content than plain flour. And the addition of rye flour makes the bread taste more like sourdough but you can use all bread flour or replace the rye with the same amount of wholemeal flour.
6 months ago
Hello! Would normal bread flour work on this recipe? Thanks!
6 months ago

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